Homer, Iliad VI 37-71

Ἄδρηστον δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἔπειτα βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Μενέλαος

ζωὸν ἕλ᾽: ἵππω γάρ οἱ ἀτυζομένω πεδίοιο

ὄζῳ ἔνι βλαφθέντε μυρικίνῳ ἀγκύλον ἅρμα

ἄξαντ᾽ ἐν πρώτῳ ῥυμῷ αὐτὼ μὲν ἐβήτην40

πρὸς πόλιν, ᾗ περ οἱ ἄλλοι ἀτυζόμενοι φοβέοντο,

αὐτὸς δ᾽ ἐκ δίφροιο παρὰ τροχὸν ἐξεκυλίσθη

πρηνὴς ἐν κονίῃσιν ἐπὶ στόμα: πὰρ δέ οἱ ἔστη

Ἀτρεΐδης Μενέλαος ἔχων δολιχόσκιον ἔγχος.

Ἄδρηστος δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἔπειτα λαβὼν ἐλίσσετο γούνων:45

ζώγρει, Ἀτρέος υἱέ, σὺ δ᾽ ἄξια δέξαι ἄποινα:

πολλὰ δ᾽ ἐν ἀφνειοῦ πατρὸς κειμήλια κεῖται

χαλκός τε χρυσός τε πολύκμητός τε σίδηρος,

τῶν κέν τοι χαρίσαιτο πατὴρ ἀπερείσι᾽ ἄποινα

εἴ κεν ἐμὲ ζωὸν πεπύθοιτ᾽ ἐπὶ νηυσὶν Ἀχαιῶν.50

ὣς φάτο, τῷ δ᾽ ἄρα θυμὸν ἐνὶ στήθεσσιν ἔπειθε:

καὶ δή μιν τάχ᾽ ἔμελλε θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν

δώσειν ᾧ θεράποντι καταξέμεν: ἀλλ᾽ Ἀγαμέμνων

ἀντίος ἦλθε θέων, καὶ ὁμοκλήσας ἔπος ηὔδα:

ὦ πέπον ὦ Μενέλαε, τί ἢ δὲ σὺ κήδεαι οὕτως55

ἀνδρῶν; ἦ σοὶ ἄριστα πεποίηται κατὰ οἶκον

πρὸς Τρώων; τῶν μή τις ὑπεκφύγοι αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον

χεῖράς θ᾽ ἡμετέρας, μηδ᾽ ὅν τινα γαστέρι μήτηρ

κοῦρον ἐόντα φέροι, μηδ᾽ ὃς φύγοι, ἀλλ᾽ ἅμα πάντες

Ἰλίου ἐξαπολοίατ᾽ ἀκήδεστοι καὶ ἄφαντοι.60

ὣς εἰπὼν ἔτρεψεν ἀδελφειοῦ φρένας ἥρως

αἴσιμα παρειπών: ὃ δ᾽ ἀπὸ ἕθεν ὤσατο χειρὶ

ἥρω᾽ Ἄδρηστον: τὸν δὲ κρείων Ἀγαμέμνων

οὖτα κατὰ λαπάρην: ὃ δ᾽ ἀνετράπετ᾽, Ἀτρεΐδης δὲ

λὰξ ἐν στήθεσι βὰς ἐξέσπασε μείλινον ἔγχος.65

Νέστωρ δ᾽ Ἀργείοισιν ἐκέκλετο μακρὸν ἀΰσας:

ὦ φίλοι ἥρωες Δαναοὶ θεράποντες Ἄρηος

μή τις νῦν ἐνάρων ἐπιβαλλόμενος μετόπισθε

μιμνέτω ὥς κε πλεῖστα φέρων ἐπὶ νῆας ἵκηται,

ἀλλ᾽ ἄνδρας κτείνωμεν: ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ τὰ ἕκηλοι70

νεκροὺς ἂμ πεδίον συλήσετε τεθνηῶτας.

Menelaus captures the Trojan Adrastus and is about to spare him in return for a large ransom. Agamemnon forestalls this and persudes Menelaus that they should kill as many Trojans as possible now, and take the plunder later. Nestor shouts this message to all the Achaeans, as Agamemnon kills Adrastus.

We never see a warrior in the Iliad spared in return for ransom, though the possibility is always there, making its denial here all the more brutal. [read full essay]

37-40: ἵππω, ἀτυζομένω, βλαφθέντε, ἄξαντε, and αὐτὼ are all dual nom.

