Homer, Iliad VI 263-296

τὴν δ᾽ ἠμείβετ᾽ ἔπειτα μέγας κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ:

μή μοι οἶνον ἄειρε μελίφρονα πότνια μῆτερ,

μή μ᾽ ἀπογυιώσῃς μένεος, ἀλκῆς τε λάθωμαι:265

χερσὶ δ᾽ ἀνίπτοισιν Διὶ λείβειν αἴθοπα οἶνον

ἅζομαι: οὐδέ πῃ ἔστι κελαινεφέϊ Κρονίωνι

αἵματι καὶ λύθρῳ πεπαλαγμένον εὐχετάασθαι.

ἀλλὰ σὺ μὲν πρὸς νηὸν Ἀθηναίης ἀγελείης

ἔρχεο σὺν θυέεσσιν ἀολλίσσασα γεραιάς:270

πέπλον δ᾽, ὅς τίς τοι χαριέστατος ἠδὲ μέγιστος

ἔστιν ἐνὶ μεγάρῳ καί τοι πολὺ φίλτατος αὐτῇ,

τὸν θὲς Ἀθηναίης ἐπὶ γούνασιν ἠϋκόμοιο,

καί οἱ ὑποσχέσθαι δυοκαίδεκα βοῦς ἐνὶ νηῷ

ἤνις ἠκέστας ἱερευσέμεν, αἴ κ᾽ ἐλεήσῃ275

ἄστύ τε καὶ Τρώων ἀλόχους καὶ νήπια τέκνα,

αἴ κεν Τυδέος υἱὸν ἀπόσχῃ Ἰλίου ἱρῆς

ἄγριον αἰχμητὴν κρατερὸν μήστωρα φόβοιο.

ἀλλὰ σὺ μὲν πρὸς νηὸν Ἀθηναίης ἀγελείης

ἔρχευ, ἐγὼ δὲ Πάριν μετελεύσομαι ὄφρα καλέσσω280

αἴ κ᾽ ἐθέλῃσ᾽ εἰπόντος ἀκουέμεν: ὥς κέ οἱ αὖθι

γαῖα χάνοι: μέγα γάρ μιν Ὀλύμπιος ἔτρεφε πῆμα

Τρωσί τε καὶ Πριάμῳ μεγαλήτορι τοῖό τε παισίν.

εἰ κεῖνόν γε ἴδοιμι κατελθόντ᾽ Ἄϊδος εἴσω

φαίην κε φρέν᾽ ἀτέρπου ὀϊζύος ἐκλελαθέσθαι.285

ὣς ἔφαθ᾽, ἣ δὲ μολοῦσα ποτὶ μέγαρ᾽ ἀμφιπόλοισι

κέκλετο: ταὶ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἀόλλισσαν κατὰ ἄστυ γεραιάς.

αὐτὴ δ᾽ ἐς θάλαμον κατεβήσετο κηώεντα,

ἔνθ᾽ ἔσάν οἱ πέπλοι παμποίκιλα ἔργα γυναικῶν

Σιδονίων, τὰς αὐτὸς Ἀλέξανδρος θεοειδὴς290

ἤγαγε Σιδονίηθεν ἐπιπλὼς εὐρέα πόντον,

τὴν ὁδὸν ἣν Ἑλένην περ ἀνήγαγεν εὐπατέρειαν:

τῶν ἕν᾽ ἀειραμένη Ἑκάβη φέρε δῶρον Ἀθήνῃ,

ὃς κάλλιστος ἔην ποικίλμασιν ἠδὲ μέγιστος,

ἀστὴρ δ᾽ ὣς ἀπέλαμπεν: ἔκειτο δὲ νείατος ἄλλων.295

βῆ δ᾽ ἰέναι, πολλαὶ δὲ μετεσσεύοντο γεραιαί.

