Meligērun

(c) Manchester City Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
William Etty, The Sirens and Ulysses (1837)

“Δεῦρ᾽ ἄγ’ ἰών, πολύαιν’ Ὀδυσεῦ, μέγα κῦδος Ἀχαιῶν,
νῆα κατάστησον, ἵνα νωϊτέρην ὄπ’ ἀκούσῃς.
οὐ γάρ πώ τις τῇδε παρήλασε νηῒ μελαίνῃ,
πρίν γ’ ἡμέων μελίγηρυν ἀπὸ στομάτων ὄπ’ ἀκοῦσαι,
ἀλλ’ ὅ γε τερψάμενος νεῖται καὶ πλείονα εἰδώς.
ἴδμεν γάρ τοι πάνθ’ ὅσ’ ἐνὶ Τροίῃ εὐρείῃ
Ἀργεῖοι Τρῶές τε θεῶν ἰότητι μόγησαν,
ἴδμεν δ’, ὅσσα γένηται ἐπὶ χθονὶ πουλυβοτείρῃ.”
(Homer, Od. 12.184-191)

‘Come closer, famous Odysseus—Achaea’s pride and glory—
moor your ship on our coast so you can hear our song!
Never has any sailor passed our shores in his black craft
until he has heard the honeyed voices pouring from our lips,
and once he hears to his heart’s content sails on, a wiser man.
We know all the pains that Achaeans and Trojans once endured
on the spreading plain of Troy when the gods willed it so—
all that comes to pass on the fertile earth, we know it all!’
(tr. Robert Fagles)

Pannuchioi

Campfire_Pinecone

Οἱ δὲ μέγα φρονέοντες ἐπὶ πτολέμοιο γεφύρας
ἥατο παννύχιοι, πυρὰ δέ σφισι καίετο πολλά.
ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἄστρα φαεινὴν ἀμφὶ σελήνην
φαίνετ’ ἀριπρεπέα, ὅτε τ’ ἔπλετο νήνεμος αἰθήρ·
ἔκ τ’ ἔφανεν πᾶσαι σκοπιαὶ καὶ πρώονες ἄκροι
καὶ νάπαι οὐρανόθεν δ’ ἄρ’ ὑπερράγη ἄσπετος αἰθήρ,
πάντα δὲ εἴδεται ἄστρα, γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν·
τόσσα μεσηγὺ νεῶν ἠδὲ Ξάνθοιο ῥοάων
Τρώων καιόντων πυρὰ φαίνετο Ἰλιόθι πρό.
χίλι’ ἄρ’ ἐν πεδίῳ πυρὰ καίετο, πὰρ δὲ ἑκάστῳ
ἥατο πεντήκοντα σέλᾳ πυρὸς αἰθομένοιο.
ἵπποι δὲ κρῖ λευκὸν ἐρεπτόμενοι καὶ ὀλύρας
ἑσταότες παρ’ ὄχεσφιν ἐΰθρονον Ἠῶ μίμνον.
(Homer, Il. 8.553-565)

These then with high hearts stayed the whole night through along the lines of war, and their fires burned in multitudes. Just as in the sky about the gleaming moon the stars shine clear when the air is windless, and into view come all mountain peaks and high headlands and glades, and from heaven breaks open the infinite air, and all the stars are seen, and the shepherd rejoices in his heart; in such multitudes between the ships and the streams of Xanthus shone the fires that the Trojans kindled before Ilios. A thousand fires were burning in the plain and by each sat fifty men in the glow of the blazing fire. And their horses, eating of white barley and spelt, stood beside the chariots and waited for fair-throned Dawn. (tr. Augustus Taber Murray, revised by William F. Wyatt)

Kakophōnotatōn

06505-shipwreck_turner

Part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

βιαζόμενον δέ τινα πρὸς ἐναντίον ῥεῦμα ποταμοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὅπλων καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀντέχοντα, τὰ δ’ ὑποφερόμενον εἰσάγων ἀνακοπάς τε ποιήσει συλλαβῶν καὶ ἀναβολὰς χρόνων καὶ ἀντιστηριγμοὺς γραμμάτων

δεινὸν δ’ ἀμφ’ Ἀχιλῆα κυκώμενον ἵστατο κῦμα,
ὤθει δ’ ἐν σάκεϊ πίπτων ῥόος, οὐδὲ πόδεσσιν
εἶχε στηρίξασθαι. [Il. 21.240ss.]

