Homeric Greek | Odyssey 1.156–162: rotting bones, neglected rules of reciprocity, and powers of particles

We are pleased to share this segment in the Center for Hellenic Studies 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 1.156–162. Topics include rotting bones, neglected rules of reciprocity, and powers of particles.

Odyssey 1.156–162[1]

αὐτὰρ Τηλέμαχος προσέφη γλαυκῶπιν Ἀθήνην,
ἄγχι σχὼν κεφαλήν, ἵνα μὴ πευθοίαθ᾽ οἱ ἄλλοι:
‘ξεῖνε φίλ᾽, ἦ καὶ μοι νεμεσήσεαι ὅττι κεν εἴπω;
τούτοισιν μὲν ταῦτα μέλει, κίθαρις καὶ ἀοιδή,
ῥεῖ᾽, ἐπεὶ ἀλλότριον βίοτον νήποινον ἔδουσιν,     160
ἀνέρος, οὗ δή που λεύκ᾽ ὀστέα πύθεται ὄμβρῳ
κείμεν᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἠπείρου, ἢ εἰν ἁλὶ κῦμα κυλίνδει.

Referred to in this video:
Bonifazi, Anna, Annemieke Drummen, and Mark de Kreij. 2016. Particles in Ancient Greek Discourse: Five Volumes Exploring Particle Use across Genres. Hellenic Studies Series 74. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

[1] 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.
Odyssey 1.125–177 on Perseus
Odyssey 1.156–162 on Scaife