Homer, Iliad VI 332-368

τὸν δ᾽ αὖτε προσέειπεν Ἀλέξανδρος θεοειδής:

Ἕκτορ ἐπεί με κατ᾽ αἶσαν ἐνείκεσας οὐδ᾽ ὑπὲρ αἶσαν,

τοὔνεκά τοι ἐρέω: σὺ δὲ σύνθεο καί μευ ἄκουσον:

οὔ τοι ἐγὼ Τρώων τόσσον χόλῳ οὐδὲ νεμέσσι335

ἥμην ἐν θαλάμῳ, ἔθελον δ᾽ ἄχεϊ προτραπέσθαι.

νῦν δέ με παρειποῦσ᾽ ἄλοχος μαλακοῖς ἐπέεσσιν

ὅρμησ᾽ ἐς πόλεμον: δοκέει δέ μοι ὧδε καὶ αὐτῷ

λώϊον ἔσσεσθαι: νίκη δ᾽ ἐπαμείβεται ἄνδρας.

ἀλλ᾽ ἄγε νῦν ἐπίμεινον, Ἀρήϊα τεύχεα δύω:340

ἢ ἴθ᾽, ἐγὼ δὲ μέτειμι: κιχήσεσθαι δέ σ᾽ ὀΐω.

ὣς φάτο, τὸν δ᾽ οὔ τι προσέφη κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ:

τὸν δ᾽ Ἑλένη μύθοισι προσηύδα μειλιχίοισι:

δᾶερ ἐμεῖο κυνὸς κακομηχάνου ὀκρυοέσσης,

ὥς μ᾽ ὄφελ᾽ ἤματι τῷ ὅτε με πρῶτον τέκε μήτηρ345

οἴχεσθαι προφέρουσα κακὴ ἀνέμοιο θύελλα

εἰς ὄρος ἢ εἰς κῦμα πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης,

ἔνθά με κῦμ᾽ ἀπόερσε πάρος τάδε ἔργα γενέσθαι.

αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ τάδε γ᾽ ὧδε θεοὶ κακὰ τεκμήραντο,

ἀνδρὸς ἔπειτ᾽ ὤφελλον ἀμείνονος εἶναι ἄκοιτις,350

ὃς ᾔδη νέμεσίν τε καὶ αἴσχεα πόλλ᾽ ἀνθρώπων.

τούτῳ δ᾽ οὔτ᾽ ἂρ νῦν φρένες ἔμπεδοι οὔτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὀπίσσω

ἔσσονται: τὼ καί μιν ἐπαυρήσεσθαι ὀΐω.

ἀλλ᾽ ἄγε νῦν εἴσελθε καὶ ἕζεο τῷδ᾽ ἐπὶ δίφρῳ

δᾶερ, ἐπεί σε μάλιστα πόνος φρένας ἀμφιβέβηκεν355

εἵνεκ᾽ ἐμεῖο κυνὸς καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου ἕνεκ᾽ ἄτης,

οἷσιν ἐπὶ Ζεὺς θῆκε κακὸν μόρον, ὡς καὶ ὀπίσσω

ἀνθρώποισι πελώμεθ᾽ ἀοίδιμοι ἐσσομένοισι.

τὴν δ᾽ ἠμείβετ᾽ ἔπειτα μέγας κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ

μή με κάθιζ᾽ Ἑλένη φιλέουσά περ: οὐδέ με πείσεις:360

ἤδη γάρ μοι θυμὸς ἐπέσσυται ὄφρ᾽ ἐπαμύνω

Τρώεσσ᾽, οἳ μέγ᾽ ἐμεῖο ποθὴν ἀπεόντος ἔχουσιν.

ἀλλὰ σύ γ᾽ ὄρνυθι τοῦτον, ἐπειγέσθω δὲ καὶ αὐτός,

ὥς κεν ἔμ᾽ ἔντοσθεν πόλιος καταμάρψῃ ἐόντα.

καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼν οἶκον δὲ ἐλεύσομαι ὄφρα ἴδωμαι365

οἰκῆας ἄλοχόν τε φίλην καὶ νήπιον υἱόν.

οὐ γὰρ οἶδ᾽ εἰ ἔτι σφιν ὑπότροπος ἵξομαι αὖτις,

ἤ ἤδη μ᾽ ὑπὸ χερσὶ θεοὶ δαμόωσιν Ἀχαιῶν.

Paris agrees with Hector’s criticisms and promises to go out to battle. Helen acknowledges her own shame and wishes that she had never been born or, at least, that she be married to a better man than Paris. She asks Hector to sit but Hector refuses, leaving to visit his wife and son.

Homer’s audience might well have come to the story expecting to find in Helen a shallow, selfish woman, who gave in to her lust and betrayed the Greeks. The poet plays against these expectations, showing her to be thoughtful and self-aware, full of shame for her actions and scorn for her feckless husband. [read full essay]

333: ἐπεί: “since…,” causal. κατ᾽ αἶσαν: “in due measure,” “duly,” “rightly.” ἐνείκεσας: 2nd sg. aor. > νεικέω. ὑπὲρ αἶσαν: “beyond due measure.”

334: τοι: = σοι, dat. indirect object. ἐρέω: fut. > εἴρω, Attic ἐρῶ. σύνθεο: 2nd sg. aor. mid. imperative > συν-τίθημι. ἄκουσον: 2nd sg. aor. imperative > ἀκούω. μευ: = μου, quasi-partitive genitive with verbs of perception (Monro 151.d).

335-6: οὔτόσσονἔθελον δ’: “it is not so much out of anger at the Trojans, or blame” (that I have stayed in the bedroom) (Graziosi-Haubold). οὔ τόσσον  x, y + adversative particle = weigh x against y. For the speaker, y stands in the foreground, but without dismissing x as entirely insignificant (Stoevesandt). τοι: “you know,” “to be sure,” particle intensifying the negation. Τρώων: “for the Trojans,” objective gen. (Monro 147.1). χόλῳνεμέσσι: dat. of cause (Goodell 526.a).

336: ἥμην: “Ι was sitting,” (see 6.324). ἄχεϊ: dat. with a compound verb (Smyth 1544). προτραπέσθαι: aor. mid. inf. > προ-τρέπω.

337: ἐπέεσσιν: dat. of means > ἔπος. 

338: δοκέειἔσσεσθαι: “and it seems to me myself that it will be,” fut. dep. mid. inf. > εἰμί, Attic ἔσεσθαι.

339: ἐπαμείβεται: “comes in turns to,” i.e., “alternates between.” λώϊον: “better, more correct,” comparative without attendant positive (Stoevesandt).

340: ἄγε: “come on,” originally imperative of ἄγω, an ossified form used as a particle, lends weight to orders (Stoevesandt). ἐπίμεινον: 2nd sg. aor imperative. Hector is at the door.

341: ἢ ἴθ’: = ἴθ(ι), “or go,” sg. imperative > εἶμι. μέτειμι: fut. > μετέρχομαι. κιχήσεσθαι: fut. dep. mid. inf., σε is direct obj.

342–3: τὸν δ᾽τὸν δ᾽: “this one … that one,” Paris … Hector.

343: προσηύδα: = προσηύδαε, 3rd sg. inchoative impf. (Monro 70).

344: δᾶερ: vocative direct address. ἐμεῖο: “of me,” gen. sg. κυνὸς: “bitch,” i.e. shameless; dogs were often associated with uncivilized, dishonorable behavior.

345: ὥςὄφελε … θύελλα: “would that a gust,” “if only a gust,” unattainable wish expressing deep regret or scorn, introduced by ὥς and aor. > ὀφέλλω (Goodell 470.b). ἤματι τῷ: “that day,” = ἐκείνῳ τῷ ἤματι, dat. of time when with a demonstrative (Goodell 527.c). τέκε: aor. > τίκτω (6.154).

