Homer


The Illiad

[Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto. Zeus sends dreams.]

An ordinary mortal is no match for anyone in authority he angers. Even if his superior swallows his anger for the moment, he will still nurse his grievance till the day when he can settle the account. 1-80

How can you expect any of the men to comply with you willingly when you send them on a raid or into battle? It was no quarrel with Trojan warriors that brought me here to fight. 1-150

pg. 7 [Agamemnon's demand for compensation, but remember the context of teme]

If you are a great warrior it is because the god made you so. 1-178

[Zeus drives the storm cloud]

pg. 17 [Achilles's fit, remember the context of teme]

You will make me fall foul of my wife Hera when she heaps me with abuse for this, as she will. Even as things are, she slanders me constantly before the other gods and accuses me of helping the Trojans in this war. 1-518

And Hera had seen and knew that he and silver-footed Thetis...had hatched a plot between them. At once she spoke to Zeus with cutting words: "Which god has been hatching plots with you this time, you arch-deceiver? How like you it is to wait till my back is turned and then cook up some secret schemes, on your own. You have never been willing to confide in me. 1-536

"Dread son of Cronos," answered Hera, "what are you talking about? Surely it was never my way to pester you with questions; you are at liberty to make whatever decisions you like. But now I have a terrible fear that you have been talked round by silver-footed Thetis...she sat with you this morning and took you by the knees. This makes me suppose that you have given your word to her to honor Achilles and let the Greeks be slaughtered in their multitudes by their ships." Zeus replied, "Remarkable, you can never stop supposing. I can keep no secrets from you." "Wife," said Jove, "I can do nothing but you suspect me and find it out. You will take nothing by it, for I shall only dislike you the more, and it will go harder with you. 1-552

It is not right for one in authority who has an army in his charge, a man with much on his mind, to sleep all night. 2-23

Rumor, the messenger of Zeus, spread through them like fire, speeding their steps. 2-92

We cannot all be leaders here; and mob rule is a bad thing. 2-202

They all sat down and were brought to order in their places, but for one man who refused to hold his tongue. This was Thersites, who loved the sound of his own voice and had a large store of insulting language at his disposal. He used this gratuitously and offensively to needle his masters whenever he thought it would raise a laugh among the troops. 2-212

Tell me now you Muses who live on Olympus, since you are goddesses, are present everywhere and know everything, while we men have only hearsay to go on and know nothing. 2-485

pg. 37 [Story of Thamyris the Thracian Poet]

pg. 46 "Paris," said he, "evil-hearted Paris, fair to see, but woman-mad, and false of tongue, would that you had never been born, or that you had died unwed. Better so, than live to be disgraced and looked askance at. Will not the Achaeans mock at us and say that we have sent one to champion us who is fair to see but who has neither wit nor courage? Did you not, such as you are, get your following together and sail beyond the seas? Did you not from your a far country carry off a lovely woman wedded among a people of warriors--to bring sorrow upon your father, your city, and your whole country, but joy to your enemies, and hang-dog shamefacedness to yourself? And now can you not dare face Menelaus and learn what manner of man he is whose wife you have stolen? Where indeed would be your lyre and your love-tricks, your comely locks and your fair favour, when you were lying in the dust before him? The Trojans are a weak-kneed people, or ere this you would have had a shirt of stones for the wrongs you have done them." 3-39

The glorious gifts which the gods themselves choose to lavish on a man are not to be despised; no man ever acquires them by his own efforts. 3-65

Young men are never dependable, but when an old man takes a hand in such affairs, he considers the future as well as the past, and the result is the best for both parties. 3-108

You would have taken him for some surly or simply stupid fellow. But when he liberated that great voice from his chest and poured out words like the snows of winter, there was no man alive who could compete with him. When we looked at him then, we were no longer surprised at the thought of his appearance. 3-220

But the gods do not grant us all their favors at one time. I was a young man then; now age presses hard upon me. Yet for all that I shall still be with my charioteers and in command. Their tactics and orders come from me - that's the privilege of age - even if the spear is left to younger men than myself, who can rely on their muscle. 4-320

He challenged them to athletic contests and won easily in every case, since he had Athena to help him. This infuriated the horse-racing Thebans and, when Tydeus left, they gathered and laid an ambush in his path. 4-388

You would not think so large an army was on the march or had a voice, so silent were they, in fear of their commanders. 4-430

pg. 70 [Terror, Panic, Strife, Ocean; the warriors usually try and acquire the possessions of the slain often resulting in their own death, sometimes they have followers who do this for them]

pg. 77 [Atrytone?]

