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Book 10 (Κ

Compare the opening lines of B, and 24.677 ff., Od. 15.7. The inappropriateness of the lines here is more marked than in B, for they contradict not only what precedes but what follows; see 26. As a matter of fact none of the principal chiefs of the Achaians can have had more than a snatch of sleep during this portentous night. The lines 1-2 are in short used as a merely formal tag. Παναχαιῶν: see 2.404.

[5] The simile is so confused as to be practically unintelligible. From 9 it would seem that the frequency of Agamemnon's groans is compared to the frequency of flashes of lightning — a singularly pointless comparison. It would perhaps be possible to take ἀστράπτηι as implying thunder, so that Agamemnon is made to groan like a thunderstorm; but this is turgid and tasteless. ἠύκομος is nowhere else applied to Hera.

[7] ἐπάλυνεν is of course aor. It would seem that we must understand πολύν and ἀθέσφατον to apply also to “νιφετόν”, or else the picture of a snowstorm merely ‘sprinkling’ the fields appears a very insignificant phenomenon compared to those which precede and follow it. ὅτε πέρ τε (a combination recurring only 4.259) should by Homeric analogy bring in some new concomitant circumstance. Here it seems to mean ‘in consequence of which.’ Compare the very different treatment of the snowstorm simile in 12.278 ff. It is hardly necessary to add that the combination of thunder and snow is too strange to serve as a mere subordinate part of a comparison.

[8] The simile runs on as though ‘the mighty mouth of war’ were a natural phenomenon, differing about as much from a snow-storm as a snow-storm from a hail-storm. The idea may be that if the lightning is not accompanied by (1) rain, (2) hail, or (3) snow, it must be a portent of war. This seems to place a high importance on ‘summer-lightning.’ But it is hopeless to criticise such an incompetent piece of expression. For the phrase πτολέμοιο στόμα compare 19.313, 20.359. The origin of the metaphor is perhaps a comparison of the two lines of battle to the jaw of a wild beast, crushing what comes in between them. But the feeling of this origin has evidently died out and left a mere phrase. In Attic (e.g. Rhesos 491, Xen., etc.) “στόμα” means the ‘fighting line’ of the army — a sense evidently unsuitable here.

[10] νειόθεν: cf. 6.295, 9.153, 21.317. For τρομέοντο Zen. read “φοβέοντο”, which was disapproved by Ar. on the ground that “φοβέεσθαι” in Homer means flee, not fear.

[11] The poet does not seem to have a very vivid picture of the situation, as Agamemnon is presumably lying in bed in his hut, with a high wall between him and the plain. Various prosaic ‘solutions’ of the difficulty are given in the scholia.

[12] Ἰλιόθι πρό: see on 3.3.

[13] The asyndeton is very harsh; it can be explained only by taking αὐλῶν συρίγγων as virtually a compound word = flute-pipes, on the analogy of “ἴρηξ κίρκος”, etc. Some edd. reject the line, but this is arbitrary. σύριγγες recur only in 18.526 (and Hymn. Merc. 512), αὐλοί in 18.495, and are an evident anachronism. The reference is clearly to the scene in the Trojan camp at the end of “Θ”.

[15] προθελύμνους: cf. 9.541. Here again the poet shews a tendency to exaggeration.

[16] ἔστενε, acc. to Fulda, here shews a trace of its primitive meaning, ‘made his heart full to bursting,’ cf. “στείνεσθαι14.34, Od. 18.386. But of course “κῆρ” may be equally well taken as nom. The dat. Διί seems to be an extension of the phrase “Διὶ χεῖρας