The introductory sections to previous translations on this blog of the "Odyssey", Book V (17th September 2010), Book VI (24th June 2011) and Book VII (9th July 2011) give relevant supplementary information to the whole work and to Homer and his style of writing. Book IX, which is translated below, is an enthralling, albeit gruesome, tale, in which Odysseus encounters, and eventually escapes from, Polyphemus, a savage member of the giant tribe of the Cyclopes, although not without losing six of his companions, whom Polyphemus eats. Like most of the Homeric epics, this book is exciting and quick-moving. Polyphemus' outrageous behaviour continues the theme, central to the whole work, of 'xenia' , that is, the duty of hospitality to strangers, or, in this case, the grievous abuse of it by Polyphemus, whose blinding is a just punishment for his killing of Odysseus' friends.
Xenophon (c.428-354 B.C.) was a historian and a miscellaneous writer, a military leader and a disciple of Socrates, of whom he was a pupil at an early age. As a writer, he was together with Thucydides and Plato one of the great exponents of Attic Greek. His principal works are the 'Anabasis', an account of the campaign of the Greek army which marched into Asia in 401, and their subsequent retreat along the Tigris and the plateaux of Armenia to Trapezus on the Black Sea, during which Xenophon...
The following two extracts are translations from two of the letters of the Younger Pliny and were written in praise of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, the famous naturalist and scholar. For details of the Younger Pliny the reader is referred to the item on this blog dated 12th July 2011, entitled 'Tres Feminae'.
The text of both extracts is taken from the 'Cambridge Latin Anthology', edited by Ashley Carter and Phillip Parr, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
1. A day in the life of Pliny the Elder (adapted from 'Letters'...