It's not in my nature to avoid a fight or run away and hide. My desire to win is as strong as ever. 5-255

pg. 83 [Enyo?, ichor?]

Isn't it enough for you to seduce the feeble wits of women? 5-349

pg. 84 [Dione, Hermes, Eriboea, Paeeon, Leto, Artemis]

You can plead with the leaders of your allies, but your priority day and night should be to make a determined stand yourself and give no one any grounds for harsh criticism. 5-489

Keep your courage up and in the heat of the battle fear nothing but dishonor in each other's eyes. When warriors fear disgrace, more are saved than killed. There's no honor or salvation to be found in flight. 5-529

pg. 93 [Hebe?, Fear, Strife, Force, Pursuit, Confusion, the Seasons, Delusion, Panic, Rout]

pg. 95 [Stentor - stentorian]

Great hearted Diomedes, why ask after my family? The family of man is like the leaves of the trees. The wind scatters them on the ground, but the trees burst into bud and grow fresh leaves when the spring comes round. So with the family of man, one generation grows and the other fades. 6-146

pg. 103 The reason was that Proteus's wife godlike Anteia was mad for him to make secret love to her. But prudent Bellerophon was a man of sound principles and refused. So Anteia went to lord Proteus with a lying tale and said, "Proteus, Bellerophon wanted to seduce me, but I refused. Kill him, or may you die yourself." The king was angered, but shrank from killing Bellerophon, so he sent him to Lycia with lying letters of introduction, written on a folded tablet, and containing much ill against the bearer. He bade Bellerophon show these letters to his father-in-law, to the end that he might thus perish; Bellerophon therefore went to Lycia, and the gods convoyed him safely. 6-160

victory switches from one man to another. 6-339

Withdraw, however distressing it may be for you. Don't fight a better man just to make a contest of it. 7-109

Hector can call you a coward and a weakling to his heart's content, but he won't convince the Trojans and Dardanians, nor those proud sheild-bearing Trojans' wives whose strong husbands you've hurled in the dust. 8-153

pg. 141 [Hyperion]

While the Trojans kept their watch, the Greek army was haunted by panic and chilling thoughts of flight. All their leaders were overwhelmed with inconsolable grief at their losses...So Greek morale was shattered. 9-1

Then again, Zeus has granted you some things but not others. He gave you the sceptre of power and the honor it brings with it, but he did not give you courage - and courage is the secret of authority. 9-36

for that man is indeed an outlaw from clan, law, and home who is in love with the bitter taste of internal discord. 9-63

You are ruler over many people, for whose guidance Zeus granted you the sceptre and the authority to take decisions. So you, above all, must both give and listen to advice and carry out the suggestions that others may feel bound to put forward in the common interest. You will get the credit, whatever the proposal. 9-97

We were all against it; and I for one did my best to dissuade you. But your arrogant temper got the better of you, and you dishonored a man of the highest distinction, whom the gods themselves respected, by taking and keeping his prize. Even at this late hour, then, we should consider how to talk him round and appease him with soothing gifts and winning words. 9-108

But since I gave in to a lamentable impulse and committed this act of blind folly, I am willing to make amends and give him limitless compensation. 9-118

You for one will regret it later when disaster has finally struck, since there will be no way of finding a remedy. Give some thought, before that stage is reached. 9-249

What you must do is keep a firm grip on that proud spirit of yours. Fellow feeling is better. Avoid destructive quarrels, and Greeks young and old will look up to you all the more. 9-256

