Words Crush Wednesday – The Homeric Version

Published February 25, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Last week on Words Crush Wednesday – The Homeric Version, Hector was berating his handsome brother Paris for his cowardly ways.  Return with us now, to the wide plains before the gates of Troy, as we continue quoting from the Iliad, Book III, W.H.D. Rouse translation:

“Were you like this when you got your fine company and set sail over the sea, and travelled in foreign lands, and brought home a handsome woman?  She was to marry into a warlike nation, she was to be the ruin of your father and all his people, a joy to your enemies, a disgrace to yourself!  So you would not stand up to Menelaos?  You ought to find out what sort of fellow he is whose wife you are keeping.  There would be little use then for your harp and the gifts of Aphrodite, your fine hair and good looks, when you lie in the dust.  Well, the Trojans are all cowards, or you would have had a coat of stone long ago for the evil you have done!”

Hector doesn’t mince his words, eh?  (The translators usually add a footnote to point out that the “coat of stone” bit is Hector saying that if the Trojans had a little more courage, they would have stoned Paris (and possibly Helen?) to death.)

The bit about “She was to marry into a warlike nation” is intriguing to me:  when the poem was originally written, the Trojans were apparently considered more warlike than the Spartans, or so it would seem.

(No, I don’t know why I felt like prefacing the quote as if it was a TV show.)



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