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Classical Greek Online

Lesson 3

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

Odysseus' ordeals during the ten years on his way home after the sacking of Troy are recited in some three thousand fewer lines than the Iliad. The Odyssey is a relatively straightforward description of his adventures during his travels by sea, and of the peoples he met before he reached his homeland in Ithaca. But the remarkable eleventh book includes a descent into Hades, where Odysseus learns, among other references to heroes of the past, what happened to Agamemnon and Achilles, his fellows at Troy. That is one of the most striking sections of the epic, with a major effect on Dante's Divine Comedy. As the epic ends, Odysseus resumes his position as the major figure in a small rural society, with his chief retainers being the keepers of his swine and his cattle.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The outline of the Odyssey is given in the first ten lines, and the first word indicates its chief theme, "a man."

Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, polutropon, hos mala polla

  • andra -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <anêr> man -- man
  • moi -- pronoun; dative singular masculine of <egô> I -- me
  • ennepe -- verb; 2nd person singular imperative of <enepô> tell, tell of -- tell ... of
  • Mousa -- noun, feminine; vocative singular of <Mousa> Muse -- O Muse
  • polutropon -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <polutropos> much-turned, much-traveled -- much-traveled
  • hos -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hos> who, which -- who
  • mala -- adverb; <mala> very -- very
  • polla -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <polus> many -- in many ways

plagchthê, epei Troiês hieron ptoliethron epersen;

  • plagchthê -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist passive of <plazô> wander, toss -- was tossed about
  • epei -- conjunction; <epei> when, after -- after
  • Troiês -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Troiê> Troy -- Troy
  • hieron -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <hieros> sacred -- sacred
  • ptoliethron -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <ptoliethron> city -- city
  • epersen -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <perthô> destroy, sack -- he had sacked

pollôn d' anthrôpôn iden astea kai noon egnô,

  • pollôn -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <polus> many -- of many
  • d' -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • anthrôpôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <anthrôpos> human being -- men
  • iden -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <eidô> see, know -- he saw
  • astea -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <astu> city -- the cities
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • noon -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <noos> mind -- (their) mind
  • egnô -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <gignôskô> know, learn -- learned

polla d' ho g' en pontô pathen algea hon kata thumon,

  • polla -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <polus> many -- many
  • d' -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • ho -- article; nominative singular masculine of <ho> the -- he
  • g' -- particle; <ge> indeed -- ...
  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- on
  • pontô -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <pontos> sea -- the sea
  • pathen -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <paschô> suffer -- suffered
  • algea -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <algos> woe -- woes
  • hon -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <hos> his -- his
  • kata -- preposition; <kata> completely, down, under -- in
  • thumon -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <thumos> soul, heart -- heart

arnumenos hên te psuchên kai noston hetairôn.

  • arnumenos -- verb; nominative singular masculine of present participle middle of <arnumai> win -- seeking to save
  • hên -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <hos> his -- his
  • te -- conjunction; <te> and -- ...
  • psuchên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <psuchê> soul -- life
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • noston -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <nostos> return -- the return
  • hetairôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <hetairos> comrade -- of his comrades

all' oud' hôs hetarous errusato, hiemenos per;

  • all' -- conjunction; <alla> but -- but
  • oud' -- particle; <oude> not -- not even
  • hôs -- adverb; <hôs> so, thus -- thus
  • hetarous -- noun, masculine; accusative plural <hetaros> comrade -- comrades
  • errusato -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist middle of <hruomai> save -- did he save
  • hiemenos -- deponent verb; nominative singular masculine of present participle of <hiemai> desire -- desiring
  • per -- adverb; <per> although -- although

autôn gar spheterêsin atasthaliêsin olonto,

  • autôn -- pronoun; genitive plural masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- their
  • gar -- conjunction; <gar> for -- for
  • spheterêsin -- adjective; dative plural feminine of <spheteros> own -- own
  • atasthaliêsin -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <atasthalia> folly -- folly
  • olonto -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <ollumai> perish -- they perished

nêpioi, hoi kata bous Huperionos Êelioio

  • nêpioi -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <nêpios> childish, foolish -- fools
  • hoi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <hos> who, which -- who
  • kata -- adverb; <kata> completely, down, under -- ...
  • bous -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <bous> cow, ox -- cattle
  • Huperionos -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Huperiôn> Hyperion -- of Hyperion
  • Êelioio -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Êelios> Helios -- Helios

êsthion; autar ho toisin apheileto nostimon hêmar.