Since all along men have been given no reward for battling relentlessly with the enemy day in, day out. The man who stays put gets the same share as the man who fights his best. Cowards and brave men are given equal respect. The same death awaits the man who does much, and the man who does nothing. All I have suffered by constantly risking my life in battle has left me no better off than anyone else. As a bird brings every morsel she finds to her unfledged chicks, however hard it goes with her, so I have spent many a sleepless night and fought through many a bloody day battling with men for the sake of women. 9-315

For nothing, as I now see it, equals the value of life - not the wealth they say prosperous Illium possessed in earlier days, when there was peace, before the coming of the Greeks, nor all the treasure piled up behind the stone threshold of Phoebus Apollo in rocky Delphi. Cattle and fat sheep can be lifted. Tripods and chestnut horses can be procured. But you cannot lift or procure a man's life, when once the breath has left his lips. 9-401

Master your tremendous pride. 9-496

pg. 157 There are goddesses of suplication, Litae, daughters of Almighty Zeus. These Litae are wrinkled creatures, limping, eyes askance, who make it their business to pursue Delusion. But Delusion is strong and sure footed, because she is quick enough to leave them all behind. Roaming the world, Delusion brings mankind to grief. But the Litae come after and put the trouble right. The man who respects these daughters of Zeus when they approach him is greatly blessed by them, and they listen to his prayers. But when a man hardens his heart and rebuffs them, they go and supplicate Zeus, asking that Delusion accompany the man so that he comes to grief and pays the price. 9-502

But many a sensible man at times finds his heart swelling with rage. 9-553

pg. 159 [The fight over the Artemis's Boar], [Example of Meleager]

And speak up to the men wherever you go. Tell them to remain on the alert, and mention their lineage and father's name. Compliment them all and don't stand on ceremony. 10-67

pg. 167 [Menelaus was actively doing what they thought he should].

In that case, no one will have a word to say against him or fail to pay attention when he takes command and urges them on. 10-129

But if someone else came with me, I'd feel more comfortable and also more inclined to take a risk. When men work in pairs, one sees advantages the other would miss, while a man on his own may see the possibilities, but lack the necessary imagination and intelligence. 10-221

how could I overlook godlike Odysseus, who puts a willing heart and soul into everything he does. 10-243

pg. 176 [Dolon's fate]

pg. 180 [Tithonus?]

pg. 184 [Agamemnon's vengence]

when Iphidamas reached the stage of youthful ambition. 11-226

grief for his fallen brother blinded him. 11-250

pg. 187 [Eileithyiae goddesses]

You know well enough what a difficult man he is, quite capable of finding fault without reason. 11-652

But you are older than he is. It is for you to give him sound advice, make suggestions and give him a lead which he will follow to his own advantage. 11-787

A friend's advice is often the most effective. 11-794

there is little enough respite in war. 11-801

Some they encouraged, but others who had abandoned all resistance, they harshly rebuked: "Friends, it takes all sorts to make an army - the good, the bad, and the indifferent. 12-267

They were not only weakened physically by complete exhaustion but also demoralized at the sight of the Trojans who had swarmed across the great wall in such numbers. When they looked at them, their eyes filled with tears and they saw no hope of salvation. 13-86

Pg. 219 Yet even if the whole blame does rest with Agamemnon son of Atreus for insulting swift-footed Achilles, we have no excuse whatever for giving up the struggle. But brave men can recover, let's be quick to put things right. For instance, it is not a pretty sight to see you, who are numbered among the best men in the army, slackening that fighting spirit of yours like this. I could forgive some feeble wretch for giving up the struggle. But you are different, and with you I quarrel heartily. You weaklings, this slackness of yours will make a bad situation far worse. Think, each of you, of the shame of your conduct and how outraged others will be at it in a crisis like this. 13-111

Even the poorest fighters turn into brave men when they stand side by side; and you and I know how to take on the very best. 13-237

pg. 223 There's nothing like an ambush for bringing a man's worth to light and picking out the wretches from the brave. The wretch changes color all the time, peering about him this way and that; he can't sit still for nervousness, but fidgets about, shifting from one foot to the other; his heart thumps in his chest as he conjures up death's demons and his teeth chatter. But the brave man never changes color at all and is not unduly afraid from the moment he settles down in ambush with the rest; all he prays for is to come to grips with the enemy as soon as possible. 13-277

