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1 dpavlin 15 PREFACE.
3     There would have been less controversy about the proper
4     method of Homeric translation, if critics bad recognised
5     that the question is a purely relative one, that of Homer
6     there can be no final translation. The taste and the
7     literary habits of each age demand different qualities in
8     poetry, and therefore a different sort of rendering of
9     Homer. To the men of the time of Elizabeth, Homer would
10     have appeared bald, it seems, and lacking in ingenuity, if
11     he had been presented in his antique simplicity. For the
12     Elizabethan age, Chapman supplied what was then necessary,
13     and the mannerisms that were then deemed of the essence of
14     poetry, namely, daring and luxurious conceits. Thus in
15     Chapman's verse Troy must 'shed her towers for tears of
16     overthrow,' and when the winds toss Odysseus about, their
17     sport must be called 'the horrid tennis.'
19     In the age of Anne, 'dignity' and 'correctness' had to be
20     given to Homer, and Pope gave them by aid of his dazzling
21     rhetoric, his antitheses, his nettete, his command of every
22     conventional and favourite artifice. Without Chapman's
23     conceits, Homer's poems would hardly have been what the
24     Elizabethans took for poetry; without Pope's smoothness,
25     and Pope's points, the Iliad and Odyssey would have seemed
26     rude, and harsh in the age of Anne. These great
27     translations must always live as English poems. As
28     transcripts of Homer they are like pictures drawn from a
29     lost point of view. Chaque siecle depuis le xvi a ue de ce
30     cote son belveder different. Again, when Europe woke to a
31     sense, an almost exaggerated and certainly uncritical
32     sense, of the value of her songs of the people, of all the
33     ballads that Herder, Scott, Lonnrot, and the rest
34     collected, it was commonly said that Homer was a
35     ballad-minstrel, that the translator must imitate the
36     simplicity, and even adopt the formulae of the ballad.
