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- The Odyssey - 60/65 -


whistles through rigging or some other obstacle that cuts it.

{24} cf. "Il." v.20. [Greek] The Odyssean line is [Greek]. There can be no doubt that the Odyssean line was suggested by the Iliadic, but nothing can explain why Idaeus jumping from his chariot should suggest to the writer of the "Odyssey" the sun jumping from the sea. The probability is that she never gave the matter a thought, but took the line in question as an effect of saturation with the "Iliad," and of unconscious cerebration. The "Odyssey" contains many such examples.

{25} The heart, liver, lights, kidneys, etc. were taken out from the inside and eaten first as being more readily cooked; the [Greek], or bone meat, was cooking while the [Greek] or inward parts were being eaten. I imagine that the thigh bones made a kind of gridiron, while at the same time the marrow inside them got cooked.

{26} i.e. skewers, either single, double, or even five pronged. The meat would be pierced with the skewer, and laid over the ashes to grill--the two ends of the skewer being supported in whatever way convenient. Meat so cooking may be seen in any eating house in Smyrna, or any Eastern town. When I rode across the Troad from the Dardanelles to Hissarlik and Mount Ida, I noticed that my dragoman and his men did all our outdoor cooking exactly in the Odyssean and Iliadic fashion.

{27} cf. "Il." xvii. 567. [Greek] The Odyssean lines are-- [Greek]

{28} Reading [Greek] for [Greek], cf. "Od." i.186.

{29} The geography of the Aegean as above described is correct, but is probably taken from the lost poem, the Nosti, the existence of which is referred to "Od." i.326,327 and 350, etc. A glance at the map will show that heaven advised its supplicants quite correctly.

{30} The writer--ever jealous for the honour of women--extenuates Clytemnestra's guilt as far as possible, and explains it as due to her having been left unprotected, and fallen into the hands of a wicked man.

{31} The Greek is [Greek] cf. "Iliad" ii. 408 [Greek] Surely the [Greek] of the Odyssean passage was due to the [Greek] of the "Iliad." No other reason suggests itself for the making Menelaus return on the very day of the feast given by Orestes. The fact that in the "Iliad" Menelaus came to a banquet without waiting for an invitation, determines the writer of the "Odyssey" to make him come to a banquet, also uninvited, but as circumstances did not permit of his having been invited, his coming uninvited is shown to have been due to chance. I do not think the authoress thought all this out, but attribute the strangeness of the coincidence to unconscious cerebration and saturation.

{32} cf. "Il." i.458, ii. 421. The writer here interrupts an Iliadic passage (to which she returns immediately) for the double purpose of dwelling upon the slaughter of the heifer, and of letting Nestor's wife and daughter enjoy it also. A male writer, if he was borrowing from the "Iliad," would have stuck to his borrowing.

{33} cf. "Il." xxiv. 587,588 where the lines refer to the washing the dead body of Hector.

{34} See illustration on opposite page. The yard is typical of many that may be seen in Sicily. The existing ground-plan is probably unmodified from Odyssean, and indeed long pre-Odyssean times, but the earlier buildings would have no arches, and would, one would suppose, be mainly timber. The Odyssean [Greek] were the sheds that ran round the yard as the arches do now. The [Greek] was the one through which the main entrance passed, and which was hence "noisy," or reverberating. It had an upper story in which visitors were often lodged.

{35} This journey is an impossible one. Telemachus and Pisistratus would have been obliged to drive over the Taygetus range, over which there has never yet been a road for wheeled vehicles. It is plain therefore that the audience for whom the "Odyssey" was written was one that would be unlikely to know anything about the topography of the Peloponnese, so that the writer might take what liberties she chose.

{36} The lines which I have enclosed in brackets are evidently an afterthought--added probably by the writer herself--for they evince the same instinctively greater interest in anything that may concern a woman, which is so noticeable throughout the poem. There is no further sign of any special festivities nor of any other guests than Telemachus and Pisistratus, until lines 621-624 (ordinarily enclosed in brackets) are abruptly introduced, probably with a view of trying to carry off the introduction of the lines now in question.

