Friday, November 18, 2016



Homer, Iliad 20.244-255 (Aeneas addressing Achilles; tr. Richmond Lattimore):
But come, let us no longer stand here talking of these things
like children, here in the space between the advancing armies.        245
For there are harsh things enough that could be spoken against us
both, a ship of a hundred locks could not carry the burden.
The tongue of man is a twisty thing, there are plenty of words there
of every kind, the range of words is wide, and their variance.
The sort of thing you say is the thing that will be said to you.        250
But what have you and I to do with the need for squabbling
and hurling insults at each other, as if we were two wives
who when they have fallen upon a heart-perishing quarrel
go out in the street and say abusive things to each other,
much true, and much that is not, and it is their rage that drives them.        255

ἀλλ᾽ ἄγε μηκέτι ταῦτα λεγώμεθα νηπύτιοι ὣς
ἑσταότ᾽ ἐν μέσσῃ ὑσμίνῃ δηϊοτῆτος.        245
ἔστι γὰρ ἀμφοτέροισιν ὀνείδεα μυθήσασθαι
πολλὰ μάλ᾽, οὐδ᾽ ἂν νηῦς ἑκατόζυγος ἄχθος ἄροιτο.
στρεπτὴ δὲ γλῶσσ᾽ ἐστὶ βροτῶν, πολέες δ᾽ ἔνι μῦθοι
παντοῖοι, ἐπέων δὲ πολὺς νομὸς ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα.
ὁπποῖόν κ᾽ εἴπῃσθα ἔπος, τοῖόν κ᾽ ἐπακούσαις.        250
ἀλλὰ τί ἢ ἔριδας καὶ νείκεα νῶϊν ἀνάγκη
νεικεῖν ἀλλήλοισιν ἐναντίον ὥς τε γυναῖκας,
αἵ τε χολωσάμεναι ἔριδος πέρι θυμοβόροιο
νεικεῦσ᾽ ἀλλήλῃσι μέσην ἐς ἄγυιαν ἰοῦσαι
πόλλ᾽ ἐτεά τε καὶ οὐκί· χόλος δέ τε καὶ τὰ κελεύει.        255
This is part of Aeneas' "verbose arguments against prolixity" (Mark W. Edwards in his commentary).

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