Hector gently refuses Hecabe’s offer of wine. As Helenos had suggested, Hector asks Hecabe to bring a peplos to Athena and to promise animal sacrifice as well, in the hope that Athena might ward off Diomedes’ attacks. Hector promises to go and find his brother Paris, for whom he expresses disgust. Hecabe fetches the peplos and brings it to Athena’s shrine as the old women of the city gather there.

What we see are the first signs of Hector’s alienation from the people he loves, for whom he will soon give his life. The blood of battle makes him ritually unclean, but also symbolizes his status as a warrior, whose strength is always problematic for his city. He can be a source of protection, but might also bring deadly violence to the fragile civilization he defends. [read full essay]

263: τὴν δ᾽: “her,” Hecuba.

264: μὴἄειρε: “don’t lift up,” and hence “don’t offer,” negative 2nd sg. pres. act. imper. > ἀείρω. πότνια μῆτερ: vocative direct address.

265: μή μ᾽ ἀπογυιώσῃς ... λάθωμαι: “lest you enfeeble … and I forget,” negative purpose clause (Monro 281.1.a). μ᾽: = με. μένεος: gen. of separation governed by the prepositional prefix ἀπο- in ἀπογυιώσῃς. λάθωμαι: “(and lest) I forget” + gen., 1st sg. aor. mid. subj.> λανθάνω (Goodell 511.b).

266: δ᾽: “but…,” adversative. χερσὶ: dat. pl. > χείρ.

267: ἔστι: “is it possible,” existential 3rd sg. pres. > εἰμί. (Goodell 384.b.3). Κρονίωνι: = Κρονίδῃ, referring to Zeus, son of Cronus.

268: αἵματι καὶ λύθρῳ: dat. of means (Goodell 526.a). πεπαλαγμένον: pf. pass. ptc. > παλάσσω modifies an understood accusative subject of εὐχετάασθαι, perhaps τινα or με.

269: ἔρχε(σ)ο: uncontracted 2nd sg. imperative > ἔρχομαι.

270: ἀολλίσσασα: fem. sg. aor. ptc. > ἀολλίζω.

271: ὅς τίς: “whichever,” > ὅστις, the accented τίς comes from enclitic τοι (= σοι).

272: ἐνὶ: = ἐν. πολὺ: “by far,” “far,” adverbial accusative (Monro 134). τοι ... αὐτῇ: “to you yourself,” personal pronoun with intensive αὐτός.

273: τὸν: “this one,” the πέπλον. θὲς: 2nd sg. aor. imperative > τίθημι

274-8: = 6.93-7.

274: οἱ: “to her,” Athena, = αὐτῄ. ὑποσχέσθαι: “promise,” aor. inf. as imperative.

275: ἤνῑς: acc. plural indicated by long iota. ἱερευσέμεν: fut. inf. with ὑποσχέσθαι. αἴ κε ἐλεήσῃ: “in the hope that…,” 3rd sg. aor subj. > ἐλεέω. In Homeric Greek, conditional clauses with verb in the subjunctive can express a purpose, especially after imperatives (Monro 293).

277: αἴ κενἀπόσχῃ: “in the hope that (Athena)…,” 3rd sg. aor. subj. > ἀπ-έχω, conditional purpose clause (see 6.275). ἱρῆς: = ἱερῆς. Ἰλίου is gen. fem. sg., governed by the prepositional prefix ἀπο- in ἀπόσχῃ.

278: ἄγριονφόβοιο: in apposition to υἱὸν.

280: ἔρχευ: sg. pres. dep. mid. imperative > ἔρχομαι, Attic ἔρχου. μετελεύσομαι: “go to seek someone” + acc., fut. dep. mid. > μετ-έρχομαι (Stoevesandt). ὄφρα καλέσσω: “so that…,” purpose clause (see 6.230), 1st sg. aor. subj. > καλέω.

