Homer, Iliad VI 72-115

ὣς εἰπὼν ὄτρυνε μένος καὶ θυμὸν ἑκάστου.

ἔνθά κεν αὖτε Τρῶες ἀρηϊφίλων ὑπ᾽ Ἀχαιῶν

Ἴλιον εἰσανέβησαν ἀναλκείῃσι δαμέντες,

εἰ μὴ ἄρ᾽ Αἰνείᾳ τε καὶ Ἕκτορι εἶπε παραστὰς75

Πριαμίδης Ἕλενος οἰωνοπόλων ὄχ᾽ ἄριστος:

Αἰνεία τε καὶ Ἕκτορ, ἐπεὶ πόνος ὔμμι μάλιστα

Τρώων καὶ Λυκίων ἐγκέκλιται, οὕνεκ᾽ ἄριστοι

πᾶσαν ἐπ᾽ ἰθύν ἐστε μάχεσθαί τε φρονέειν τε,

στῆτ᾽ αὐτοῦ, καὶ λαὸν ἐρυκάκετε πρὸ πυλάων80

πάντῃ ἐποιχόμενοι πρὶν αὖτ᾽ ἐν χερσὶ γυναικῶν

φεύγοντας πεσέειν, δηΐοισι δὲ χάρμα γενέσθαι.

αὐτὰρ ἐπεί κε φάλαγγας ἐποτρύνητον ἁπάσας,

ἡμεῖς μὲν Δαναοῖσι μαχησόμεθ᾽ αὖθι μένοντες,

καὶ μάλα τειρόμενοί περ: ἀναγκαίη γὰρ ἐπείγει:85

Ἕκτορ ἀτὰρ σὺ πόλιν δὲ μετέρχεο, εἰπὲ δ᾽ ἔπειτα

μητέρι σῇ καὶ ἐμῇ: ἣ δὲ ξυνάγουσα γεραιὰς

νηὸν Ἀθηναίης γλαυκώπιδος ἐν πόλει ἄκρῃ

οἴξασα κληῗδι θύρας ἱεροῖο δόμοιο

πέπλον, ὅς οἱ δοκέει χαριέστατος ἠδὲ μέγιστος90

εἶναι ἐνὶ μεγάρῳ καί οἱ πολὺ φίλτατος αὐτῇ,

θεῖναι Ἀθηναίης ἐπὶ γούνασιν ἠϋκόμοιο,

καί οἱ ὑποσχέσθαι δυοκαίδεκα βοῦς ἐνὶ νηῷ

ἤνις ἠκέστας ἱερευσέμεν, αἴ κ᾽ ἐλεήσῃ

ἄστύ τε καὶ Τρώων ἀλόχους καὶ νήπια τέκνα,95

ὥς κεν Τυδέος υἱὸν ἀπόσχῃ Ἰλίου ἱρῆς

ἄγριον αἰχμητὴν κρατερὸν μήστωρα φόβοιο,

ὃν δὴ ἐγὼ κάρτιστον Ἀχαιῶν φημι γενέσθαι.

οὐδ᾽ Ἀχιλῆά ποθ᾽ ὧδέ γ᾽ ἐδείδιμεν ὄρχαμον ἀνδρῶν,

ὅν πέρ φασι θεᾶς ἐξέμμεναι: ἀλλ᾽ ὅδε λίην100

μαίνεται, οὐδέ τίς οἱ δύναται μένος ἰσοφαρίζειν.

ὣς ἔφαθ᾽, Ἕκτωρ δ᾽ οὔ τι κασιγνήτῳ ἀπίθησεν.

αὐτίκα δ᾽ ἐξ ὀχέων σὺν τεύχεσιν ἆλτο χαμᾶζε,

πάλλων δ᾽ ὀξέα δοῦρα κατὰ στρατὸν ᾤχετο πάντῃ

ὀτρύνων μαχέσασθαι, ἔγειρε δὲ φύλοπιν αἰνήν.105

οἳ δ᾽ ἐλελίχθησαν καὶ ἐναντίοι ἔσταν Ἀχαιῶν:

Ἀργεῖοι δ᾽ ὑπεχώρησαν, λῆξαν δὲ φόνοιο,

φὰν δέ τιν᾽ ἀθανάτων ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος

Τρωσὶν ἀλεξήσοντα κατελθέμεν, ὡς ἐλέλιχθεν.

