Thursday, November 26, 2015


Holiday Festivities

Homer, Odyssey 9.5-11 (tr. Richmond Lattimore):
For I think there is no occasion accomplished that is more pleasant        5
than when festivity holds sway among all the populace,
and the feasters up and down the houses are sitting in order
and listening to the singer, and beside them the tables are loaded
with bread and meats, and from the mixing bowl the wine steward
draws the wine and carries it about and fills the cups. This        10
seems to my own mind to be the best of occasions.

οὐ γὰρ ἐγώ γέ τί φημι τέλος χαριέστερον εἶναι        5
ἢ ὅτ᾽ ἐυφροσύνη μὲν ἔχῃ κάτα δῆμον ἅπαντα,
δαιτυμόνες δ᾽ ἀνὰ δώματ᾽ ἀκουάζωνται ἀοιδοῦ
ἥμενοι ἑξείης, παρὰ δὲ πλήθωσι τράπεζαι
σίτου καὶ κρειῶν, μέθυ δ᾽ ἐκ κρητῆρος ἀφύσσων
οἰνοχόος φορέῃσι καὶ ἐγχείῃ δεπάεσσι·        10
τοῦτό τί μοι κάλλιστον ἐνὶ φρεσὶν εἴδεται εἶναι.
Alfred Heubeck ad loc.:
'There is no fulfilment (τέλος; cf. P. Ambrose, Glotta, xliii (1965), 38-62, esp. 59-61), which brings greater joy (J. Latacz, Zum Wortfeld "Freude" in der Sprache Homers (Heidelberg, 1966), 100-1) than when ...' Odysseus praises as ideal the situation of a people filled (ἔχῃ κάτα = κατέχῃ) with joy as they listen to a bard while feasting and drinking (μέθυ = οἶνος) to their hearts' content: the joyful, lavish banquet is an outward and visible sign of a stable and peacefully ordered community as exemplified by the Phaeacian utopia.
Plato, party-pooper and spoil-sport, throws a turd into the punch-bowl (κρατήρ) when he quotes Odyssey 9.8-10 and asks (Republic 3.4 = 390 b, tr. Paul Shorey):
Do you think the hearing of that sort of thing will conduce to a young man's temperance or self-control?

δοκεῖ σοι ἐπιτήδειον εἶναι πρὸς ἐγκράτειαν ἑαυτοῦ ἀκούειν νέῳ;

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?