281: αἴ κ᾽ἐθέλῃσ(ι): “in the hope that…,” 3rd sg. pres. subj. (see 6.275, above). εἰπόντος: gen. sg. aor. ptc. > εἶπον (Goodell 391), modifying a missing μου, the obj. of ἀκουέμεν. ἀκουέμεν: inf. > ἀκούω + quasi-partitive genitive with verbs of perception (Monro 151.d).

281-2: ὡςχάνοι: “may … gape open,” aor. opt. of wish. κέ is uncommon and superfluous here. οἱ: = αὐτῷ, i.e. for Paris. αὖθι: = αὐτόθι, “immediately, at once.”

282: μέγαπῆμα: “as a great bane,” second of a double acc., in the predicative position (Goodell 535).

283: Τρωσίπαισίν: dat. of interest. τοῖο: “of that one,” = τοῦ, anaphoric demonstrative pronoun.

284-5: εἰ ἴδοιμι, φαίην κε: "if I could…, I would,” future-less-vivid condition (εἰ + opt., κέ + opt), here with aor. opt. > εἶδον (see 6.176) and pres. opt. > φημί.

284: κατελθόντα: aor. ptc. > κατ-έρχομαι. Ἄϊδος εἴσω: “into the house of Hades,” = εἰς Ἄϊδος, (anastrophe), εἰς + gen. = “into the house of” (Goodell 507.a).

285: φρέν᾽: = φρένα, “(my) mind,” i.e. Hector’s, acc. subject of the inf.. ἐκλελαθέσθαι: reduplicated aor. inf. > ἐκ-λανθάνω, governing a gen. object (see 6.265) (Monro 36.1).

286: ἔφαθ᾽: = ἔφατο. ἥ δὲ: “and she,” Hecabe. μολοῦσα: fem. sg. aor. ptc. > βλώσκω. ποτὶ: = πρός.

287: κέκλετο: reduplicated aor. > κέλομαι (Monro 143.4), “urge, order” + dat. ταὶ δ᾽: “these,” demonstrative. κατὰ: “over…,” extensive in sense.

288: αὐτὴ: “she herself,” intensive pronoun. κατεβήσετο: mixed aor. mid. > καταβαίνω (Monro 41).

289: ἔνθ᾽: = ἔνθα, “where.” ἔσαν: = ἦσαν. οἱ: = αὐτῇ, dat. of possession (Goodell 524.a).

290: τὰς: “which,” relative pronoun. Note the absence of δέ.

291: Σιδονίηθεν: “from Sidon,” with -θεν indicating place from which (Monro 159). Sidon, a Phoenecian maritime city located on the coast of modern-day Lebanon, was famous for trade and craftsmen. ἐπιπλὼς: nom. sg. root aor. ptc. > ἐπιπλέω.

292: τὴν ὁδὸν ἣν … περ: “over that very route over which he led,” inner accusative with ἤγαγε, or else acc. of extent of space (common with ὁδόν). τὴν: better read as a demonstrative pronoun than article. ἣν: relative pronoun. περ: stresses Ἑλένην. ἀνήγαγεν: “led up (to sea),” aor. > ἀν-άγω.

293: τῶν: “of these,” i.e πέπλοι, partitive gen. ἕν᾽: = ἕνα, acc. sg. > εἷς.

294: ἔην: 3rd sg. impf. > εἰμί, Attic ἦν. ποικίλμασιν: “in…,” specifying dat. pl. with κάλλιστος (Goodell 527.b).

295: ἀστὴρ δ᾽ὣς: “just as a star,” “as a star”, = ὡς ἀστήρ (anastrophe). ἔκειτο: impf. > κεῖμαι. νείατος: the bottom-most, lowest.

296: βῆ δ᾽ἰέναι: “and he set out to go,” common Homeric expression, unaugmented 3rd sg. root aor. > βαίνω and pres. inf. of purpose > εἶμι (Goodell 565.a).

