Menelaos

All posts tagged Menelaos

MLM No “I” Repost – “The Party”

Published January 23, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

“The Party”

The megaron* at Mycenae sets the scene.
Agamemnon offers couches to the guests,
So many couches; no need to share.
But the red-headed son of Peleus objects:
“There’s one place too few!”
Patroclos mutters that he should go,
Of too small note for such great company.
“No way! You can’t leave!”
Patroclos’ dearest comrade demands.
“Normally, the couches are shared,”
Odysseus tells them,
A wry form upon the mouth.
“Then you’ll share my couch,”
Peleus’ son asserts, as he takes Patroclos’ hands.
Reluctant, the young man takes a seat,
Upon the couch of the pretty boy.
The son of Telamon laughs, and takes up a cup.
“Not yet!” Agamemnon remonstrances.
“We must pour for the gods.”
Drops are poured out neat,
And the gods assuaged.
Then the party can truly start.
“Many thanks to you all,”
Menelaos tells them, at a frown,
“For your help to restore my Helen.”
“Thank the oath,” the son of Telamon grumbles.
“But any honest man who fears Zeus,
And would see decency overcome rude cruelty,
Would gladly come to your help,
Even unbound by such an oath,”
Odysseus oozed, smarmy.
“Just as young Ach–”
“Hadda restore my name, after you shamed me,
Back on Scyros,” the boy growls.
“How much have you already had?”
Patroclos asks, and pulls the empty cup away.
“Your father would rebuke me
For such a drunken state!”
“Let the boy have all he wants,”
Laughed the son of Tydeus.
“All too soon we cross the sea for Troy,
And leave all joy at our backs.
For now, let the boy enjoy what we have.”
“Such enjoyment forms the core of the event,”
Agreed old Nestor, and nodded that gray head.
“Let us all enjoy each other’s good company,
As long as lovely Selene travels the sky.”
Toasts were drunk to Nestor’s plan,
And all cheered as the party got underway.


*Megaron = throne room/great hall.


MLM icon init bonus points MLM I


Made one small change from 1st post on 1/25/16.  (Whoa, almost exactly a year!)

Missing Letter Mondays – No “I”

Published January 25, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

“The Party”

The megaron* at Mycenae sets the scene.
Agamemnon offers couches to the guests,
So many couches; no need to share.
But the red-headed son of Peleus objects:
“There’s one place too few!”
Patroclos mutters that he should go,
Of too small note for such great company.
“No way! You can’t leave!”
Patroclos’ dearest comrade demands.
“Normally, the couches are shared,”
Odysseus tells them,
A wry form upon the mouth.
“Then you’ll share my couch,”
Peleus’ son asserts, as he takes Patroclos’ hands.
Reluctant, the young man takes a seat,
Upon the couch of the pretty boy.
The son of Telamon laughs, and takes up a cup.
“Not yet!” Agamemnon remonstrances.
“We must pour for the gods.”
Drops are poured out neat,
And the gods assuaged.
Then the party can truly start.
“Many thanks to you all,”
Menelaos tells them, at a frown,
“For your help to restore my Helen.”
“Thank the oath,” the son of Telamon grumbles.
“But any honest man who fears Zeus,
And would see decency overcome rude cruelty,
Would gladly come to your help,
Even unbound by such an oath,”
Odysseus oozed, smarmy.
“Just as young Ach–”
“Hadda restore my name, after you shamed me,
Back on Scyros,” the boy growls.
“How much have you already had?”
Patroclos asks, and pulls the empty cup away.
“Your father would rebuke me
For such a drunken state!”
“Let the boy have all the drops he wants,”
Laughed the son of Tydeus.
“All too soon we cross the sea for Troy,
And leave all joy at our backs.
For now, let the boy enjoy what we have.”
“Such enjoyment forms the core of the event,”
Agreed old Nestor, and nodded that gray head.
“Let us all enjoy each other’s good company,
As long as lovely Selene travels the sky.”
Toasts were drunk to Nestor’s plan,
And all cheered as the party got underway.


*Megaron = throne room/great hall.


 

 

MLM icon init bonus points MLM I


Oh.  My.  God.  So.  Much.  Harder.  Than.  Expected!

