The Odyssey

Page: 219

139 (return)
[ The text is here apparently corrupt, and will not make sense as it stands. I follow Messrs. Butcher and Lang in omitting line 101.]

140 (return)
[ i.e. to be milked, as in South Italian and Sicilian towns at the present day.]

141 (return)
[ The butchering and making ready the carcases took place partly in the outer yard and partly in the open part of the inner court.]

142 (return)
[ These words cannot mean that it would be afternoon soon after they were spoken. Ulysses and Eumaeus reached the town which was "some way off" (xvii. 25) in time for the suitor's early meal (xvii. 170 and 176) say at ten or eleven o' clock. The context of the rest of the book shows this. Eumaeus and Ulysses, therefore, cannot have started later than eight or nine, and Eumaeus's words must be taken as an exaggeration for the purpose of making Ulysses bestir himself.]

143 (return)
[ I imagine the fountain to have been somewhere about where the church of the Madonna di Trapani now stands, and to have been fed with water from what is now called the Fontana Diffali on Mt. Eryx.]

144 (return)
[ From this and other passages in the "Odyssey" it appears that we are in an age anterior to the use of coined money—an age when cauldrons, tripods, swords, cattle, chattels of all kinds, measures of corn, wine, or oil, etc. etc., not to say pieces of gold, silver, bronze, or even iron, wrought more or less, but unstamped, were the nearest approach to a currency that had as yet been reached.]

145 (return)
[ Gr. is {Greek}]

146 (return)
[ I correct these proofs abroad and am not within reach of Hesiod, but surely this passage suggests acquaintance with the Works and Ways, though it by no means compels it.]

147 (return)
[ It would seem as though Eurynome and Euryclea were the same person. See note 156]

148 (return)
[ It is plain, therefore, that [Iris] was commonly accepted as the messenger of the gods, though our authoress will never permit her to fetch or carry for any one.]

149 (return)
[ i.e. the doorway leading from the inner to the outer court.]

150 (return)
[See note 156]

151 (return)
[ These, I imagine, must have been in the open part of the inner courtyard, where the maids also stood, and threw the light of their torches into the covered cloister that ran all round it. The smoke would otherwise have been intolerable.]

152 (return)
[ Translation very uncertain; vide Liddell and Scott, under {Greek}]

153 (return)
[ See photo on opposite page.]

154 (return)
[ cf. "Il." ii. 184, and 217, 218. An additional and well-marked feature being wanted to convince [Penelope], the writer has taken the hunched shoulders of Thersites (who is mentioned immediately after Eurybates in the "Iliad") and put them on to Eurybates' back.]

155 (return)
[ This is how geese are now fed in Sicily, at any rate in summer, when the grass is all burnt up. I have never seen them grazing.]

156 (return)
[ Lower down (line 143) Euryclea says it was herself that had thrown the cloak over Ulysses—for the plural should not be taken as implying more than one person. The writer is evidently still fluctuating between Euryclea and Eurynome as the name for the old nurse. She probably originally meant to call her Euryclea, but finding it not immediately easy to make Euryclea scan in xvii. 495, she hastily called her Eurynome, intending either to alter this name later or to change the earlier Euryclea's into Eurynome. She then drifted in to Eurynome as convenience further directed, still nevertheless hankering after Euryclea, till at last she found that the path of least resistance would lie in the direction of making Eurynome and Euryclea two persons. Therefore in xxiii. 289-292 both Eurynome and "the nurse" (who can be none other than Euryclea) come on together. I do not say that this is feminine, but it is not unfeminine.]

157 (return)
[ See note [156] : ]

158 (return)
[ This, I take it, was immediately in front of the main entrance of the inner courtyard into the body of the house.]

159 (return)
[ This is the only allusion to Sardinia in either "Iliad" or "Odyssey."]

160 (return)
[ The normal translation of the Greek word would be "holding back," "curbing," "restraining," but I cannot think that the writer meant this—she must have been using the word in its other sense of "having," "holding," "keeping," "maintaining."]

161 (return)
[ I have vainly tried to realise the construction of the fastening here described.]

162 (return)
[ See plan of Ulysses' house in the appendix. It is evident that the open part of the court had no flooring but the natural soil.]

163 (return)
[ See plan of Ulysses' house, and note [175].]

164 (return)
[ i.e. the door that led into the body of the house.]

165 (return)
[ This was, no doubt, the little table that was set for Ulysses, "Od." xx. 259.

Surely the difficulty of this passage has been overrated. I suppose the iron part of the axe to have been wedged into the handle, or bound securely to it—the handle being half buried in the ground. The axe would be placed edgeways towards the archer, and he would have to shoot his arrow through the hole into which the handle was fitted when the axe was in use. Twelve axes were placed in a row all at the same height, all exactly in front of one another, all edgeways to Ulysses whose arrow passed through all the holes from the first onward. I cannot see how the Greek can bear any other interpretation, the words being, {Greek}

"He did not miss a single hole from the first onwards." {Greek} according to Liddell and Scott being "the hole for the handle of an axe, etc.," while {Greek} ("Od." v. 236) is, according to the same authorities, the handle itself. The feat is absurdly impossible, but our authoress sometimes has a soul above impossibilities.]

166 (return)
[ The reader will note how the spoiling of good food distresses the writer even in such a supreme moment as this.]

167 (return)
[ Here we have it again. Waste of substance comes first.]

168 (return)
[ cf. "Il." iii. 337 and three other [places]. It is strange that the author of the "Iliad" should find a little horse-hair so alarming. Possibly enough she was merely borrowing a common form line from some earlier poet—or poetess—for this is a woman's line rather than a man's.]

169 (return)
[ Or perhaps simply "window." See plan in the appendix.]

170 (return)
[ i.e. the pavement on which Ulysses was standing.]

171 (return)
[ The interpretation of lines 126-143 is most dubious, and at best we are in a region of melodrama: cf., however, i.425, etc. from which it appears that there was a tower in the outer court, and that Telemachus used to sleep in it. The {Greek} I take to be a door, or trap door, leading on to the roof above Telemachus's bed room, which we are told was in a place that could be seen from all round—or it might be simply a window in Telemachus's room looking out into the street. From the top of the tower the outer world was to be told what was going on, but people could not get in by the {Greek}: they would have to come in by the main entrance, and Melanthius explains that the mouth of the narrow passage (which was in the lands of Ulysses and his friends) commanded the only entrance by which help could come, so that there would be nothing gained by raising an alarm. As for the {Greek} of line 143, no commentator ancient or modern has been able to say what was intended—but whatever they were, Melanthius could never carry twelve shields, twelve helmets, and twelve spears. Moreover, where he could go the others could go also. If a dozen suitors had followed Melanthius into the house they could have attacked Ulysses in the rear, in which case, unless Minerva had intervened promptly, the "Odyssey" would have had a different ending. But throughout the scene we are in a region of extravagance rather than of true fiction—it cannot be taken seriously by any but the very serious, until we come to the episode of Phemius and Medon, where the writer begins to be at home again.]