[While the war was raging] But we mustn't stay here and chatter like little boys, or people may become resentful. 13-292

People tire of everything, even of sleep and love-making, of sweet music and the elegant dance. 13-635

pg. 235 Hector, you are an obstinate man when it comes to taking good advice. Just because the gods gave you uncommon fighting ability, you like to think you know better than anyone else about tactics too. But you cannot possibly take responsibility for everything. The god gives men differing gifts. One man can fight, another dance, another sing poetry to the lyre; and yet another is endowed by far-thundering Zeus with a good brain, to the advantage of many of his friends. It saves them from disaster time and again, as he knows better than they do. 13-726

The Greeks will never keep a steady front while their ships are being dragged down to the sea. They will do nothing but look over their shoulders and lose all their will to fight. That will be the fatal effect of your tactics, commander. 14-101

pg. 243 [Hera's plan, though she was disgusted with Zeus]

The lady Hera deceptively replied, "Give me Love and Desire. The power by which you yourself subdue gods and men alike. 14-198

Sexual pleasure and Desire and Intimacies and Sweet Persuasion, that turn even wise men into fools. 14-216

pg. 245 [Sleep, Death]

pg. 256 [Zeus is head of the gods for his superior brute force]

Zeus may be powerful but it is sheer arrogance for him to talk of forcing me, his equal in prestige, to bend my will to his. 15-186

It is the mark of a noble mind to be swayed. 15-204

My suggestions might stir him to change his mind. A friend's advice is often the most effective. 15-402

Fellow warriors, be men, think of your reputations, and in the heat of battle fear nothing but dishonor in each other's eyes! When warriors fear disgrace the more are saved than killed. There is no honor or safety to be found in flight. 15-562

If you send Sarpedon home alive, consider whether some other god might not want to do the same for a son of his in the heat of battle. Many of those fighting it out round Troy are the sons of gods who would resent your action bitterly. 16-445

Only a fool is wise after the event. 17-31

For of all creatures that breath and creep about on the earth, there is none so miserable as man. 17-446

I have known men who saved their country, even though their own people were inferior, by relying on their own brute force, their bravery, and their numbers. 17-327

pg. 322 how I wish rivalry could be banished from the world of gods and men, and with it anger, which makes the wisest man flare up and spreads much sweeter than dripping honey through his whole being, like smoke - anger such as lord Agamemnon has now provoked in me! But however much it still rankles, it is now over and done with: let it go. We must master our pride. We have no choice. 18-107

but Zeus makes havoc of the schemes of men. 18-328

But however much it rankles, it is now over and done with: let it go. We must master our pride. We have no choice. 19-65

Delusion, eldest daughter of Zeus, who blinds us all, damn her. She never touches the ground with those soft feet of hers but flits over men's heads, corrupting them and shackling one man after another. Why, even Zeus was blinded by her once. 19-91

Agamemnon, you will be more ready in the future to give others their due. It is no disgrace for a ruler to make up in full for trouble he has begun. 19-181

but in view of my greater age and experience, my judgement is much sounder than yours. 19-218

pg. 355 Man's tongue is glib. There are words of all sorts at its command. They cover a wide range, one way and another. You get the kind of answer you have asked for. But there is no call for you and me to stand and insult one another like women who have lost their tempers over some festering dispute and come out into the middle of the street to hurl insults at each other, so angry they will say anything, true or false. 20-248

for the sake of mortals, those wretched creatures who, like the leaves, flourish in fiery brilliance for a little while on the bounty of the earth, then in a moment droop and fade away. 21-464

Hector, I am never going to forgive you. So don't talk to me about agreements. Lions don't come to terms with men, the wolf doesn't see eye-to-eye with the lamb - they are enemies to the end. It's the same with you and me. Friendship between us is impossible. 22-261

But then you're so glib, so clever with your tongue - trying to frighten me and trying to undermine my determination and courage. 22-281

pg. 389 Hesperus?