 

Words Crush Wenesday: The Homeric Version

Published March 25, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Okay, today’s Words Crush Wednesday quote is going to be a super-long one!  Because I’ve decided to do the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge (see link on side-bar) so starting next week, my quotes are going to have to be tied to the letter of the alphabet assigned to that particular Wednesday.  Most of them will still be from the Iliad, though.  (Unless I find a really great quote about Memnon in the book of Epic Fragments, since M falls on a Wednesday…)

Anyway, today I’ll be quoting the entire rest of the fight between Menelaos and Paris!  So get ready!  Last week, Paris had thrown his spear at Menelaos, and it had been harmlessly deflected by Menelaos’ shield.  Now for the rest of the fight, from Book III of the Iliad, W.H.D. Rouse translation…

Menelaos had the second shot, and before he cast he made his prayer to Father Zeus:

“O Lord Zeus, grant vengeance upon Alexandros, who has wronged me unprovoked!  Bring him low by my hand, that many a man may shudder in long generations to come, at the thought of wronging a friend who shows him hospitality!”

He balanced the spear, and cast it, and struck the shield of Alexandros.  Right through the shield ran the stout spear, tore right through his corselet, and cut through the tunic along his side; but he swerved away from his death.  Then Atreides drew his sword, and stretching over struck the horn of the helmet; but the blade broke upon it in three or four splinters and fell from his hand.  Atreides groaned, and looked up to heaven crying:

“O Father Zeus, such an unkind god as you there never was!  You do spoil everything!  I did think I had paid out that scoundrel, and here is my sword broken in my hand, and my spear missed and never touched him!”

He made one leap and caught hold of the horsehair plume, turned and dragged Alexandros towards his own ranks; the helmet-strap choked him, pulled tight under his chen.  And Menelaos almost got him–a glorious victory it would have been!  But Aphrodite saw it and broke the strap, so all he got was the empty helmet.  He threw it over with a swing to his friends, and leapt back to kill his enemy with the spear; but Aphrodite carried him off in a thick mist, as a god can easily do, and put him down in Helen’s sweet-scented chamber.

Whew.  It takes something out of a girl, copying that much text out of a book.  It’s much harder than just typing out of your mind.  Anyway, for those who don’t know, Atreides is a patronymic meaning “son of Atreus.”  It’s often used to describe both Menelaos and Agamemnon, for times when their names don’t fit the meter.

I gotta say, I wonder what kind of horn that was on Alexander’s helmet that it was stronger than a bronze sword.  Must’ve been cut off some mythical beast or something.  (Perhaps a Hittite one, so that the divine justice of the Greek gods had no power over it?  Uh, yeah, okay, I’m way over-thinking this…but Troy was a Hittite vassal state!  Not that the classical Greeks had any idea that the Hittites had ever existed, mind you…)

If you want to know what happens next, well, while Menelaos is ranting and railing and demanding the return of his wife, as agreed and as the sworn oaths promised, Aphrodite decides it’s time for Helen and Alexander to have some time alone.  My first quote in this weekly event was Helen’s reaction to that idea.

wcw

Words Crush Wednesday – The Homeric Version

Published March 18, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Here’s hoping I can type this.  I cut the tip of my finger on a sliver of glass (I shoulda known that shadow box was on clearance for a reason!) and it hurts like heck, especially whenever I apply pressure…and it’s hard not to do that when you’re typing, y’know?  (At least it seems to be done bleeding!  I was afraid I was going to get light-headed, it bled so much.)

Okay, so, it’s Words Crush Wednesday again, and we’re finally starting the duel between Menelaos and Alexander!  Even if I hadn’t hurt my finger, I don’t think I could have finished the duel this week, though.  ‘Tis a lengthy fight, mainly because Menelaos can’t do anything without giving a speech first.  (Neither can most of the other Greeks.)  Anyway, we’re still in Book III of the Iliad, W.H.D. Rouse translation.  In the stuff I skipped over, it was agreed that they’d draw lots to see who would throw his spear first, and the first throw went to Paris.

Now the two strode out into the middle, with grim looks that struck awe into all beholders.  They came to a stand in the measured space, shaking their spears at each other in defiance.  Alexandros first cast his spear; Menelaos caught it neatly upon the shield.  The spear did not break through the metal, but the point was bent.

And that’s just the beginning.  Really, despite what I said above, I ought to give the whole fight now–it’s only about a page long, and has no good stopping points–but my finger won’t let me.  I’ll do the rest of the fight next week.  I promise.