37     Hence came the renderings of Maginn, the experiments of Mr.
38     Gladstone, and others. There was some excuse for the error
39     of critics who asked for a Homer in ballad rhyme. The Epic
40     poet, the poet of gods and heroes, did indeed inherit some
41     of the formulae of the earlier Volks-lied. Homer, like the
42     author of The Song of Roland, like the singers of the
43     Kalevala, uses constantly recurring epithets, and repeats,
44     word for word, certain emphatic passages, messages, and so
45     on. That custom is essential in the ballad, it is an
46     accident not the essence of the epic. The epic is a poem of
47     complete and elaborate art, but it still bears some
48     birthmarks, some signs of the early popular chant, out of
49     which it sprung, as the garden-rose springs from the wild
50     stock, When this is recognised the demand for ballad-like
51     simplicity and 'ballad-slang' ceases to exist, and then all
52     Homeric translations in the ballad manner cease to
53     represent our conception of Homer. After the belief in the
54     ballad manner follows the recognition of the romantic vein
55     in Homer, and, as a result, came Mr. Worsley's admirable
56     Odyssey. This masterly translation does all that can be
57     done for the Odyssey in the romantic style. The smoothness
58     of the verse, the wonderful closeness to the original,
59     reproduce all of Homer, in music and in meaning, that can
60     be rendered in English verse. There still, however, seems
61     an aspect Homeric poems, and a demand in connection with
62     Homer to be recognised, and to be satisfied.
64     Sainte-Beuve says, with reference probably to M. Leconte de
65     Lisle's prose version of the epics, that some people treat
66     the epics too much as if the were sagas. Now the Homeric
67     epics are sagas, but then they are the sagas of the divine
68     heroic age of Greece, and thus are told with an art which
69     is not the art of the Northern poets. The epics are stories
70     about the adventures of men living in most respects like
71     the men of our own race who dwelt in Iceland, Norway,
72     Denmark, and Sweden. The epics are, in a way, and as far as
73     manners and institutions are concerned, historical
74     documents. Whoever regards them in this way, must wish to
75     read them exactly as they have reached us, without modern
76     ornament, with nothing added or omitted. He must recognise,
77     with Mr. Matthew Arnold, that what he now wants, namely,
78     the simple truth about the matter of the poem, can only be
79     given in prose, 'for in a verse translation no original
80     work is any longer recognisable.' It is for this reason
81     that we have attempted to tell once more, in simple prose,
82     the story of Odysseus. We have tried to transfer, not all
83     the truth about the poem, but the historical truth, into
84     English. In this process Homer must lose at least half his
85     charm, his bright and equable speed, the musical current of
86     that narrative, which, like the river of Egypt, flows from
87     an indiscoverable source, and mirrors the temples and the
88     palaces of unforgotten gods and kings. Without this music
89     of verse, only a half truth about Homer can be told, but
90     then it is that half of the truth which, at this moment, it
91     seems most necessary to tell. This is the half of the truth
92     that the translators who use verse cannot easily tell. They
93     MUST be adding to Homer, talking with Pope about 'tracing
94     the mazy lev'ret o'er the lawn,' or with Mr. Worsley about
95     the islands that are 'stars of the blue Aegaean,' or with
96     Dr. Hawtrey about 'the earth's soft arms,' when Homer says
97     nothing at all about the 'mazy lev'ret,' or the 'stars of
98     the blue Aegaean,' or the 'soft arms' of earth. It would be
99     impertinent indeed to blame any of these translations in
100     their place. They give that which the romantic reader of
101     poetry, or the student of the age of Anne, looks for in
102     verse; and without tags of this sort, a translation of
103     Homer in verse cannot well be made to hold together.
105     There can be then, it appears, no final English translation
106     of Homer. In each there must be, in addition to what is
107     Greek and eternal, the element of what is modern, personal,
108     and fleeting. Thus we trust that there may be room for 'the
109     pale and far-off shadow of a prose translation,' of which
110     the aim is limited and humble. A prose translation cannot
111     give the movement and the fire of a successful translation
112     in verse; it only gathers, as it were, the crumbs which
113     fall from the richer table, only tells the story, without
114     the song. Yet to a prose translation is permitted, perhaps,
115     that close adherence to the archaisms of the epic, which in
116     verse become mere oddities. The double epithets, the
117     recurring epithets of Homer, if rendered into verse, delay
118     and puzzle the reader, as the Greek does not delay or
119     puzzle him. In prose he may endure them, or even care to
120     study them as the survivals of a stage of taste, which is
121     to be found in its prime in the sagas. These double and
122     recurring epithets of Homer are a softer form of the quaint
123     Northern periphrases, which make the sea the 'swan's bath,'
124     gold, the 'dragon's hoard,' men, the 'ring-givers,' and so
125     on. We do not know whether it is necessary to defend our
126     choice of a somewhat antiquated prose. Homer has no ideas
127     which cannot be expressed in words that are 'old and
128     plain,' and to words that are old and plain, and, as a
129     rule, to such terms as, being used by the Translators of
130     the Bible, are still not unfamiliar, we have tried to
131     restrict ourselves. It may be objected, that the employment
132     of language which does not come spontaneously to the lips,
133     is an affectation out of place in a version of the Odyssey.
134     To this we may answer that the Greek Epic dialect, like the
135     English of our Bible, was a thing of slow growth and
136     composite nature, that it was never a spoken language, nor,
137     except for certain poetical purposes, a written language.
138     Thus the Biblical English seems as nearly analogous to the
139     Epic Greek, as anything that our tongue has to offer.
141     The few foot-notes in this book are chiefly intended to
142     make clear some passages where there is a choice of
143     reading. The notes at the end, which we would like to have
144     written in the form of essays, and in company with more
145     complete philological and archaeological studies, are
146     chiefly meant to elucidate the life of Homer's men. We have
147     received much help from many friends, and especially from
148     Mr. R. W. Raper, Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford and Mr.
149     Gerald Balfour, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who
150     has aided us with many suggestions while the book was
151     passing through the press.
153     In the interpretation of B. i.411, ii.191, v.90, and 471,
154     we have departed from the received view, and followed Mr.
155     Raper, who, however, has not been able to read through the
156     proof-sheets further than Book xii.
158     We have adopted La Roche's text (Homeri Odyssea, J. La
159     Roche, Leipzig, 1867), except in a few cases where we
160     mention our reading in a foot-note.
