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Homer’s Iliad

Homer’s Iliad

Your initial response along with 3 responses to classmates is Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, by 11:59 p.m.

Title: Homer’s Iliad

Respond to the prompt below, and follow these guidelines:

Your initial response should be at least 300 words. You will offer your observations on the first stanza of Homer’s Iliad.

Use complete sentences and work-appropriate vocabulary. Demonstrate courtesy and respect to your responses to classmates, even if you disagree. Let’s make sure our discussion is university worthy.

For the Discussion Board:

The major theme of Homer’s Iliad is the “Rage of Achilles”. The opening stanza of this epic encapsulates the entire 15,693 lines of Greek poetry, describing how the rage of warrior Achilles cost the Greeks thousands of lives, souls dragged down to Hades and ripped bodies the food for dogs and birds. The will of Zeus was behind it all, but the earthly conflict was between warrior Achilles and his commander Agamemnon.

The philosopher Martin Heidegger told us that before we could translate a text, we first had to translate ourselves to what the document says; we need to enter the world of that author and try to look through his/her eyes to gain a clear vision of that written content before we can return to our present age and re-state it in our own words. Before entering the Discussion Board, spend some quality time with The Iliad.

If you are not familiar yet with the text of The Iliad, it would do you well to do some research into its contents (Internet, Wikipedia article, Google search, etc.). As for your discussion assignment, I have given you below the quote from Heidegger, the original text of The Iliad’s opening stanza, followed by several excellent translations. Last of all, I have offered my own translation (I was taught the Greek language decades ago, and still love translating it).

Your 300-word opening should be your personal impressions of Homer’s opening stanza, after you’ve spent considerable time reading the translations and focusing on the key details. Internet research is encouraged as well, if you have trouble focusing on the main ideas. After you have posted your observation, then respond to three other classmates who have posted. Exercise courtesy as you communicate.

Introduction to Homer’s Iliad

“Before we do any actual translating, we must translate ourselves to what a fragment says, what it is thinking; we must first arrive on its foreign shores and, like Hermes on Ogygia, stop to contemplate before we can return with some fitting memento of it to the land of our own language.”

Martin Heidegger

Opening Stanza of The Iliad

&νβσπ;

μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,
πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώωναὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
5οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσιΔιὸς δ᾽ ἐτελείετο βουλή,
ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε
Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.

–Greek text of The Iliad

&νβσπ;

Sing, O Goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaians.  Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another.

–Samuel Butler

Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,

murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,

hurling down to the house of Death so many sturdy souls,

great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion,

feasts from the dogs and birds,

and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end.

Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,

Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles.

–Robert Fagles

Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus

and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians,

hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls

of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting

of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished

since that time when first there stood in division of conflict

Atreus’ son the lord of men and brilliant Achilles.

–Richard Lattimore

Anger be now your song, immortal one,

Akhilleus’ anger, doomed and ruinous,

that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss

and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,

leaving so many dead men—carrion

for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.

Begin it when the two men first contending broke with one another—

the Lord marshal

Agamemnon, Atreus’ son, and Prince Akhilleus.

–Robert Fitzgerald

Sing, goddess, of the anger of Achilleus, son of Peleus, the accursed anger which brought uncounted anguish on the Achaians and hurled down to Hades many mighty souls of heroes, making their bodies the prey to dogs and the birds’ feasting: and this was the working of Zeus’ will.  Sing from the time of the first quarrel which divided Atreus’ son, the lord of men, and godlike Achilleus.

–Martin Hammond

An angry man—there is my story: the bitter rancour of Achilles, prince of the house of Peleus, which brought a thousand troubles upon the Achaian host.  Many a strong soul it sent down to Hades, and left the heroes themselves a prey to dogs and carrion birds, while the will of God moved on to fulfillment.

–W. H. D. Rouse

Rage is what you sing, oh goddess, of Achilles, son of Peleus, a dreadful rage that destroyed myriads of heroic Achaians, their souls dragged down to dark Hades as wild dogs and birds ripped and pecked at their torn remains on the crust of the earth above. All this just to fulfill the will of Zeus. It all began with the quarrel between Atreus’s son, commander of men, and godlike Achilles.

–David M. Tripp


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