ἀμείβω, aor. ἀμείψατο: to change, exchange; (mid.) to answer, reply

κορυθαίολος: crest-waving, gleaming-crested

Ἕκτωρ -ορος ὁ: Hector

οἶνος -ου ὁ: wine

ἀείρω: to lift, heave, raise up

μελίφρων: sweet to the mind, delicious

πότνια: mistress, honored

ἀπογυιόω, aor. subj. ἀπογυιώσῃς: to weaken265

μένος -εος τό: might, force, strength, prowess, courage

ἀλκή -ῆς ἡ: strength, bravery, courage, help, defense 

ἄνιπτος: unwashed

Ζεύς Διός ὁ: Zeus, son of Cronus, the husband and brother of Hera and the wisest and mightiest of the gods.

λείβω: to pour a libation

αἶθοψ: bright, gleaming

ἅζομαι: to revere, feel pious fear

πῃ (enclitic): in any way, in any direction, perhaps

κελαινεφής -ές: in dark clouds, cloud-wrapped (of Zeus), dark

Κρονίων -ωνος: son of Cronus, Zeus

λύθρον: defilement, gore

παλάσσω, perf. partic. πεπαλαγμένον: to spatter, besmear

εὐχετάομαι, inf. εὐετάασθαι: to pray

Ἀθηνᾶ -ᾶς ἡ: Athena

ἀγελείη: giver of spoils, leader of the people, epithet of Athena

θύος -εος τό: a burnt sacrifice; probably not always animal sacrifices, but some kind of incense270

ἀολλίζω, aor. ἀόλλισαν: to bring together, assemble, collect

γεραιός -ά -όν: old

πέπλος -ου ὁ: a robe; The principal female garment, but not made to fit the person. It was a large quadrangular piece of cloth, doubled for the upper part of the body, laid around the person, and fastened by brooches (περόναι) on the shoulders, and down the side. This left the arms bare, but reached to the feet. It was gathered at the waist by a girdle (ζώνη). A πέπλος was used also for the protection of an unused chariot from dust.

χαρίεις -ίεσσα -ίεν: graceful, beautiful, pleasing; superl. χαριέστατος

ἠδέ: and

μέγαρον -ου τό: large room, main hall (in the center) of the house; (pl.) dwelling, house, palace.

φίλτατος -η -ον: dearest

γόνυ, gen. γόνατος or γούνατος: knee 

εὔκομος: fair-haired

οἱ (enclitic, dat. 3rd pers. pron.): (to) him, (to) her 

ὑπισχνέομαι, aor. imp. ὑπόσχεο, aor. inf. ὑποσχέσθαι: to promise

δυοκαίδεκα: twelve

ἦνις: a year old, yearling275

ἤκεστος: untouched by the goad

ἱερεύω, fut. inf. ἱερευσέμεν, aor. ἱέρευσεν: to sacrifice, offer in sacrifice; slaughter, since most of the flesh of the victims was eaten, and on the other hand no flesh was eaten until a part had been sacrificed to the gods.

ἐλεέω, aor. ἐλέησε: to pity, take pity

ἄστυ ἄστεος τό: a city, town

Τρῶες: Trojans

ἄλοχος -ου ἡ: wife 

νήπιος -α -ον: infant, childish 

Τυδεύς -έος ὁ: Tydeus, son of Oeneus of Calydon, brother of Meleager, father of Diomedes. Having slain some kinsmen, he fled to Argos, where he married a daughter of King Adrastus. He was one of the Seven against Thebes.