162     The Arguments prefixed to the Books are taken, with very
163     slight alterations, from Hobbes' Translation of the
164     Odyssey.
166     It is hoped that the Introduction added to the second
167     edition may illustrate the growth of those national legends
168     on which Homer worked, and may elucidate the plot of the
169     Odyssey.
174     Wet owe our thanks to the Rev. E. Warre, of Eton College,
175     for certain corrections on nautical points. In particular,
176     he has convinced us that the raft of Odysseus in B. v. is a
177     raft strictly so called, and that it is not, under the
178     poet's description, elaborated into a ship, as has been
179     commonly supposed. The translation of the passage (B.
180     v.246-261) is accordingly altered.
187     The Odyssey is generally supposed to be somewhat the later
188     in date of the two most ancient Greek poems which are
189     concerned with the events and consequences of the Trojan
190     war. As to the actual history of that war, it may be said
191     that nothing is known. We may conjecture that some contest
192     between peoples of more or less kindred stocks, who
193     occupied the isles and the eastern and western shores of
194     the Aegean, left a strong impression on the popular fancy.
195     Round the memories of this contest would gather many older
196     legends, myths, and stories, not peculiarly Greek or even
197     'Aryan,' which previously floated unattached, or were
198     connected with heroes whose fame was swallowed up by that
199     of a newer generation. It would be the work of minstrels,
200     priests, and poets, as the national spirit grew conscious
201     of itself, to shape all these materials into a definite
202     body of tradition. This is the rule of development--first
203     scattered stories, then the union of these into a NATIONAL
204     legend. The growth of later national legends, which we are
205     able to trace, historically, has generally come about in
206     this fashion. To take the best known example, we are able
207     to compare the real history of Charlemagne with the old
208     epic poems on his life and exploits. In these poems we find
209     that facts are strangely exaggerated, and distorted; that
210     purely fanciful additions are made to the true records,
211     that the more striking events of earlier history are
212     crowded into the legend of Charles, that mere fairy tales,
213     current among African as well as European peoples, are
214     transmuted into false history, and that the anonymous
215     characters of fairy tales are converted into historical
216     personages. We can also watch the process by which feigned
217     genealogies were constructed, which connected the princely
218     houses of France with the imaginary heroes of the epics.
219     The conclusion is that the poetical history of Charlemagne
220     has only the faintest relations to the true history. And we
221     are justified in supposing that, quite as little of the
222     real history of events can be extracted from the tale of
223     Troy, as from the Chansons de Geste.
225     By the time the Odyssey was composed, it is certain that a
226     poet had before him a well-arranged mass of legends and
227     traditions from which he might select his materials. The
228     author of the Iliad has an extremely full and curiously
229     consistent knowledge of the local traditions of Greece, the
230     memories which were cherished by Thebans, Pylians, people
231     of Mycenae, of Argos, and so on. The Iliad and the Odyssey
232     assume this knowledge in the hearers of the poems, and take
233     for granted some acquaintance with other legends, as with
234     the story of the Argonautic Expedition. Now that story
235     itself is a tissue of popular tales,--still current in many
236     distant lands,--but all woven by the Greek genius into the
237     history of Iason.
239     The history of the return of Odysseus as told in the
240     Odyssey, is in the same way, a tissue of old marchen.
241     These must have existed for an unknown length of time
242     before they gravitated into the cycle of the tale of Troy.
244     The extraordinary artistic skill with which legends and
245     myths, originally unconnected with each other, are woven
246     into the plot of the Odyssey, so that the marvels of savage
247     and barbaric fancy become indispensable parts of an
248     artistic whole, is one of the chief proofs of the unity of
249     authorship of that poem. We now go on to sketch the plot,
250     which is a marvel of construction.
252     Odysseus was the King of Ithaca, a small and rugged island
253     on the western coast of Greece. When he was but lately
254     married to Penelope, and while his only son Telemachus was
255     still an infant, the Trojan war began. It is scarcely
256     necessary to say that the object of this war, as conceived
257     of by the poets, was to win back Helen, the wife of
258     Menelaus, from Paris, the son of Priam, King of Troy. As
259     Menelaus was the brother of Agamemnon, the Emperor, so to
260     speak, or recognised chief of the petty kingdoms of
261     'Greece, the whole force of these kingdoms was at his
262     disposal. No prince came to the leaguer of Troy from a home
263     more remote than that of Odysseus. When Troy was taken, in
264     the tenth year of the war, his homeward voyage was the
265     longest and most perilous.