Oh, but just as a point of interest, the bit about the tip of Alexander’s spear?  In most of these duels in the Iliad, the tip of the spear penetrates the shield–Hector penetrated seven of the eight layers of the massive tower shield carried by Aias!–meaning that only by skill can the defender escape injury.  The fact that Menelaos’ shield was stronger than Alexander’s throw proves what a weakling he is compared to, well, pretty much every other warrior in the entire epic.

wcw

Words Crush Wednesday – The Homeric Version

Published March 11, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Once more, it’s Words Crush Wednesday, and I’m still in the process of trying to quote one of my favorite parts of the Iliad, the duel between Menelaos and Paris.  (How long have I been building to this now?  Four or five weeks?  Maybe my quotes are too short.)  Last week, Paris, having been brow-beaten by Hector, finally agreed to fight Menelaos, but only if it was a one-on-one, formal duel, with Helen, her wealth (a very important point!) and the war itself at stake.  There are speeches about it as Hector proposes the duel to the Greeks, and as Menelaos gladly accepts, but (as promised) I’m skipping over those, as they don’t really add anything new to the proceedings, per se, apart from the need to have Priam come down and swear his oath that the duel will end the war.  I was going to skip straight to the duel now, but…I had to quote this part, because I really like it.  Still in Book III, still the W.H.D. Rouse translation.  As some set-up, Iris (messenger of the gods) has taken on the guise of one of Priam’s daughters.

Iris found Helen in her room.  She was weaving a great web of purple stuff, double size; and embroidering in it pictures of the battles of that war which two armies were waging for her sake.  Iris came up to Helen and said:

“Come along, my love, and see a wonderful sight!  They were all fighting in the plain like fury, and now all of a sudden they are sitting down, not a sound to be heard, no more battle, all leaning upon their shields, and their spears stuck in the ground!  But Alexandros and Menelaos are going to fight for you! and you are to be the wife of the winner!”

These words pierced Helen to the heart.  She longed for her husband of the old days, for home and family.  At once she threw a white veil over her, and left the house quickly with tears running down her cheeks.

This leads into the famous “Helen on the Wall” sequence, in which she identifies various of the Greek leaders for Priam and the Trojan elders.  I like some of that a lot, and may quote it later, but next week I really will move on to the duel itself, I promise.  I just had to quote this part in passing, because I love the fact that Helen regrets what’s happening, and at this point wants nothing more than to go home to her daughter and her true husband.  (Possibly also to her father; he may still be a live at this point.  Or rather, in some stories he definitely is, and in others it doesn’t come up.  I don’t think it comes up in the Iliad or the Odyssey, so I don’t know if Tyndareos was considered to be still alive in Homeric times.)

I’ve seen people talk about Helen weaving that tapestry and describe it as an act of vanity on her part, but that’s not how I see it.  I see it as her way of mourning all the good lives being cut short because of something she no longer has any power to stop.  In fact, she never really had any power to stop it, not in the Homeric version; the war was the will of the gods.  (In some of the Athenian tragedies, especially Euripides’ Trojan Women, that’s no longer the case.)

wcw

You know, I think when I finally finish with this duel, I’m going to move on to passages that highlight the greatness of my two favorite Achaian champions:  Patroclos and Aias.  Particularly Patroclos.  He doesn’t get enough love (except from Achilles) and that needs to change!

Words Crush Wednesday – The Homeric Version

Published March 4, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Yep, it’s Words Crush Wednesday, and we’re still in Book III of the Iliad, W.H.D. Rouse translation.  Last week, Hector had just finished chewing Paris out for turning tail and running at the first sight of Menelaos.

Alexandros replied:

“That is true enough, Hector, that is true enough.  Your heart is always hard as steel.  Like a shipwright’s axe, when he slices off a spar from a tree with all the strength of a man!  A hard heart indeed!  Don’t taunt me with Aphrodite’s adorable gifts.  You can’t throw away a god’s gifts, offered unasked, which none could win by wishing.

“Very well now, if you want me to fight, make both armies sit down on the ground, and put me between them with Menelaos to fight for Helen and all her wealth.  Whichever proves the better man, let him take both wealth and woman home with him.  Then let both sides swear friendship and peace:  you to stay in Troy, they to go back to Argos, where there are plenty of fine women!”

Normally, I’d Anglicize Alexandros into Alexander, but I wanted to stick to Rouse’s transliterations.  I need to check some other translations, and see what they say where this one says “hard as steel” on account of steel is just an eensy weensy anachronism.  (Unlike an eensy weensy arachnid.  No, wait, that should be “itsy bitsy,” shouldn’t it?)  Anyway, when Alexander says “Argos” he really means “Greece”:  the Homeric texts use “Achaians”, “Danaans” and “Argives” interchangeably to refer to the Greek forces at Troy.  (Technically, they’re not so much “interchangeable” as they are required to fit the insanely demanding metric form.)  So in this case, he used Argos rather than Achaia or…actually, there isn’t a place name to fit “Danaan” and I don’t think Hellas is ever used to refer to Greece as a whole in the Homeric texts.  (Certainly its ethnic descriptor, Hellene, is only applied to a few groups in the Catalog of Ships, so it seems unlikely that Hellas would be used any more widely.)

Anyway, next week I’ll skip over the formalities and the oaths, and Helen on the wall (though I might come back to that later), and finally get to the meat of the duel…if it can really be called that.  LOL!

