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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."

Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὅς μάλα πολλὰ

  • ἄνδρα -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <ἀνήρ> man -- man
  • μοι -- pronoun; dative singular masculine of <ἐγώ> I -- me
  • ἔννεπε -- verb; 2nd person singular imperative of <ἐνέπω> tell, tell of -- tell ... of
  • Μοῦσα -- noun, feminine; vocative singular of <Μοῦσα> Muse -- O Muse
  • πολύτροπον -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <πολύτροπος> much-turned, much-traveled -- much-traveled
  • ὅς -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ὅς> who, which -- who
  • μάλα -- adverb; <μάλα> very -- very
  • πολλὰ -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <πολύς> many -- in many ways

πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν·

  • πλάγχθη -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist passive of <πλάζω> wander, toss -- was tossed about
  • ἐπεὶ -- conjunction; <ἐπεί> when, after -- after
  • Τροίης -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Τροίη> Troy -- Troy
  • ἱερὸν -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <ἱερός> sacred -- sacred
  • πτολίεθρον -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <πτολίεθρον> city -- city
  • ἔπερσεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <πέρθω> destroy, sack -- he had sacked

πολλῶν δ' ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω,

  • πολλῶν -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <πολύς> many -- of many
  • δ' -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- and
  • ἀνθρώπων -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <ἄνθρωπος> human being -- men
  • ἴδεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <εἴδω> see, know -- he saw
  • ἄστεα -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <ἄστυ> city -- the cities
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • νόον -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <νόος> mind -- (their) mind
  • ἔγνω -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <γιγνώσκω> know, learn -- learned

πολλὰ δ' ὅ γ' ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ἄλγεα ὃν κατὰ θυμόν,

  • πολλὰ -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <πολύς> many -- many
  • δ' -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- and
  • -- article; nominative singular masculine of <> the -- he
  • γ' -- particle; <γε> indeed -- ...
  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- on
  • πόντῳ -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <πόντος> sea -- the sea
  • πάθεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <πάσχω> suffer -- suffered
  • ἄλγεα -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <ἄλγος> woe -- woes
  • ὃν -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <ὅς> his -- his
  • κατὰ -- preposition; <κατά> completely, down, under -- in
  • θυμόν -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <θυμός> soul, heart -- heart

ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.

  • ἀρνύμενος -- verb; nominative singular masculine of present participle middle of <ἄρνυμαι> win -- seeking to save
  • ἥν -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <ὅς> his -- his
  • τε -- conjunction; <τε> and -- ...
  • ψυχὴν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ψυχή> soul -- life
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • νόστον -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <νόστος> return -- the return
  • ἑταίρων -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <ἕταιρος> comrade -- of his comrades

ἀλλ' οὐδ' ὣς ἑτάρους ἐρρύσατο, ἱέμενός περ·

  • ἀλλ' -- conjunction; <ἀλλά> but -- but
  • οὐδ' -- particle; <οὐδέ> not -- not even
  • ὣς -- adverb; <ὡς> so, thus -- thus
  • ἑτάρους -- noun, masculine; accusative plural <ἕταρος> comrade -- comrades
  • ἐρρύσατο -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist middle of <ῥύομαι> save -- did he save
  • ἱέμενός -- deponent verb; nominative singular masculine of present participle of <ἵεμαι> desire -- desiring
  • περ -- adverb; <πέρ> although -- although

αὐτῶν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ὄλοντο,

  • αὐτῶν -- pronoun; genitive plural masculine of <αὐτός> oneself, he -- their
  • γὰρ -- conjunction; <γάρ> for -- for
  • σφετέρῃσιν -- adjective; dative plural feminine of <σφέτερος> own -- own
  • ἀτασθαλίῃσιν -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <ἀτασθαλία> folly -- folly
  • ὄλοντο -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <ὄλλυμαι> perish -- they perished

νήπιοι, οἳ κατὰ βοῦς Ὑπερίονος Ἠελίοιο

  • νήπιοι -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <νήπιος> childish, foolish -- fools
  • οἳ -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <ὅς> who, which -- who
  • κατὰ -- adverb; <κατά> completely, down, under -- ...
  • βοῦς -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <βοῦς> cow, ox -- cattle
  • Ὑπερίονος -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Ὑπερίων> Hyperion -- of Hyperion
  • Ἠελίοιο -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Ἠέλιος> Helios -- Helios

ἤσθιον· αὐτὰρ ὁ τοῖσιν ἀφείλετο νόστιμον ἧμαρ.

