Fabularum Bibliotheca: The Iliad Chat
September 12, 1998
Ancient Sites Chats on Greek Mythology and Greek Classics

Chat Transcript
page one

  373 lines of discussion for
Sep. 12, 1998

13:49 Torrey Philemon enters...
13:50 Ricardex Cornelius enters...
13:50 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: WE start in 10
13:51 TORREY PHILEMON: Hello Ricardex...
13:52 Moira Cumhaill enters...
13:53 RobertusI Marius enters...
13:53 ROBERTUS MARIUS: Hi Ricardex & everyone!
13:54 gnaeus Junius enters...
13:55GNAEUS JUNIUS: Good afternoon.
13:56 diopan Nestor enters...
13:57 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I want lots of comments, this looks good.
13:57 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Greetings it is good to se new faces. Clock says four minutes to start.
13:58 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Stanley Lombardo is my text, for this work, his translation is in modern English.
13:58 DIOPAN NESTOR: Hello everybody
13:59 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Diopan hi,
13:59 ROBERTUS MARIUS: I have a copy of Fagles at my desk.
13:59 TORREY PHILEMON: I too read Lombardo. Would be interested in comments by people who's read a few translations...which they like best and why.
14:00 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Great topics and questions.
14:00 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Well, let me introduc emyself, i am head libririan or leader of group, welcome all.
14:01 TORREY PHILEMON: Thankyou Ricardex for encouraging this discussion...
14:01 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Forgive my spelling, will others introduce themselves.
14:01 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: And say whattranslationyour read.
14:02 ROBERTUS MARIUS: I haven't read Lombardo yet. I've read the Fitzgerald, Rouse, Graves, and Fagles . I like Fagles the best of those I have read.
14:03 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: RobertusI you will be a guide for us then, please.
14:03 David Marius enters...
14:04 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: We are introucing selves and mentioning translations used in reading this work.
14:05 DIOPAN NESTOR: I read the first song in greek and I cn't remember who translated the english version I read (however the hebrew trans.
14:05 Shaquilat Sergius enters...
14:05 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Diopan, good range, others?
14:05DAVID MARIUS: I read Fagles. All the Iliad. Now about half way thru the intro essay
14:06 TORREY PHILEMON: I'm also interested in good commentaries. Calasso's The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony has an excellent chapter on the Iliad...
14:06 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Robertus will you in about two minutes make some comments on the differences you found in texts?
14:06 SHAQUILAT SERGIUS: I am reading Fagles too. I'm in the final book where Priam meets Hermes.
14:07 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: To new folk s entering, introduce self, and tell what translation you used.
14:07 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: : Allo, allo, allo.  I'm read Fagles.  Also Rouse, but that was 30+ years ago,
14:07 GENAEUS JUNIUS: I often prefer the Lattimore translationbut I think Fagles is beter in crucial scenes such as the book in which Achilles refuss compensation from gamemnon`s emissaries.
14:08 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Okay any other introductions?
14:08 TORREY PHILEMON: Regarding introductions...I'm an Internet trainer/psychotherapist/writer, with a special interest in psychological/personal development issues in myth. Most interested in character - Achilles, Helen etc.
14:08 BELAY FABIUS: Greetings, sorry can't stay but will listen for a while....
14:09 ROBERTUS MARIUS: I just remembered I've read Lattimore as well. Thanks gnaeus for jogging my memory it was back in college toomany years ago.
14:10 BELAY FABIUS: Torrey I saw a nice Greek picture yesterday when I visited your place. So you are internet GURU?
14:10 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: RobertusI woul dyoi=ou give us some points ontranslations and what  you found  in them, you semed to have read a number?
14:10 GENAEUS JUNIUS: Mark Edwards, "Homer, Poet of the Iliad " is the commentary which I read.
14:11 TORREY PHILEMON: Lombardo's an easy read...but probably less poetic. Achilles, good runner rather than fleet-footed Achilles...No more rosy-fingered dawns...
14:11 gnaeus Junius enters...
14:12 TORREY PHILEMON: Thanks for the compliment, Belay. Will talk off-topic with you later! <grin>
14:12BELAY FABIUS: Torrey the beauty of Homer is the flowery expression which evokes good graphic in the mind..
14:13 DAVID MARIUS: Torrey, Is the wine dark sea gone as well?
14:13 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Torrey - I like Rosy-fingered Dawn.
14:13 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Lombardo does cut to the chase.
