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"When however, we had sacked the city of Priam, and were setting sail in our ships as heaven had dispersed us, then Zeus saw fit to vex the Argives on their homeward voyage [nostos]; for they had not all been either wise or just [dikaios], and hence many came to a bad end through the displeasure [mênis] of Zeus' daughter Athena, who brought about a quarrel between the two sons of Atreus.

"The sons of Atreus called a meeting which was not according to kosmos, for it was sunset and the Achaeans were heavy with wine. When they explained why they had called the people together, it seemed that Menelaos was for sailing homeward [nostos] at once, and this displeased Agamemnon, who thought that we should wait till we had offered hecatombs to appease the anger of Athena. Fool that he was, he might have known that he would not prevail with her, for when the gods have made up their minds [noos] they do not change them lightly. So the two stood bandying hard words, whereon the Achaeans sprang to their feet with a cry that rent the air, and were of two minds as to what they should do.

"That night we rested and nursed our anger, for Zeus was hatching mischief against us. But in the morning some of us drew our ships into the water and put our goods with our women on board, while the rest, about half in number, stayed behind with Agamemnon. We - the other half - embarked and sailed; and the ships went well, for heaven had smoothed the sea. When we reached Tenedos we offered sacrifices to the gods, for we were longing to get home [nostos]; cruel Zeus, however, did not yet mean that we should do so, and raised a second quarrel in the course of which some among us turned their ships back again, and sailed away under Odysseus to make their peace with Agamemnon; but I, and all the ships that were with me pressed forward, for I saw that mischief was brewing. The son of Tydeus went on also with me, and his crews with him. Later on Menelaos joined us at Lesbos, and found us making up our minds about our course - for we did not know whether to go outside Chios by the island of Psyra, keeping this to our left, or inside Chios, over against the stormy headland of Mimas. So we asked heaven [daimôn] for a sign, and were shown one to the effect that we should be soonest out of danger if we headed our ships across the open sea to Euboea. This we therefore did, and a fair wind sprang up which gave us a quick passage during the night to Geraistos, where we offered many sacrifices to Poseidon for having helped us so far on our way. Four days later Diomedes and his men stationed their ships in Argos, but I held on for Pylos, and the wind never fell light from the day when heaven first made it fair for me.

"Therefore, my dear young friend, I returned without hearing anything about the others. I know neither who got home safely nor who were lost but, as in duty bound, I will give you without reserve the reports that have reached me since I have been here in my own house. They say the Myrmidons returned home safely under Achilles' son Neoptolemos; so also did the valiant son of Poias, Philoctetes. Idomeneus, again, lost no men at sea, and all his followers who escaped death in the field got safe home with him to Crete. No matter how far out of the world you live, you will have heard of Agamemnon and the bad end he came to at the hands of Aigisthos - and a fearful reckoning did Aigisthos presently pay. See what a good thing it is for a man to leave a son behind him to do as Orestes did, who killed false Aigisthos the murderer of his noble father. You too, then - for you are a tall, smart-looking young man - show your mettle and make yourself a name in story."

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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Tenedos (1)
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hide References (13 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (4):
    • Thomas W. Allen, E. E. Sikes, Commentary on the Homeric Hymns, HYMN TO APOLLO
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 5.121
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 6.2
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 2.591
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 1.3.1
    • Harper's, Vultur
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ROMA
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (3):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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