267     The action of the Odyssey occupies but the last six weeks
268     of the ten years during which Odysseus was wandering. Two
269     nights in these six weeks are taken up, however, by his own
270     narrative of his adventures (to the Phaeacians, p. xx) in
271     the previous ten years. With this explanatory narrative we
272     must begin, before coming to the regular action of the
273     poem.
275     After the fall of Troy, Odysseus touched at Ismarus, the
276     city of a Thracian people, whom he attacked and plundered,
277     but by whom he was at last repulsed. The north wind then
278     carried his ships to Malea, the extreme southern point of
279     Greece. Had he doubled Malea safely, he would probably have
280     reached Ithaca in a few days, would have found Penelope
281     unvexed by wooers, and Telemachus a boy of ten years old.
282     But this was not to be.
284     The 'ruinous winds' drove Odysseus and his ships for ten
285     days, and on the tenth they touched the land of the Lotus-
286     Eaters, whose flowery food causes sweet forgetfulness.
287     Lotus-land was possibly in Western Libya, but it is more
288     probable that ten days' voyage from the southern point of
289     Greece, brought Odysseus into an unexplored region of
290     fairy-land. Egypt, of which Homer had some knowledge, was
291     but five days' sail from Crete.
293     Lotus-land, therefore, being ten days' sail from Malea, was
294     well over the limit of the discovered world. From this
295     country Odysseus went on till he reached the land of the
296     lawless Cyclopes, a pastoral people of giants. Later Greece
297     feigned that the Cyclopes dwelt near Mount Etna, in Sicily.
298     Homer leaves their place of abode in the vague. Among the
299     Cyclopes, Odysseus had the adventure on which his whole
300     fortunes hinged. He destroyed the eye of the cannibal
301     giant, Polyphemus, a son of Poseidon, the God of the Sea.
302     To avenge this act, Poseidon drove Odysseus wandering for
303     ten long years, and only suffered him to land in Ithaca,
304     'alone, in evil case, to find troubles in his house.' This
305     is a very remarkable point in the plot. The story of the
306     crafty adventurer and the blinding of the giant, with the
307     punning device by which the hero escaped, exists in the
308     shape of a detached marchen or fairy-tale among races who
309     never heard of Homer. And when we find the story among
310     Oghuzians, Esthonians, Basques, and Celts, it seems natural
311     to suppose that these people did not break a fragment out
312     of the Odyssey, but that the author of the Odyssey took
313     possession of a legend out of the great traditional store
314     of fiction. From the wide distribution of the tale, there
315     is reason to suppose that it is older than Homer, and that
316     it was not originally told of Odysseus, but was attached to
317     his legend, as floating jests of unknown authorship are
318     attributed to eminent wits. It has been remarked with truth
319     that in this episode Odysseus acts out of character, that
320     he is foolhardy as well as cunning. Yet the author of the
321     Odyssey, so far from merely dove-tailing this story at
322     random into his narrative, has made his whole plot turn on
323     the injury to the Cyclops. Had he not foolishly exposed
324     himself and his companions, by his visit to the Cyclops,
325     Odysseus would never have been driven wandering for ten
326     weary years. The prayers of the blinded Cyclops were heard
327     and fulfilled by Poseidon.
329     From the land of the Cyclops, Odysseus and his company
330     sailed to the Isle of Aeolus, the king of the winds. This
331     place too is undefined; we only learn that, even with the
332     most favourable gale, it was ten days' sail from Ithaca. In
333     the Isle of Aeolus Odysseus abode for a month, and then
334     received from the king a bag in which all the winds were
335     bound, except that which was to waft the hero to his home.
