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Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 14.01.2022

Introduction: Although this, the third book of the "Odyssey", involves no action or dispute, it is remarkably readable and entertaining. Perhaps its central character is Nestor, the old king of Pylos, whose recollections, hospitable instincts, and love of the gods succeed in holding our attention throughout the book. Certainly he treats his visitors, the young Telemachus and the goddess Athene, albeit in the guise of Mentor, a former friend of Telemachus' father Odysseus, with considerable generosity. The beach, just north of  Pylos, on which Nestor is sacrificing black bulls...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 14.12.2021

Introduction: At the assembly which Telemachus calls at the beginning of this book, he is critical of the behaviour of the suitors, one of whom, Antinous, then blames Telemachus' mother, Penelope, for deceiving the suitors, and urges him to send her to her father so another marriage can be arranged for her. After Telemachus rejects this advice, the seer Halitherses interprets the flight of two eagles as indicating that the suitors are putting themselves at great risk by their misbehaviour, as Odysseus will soon be returning home to take his...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 20.11.2021

Introduction: One of the peculiarities of the "Odyssey" is that Odysseus, the Greek hero, whose travails are the subject of this book, does not actually make an appearance himself until Book V. Indeed, the first four books describe the plight of Odysseus' only son Telemachus in the prolonged absence of his father, and how he responds to the situation of great uncertainty in which he finds himself.  Because of his particular interest in the character of Odysseus, Sabidius has previously prioritised translations of Books V-XII, but, before embarking upon...

Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 18.08.2011

Introduction The introductory sections to previous translations on this blog of the "Odyssey", Book V (17th September 2010), Book VI (24th June 2011) and Book VII (9th July 2011) give relevant supplementary information to the whole work and to Homer and his style of writing. Book IX, which is translated below, is an enthralling, albeit gruesome, tale, in which Odysseus encounters, and eventually escapes from, Polyphemus, a savage member of the giant tribe of the Cyclopes, although not without losing six of his companions, whom Polyphemus eats. Like most of the Homeric epics, this book is exciting and quick-moving. Polyphemus' outrageous behaviour continues the theme, central to the whole work, of 'xenia' , that is, the duty of hospitality to strangers, or, in this case, the grievous abuse of it by Polyphemus, whose blinding is a just punishment for his killing of Odysseus' friends.
Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 09.07.2011

Introduction. As a sequel to Book VI, this book tells of how Odysseus manages to disarm the suspicions, and indeed to gain the support, of King Alcinous and Queen Arete. The 'topos' of 'xenia', the etiquette which is required in relation to hospitality to strangers, is at the centre of the book. In the end Odysseus is very well-treated, but the long silence of Arete, whose understanding Nausicaa has told him is crucial, allows the suspense to be maintained for much of the book.
Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 24.06.2011

Introduction. On 17th September 2010 Sabidius published on this blog an extract from Book V of Homer's "Odyssey". He has now translated the whole of Book VI, and this translation is hereby offered to his readers below. As much of the introduction to the extract from Book V is relevant here it is not repeated, but the reader is referred to it now. Book VI explores the themes of 'xenia' (hospitality) and its abuse, and survival through endurance and cunning. After Odysseus' terrible seven year imprisonment by the nymph Calypso on the island of Ogygea, he now has the pleasure of meeting the beautiful young Nausicaa, an exemplary maiden in all respects. The manner in which Odysseus addresses the dangers and temptations of the position in which he finds himself as a naked castaway is most intriguing.
Ancient Greek, Greek Texts / 17.09.2010

Introduction. In this piece of translation, Sabidius turns to Homer's second great epic poem, the "Odyssey", which is believed to have been committed to writing in the eighth century B.C. This is the story of the long and tortuous homeward journey of Odysseus after the ten year siege of Troy has been successfully completed. In fact, it takes Odysseus an equal period of time, ten years, to make his way home, and on the way he loses all his companions, who are drowned in a ship-wreck. At the beginning of these two short extracts from Book V, we find Odysseus in a particularly woe-begone state, weeping and wailing on the shore as he looks out over the sea. On the face of it, it seems strange that this hero of the Trojan war should have been reduced to such a maudlin state; however, according to the legend Odysseus was effectively Calypso's prisoner on her small island home of Ogygia for as many as seven out of the ten years of his 'Odyssey'. This makes his miserable condition a little more understandable perhaps!