  • ἤσθιον -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <ἐσθίω> eat -- devoured
  • αὐτὰρ -- conjunction; <αὐτάρ> but -- but
  • -- article; nominative singular masculine of <> the -- he
  • τοῖσιν -- article used as pronoun; dative plural masculine of <> the -- them
  • ἀφείλετο -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist middle of <ἀφαιρέω> take away -- took away from
  • νόστιμον -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <νόστιμος> returning -- of return
  • ἧμαρ -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <ἧμαρ> day -- day

τῶν ἁμόθεν γε, θεά, θύγατερ Διός, εἰπὲ καὶ ἡμῖν.

  • τῶν -- article used as pronoun; genitive plural neuter of <> the -- of these things
  • ἁμόθεν -- adverb; <ἁμόθεν> from any point -- beginning at any stage
  • γε -- particle; <γε> indeed -- indeed
  • θεά -- noun, feminine; vocative singular of <θεά> goddess -- O goddess
  • θύγατερ -- noun, feminine; vocative singular of <θυγάτηρ> daughter -- daughter
  • Διός -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Ζεύς> Zeus -- of Zeus
  • εἰπὲ -- verb; 2nd person singular imperative of <λέγω> say -- tell
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • ἡμῖν -- pronoun; dative plural of <ἐγώ> I -- us

Ἔνθ' ἄλλοι μὲν πάντες, ὅσοι φύγον αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον,

  • ἔνθ' -- adverb; <ἔνθα> then, there -- then
  • ἄλλοι -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ἄλλος> other -- the others
  • μὲν -- particle; <μέν> on the one hand -- indeed
  • πάντες -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <πᾶς> all, every -- all
  • ὅσοι -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <ὅσος> as many -- whoever
  • φύγον -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <φεύγω> escape, flee -- had escaped
  • αἰπὺν -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <αἰπύς> deep -- sheer
  • ὄλεθρον -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <ὄλεθρος> destruction -- destruction

οἴκοι ἔσαν, πόλεμόν τε πεφευγότες ἠδὲ θάλασσαν·

  • οἴκοι -- adverb; <οἴκοι> at home -- at home
  • ἔσαν -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <εἰμί> I am -- were
  • πόλεμόν -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <πο̃λεμος> war -- the war
  • τε -- conjunction; <τε> and -- and
  • πεφευγότες -- verb; nominative plural masculine of perfect participle of <φεύγω> escape, flee -- having escaped
  • ἠδὲ -- conjunction; <ἠδέ> and, also -- also
  • θάλασσαν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <θάλασσα> sea -- the sea

τὸν δ' οἶον νόστου κεχρημένον ἠδὲ γυναικὸς,

  • τὸν -- article used as pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <> the -- him
  • δ' -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- but
  • οἶον -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <οἶος> alone -- alone
  • νόστου -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <νόστος> return -- return
  • κεχρημένον -- verb; accusative singular masculine of perfect participle middle of <χράομαι> need, use -- longing for
  • ἠδὲ -- conjunction; <ἠδέ> and, also -- also
  • γυναικὸς -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <γυνή> woman -- wife

νύμφη πότνι' ἔρυκε Καλυψὼ δῖα θεάων

  • νύμφη -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <νύμφη> nymph -- nymph
  • πότνι' -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <πότνια> revered, queenly -- the queenly
  • ἔρυκε -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <ἐρύκω> hold back -- held back
  • Καλυψὼ -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Καλυψώ> Calypso -- Calypso
  • δῖα -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <δῖος> godlike, noble -- splendid
  • θεάων -- noun, feminine; genitive plural of <θεά> goddess -- among the goddesses

ἐν σπέσσι γλαφυροῖσι, λιλαιομένη πόσιν εἶναι.

