Vs. 1-7. Prooemium: The wrath of Achilles, from its very beginning, and the destructive consequences which followed in accordance with the will of Zeus. This is the principal theme of the Iliad. The First Book serves as an introduction to the whole poem; it narrates the story of the strife between Achilles and Agamemnon, and the decree of Zeus, which is made on the intercession of Thetis. — The events narrated in A occupy 21 days.

μῆνιν: wrath, lasting anger, the “memorem iram” of Verg. Aen. i. 4; cf. vs. 81, 247, 488. This receives prominence as being most important for the subject of the poem.

θεά: cf. “ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε μοῦσα α” 1; see on 2.484. For the following caesural pause, see § 40 c.

Πηληιάδεω: for the patronymic, see § 21 d; for the synizesis, see § 7.

Ἀχιλῆος: for the single “λ”, see § 41 f“η”. Achilles was the son of Peleus and the sea-goddess Thetis (see vs. 351 ff.). He was the mightiest warrior of the Greek leaders before Troy (v. 280, 2.769), although one of the youngest (9.438 ff.). His home was in Phthia (2.681 ff.) of Thessaly. See on v. 488.

[2] οὐλομένην: destructive, deadly; cf. Milton Par. Lost i. 2 “forbidden fruit . . .
whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world.
” The thought is amplified in the following rel. clause, cf. v. 10, 2.227; see § 1 h, t.

μυρία: countless; not a numeral in Homer, see § 23 i. — For the hiatus, allowed when the final vowel has been elided, see § 9 e.

ἄλγεα: i.e. the defeats caused by the absence of Achilles from the conflict.

ἔθηκεν: caused (as 3.321, see § 2 v), nearly equiv. to “τεῦχε” below.

[3] πολλάς: the second clause of the rel. sent. is closely connected with the first by the anaphoric relation of “πολλάς” to “μυρία” (cf. Od. 1.1-3); while the third clause is added in the form of a contrast, “αὐτοὺς δὲ κτλ.

ἰφθίμους: the fem. form “ἰφθίμας” is used by Homer only of persons; see § 20 a.

Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν: sent off to Hades, a vigorous expression for a violent death, as “Ε 190, Ζ 487, Λ” 55; cf. “Ἀίδᾳ προϊάψαι δορὸς ἄγραν” Aesch. Sept. 309, “multos Danaum demittimus OrcoVerg. Aen. ii. 398. For the use of “πρό”, cf. “πρὸ ἧκε” v. 195.

Ἄϊδι: a metaplastic form of “Ἀίδης” (§ 19 f.), which in Homer is always the name of a person, the ruler of the nether world (§ 2 v.).

[4] ἡρώων: did not have the later meaning of heroes in the Eng. sense (§ 2 v).

αὐτούς: themselves, i.e. their bodies as contrasted with their souls, as “Ψ 66, ζ 329, λ” 574, 602. They would have cared less about the rites of burial, if they had not considered the body to be the man himself.

ἑλώρια: booty, cf. “κυσὶν δ̓ ἔπειθ̓ ἕλωρα κἀπιχωρίοις ὄρνισι δεῖπνονAesch. Supp. 808 f., “canibus date praeda Latinis | alitibusqueVerg. Aen. ix. 485 f. For the preceding hiatus, see § 9 b.

τεῦχε κύνεσσιν: since the bodies often had to lie unburied, cf. “Β 393, Θ 491, Λ 395, Σ 271, 283, Χ” 66 ff., 339. Dogs are the scavengers of the East. cf. ‘Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat’ 1 Kings xxi. 24, ‘And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field”’ 1 Sam. xvii. 44. To be left unburied was a dreaded fate; so Hector at the point of death besought Achilles, “μή με ἔα παρὰ νηυσὶ κύνας καταδάψαι Ἀχαιῶν Χ” 339.

τεῦχε: for the omission of the aug., see § 25 a, e.

[5] δαῖτα: of the food of brutes, as 24.43; cf. 2.383.

Διὸς . . . βουλή: instead of “Διὸς μεγάλου διὰ βουλάς”, as Od. 8.82, is joined paratactically (§ 3 n f.) to the preceding rel. clause; the will of Zeus was accomplished in the consequences of the wrath of Achilles. cf. ‘Such was the will of heaven’ Milton Par. Lost ii. 1025.

ἐτελείετο: for the form, see on 2.536, § 29 i.

