Wednesday, May 24, 2023


An Unanswered Prayer

Homer, Iliad 6.305-311 (uttered by the Trojan Theano; tr. A.T. Murray, rev. William F. Wyatt):
"Lady Athene, you who guard our city, fairest among goddesses,
break now the spear of Diomedes, and grant also that he himself
may fall headlong before the Scaean gates,
so that we may now immediately sacrifice to you in your shrine twelve year-old heifers
that have not felt the goad, if you will take pity on
the city and the Trojans' wives and their little ones."
So she spoke praying, but Pallas Athene denied the prayer.

"πότνι᾽ Ἀθηναίη ἐρυσίπτολι δῖα θεάων        305
ἆξον δὴ ἔγχος Διομήδεος, ἠδὲ καὶ αὐτὸν
πρηνέα δὸς πεσέειν Σκαιῶν προπάροιθε πυλάων,
ὄφρά τοι αὐτίκα νῦν δυοκαίδεκα βοῦς ἐνὶ νηῷ
ἤνις ἠκέστας ἱερεύσομεν, αἴ κ᾽ ἐλεήσῃς
ἄστύ τε καὶ Τρώων ἀλόχους καὶ νήπια τέκνα."        310
ὣς ἔφατ᾽ εὐχομένη, ἀνένευε δὲ Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη.

305 ἐρυσίπτολι codd.: ῥυσίπτολι var. lect. apud schol. AT
306 ἆξον δὴ ἔγχος codd.: ἔγχος δὴ ἆξον Payne Knight
311 ath. Aristarchus
Cf. Vergil, Aeneid 1.479-482 (tr. J.W. Mackail):
Meanwhile the Ilian women went with disordered tresses to unfriendly Pallas' temple, and bore the votive garment, mournfully beating their breasts with open hands: the goddess turning away held her eyes fast on the ground.

interea ad templum non aequae Palladis ibant
crinibus Iliades passis peplumque ferebant,
suppliciter tristes et tunsae pectora palmis;
diva solo fixos oculos aversa tenebat.
and 11.483-485:
Maiden armipotent, Tritonian, sovereign of war, break with thine hand the spear of the Phrygian robber, hurl him prone to earth and dash him down beneath our lofty gates.

armipotens, praeses belli, Tritonia virgo,
frange manu telum Phrygii praedonis, et ipsum
pronum sterne solo portisque effunde sub altis.
See Georg Nicolaus Knauer, Die Aeneis und Homer (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1964), pp. 287, 289.

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