29 votes

Why does this copy of the Iliad mention "the will of God"?

That's a poor translation, although an understandable one; it should be "Zeus". First I checked a number of other English translations of the Iliad; it was easy to find the relevant passage ...
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21 votes

In the Iliad, why does Homer list every captain involved in the Trojan war?

Apparently, because it was true. The Iliad as we know it was composed over some centuries, transmitted orally, before "Homer" synthesized the version that was written down. Practically every word in ...
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  • 4,878
17 votes

Why does the Iliad start "in the middle"?

Whether the Iliad starts in the middle depends on what the subject of the poem is. If the subject is the whole Trojan War, then certainly the poem starts in the middle, and finishes well before the ...
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16 votes

Why does this copy of the Iliad mention "the will of God"?

The Greek is “Διὸς … βουλή” where “βουλή” means “will” and “Διὸς” is the genitive of “Ζεύς”, hence “will of Zeus”. So why did Rouse translate “Zeus” as “God” here? This is clearly a deliberate ...
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  • 38.8k
16 votes

Why does Aphrodite speak like this while disguised as the old woman?

TL;DR: Aphrodite has disguised herself as a worker in wool, an occupation which Rouse stereotypes as northern English. Aphrodite’s speech here is book III, lines 390–394: δεῦρ᾽ ἴθ᾽: Ἀλέξανδρός σε ...
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  • 38.8k
14 votes

Why are all of these things described as "ambrosial" in "The Iliad"?

“Ambrosial” means “relating to the gods” in general, and does not only apply to their food. ἀμβρόσιος […] poetic form of ἄμβροτος immortal, divine, rarely of persons […] in Homer, night and sleep are ...
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  • 38.8k
12 votes

Why does the Iliad start "in the middle"?

There was a whole cycle of poems detailing the Trojan war and its aftermath. See Wikipedia. Of these, only the two attributed to Homer have survived intact. So you could think of it as starting in ...
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11 votes
Accepted

What does "branch of Ares" mean in book II of "The Iliad"?

“Branch of Ares” is a literal translation of “ὄζος Ἄρηος”, for example in the passage quoted in the question: οὐκ οἶος, ἅμα τῷ γε Λεοντεὺς ὄζος Ἄρηος υἱὸς ὑπερθύμοιο Κορώνου Καινεΐδαο: τοῖς δ᾽ ἅμα ...
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10 votes

What is a bootless oath?

The specific Butler passage you reference can be found on Perseus line 272-348. An alternate 1924 translation by A.T. Murray may also be found there. The Murray is quite distinct from the Butler ...
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  • 3,940
8 votes
Accepted

What is a bootless oath?

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: useless, unprofitable a bootless attempt So we can replace the word bootless like this: The oath he swore was useless, but it made Dolon more keen on ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Vultures and wives? What does this expression mean?

Pope uses “grateful” in this sense: grateful, adj., 1. Pleasing to the mind or the senses, agreeable, acceptable, welcome. Oxford English Dictionary. and not in the more usual sense of “feeling ...
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8 votes

Why is Helen's speech here in the Iliad described as being given "warmly"?

The original Greek text is VI.332 τὸν δ᾽ Ἑλένη μύθοισι προσηύδα μειλιχίοισι: where μειλιχίοισι means “gentle, soothing” (the word is related to μέλι meaning “honey”). This adjective does not seem ...
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8 votes

What does Nestor's love of a "good horse" have to do with anything?

This is book IV, line 318: τὸν δ᾽ ἠμείβετ᾽ ἔπειτα Γερήνιος ἱππότα Νέστωρ: In A. T. Murray’s 1924 translation, that’s To him then made answer the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia: “ἱππότης” means “...
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7 votes

Why do Athena and Talthybios speak "plainly" in the Iliad?

The first case is book IV, line 92: ἀγχοῦ δ᾽ ἱσταμένη ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα: Here ἀγχοῦ = near; ἱσταμένη = standing; ἔπεα = words; πτερόεντα = feathered, winged; προσηύδα = spoke to, addressed. So ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Can the Odyssey be consumed independently of the Iliad?

tl;dr Yes, they can be read independently. On the nature of myth (hand-wavy background stuff) In a comment to your question, you note: these were originally oral traditions rather than written books.....
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6 votes
Accepted

Why is the oath sworn to Dolon by Hector a "bootless" one?