[6] ἐξ οὗ κτλ.: since first, since once; the starting-point for “μῆνιν οὐλομένην”. This expression takes the place in Homer of the prose “ἐπεὶ ἅπαξ, ἐπεὶ τάχιστα”, cf. v. 235, “ἐπεὶ δὴ τὸ πρῶτον δ” 13. “πρῶτον” and “πρῶτα” are used adv. with little difference of meaning, cf. vs. 276, 319.

τά: for the short vowel lengthened before the following consonants, see § 41 h.

διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε: were divided (lit. separated) in strife.

[7] Ἀτρεΐδης: tetrasyllabic, § 21 f.; for the use of the patronymic, see § 21 b. Agamemnon, son of Atreus, and grandson of Pelops (2.104 ff.), reigned at Mycenae (2.569 ff.). As the leader of the expedition against Troy, he is prominent through the whole poem. The first part of the Eleventh Book is devoted to his brave deeds in war (“Ἀγαμέμνονος ἀριστεία”). He is described by Helen as ‘a good king and a brave warrior’ (3.179).

ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν: elsewhere precedes a proper name; only here is it found after a patronymic. It is generally applied to Agamemnon, § 1 q. For the apparent hiatus, see §§ 9 f, 14 a.

δῖος: godlike, glorious (“εὺγενής”), a standing epith. of Achilles and of Odysseus. No special excellence of character is implied. Obs. the metrical adaptation to the names of these two heroes, allowing the bucolic diaeresis, at the close of the verse, see § 40 i; cf. “Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων, Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη. δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς” closes the verse more than 50 times; “δῖος Ὀδυσσεύς”, more than 100 times.

[8] Vs. 8-52. The injured Chryses. The avenging Apollo. The scene opens in the 9th year of the war before Troy (2.295). During their siege of the city, the Greeks supported themselves by marauding expeditions. On one of these forays they captured Thebe (vs. 366 ff.) and brought away as part of the booty the daughter of Chryses, priest of Apollo (v. 370). She was assigned to Agamemnon, to be his slave, as his “γέρας”, prize of honor. See on vs. 124 f.

τίς τ̓ ἄρ: and who then? question from the standpoint of the hearer, suggested by v. 6. cf. ‘Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? — Th' infernal serpent’ Milton Par. Lost i. 33. Some god must have decreed the calamity; the Homeric theology recognized no blind chance.

ἔριδι ξυνέηκε: brought together in strife, cf. “θεῶν ἔριδι ξυνιόντων γ” 66 as the gods came together in strife, “θεοὺς ἔριδι ξυνελάσσαι γ” 134.

ξυνέηκε: for the augment, see § 25 h.

μάχεσθαι: sc. “ἐπέεσσιν”, cf. v. 304, 2.377 f. Inf. of result, where “ὥστε” might have been used in prose, cf. “μαντεύεσθαι” v. 107, “ἄγειν” v. 338, “ἀνάσσειν Β 108, ἐριζέμεναι Β” 214. Some of these examples may be taken as infs. of purpose, which cannot always be clearly separated from the inf. of result in Homer.

[9] Λητοῦς: cf. v. 36. Apollo was the mediate cause of the trouble, since the pestilence occasioned the quarrel.

: for the dem. use of the art., see § 24 i.

βασιλῆι: Agamemnon, “ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν”.

χολωθείς: see on v. 18.

[10] νοῦσον: Att. “νόσον”, § 5 e; it is called “λοιμός” v. 61.

ἀνὰ στρατόν: up through the camp (cf. “κατὰ στρατόν” v. 318), as the plague spread from tent to tent; cf. v. 53.

κακήν: the adj. is explained by the following (paratactic consecutive) clause, the first word of which takes up the thought of the adj. For the order of words, connecting “κακήν” with what follows, see § 1 h.

λαοί: soldiery, cf. 3.186 and Agamemnon's epith. “ποιμὴν λαῶν, Β” 243, shepherd of the people.

[11] τὸν Χρύσην: that Chryses, well known to the hearers from stories or other songs. Nowhere else in Homer is the art. used with a proper name; cf. 2.595.

ἠτίμασεν: slighted.

ἀρητῆρα: receives prominence from its rhythm and position, almost equiv. to “though he was” etc. He is called “ἱερεύς” below.

[12] θοάς: cf. “νηυσὶ ὠκυπόροισιν” v. 421; a standing epith. of the ships even when they were on shore, § 1 p.

ἐπὶ νῆας: i.e. to the camp, where the ships were drawn up on land, cf. 2.688. — For the position of the prep. between the adj. and noun, cf. v. 15; see § 1 l.