346: οἴχεσθαι προφέρουσα: “had gone and carried off,” pres. inf. (pf. in sense) expressing past contrafactual wish, with ὄφελε (Goodell 470.b).

348: ἔνθάἀπόερσε: “where … would have swept me away,” aor. indic. with unreal meaning (without κε/ἄν), since dependent clause is part of Helenus’ past contrafactual wish. πάρος: “before…” + aor. inf., just as πρίν, this adverb can serve as a conjunction (Monro 236). γενέσθαι: “occur,” ἔργα is acc. subject. 

350: ἔπειτ᾽: = ἔπειτ(α) “in that case.” ὤφελλον: “if only I were…” or “would that I were,” impf. > ὀφέλλω, present contrafactual wish (Goodell 470.b). εἶναι: pres. inf. > εἰμί, expressing a present contrafactual wish (thus “were”).

351: ᾔδη: 3rd sg. plpf. > perf. οἶδα, the unfulfilled wish continues in the past tense indicative (Graziosi-Haubold). αἴσχεα: “reproaches,” neut. pl.

352: τούτῳ: “this one’s,” possessive dat. personal pronoun with φρένες (Monro 143.1). φρένες: supply linking verb “are.” ἔσσονται: dep. fut. > εἰμί. οὔτε ἄρ νῦνοὔτε ἄρ ὀπίσσω: “neither now … nor in the future” (Graziosi-Haubold).

353: τώ: “therefore.” μιν: Paris, acc. subject introduced by ὀΐω. ἐπαυρήσεσθαι: “he will receive his due punishment,” fut. inf.

354: ἄγε: “come now,” (see 6.340). ἕζεο: 2nd sg. pres. dep. mid. imper. > ἕζομαι.

355: δᾶερ: vocative direct address. ἀμφιβέβηκεν: pf. > ἀμφι-βαίνω, + double acc. of the whole and the part (Monro 141).

356: ἐμεῖο: “me” = ἐμοῦ, gen. sg. pronoun governed by εἵνεκα. κυνὸς: “bitch,” in apposition, (see 6.344).

357: οἷσιν ἐπὶ: “upon whom,” relative pronoun, governed by the preposition through anastrophe. ὡςπελώμεθα: “so that we may be,” purpose clause with pres. subj.

358: ἀνθρώποισιἐσσομένοισι: “for people to come,” i.e. the future, dep. mid. fut. ptc. > εἰμί.

360: μήκάθιζε: “don’t make me sit,” 2nd sg. causal imperative > καθ-ίζω. περ: “though…,” introducing concessive pres. ptc. πείσεις: 2nd sg. fut. > πείθω.

361: ἐπέσσυται: “is eager,” perf. pass. > ἐπισεύομαι (Graziosi-Haubold). ὄφρ' ἐπαμύνω: “so that I defend, to defend,” purpose clause, 1st sg. pres. subj.

362: οἳ: “who,” relative. μέγ’: “greatly,” neuter sg. adverbial acc. ἐμεῖο: “for me,” = ἐμοῦ, objective gen. (Monro 147.1). ἀπεόντος: gen. sg. pres. ptc. > ἄπ-ειμι (absum).

363: ἀλλὰ σύ γ’: “but you…,” “but you in particular,” γε emphasizes σύ. ὄρνυθι: epic 2nd sg. pres. imperative > ὄρνυμι. ἐπειγέσθω: “let he himself (Paris) make haste,” 3rd sg. pres.  intransitive pass. imperative > ἐπείγω.

364: ὥς κενκαταμάρψῃ: “so that … may…,” purpose clause introduced by ὡς with ἄν/κέ + 3rd sg. aor. subj. > κατα-μάρπτω (Monro 285.2). πόλιος: gen. sg. > πόλις, Attic πόλεως (Monro 94.2). ἐοντα: pres. ptc. > εἰμί.