ἀπέχω ἀφέξω (or ἀποσχήσω) ἀπέσχον ἀπέσχηκα: to keep off

Ἴλιος -ου ἡ: Ilius or Ilium, the city of Ilus, Troy

ἄγριος -α -ον: wild, savage, harsh

αἰχμητής -οῦ ὁ: a spearman

κρατερός -ά -όν: strong, powerful, mighty

μήστωρ -ωρος ὁ: counselor; μήστωρε φόβοιο, inspirers of flight, inciters to flight; μήστωρες ἀυτῆς, eager for the fray 

μετέρχομαι: to go, look for, seek280

ὄφρα: in order that; as long as, until

αὖθι: on the spot, here, there, immediately, at once

γαῖα -ας ἡ: a land, country

χάσκω or χαίνω: to gape wide

μιν: him, her, it

Ὀλύμπιος: Olympian, of Olympus, dwelling on Olympus

πῆμα -ατος τό: suffering, disaster, bane

Πρίαμος: Priam, son of Laomedon. King of Troy.

μεγαλήτωρ -ορος ὁ or ἡ,: great-hearted, heroic

κατέρχομαι, aor. inf. κατήλυθον, κατελθέμεν [κατελθεῖν]: to go down, come down

ᾍδης, gen. Ἀίδεω and Ἄϊδος, dat. Ἄϊδι, Ἀϊδωνῆι: Hades, god of the unseen lower world. His realm is the home of the dead, and in the Iliad it is beneath the earth, while in the Odyssey Odysseus sails to it, across Oceanus, and finds in it a faint, ghostly imitation of life on earth.

εἴσω (ἔσω): to within, into

φρήν φρενός ἡ: heart, mind285

ἀτερπής: cheerless

ὀϊζύς -ύος ἡ: suffering, misery, woe

ἐκλανθάνω, aor. trans. ἐκλέλαθον, mid. ἐκλελαθέσθαι: (mid.) forget; (aor. trans.) caused to forget

βλώσκω, aor. partic. μολοῦσα: to go

ἀμφίπολος -ον: busied about, busy

κέλομαι, aor. (ἐ)κέκλετο: to urge on, bid, command; freq. with dative.

ἄρα, ῥά (enclit.), ἄρ, ῥ᾿: so, then, as you know, you know, it seems. Very often it marks an action as natural, or reminds of something recently said. It also marks transitions.

θάλαμος: women's apartment, chamber (esp. of married people); storeroom

καταβαίνω, aor. κατεβήσετο, imperat. καταβήσεο, aor. inf. καταβῆναι: to go down, descend

κηώδης -ες: fragrant

παμποίκιλος: all-variegated, of many colors

Σιδόνιος: of Sidon, Sidonian290

Ἀλέξανδρος -ου ὁ: Paris, son of Priam, husband of Helen, and thus the author of the Trojan War

θεοειδής -ές: god-like

Σιδονίηθεν: from Sidon

ἐπιπλέω ἐπιπλεύσομαι ἐπέπλευσα: to sail upon

εὐρύς -εῖα -ύ: wide, broad

πόντος -ου ὁ: the sea

Ἑλένη: Helen, daughter of Zeus, sister of Castor and Polydeuces, wife of Menelaus, mother of Hermione. Famed for her beauty. Carried off by Paris, son of Priam, to Troy, which was the root cause of the Trojan War. After the capture of Ilios she returned to Sparta with Menelaus.

ἀνάγω ἀνάξω ἀνήγαγον ἀνῆχα ἀνῆγμαι ἀνήχθην: to lead up; (mid.) set sail

εὐπατέρεια: daughter of a noble father

Ἑκάβη: Hecabe, wife of King Priam of Troy

δῶρον -ου τό: a gift, present

ποίκιλμα -ατος τό: embroidery

ἀστήρ -έρος ὁ: star295

ἀπολάμπω: to shine, gleam

νέατος or νείατος: lowest; ἔκειτο δὲ νείατος ἄλλων, 'it lay at the bottom beneath the others.'

μετασεύομαι: to rush after, hasten after

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Suggested Citation

Thomas Van Nortwick and Geoffrey Steadman, Homer: Iliad 6 and 22. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-947822-11-5.http://dcc.dickinson.edu/homer-iliad/homer-iliad-vi-263-296