[13] λυσόμενος: to release for himself, to ransom. The act. is used of him who receives the ransom, vs. 20, 29.

θύγατρα: Homer knows her only by her patronymic “Χρυσηίς” (v. 111, see § 21 g) daughter of Chryses.

φέρων: bringing with him, prob. on a wagon. cf. 24.275 ff., 502.

ἀπερείσἰ ἄποινα: bullion, either of gold, silver, or copper, as “Ζ 48, Χ” 340; or vessels of precious metal, as 23.741 ff.; or clothing, as 24.229 ff.

[14] στέμματ̓ Ἀπόλλωνος: cf. Apollinis infula Verg. Aen. ii. 430. This ribbon, or chaplet, of white wool, marked the priest's official character; he came under the god's protection, but as a suppliant carried the fillet, instead of wearing it. cf. laurumque manu vittasque ferentem

Chrysen Ovid Ars Am. ii. 401.
ἑκηβόλου: he was the Archer Apollo. For similar epiths., see § 4 c. — For the loss of quantity in the final diphthoug before an initial vowel, cf. v. 17; see § 41 o.

Ἀπόλλωνος: for the length of the first syllable, as vs. 21, 36, etc., see § 41 f.

[15] χρυσέῳ: it was adorned with golden studs, see on v. 219, 2.45; cf. v. 246. So the soul of the seer Teiresias had a “χρύσεον σκῆπτρον” in Hades, Od. 11.91. — For the synizesis, see § 7.

ἀνὰ σκήπτρῳ: on a staff; const. with “στέμματ̓ ἔχων”. Princes, judges, priests, and heralds carried “σκῆπτρα” as symbols of authority. A “σκῆπτρον” was placed in the hands of him who was about to address the assembly, as a sign that he “had the floor,” cf. v. 245, “Γ 218, στῆ δὲ μέσῃ ἀγορῇ: σκῆπτρον δέ οἱ ἔμβαλε χειρὶ κῆρυξ β” 37 f. The Spartans also carried stout staffs, and Athenian gentlemen carried canes.

πάντας: the bard's hearers easily made for themselves the necessary limitations for such general expressions.

[16] Ἀτρεΐδα δύω: for “δύω” with the dual, cf. “Αἴαντε δύω Β 406, Γ 18, λέοντε δύω, Ε” 554. This dual form is infrequent. Menelaus, king of Sparta (2.586), as husband of Helen, is associated with his brother Agamemnon; cf. “Β 408, Κ” 25 ff., “Ἀχαιῶν δίθρονον κράτος” Aesch. Ag. 108, “δικρατεῖς Ἀτρεῖδαι” Soph. Aj. 252.

κοσμήτορε: “κοσμέω” is used in the sense of the later “τάσσω”, cf. “Β 554, Γ” 1, § 2 v.

[17] 17 = 23.272, 658; cf. “Η 327, 385, Ψ” 236, — The usual introduction to a speech (§ 1 w) is omitted. — For the use of the speaker's very words, instead of indir. disc., see § 1 c.

ἐυκνήμιδες: a standing epith. of the Achaeans (§ 1 q); in historical times, Herodotus (vii. 92) mentions greaves as worn by the Lycians in the army of Xerxes.

[18] θεοί: monosyllable by synizesis, see § 7 a, d. — Cf. di tibi dent capta classem deducere Troia Hor. Sat. ii. 3. 191.

[19] πόλιν: for the length of the ultima, see § 41 p.

οἴκαδε: homeward, always of the return to Greece, not like “οἰκόνδεinto the house; see § 15 g.

[20] παῖδα δέ: made prominent because of his love for his daughter; instead of the “ἐμοὶ δέ” which is expected in contrast with “ὑμῖν μέν” v. 18.

λῦσαι: corresponds to “δοῖεν”. “As I pray that you may be victorious and have a safe return, so may ye restore to me” etc.; cf. the prayer of Priam for Achilles, “σὺ δὲ τῶνδ̓ ἀπόναιο, καὶ ἔλθοις σὴν ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν Ω” 556 f., where the return of Hector's body is the condition implied for the prayer. The inf. is used for the opt., as Od. 7.313; cf. the inf. and imv. in parallel clauses, vs. 322 f., 3.459.

τά τ̓ ἄποινα: he points to the gifts which he brought with him.