ἀραττομένων δὲ περὶ πέτρας ἀνθρώπων ψόφον τε καὶ μόρον οἰκτρὸν ἐπιδεικνύμενος ἐπὶ τῶν ἀηδεστάτων τε καὶ κακοφωνοτάτων χρονιεῖ γραμμάτων οὐδαμῇ λεαίνων τὴν κατασκευὴν οὐδὲ ἡδύνων·

σύν τε δύω μάρψας ὥστε σκύλακας προτὶ γαίῃ
κόπτ’· ἐκ δ’ ἐγκέφαλος χαμάδις ῥέε, δεῦε δὲ γαῖαν. [Od. 9.289s.]

πολὺ ἂν ἔργον εἴη λέγειν, εἰ πάντων παραδείγματα βουλοίμην φέρειν ὧν ἄν τις ἀπαιτήσειε κατὰ τὸν τόπον τόνδε· ὥστε ἀρκεσθεὶς τοῖς εἰρημένοις ἐπὶ τὰ ἑξῆς μεταβήσομαι.

(Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Peri Suntheseōs Onomatōn 16.99-100)

And when he depicts a warrior in full armour forcing his way forward against the contrary current of a river, now holding his own, now being carried off his feet, he will introduce clashings of syllables, delays in the rhythm, and letters which hold up the flow:

Around Achilles swirled a terrible tempestuous wave:
Its current dashed against his shield and swept away his feet
From their firm stance.

When men are being dashed against rocks, and he is portraying the noise and their pitiable fate, he will dwell on the most unpleasant and ill-sounding letters, nowhere attempting to make the arrangement smooth or attractive:

A pair of them he snatched and dashed, like puppies on the ground.
Their brains flowed freely on the floor and incarnadined the rocks

It would be a long task if I should set myself to produce examples of all the usages that might be required to illustrate this subject. I shall therefore content myself with what has been said and proceed to the next topic.

(tr. Stephen Usher)

Dusekphorōtata

800px-odysseus_and_nausicaa

Part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

ὅταν δ’ οἰκτρὰν ἢ φοβερὰν ἢ ἀγέρωχον ὄψιν εἰσάγῃ, τῶν τε φωνηέντων οὐ τὰ κράτιστα θήσει ἀλλὰ <τὰ δυσηχέστατα, καὶ> τῶν ψοφοειδῶν ἢ ἀφώνων τὰ δυσεκφορώτατα λήψεται καὶ καταπυκνώσει τούτοις τὰς συλλαβάς, οἷά ἐστι ταυτί

σμερδαλέος δ’ αὐτῇσι φάνη κεκακωμένος ἅλμῃ. [Od. 6.137]

τῇ δ’ ἐπὶ μὲν Γοργῲ βλοσυρῶπις ἐστεφάνωτο
δεινὸν δερκομένη, περὶ δὲ Δεῖμός τε Φόβος τε. [Il. 11.36s.]

ποταμῶν δέ γε σύρρυσιν εἰς χωρίον ἓν καὶ πάταγον ὑδάτων ἀναμισγομένων ἐκμιμήσασθαι τῇ λέξει βουλόμενος οὐκ ἐργάσεται λείας συλλαβὰς ἀλλ’ ἰσχυρὰς καὶ ἀντιτύπους

ὡς δ’ ὅτε χείμαρροι ποταμοὶ κατ’ ὄρεσφι ῥέοντες
ἐς μισγάγκειαν συμβάλλετον ὄβριμον ὕδωρ. [Il. 4.452s.]

(Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Peri Suntheseōs Onomatōn 16.98-99)

But when he is introducing a scene that is pitiable, frightening or august, he will not employ the finest of the vowels, but will take <the most unpleasant-sounding and> those of the fricatives and the voiceless consonants that are the most difficult to pronounce and crowd his syllables with these, as in these lines:

He burst on them, a fearsome sight, all uglified with brine.

