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 Douglas Frame, Leonard Muellner, and Gregory Nagy discuss Odyssey 1.213–220, focusing on the synchronic and diachronic etymologies and meanings of Telemachus’ epithet pepnumenos, “breathed-in.”
You can view on the Center’s YouTube channel, or in the frame below.
τὴν δ᾽ αὖ Τηλέμαχος πεπνυμένος ἀντίον ηὔδα:
‘τοιγὰρ ἐγώ τοι, ξεῖνε, μάλ᾽ ἀτρεκέως ἀγορεύσω.
μήτηρ μέν τέ μέ φησι τοῦ ἔμμεναι, αὐτὰρ ἐγώ γε 215
οὐκ οἶδ᾽: οὐ γάρ πώ τις ἑὸν γόνον αὐτὸς ἀνέγνω.
ὡς δὴ ἐγώ γ᾽ ὄφελον μάκαρός νύ τευ ἔμμεναι υἱὸς
ἀνέρος, ὃν κτεάτεσσιν ἑοῖς ἔπι γῆρας ἔτετμε.
νῦν δ᾽ ὃς ἀποτμότατος γένετο θνητῶν ἀνθρώπων,
τοῦ μ᾽ ἔκ φασι γενέσθαι, ἐπεὶ σύ με τοῦτ᾽ ἐρεείνεις. 220
Greek text from: Homer. The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. 1919 Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. Available online: