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[12]

The following verse also is thought to disclose a sort of contradiction:“Now Ithaca itself lies chthamale, panypertate on the sea;
1 for chthamale means "low," or "on the ground," whereas panypertate means "high up," as Homer indicates in several places when he calls Ithaca "rugged."2 And so when he refers to the road that leads from the harbor as“rugged path up through the wooded place,
3and when he says“for not one of the islands which lean upon the sea is eudeielos4 or rich in meadows, and Ithaca surpasses them all.
5 Now although Homer's phraseology presents incongruities of this kind, yet they are not poorly explained; for, in the first place, writers do not interpret chthamale as meaning "low-lying" here, but "lying near the mainland," since it is very close to it, and, secondly, they do not interpret panypertate as meaning "highest," but "highest towards the darkness," that is, farthest removed towards the north beyond all the others; for this is what he means by "towards the darkness," but the opposite by "towards the south," as in“but the other islands lie aneuthe towards the dawn and the sun,
6for the word aneuthe is "at a distance," or "apart," implying that the other islands lie towards the south and farther away from the mainland, whereas Ithaca lies near the mainland and towards the north. That Homer refers in this way to the southerly region is clear also from these words,“whether they go to the right, towards the dawn and the sun, or yet to the left towards the misty darkness,
7and still more clear from these words,“my friends, lo, now we know not where is the place of darkness, nor of dawn, nor where the sun, that gives light to men, goes beneath the earth; nor where he rises.
8For it is indeed possible to interpret this as meaning the four "climata,"9 if we interpret "the dawn" as meaning the southerly region (and this has some plausibility), but it is better to conceive of the region which is along the path of the sun as set opposite to the northerly region, for the poetic words are intended to signify a considerable change in the celestial phenomena,10 not merely a temporary concealment of the "climata," for necessarily concealment ensues every time the sky is clouded, whether by day or by night; but the celestial phenomena change to a greater extent as we travel farther and farther towards the south or in the opposite direction. Yet this travel causes a hiding, not of the western or eastern sky, but only of the southern or northern, and in fact this hiding takes place when the sky is clear; for the pole is the most northerly point of the sky, but since the pole moves and is sometimes at our zenith and sometimes below the earth, the arctic circles also change with it and in the course of such travels sometimes vanish with it,11 so that you cannot know where the northern "clima" is, or even where it begins.12 And if this is true, neither can you know the opposite "clima." The circuit of Ithaca is about eighty stadia.13 So much for Ithaca.

1 Hom. Od. 9.25 (see 1. 2. 20 and footnote).

2 Hom. Il. 3.201; Hom. Od. 1.247; 9.27; 10.417; 15.510; 16.124; 21.346.

3 Hom. Od. 14.1

4 On eudeielos, see 9. 2. 41. and footnote.

5 Hom. Od. 4.607; but in this particular passage the Homeric text has hippelatos ("fit for driving horses") instead of eudeielos, although in Hom. Od. 9.21, and elsewhere, Homer does apply the latter epithet to Ithaca.

6 Hom. Od. 9.26

7 Hom. Il. 12.239

8 Hom. Od. 10.190

9 But in this passage "climata" is used in a different sense from that in 1. 1. 10 (see also footnote 2 ad loc., Vol. I, p. 22). It means here the (four) quarters of the sky, (l) where the sun sets, (2) where it rises, (3) the region of the celestial north pole, and (4) the region opposite thereto south of the equator.

10 Odysseus was at the isle of Circe when he uttered the words in question, and hence, relatively, the celestial phenomena had changed (see 1. l. 21).

11 i.e., the infinite number of possible northern arctic circles vanish when the traveller (going south) crosses the equator, and, in the same way, the corresponding quarter of the southern sky vanishes when the traveller, going north, crosses the equator (see Vol. I, p. 364, note 2).

12 See critical note.

13 See critical note.

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