336     This sort of bag was probably not unfamiliar to
337     superstitious Greek sailors who had dealings with witches,
338     like the modern wise women of the Lapps. The companions of
339     the hero opened the bag when Ithaca was in sight, the winds
340     rushed out, the ships were borne back to the Aeolian Isle,
341     and thence the hero was roughly dismissed by Aeolus. Seven
342     days' sail brought him to Lamos, a city of the cannibal
343     Laestrygonians. Their country, too, is in No-man's-land,
344     and nothing can be inferred from the fact that their
345     fountain was called Artacia, and that there was an Artacia
346     in Cyzicus. In Lamos a very important adventure befel
347     Odysseus. The cannibals destroyed all his fleet, save one
348     ship, with which he made his escape to the Isle of Circe.
349     Here the enchantress turned part of the crew into swine,
350     but Odysseus, by aid of the god Hermes, redeemed them, and
351     became the lover of Circe. This adventure, like the story
352     of the Cyclops, is a fairy tale of great antiquity. Dr.
353     Gerland, in his Alt Griechische Marchen in der Odyssee, his
354     shown that the story makes part of the collection of
355     Somadeva, a store of Indian tales, of which 1200 A.D. is
356     the approximate date. Circe appears as a Yackshini, and is
357     conquered when an adventurer seizes her flute whose magic
358     music turns men into beasts. The Indian Circe had the habit
359     of eating the animals into which she transformed men.
361     We must suppose that the affairs with the Cicones, the
362     Lotus-eaters, the Cyclops, Aeolus, and the Laestrygonians,
363     occupied most of the first year after the fall of Troy. A
364     year was then spent in the Isle of Circe, after which the
365     sailors were eager to make for home. Circe commanded them
366     to go down to Hades, to learn the homeward way from the
367     ghost of the Theban prophet Teiresias. The descent into
368     hell, for some similar purpose, is common in the epics of
369     other races, such as the Finns, and the South-Sea
370     Islanders. The narrative of Odysseus's visit to the dead
371     (book xi) is one of the most moving passages in the whole
372     poem.
374     From Teiresias Odysseus learned that, if he would bring his
375     companions home, he must avoid injuring the sacred cattle
376     of the Sun, which pastured in the Isle of Thrinacia. If
377     these were harmed, he would arrive in Ithaca alone, or in
378     the words of the Cyclops's prayer, I in evil plight, with
379     loss of all his company, on board the ship of strangers, to
380     find sorrow in his house.' On returning to the Isle Aeaean,
381     Odysseus was warned by Circe of the dangers he would
382     encounter. He and his friends set forth, escaped the Sirens
383     (a sort of mermaidens), evaded the Clashing Rocks, which
384     close on ships (a fable known to the Aztecs), passed Scylla
385     (the pieuvre of antiquity) with loss of some of the
386     company, and reached Thrinacia, the Isle of the Sun. Here
387     the company of Odysseus, constrained by hunger, devoured
388     the sacred kine of the Sun, for which offence they were
389     punished by a shipwreck, when all were lost save Odysseus.
390     He floated ten days on a raft, and then reached the isle of
391     the goddess Calypso, who kept him as her lover for eight
392     years.
394     The first two years after the fall of Troy are now
395     accounted for. They were occupied, as we have seen, by
396     adventures with the Cicones, the Lotus-eaters, the Cyclops,
397     Aeolus, the Laestrygonians, by a year's residence with
398     Circe, by the descent into Hades, the encounters with the
399     Sirens, and Scylla, and the fatal sojourn in the isle of
400     Thrinacia. We leave Odysseus alone, for eight years,
401     consuming his own heart, in the island paradise of Calypso.
403     In Ithaca, the hero's home, things seem to have passed
404     smoothly till about the sixth year after the fall of Troy.
405     Then the men of the younger generation, the island chiefs,
406     began to woo Penelope, and to vex her son Telemachus.
407     Laertes, the father of Odysseus, was too old to help, and
408     Penelope only gained time by her famous device of weaving
409     and unweaving the web. The wooers began to put compulsion
410     on the Queen, quartering themselves upon her, devouring her
411     substance, and insulting her by their relations with her
412     handmaids. Thus Penelope pined at home, amidst her wasting
413     possessions. Telemachus fretted in vain, and Odysseus was
414     devoured by grief and home-sickness in the isle of Calypso.
415     When he had lain there for nigh eight years, the action of
416     the Odyssey begins, and occupies about six weeks.