Ἕκτωρ δὲ Τρώεσσιν ἐκέκλετο μακρὸν ἀΰσας:110

Τρῶες ὑπέρθυμοι τηλεκλειτοί τ᾽ ἐπίκουροι

ἀνέρες ἔστε φίλοι, μνήσασθε δὲ θούριδος ἀλκῆς,

ὄφρ᾽ ἂν ἐγὼ βείω προτὶ Ἴλιον, ἠδὲ γέρουσιν

εἴπω βουλευτῇσι καὶ ἡμετέρῃς ἀλόχοισι

δαίμοσιν ἀρήσασθαι, ὑποσχέσθαι δ᾽ ἑκατόμβας.115

Hector’s brother Helenus urges him and Aeneas to stop the Trojan rout. Hector is then to withdraw to Troy and tell Hecabe to arrange formal prayers to Athena in her temple. The troops rally and Hector leaves for Troy. (Kirk)

The passage repays careful attention. We might begin by looking at Helenos. Though he is a seer, we are not told whether a vision has prompted what he says to Aeneas and Hector. He offers what looks like some sound advice in the face of the imminent threat from the Greeks: get moving and hold the city. But as we have said, the idea of sending your best fighter off the field at this critical moment might seem questionable, so he opens with detailed battlefield tactics, always an acceptably heroic discourse. [read full essay]

72: ὄτρυνε μένος καὶ θυμὸν: “aroused the force and heart.” Nestor’s speech had the desired effect. ὄτρυνε: = ὄτρῡνε, unuagmented aorist (versus imperfect with short υ).

73-74: ἔνθα: “at that point,” “then.” κεν … εἰσανέβησαν, εἰ μὴ … εἶπε: “would have gone up to, if … had not spoken (as follows),” introducing the speech of Helenus, past contrary-to-fact condition (Goodell 649). ἀναλκείῃσι δαμέντες: “vanquished by their lack of courage,” Ionic dat. pl. > ἀν-άλκεια (Monro 102). δαμέντες: aor. pass. ptc. > δαμνάω (= δάμνημι = δαμάζω).

75: παραστὰς: nom. sg. aor. act. ptc. > παρα-ίστημι

77: ὔμμι: dat. pl. of the 2nd pl. personal pronoun > ὑμεῖς (Monro 102). πόνος: struggle, war effort.

78: ἐγκέκλιται: “rests on you,” literally “is leaned on you” + dat., pf. pass. > ἐγ-κλίνω.

79: πᾶσαν ἐπ᾽ ἰθύν: “in every attempt,” literally “in every going straight-on.” ἐστε: 2nd pl. pres. > εἰμί. μάχεσθαι … φρονέειν: explanatory (epexegetical) infinitives, equivalent to acc. of respect, which qualifies ἄριστοι (Goodell 565).

80–81: στῆτ᾽ αὐτοῦ: “hold your ground.” στῆτε: 2nd pl. 2nd aor. imperative > ἵστημι. αὐτοῦ: “here,” “in this very place,” adverb > αὐτός (Goodell 228.b). λαὸν ἐρυκάκετε ... πάντῃ ἐποιχόμενοι: “go everywhere and keep the army back.” ἐρυκάκετε: reduplicated aor. imperative > ἐρύκω.

81–82: πρὶν αὖτ᾽ ἐν χερσὶ γυναικῶν / φεύγοντας πεσέειν: “before they fall in flight back into the womenfolk’s arms,” πρίν + uncontracted 2nd aor. inf. > πίπτω (Goodell 568, Monro 85.2). αὖτ’: “again,” = αὖτε, which usually introduces a shift in focus, though it also often functions as a continuative (Monro 337). δηΐοισι: “for the enemy,” dat. pl. of interest. γενέσθαι: inf. > γίγνομαι, following πρίν.

83: ἐπεί κε ... ἐποτρύνητον: “when you have roused.” ἐπεί κε = ἐπειδάν. ἐποτρύνητον: 2nd person dual aor. subjunctive > ἐπ-οτρύνω. The subjunctive is future in sense.

84: ἡμεῖς μὲν: in contrast with ἀτὰρ σὺ in 86. αὖθι: = αὐτόθι, “on the spot, here.”

85: καὶ μάλα τειρόμενοί περ: “even though (we are) extremely worn out,” καὶ … περ = καίπερ, “although,” introducing a concessive ptc. ἀναγκαίη: = ἀνάγκη.