  • êsthion -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <esthiô> eat -- devoured
  • autar -- conjunction; <autar> but -- but
  • ho -- article; nominative singular masculine of <ho> the -- he
  • toisin -- article used as pronoun; dative plural masculine of <ho> the -- them
  • apheileto -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist middle of <aphaireô> take away -- took away from
  • nostimon -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <nostimos> returning -- of return
  • hêmar -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <hêmar> day -- day

tôn hamothen ge, thea, thugater Dios, eipe kai hêmin.

  • tôn -- article used as pronoun; genitive plural neuter of <ho> the -- of these things
  • hamothen -- adverb; <hamothen> from any point -- beginning at any stage
  • ge -- particle; <ge> indeed -- indeed
  • thea -- noun, feminine; vocative singular of <thea> goddess -- O goddess
  • thugater -- noun, feminine; vocative singular of <thugatêr> daughter -- daughter
  • Dios -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Zeus> Zeus -- of Zeus
  • eipe -- verb; 2nd person singular imperative of <legô> say -- tell
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • hêmin -- pronoun; dative plural of <egô> I -- us

Enth' alloi men pantes, hosoi phugon aipun olethron,

  • enth' -- adverb; <entha> then, there -- then
  • alloi -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <allos> other -- the others
  • men -- particle; <men> on the one hand -- indeed
  • pantes -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <pas> all, every -- all
  • hosoi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <hosos> as many -- whoever
  • phugon -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <pheugô> escape, flee -- had escaped
  • aipun -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <aipus> deep -- sheer
  • olethron -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <olethros> destruction -- destruction

oikoi esan, polemon te pepheugotes êde thalassan;

  • oikoi -- adverb; <oikoi> at home -- at home
  • esan -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <eimi> I am -- were
  • polemon -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <polemos> war -- the war
  • te -- conjunction; <te> and -- and
  • pepheugotes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of perfect participle of <pheugô> escape, flee -- having escaped
  • êde -- conjunction; <êde> and, also -- also
  • thalassan -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <thalassa> sea -- the sea

ton d' oion nostou kechrêmenon êde gunaikos,

  • ton -- article used as pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <ho> the -- him
  • d' -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- but
  • oion -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <oios> alone -- alone
  • nostou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <nostos> return -- return
  • kechrêmenon -- verb; accusative singular masculine of perfect participle middle of <chraomai> need, use -- longing for
  • êde -- conjunction; <êde> and, also -- also
  • gunaikos -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <gunê> woman -- wife

numphê potni' eruke Kalupsô dia theaôn

  • numphê -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <numphê> nymph -- nymph
  • potni' -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <potnia> revered, queenly -- the queenly
  • eruke -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <erukô> hold back -- held back
  • Kalupsô -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Kalupsô> Calypso -- Calypso
  • dia -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <dios> godlike, noble -- splendid
  • theaôn -- noun, feminine; genitive plural of <thea> goddess -- among the goddesses

en spessi glaphuroisi, lilaiomenê posin einai.

  • en -- preposition; <en> in -- in
  • spessi -- noun, neuter; dative plural of <speos> cave, grotto -- grotto
  • glaphuroisi -- adjective; dative plural neuter of <glaphuros> hollow -- hollow
  • lilaiomenê -- verb; nominative singular feminine of present participle middle of <lilaiomai> desire -- desiring
  • posin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <posis> husband -- husband
  • einai -- verb; infinitive of <eimi> I am -- to be

all' hote dê etos êlthe periplomenôn eniautôn,

  • all' -- conjunction; <alla> but -- but
  • hote -- conjunction; <hote> when -- when
  • -- particle; <> indeed -- ...
  • etos -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <etos> year -- the year
  • êlthe -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <erchomai> come, go -- came
  • periplomenôn -- verb; genitive plural masculine of present middle participle of <peripelomai> revolve -- revolved
  • eniautôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <eniautos> year -- years

