Saturday, June 12, 2010


Some Homeric Similes

All translations are by Richmond Lattimore.

Iliad 4.482-487 (Simoesios, slain by Aias):
He dropped then to the ground in the dust, like some black poplar,
which in the land low-lying about a great marsh grows
smooth trimmed yet with branches growing at the uttermost tree-top:
one which a man, a maker of chariots, fells with the shining
iron, to bend it into a wheel for a fine-wrought chariot,
and the tree lies hardening by the banks of a river.

ὃ δ᾽ ἐν κονίῃσι χαμαὶ πέσεν αἴγειρος ὣς
ἥ ῥά τ᾽ ἐν εἱαμενῇ ἕλεος μεγάλοιο πεφύκει
λείη, ἀτάρ τέ οἱ ὄζοι ἐπ᾽ ἀκροτάτῃ πεφύασι·
τὴν μέν θ᾽ ἁρματοπηγὸς ἀνὴρ αἴθωνι σιδήρῳ
ἐξέταμ᾽, ὄφρα ἴτυν κάμψῃ περικαλλέϊ δίφρῳ·
ἣ μέν τ᾽ ἀζομένη κεῖται ποταμοῖο παρ᾽ ὄχθας.
Iliad 5.559-560 (Orsilochos and Krethon, slain by Aineias):
Such were these two who beaten under the hands of Aineias
crashed now to the ground as if they were two tall pine trees.

τοίω τὼ χείρεσσιν ὑπ᾽ Αἰνείαο δαμέντε
καππεσέτην, ἐλάτῃσιν ἐοικότες ὑψηλῇσι.
Iliad 13.389-391 (Asios, slain by Idomeneus) = 16.482-484 (Sarpedon, slain by Patroklos):
He fell, as when an oak goes down or a white poplar,
or like a towering pine tree which in the mountains the carpenters
have hewn down with their whetted axes to make a ship timber.

ἤριπε δ᾽ ὡς ὅτε τις δρῦς ἤριπεν ἢ ἀχερωῒς
ἠὲ πίτυς βλωθρή, τήν τ᾽ οὔρεσι τέκτονες ἄνδρες
ἐξέταμον πελέκεσσι νεήκεσι νήϊον εἶναι.

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