It likely has to do with a quote by Automedon later in the Iliad: “Alcimedon, what man beside of the Achaeans is of like worth to curb and guide the spirit of [Achilles'] immortal steeds, save only ...
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  • 3,940
5 votes

Why does the Iliad start "in the middle"?

The existing answers ignore the most important comment from Antiquity on this matter, namely chapter XXIII from Aristotle's Poetics (in Ingram Bywater's 1898 translation), quoted below, or in S. H. ...
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5 votes
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Meaning and addressees of Hector's threats

Hector is indeed threatening his own men. These lines are a translation of Iliad XV.343–351. ὄφρ᾽ οἳ τοὺς ἐνάριζον ἀπ᾽ ἔντεα, τόφρα δ᾽ Ἀχαιοὶ τάφρῳ καὶ σκολόπεσσιν ἐνιπλήξαντες ὀρυκτῇ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα ...
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5 votes

Meaning and addressees of Hector's threats

Hector is urging his men to attack the Greek ships bravely, but without plundering them afterwards. He says: If you run away from the battle, or if you lag behind so that you’re not on its front ...
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5 votes

What does this passage about the sun and Hera mean in the Iliad?

Hera isn't generally associated with the sun, but she put pressure on Helios, the sun god, to make sunset happen earlier than usual. The A.T. Murray translation makes it a bit more explicit: Then was ...
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5 votes

What is the difference between the narration of the Fall of Troy in The Aeneid, The Iliad, and The Odyssey?

Summary The sack of Troy was depicted in an ancient epic poem, the Iliupersis; this was probably used by Virgil as a source, but it has since been lost. From a surviving summary we can get an idea of ...
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  • 38.8k
4 votes

What does "reet fain" mean in Poseidon's message to Agamemnon in the Iliad?

In the phrase "reet fain", "fain" can hardly be an adverb. It makes more sense to read "reet" as an adverb and "fain" as an adjective. According to Wiktionary, ...
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4 votes

Why does the portrayal of fate in the Odyssey differ from that of the Iliad?

Fate is controlled by the Fates, whom no god can contradict. According to Walter Otto's The Homeric Gods (Walter F. Otto, The Homeric Gods: The Spiritual Significance of Greek Religion. 1929. ...
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  • 471
4 votes

Is there any connection between Paris of Troy and Paris of Verona?

As I mentioned elsewhere, Shakespeare's main sources for Romeo and Juliet were Arthur Brooke's narrative poem The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (1562) and William Painter's prose version of ...
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  • 38.1k
4 votes

Why was it necessary to put out Patroclos' pyre with wine in the Iliad?

Achilles is performing a prolonged libation to the gods, as happened in prior paragraphs to get the fire going (source of Rouse's translation). But the pyre would not burn, and Achillês did not know ...
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3 votes

Can the Odyssey be consumed independently of the Iliad?

In addition to verbose's theoretical comments on the nature of myth, there is evidence that the two epics were, in fact, consumed separately in ancient Greece. Aelian (Various History 13.14) attests ...
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  • 280
3 votes

Why does the portrayal of fate in the Odyssey differ from that of the Iliad?

This is a complex subject, and worthy of a thesis, but I'll attempt to briefly address it. The Sarpedon incident is interesting in that Zeus only contemplates altering fate. One could say that his ...
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  • 3,940
2 votes
Accepted

Retelling of Odysseus story with humour and anachronisms (audiobook)

I found it! Googling odysseus "plough the field" "sow the seed" gave me precisely two results: this question on Literature SE, and a Google Books version of the book Odysseus: the Greatest Hero of ...
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  • 63.1k
2 votes

What does "branch of Ares" mean in book II of "The Iliad"?

For comparison, see Augustus Taber Murray's translation (1924), which also mentions Ares: [738] And they that held Argissa, and dwelt in Gyrtone, Orthe, and Elone, and the white city of Oloösson, ...
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