86: πόλινδε: “to the city”; the suffix -δὲ indicates place to which. μετέρχεο: “go” = μετ-έρχε(σ)ο, 2nd sg. pres. imperative. εἰπὲ: “tell,” 2nd sg. aor. imperative (not to be confused with εἶπε, 3rd sg. aor. indic.).

87–98: Helenus’ plan to get Hecabe to organize a prayer and sacrifice to Athena is given in a long and elaborate sentence whose essential structure is: ἣ δὲ ξυνάγουσα … θεῖναι … καί οἱ ὑποσχέσθαι … ἱερευσέμεν, αἴ κ᾽ ἐλεήσῃ … ὥς κεν Τυδέος υἱὸν ἀπόσχῃ. “Let her gather … and place … and promise … to sacrifice to her, in case she might pity ... so that she might keep back the son of Tydeus (Diomedes).”

87–93: ἥ δὲ θεῖναι καί ὑποσχέσθαι: “let this one … place and promise”; θεῖναι and ὑποσχέσθαι are aorist infinitives used as 3rd pers. imperative. Αn imperatival infin. of the 3rd pers. with an expressed subject in the nom. is unusual (Graziosi-Haubold).

87: σῇ καὶ ἐμῇ: Helenus is Hector’s brother and has the same mother. ξυνάγουσα: fem. pres. act. ptc. > συν-άγω.

88: νηὸν: “to the temple,” = ναόν, Attic νεών, acc. place to which, without a preposition (Goodell 533). 

89: κληῗδι: “with a key,” dat. of means (Goodell 526.a)

90: πέπλον: object of θεῖναι. ὅς οἱ δοκέει … εἶναι: “which seems to her (Hecuba) to be.”

91: οἱ αὐτῇ: = ἑαυτῇ.

93 οἱ: “to her” (Athena), = αὐτῇ. δυοκαίδεκα βοῦς: twelve is a favorite epic choice for a substantial number; a prize is worth 12 oxen at 23.703, 12 horses are among the recompense offered by Agamemnon to Achilles at 9.123 etc., Neleus had twelve sons (11.692), twelve victims and twelfth dawns are common enough, and so on (Kirk).

94: ἤνῑς ἠκέστας: this phrase describing the sacrifical oxen emphasizes their high quality as victims. It probably means “one year old and not knowing the goad” (acc. plural), but this is uncertain. ἱερευσέμεν: fut. inf. with ὑποσχέσθαι (Goodell 570.a). αἴ κε ἐλεήσῃ: “in the hope that she will take pity,” further explained by Τυδέος υἱὸν ἀπόσχῃ in line 96. In Homeric Greek, conditional clauses with verb in the subjunctive can express a purpose (Monro 293).

96: ὥς κεν ἀπόσχῃ: “so that Athena…,” purpose clause with ὡς + ἄν/κέ and 3rd sg. aor. subj. > ἀπ-έχω. Final clauses with ὡς, unlike ἵνα, include the particle ἄν/κέ with the subjunctive. ἱρῆς: modifies fem. sg. Ἰλίου.

97: ἄγριονφόβοιο: in apposition to υἱὸν. In Homer, φόβοιο almost exclusively refers to panicked flight.

98: ὃν δὴ: “the very one whom.” δὴ lends exactness and emphasis to the relative pronoun, which is acc. subject in indirect discourse. φημι: “I claim,” he is making an assertion.

99: οὐδε Ἀχιλῆα: “not even Achilles.” ποθ᾽: = ποτὲ, elision before aspiration. ὧδέ γ’: “in this way,” γε is here emphatic (“even”) rather than restrictive (“at least”); it is the equivalent to using italics, underlining, or saying the preceding word emphatically. ἐδείδιμεν: 1st pl. plpf. with impf. sense > δείδω.

100: φασι: 3rd pl. present > φημί. θεᾶς: “from a goddess,” gen. sg. of source with ἐκ- of ἐξέμμεναι. ἐξέμμεναι: “descends from” + gen., = ἐξεῖναι, pres. inf. (Goodell 509.a). ὅδε: Diomedes. The deictic pronoun presents Diomedes as dangerously near (Graziosi-Haubold).

101: τίς: “anyone,” = τις before enclitic οἱ. οἱ: = αὐτῷ, Diomedes, dat. sg. object of a compound verb. μένος: “in strenght,” acc. of respect, qualifying ἰσοφαρίζειν.