418     DAY 1 (Book i).
420     The ordained time has now arrived, when by the counsels of
421     the Gods, Odysseus is to be brought home to free his house,
422     to avenge himself on the wooers, and recover his kingdom.
423     The chief agent in his restoration is Pallas Athene; the
424     first book opens with her prayer to Zeus that Odysseus may
425     be delivered. For this purpose Hermes is to be sent to
426     Calypso to bid her release Odysseus, while Pallas Athene in
427     the shape of Mentor, a friend of Odysseus, visits
428     Telemachus in Ithaca. She bids him call an assembly of the
429     people, dismiss the wooers to their homes, and his mother
430     to her father's house, and go in quest of his own father,
431     in Pylos, the city of Nestor, and Sparta, the home of
432     Menelaus. Telemachus recognises the Goddess, and the first
433     day closes.
435     DAY 2 (Book ii).
437     Telemachus assembles the people, but he has not the heart
438     to carry out Athene's advice. He cannot send the wooers
439     away, nor turn his mother out of her house. He rather
440     weakly appeals to the wooers' consciences, and announces
441     his intention of going to seek his father. They answer with
442     scorn, but are warned of their fate, which is even at the
443     doors, by Halitherses. His prophecy (first made when
444     Odysseus set out for Troy) tallies with the prophecy of
445     Teiresias, and the prayer of the Cyclops. The reader will
446     observe a series of portents, prophecies, and omens, which
447     grow more numerous and admonishing as their doom draws
448     nearer to the wooers. Their hearts, however, are hardened,
449     and they mock at Telemachus, who, after an interview with
450     Athene, borrows a ship and secretly sets out for Pylos.
451     Athene accompanies him, and his friends man his galley.
453     DAY 3 (Book iii).
455     They reach Pylos, and are kindly received by the aged
456     Nestor, who has no news about Odysseus. After sacrifice,
457     Athene disappears.
459     DAY 4 (Book iii).
461     The fourth day is occupied with sacrifice, and the talk of
462     Nestor. In the evening Telemachus (leaving his ship and
463     friends at Pylos) drives his chariot into Pherae, half way
464     to Sparta; Peisistratus, the soil of Nestor, accompanies
465     him.
467     DAY 5 (Book iv).
469     Telemachus and Peisistratus arrive at Sparta, where
470     Menelaus and Helen receive them kindly.
472     DAY 6 (Book iv).
474     Menelaus tells how he himself came home in the eighth year
475     after the fall of Troy. He had heard from Proteus, the Old
476     Man of the Sea, that Odysseus was alive, and a captive on
477     an island of the deep. Menelaus invites Telemachus to Stay
478     with him for eleven days or twelve, which Telemachus
479     declines to do. it will later appear that he made an even
480     longer stay at Sparta, though whether he changed his mind,
481     or whether we have here an inadvertence of the poet's it is
482     hard to determine. This blemish has been used as an
483     argument against the unity of authorship, but writers of
484     all ages have made graver mistakes.
486     On this same day (the sixth) the wooers in Ithaca learned
487     that Telemachus had really set out to I cruise after his
488     father.' They sent some of their number to lie in ambush
489     for him, in a certain strait which he was likely to pass on
490     his return to Ithaca. Penelope also heard of her son's
491     departure, but was consoled by a dream.
493     DAY 7 (Book v).
495     The seventh day finds us again in Olympus. Athene again
496     urges the release of Odysseus; and Hermes is sent to bid
497     Calypso let the hero go. Zeus prophecies that after twenty
498     days sailing, Odysseus will reach Scheria, and the
499     hospitable Phaeacians, a people akin to the Gods, who will
500     convey him to Ithaca. Hermes accomplishes the message to
501     Calypso.
503     DAYS 8-12-32 (Book v).
505     These days are occupied by Odysseus in making and launching
506     a raft; on the twelfth day from the beginning of the action
507     he leaves Calypso's isle. He sails for eighteen days, and
508     on the eighteenth day of his voyage (the twenty- ninth from
509     the beginning of the action), he sees Scheria. Poseidon
510     raises a storm against him, and it is not till the
511     thirty-second day from that in which Athene visited
512     Telemachus, that he lands in Scheria, the country of the
513     Phaeacians. Here be is again in fairy land. A rough, but
514     perfectly recognisable form of the Phaeacian myth, is found
515     in an Indian collection of marchen (already referred to) of
516     the twelfth century A.D. Here the Phaeacians are the
517     Vidyidhiris, and their old enemies the Cyclopes, are the
518     Rakshashas, a sort of giants. The Indian Odysseus, who
519     seeks the city of gold, passes by the home of an Indian
520     Aeolus, Satyavrata. His later adventures are confused, and
521     the Greek version retains only the more graceful fancies of
522     the marchen.
