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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."

ʼΆνδρα μοι ʼέννεπε, Μου̂σα, πολύτροπον, ʽός μάλα πολλὰ

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

πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ʼέπερσεν·

  • 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
  • ʼέπερσεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <πέρθω> destroy, sack -- he had sacked

πολλω̂ν δ' ἀνθρώπων ʼίδεν ʼάστεα καὶ νόον ʼέγνω,

  • πολλω̂ν -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <πολύς> many -- of many
  • δ' -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- and
  • ἀνθρώπων -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <ʼάνθρωπος> human being -- men
  • ʼίδεν -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <εʼίδω> see, know -- he saw
  • ʼάστεα -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <ʼάστυ> city -- the cities
  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- and
  • νόον -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <νόος> mind -- (their) mind
  • ʼέγνω -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <γιγνώσκω> know, learn -- learned

πολλὰ δ' ʽό γ' ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ʼάλγεα ʽὸν κατὰ θυμόν,

  • πολλὰ -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <πολύς> many -- many
  • δ' -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- and
  • ʽό -- article; nominative singular masculine of <ὁ> 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
  • ʼάλγεα -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <ʼάλγος> woe -- woes
  • ʽὸν -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <ʽός> his -- his
  • κατὰ -- preposition; <κατά> completely, down, under -- in
  • θυμόν -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <θυμός> soul, heart -- heart

ἀρνύμενος ʽήν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.

  • ἀρνύμενος -- verb; nominative singular masculine of present participle middle of <ʼάρνυμαι> win -- seeking to save
  • ʽήν -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <ʽός> 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 <ʽέταιρος> comrade -- of his comrades

ἀλλ' οὐδ' ʽὼς ἑτάρους ἐρρύσατο, ἱέμενός περ·

  • ἀλλ' -- conjunction; <ἀλλά> but -- but
  • οὐδ' -- particle; <οὐδέ> not -- not even
  • ʽὼς -- adverb; <ὡς> so, thus -- thus
  • ἑτάρους -- noun, masculine; accusative plural <ʽέταρος> 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 <ʽίεμαι> desire -- desiring
  • περ -- adverb; <πέρ> although -- although

αὐτω̂ν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ʼόλοντο,

  • αὐτω̂ν -- 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
  • ʼόλοντο -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <ʼόλλυμαι> perish -- they perished

νήπιοι, οʽὶ κατὰ βου̂ς ʽΥπερίονος ʼΗελίοιο

  • νήπιοι -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <νήπιος> childish, foolish -- fools
  • οʽὶ -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <ʽός> who, which -- who
  • κατὰ -- adverb; <κατά> completely, down, under -- ...
  • βου̂ς -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <βου̂ς> cow, ox -- cattle
  • ʽΥπερίονος -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <ʽΥπερίων> Hyperion -- of Hyperion
  • ʼΗελίοιο -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <ʼΗέλιος> Helios -- Helios

ʼήσθιον· αὐτὰρ ὁ τοι̂σιν ἀφείλετο νόστιμον ʽη̂μαρ.

  • ʼήσθιον -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <ἐσθίω> eat -- devoured
  • αὐτὰρ -- conjunction; <αὐτάρ> but -- but
  • ὁ -- article; nominative singular masculine of <ὁ> the -- he
  • τοι̂σιν -- article used as pronoun; dative plural masculine of <ὁ> 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
  • ʽη̂μαρ -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <ʽη̂μαρ> day -- day

τω̂ν ἁμόθεν γε, θεά, θύγατερ Διός, εἰπὲ καὶ ἡμι̂ν.

  • τω̂ν -- article used as pronoun; genitive plural neuter of <ὁ> 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
  • ἡμι̂ν -- pronoun; dative plural of <ἐγώ> I -- us

ʼΈνθ' ʼάλλοι μὲν πάντες, ʽόσοι φύγον αἰπὺν ʼόλεθρον,

  • ʼένθ' -- adverb; <ʼένθα> then, there -- then
  • ʼάλλοι -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ʼάλλος> other -- the others
  • μὲν -- particle; <μέν> on the one hand -- indeed
  • πάντες -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <πα̂ς> all, every -- all
  • ʽόσοι -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <ʽόσος> as many -- whoever
  • φύγον -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <φεύγω> escape, flee -- had escaped
  • αἰπὺν -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <αἰπύς> deep -- sheer
  • ʼόλεθρον -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <ʼόλεθρος> destruction -- destruction

οʼίκοι ʼέσαν, πόλεμόν τε πεφευγότες ἠδὲ θάλασσαν·

  • οʼίκοι -- adverb; <οʼίκοι> at home -- at home
  • ʼέσαν -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <εἰμί> I am -- were
  • πόλεμόν -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <πο̂λεμος> 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' οʼι̂ον νόστου κεχρημένον ἠδὲ γυναικὸς,

  • τὸν -- article used as pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <ὁ> the -- him
  • δ' -- particle; <δέ> and, on the other hand -- but
  • οʼι̂ον -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <οʼι̂ος> 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' ʼέρυκε Καλυψὼ δι̂α θεάων

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

ἐν σπέσσι γλαφυροι̂σι, λιλαιομένη πόσιν εʼι̂ναι.