102: ἔφαθ’: = ἔφατο, 3rd sg. impf. mid. > φημί, mid. with no difference in meaning from the active (Stoevesandt). οὔ τι: “not at all,” τι is adverbial acc (Goodell 540).

104: ὀξέα δοῦρα: Hector carries two spears, as is typical for Trojan heroes. Such is the depiction of Achilles and Ajax playing a board game on an Athenian two-handled amphora from the Archaic period (about 525–520 B.C.) by the Andokides Painter, to be seen in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. κατὰ στρατὸν: “through the army.” ᾤχετο: impf. > οἴχομαι.

105: μαχέσασθαι: “to fight,” aor. inf. of purpose (Goodell 565.a).

106: ἐλελίχθησαν: “they turned around,” “they rallied,” 3rd pl. aor. pass. The verb is best analyzed as an aorist of ἑλίσσω, “turn around,” though it is identical with the corresponding aorist of ἐλελίζω, “shake” (Graziosi-Haubold). ἐναντίοι: governs a genitive when used with a hostile sense (“facing”). ἔσταν: = ἔστησαν, 3rd pl. aor. > ἵστημι.

107: φόνοιο: “from slaughter,” gen. of separation with λῆξαν (Goodell 509.a).

108: φάν(το): “they said that,” “they thought that,” unaugmented 3rd pl. mid. impf. > φημί. τιν’ ἀθανάτων: “one of the gods,” = τιν(α) ἀθανάτων, acc. subject of κατελθέμεν, “had come down,” in the next line. This explains the retreat of the Achaeans. ἀστερόεντος: in Homer, the sky is starry even in broad daylight.

109: ἀλεξήσοντα: “to assist,” future ptc. expressing purpose, often translated as an infinitive. κατελθέμεν: aor. inf. > κατ-έρχομαι. ἐλέλιχθεν: “were rallied,” “were turned (to the enemy),” = ἐλελίχθησαν, aor. pass. > ἐλελίζω. ὡς: “thus,” “so boldly,” referring back to 6.108.

110: = 66. ἐκέκλετο: reduplicated aor. > κέλομαι. μακρὸν: “loudly,” “greatly,” adverbial cognate acc. adj. (Goodell 536.b). ἀΰσας: nom. sg. aor. ptc. > αὔω.

111: Τρῶες … φίλοι: vocative direct address.

112: ἀνέρες: = ἄνδρες, alternative nom. pl. predicate > ἀνήρ. ἔστε: 2nd pl. pres. imperative > εἰμί. μνήσασθε: aor. imper. > μιμνήσκω + gen. (Goodell 511.b).

113: ὄφρα ἂνβείωεἴπω: “while I go ... and tell,” “long enough for me to go and tell,” temporal clause with sense of purpose (Monro 287, who discusses this passage). βείω: 1st sg. aor. subj. > βαίνω. προτὶ = προς. γέρουσινβουλευτῇἡμετέρῃς ἀλόχοισι: dat. pl. indirect objectσ of εἴπω. In the event he ends up speaking to the women, but not the council of elders.

114: εἴπω: “tell,” governs two infinitives, ἀρήσασθαι and ὑποσχέσθαι.

115: δαίμοσιν: “to the gods,” dat. pl. ὑποσχέσθαι: aor. inf. > ὑπ-ισχνέομαι. ἑκατόμβας: a general expression for the δυοκαίδεκα βοῦς of 6.93.

ὀτρύνω: to stir up, rouse, egg on, spur on, encourage

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

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

Τρῶες: Trojans

ἀρηΐφιλος: dear to Ares

Ἀχαιός: Achaian

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

εἰσαναβαίνω: to go up to

ἀνάλκεια: want of strength, feebleness, lack of courage

δαμάζω: to overpower, tame, conquer, subdue

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.75

Αἰνείας ‑α ὁ: Aeneas

Ἕκτωρ ‑ορος ὁ: Hector

παρίστημι: to make to stand

Πριαμίδης: son of Priam

οἰωνοπόλος: one who specializes in interpreting the flight or song of birds, an augur