14:14 TORREY PHILEMON: David, don't think there's a wine-dark sea in Lombardo. But he hasn't lost all poetry (I think I read the Rouse version WAY BACK in college)
14:14 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Diopan, did your versions come across as rich poetic works?
14:14 ROBERTUS MARIUS: I find that reading the verse translations aloud until you get the rythm of the cadence down is very helpful. Of all the trasnslations i found Fitzgerald to be the most dificult. Rouse was a prose translation that was very good. I don't remember musch of lLattimore and Graves put his own spin (ala "The White Goddess) on his very readable prose translation. Fagles id the easiest verse translation..so far.
14:16 TORREY PHILEMON: Lombardo begins: Rage: Sing, Goddess, Achilles' rage, Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls Of heroes into Hades' dark...
14:16 DAVID MARIUS: Bernard Knox who does my commentary says that the identifying phrases form a pattern (a few with each person or thing) so that the name an adjective can fit the right meter depending on where there are in the line and the case involved etc.
14:16BELAY FABIUS: I believe the merging of the prose and verse poem gives wider audience a good grasp on the essence of the subject to be relayed. I like the prose verse kind translations very much...
14:17 TORREY PHILEMON: Has anyone here read the Iliad in the original Greek?
14:17 DIOPAN NESTOR: The hebrew version is very poetic...the rosy fingers are here :)
14:19 ROBERTUS MARIUS: Fagles uses "Dawn with her Rose Red Fingers"  I have for years loved the this phrase and time of day.
14:19BELAY FABIUS: David ... I think it is being very mathematical to evaluate a poetry by how well metered it is. It evades  the spontaneous delicacy and the true soul of the author
14:19 TORREY PHILEMON: I also recommend the Lombardo introduction...
14:20 ROBERTUS MARIUS: Bernard Knox does an excellent job for Fagles.
14:20 DIOPAN NESTOR: the problem was to get the ryhm right since hexameter does not work good in hebrew
14:20 TORREY PHILEMON: Lombardo: Dawn came early, a palmetto of rose...
14:20 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Some Topics by the way to cover: The Gods as controllers of man; the nature of war in society of greeks/Troyjans; what is honor and glory in thecontext of this society; did battle scenes seem realistic;  did anyone find the Hector/Achilles scene anticlimatic (I did).  Just some suggestions,we seem to be moving wiht ou tmuch push by ourselves in this discussion.
14:20BELAY FABIUS: Torrey .. I don't think modern greek is closely related to original homeric Greek ...:) is it?
14:21 TORREY PHILEMON: Lombardo wrote that he tried to create rhythm that is natural in contemporary English, even though it may not have the Greek rhythm. He wanted the text to become more real to us and less archaic...
14:21 DAVID MARIUS: Belay, I disagree with you. The beauty is how well you meet the challenge with the boundaries placed upon you. The stricter the boundaries, the greater is overcoming them. Good haiku is one of the best examples.
14:22BELAY FABIUS: The gods of Ancient Greece are very unique in the whole human civilization. Their imitation of human nature is supreme ideal...
14:22 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Yes, the gods are very involved an dnot very higher in moral tone.
14:23 ROBERTUS MARIUS: It seems that that the Greeks of the Iliad are putting all of their human failings into the Gods without any consequences.
14:23 TORREY PHILEMON: The gods appear to me to be totally anthropomorphic - a projection of human beings. I think their portrayal tells us a lot about how Greeks saw THEMSELVES.
14:23BELAY FABIUS: David : I have to leave now, but I will discuss the point with you. Poetry and Mathematics are two dissimilar fields the former evokes the practical sense in us the latter our deep emotions...
14:23 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Yes, that is an insight to their belief system, at least via Homer.
14:25BELAY FABIUS: Torrey: Exactly and that why the Greeks are the forebearers of what we have today as a way of living. Good bye all...
14:25 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: By the way others jump in with comments, there are no wrong questions or rmarks.
14:25 TORREY PHILEMON: It experience a dual world view in the Iliad. Some personal responsibility and some blaming of Gods. For example, Agamemnon does apologize and take responsibility for his taking of Chryseis. The heroes don't blame all their behavior on the gods.
14:25 ROBERTUS MARIUS: What does anyone think about the sides the gods take in the war why one side or the other.
14:26 TORREY PHILEMON: Robertus, I don't understand why the gods felt so strongly about the side they supported. Because of the honor they have received from that side?