37: βοὴν: “in/at the battle cry,” acc. of respect with ἀγαθὸς, as in line 12.

38: ἕλ᾽: “took” = ἕλε (see 6.35). οἱ: “his,” “to him” = αὐτῷ (Monro 98), dat. masc. sg. personal pronoun. The dative of the personal pronoun is often used in place of a possessive (Monro 143.1). ἀτυζομένω πεδίοιο: “running in terror over the plain,” gen. of place within which  (see 6.2) (Goodell 515).

39: ὄζῳ ἔνι βλαφθέντε μυρικίνῳ: “having become entangled in a tamarisk bough.” Tamarisks grow in and around riverbeds. ὄζῳ ἔνι: = ἐν ὄζͅῳ (anastrophe). βλαφθέντε: dual aor. pass. ptc. > βλάπτω “harm, hinder.”

40: ἀγκύλον ἅρμα / ἄξαντ᾽ ἐν πρώτῳ ῥυμῷ: “breaking the curved chariot at the end of the pole.” ἄξαντε: dual aor. act. ptc. > ἄγνυμι. ἐν πρώτῳ ῥυμῷ: “on the front of the pole,” where the pole drawing the chariot attaches to the harness of the horses. See the diagram by Dalia Lamura of the Monteleone Chariot in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. αὐτὼ μὲν: “they on the one hand,” dual aor. 3rd pers. personal pronoun.  μὲν anticipates a contrast with αὐτὸς δὲ in line 42. ἐβήτην: 3rd dual aor. > βαίνω.

41: ᾗ περ οἱ ἄλλοι ἀτυζόμενοι φοβέοντο: “where the rest were fleeing in a state of panic.” : “where, which way,” dat. sg. fem. of the relative pronoun (Goodell 236). φοβέοντο: unaugmented, uncontracted 3rd pl. impf.

42: αὐτὸς δ᾽: “but he himself,” Adrastus; ἐξεκυλίσθη: “was hurled from,” “pitched out,” 3rd sg. aor. pass. > ἐκ-κυλίνδω.

43: ἐπὶ: “onto” + acc. πὰρ … οἱ: “beside him,” either παρά + dat. sg. (οἱ), or the compound παρέστη with οἱ as the dative obj. (3rd sg. root aor. > παρίστημι).

45: ἐλίσσετο: “began to beg,” impf. > λίσσομαι, here specifying the beginning of an ongoing action (the so-called inchoative imperfect, Monro 70). λαβῶν ... γούνων: “taking hold of his knees,” the normal gesture of supplication or entreaty in Homer. γούνων: gen. pl. > γόνυ, perferred to alternate gen. pl. γουνάτων (Monro 107.2), quasi-partitive genitive after verb of touching or trying, normal with λαμβάνω (Goodell 510.b).

46: ζώγρει: “take me alive,” = ζώγρε-ε, note the accent: not 3rd sg. ζωγρεῖ, but 2nd sg. imperative. υἱέ: vocative > ὑιός. δέξαι: 2nd sg. aor. dep. mid. imperative > δέχομαι.

47: ἐν ἀφνειοῦ πατρὸς: “in (the house) of my wealthy father” (Goodell 507.a). κεῖται: 3rd sg. with neut. pl. subject (Goodell 496).

49-50: κέν χαρίσαιτο … εἴ … πεπύθοιτο: “he would grant … if he should learn,” a so-called future-less-vivid condition (εἰ + opt., κε/ἄν + opt.), here with aor. optatives. χαρίσαιτο: “would grant,” aor. mid. > χαρίζομαι. πεπύθοιτο: “should learn,” reduplicated 3rd aor. dep. mid. > πυνθάνομαι (Monro 36). The κέν in the protasis in line 50 is relatively rare (Monro 313).

49: τῶν: “from which,” “of which” possessions. κέν: = ἄν. τοι: “to you,” = σοι, dat. sg. personal pronoun (Monro 98).

50: πεπύθοιτο ἐμὲ ζωὸν: “should learn of me as alive,” i.e., “should learn that I am alive.” ζωὸν is a predicative adjective modifying ἐμὲ (Goodell 547). ἐπὶ νηυσὶν: “near the ships,” dat. pl.

