Homer, Iliad XXII 77-97

ἦ ῥ᾽ ὃ γέρων, πολιὰς δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἀνὰ τρίχας ἕλκετο χερσὶ

τίλλων ἐκ κεφαλῆς: οὐδ᾽ Ἕκτορι θυμὸν ἔπειθε.

μήτηρ δ᾽ αὖθ᾽ ἑτέρωθεν ὀδύρετο δάκρυ χέουσα

κόλπον ἀνιεμένη, ἑτέρηφι δὲ μαζὸν ἀνέσχε:80

καί μιν δάκρυ χέουσ᾽ ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα:

Ἕκτορ τέκνον ἐμὸν τάδε τ᾽ αἴδεο καί μ᾽ ἐλέησον

αὐτήν, εἴ ποτέ τοι λαθικηδέα μαζὸν ἐπέσχον:

τῶν μνῆσαι φίλε τέκνον ἄμυνε δὲ δήϊον ἄνδρα

τείχεος ἐντὸς ἐών, μὴ δὲ πρόμος ἵστασο τούτῳ85

σχέτλιος: εἴ περ γάρ σε κατακτάνῃ, οὔ σ᾽ ἔτ᾽ ἔγωγε

κλαύσομαι ἐν λεχέεσσι φίλον θάλος, ὃν τέκον αὐτή,

οὐδ᾽ ἄλοχος πολύδωρος: ἄνευθε δέ σε μέγα νῶϊν

Ἀργείων παρὰ νηυσὶ κύνες ταχέες κατέδονται.

90

ὣς τώ γε κλαίοντε προσαυδήτην φίλον υἱὸν

πολλὰ λισσομένω: οὐδ᾽ Ἕκτορι θυμὸν ἔπειθον,

ἀλλ᾽ ὅ γε μίμν᾽ Ἀχιλῆα πελώριον ἆσσον ἰόντα.

ὡς δὲ δράκων ἐπὶ χειῇ ὀρέστερος ἄνδρα μένῃσι

βεβρωκὼς κακὰ φάρμακ᾽, ἔδυ δέ τέ μιν χόλος αἰνός,

σμερδαλέον δὲ δέδορκεν ἑλισσόμενος περὶ χειῇ:95

ὣς Ἕκτωρ ἄσβεστον ἔχων μένος οὐχ ὑπεχώρει

πύργῳ ἔπι προὔχοντι φαεινὴν ἀσπίδ᾽ ἐρείσας:

Hecabe begs Hector to come back within the walls. In an interior monologue Hector considers the shame of retreat and decides to meet Achilles face to face.

Hecabe’s plea follows Priam’s and is just as intimate in its own way. Holding out her naked breast, she conjures the image of Hector as a nursing infant. Mothers in the epic tradition are associated with nurture, with unquestioning love and support for their children. [read full essay]

77: : “spoke,” 3rd sg. impf. > ἠμί (Goodell 383). ἀνὰἕλκετο: “pulled up (and out),” so-called tmesis.

78: Ἕκτορι: dat. of possession with θυμόν.

79:  αὖθ’: “in turn,” = αὖτε. It usually (as here) introduces a shift in focus, though it also often functions as a continuative (Monro 337).

80: ἀνιεμένη: “loosening,” i.e. “undoing,” pres. mid. > ἀν-ίημι; “throwing back, opening” (Monro). ἑτέρηφι: “with the other (hand).” The suffix -φι often is instrumental or locative in force, but may substitute as a general dative (here dative of means).

81: μιν: “him,” Hector, = αὐτόν (Goodell 19.f). ἔπεα: neuter acc. pl. > ἔπος. προσηύδα: “began to address (+ acc) to (+ acc.),” = προσηύδαε, 3rd sg. inchoative (see 22.7) impf. with double acc. (Monro 70).

82: τάδε: “these,” i.e. her breasts, acc. obj. αἴδεο: = αἴδε(σ)ο, pres. mid. imperative. ἐλέησον: aor. act. imperative.

