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[78] ἀμφότερον is adverbial. A feast is both an honour (“κῦδος καὶ ἀγλαΐη”) and a benefit (“ὄνειαρ”).

80-85. This passage has been recently discussed by Mr. Bury B. in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. xv. pp. 217-238, with especial reference to the words ἀν᾽ Ἑλλάδα καὶ μέσον Ἄργος. These words are generally understood as a poetical or traditional periphrasis for the whole of Greece,—Hellas (a part of Thessaly) representing the north and Argos the Peloponnesus. Mr. Bury points out that, if this is so, the offer here made by Menelaus is a strange one. Telemachus has just entreated to be allowed to return home at once. How could Menelaus, who has himself been dwelling on the duty of speeding the parting guest, suddenly propose to be his companion on so long a tour? In seeking for a solution of this difficulty, Mr. Bury is led to examine afresh the old question ( Thuc.1. 3, &c.) of the different uses of the names “Ἑλλάς” and “Ἕλληνες”. Among other results he arrives at the conclusion that, just as in the Iliad the names “Ἑλλάς” and “Ἀχαιοί” are closely associated in Thessaly, so the name “Ἑλλάς” at a somewhat later time was applied to the ‘Achaia’ of history, the north coastland of the Poloponnesus. If then this is the sense of the term in the passage before us, Menelaus does not invite Telemachus to go with him all over Greece, but only to make a détour through Argolis and Achaia—countries then under the dominion of the Atridae.

It is impossible here to discuss Mr. Bury's history of the name “Ἑλλάς”: but a word may be said regarding its application to the Odyssey. In the first place, the difficulty with which he begins is surely not insuperable. Granting that Telemachus was not likely to accept the invitation, it may be that ancient manners required some such speech from the host —the “μῦθοι ἀγανοί” promised by Pisistratus (l. 53). And the main purpose of Telemachus, the quest of news of his father, though not again mentioned here, must be supposed present to the minds of both. Moreover, the difficulty is not one that is very much diminished by Mr. Bury's interpretation. For surely it lies (poetically at least) not so much in the length of the proposed journey as in the fact of such an expedition being proposed at that moment. Again, the phrase “ἀν᾽ Ἑλλάδα καὶ μέσον Ἄργος” is (or became) a piece of Epic commonplace. In Od.1. 344(=4. 726, 816) “τοῦ κλέος εὐρὺ καθ᾽ Ἑλλάδα καὶ μέσον Ἄργος” it seems to mean Greece generally. Moreover, it is plainly a variation of the line “Ἄργος ἐς ἱππόβοτον καὶ Ἀχαιΐδα καλλιγύναικα”, which is also of a traditional type. The meaning of these phrases no doubt changed with time and circumstances; but it must always have been wide and conventional. It is hard to believe that Menelaus would use them to describe a route which he particularly wished to represent as a definite and limited one.

The phrase “μέσον Ἄργος” is not to be pressed: cp. Il.6. 224Ἄργεϊ μέσσῳ”. There is nothing to connect it with a distinction between Argos in the narrower sense of the Argive plain and in the wider sense in which it includes a large part (if not the whole) of Peloponnesus.

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Homer, Iliad, 6.224
    • Homer, Odyssey, 1.344
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.3
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