tô hoi epeklôsanto theoi oikonde neesthai

  • -- article used as pronoun; dative singular masculine of <ho> the -- for him
  • hoi -- article; nominative plural masculine of <ho> the -- the
  • epeklôsanto -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist middle of <epiklôthô> spin; decide -- had decided
  • theoi -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <theos> god -- gods
  • oikonde -- adverb; <oikonde> to his home -- home
  • neesthai -- verb; infinitive middle of <neomai> return -- (he should) return

eis Ithakên, oud' entha pephugmenos êen aethlôn

  • eis -- preposition; <eis> towards -- to
  • Ithakên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Ithakê> Ithaca -- Ithaca
  • oud' -- particle; <oude> not -- not even
  • entha -- adverb; <entha> then, there -- there
  • pephugmenos -- verb; nominative singular masculine of perfect participle middle of <pheugô> escape, flee -- be away from
  • êen -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <eimi> go -- had he
  • aethlôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <aethlos> battle, woe -- woes

kai meta hoisi philoisi. theoi d' eleairon hapantes

  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- even
  • meta -- preposition; <meta> after, with -- with
  • hoisi -- possessive pronoun; dative plural masculine of <hos> his -- his
  • philoisi -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <philos> dear one, friend -- friends
  • theoi -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <theos> god -- gods
  • d' -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • eleairon -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <eleairô> pity -- pitied
  • hapantes -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <hapas> all -- all

nosphi Poseidaônos; ho d' asperches meneainen

  • nosphi -- preposition; <nosphi> apart, afar, except -- except
  • Poseidaônos -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Poseidaôn> Poseidon -- Poseidon
  • ho -- article used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ho> the -- he
  • d' -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- but
  • asperches -- adverb; <asperches> unceasingly -- unceasingly
  • meneainen -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <menainô> rage -- raged

antitheô Odusêi paros hên gaian hikesthai.

  • antitheô -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <antitheos> godlike -- godlike
  • Odusêi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <Oduseus> Odysseus -- Odysseus
  • paros -- conjunction; <paros> until -- until
  • hên -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <hos> his -- his
  • gaian -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <gaia> land -- homeland
  • hikesthai -- deponent verb; infinitive aorist middle of <hikneomai> reach -- (he) reached

Lesson Text

Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, polutropon, hos mala polla
plagchthê, epei Troiês hieron ptoliethron epersen;
pollôn d' anthrôpôn iden astea kai noon egnô,
polla d' ho g' en pontô pathen algea hon kata thumon,
arnumenos hên te psuchên kai noston hetairôn.
all' oud' hôs hetarous errusato, hiemenos per;
autôn gar spheterêsin atasthaliêsin olonto,
nêpioi, hoi kata bous Huperionos Êelioio
êsthion; autar ho toisin apheileto nostimon hêmar.
tôn hamothen ge, thea, thugater Dios, eipe kai hêmin.
Enth' alloi men pantes, hosoi phugon aipun olethron,
oikoi esan, polemon te pepheugotes êde thalassan;
ton d' oion nostou kechrêmenon êde gunaikos,
numphê potni' eruke Kalupsô dia theaôn
en spessi glaphuroisi, lilaiomenê posin einai.
all' hote dê etos êlthe periplomenôn eniautôn,
tô hoi epeklôsanto theoi oikonde neesthai
eis Ithakên, oud' entha pephugmenos êen aethlôn
kai meta hoisi philoisi. theoi d' eleairon hapantes
nosphi Poseidaônos; ho d' asperches meneainen
antitheô Odusêi paros hên gaian hikesthai.