  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • σπέσσι -- noun, neuter; dative plural of <σπέος> cave, grotto -- grotto
  • γλαφυροῖσι -- adjective; dative plural neuter of <γλαφυρός> hollow -- hollow
  • λιλαιομένη -- verb; nominative singular feminine of present participle middle of <λιλαίομαι> desire -- desiring
  • πόσιν -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <πόσις> husband -- husband
  • εἶναι -- verb; infinitive of <εἰμί> I am -- to be

ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ ἔτος ἦλθε περιπλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν,

  • ἀλλ' -- conjunction; <ἀλλά> but -- but
  • ὅτε -- conjunction; <ὅτε> when -- when
  • δὴ -- particle; <δή> indeed -- ...
  • ἔτος -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <ἔτος> year -- the year
  • ἦλθε -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <ἔρχομαι> come, go -- came
  • περιπλομένων -- verb; genitive plural masculine of present middle participle of <περιπέλομαι> revolve -- revolved
  • ἐνιαυτῶν -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <ἐνιαυτός> year -- years

τῷ οἱ ἐπεκλώσαντο θεοὶ οἶκόνδε νέεσθαι

  • τῷ -- article used as pronoun; dative singular masculine of <> the -- for him
  • οἱ -- article; nominative plural masculine of <> the -- the
  • ἐπεκλώσαντο -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist middle of <ἐπικλώθω> spin; decide -- had decided
  • θεοὶ -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <θεός> god -- gods
  • οἶκόνδε -- adverb; <οἶκόνδε> to his home -- home
  • νέεσθαι -- verb; infinitive middle of <νέομαι> return -- (he should) return

εἰς Ἰθάκην, οὐδ' ἔνθα πεφυγμένος ἦεν ἀέθλων

  • εἰς -- preposition; <εἰς> towards -- to
  • Ἰθάκην -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Ἰθάκη> Ithaca -- Ithaca
  • οὐδ' -- particle; <οὐδέ> not -- not even
  • ἔνθα -- adverb; <ἔνθα> then, there -- there
  • πεφυγμένος -- verb; nominative singular masculine of perfect participle middle of <φεύγω> escape, flee -- be away from
  • ἦεν -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <εἶμι> go -- had he
  • ἀέθλων -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <ἀέθλος> battle, woe -- woes

καὶ μετὰ οἷσι φίλοισι. θεοὶ δ' ἐλέαιρον ἅπαντες

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- even
  • μετὰ -- preposition; <μετά> after, with -- with
  • οἷσι -- possessive pronoun; dative plural masculine of <ὅς> his -- his
  • φίλοισι -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <φίλος> dear one, friend -- friends
  • θεοὶ -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <θεός> god -- gods
  • δ' -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- and
  • ἐλέαιρον -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <ἐλεαίρω> pity -- pitied
  • ἅπαντες -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ἅπας> all -- all

νόσφι Ποσειδάωνος· ὁ δ' ἀσπερχὲς μενέαινεν

  • νόσφι -- preposition; <νόσφι> apart, afar, except -- except
  • Ποσειδάωνος -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Ποσειδάων> Poseidon -- Poseidon
  • -- article used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <> the -- he
  • δ' -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- but
  • ἀσπερχὲς -- adverb; <ἀσπερχές> unceasingly -- unceasingly
  • μενέαινεν -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <μεναίνω> rage -- raged

ἀντιθέῳ Ὀδυσῆι πάρος ἣν γαῖαν ἱκέσθαι.

  • ἀντιθέῳ -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <ἀντίθεος> godlike -- godlike
  • Ὀδυσῆι -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <Ὀδυσεύς> Odysseus -- Odysseus
  • πάρος -- conjunction; <πάρος> until -- until
  • ἣν -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <ὅς> his -- his
  • γαῖαν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <γαῖα> land -- homeland
  • ἱκέσθαι -- deponent verb; infinitive aorist middle of <ἱκνέομαι> reach -- (he) reached