365: καὶ γὰρ: “for in fact,” καὶ is adverbial. ἐγὼν: = ἐγὼ, consonant avoids elision. ἐλεύσομαι: fut. deponent > ἔρχομαι. ὄφρα ἴδωμαι: “so that I might see,” “to see,” purpose clause with aor. subj. > εἶδον (see 6.176). Elision is prevented by the assumed presence of the diagamma (Monro).

367-8: εἰἵξομαιδαμόωσιν: “whether I will come…or (the gods) will subdue,” alternative indirect questions introduced by εἰ … ἦ (Goodell 655). ἵξομαι: fut. mid. > ἱκνέομαι. δαμόωσιν: 3rd pl. future > δαμνάω (= δάμνημι = δαμάζω).

367: οἶδ᾽: = οἶδα. σφιν: = αὐτοῖς, dat. pl. 3rd pl. personal pronoun (Monro 102).

368: ἤδη: Hector’s urgency throughout his visit to Troy is transmuted into a sense of impending doom (Graziosi-Haubold).

αὖτε: again, on the other hand, however, but

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

θεοειδής -ές: god-like

Ἕκτωρ ‑ορος ὁ: Hector 

αἶσα: share, lot, allotted portion, term of life; κατὰ αἶσαν, as is due

νεικείω, iterative impf. νεικείεσκε, aor. ἐνείκεσας and νείκεσσεν: to revile, rebuke, chide

τοὔνεκα: for that reason, therefore

συντίθημι, mid. and pass. συντίθεμαι, aor. imp. σύνθεο: to give heed, attend

τοι: let me tell you, surely335

Τρῶες: Trojans

τόσ(σ)ος: so great, so vast, so much, so long. adv. τόσ(σ)ον

χόλος -ου ὁ: anger, rancor, bile 

νέμεσ(σ)ις -ιος ἡ: righteous wrath, blame

ἧμαι, 2nd sing. ἧσαι, 3rd pl. εἵαται or ἕαται [ἧνται], imp. ἧσο, inf. ἧσθαι, partic. ἥμενος, impf. ἥμην, 3rd pl. impf. εἵατο: to sit

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

ἄχος -εος τό: grief, sadness

προτρέπομαι, aor. inf. προτραπέσθαι: to turn toward, give oneself up to

παρεῖπον, aor. of παράφημι: to counsel, urge, persuade

ἄλοχος -ου ἡ: wife 

μαλακός: soft, gentle

λωΐων -ον: more desirable, more profitable, better

ἐπαμείβω, mid. ἐπαμείβομαι, aor. subj. ἐπαμείψομεν: act. exchange; (mid.) change; νίκη ἐπαμείβεται ἄνδρας, victory comes now to one, now to another.

ἄγε: come! come on! well!340

ἐπιμένω, aor. imperat. ἐπίμενον: to wait, await

Ἀρήϊος: warlike, of war, martial, brave

τεῦχος -εος τό: (pl.) arms, armour

δύω, fut. δύσω, aor. inf. δῦσαι, aor. mid. (ἐ)δύσετο, aor. ἔδυ, perf. δέδυκεν: to enter, go into, put on; πρὶν ἠέλιον δῦναι, before the sun set; γαῖαν ἐδύτην, (their souls) entered the earth 

μέτειμι: to go after

κιχάνω, fut. κιχήσεσθαι, aor. κιχήσατο, aor. subj. κιχείω [κιχῶ], aor. partic. κιχήμενον: to find, come to, overtake

πρόσφημι, impf. προσέφη, aor. προσεῖπον or προσέειπον: speak to, address

κορυθαίολος: crest-waving, gleaming-crested

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.