Translation

Tell me, O Muse, of the much-traveled man, who wandered many ways after he had sacked the sacred city of Troy. He saw the cities of many men and learned their mind. Then he suffered woes in his heart on the sea, seeking to save his life and the return of his comrades. But not even so did he save his comrades, although desiring it greatly. They perished through their own folly, fools, who devoured the cattle of Hyperion Helios. But he took away from them the day of return. Of these things tell also to us, o goddess, daughter of Zeus, beginning at any stage.
Then all the others indeed, whoever had escaped sheer destruction, were at home having escaped the war and also the sea. But him alone, longing for his return and also his wife, the queenly nymph, Calypso, splendid among the goddesses, held back in her hollow grotto, desiring him to be her husband. But when the year came as the years revolved, in which the gods had decided he should return home to Ithaca, not even then did he escape woes, even with his friends. And all the gods pitied him except Poseidon. But he raged unceasingly against godlike Odysseus until he reached his homeland.

Grammar

11. Nouns: i-stems.

Nouns with stems in -i have endings differing from those of the -o- and -a- declensions, except in the accusative singular and genitive plural. Their endings also vary in the epic texts, but the basic inflection is given here with the noun polis 'city'.

Nom sg   hê polis   Nom pl   hai poleis
Gen sg   tês poleos   Gen pl   tôn poliôn
Dat sg   tê polei   Dat pl   tais polisi
Acc sg   tên polin   Acc pl   tas poleis
12. Adjectives of the -o- and -a- Declensions.

Many of the most common adjectives fall in these declensions, e.g. kakos 'bad', neos 'new', philos 'dear'. Their endings are those of the nouns in the declensions. It must be noted, however, that feminine singular forms have -ê rather than -a unless their stems ending in -e, -i, -r, as in dikaia 'just'. Some, especially compound adjectives, have only two endings, e.g. barbaros, -on 'foreign', paranomos, -on 'unlawful.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom sg   kakos   kakê   kakon
Gen sg   kakou   kakês   kakou
Dat sg   kakô   kakê   kakô
Acc sg   kakon   kakên   kakon
             
Nom pl   kakoi   kakai   kaka
Gen pl   kakôn   kakôn   kakôn
Dat pl   kakois   kakais   kakois
Acc pl   kakous   kakas   kaka
13. The Intensive Pronoun autos and allos 'other'.

The intensive pronoun, meaning 'self, same', is inflected like adjectives except that the neuter nominative/accusative singular lacks final -n, e.g. autos, autê, auto. The forms of allos are also inflected in the same way. The forms of the third person reflexive pronouns 'his, her, their' are based on these:

Gen sg   heautou 'his'   heautês 'her'   Gen pl   heautôn 'their'
Dat sg   heautô   heautê   Dat pl   heautois
Acc sg   heauton   heautên   Acc pl   heautous
14. The Dual.

The dual, a plural-like form signifying "two," is relatively rare, but is found in older verse, as in Homer. It has only two endings, one for the nominative, accusative and vocative, and the other for the genitive and dative. These are illustrated with forms from the -a-declension, the -o-declension, and the consonantal declension.

Nom/Acc/Voc   Gen/Dat    
tô chôra   toin chôrain   'two countries'
tô theô   toin theoin   'two gods'
tô andre   toin androin   'two men'

The forms for the first and third person pronouns are:

Nom/Acc/Voc   Gen/Dat    
  nôn   'we two'
sphô   sphôn   'the two of them'
15. The Aorist System.

The aorist system is comparable to the present system, except that it lacks a form corresponding to the present indicative. Its basic meaning was punctual, but its basic set of forms generally may be translated with past tense forms. The subjunctive, optative and imperative are comparable to those of the present system.

    Indicative   Subjunctive   Optative   Imperative
1 sg   epaideusa   paideusô   paideusai    
2 sg   epaideusas   paideusês   paideuseias   paideuson
3 sg   epaideuse(n)   paideusê   paideuseie(n)   paideusatô
                 
1 pl   epaideusamen   paideusômen   paideusaimen    
2 pl   epaideusate   paideusête   paideusaite   paideusate
3 pl   epaideusan   paideusôsi(n)   paideuseian   paideusantôn

Infinitive   paideusai            
Participle   paideusas   paideusasa   paideusan   'one who
Gen sg   paideusantos   paideusês   paideusantos   educated'