Homeric Greek | Odyssey 1.149–155: Desire for food and drink, and Homeric stringed instruments

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 make Homeric epic so exquisite and rewarding.

Desire for food and drink, and Homeric stringed instruments

In this segment Gregory Nagy (Harvard University), Douglas Frame (CHS), and Leonard Muellner (Brandeis University), read Odyssey 1.149–155, focusing on the word choices, effects of the particles, the figure of the poet Phemios, and shifting visualizations of stringed instruments in Homer.

You can view the video on the CHS YouTube channel or in the frame below:

Odyssey 1.149–155[1]

οἱ δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ὀνείαθ᾽ ἑτοῖμα προκείμενα χεῖρας ἴαλλον.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ πόσιος καὶ ἐδητύος ἐξ ἔρον ἕντο                150
μνηστῆρες, τοῖσιν μὲν ἐνὶ φρεσὶν ἄλλα μεμήλει,
μολπή τ᾽ ὀρχηστύς τε: τὰ γὰρ τ᾽ ἀναθήματα δαιτός:
κῆρυξ δ᾽ ἐν χερσὶν κίθαριν περικαλλέα θῆκεν
Φημίῳ, ὅς ῥ᾽ ἤειδε παρὰ μνηστῆρσιν ἀνάγκῃ.
ἦ τοι ὁ φορμίζων ἀνεβάλλετο καλὸν ἀείδειν.               155

[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.

‘Reading Homer’ series