The Iliad of Homer

Page: 348


Sthenelus, a son of Capaneus, one of the Epigoni. He was one of the suitors of Helen, and is said to have been one of those who entered Troy inside the wooden horse.


Forwarn'd the horrors. The same portent has already been mentioned. To this day, modern nations are not wholly free from this superstition.


Sevenfold city, Boeotian Thebes, which had seven gates.


As when the winds.

"Thus, when a black-brow'd gust begins to rise,
White foam at first on the curl'd ocean fries;
Then roars the main, the billows mount the skies,
Till, by the fury of the storm full blown,
The muddy billow o'er the clouds is thrown."

Dryden's Virgil, vii. 736.

Like Teneriffe or Atlas unremoved;
His stature reach'd the sky."

—"Paradise Lost," iv. 986.


The Abantes seem to have been of Thracian origin.


I may, once for all, remark that Homer is most anatomically correct as to the parts of the body in which a wound would be immediately mortal.


Ænus, a fountain almost proverbial for its coldness.


Compare Tasso, Gier. Lib., xx. 7:

"Nuovo favor del cielo in lui niluce
E 'l fa grande, et angusto oltre il costume.
Gl' empie d' honor la faccia, e vi riduce
Di giovinezza il bel purpureo lume."
"Or deluges, descending on the plains,
Sweep o'er the yellow year, destroy the pains
Of lab'ring oxen, and the peasant's gains;
Uproot the forest oaks, and bear away
Flocks, folds, and trees, an undistinguish'd prey."

Dryden's Virgil ii. 408.


From mortal mists.

"But to nobler sights
Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed."

"Paradise Lost," xi. 411.


The race of those.

"A pair of coursers, born of heav'nly breed,
Who from their nostrils breathed ethereal fire;
Whom Circe stole from her celestial sire,
By substituting mares produced on earth,
Whose wombs conceived a more than mortal birth.

Dryden's Virgil, vii. 386, sqq.


The belief in the existence of men of larger stature in earlier times, is by no means confined to Homer.


Such stream, i.e. the ichor, or blood of the gods.

"A stream of nect'rous humour issuing flow'd,
Sanguine, such as celestial spirits may bleed."

"Paradise Lost," vi. 339.


This was during the wars with the Titans.


Amphitryon's son, Hercules, born to Jove by Alcmena, the wife of Amphitryon.


Ægiale daughter of Adrastus. The Cyclic poets (See Anthon's Lempriere, s. v.) assert Venus incited her to infidelity, in revenge for the wound she had received from her husband.


Pherae, a town of Pelasgiotis, in Thessaly.


Tlepolemus, son of Hercules and Astyochia. Having left his native country, Argos, in consequence of the accidental murder of Liscymnius, he was commanded by an oracle to retire to Rhodes. Here he was chosen king, and accompanied the Trojan expedition. After his death, certain games were instituted at Rhodes in his honour, the victors being rewarded with crowns of poplar.


These heroes' names have since passed into a kind of proverb, designating the oi polloi or mob.


Spontaneous open.

"Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, upspringing light
Flew through the midst of heaven; th' angelic quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all th' empyreal road; till at the gate
Of heaven arrived, the gate self-open'd wide,
On golden hinges turning."

—"Paradise Lost," v. 250.

"Till Morn,
Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light."

—"Paradise Lost," vi, 2.


Far as a shepherd. "With what majesty and pomp does Homer exalt his deities! He here measures the leap of the horses by the extent of the world. And who is there, that, considering the exceeding greatness of the space would not with reason cry out that 'If the steeds of the deity were to take a second leap, the world would want room for it'?"—Longinus, Section 8.


"No trumpets, or any other instruments of sound, are used in the Homeric action itself; but the trumpet was known, and is introduced for the purpose of illustration as employed in war. Hence arose the value of a loud voice in a commander; Stentor was an indispensable officer... In the early Saracen campaigns frequent mention is made of the service rendered by men of uncommonly strong voices; the battle of Honain was restored by the shouts and menaces of Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed," &c.—Coleridge, p. 213.

"Long had the wav'ring god the war delay'd,
While Greece and Troy alternate own'd his aid."

Merrick's "Tryphiodorus," vi. 761, sq.


Paeon seems to have been to the gods, what Podaleirius and Machaon were to the Grecian heroes.


Arisbe, a colony of the Mitylenaeans in Troas.


Pedasus, a town near Pylos.


Rich heaps of brass. "The halls of Alkinous and Menelaus glitter with gold, copper, and electrum; while large stocks of yet unemployed metal—gold, copper, and iron are stored up in the treasure-chamber of Odysseus and other chiefs. Coined money is unknown in the Homeric age—the trade carried on being one of barter. In reference also to the metals, it deserves to be remarked, that the Homeric descriptions universally suppose copper, and not iron, to be employed for arms, both offensive and defensive. By what process the copper was tempered and hardened, so as to serve the purpose of the warrior, we do not know; but the use of iron for these objects belongs to a later age."—Grote, vol. ii. p. 142.


Oh impotent, &c. "In battle, quarter seems never to have been given, except with a view to the ransom of the prisoner. Agamemnon reproaches Menelaus with unmanly softness, when he is on the point of sparing a fallen enemy, and himself puts the suppliant to the sword."—Thirlwall, vol. i. p. 181

"The ruthless steel, impatient of delay,
Forbade the sire to linger out the day.
It struck the bending father to the earth,
And cropt the wailing infant at the birth.
Can innocents the rage of parties know,
And they who ne'er offended find a foe?"

Rowe's Lucan, bk. ii.

"Meantime the Trojan dames, oppress'd with woe,