A Gorgon’s head of baleful mien embossed the centre orb
With Fear and Panic ranged around her terrifying glare.

When he wishes to represent in words the flowing together of rivers into one place and the noisy splash of mingling torrents, he will not render this with smooth syllables, but with strong and resounding ones:

E’en as the winter-swollen rivers rush from hillsides steep,
They hurl their torrents wild into the watersmeet below.

(tr. Stephen Usher)

Poluphōnotatos

gerardhomer-det1

Part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Ὁ δὴ πολυφωνότατος ἁπάντων ποιητῶν Ὅμηρος, ὅταν μὲν ὥραν ὄψεως εὐμόρφου καὶ κάλλος ἡδονῆς ἐπαγωγὸν ἐπιδείξασθαι βούληται, τῶν τε φωνηέντων τοῖς κρατίστοις χρήσεται καὶ τῶν ἡμιφώνων τοῖς μαλακωτάτοις, καὶ οὐ καταπυκνώσει τοῖς ἀφώνοις τὰς συλλαβὰς οὐδὲ συγκόψει τοὺς ἤχους παρατιθεὶς ἀλλήλοις τὰ δυσέκφορα, πραεῖαν δέ τινα ποιήσει τὴν ἁρμονίαν τῶν γραμμάτων καὶ ῥέουσαν ἀλύπως διὰ τῆς ἀκοῆς, ὡς ἔχει ταυτί

ἣ δ’ ἴεν ἐκ θαλάμοιο περίφρων Πηνελόπεια
Ἀρτέμιδι ἰκέλη ἠὲ χρυσῇ Ἀφροδίτῃ. [Od. 17.36s. = 19.53s.]

Δήλῳ δήποτε τοῖον Ἀπόλλωνος παρὰ βωμῷ
φοίνικος νέον ἔρνος ἀνερχόμενον ἐνόησα. [Od. 6.162s.]

καὶ Χλῶριν εἶδον περικαλλέα, τήν ποτε Νηλεὺς
γῆμεν ἑὸν μετὰ κάλλος, ἐπεὶ πόρε μυρία ἕδνα. [Od. 11.281s.]

(Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Peri Suntheseōs Onomatōn 16.97-98)

Now when Homer, the poet with the most voices of all, wishes to portray the freshness of a comely countenance and a beauty that brings delight, you will find him using the finest of the vowels and the softest of the semivowels, and not crowding his syllables with voiceless letters, nor destroying the flow of sound by juxtaposing words which are hard to pronounce. He will make the arrangement of the letters sound gentle, and make it flow through the ear without offending it, as in the following lines:

Penelope, queen of wisdom from her chamber forth had gone,
Like Artemis or golden Aphrodite’s form divine.

’Twas once at Delos that I saw hard by Apollo’s shrine,
A sapling palm whose youthful straightness matched such comely grace as thine.

And saw I Chloris passing fair, whom Neleus wed of yore,
Bestowing wedding gifts unnumbered, for her beauty’s sake.

(tr. Stephen Usher)

Damason

ingres-ambassadeurs-achille
J.A.D. Ingres, Les ambassadeurs d’Agamemnon et des principaux de l’armée grecque, précédés des hérauts, arrivent dans la tente d’Achille pour le prier de combattre (1801)