51: ὣς φάτο: “so he spoke,” a formula to close off Adrastus’ speech. φάτο: unaugmented 3rd sg. aor. mid. > φημί, mid. with no difference in meaning from the active. τῷ: “his,” “to this one,” possessive dat. personal pronoun with θυμὸν (Monro 143.1); the antecedent is Menelaus. ἔπειθε: “began to persuade,” inchoative impf. (see 6.45).

52: καὶ δή: “and indeed,” “and in fact.” μιν: “him,” = αὐτόν, 3rd pers. sg. acc. of the enclitic personal pronoun (Goodell 19.f).

53: δώσειν: fut. act. inf. > δίδωμι, with μέλλω (Goodell 570.b). : “his,” = ἑῷ, 3rd pers. sg. dat. of the possessive pronoun (Goodell 204). καταξέμεν: “to lead down,” inf. of purpose,  Aeolic infinitive of the mixed aorist > κατ-άγω, Att. καταγαγεῖν (Graziosi-Haubold, see Monro 85).

54: θέων: “hurrying,” nom. sg. pres. ptc. > θέω, not to be confused with θεῶν, “of the gods.” ὁμοκλήσας ἔπος ηὔδα: “called out to him and said.” ὁμοκλήσας: masc. nom. sg. aor. ptc. > ὁμοκλάω. ηὔδᾱ: = ηὔδα-ε, 3rd sg. impf. > αὐδάω.

55: ὦ πέπον ὦ Μενέλαε: “my dear Menalaus.” πέπων is normally a term of endearment, but can imply excessive softness (“gentle man”), as it seems to here. τί ἢ δὲ σὺ κήδεαι οὕτως ἀνδρῶν: “why are you being so caring of men?” ἢ, “either,” sets up a disjunctive that is not expressed, but is picked up by ἦ in the next line. This introduces a rhetorical question expecting the answer “no.” κήδε(σ)αι: 2nd sg. pres. mid. > κήδω. In the active, κήδω means “cause pain”; in the middle it means “take pains” = “care about” + gen.

56: πεποίηται: 3rd sg. pf. pass. > ποιέω; ἄριστα is neuter pl. subject. κατὰ οἶκον: “at home,” i.e. in Sparta. Elision is prevented here by the original digamma, ϝοἶκον

57: πρὸς Τρώων: “by the Trojans,” “at the hands of the Trojans,” gen. of agent (Monro 208.1). τῶν μή τις μή: “may none of these (Trojans),” introducing optative of wish (without κε, Benner 33).

58–59:  μηδ᾽ ὅν τινα γαστέρι μήτηρ / κοῦρον ἐόντα φέροι … μηδ᾽ ὃς: lit. “nor whomever a mother bears in her womb, being a boy,” i.e. “not even a boy whom mother carries in her womb, may not even he escape….” The indefinite relative clause specifies and expands upon the τῶν μή τις in line 57 (Monro 266). κοῦρον ἐόντα: the participial phrase more precisely defines the gender of the relative pronoun ὅν τινα. φέροι: the verb in the relative clause is optative in agreement with the optative of wish in the main clause (Monro 304.1.c). μηδ᾽ ὃς: “not even he,” demonstrative ὅς after καί and οὐδέ/μηδέ (Graziosi-Haubold).

60: ἐξαπολοίατ᾽: “let … them be eradicated from” + gen., = ἐξαπόλοιντο, aor. opt. of wish > ἐξαπόλλυμι, the intensifying prefix ἐκ- often suggests completeness. A savage sentiment, ferociously expressed. An ancient scholiast remarks, “the words are hateful and not in harmony with the habit of a king.”

61: ὣς εἰπὼν: “speaking thus,” a formulaic way to round off a speech and lead into action. ἀδελφειοῦ: gen. of ἀδελφεός, which is derived from (and sometimes printed as) uncontracted *ἀδελφεόο.

62: αἴσιμα παρειπών: “winning him over to a justified course of action.” αἴσιμα: “what is apportioned or destined; what is right or due,” object of aor. ptc. παρ-ειπών. Objective comments like αἴσιμα παρειπών are unusual, this one additionally so because Homer normally condemns excessive cruelty and violence ... The element of moral judgment should not be exaggerated, as by bT and most modern commentators; the poet is simply noting that Agamemnon’s words, extreme as they are, reflect the regular heroic view that Paris’ treachery, condoned by all Trojans, spares none of them the normal consequences of deafeat (Kirk 1990, 161). ὃ δ᾽: Menelaus. ἀπὸ … ὤσατο: “thrust from him,” aor.  > ἀπ-ωθέω. ἕ-θεν: “from him,” gen. sg. of the reflexive pronoun. The old separative ending –θεν (‘away from’) is treated as a metrically convenient alternative to ἕο, εἷο, εὗ. (Graziosi-Haubold). χειρὶ: dat. of means (Goodell 526.a).