ὄχα: (Adv.) by far

Λύκιοι: the Lycians

ἐγκλίνω, perf. ἐγκέκλιται: to lean on, rest upon

οὕνεκα: for which reason, on which account

ἰθύς -ύος ἡ: direction, initiative, attempt

αὐτοῦ: (Adv.) at the very place, just here, just there80

λαός -οῦ ὁ: the people

ἐρύκω: to keep in, hold back, keep in check, curb, restrain

πύλη -ης ἡ: one wing of a pair of double gates; (pl.) gate

πάντῃ: every way, on every side, everywhere

ἐποίχομαι, impf. ἐπῴχετο: to go towards, approach

δήιος: blazing, devouring, destroying, hostile; (pl.) enemies

χάρμα -ατος τό: (a source of) joy, delight

ἀτάρ: but, yet

φάλαγξ -αγγος ἡ: line of battle, battle-array

ἐποτρύνω, aor. subj. ἐποτρύνητον: to rouse, impel, urge on

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

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

τείρω: to oppress, press hard, weigh heavily upon, distress85

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

μετέρχομαι: to go, look for, seek

συνάγω συνάξω συνήγαγον συνῆχα συνῆγμαι συνήχθην: to bring together, gather together, collect, convene

γεραιός -ά -όν: old

Ἀθήνη and Ἀθηναίη: Athena

γλαυκῶπις -ιδος: with gleaming eyes, bright-eyed

ἄκρα or ἄκρη ἡ (fem. of ἄκρος): highest or farthest point

οἴγω or οἴγνυμι, fut. οἴξω, aor. ᾦξα: to open

κληίς -ῖδος: key

θύρη: door

δόμος -ου ὁ: a house, home

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.90

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

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

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

δυοκαίδεκα: twelve

ἦνις: a year old, yearling

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, town95

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

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 ἀϋτῆς, eager for the fray

κράτιστος -η -ον: strongest, mightiest

Ἀχιλλεύς ‑έως or -ῆος ὁ: Achilles

δείδω, aor. (ἔ)δεισεν, perf. δείδοικα, perf. imperat. δείδιθι, perf. partic. δειδιότες, plpf. ἐδείδιμεν: to fear, be afraid

ὄρχαμος: leader, commander

θεά -ᾶς ἡ: a goddess

ἔξειμι, inf. ἐξέμμεναι (εἰμί): to be sprung from, to be the son of100

λίαν: very, exceedingly

μαίνομαι ἔμηνα μέμηνα ἐμάνην: to rage, be furious, be frantic, rave

ἰσοφαρίζω: to equal, vie with (+ dat.)

κασίγνητος: brother

ἀπιθέω, ἀπιθήσω, aor. ἀπίθησε: disobey (+ dat., always with a negative)

ὄχος -εος τό: chariot

τεῦχος -εος τό: pl. arms, armour

ἅλλομαι, aor. 2 and 3 pers. sing. ἆλσο, ἆλτο, subj. ἅληται, ἅλεται, ptc. ἅλμενος: to spring, leap, bound

χαμᾶζε: to the ground, on the ground

πάλλω, aor. πῆλε: to brandish, shake, cast (of lots), toss

δόρυ, gen. δόρατος or δουρός: timber, beam, spear

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

ἐγείρω ἐγερῶ ἤγειρα ἐγρήγορα --- ἠγέρθην: to awaken, wake up, rouse105

φύλοπις -ιδος ἡ: the battle-cry, din of battle, battle

αἰνός -ή -όν: dread, dire, grim

ἐλελίζω: to whirl round

Ἀργεῖος -η -ον: of/from Argos, Argive

ὑποχωρέω, aor. ὑπεχώρησαν: to retire, withdraw

λήγω, aor. 3 pl. λῆξαν: to cease, cease from, give up

φόνος -ου ὁ: murder, homicide, slaughter

ἀθάνατος -ον: undying, immortal, imperishable. οἱ ἀθάνατοι: the immortals, the gods

ἀστερόεις: starred, starry

ἀλέξω, fut. partic. ἀλεξήσοντα: to ward off, defend

κατέρχομαι, aor. κατήλυθον, infin. κατελθέμεν: to go down, come down

κέλομαι, aor. (ἐ)κέκλετο: to urge on, bid, command; freq. with dative.110

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

ὑπέρθυμος: high-spirited, high-minded, daring

τηλεκλειτός: far-famed

ἐπίκουρος: a helper, ally

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

θοῦρις -ιδος: impetuous, raging

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

ὄφρα: in order that; as long as, until

γέρων -οντος ὁ: an old man (in apposition as adj., old)

βουλευτής: councillor

ἀράομαι, impf. ἠρᾶτο, aor. ἠρήσατο: to pray115

ἑκατόμβη: hecatomb; strictly a sacrifice of a hundred cattle, but the poet is not exact as to number or class of the victims, hence sacrifice.

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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-72-115