Homeric Greek | Odyssey 1.163–168: comparatives, the lost homecoming, and Telemachus’ misery
We are pleased to share this segment in the CHS series on reading Homeric epic in ancient Greek. In each installment we read, translate, and discuss a small passage in the original Greek in the most accessible way. If you’ve ever dreamed of reading Homer in the original, here is your chance to do so with teachers who have spent a lifetime thinking about this poetry. With their guidance even new readers can enjoy “the poetry of grammar and the grammar of poetry” that make Homeric epic so exquisite and rewarding.
In this segment Gregory Nagy (Harvard University), Leonard Muellner (Brandeis University), and Douglas Frame (CHS), read Odyssey 1.163–168. Topics include: importance of being swifter rather than richer; keinos as a marker of absence/presence; Homeric perfect in direct speech and the homecoming that has been lost; and Telemachus’ despondence.
Referred to in this video:
Bakker, Egbert J. 2005. Pointing at the Past: From Formula to Performance in Homeric Poetics Hellenic Studies Series 12. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.
See Chapter 7. “Similes, Augment, and the Language of Immediacy.”
Odyssey 1.163–168, with hyperlinks to Perseus
εἰ κεῖνόν γ᾽ Ἰθάκηνδε ἰδοίατο νοστήσαντα,
πάντες κ᾽ ἀρησαίατ᾽ ἐλαφρότεροι πόδας εἶναι
ἢ ἀφνειότεροι χρυσοῖό τε ἐσθῆτός τε. 165
νῦν δ᾽ ὁ μὲν ὣς ἀπόλωλε κακὸν μόρον, οὐδέ τις ἡμῖν
θαλπωρή, εἴ πέρ τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων
φῇσιν ἐλεύσεσθαι: τοῦ δ᾽ ὤλετο νόστιμον ἦμαρ.
 Homer. The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919.