Homeric Greek | Odyssey 1.136–143: Dining, and serving food

We are pleased to share this segment in the 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 makes Homeric epic so exquisite and rewarding.

In this segment, Gregory Nagy (Harvard University), and Douglas Frame (CHS), and Leonard Muellner (Brandeis University), read Odyssey 1.136–143. Topics include:

  • hand-washing before a meal
  • types of food
  • how the food was served

Odyssey 1.136–143[1]

χέρνιβα δ᾽ ἀμφίπολος προχόῳ ἐπέχευε φέρουσα
καλῇ χρυσείῃ, ὑπὲρ ἀργυρέοιο λέβητος,
νίψασθαι: παρὰ δὲ ξεστὴν ἐτάνυσσε τράπεζαν.
σῖτον δ᾽ αἰδοίη ταμίη παρέθηκε φέρουσα,
εἴδατα πόλλ᾽ ἐπιθεῖσα, χαριζομένη παρεόντων:         140
δαιτρὸς δὲ κρειῶν πίνακας παρέθηκεν ἀείρας
παντοίων, παρὰ δέ σφι τίθει χρύσεια κύπελλα:
κῆρυξ δ᾽ αὐτοῖσιν θάμ᾽ ἐπῴχετο οἰνοχοεύων.

[1] Greek text: 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.

‘Reading Homer’ series