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Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 07.04.2020

Introduction: The Hymn to Aphrodite is the fifth in a collection of thirty-three anonymous ancient Greek hymns celebrating individual gods, mostly dating to the seventh century B.C., shortly after the works of Homer and Hesiod had first been written down, and they are therefore among the oldest monuments of Ancient Greek literature. In antiquity they were uncritically attributed to Homer, the earliest reference to them coming from Thucydides (see Bk III. 104). Although it is now clear they were not written by Homer, they were composed in the old...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 17.03.2020

Introduction: The focus, and the main event, of this book is the tremendous one-to-one combat between the Trojan prince Hector and the the Greek hero Ajax, son of Telamon, or Ajax the Greater (see ll. 206-282). As in the case of the duel between Paris and Menelaus in Book III, the Greek had the better of the fighting, but neither warrior was significantly wounded. A significant theme of Book VII is the importance attached to the cremation of those killed in the fighting. In making his challenge to the...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 20.01.2020

Introduction: For information concerning Sabidius' previous translations of books of the "Odyssey", the reader is referred to the introduction to his translation of Book VIII, published on this blog on 22 October 2019. Now, Sabidius has returned to the "Odyssey" in order to translate the whole of Book V, the first book in which Odysseus, himself, actually appears. A brief summary of the content of this book is set out here. After a council of the gods in which Athene pleads to Jupiter that Odysseus should be released from his...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 29.07.2019

Introduction: In this translation piece Sabidius returns to Homer, whose last translated passage, the "Iliad" Book III, he published on 16 December 2012. Previous to that, he had published translations of the "Iliad" Book I on 12 March 2010 and Book VI on 5 June 2012 (See Sabidius.com). Book II of the "Iliad" commences with Zeus' plan to punish Agamemnon for his mistreatment of Achilles. He sends a false dream, in the apparent shape of Nestor, King of Pylos, Agamemnon's most trusted senior adviser, to assure him that...

Ancient Greek, Greek Grammar / 01.06.2014

Sabidius has prepared this item as a tribute to his grandson Hector Charles Metcalfe. A number of epithets are used by Homer to describe the Trojan hero Hector in Homer's "Iliad". These are listed below, according as to whether they are general epithets that might apply to others as well or whether they have a more specific reference to the actual attributes of Hector himself. Of the latter, "Hector of the shining (or flashing) helmet" is perhaps the most common and best known, but the final book of the...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 16.12.2012

Introduction. Sabidius has previously translated Book I of the "Iliad" (20th March 2010) and Book VI (5th April 2012), and also on this blog is an extract from Book XVI (30th August 2010). Scanning, reading and then translating Homer's verse is invariably a great pleasure, and this particular book is no exception. After the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon in Book I, and the celebrated catalogue of ships in Book II, in which the various Greek contingents are listed, accompanied by a thumb-nail sketch of their leaders, Book III...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 05.04.2012

Introduction. Sabidius published on this blog a translation of the First Book of Homer's Iliad on 12th March 2010, and the introduction to that is relevant here also with regard to its general comments about Homer. He now offers a translation of Book Six. This book is one of the most arresting of the twenty-two books, of which the "Iliad" is composed. It includes the meeting between Diomedes and Glaucus, which throws light on the ethics of warfare in the epic age, and line 208 contains the injunction "Ever...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 12.03.2012

Introduction. Following his translations of books 4 and 6 of Virgil's "Aeneid", Sabidius now offers a translation of the first book of the "Iliad", Homer's epic poem about the fall of Troy. Not only was the the "Iliad" the first poem in European literature, having almost certainly existed for centuries in oral form before being written down in the eighth century BCE, it is one of the most influential works of literature of all time and established the genre of epic poetry. For Greeks and later for Romans it...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 18.08.2011

Introduction 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.
Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 09.07.2011

Introduction. As a sequel to Book VI, this book tells of how Odysseus manages to disarm the suspicions, and indeed to gain the support, of King Alcinous and Queen Arete. The 'topos' of 'xenia', the etiquette which is required in relation to hospitality to strangers, is at the centre of the book. In the end Odysseus is very well-treated, but the long silence of Arete, whose understanding Nausicaa has told him is crucial, allows the suspense to be maintained for much of the book.