63: τὸν δὲ: Adrastus.

64: οὖτα κατὰ λαπάρην: “struck him in the flank.” οὖτα = οὖταε, 3rd sg. aorist with final short α, root aor. existing alongside the probably more recent sigmatic aor. οὔτασε/οὔτησε, which are also common in Homer (Graziosi-Haubold). ὃ δ᾽: Adrastus.

65: βὰς: “stepping on,” nom. sg. aor. ptc. > βαίνω.

66: ἐκέκλετο: “urged,” “commanded,” “exhorted” + dat., reduplicated aor. dep. mid > κέλομαι (Monro 36). μακρὸν ἀΰσας: “shouting at the top of his voice.” μακρὸν: cognate accusative adjective, translated as an adverb (Goodell 536.b). ἀΰσας: nom. sg. aor. ptc. > ἀύω (onomatopoeia).

68: μή … μιμνέτω: “let no one remain,” 3rd sg. pres. imperative > μίμνω. ἐνάρων: quasi-partitive gen. governed by the ptc. ἐπιβαλλόμενος, “pouncing upon” (Stoevesandt, see Goodell 510.d), compare λαβών + gen. in 6.45. Stopping to collect enemy armor was evidently a common practice, as at 11.755, and has to be warned against (as by Hector at 15.347) when a rapid advance was in progress (Kirk).

69: ὥς κε … ἵκηται: “so that…,” introducing a purpose clause, ὡς + κέ (= ἄν) + aor. subj. > ἱκνέομαι (Monro 285.1). νῆας: “ships.”

70: κτείνωμεν: “let us kill,” hortatory subj. τὰ: “those things,” i.e. the ἐνάρων above.

71: ἄμ: = ἀνά, + acc. Before a labial consonant such as π-, the preposition in epic is ἄμ. συλήσετε: “you will despoil,” 2nd pl. fut. indic. > συλάω (with double acc.): “despoil someone of something.” τεθνηῶτας: “the dead,” acc. pl. pf. ptc. > θνήσκω.

Ἄδραστος, Ionic Ἄδρηστος, -ου ὁ: Adrastus, son of Merope, Trojan ally

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.

βοή -ῆς ἡ: a loud cry, shout

Μενέλαος: Menelaos, son of Atreus, brother of Agamemnon, king of Sparta and the husband of Helen

ζωός or ζώς: alive, living

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

ἀτύζω: to be distraught from fear, bewildered

πεδίον -ου τό: a plain

ὄζος: a bough, branch, twig, shoot

βλάπτω βλάψω ἔβλαψα βέβλαφα βέβλαμμαι ἐβλάφθην (or ἐβλάβην): to weaken, hinder, hold back

μυρίκινος: made of tamarisk

ἀγκύλος: crooked, curved

ἅρμα -ατος τό: a chariot. It was low and light, entered from behind with a curved rim in front and on the sides, with standing room for two persons, the driver and the fighter; it was drawn generally by two horses, sometimes by three, and was used not so much for fighting as a ready means of transportation from one part of the field to another.40

ῥυμός: the pole of a carriage

: which way, where, whither

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

τροχός ‑οῦ ὁ: wheel

ἐκκυλίνδω: to roll out

πρηνής -ές: headlong

κονία or κονίη: dust, a cloud of dust

Ἀτρεΐδης, gen. Ἀτρεΐδαο or Ἀτρεΐδεω: son of Atreus (either Agamemnon or Menelaus)

δολιχόσκιος -ον: casting a long shadow

ἔγχος -εος τό: spear, lance

λίσσομαι: to beg, pray, entreat, beseech45

γόνυ, gen. γόνατος or γούνατος: knee

ζωγρέω: to take alive; revive, give life

Ἀτρεύς -εως ὁ: Atreus, son of Pelops and Hippodamia, father of Agamemnon and Menelaus

