Homeric Greek | Odyssey 1.144–148: Couches, chairs, and camera’s choreography

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 1.144–148. Topics include couches and chairs, with a close attention to the cinematic qualities of the description, and the effects of multiple phases of development of Homeric poetry.

Odyssey 1.144–148[1]

ἐς δ᾽ ἦλθον μνηστῆρες ἀγήνορες. οἱ μὲν ἔπειτα
145 ἑξείης ἕζοντο κατὰ κλισμούς τε θρόνους τε,
τοῖσι δὲ κήρυκες μὲν ὕδωρ ἐπὶ χεῖρας ἔχευαν,
σῖτον δὲ δμῳαὶ παρενήνεον ἐν κανέοισιν,
κοῦροι δὲ κρητῆρας ἐπεστέψαντο ποτοῖο.

[1] Greek text from: 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.