524     DAY 33 (Book vi).
526     Odysseus meets Nausicaa, daughter of Alcinous, the
527     Phaeacian King, and by her aid, and that of Athene, is
528     favourably received at the palace, and tells how he came
529     from Calypso's island. His name is still unknown to his
530     hosts.
532     DAY 34 (Books vii, viii, ix, x, xi, xii).
534     The Phaeacians and Odysseus display their skill in sports.
535     Nausicaa bids Odysseus farewell. Odysseus recounts to
536     Alcinous, and Arete, the Queen, those adventures in the two
537     years between the fall of Troy and his captivity in the
538     island of Calypso, which we have already described (pp.
539     xiii-xvii).
541     DAY 35 (Book xiii).
543     Odysseus is conveyed to Ithaca, in the evening, on one of
544     the magical barques of the Phaeacians.
546     DAY 36 (Books xiii, xiv, xv).
548     He wakens in Ithaca, which be does not at first recognise
549     He learns from Athene, for the first time, that the wooers
550     beset his house. She disguises him as an old man, and bids
551     him go to the hut of the swineherd Eumaeus, who is loyal to
552     his absent lord. Athene then goes to Lacedaemon, to bring
553     back Telemachus, who bas now resided there for a month.
554     Odysseus won the heart of Eumaeus, who of course did not
555     recognise him, and slept in the swineherd's hut, while
556     Athene was waking Telemachus, in Lacedaemon, and bidding
557     him 'be mindful of his return.'
559     DAY 37 (Book xv).
561     Is spent by Odysseus in the swineherd's hut. Telemachus
562     reaches Pherae, half-way to Pylos.
565     DAY 38 (Book xv).
567     Telemachus reaches Pylos, but does not visit Nestor. To
568     save time he goes at once on board ship, taking with him an
569     unfortunate outlaw, Theoclymenus, a second-sighted man, or
570     the family of Melampus, in which the gift of prophecy was
571     hereditary. The ship passed the Elian coast at night, and
572     evaded the ambush of the wooers. Meanwhile Odysseus was
573     sitting up almost till dawn, listening to the history of
574     Eumaeus, the swineherd.
576     DAY 39 (Books xv, xvi).
578     Telemachus reaches the Isle of Ithaca, sends his ship to
579     the city, but himself, by advice of Athene, makes for the
580     hut of Eumaeus, where he meets, but naturally does not
581     recognise, his disguised father. He sends Eumaeus to
582     Penelope with news of his arrival, and then Athene reveals
583     Odysseus to Telemachus. The two plot the death of the
584     wooers. Odysseus bids Telemachus remove, on a favourable
585     opportunity, the arms which were disposed as trophies on
586     the walls of the hall at home. (There is a slight
587     discrepancy between the words of this advice and the manner
588     in which it is afterwards executed.) During this interview,
589     the ship of Telemachus, the wooers who had been in ambush,
590     and Eumaeus, all reached the town of Ithaca. In the evening
591     Eumaeus returned to his hut, where Athene had again
592     disguised Odysseus.