indeed, that he has already put an end to that fatal over confidence of his. Because Hector would never hang back with the crowd - he always advanced far ahead of the rest, second to none in his courage. 22-456

pg. 393 Even if he survives this war with all its tears, nothing remains for him but hardship and distress. others will take over his lands. An orphaned child is cut off from his friends. He goes about with downcast eyes and tear-stained cheeks. Need drives him to his father's acquaintances, and he tugs a cloak here and a tunic there till someone out of pity holds up a wine cup briefly to his mouth, just enough to wet his lips but not to drink. Then comes another boy with both his parents living, who drives him from the feast, punching him and jeering at him: "Go on, get out! You've got no father dining here!" So the child runs off in tears to his widowed mother. 22-488

pg. 404 [It is judgement rather than muscle or speed that makes the best wood-cutter, helmsman, charioteer, etc.]

you, my elder and better, know well enough how a young man can go to far. He thinks faster but his judgement is not so sound. 23-588

no one can be a winner at everything. 23-671

He weeps and laments for him, and that is the end of it, since the fates have endowed men with an enduring heart. 24-48

But I intend to grant Achilles glory and in that way preserve your future respect and goodwill. 24-109

pg. 434 for all our grief, .....dead yourself. "Unhappy man, you have indeed been greatly daring; how could you venture to come alone to the ships of the Achaeans, and enter the presence of him who has slain so many of your brave sons? You must have iron courage: sit now upon this seat, and for all our grief we will hide our sorrows in our hearts, for weeping will not avail us. The immortals know no care, yet the lot they spin for man is full of sorrow; on the floor of Jove's palace there stand two urns, the one filled with evil gifts, and the other with good ones. He for whom Jove the lord of thunder mixes the gifts he sends, will meet now with good and now with evil fortune; but he to whom Jove sends none but evil gifts will be pointed at by the finger of scorn, the hand of famine will pursue him to the ends of the world, and he will go up and down the face of the earth, respected neither by gods nor men. Even so did it befall Peleus; the gods endowed him with all good things from his birth upwards, for he reigned over the Myrmidons excelling all men in prosperity and wealth, and mortal though he was they gave him a goddess for his bride. But even on him too did heaven send misfortune, for there is no race of royal children born to him in his house, save one son who is doomed to die all untimely; nor may I take care of him now that he is growing old, for I must stay here at Troy to be the bane of you and your children. And you too, O Priam, I have heard that you were aforetime happy. They say that in wealth and plenitude of offspring you surpassed all that is in Lesbos, the realm of Makar to the northward, Phrygia that is more inland, and those that dwell upon the great Hellespont; but from the day when the dwellers in heaven sent this evil upon you, war and slaughter have been about your city continually. Bear up against it, and let there be some intervals in your sorrow. Mourn as you may for your brave son, you will take nothing by it. You cannot raise him from the dead, ere you do so yet another sorrow shall befall you." 24-517

pg. 436 [Achilles thinking ahead] Achilles then called out some waiting women and told them to wash and anoint the body but in another part of his quarters, so that Priam should not see his son. Achilles was afriad that Priam, if he saw him, might in the bitterness of his grief be unable to control his anger; and then his own feelings would be provoked into killing the old man and breaking the commands of Zeus. 24-583

pg. 440 [Andromache's dirge about why she is saddest]

[I think Homer means to highlight the disasterous results of Achilles's self-centeredness, resentment, and pride and contrast it with Hector's correct priorities. One shouldn't behave as Agamemnon does in the beginning of the poem, nor as Achilles does for the rest of the poem until the very end. I think he suggests being mindful of the value of different courses of action, as Helen is not worth the trials and cost of the expedition, the exchange of armor between Glaucus and Diomedes is also a bad trade, and Achilles's choice results in his losing Patroclus, which should be a very likely possibility if one is going to war. He seems to put some special emphasis on the horrors of war and the grief that man is fated to endure.]


