Homeric Greek | Odyssey 1.80–92: Epithets of gods, of cattle, of Achaeans, and of Odysseus

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 wanted to read Homer in ancient Greek, here is your chance to do so with teachers who have spent a lifetime studying these works. Together they help even new readers explore the words and formulas that make “the poetry of grammar and the grammar of poetry” in Homeric epic so exquisite and rewarding.

In this segment, Gregory Nagy (Harvard University), Leonard Muellner (Brandeis University), and Douglas Frame (CHS), read Odyssey 1.80–92. Topics include:

  • Epithets of gods, of cattle, of Achaeans, and of Odysseus
  • Nostos as noun and as verb
  • The roles of Hermes and Athena
  • Ogygia, Kalypsō, and Styx
  • Sheep, cattle, sacrifice and hecatombs
  • The menos of Telemachus

Odyssey Scroll 1, lines 80–92[1]

τὸν δ᾽ ἠμείβετ᾽ ἔπειτα θεά, γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη:                 80
‘ὦ πάτερ ἡμέτερε Κρονίδη, ὕπατε κρειόντων,
εἰ μὲν δὴ νῦν τοῦτο φίλον μακάρεσσι θεοῖσιν,
νοστῆσαι Ὀδυσῆα πολύφρονα ὅνδε δόμονδε,
Ἑρμείαν μὲν ἔπειτα διάκτορον ἀργεϊφόντην
νῆσον ἐς Ὠγυγίην ὀτρύνομεν, ὄφρα τάχιστα                     85
νύμφῃ ἐυπλοκάμῳ εἴπῃ νημερτέα βουλήν,
νόστον Ὀδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος, ὥς κε νέηται:
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν Ἰθάκηνδ᾽ ἐσελεύσομαι, ὄφρα οἱ υἱὸν
μᾶλλον ἐποτρύνω καί οἱ μένος ἐν φρεσὶ θείω,
εἰς ἀγορὴν καλέσαντα κάρη κομόωντας Ἀχαιοὺς            90
πᾶσι μνηστήρεσσιν ἀπειπέμεν, οἵ τέ οἱ αἰεὶ
μῆλ᾽ ἁδινὰ σφάζουσι καὶ εἰλίποδας ἕλικας βοῦς.

[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. via perseus.tufts.edu
Odyssey 1.80–124 on Perseus
Odyssey 1.80–92 on Scaife