14:26GNAEUS JUNIUS: The Gods and Fat(the detiny cast for eah mortal at birth)decide the total context  of each life in which the deeds feach mortal ooccur.  If somethingoesn`t quite work out to theGods liking they interven directly to correct their programing.  Mortals must accept the cosequences of their deeds bu they are not responible fr them.  This is an idea wich offends many  critics who have a different idea ofmoral responsibility.
14:27 TORREY PHILEMON: Clearly the judgment of Paris explains the attitudes of Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis, but not the other gods...
14:27 DAVID MARIUS: I think that the view of the Gods and their conflicts (and the way it falls out on mortals) help the Greeks explain why bad things happen to good people etc.
14:28 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I know why some did, that beauty contest, and then the sea god was angry at being denied the  due he had coming when he had to labor to build tTroys walls.
14:28 Belay Fabius enters...
14:28 TORREY PHILEMON: Zeus seemed to be ambivalent. He was
14:28 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I do not know what Hermes was upset with.
14:29 TORREY PHILEMON: Zeus supported the Greeks, but really favored Hector and appreciated Hector's devotion to him. He also didn't have much trouble letting the Trojans win for quite awhile.
14:29 ROBERTUS MARIUS: I've always been puzzled as to why Posedion was against Troy, he helped build the walls, the trojasns were horse breeders (a symbol of Posedion) I just keep missing why Posedion dislikes Troy.
14:29 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: The gods in Homer are very interesting.  They too are subject to Destiny and go against it at their peril.  We would read way too much into seeing Zeus as God.  The gods are, however, larger than life as are demi-gods like Achilles and Heracles.
14:30 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: BTW, the Indians just tied the Sox.
14:30 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Apollo, Leto and Artemis are linked, but Apollo should have sided against Troy for reasons Poseidon did
14:30 TORREY PHILEMON: Yet Asterix, Zeus is tempted to act against Destiny, against the advice of other gods...
14:31BELAY FABIUS: Asterix, the Homerian gods are the projections of mortal humans best and worst aspirations
14:31 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: The Trojans denied him wages promised aparently for building wall.
14:31ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Yes, he's tempted to, but he wisely decides not to.
14:32 David Marius exits...
14:32 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Belay - conscious projections or unconscious?  Did Homer believe in the gods?
14:33 TORREY PHILEMON: Despite Achilles' enormous rage, he does overcome his self-centeredness when it comes to Zeus. He clearly respects and follows Zeus' wishes...
14:33BELAY FABIUS: Asterix : neither ... go to leave now.
14:34 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Well, Achilles doe snot come of as a great nobel hero in this work, he can kill, but he doe snot have many heroic moments.
14:34 ASTERIUX FLAVIUS: Hera reminds Zeus that going against Destiny would create disorder among the gods.  Much of the Iliad is about the restoration of order.
14:35 TORREY PHILEMON: It does fascinate me that the gods are SO passionate about the side they support. Very strong feelings and devotion...
14:35GNAEUS JUNIUS: Poseidon dislikes Troy because Priam`s father refused to pay him after he built the walls of Troy.
14:36 SHAQUILAT SERGIUS: In many cases their children were involved in the conflict.
14:37 TORREY PHILEMON: Ricardex, I think that after Patroclus' death, Achilles is humbled, and with Priam, he finds his common humanity again, in grief...His heroism is not in his "male" qualities but in his eventual softening of his rage and pride...
14:37 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Yes thechildren of gods is a big point.
14:37 DAVID MARIUS: Poseiedon's position makes as much sense as Hera's and Athena's for not being picked in a beauty contest. Can you see what would happen to the Miss America judges.
14:37 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Torrey that is a good point.
14:38GNAEUS JUNIUS: eus can alter Destiny-Fate but he may anger teother Gods by doing so.  He would disrupt the rogrming which theyhave done to fulfill Destiny.
14:39 ROBERTUS MARIUS: That's my point David. The gods have the personalities of little children. I wonder if that was how the homeric greeks coped with the harshness of the world.
14:39 DAVID MARIUS: On the Zeus bit, I think that point is made at least twice, that he can do what he want but if he alters the final outcome, the other gods will no longer respect him
14:40 TORREY PHILEMON: I think that Destiny had a big role in Achilles' attitude. Since he knew he would die if he fought, he didn't have the hope of survival. At first, honor was most important to him,then life became more important than honor.
14:41GNAEUS JUNIUS: Perhaps a horo is a being who can pursue a goal as ruthlesly as Achilles.