The Odyssey

This settled and done, you must think of some way of destroying this mob in your house, either by cunning or in open fight. You are no longer a child: you must put childish thoughts away. pg. 10

for it is always the latest song that an audience applauds the most. You must be brave and nerve yourself to listen for Odysseus is not the only one who has never returned from Troy. Troy was the end of many another man...making decisions must be men's concern. 1-350

For three whole years, in fact close to four, she has been leading us on, giving us all some grounds for hope, and in her private messages to each making promises that she has not the slightest intention of keeping. pg. 17

[pg. 17 Penelope's loom trick]

It's expecting much of men to take up arms over a meal, even with the odds in their favor. pg. 21

Few sons, indeed, are like their fathers. Generally, they are worse; but just a few are better. pg. 22

it is out of the question for a man to sit down to a quiet supper and take his ease with a rowdy mob like you. pg. 23

you must forget your diffidence, there is no occasion here for it at all. Why have you crossed the seas if not to find out where your father's bones lie buried and how he met his end...but you yourself must appeal to him to tell you the honest truth, though a man as wise as he is will not lie. pg. 27

each of us has his good times and his bad times - Zeus in his omnipotence sees to that. pg. 47

Paeeon the Healer pg. 47?

Eidothee, and Proteus the Old Man of the Sea? pg. 50

I suppose you never listened years ago when you were children and your fathers told you how Odysseus treated them - never a harsh word, never an injustice to a single person in the land. How different from the usual run of Kings, favoring one man, persecuting the next. Whereas Odysseus never wronged a soul. Which only serves to show you and your shameful behavior up, and proves how easily past kindness is forgotten. pg. 58

I have a heart that is inured to suffering and I shall steel it to endure that too. For in my day I have had many bitter and painful experiences in war and on the stormy seas. So let this new disaster come. It only makes one more. pg. 68

pg. 80 [Odysseus's flattery to Nausicaa while still mentioning his restraint and previous position] may they give you a husband and a home, and the blessing of harmony so much to be desired, since there is nothing better or finer than when two people of one heart and mind keep house as man and wife, a grief to their enemies and a joy to their friends, and their reputation spreads far and wide.

it is Olympian Zeus himself who assigns good fortune to men, good and bad alike, as he wills, and must have sent you your personal misfortune - and now you must endure it. pg. 81

since all strangers and beggars come under the protection of Zeus, and to such people a small gift can mean much. pg. 81

pg. 83 [Nausicaa's fear of and forestalling of gossip],[the recommendation of appealing to the sympathies of the queen]

pg. 85 [Odysseus's and Athena's fear of Xenophbia] for the people here have little affection for strangers and do not welcome visitors with open arms.

For it is the bold man who always succeeds in his enterprises even if he comes from far away. pg. 86

And she proved what good sense she has, acquitting herself in a way that you would not expect in one so young - young people are thoughtless as a rule. pg. 92

We men are naturally suspicious. pg. 92

I am not one to take offense for no good reason; it is always better to be reasonable. pg. 92

Athena invested his head and shoulders with a divine beauty, and made him seem taller and broader, so that he would inspire the whole Phaeacian people not only with affection but with fear and respect, and might emerge successfully from the many tests they later subjected him to. pg. 94

And it shows that the gods do not grace men equally with the attributes of good looks, brains and eloquence. A man may be quite insignificant to look at but the gods can grace his words with charm: people watch him with delight as he speaks unfalteringly with winning modesty. He stands out in the gathering and is stared at like a god when he passes through the town. Another may be as handsome as an immortal, yet quite deficient in the graceful art of speech. pg. 98

Only a fool or a nonentity would challenge the friend who is entertaining him in a strange country. That would be to spite himself. pg. 99

Zeus's daughter Aphrodite has always despised me for my lameness, and now she has given her heart to this butcher Ares just because he is good-looking and sound of limb, while I was born a weakling. pg. 102

Or perhaps some true friend, a kindred spirit? For a friend with an understanding heart can be quite as dear as a brother. pg. 109

And then I said we must escape with all possible speed. But my fools of men refused. There was plenty of wine, plenty of livestock; and they kept on drinking and butchering sheep and shambling crooked-horned cattle by the shore. Meanwhile the Cicones went and raised a cry for help among other Cicones. pg. 111

while I go with my ship and exploit these people myself: I want to see if they are uncivilised savages, or a hospitable and humane race. 9-172