83: αὐτήν: intensive pronoun with με. τοι: = σοι, dat. governed by ἐπί of ἐπ-έχω (Monro 145.6).

84: τῶν: “these,” genitive with a verb of remembering (Goodell 511.b). μνῆσαι: aor. mid. imperative > μιμνήσκω.

85: τείχεος ἐντὸς: anastrophe. ἐών: nom. ptc. > εἰμί, Att. ὤν. μὴἵστασο: pres. mid. imperative > ἵστημι. τούτῳ: “against this one,” or “before this one.” πρόμος (= πρόμαχος) governs a dat., which may be construed as a dat. of compound adj. (Smyth 1554) or dat. with adj. of fighting (i.e. “to fight against this one”) (Goodell 525).

86: σχέτλιος: “relentless,” “unkind,” must be understood as in 22.41, of the obduracy of Hector (Monro). εἴ περ: “even if.” κατακτάνῃ: 3rd sg. aor. subj. > κατα-κτείνω, εἰ + subjunctive without ἄν/κε is naturally employed by a speaker who does not wish to imply that the occasion will actually arise (Monro 292.a). οὔἔτ᾽: “no longer,” “not still.”

87: ὃν: “whom,” relative. τέκον: unaugmented aor. > τίκτω.

88: ἄλοχος: supply κλαύσεται from above. ἄνευθεμέγα νῶϊν: “very far from us two.” μέγα “greatly,” is an adv. acc., νῶϊν is a 1st pers. dual pronoun, gen. obj. with ἄνευθε.

90: ὣς: “thus.” τώ γε κλαίοντε προσαυδήτην: “these two addressed him in tears,” dual demonstrative pronoun, dual nom. ptc., and dual 3rd pers. impf. verb. The narrator stresses that the parents work together and increases the effect of Hector not heeding their combined plea (de Jong). φίλον υἱὸν: “(their) dear son.” φίλος carries the sense of a possessive, “their own.”

91: πολλὰ: “intensively,” adverbial accusative. λισσομένω: dual nom. dep. mid. ptc. > λίσσομαι. Ἕκτορι: dat. of possession with θυμόν (Monro 143.1).

92: ἀλλ᾽ὅ γε: “but he in fact.” μίμν᾽: = μίμνε, “waited for,” unaugmented 3rd sg. transitive impf. > μίμνω, Attic μένω. ἰόντα: acc. sg. masc. ptc. > εἶμι.

93: ὡς δὲ: “just as,” introducing a simile. ἐπὶ: “over,” “near,” + dat. of place where. μένῃσι: 3rd pers. sg. pres. thematic subjunctive > μένω, with athematic ending, in an iterative subjunctive without ἄν. A simile in Homer is often in the subjunctive, and is viewed as indefinite and recurring (Monro 285.3.a).

94: βεβρωκὼς: nom. sg. pf. ptc. > βιβρώσκω. φάρμακ᾽: = φάρμακα, implying the belief that snake venom comes from the snake's consumption of poisonous plants. ἔδυ δέ τέ: 3rd sg. root aor. indicative > δύω, gnomic aorist with epic τε (see 22.22, with Monro 78.2).

95: σμερδαλέον: inner acc. neuter (“look a terrible look”) used adverbially (“terribly”). δέδορκεν: “he glares out,” pf. act. (de Jong). περὶ χειῇ: “around in his hole.”

96: ὣς: “so…,” closing the simile.

97: πύργῳ ἔπι: = ἐπὶ πύργῳ. προὔχοντι: “protruding,” “jutting out,” dat. pres. ptc. > προ-έχω, an instance of crasis (contraction of vowels across parts of compounds; see Smyth 6269, Goodell 35).

ἠμί, impf. ἦ: to say, speak. ἦ καί is used after a speech that is reported, where the same subject is continued for the following verb.

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.