14:42 ROBERTUS MARIUS: Zeus can alter the spinning of the fates, however, altering destiny made more complications than leaving it alone.
14:42 TORREY PHILEMON: Gnaeus, in today's terms,that would mean that Hitler is the greatest hero of the 20th century. Shudder!
14:42 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Achilles gets what he wants at a price.
14:42 DAVID MARIUS: Torrey, how honorable is it to sit on the side while you team is getting destroyed? Leave the field completely or get in there.
14:42 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: How about the question of Achilles as classical tragic figure.  Was hubris his tragic flaw, or an inability to act [as was Hamlet's]?
14:43 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: And th econcept of team is somewhat lacking, they have been together, what en years, so maybe stress, but the greeks are not united at times.
14:44 TORREY PHILEMON: David, I agree...Achilles' personal honor was at the expense of his honor in relation to others...He sacrificed his connection to his people, his loyalty...until he found it again when Patroclus died...
14:44 TORREY PHILEMON: Asterix...I think Achilles was able to act. He chose the action of passive resistance. I see hubris as the bigger flaw...
14:45 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: AND DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO GET THIS BLANKETY-BLANK CHAT TO QUIT MOVING AROUND? [thanks for letting me vent]  This constant movement makes the chat hard to follow.  Is there something I can do on my PC to stop it?
14:45 TORREY PHILEMON: Asterix, change your frequency update rate. Make it 30 seconds or more.
14:45 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Patroculus alos puts Hector in bad light, no tonly did he kill man but wanted the dogs to eat it. This puts some of Achilles mistreatment of hewctor's dead body into a contecxt that is  understandable.
14:45 DAVID MARIUS: Asterix, I wish I knew. I changed the refresh rat but that didn't help.
14:46 ROBERTUS MARIUS: I believe the literal greek translation of the title of the Iliad is "The Anger of Achiles"  .This anger was provoked by the slight made to him over the fate of a captive slave girl. In actuality Achiles is behaving no worse than the Athena or Hera.
14:46 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: ASterix, AS system flaw?
14:46 SHAQUILAT SERGIUS: I'm having a problem too. The screen will not stay on long enough to read it. Then it remains blank for long periods. I too tried refresh but it didn't work.
14:46 TORREY PHILEMON: Ricardex, I think that to some extent though, Achilles initially just transferred his rage against Agamemnon to Hector. He was still at the mercy of ruthless and violent rage...
14:46 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Torrey - but it wasn't passive resistance.  In passive r you are still involved.  He opted out until his action caused Patroclus to die [I know, Iknow, Patroclus also caused it]
14:48 DAVID MARIUS: Knox says that Iliad means "a poem about Ilium(i.e.Troy)
14:48 ROBERTUS MARIUS: My screen is bouncing like a rubber ball.
14:48GNAEUS JUNIUS: Exactly.  Agamemnon iste authority establsed by eus which Zeus validates by the great power he allows to Agamenon.
14:48 DIOPAN NESTOR: Same blinking problem here
14:49 TORREY PHILEMON: Yes, I read somewhere that Ilium and Iliam mean Troy...Ilian, Ilan, Ilana etc. are also variants for Helen.
14:49 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I think blink is due to volume of us in this space.
14:50 DAVID MARIUS: topless towers of Ilium said another poet
14:50 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Knox is right about Iliad.  The usual subtitle is "The Rage [or Wrath] of Achilles."
14:51 ROBERTUS MARIUS: Thats correct Ilium is another name for Troy. They are also regered to as the Dardanians(I guess after the Dardenelles).
14:51 TORREY PHILEMON: I'm fascinated by Achilles' background...why his rage was so enormous. What could have contributed to it being so relentess..
14:51 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Fagles starts out "Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles....
14:52 TORREY PHILEMON: From what I gather, Thetis wanted a totally immortal child. She killed 12 of her own sons trying to make them immortal before Achilles...Maybe he had shame in his mortal side and thought he should be treated like a god...
14:52 Ricardex Cornelius enters...
14:53 TORREY PHILEMON: Agamemnon's slight made him feel the trauma of his own "smallness."
14:53 DAVID MARIUS: I found that while the outcome is predetermined, an effort is often made to put in a human touch. In the early battle scenes a victim is sketched in a line or two and then brutally dispatched. Not just an extra put to a bloody death.