9-500 [Odysseus's pride and anger make him stupid]

10-45 [The crew's greed]

for at present you are weakened both in body and mind; you keep all the time thinking of the hardships you have suffered during your travels, so that you have no more cheerfulness left in you. 10-461

When I told them this they were heart-broken. They sat down where they were and wept and tore their hair. But their lamentations acheived nothing. 10-566

not one of us who sees you has any idea that you are a charlatan or a swindler. I know there are many people going about who tell such plausible stories that it is very hard to see through them, but there is a style about your language which assures me of your good disposition. 11-362

for there is nothing in this world so cruel and so shameless as a woman when she has fallen into such guilt as hers was. Fancy murdering her own husband! I thought I was going to be welcomed home by my children and my servants, but her abominable crime has brought disgrace on herself and all women who shall come after--even on the good ones.' "And I said, 'In truth Jove has hated the house of Atreus from first to last in the matter of their women's counsels. See how many of us fell for Helen's sake, and now it seems that Clytemnestra hatched mischief against you too during your absence.' "'Be sure, therefore,' continued Agamemnon, 'and not be too friendly even with your own wife. Do not tell her all that you know perfectly well yourself. Tell her a part only, and keep your own counsel about the rest. 11-428

Women I tell you are no longer to be trusted. 11-456

Such wounds are common in battle: the War-god in his fury is no respecter of persons. 11-537

Curb your anger and conquer your obstinate pride. 11-561

True as ever to his own interests, he held back the words that were on his lips. 13-253

Nevertheless, tramps in want of a lodging keep coming with their mouths full of lies, and not a word of truth; every one who finds his way to Ithaca goes to my mistress and tells her falsehoods, whereon she takes them in, makes much of them, and asks them all manner of questions, crying all the time as women will when they have lost their husbands. And you too, old man, for a shirt and a cloak would doubtless make up a very pretty story. 14-124

for I loathe like the gates of Hades the man who is driven by poverty to lie. 14-157

I suppose that my inclinations were all implanted in me by the gods, for different men find satisfaction in very different ways of earning a living. 14-227

But don't you try to gratify or soothe my heart with any falsehoods. It is not for that reason that I shall respect and entertain you, but because I fear Zeus, the patron of strangers, and pity you. 14-387

This is the effect of wine- it makes people do crazy things; it sets the wisest man singing and giggling stupidly; it lures him on to dance and it makes him blurt out what's better left unsaid. 14-463

[Odysseus lying to test or trick]

There is also the danger that she might carry off some of your own things from the house without your permission. You know what a woman's disposition is. she likes to bring riches to the house of the man who is marrying her, but never remembers or asks about the dead husband she once loved or the children she bore him. 15-18

All his life a guest remembers the host who has treated him kindly. 15-52

There should be moderation in all things, and it is equally offensive to speed a guest who would like to stay and to detain one who is anxious to leave. Treat a man well while he is with you, but let him go when he wishes. 15-70

You will simply be courting sudden death, if you insist on becoming involved with a set of men whose aggressiveness and violence reach as high as the iron heavens. 15-327

For a man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time. 15-400

and there's nothing like love to lead a woman astray, even a virtuous one. 15-421

lull their suspicions with some plausible tale. 16-288

there's a force in iron that lures men on. 16-295

pg. 219 [Suitors trying to get rid of the threat of Telemachus]

The highborn suitors gathered round him in a throng, with kindly speeches on their lips and evil brewing in their hearts. 17-64

But if there is anything that a man can't conceal it is the craving of an accursed belly, the cause of so much trouble to men. It even prompts them to fit out great ships and sail the barren seas, bringing death and destruction to their enemies. 17-283

and the women are too thoughtless to look after him. Servants, when their masters are no longer there to order them about, have little will to do their duties as they should. All-seeing Zeus takes half the good out of a man on the day he becomes a slave. 17-319

diffidence doesn't suit a person in need. 17-348

It's always his way to rouse a man's passion with his evil tongue and egg the others on as well. 17-394