The addition was, I imagine, suggested by a desire to excuse and explain the non-appearance of Hermione in bk. xv., as also of both Hermione and Megapenthes in the rest of bk. iv. Megapenthes in bk. xv. seems to be still a bachelor: the presumption therefore is that bk. xv. was written before the story of his marriage here given. I take it he is only married here because his sister is being married. She having been properly attended to, Megapenthes might as well be married at the same time. Hermione could not now be less than thirty.

I have dealt with this passage somewhat more fully in my "Authoress of the Odyssey", p.136-138. See also p. 256 of the same book.

{37} Sparta and Lacedaemon are here treated as two different places, though in other parts of the poem it is clear that the writer understands them as one. The catalogue in the "Iliad," which the writer is here presumably following, makes the same mistake ("Il." ii. 581,582)

{38} These last three lines are identical with "Il." vxiii. 604-606.

{39} From the Greek [Greek] it is plain that Menelaus took up the piece of meat with his fingers.

{40} Amber is never mentioned in the "Iliad." Sicily, where I suppose the "Odyssey" to have been written, has always been, and still is, one of the principal amber producing countries. It was probably the only one known in the Odyssean age. See "The Authoress of the Odyssey", p260.

{41} This no doubt refers to the story told in the last poem of the Cypria about Paris and Helen robbing Menelaus of the greater part of his treasures, when they sailed together for Troy.

{42} It is inconceivable that Helen should enter thus, in the middle of supper, intending to work with her distaff, if great festivities were going on. Telemachus and Pisistratus are evidently dining en famille.

{43} In the Italian insurrection of 1848, eight young men who were being hotly pursued by the Austrian police hid themselves inside Donatello's colossal wooden horse in the Salone at Padua, and remained there for a week being fed by their confederates. In 1898 the last survivor was carried round Padua in triumph.

{44} The Greek is [Greek]. Is it unfair to argue that the writer is a person of somewhat delicate sensibility, to whom a strong smell of fish is distasteful?

{45} The Greek is [Greek]. I believe this to be a hit at the writer's own countrymen who were of Phocaean descent, and the next following line to be a rejoinder to complaints made against her in bk. vi. 273-288, to the effect that she gave herself airs and would marry none of her own people. For that the writer of the "Odyssey" was the person who has been introduced into the poem under the name of Nausicaa, I cannot bring myself to question. I may remind English readers that [Greek] (i.e. phoca) means "seal." Seals almost always appear on Phocaean coins.

{46} Surely here again we are in the hands of a writer of delicate sensibility. It is not as though the seals were stale; they had only just been killed. The writer, however is obviously laughing at her own countrymen, and insulting them as openly as she dares.

{47} We were told above (lines 357,357) that it was only one day's sail.

{48} I give the usual translation, but I do not believe the Greek will warrant it. The Greek reads [Greek].

This is usually held to mean that Ithaca is an island fit for breeding goats, and on that account more delectable to the speaker than it would have been if it were fit for breeding horses. I find little authority for such a translation; the most equitable translation of the text as it stands is, "Ithaca is an island fit for breeding goats, and delectable rather than fit for breeding horses; for not one of the islands is good driving ground, nor well meadowed." Surely the writer does not mean that a pleasant or delectable island would not be fit for breeding horses? The most equitable translation, therefore, of the present text being thus halt and impotent, we may suspect corruption, and I hazard the following emendation, though I have not adopted it in my translation, as fearing that it would be deemed too fanciful. I would read:--[Greek].

As far as scanning goes the [Greek] is not necessary; [Greek] iv. 72, [Greek] iv. 233, to go no further afield than earlier lines of the same book, give sufficient authority for [Greek], but the [Greek] would not be redundant; it would emphasise the surprise of the contrast, and I should prefer to have it, though it is not very important either way. This reading of course should be translated "Ithaca is an island fit for breeding goats, and (by your leave) itself a horseman rather than fit for breeding horses--for not one of the islands is good and well meadowed ground."

This would be sure to baffle the Alexandrian editors. "How," they would ask themselves, "could an island be a horseman?" and they would cast about for an emendation. A visit to the top of Mt. Eryx might perhaps make the meaning intelligible, and suggest my proposed restoration of the text to the reader as readily as it did to myself.

I have elsewhere stated my conviction that the writer of the


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