The present translation of the Iliad will, it is hoped, be found to convey, more accurately than any which has preceded it, the words and thoughts of the original. It is based upon a careful examination of whatever has been contributed by scholars of every age towards the elucidation of the text, including the ancient scholiasts and lexicographers, the exegetical labours of Barnes and Clarke, and the elaborate criticisms of Heyne, Wolf, and their successors.
The necessary brevity of the notes has prevented the full discussion of many passages where there is great room for difference of opinion, and hence several interpretations are adopted without question, which, had the editor’s object been to write a critical commentary, would have undergone a more lengthened examination. The same reason has compelled him, in many instances, to substitute references for extracts, indicating rather than quoting those storehouses of information, from whose abundant contents he would gladly have drawn more copious supplies. Among the numerous works to which he has had recourse, the following deserve particular mention — Alberti’s invaluable edition of Hesychius, the Commentary of Eustathius, and Buttmann’s Lexilogus.
In the succeeding volume, the Odyssey, Hymns, and minor poems will be produced in a similar manner.
THEODORE ALOIS BUCKLEY,
Ch. Ch., Oxford.
Apollo, enraged at the insult offered to his priest, Chryses, sends a pestilence upon the Greeks. A council is called, and Agamemnon, being compelled to restore the daughter of Chryses, whom he had taken from him, in revenge deprives Achilles of Hippodameia. Achilles resigns her, but refuses to aid the Greeks in battle, and at his request, his mother, Thetis, petitions Jove to honour her offended son at the expense of the Greeks. Jupiter, despite the opposition of Juno, grants her request.
Sing, Ο goddess, the destructive wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus, which brought countless woes upon the Greeks, and hurled many valiant souls of heroes down to Hades, and made themselves a prey to dogs and to all birds [but the will of Jove was being accomplished], from the time when Atrides, king of men, and noble Achilles, first contending, were disunited.
Which, then, of the gods, engaged these two in strife, so that they should fight? The son of Latona and Jove; for he, enraged with the king, stirred up an evil pestilence through the army [and the people kept perishing] because the son of Atreus had dishonoured the priest Chryses: for he came to the swift ships of the Greeks to ransom his daughter, and bringing invaluable ransoms, having in his hands the fillets of far-darting Apollo on his golden sceptre. And he supplicated all the Greeks, but chiefly the two sons of Atreus, the leaders of the people:
“Ye sons of Atreus, and ye other well-greaved Greeks, to you indeed may the gods, possessing the heavenly dwellings, grant to destroy the city of Priam, and to return home safely: but for me, liberate my beloved daughter, and accept the ransoms, reverencing the son of Jove, far-darting Apollo.”
Upon this, all the other Greeks shouted assent, that the priest should be reverenced, and the splendid ransoms accepted; yet was it not pleasing in his mind to Agamemnon, son of Atreus; but he dismissed him evilly, and added a harsh mandate:
“Let me not find thee, old man, at the hollow barks, either now loitering, or hereafter returning, lest the staff and fillet of the god avail thee not. For her I will not set free; sooner shall old age come upon her, at home in Argos, far away from her native land, employed in offices of the loom, and preparing my bed. But away! irritate me not, that thou mayest return the safer.”
Thus he spoke; but the old man was afraid, and obeyed the command. And he went in silence along the shore of the loud-resounding sea; but then, going apart, the aged man prayed much to king Apollo, whom fair-haired Latona bore: