Thursday, April 05, 2018


Warriors as Wolves

Homer, Iliad 16.156-167 (tr. Richmond Lattimore):
                                                                 And they, as wolves
who tear flesh raw, in whose hearts the battle fury is tireless,
who have brought down a great horned stag in the mountains, and then feed
on him, till the jowls of every wolf run blood, and then go
all in a pack to drink from a spring of dark-running water,        160
lapping with their lean tongues along the black edge of the surface
and belching up the clotted blood; in the heart of each one
is a spirit untremulous, but their bellies are full and groaning;
as such the lords of the Myrmidons and their men of counsel
around the brave henchman of swift-footed Aiakides        165
swarmed, and among them was standing warlike Achilleus
and urged on the fighting men with their shields, and the horses.

                                                           οἳ δὲ λύκοι ὣς
ὠμοφάγοι, τοῖσίν τε περὶ φρεσὶν ἄσπετος ἀλκή,
οἵ τ᾽ ἔλαφον κεραὸν μέγαν οὔρεσι δῃώσαντες
δάπτουσιν· πᾶσιν δὲ παρήϊον αἵματι φοινόν·
καί τ᾽ ἀγεληδὸν ἴασιν ἀπὸ κρήνης μελανύδρου        160
λάψοντες γλώσσῃσιν ἀραιῇσιν μέλαν ὕδωρ
ἄκρον ἐρευγόμενοι φόνον αἵματος· ἐν δέ τε θυμὸς
στήθεσιν ἄτρομός ἐστι, περιστένεται δέ τε γαστήρ·
τοῖοι Μυρμιδόνων ἡγήτορες ἠδὲ μέδοντες
ἀμφ᾽ ἀγαθὸν θεράποντα ποδώκεος Αἰακίδαο        165
ῥώοντ᾽· ἐν δ᾽ ἄρα τοῖσιν ἀρήϊος ἵστατ᾽ Ἀχιλλεύς,
ὀτρύνων ἵππους τε καὶ ἀνέρας ἀσπιδιώτας.
In their translations of this passage George Chapman (New come from currie of a stag) and Christopher Logue (They want a drink to wash the curry down) both use a word defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. curry | currie, n.3, as follows:
Obs. or arch.

The portions of an animal slain in the chase that were given to the hounds; the cutting up and disembowelling of the game; transf. any prey thrown to the hounds to be torn in pieces, or seized and torn in pieces by wild beasts: see quarry n.1.
Doubtless Chapman's readers understood currie as quarry, but do Logue's readers understand curry in the same way? Equally risible (to my ears) is a phrase from Cowper's translation of the same passage—from full maws flatulent.

Richard Janko on the simile, from his commentary:

Hermann Fränkel, Die homerischen Gleichnisse (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1921), pp. 73-75, § G.4 (click on each page image, more than once if necessary, to enlarge):

I wish someone would translate Fränkel's book into English.

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