  • ἐν -- preposition; <ἐν> in -- in
  • σπέσσι -- noun, neuter; dative plural of <σπέος> cave, grotto -- grotto
  • γλαφυροι̂σι -- 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
  • εʼι̂ναι -- verb; infinitive of <εἰμί> I am -- to be

ἀλλ' ʽότε δὴ ʼέτος ʼη̂λθε περιπλομένων ἐνιαυτω̂ν,

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

τῳ̂ οἱ ἐπεκλώσαντο θεοὶ οʼι̂κόνδε νέεσθαι

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

εἰς ʼΙθάκην, οὐδ' ʼένθα πεφυγμένος ʼη̂εν ἀέθλων

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

καὶ μετὰ οʽι̂σι φίλοισι. θεοὶ δ' ἐλέαιρον ʽάπαντες

  • καὶ -- conjunction; <καί> and -- even
  • μετὰ -- preposition; <μετά> after, with -- with
  • οʽι̂σι -- possessive pronoun; dative plural masculine of <ʽός> 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
  • ʽάπαντες -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ʽάπας> all -- all

νόσφι Ποσειδάωνος· ὁ δ' ἀσπερχὲς μενέαινεν

  • νόσφι -- preposition; <νόσφι> apart, afar, except -- except
  • Ποσειδάωνος -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Ποσειδάων> Poseidon -- Poseidon
  • ὁ -- article used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <ὁ> 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 ʼΟδυση̂ι πάρος ʽὴν γαι̂αν ἱκέσθαι.

  • ἀντιθέῳ -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <ἀντίθεος> godlike -- godlike
  • ʼΟδυση̂ι -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <ʼΟδυσεύς> Odysseus -- Odysseus
  • πάρος -- conjunction; <πάρος> until -- until
  • ʽὴν -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <ʽός> his -- his
  • γαι̂αν -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <γαι̂α> land -- homeland
  • ἱκέσθαι -- deponent verb; infinitive aorist middle of <ἱκνέομαι> reach -- (he) reached

Lesson Text

ʼΆνδρα μοι ʼέννεπε, Μου̂σα, πολύτροπον, ʽός μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ʼέπερσεν·
πολλω̂ν δ' ἀνθρώπων ʼίδεν ʼάστεα καὶ νόον ʼέγνω,
πολλὰ δ' ʽό γ' ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ʼάλγεα ʽὸν κατὰ θυμόν,
ἀρνύμενος ʽήν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.
ἀλλ' οὐδ' ʽὼς ἑτάρους ἐρρύσατο, ἱέμενός περ·
αὐτω̂ν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ʼόλοντο,
νήπιοι, οʽὶ κατὰ βου̂ς ʽΥπερίονος ʼΗελίοιο
ʼήσθιον· αὐτὰρ ὁ τοι̂σιν ἀφείλετο νόστιμον ʽη̂μαρ.
τω̂ν ἁμόθεν γε, θεά, θύγατερ Διός, εἰπὲ καὶ ἡμι̂ν.
ʼΈνθ' ʼάλλοι μὲν πάντες, ʽόσοι φύγον αἰπὺν ʼόλεθρον,
οʼίκοι ʼέσαν, πόλεμόν τε πεφευγότες ἠδὲ θάλασσαν·
τὸν δ' οʼι̂ον νόστου κεχρημένον ἠδὲ γυναικὸς,
νύμφη πότνι' ʼέρυκε Καλυψὼ δι̂α θεάων
ἐν σπέσσι γλαφυροι̂σι, λιλαιομένη πόσιν εʼι̂ναι.
ἀλλ' ʽότε δὴ ʼέτος ʼη̂λθε περιπλομένων ἐνιαυτω̂ν,
τῳ̂ οἱ ἐπεκλώσαντο θεοὶ οʼι̂κόνδε νέεσθαι
εἰς ʼΙθάκην, οὐδ' ʼένθα πεφυγμένος ʼη̂εν ἀέθλων
καὶ μετὰ οʽι̂σι φίλοισι. θεοὶ δ' ἐλέαιρον ʽάπαντες
νόσφι Ποσειδάωνος· ὁ δ' ἀσπερχὲς μενέαινεν
ἀντιθέῳ ʼΟδυση̂ι πάρος ʽὴν γαι̂αν 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 -ᾱ- 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   τη̂ς πόλεος   Gen pl   τω̂ν πολίων
Dat sg   τῃ̂ πόλει   Dat pl   ται̂ς πόλισι
Acc sg   τη̂ν πόλιν   Acc pl   τὰς πόλεις
12. Adjectives of the -ο- and -ᾱ- 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   κακου̂   κακη̂ς   κακου̂
Dat sg   κακῳ̂   κακῃ̂   κακῳ̂
Acc sg   κακόν   κακήν   κακόν
             
Nom pl   κακοί   κακαί   κακά
Gen pl   κακω̂ν   κακω̂ν   κακω̂ν
Dat pl   κακοι̂ς   κακα̂ις   κακοι̂ς
Acc pl   κακούς   κακάς   κακά
13. The Intensive Pronoun αὐτός and ʼάλλος '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 ʼάλλος are also inflected in the same way. The forms of the third person reflexive pronouns 'his, her, their' are based on these:

Gen sg   ἑαυτου̂ 'his'   ἑαυτη̂ς 'her'   Gen pl   ἑαυτω̂ν 'their'
Dat sg   ἑαυτῳ̂   ἑαυτῃ̂   Dat pl   ἑαυτοι̂ς
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 -ᾱ-declension, the -ο-declension, and the consonantal declension.

Nom/Acc/Voc   Gen/Dat    
τὼ χώρα   τοι̂ν χώραιν   'two countries'
τὼ θεώ   τοι̂ν θεοι̂ν   'two gods'
τὼ ʼάνδρε   τοι̂ν ἀνδροι̂ν   'two men'

The forms for the first and third person pronouns are:

Nom/Acc/Voc   Gen/Dat    
νώ   νῳ̂ν   '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   παιδευ̂σαι            
Participle   παιδεύσας   παιδεύσασα   παιδεύ̂ͅσαν   'one who
Gen sg   παιδεύσαντος   παιδεύσης   παιδεύσαντος   educated'