594     DAY 40 (Books xvii, xviii, xix, xx).
596     The story is now hastening to its close, and many events
597     are crowded into the fortieth day. Telemachus goes from the
598     swineherd's hut to the city, and calls his guest,
599     Theoclymenus, to the palace. The second-sighted man
600     prophesies of the near revenge of Odysseus. In the
601     afternoon, Odysseus (still disguised) and Eumaeus reach the
602     city, the dog Argos recognises the hero, and dies. Odysseus
603     goes begging through his own hall, and is struck by
604     Antinous, the proudest of the wooers. Late in the day
605     Eumaeus goes home, and Odysseus fights with the braggart
606     beggar Irus. Still later, Penelope appears among the
607     wooers, and receives presents from them. When the wooers
608     have withdrawn, Odysseus and Telemachus remove the weapons
609     from the hall to the armoury. Afterwards Odysseus has an
610     interview with Penelope (who does not recognise him), but
611     he is recognised by his old nurse Eurycleia. Penelope
612     mentions her purpose to wed the man who on the following
613     day, the feast of the Archer-god Apollo, shall draw the bow
614     of Odysseus, and send an arrow through the holes in twelve
615     axe-blades, set up in a row. Thus the poet shows that
616     Odysseus has arrived in Ithaca not a day too soon. Odysseus
617     is comforted by a vision of Athene, and
619     DAY 41 (Books xx, xxi, xxii, xxiii).
621     by the ominous prayer uttered by a weary woman grinding at
622     the mill. The swineherd and the disloyal Melanthius arrive
623     at the palace. The wooers defer the plot to kill
624     Telemachus, as the day is holy to Apollo. Odysseus is led
625     up from his seat near the door to a place beside Telemachus
626     at the chief 's table. The wooers mock Telemachus, and the
627     second- sighted Theoclymenus sees the ominous shroud of
628     death covering their bodies, and the walls dripping with
629     blood. He leaves the doomed company. In the trial of the
630     bow, none of the wooers can draw it; meanwhile Odysseus has
631     declared himself to the neatherd and the swineherd. The
632     former bars and fastens the outer gates of the court, the
633     latter bids Eurycleia bar the doors of the womens' chambers
634     which lead out of the hall. Odysseus now gets the bow into
635     his hands, strings it, sends the arrow through the
636     axe-blades, and then leaping on the threshold of stone,
637     deals his shafts among the wooers. Telemachus, the
638     neatherd, and Eumaeus, aiding him, he slaughters all the
639     crew, despite the treachery of Melanthius. The paramours of
640     the wooers are hanged, and Odysseus, after some delay, is
641     recognised by Penelope.
643     DAY 42 (Books xxiii, xxiv).
645     This day is occupied with the recognition of Odysseus by
646     his aged father Laertes, and with the futile attempt of the
647     kinsfolk of the wooers to avenge them on Odysseus. Athene
648     reconciles the feud, and the toils of Odysseus are
649     accomplished.
651     The reader has now before him a chronologically arranged
652     sketch of the action of the Odyssey. It is, perhaps,
653     apparent, even from this bare outline, that the composition
654     is elaborate and artistic, that the threads of the plot are
655     skilfully separated and combined. The germ of the whole
656     epic is probably the popular tale, known all over the
657     world, of the warrior who, on his return from a long
658     expedition, has great difficulty in making his prudent wife
659     recognise him. The incident occurs as a detached story in
660     China, and in most European countries it is told of a
661     crusader. 'We may suppose it to be older than the legend of
662     Troy, and to have gravitated into the cycle of that legend.
663     The years of the hero's absence are then filled up with
664     adventures (the Cyclops, Circe, the Phaeacians, the Sirens,
665     the descent into hell) which exist as scattered tales, or
666     are woven into the more elaborate epics of Gaels, Aztecs,
667     Hindoos, Tartars, South-Sea Islanders, Finns, Russians,
668     Scandinavians, and Eskimo. The whole is surrounded with the
669     atmosphere of the kingly age of Greece, and the result is
670     the Odyssey, with that unity of plot and variety of
671     character which must have been given by one masterly
672     constructive genius. The date at which the poet of the
673     Odyssey lived may be approximately determined by his
674     consistent descriptions of a peculiar and definite
675     condition of society, which had ceased to exist in the
676     ninth century B.C., and of a stage of art in which
677     Phoenician and Assyrian influences predominated. (Die Kunst
678     bei Homer. Brunn.) As to the mode of composition, it would
679     not be difficult to show that at least the a priori Wolfian
680     arguments against the early use of writing for literary
681     purposes have no longer the cogency which they were once
682     thought to possess. But this is matter for a separate
683     investigation.
689     The Odyssey

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