[21] “ἁζόμενοι κτλ”.: a prime motive for granting the request; the Achaeans were to honor the god in the person of his priest. For the apparently neglected “Ϝ” of “ἑκηβόλον”, see § 14 e. The spondee in the fifth foot (see § 39 h f.) gives an emphatic close to the sentence, cf. vs. 11, 157, 291, 600.

[22] The first hemistich = “α 11, β” 82.

ἐπευφήμησαν: for the usual “ἐπῄνησαν” (7.344), because of the religious fear which was required by the priest. It is followed by the inf. as being equiv. to “ἐκέλευσαν ἐπευφημοῦντεςthey bade with pious reverence; cf.Β 290, οὐκ ἐλεαίρεις ἄνδρας” . . .

μισγέμεναι κακότητι υ” 202 f. “thou dost not in pity hinder men from suffering misery.” The sacral meaning of “εὐφημέω” favere linguis seems to be later than Homer.

[23] αἰδεῖσθαι: repeats “ἁζόμενοι”.

ἀγλαά: important epith., introducing a motive for the action.

δέχθαι: 2 aor. inf. from “δέχομαι”, see § 35.

[24] “ἀλλ̓ οὐκ κτλ”.: a sharp contrast to “ἄλλοι μέν”, giving prominence to the neg.; but not to the son of Atreus.

θυμῷ: local, in heart; see § 1 v.

[25] κακῶς: harshly; cf. the use of “κακήν” v. 10.

ἀφίει: for the form, as from a verb in -“έω”, see § 34 a; for the omission of the aug., see § 25 a. Homer is fond of using the impf. to describe an action as in progress (see § 3 j), cf. “τεῦχε” v. 4.

κρατερόν: strong, stern.

ἐπὶ μῦθον ἔτελλεν: laid upon him his command.

ἐπί: const. with “ἔτελλεν”, §37 a, b.

μῦθον: had not yet received the idea of fiction which is contained in the Eng. myth.λόγος” is found but twice in Homer.

26-32. Agamemnon first rejects the admonition to fear the god and then refuses the request itself.

[26] “μὴ κτλ”.: see to it that I do not, let me not, etc. This prohibitive use of “μή” with the 1 pers. sing. is very rare.

κιχείω: “κιχῶ”, 2 aor. subjv. from “κιχάνω”, § 34 d.

[27] αὖτις ἰόντα: returning, cf. “πάλιν πλαγχθέντας” v. 59, “δόμεναι πάλιν” v. 116.

[28] “μή νύ τοι κτλ”.: lest perhaps etc., adds to the preceding command the result that was to be feared if the command were disregarded, cf. “Γ 414, Ω” 568 f.

οὐ χραίσμῃ: “οὐ” is used, not “μή”, since the neg. and the verb form but one idea, be useless, of no avail; cf. v. 566, 3.289. — “σκῆπτρον κτλ”.: “thy priestly dignity.”

[29] πρίν: sooner, adv. with “ἔπεισιν”, as “Σ 283, γ” 117; with strengthening “καίeven, as “Ω 551, λ” 330; almost much rather. — For the animated adversative asyndeton, see § 2 m.

ἔπεισιν: shall come upon.

[30] ἡμετέρῳ: the familiar our of the household.

ἐν Ἄργεϊ: i.e. in Peloponnesus (which name is not found in Homer), “Ἄργος Ἀχαιικόν”, not “Πελασγικὸν Ἄργος” (Thessaly, 2.681), nor the city “Ἄργος” where Diomed ruled (2.559). In “Ζ 456, Ἄργος” seems to stand for all Greece, as “Ἀργεῖοι” is interchangeable with “Ἀχαιοί”, cf. v. 79.

[31] ἱστὸν ἐποιχομένην: going to and fro before the loom, plying the loom; the Greek women stood as they wove at their upright looms. Weaving was the principal occupation of the female slaves.

λέχος: acc. of limit of motion, only here with “ἀντιάω”, approach, share the couch; cf. “ἐπεὶ τὸ σὸν λέχος συνῆλθον” Soph. Aj. 491.

[32] ἴθι, ἐρέθιζε: for the explanatory asyndeton, see § 2 m f.

σαώτερος: more safely, sc. than if thou shouldst refuse to go. This independent use of the comp. is freq. in Homer.

ὡς: in order that, here follows the emphatic word (§ 1 k); so “ὅτι, , ὔφρα”, and “ἵνα” may have the second place in the clause; cf. 2.125. — For “κέ” with the subjv., see G. 216, 1 N. 2; H. 882.

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