γέρων –οντος ὁ: an old man

πολιός: gray, hoary

θρίξ τριχός ἡ: the hair of the head

ἕλκω: to draw, drag

τίλλω: to pluck, tear out

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

ἑτέρωθεν: from the other side

ὀδύρομαι: to lament, bewail, mourn for, grieve

δάκρυον -ου τό, also δάκρυ -υος τό: a tear

χέω, aor. ἔχεεν or ἔχευε, χύντο, perf. κέχυνται, plpf. κέχυτο: to pour, heap (of a funeral mound), throw into a heap; σὺν ὅρκια ἔχευαν, broke (threw into a disorderly heap) the oaths; ἀμφὶ υἱὸν ἐχεύατο πήχεα, threw (her) arms about (her) son; δάκρυ χέων, weeping

κόλπος –ου ὁ: bosom80

ἀνίημι, 2nd. pers. ind. ἀνιεῖς, fem. partic. ἀνιεῖσα, fut. ἀνήσει, aor. ἀνῆκε or ἀνέηκεν, aor. subj. ἀνήῃ, aor. partic. ἀνέντες: to let go, free, urge on

μαζός: breast

ἀνέχω, fut. ἀνέξομαι and ἀνσχήσεσθαι, aor. ἀνέσχον: to hold up, lift, raise; mid. to hold up under, be patient, endure, suffer, allow; draw up

μιν: him, her, it

πτερόεις πτερόεσσα πτερόεν: feathered, winged

προσαυδάω: to speak to, address

αἰδέομαι and αἴδομαι, aor. pass. partic. αἰδεσθείς: to feel honorable shame or self-respect, revere, be abashed before

ἐλεέω, aor. ἐλέησε: to pity, take pity

λαθικηδής: soothing

ἐπέχω, 2nd aor. ἐπέσχον, ἐπέσχε, aor. partic. ἐπισχών: to hold to (a person or to his lips)

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

ἀμύνω, aor. ἄμυνεν: to ward off, keep off, protect, defend, with dat. of interest or ablatival genitive.

δάιος: hostile, destructive; (pl. enemies)

ἐντός: within, inside85

πρόμος: fore-fighter, champion

σχέτλιος: persistent, stubborn, headstrong, implacable, harsh, cruel

κατακτείνω: to kill, slay, murder

κλαίω, opt. κλαίοισθα, impf. κλαῖε, fut. κλαύσομαι, κλαύονται: to weep, lament, wail90

λέχος –εος τό: a couch, bed, bier

θάλος –εος τό: shoot, scion; (metaphorically) child

ἄλοχος -ου ἡ: wife

πολύδωρος: richly dowered

ἄνευθε: without; far away (+gen)

Ἀργεῖος –η –ον: of/from Argos, Argive

κύων κυνός ὁ or ἡ: a dog

κατεσθίω, impf. κατήσθε: to eat up, devour

λίσσομαι: to beg, pray, entreat, beseech

μίμνω: to stay, stand fast, remain

πελώριος: monstrous, mighty

ἆσσον: nearer, very near

δράκων –οντος ὁ: serpent, snake

χειή: hole

ὀρέστερος: of the mountains (poet. for ὀρεινός)

βιβρώσκω, perf. partic. βεβρωκώς: to eat, feed on

φάρμακον –ου τό: herb

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

χόλος -ου ὁ: anger, rancor, bile

αἰνός –ή –όν: dread, dire, grim

σμερδαλέος: painful, dreadful, terrible95

δέρκομαι, pres. partic. δερκομένοιο, δερκόμενοι, perf. δέδορκεν: to look, gaze

ἑλίσσω, pres. mid. partic. ἑλισσόμενος: to turn around, curl, whirl around

χειά: a hole

ἄσβεστος: unquenchable, inextinguishable

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

ὑποχωρέω, aor. ὑπεχώρησαν: to retire, withdraw

πύργος –ου ὁ : tower, turreted surrounding wall; (fig.) rampart, defense, defender

προέχω, pres. partic. προύχοντι: to project

φαεινός –ή –όν: bright, brilliant, radiant

ἀσπίς –ίδος ἡ: shield

ἐρείδω: to lean, prop, support

 

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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-xxii-77-110