Καί σε τοσοῦτον ἔθηκα, θεοῖς ἐπιείκελ’ Ἀχιλλεῦ,
ἐκ θυμοῦ φιλέων, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἐθέλεσκες ἅμ’ ἄλλῳ
οὔτ’ ἐς δαῖτ᾽ ἰέναι οὔτ’ ἐν μεγάροισι πάσασθαι,
πρίν γ’ ὅτε δή σ’ ἐπ’ ἐμοῖσιν ἐγὼ γούνεσσι καθίσσας
ὄψου τ’ ἄσαιμι προταμὼν καὶ οἶνον ἐπισχών.
πολλάκι μοι κατέδευσας ἐπὶ στήθεσσι χιτῶνα
οἴνου ἀποβλύζων ἐν νηπιέῃ ἀλεγεινῇ.
ὣς ἐπὶ σοὶ μάλα πολλὰ πάθον καὶ πολλ’ ἐμόγησα,
τὰ φρονέων, ὅ μοι οὔ τι θεοὶ γόνον ἐξετέλειον
ἐξ ἐμεῦ. ἀλλὰ σὲ παῖδα, θεοῖς ἐπιείκελ’ Ἀχιλλεῦ,
ποιεύμην, ἵνα μοί ποτ’ ἀεικέα λοιγὸν ἀμύνῃς.
ἀλλ’, Ἀχιλεῦ, δάμασον θυμὸν μέγαν· οὐδέ τί σε χρὴ
νηλεὲς ἦτορ ἔχειν· στρεπτοὶ δέ τε καὶ θεοὶ αὐτοί,
τῶν περ καὶ μείζων ἀρετὴ τιμή τε βίη τε.
(Homer, Il. 9.485-498)

And I made you what you are – strong as the gods, Achilles –
I loved you from the heart. You’d never go with another
to banquet on the town or feast in your own halls.
Never, until I’d sat you down on my knees
and cut you the first bits of meat, remember?
You’d eat your fill, I’d hold the cup to your lips
and all too often you soaked the shirt on my chest,
spitting up some wine, a baby’s way… a misery.
Oh I had my share of troubles for you, Achilles,
did my share of labor. Brooding, never forgetting
the gods would bring no son of mine to birth,
not from my own loins. So you, Achilles –
great godlike Achilles – I made you my son, I tried,
so someday you might fight disaster off my back.
But now, Achilles, beat down your mounting fury!
It’s wrong to have such an iron, ruthless heart.
Even the gods themselves can bend and change,
and theirs is the greater power, honor, strength.
(tr. Robert Fagles)

Olumpon

c35e00f0c5973577647f45e46f4200c6

τοῦτον οὖν ἔχει τὸν λόγον ὁ θεὸς ἐν κόσμῳ, συνέχων τὴν τῶν ὅλων ἁρμονίαν τε καὶ σωτηρίαν, πλὴν οὔτε μέσος ὤν, ἔνθα ἡ γῆ τε καὶ ὁ θολερὸς τόπος οὗτος, ἀλλ’ ἄνω καθαρὸς ἐν καθαρῷ χωρῷ βεβηκώς, ὃν ἐτύμως καλοῦμεν οὐρανὸν μὲν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὅρον εἶναι εἶναι τὸν ἄνω, Ὄλυμπον δὲ οἷον ὁλολαμπῆ τε καὶ παντὸς ζόφου καὶ ἀτάκτου κινήματος κεχωρισμένον, οἷα γίνεται παρ’ ἡμῖν διὰ χειμῶνος καὶ ἀνέμων βίας, ὥσπερ ἔφη καὶ ὁ ποιητὴς
Οὔλυμπόνδ’, ὅθι φασὶ θεῶν ἕδος ἀσφαλὲς αἰεὶ
ἔμμεναι· οὔτ’ ἀνέμοισι τινάσσεται οὔτε ποτ’ ὄμβρῳ
δεύεται, οὔτε χιὼν ἐπιπίλναται, ἀλλὰ μάλ’ αἴθρη
πέπταται ἀνέφελος, λευκὴ δ’ ἐπιδέδρομεν αἴγλη. [Homer, Od. 6.42-45]
(Pseudo-Aristotle, Peri Kosmou 400a3-14)

And this is the position held in the cosmos by God, who maintains the orderliness and preservation of the whole: except that he is not in the centre – for there lies the earth, this turbulent, troubled place – but high aloft, pure in a pure region, which we rightly call “heaven” (οὐρανός) because it forms the uppermost boundary (ὅρος… ἄνω) or “Olympus” because it shines brightly all over (ὁλολαμπής) and is removed from all darkness and disorderly motion such as occurs among us when there is a storm or a violent wind; as the poet says,
To Olympus, where they say the gods’ dwelling stands
always safe; it is not shaken by winds, nor drenched
by showers of rain, nor does snow come near it; always unclouded
the air spreads out, and a white radiance lies upon it.
(tr. D.J. Furley)