μῦθος -ου ὁ: word, utterance, saying, proposition, plan, thought, injunction

προσαυδάω: to speak to, address

μειλίχιος: kind, friendly

δᾱήρ -έρος ὁ: a husband's brother, brother-in-law

κύων κυνός ὁ/ἡ: a dog

κακομήχανος: contriving-evil, pernicious

ὀκρυόεις: chilling, horrible

ὀφείλω, aor. ὄφελ(λ)ον or ὤφελ(λ)ον: should have, ought to have. With αἴθε and ὡς it is used to express a wish which cannot be realized: αἴθ᾿ ὄφελες ἄγαμος ἀπολέσθαι: if only you had died unmarried.345

ἦμαρ -ατος τό: day

οἴχομαι, impf. ᾤχετο: to go, go away; ᾤχετο ἀποπτάμενος, flew away

προφέρω: to carry off, bring forward, offer

ἄνεμος -ου ὁ: wind

θύελλα: blast, gust

ὄρος ὄρεος τό: mountain, hill

κῦμα -ατος τό: wave, billow

πολύφλοισβος: loud-roaring, epithet of the sea

ἀπόερσε: carried off, swept away (aor. indic. epic active, cp. ἀπηύρα)

πάρος: before, formerly

ἀτάρ: but, yet

τεκμαίρομαι, aor. τεκμήραντο: to ordain

ἄκοιτις: wife, spouse350

αἶσχος -εος τό: shame, disgrace, reproach, insult

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.

φρήν φρενός ἡ: heart, mind

ἔμπεδος: firm, unshaken

οὔ τις, οὔ τι: no one, none. οὔ τι: not at all

ὀπίσω or ὀπίσσω: backwards, in the future

μιν: him, her, it

ἐπαυρίσκω, fut. inf. ἐπαυρήσεσθαι, aor. subj. ἐπαύρωνται: to enjoy, reap the fruits of

εἰσέρχομαι εἰσελεύσομαι εἰσῆλθον εἰσελήλυθα: to go in

ἕζομαι, aor. εἷσε: to seat oneself, sit, be or remain seated

δίφρος: footboard of a chariot, chariot box, chariot; stool, low seat

ἀμφιβαίνω, perf. ἀμφιβέβηκα: to go about; (perf.) stands over, bestrides, protects355

ἄτη -ης ἡ: blindness (of the mind), madness; ruin, scourge, misfortune

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

μόρος -ου ὁ: man's appointed doom, fate, destiny

πέλω and πέλομαι, aor. as pres. ἔπλεο, ἔπλετο: to be

ἀοίδιμος: sung of, subject of song

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

καθίζω, aor. imperat. κάθισον: to cause to sit down, seat; (intrans.) sit360

φιλέω, iterative impf. φιλέεσκεν, aor. φίλησα, ἐφίλατο, imperat. φῖλαι, φίληθεν [ἐφιλήθησαν]: to love, entertain, receive hospitably

ἐπισσεύω, plpf. as aor. ἐπέσσυτο, perf. ἐπέσσυται: mid. hasten on, rush upon

ὄφρα: in order that; as long as, until

ἐπαμύνω, aor. imp. ἐπάμυνον: to come to aid, defend, assist, protect

ποθή: yearning; οἵ ἐμεῖο ποθὴν ἔχουσιν, 'who miss me'

ἄπειμι, partic. ἀπεόντος: to be away

ὄρνυμι: to stir, stir up

ἐπείγω: to hurry, urge; (mid.) to hasten, be in haste, be eager

ἔντοσθε: within (+ gen.)

καταμάρπτω, aor. subj. καταμάρψῃ: to overtake

οἰκεύς -ῆος ὁ: member of one's household. οἰκῆες: household, family366

φίλος -η -ον: friend; loved, beloved, dear

νήπιος -α -ον: infant, childish 

σφεῖς, σφείων gen., σφίσι(ν) or σφί(ν) dat., σφέας acc.: (pl. 3rd pers. pron.) them

ὑπότροπος: returning

ἱκνέομαι and ἵκω, fut. ἵξομαι, aor. ἵκετο and ἷξε(ν), aor. subj. ἵκωμαι and ἵκηαι: to come, arrive at, reach

αὖθις: back, back again

δαμάζω: to overpower, tame, conquer, subdue

Ἀχαιός: Achaian

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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-332-368