Homeric Greek | Odyssey 1.99–112: Athena at the threshold

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 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), Douglas Frame (CHS), and Leonard Muellner (Brandeis University), read Odyssey 1.99–112. Topics include:

  • further connections between Athena and Hermes
  • Athena’s appearance as Mentes
  • dēmos in Homeric diction and dāmos in Linear B as ‘district’
  • laos in Homeric diction as ‘people’
  • the significance of Athena’s spear
  • the Taphians
  • the threshold of the house
  • our first impression of the suitors and their behavior
  • how particles can help us visualize the scene
  • roles of the heralds and therapontes

Odyssey Scroll 1, lines 99–112[1]

εἵλετο δ᾽ ἄλκιμον ἔγχος, ἀκαχμένον ὀξέι χαλκῷ,
βριθὺ μέγα στιβαρόν, τῷ δάμνησι στίχας ἀνδρῶν                 100
ἡρώων, τοῖσίν τε κοτέσσεται ὀβριμοπάτρη.
βῆ δὲ κατ᾽ Οὐλύμποιο καρήνων ἀίξασα,
στῆ δ᾽ Ἰθάκης ἐνὶ δήμῳ ἐπὶ προθύροις Ὀδυσῆος,
οὐδοῦ ἐπ᾽ αὐλείου: παλάμῃ δ᾽ ἔχε χάλκεον ἔγχος,
εἰδομένη ξείνῳ, Ταφίων ἡγήτορι Μέντῃ.                                105
εὗρε δ᾽ ἄρα μνηστῆρας ἀγήνορας. οἱ μὲν ἔπειτα
πεσσοῖσι προπάροιθε θυράων θυμὸν ἔτερπον
ἥμενοι ἐν ῥινοῖσι βοῶν, οὓς ἔκτανον αὐτοί:
κήρυκες δ᾽ αὐτοῖσι καὶ ὀτρηροὶ θεράποντες
οἱ μὲν οἶνον ἔμισγον ἐνὶ κρητῆρσι καὶ ὕδωρ,                          110
οἱ δ᾽ αὖτε σπόγγοισι πολυτρήτοισι τραπέζας
νίζον καὶ πρότιθεν, τοὶ δὲ κρέα πολλὰ δατεῦντο.

Mentioned in this video clip:

[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 1.80–124 on Perseus
Odyssey 1.99–112 on Scaife

‘Reading Homer’ series