Category Archives: Homer

Endlessness – Homer, Ibycus, Cicero, Leopardi (Contributed by Cristina Lofaro)

These passages explain the feelings of the four poets dealing with what is endless, impossible to reach, and for man to understand in depth. In the Greek and Latin extracts, the authors make the reader reflect on the fleetingness of time and life. The brightness of stars contrasting the darkness of the sky aims at […]

Poppies in Classical Poetry – Homer, Catullus, Virgil, Dante (contributed by Jane Mason and David Bevan)

Homer’s simile describes the death of a minor character, shot by mistake by Teucer when aiming at Hector. Catullus’ poem begins with a bitter and crude invective against his unfaithful mistress, so that the tender description of the flower comes as a sudden contrast. Virgil combines these two and creates an even more poignantly beautiful […]

Homer, Odyssey 9.82-105 (contributed by Amanda Waters)

As an AS level student who studied Greek to GCSE, it was very gratifying when my knowledge of Greek helped me to understand the poetry unit of my English AS. The poem we were discussing in class was Tennyson’s Lotos Eaters poem, based of course on the Odyssey. By studying the original Greek text I […]

Homer Odyssey 9.355-370, 403-414 (contributed by Jane Mason)

I love this story: the way they both try to trick each other, the baffled and callous response of the other Cyclopes, but especially the word play! The confusion between ‘Nobody’ and ‘no-one’ works well in translation but the last line reveals another, untranslatable level of complexity in the pun since μῆτις (cunning) has the […]

Homer Iliad 1.334-363, 16.1-19, 18.70-77 (Contributed by Tom Brown)

I loved the passage about the removal of Briseis, followed by Achilles’ tearful appeal to Thetis, when I first read it at school (c. 1967), but it was only 40 years later, at a lecture by Jasper Griffin on the opening of Book 16, that I made the connection between the two episodes: later I […]

Iliad 6.447 – 489 (excerpts)

Hector bids farewell to Andromache and Astyanax. These lines contain all the contradictory emotions called forth by the heartbreak of war, the conflict of love and duty, courage and acceptance in the face of death, but also the possibility of laughter and joy for a precious moment. Jane Mason   Andromache has begged Hektor not […]

Odyssey 1.1-10

The opening lines from the Odyssey, in which Homer describes the hero Odysseus, his character, his suffering. Jane Mason and Stephen Jenkin   ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν: πολλῶν δ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω, πολλὰ δ᾽ ὅ γ᾽ ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ἄλγεα ὃν κατὰ […]

Iliad 1.1-7

The opening lines from the Iliad, in which Homer describes the dispute between Agamemnon and Achilles and its effect on the Greek soldiers. Stephen Jenkin   μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε, πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ᾽ ἐτελείετο […]