Ugh.  It’s already Wednesday, but I’ve only barely written the first draft of the paper due tomorrow…and I’m not sure I can bring myself to care enough to revise it tonight.  Plus I haven’t even started on tomorrow’s myth.  (Admittedly, that’s not actually important.  But it’s something I actually want to do, unlike that paper.  Besides, I’ve kind of been looking forward to trying to tackle Ixion.)  For that matter, I haven’t even gone back to my books to check if I screwed up last week’s myth.

Sigh.

wcw

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.)

wcw

Words Crush Wednesday – The Homeric Version

Published February 18, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Internet at large, be grateful:  Words Crush Wednesday has just saved you from listening to (reading about?) me griping about how the extra cold night burst a water main on my street, so I had no water when I woke up, and had to rush out of the house without doing anything water-related, not even going to the bathroom.  Instead, you get the continuation of my extended quotation of the duel between Menelaos and Alexander in Book III of the Iliad, W.H.D. Rouse translation.  Where I left off last week, Alexander had just slunk away in terror at the sight of Menelaos…

Then Hector rated him with scorn:

“Damn you, Paris, you handsome woman-hunter, you seducer!  I wish you had never been born, I wish you had died unwedded!  Yes, I wish that! and it would have been much better than to be a public pest, a thing of contempt.  What guffaws there must be over there!  They thought you a prime champion because you are good-looking.  But there’s no pluck in you, no fight!”

This from one of the two nicest men in the entire poem, and Hector’s not done yet, let me tell you!  The crowning jewel of his speech is in the next paragraph; I’ll post it next week. (Oh, and it wasn’t entirely silly for Hector to talk about the enemy thinking that Alexander’s good looks equaled skill in battle:  the word kalos has a great number of meanings, especially “beautiful” but also “good” and “noble.”  Apparently, in ancient Greece, beauty and quality in all things were considered always to go hand-in-hand; hence Helen’s descriptions of the Greek leaders later in Book III calls every single one of them (except Odysseus) handsome, and the only Greek pointedly described as being ugly is Thersites, a mean-spirited fellow who gets his jollies by mocking everyone around him, particularly Achilles, Agamemnon and Odysseus.)

wcw

Words Crush Wednesday – Homeric Version

Published February 11, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

This week’s Words Crush Wednesday picks up where the last one left off, as Menelaos had just spotted Paris across the battlefield.  Again, Book III of the Iliad, W.H.D. Rouse translation.

But as soon as Alexandros saw him come out in front, his heart sank and he slunk back into the ranks to save himself.  He might have been some one walking through the woods who suddenly sees a snake, and jumps back all of a tremble pale with fear.  So Alexandros jumped back, and he slunk into safety.

Okay, that was a bit brief, but it was the end of the paragraph, and I’m doing a double post today because I have something else to post about that can’t wait until Friday. 😛

wcw

Words Crush Wednesday – Homeric Version

Published February 4, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

In trying to decide what quote to use for this week’s Words Crush Wednesday, I found myself realizing that I actually wanted to quote about three or four pages of the opening of Book III.  Sooo…this week’s quote is actually before last week’s, and it’s going to connect together with next week’s, and the week after that’s, and however many weeks it takes before I feel I’ve quoted the heck out of this duel.  Because it’s really one of the greatest moments, like, ever.  So here it is, this week’s quote from the Iliad, Book III, W.H.D. Rouse translation.  (Again, using the translator’s name transliterations.  Though in this case the only difference is that I usually Anglicize Alexandros into Alexander.)

No sooner had the two armies come near than a champion stept out of the Trojan ranks, the noble Prince Alexandros.  A leopard-skin hung over his shoulders with bow and sword; he shook his two sharp spears, and challenged all comers to fight him man to man.  So he strode out with long steps.  Menelaos saw him with joy, as a lion spies a victim, when he is hungry and finds a horned stag or a wild goat:  greedily he devours his prey, even if dogs and lusty lads set upon him.  So Menelaos was glad when he set eyes on Alexandros, for he thought he was sure to punish the traitor; at once he leapt down from his chariot in his armor.

Hee hee…I can’t wait for next week, when I get to quote Paris’ reaction to Menelaos!  I laugh just thinking about it!

(In case you’re wondering about this week’s quote being from a different translation than last week’s, I own three different translations in hard copy, though one of them I have primarily because it’s got the Greek on the facing page.  (Some day, I hope to re-learn ancient Greek to the point where I can translate it myself to quote it.)  I also have a massive Kindle thing that has like five public domain translations.  But only one of those uses the Greek names for the gods, so most of them don’t count.)

wcw

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