ἄποινα -ων τά: a ransom

ἀφνειός: rich, wealthy; full

κειμήλιον: a treasure, heirloom

χαλκός -οῦ ὁ: bronze

χρυσός -οῦ ὁ: gold

πολύκμητος -ον: much-wrought, wrought with much toil

σίδηρος -ου ὁ: iron

χαρίζομαι χαρίσομαι ἐχαρισάμην κεχάρισμαι --- ἐχαρίσθην: do a favor, gratify, give gladly; χαριζομένη, in order to please; ἐμῷ κεχαρισμένε θυμῷ, delight of my heart

ἀπερείσιος: countless

Ἀχαιός: Achaian

50

στῆθος -εος τό: the breast, chest

μιν: him, her, it

τάχα: quickly, presently; perhaps

θοός -ή -όν: quick, nimble

θεράπων -οντος ὁ: attendant, servant, assistant, companion

κατάγω, aor. inf. καταξέμεν: to lead (down) back (to the ships)

Ἀγαμέμνων -ονος ὁ: Agamemnon, son of Atreus, king of Mycenae and the leader of the expedition against Troy

ἀντίος, -α or -ιη, -ον: opposite, against

θέω θεύσομαι: to run

ὁμοκλάω and -έω, aor. partic. ὁμοκλήσας, iterative aor. ὁμοκλήσασκε: to shout, chide, threaten (used when a person of higher status reprimands an inferior)

αὐδάω, 3 sing. impf. ηὔδα, iterative aor. αὐδήσασκε: to speak

πέπων -ονος: my good fellow, dear (used in adresses by an elder or superior in an affectionate, condescending, or contemptuous tone)55

κήδω: to trouble, distress, vex; (mid.) grieve, care for (+gen.)

ἄριστον ‑ου τό: the morning meal, breakfast

Τρῶες: Trojans

ὑπεκφεύγω ὑπεκφεύξομαι ὑπεκέφυγον ὑπεκπέφευγα: to escape

αἰπύς -εῖα -ύ: high, steep, lofty, sheer

ὄλεθρος -ου ὁ: ruin, destruction, death

γαστήρ -έρος ἡ: the belly, stomach, womb

κόρος or κοῦρος -ου ὁ: boy, young man

Ἴλιος -ου ἡ: Ilius or Ilium, the city of Ilus, Troy60

ἐξαπόλλυμι: to destroy utterly; (mid.) to perish utterly from

ἀκήδεστος -ον: uncared for, unburied

ἄφαντος -ον: made invisible, blotted out, forgotten

φρήν φρενός ἡ: heart, mind

ἥρως ἥρωος ὁ: hero, warrior

αἴσιμος: fitting, suitable, due; αἴσιμα παρειπών 'advising what was appropriate'

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

ὠθέω: to thrust, push, shove, force onwards

κρείων -οντος ὁ: ruler, lord, master

οὐτάω: to wound, hurt, hit

λαπάρα ‑ας ἡ: the soft part of the body, flank

ἀνατρέπω, aor. 2 mid. ἀνετράπετο: turn over; (aor.) fell back

λάξ: (Adv.) with the foot65

ἐκσπάω: to draw out

μέλινος: ashen

Νέστωρ -ορος ὁ: Nestor, king of the Pylians, famous for his age, wisdom, eloquence, and skill in marshaling the army for battle

Ἀργεῖος -η -ον: of/from Argos, Argive

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

αὔω, impf. αὖον, aor. ἤῡσα, ἄῡσα, inf. ἀσαι, part. ἀύσᾱς: shout, call aloud 

φίλος -η -ον: loved, beloved, dear, own

Δαναοί ‑ῶν οἱ: the Danaans, name used of the Greeks generally 

Ἄρης: Ares, son of Zeus and Hera, God of war, is on the side of the Trojans

ἔναρα ‑ων τά: spoils, armor taken from a slain foe

ἐπιβάλλω ἐπιβαλῶ ἐπέβαλον ἐπιβέβληκα ἐπιβέβλημαι ἐπεβλήθην: to throw, cast on; (mid.) lay hands upon, strive for

μετόπισθε: from behind, backwards, back

μίμνω: to stay, stand fast, remain

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

κτείνω, aor. subj. κτείνῃς, aor. (ἔ)κτανε(ν) and ἔκτα, aor. mid. as pass. κτάμενος: to slay, kill70

ἕκηλος: at rest, at one's ease

νεκρός -οῦ ὁ: a dead body, corpse

συλάω: to strip off

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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-37-71