Saturday, April 6, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes on Scrolls 16 and 17 of the Iliad

Iliad 16.330 Pitiless one, thy father, meseems, was not the knight Peleus, nor was Thetis thy mother, but the grey sea bare thee, and the beetling cliffs, for that thy heart is unbending.           As soon as I read this I thought of a rather harsh description of the character Spock in Star Trek (1966)  “whose father was a computer and his mother an encyclopedia.”   

Iliad 16.327 Araisodarus, him that reared the raging Chimera, a bane to many men.  A mortal  was the foster father of the Chimera?  I looked for additional references and found these.   "Homer may sing of the Chimera with its three heads, the monster of Lycia kept by Amisodaros the Lycian king for the destruction of many, of varies nature, and absolutely invincible.” ( Aelian, On Animals 9. 23)  Also, “   Amisodarus, king of Caria,” ( Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology)

Iliad 16.426  “He spake, and leapt in his armour from his chariot to the ground. And Patroclus, over against him, when he beheld him, sprang from his chariot. And as vultures crooked of talon and curved of beak fight with loud cries upon a high rock, even so with cries rushed they one against the other.  Nice image
16.694 You, 754 you, 787, you,   I’m keeping track of when Homer switches to the second person.  It’s usually not a good thing for the person he is addressing.

16.745  "Hah, look you, verily nimble is the man; how lightly he diveth! In sooth if he were on the teeming deep, this man would satisfy many by seeking for oysters, leaping from his ship were the sea never so stormy, seeing that now on the plain he diveth lightly from his car. Verily among the Trojans too there be men that dive."    Beautiful image in an ugly scene.

17.55 “And as a man reareth a lusty sapling of an olive in a lonely place, where water welleth up abundantly—a goodly sapling and a fair-growing; and the blasts of all the winds make it to quiver, and it burgeoneth out with white blossoms; but suddenly cometh the wind with a mighty tempest, and teareth it out of its trench, and layeth it low upon the earth; even in such wise did Menelaus, son of Atreus, slay Panthous' son, Euphorbus”      Beautiful plant image in another ugly scene.

17.75  “Hector, now art thou hasting thus vainly after what thou mayest not attain, even the horses of the wise-hearted son of Aeacus; but hard are they for mortal men to master or to drive, save only for Achilles, whom an immortal mother bare." Sort of a hint of things to come?


  1. I think that the words you are citing in bold (about the Troyan "diver") sealed Patroclus's doom. You must have mentioned how often a hero dies almost immediately after mocking an enemy warrior killed or mortally wounded by him.

  2. Maya,

    I always find it ironic how all the Achaeans describe Patroculus as kind and then you read something like the above! Sort of like reading the Olympians describing Leto as kindly and then recalling what happen to her "best friend" Niobe's children. Ugh!