Lesson Text

Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὅς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν·
πολλῶν δ' ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω,
πολλὰ δ' ὅ γ' ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ἄλγεα ὃν κατὰ θυμόν,
ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.
ἀλλ' οὐδ' ὣς ἑτάρους ἐρρύσατο, ἱέμενός περ·
αὐτῶν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ὄλοντο,
νήπιοι, οἳ κατὰ βοῦς Ὑπερίονος Ἠελίοιο
ἤσθιον· αὐτὰρ ὁ τοῖσιν ἀφείλετο νόστιμον ἧμαρ.
τῶν ἁμόθεν γε, θεά, θύγατερ Διός, εἰπὲ καὶ ἡμῖν.
Ἔνθ' ἄλλοι μὲν πάντες, ὅσοι φύγον αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον,
οἴκοι ἔσαν, πόλεμόν τε πεφευγότες ἠδὲ θάλασσαν·
τὸν δ' οἶον νόστου κεχρημένον ἠδὲ γυναικὸς,
νύμφη πότνι' ἔρυκε Καλυψὼ δῖα θεάων
ἐν σπέσσι γλαφυροῖσι, λιλαιομένη πόσιν εἶναι.
ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ ἔτος ἦλθε περιπλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν,
τῷ οἱ ἐπεκλώσαντο θεοὶ οἶκόνδε νέεσθαι
εἰς Ἰθάκην, οὐδ' ἔνθα πεφυγμένος ἦεν ἀέθλων
καὶ μετὰ οἷσι φίλοισι. θεοὶ δ' ἐλέαιρον ἅπαντες
νόσφι Ποσειδάωνος· ὁ δ' ἀσπερχὲς μενέαινεν
ἀντιθέῳ Ὀδυσῆι πάρος ἣν γαῖαν ἱκέσθαι.

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: ι-stems.

Nouns with stems in -ι have endings differing from those of the -ο- and -- 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 πόλις 'city'.

Nom sg   ἡ πόλις   Nom pl   αἱ πόλεις
Gen sg   τῆς πόλεος   Gen pl   τῶν πολίων
Dat sg   τῇ πόλει   Dat pl   ταῖς πόλισι
Acc sg   τῆν πόλιν   Acc pl   τὰς πόλεις
12. Adjectives of the -ο- and -- Declensions.

Many of the most common adjectives fall in these declensions, e.g. κακός 'bad', νέος 'new', φίλος 'dear'. Their endings are those of the nouns in the declensions. It must be noted, however, that feminine singular forms have -η rather than -α unless their stems ending in -ε, -ι, -ρ, as in δικαία 'just'. Some, especially compound adjectives, have only two endings, e.g. βάρβαρος, -ον 'foreign', παράνομος, -ον 'unlawful.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom sg   κακός   κακή   κακόν
Gen sg   κακοῦ   κακῆς   κακοῦ
Dat sg   κακῷ   κακῇ   κακῷ
Acc sg   κακόν   κακήν   κακόν
             
Nom pl   κακοί   κακαί   κακά
Gen pl   κακῶν   κακῶν   κακῶν
Dat pl   κακοῖς   κακᾶις   κακοῖς
Acc pl   κακούς   κακάς   κακά
13. The Intensive Pronoun αὐτός and ἄλλος 'other'.

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

Gen sg   ἑαυτοῦ 'his'   ἑαυτῆς 'her'   Gen pl   ἑαυτῶν 'their'
Dat sg   ἑαυτῷ   ἑαυτῇ   Dat pl   ἑαυτοῖς
Acc sg   ἑαυτόν   ἑαυτήν   Acc pl   ἑαυτούς
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 --declension, the -ο-declension, and the consonantal declension.

Nom/Acc/Voc   Gen/Dat    
τὼ χώρα   τοῖν χώραιν   'two countries'
τὼ θεώ   τοῖν θεοῖν   'two gods'
τὼ ἄνδρε   τοῖν ἀνδροῖν   'two men'

The forms for the first and third person pronouns are:

Nom/Acc/Voc   Gen/Dat    
νώ   νῷν   'we two'
σφώ   σφῴν   '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   ἐπαίδευσα   παιδεύσω   παιδεύσαι    
2 sg   ἐπαίδευσας   παιδεύσῃς   παιδεύσειας   παίδευσον
3 sg   ἐπαίδευσε(ν)   παιδεύσῃ   παιδεύσειε(ν)   παιδευσάτω
                 
1 pl   ἐπαιδεύσαμεν   παιδεύσωμεν   παιδεύσαιμεν    
2 pl   ἐπαιδεύσατε   παιδεύσητε   παιδεύσαιτε   παιδεύσατε
3 pl   ἐπαίδευσαν   παιδεύσωσι(ν)   παιδεύσειαν   παιδευσάντων

Infinitive   παιδεῦσαι            
Participle   παιδεύσας   παιδεύσασα   παιδεύ̃ͅσαν   'one who
Gen sg   παιδεύσαντος   παιδεύσης   παιδεύσαντος   educated'