They all have plenty before them, and nobody shows restraint or consideration when it comes to being generous with other people's possessions. 17-450

because of my wretched belly, that cursed thing that is responsible for so many troubles of mankind. 17-471

Man is the vainest of all creatures that have their being upon earth. As long as heaven vouchsafes him health and strength, he thinks that he shall come to no harm hereafter, and even when the blessed gods bring sorrow upon him, he bears it as he needs must, and makes the best of it; for God almighty gives men their daily minds day by day. I know all about it, for I was a rich man once, and did much wrong in the stubbornness of my pride, and in the confidence that my father and my brothers would support me; therefore let a man fear God in all things always, and take the good that heaven may see fit to send him without vain glory. 18-130

Odysseus was delighted at her words, because she was extorting gifts from her suitors and bewitching them by her persuasive words, while all the time her heart was set on something quite different. 18-281

But you're just a braggart with the heart of a bully, who take yourself for a big man and a hero only because the people you meet are so few, and so undistinguished. 18-380

Man's life is short enough. The whole world prays that a heartless man who behaves heartlessly will suffer misfortune in his life, and derides him after his death; whereas when a man behaves kindly because his heart is kind, his reputation is spread far and wide by the guests he befriends, and he has no lack of people to sing his praises. 19-328

"but the gods give sorrow to whom they will--even to kings if it so pleases them." As he spoke he went up to Ulysses and saluted him with his right hand; "Good day to you, father stranger," said he, "you seem to be very poorly off now, but I hope you will have better times by and by. Father Jove, of all gods you are the most malicious. We are your own children, yet you show us no mercy in all our misery and afflictions." 20-193

Yet it is far better to die than to live on without ever winning the prize that lures us all here every day and keeps us always hoping. 21-154

His request enraged them beyond measure, for they really feared he might string the bow. 21-286

you ought to think yourself lucky in being allowed to dine unharmed among your betters, without having any smaller portion served you than we others have had, and in being allowed to hear our conversation. No other beggar or stranger has been allowed to hear what we say among ourselves; the wine must have been doing you a mischief, as it does with all those who drink immoderately. It was wine that inflamed the Centaur Eurytion when he was staying with Peirithous among the Lapithae. When the wine had got into his head, he went mad and did ill deeds about the house of Peirithous; this angered the heroes who were there assembled, so they rushed at him and cut off his ears and nostrils; then they dragged him through the doorway out of the house, so he went away crazed, and bore the burden of his crime, bereft of understanding. Henceforth, therefore, there was war between mankind and the centaurs, but he brought it upon himself through his own drunkenness. In like manner I can tell you that it will go hardly with you if you string the bow: you will find no mercy from any one here, for we shall at once ship you off to king Echetus, who kills every one that comes near him: you will never get away alive, so drink and keep quiet without getting into a quarrel with men younger than yourself. 21-289

but we are afraid lest some of the baser sort, men or women among the Achaeans, should go gossiping about and say, 'These suitors are a feeble folk; they are paying court to the wife of a brave man whose bow not one of them was able to string, and yet a beggarly tramp who came to the house strung it at once and sent an arrow through the iron.' This is what will be said, and it will be a scandal against us. 21-322

You'll soon find that you can't obey us all. 21-369

For I had always had the cold fear in my heart that somebody might come here and deceive me with his talk. There are many who think up wicked selfish schemes. 23-214

You are a fortunate man to have won a wife of such pre-eminent virtue! How faithful was your flawless Penelope, Icarius's daughter! How loyally she kept the memory of the husband of her youth! 24-193

[I think Homer means to illustrate appropriate behavior for guests, for hosts, and for behavior in general. One obviously shouldn't behave as the Suitors do. The Phaeacians are seen as ideal hosts. Odysseus is seen as an ideal of cleverness. Penelope is seen as an ideal wife. Eumaeus is seen as an ideal servant. Telemachus is seen as an ideal son. Retribution and divine justice play an important part as Odysseus had to endure his hardships because either he or his crew did not behave as they were supposed to, and the Suitors and servants were also to reap what they sowed in their behavior, good and bad.]

Back To Top



Back to Collected Wisdom

Home Page

2009