14:53 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Torrey - maybe he's a big man, so his rage is big.  I see as just petulant, myself.  I like Diomedes more.  That's another thread - is Book 5 a separate poem that was grafted onto the Iliad?
14:54 ROBERTUS MARIUS: Achilles knew that he would have a short life. I guess he wanted it to be full of glory. By the way what does anyone feel about the graphic brutality in the battle scenes. Achilles dragging Hektor around the city 3X . The river Scmander expelling the dead bodies in revussion. Lots of shades flying to Hades.
14:54 TORREY PHILEMON: But a rage that would callously allow thousands of his people to die...that's a bigger than normal rage!
14:55 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I some times wonder on what was combined with what in work, there is the big games scence for funeral of Patroclus. that was interesting and the context made sense in one way.
14:55 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: David - maybe not an extra because some of his readers/listeners claimed descent from the heroes of yore [much as mine claim descent from Brian Boru - he couldn't have been that prolific].
14:55 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Hades i sone god that is happy at all outcomes in this work!
14:56 TORREY PHILEMON: I read that all other accounts of Helen indicate that she was NOT in Troy. She was left on an Egyptian island. Helen put her in Troy for the sake of a better drama. But she was really a phantom in Troy.
14:57 ROBERTUS MARIUS: I believe that Diomedes is the subject of an epic similar to the Iliad that did not survive. He is the son of thwe king of Argos which has a history that is older than Mycenae.
14:58 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Torrey - are the other accounts supposed to be older than Homer?
14:58 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: There are some strange  attempts to link Greece with Egypt, for example last  Egyptian ruler that was not a Persian was side to have been at Alexander the Great's father's court.
14:58 DIOPAN NESTOR: Torrey...according to some writers this story of the Phantom was created in order to keep Helen's name clean
14:58 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: side = said
14:59 TORREY PHILEMON: Asterix, I'll have to look that up...I know that early Greek historians criticized Homer for fabricating Helen's presence, but I don't know what the earliest source is of the other accounts.
14:59 ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Well, the Ptolemies were from a general of Alexander's, I believe.
14:59 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: And many did claim to be descentants of god the Julius Ceasar
14:59 ROBERTUS MARIUS: The Iliad was sung by troubadors therefore every noble house had to havew one of their ancestors at Troy. Much was added extemporaniously at these performances. Thats why there are so many stock phrases.
15:00 RICARDEX CORNELIUS: So TRoy also was side birth place of rome via  Aeneas.
15:01 TORREY PHILEMON: Well Helen throughout history has been treated as a phantom...another female like Eve that men could blame. Female seductiveness again, as the cause of ruin...
15:01 Ricardex Cornelius enters...
15:01 ROBERTUS MARIUS: Julius Caesar claimed decendance from Venus via Aeneas who was a son of venus
15:01 DAVID MARIUS: Even without a rover like Zeus who seems to have father half the world. it doesn't take long to have many descendants. Look at some family reunions with hundreds of people who can trace a common ancestry.
15:02 TORREY PHILEMON: One thing very unclear to me: Did Helen CHOOSE to go with Paris? Was it choice or abduction? It's pre-Iliad...
15:03 DAVID MARIUS: Ricardex, yes see Aeneid. Of course, there is the Romulus and Remus story too
15:03 Belay Fabius enters...
15:04 ROBERTUS MARIUS: I think that when the Greeks were conquering greece the "married " their principal god Zeus to the local "Goddess" . That gives us Europa, Phaspae, Leda (mother of Helen), etc
15:04 TORREY PHILEMON: Frankly, I blame Paris more than Helen, and Agamemnon more than Achilles. Agamemnon made the biggest mistake in the Iliad when he took Chryseis...HIS anger and action led to Achilles' withdrawal.
15:04 DAVID MARIUS: I think in one place it indicates she was willing but cursed the day she had ever come to Troy.
15:05GNAEUS JUNIUS: Torry, think about it.  Achilles does approximate Zeus in his will to power and ruthlessness.
15:05 TORREY PHILEMON: Yes, David, she seems to be full of self-hatred and regrets throughout the Iliad...

continue to page two

Second Iliad Chat Wednesday September 16 Transcript HERE
Third Iliad Chat Sunday September 20 Transcript HERE
Greek language and terminology in the Iliad
Greek language links
Ricardex Cornelius is Librarian of FB and moderator of the chat.
Torrey Philemon (Tracy Marks) posted this transcript.
More ancient Greek literature and mythology links HERE! !

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