καί κέ οἱ … νάσσα, ‘I would have given him a city to dwell in,’ to be inhabited by him and his people. Nitzsch remarks that supposing the whole passage genuine, then vv. 178180 forbid us to regard this supposed offer as a jest, or a mere fancy of friendship, though he says the implied conception of kingly power is more Oriental than Achaean, and allows that Od.15. 80-85 “εἰ δ᾽ ἐθέλεις . . ὄφρα τοι αὐτὸς ἕπωμαι ὑποζεύξω δέ σοι ἵππους”,“ἄστεα δ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἡγησόμαι κ.τ.λ.” can hardly have been an offer in earnest.
The fact is, the seriousness of one part of the speech would be no argument against the fancifulness of the other. Nothing is more earnest than the appeal Agamemnon proposes to make to Achilles, Il.9. 158“ταῦτά κέ οἱ τελέσαιμι μεταλλήξαντι χόλοιο”. “δμηθήτω—Ἀίδης τοι ἀμείλιχος ἠδ᾽ ἀδάμαστος κ.τ.λ.”; but nothing is more fanciful than the inducements which he had previously named, ib. 137-156 “νῆα ἅλις χρυσοῦ καὶ χαλκοῦ νηησάσθω”
. . “γαμβρός μοί κεν ἔοι, τίσω δέ μιν ἶσον Ὀρέστῃ”
. . “ἑπτὰ δέ οἱ δώσω εὖ ναιόμενα πτολίεθρα”. There is an Oriental feature about such overtures, not however that which Nitzsch detects, but this, that they are never thought of by the offerer as likely to be accepted; they are merely ‘assurances of high consideration,’ their very character of exaggeration makes it quite safe that their performance will not be claimed. With the causative “νάσσα” from “ναίω” Il., i.e. “νας”-j-“ω”, cp. Pind. Pyth.5. 70“τῷ καὶ Λακεδαίμονι”
“ἐν Ἄργει τε καὶ ζαθέᾳ Πύλῳ”
“ἔνασσεν ἀλκᾶντας Ἡρακλέος”.
“ἐκγόνους Αἰγιμιοῦ τε”.