Iliad Chat Transcript
from Fabularum Bibliotheca

283 lines of discussion for
Sep. 16, 1998

This is the second Iliad chat sponsored by Fabularum Bibliotheca.
The 9/12 transcript is also at
The 9/20 transcript for the third chat is also at

I have not corrected spellings and typos on either transcript, and am posting them exactly
as they occurred, although I've deleted a few extraneous computer messages occurring
on the original, and have changed the links to name to the full path for Ancient Sites.
Torrey Philemon

20:26 Ricardex Cornelius: Hello!
20:27 Theseus Artistides: Hello, Ricardex and everyone else.
20:27 Ricardex Cornelius: Hi Theseus!
20:28 David Marius: Torrey, thanks for all the great links. It will take another year to get through them all
20:29 Ricardex Cornelius: BTW, the Atenian newsletter editor wants to offer folks a chane to post things on translations and issues around them!
20:29 Torrey Philemon: Thanks David...I'm only half here so far...fixing dinner..but looking forward to another discussion.
20:29 David Marius enters...
20:30 David Marius: Yes. I have a message from the Athenian editor
20:31 Ricardex Cornelius: Good please supply some material, it will be welcome.
20:32 David Marius: I may disappear from time to time and maybe alltogether, I ahve been having problems with the computer. Lots of fatal errors.
20:32 Ricardex Cornelius: I do want evry one to feelfree to supply info
20:32 Aurora Inca enters...
20:32 Ricardex Cornelius: I want to start by asking new folks, those not here on Saturday to introduce self and to tell what translation you used.
20:33 Ricardex Cornelius: I also may appoint someone to chair discussionat times, I am being pressed for several things, do forgive me.
20:33 Aurora Inca: Samuel Butler
20:34 Theseus Artistides: Hello - Samuel Butler here as well.
20:34 Ricardex Cornelius: Others?
20:35 Torrey Philemon: Maybe those who were here Saturday could repeat the translation they're using...for me, Lombardo.
20:35 Ricardex Cornelius: Lombardo here!
20:36 Aurora Inca enters...
20:37 Ricardex Cornelius: So others?
20:37 Torrey Philemon: Are there only five of us here?
20:37 Ricardex Cornelius: If there are only five, let us have the first timers start out about what they  liked or did  not like on translation.
20:38 Torrey Philemon: Anyone read more than one translation?
20:38 Aurora Inca: I read verse (don't know the translation) in high school. I like the prose better.
20:39 Melisa Alexandros enters...
20:39 Theseus Artistides: I've only read the one translation, twice, many years apart.
20:40 Donalda Antonius enters...
20:40 Ricardex Cornelius: donalda hi
20:40 Ricardex Cornelius: We are telling of translations and introducing selves.
20:40 Donalda Antonius: Hi, sorry to be late....
20:41 Donalda Antonius: please continue....
20:41 David Marius enters...
20:41 Ricardex Cornelius: We welcome any comments on the value of translation, then on to other items, like the Gods, War, Women and honor, fate.
20:42 Ricardex Cornelius: So any trannslation remarks are ready to go beyond that?
20:43 Melisa Alexandros: Late too, sorry. I read a spanish translation in verse. (Bonifaz Nuño).
20:43 Torrey Philemon: I'm wondering if there are any key passages...where the meaning would be in question...where it would be useful to compare translations. The differences aren't just the poetry, but in some cases perhaps the meaning....
20:43 Ricardex Cornelius: Welll Melisa was that exciting an dclear?
20:43 Asterix Flavius enters...
20:43 Theseus Artistides enters...
20:43 David Marius enters...
20:43 Ricardex Cornelius: Torrey good point.
20:44 Ricardex Cornelius: Asterix welcome, David too!
20:44 Asterix Flavius: Good evening, all.  Sorry I'm late but either the net or my server is sloooow tonight.  So, what's up?
20:44 Melisa Alexandros: It was exciting, yes. But not very clear. The rythm is a little heave, but the translator, also a poet, likes to conserv the archaic flavor.
20:45 Ricardex Cornelius: I like Lombardo's clear modern Englis, but some terms in context of Greek warfare do suprise you
20:46 Donalda Antonius: Such as......
20:46 David Marius: Ricardex, can you give an example?
20:46 Theseus Artistides: In Butler's version I got a little tired of the phrase "all the livelong day."
20:46 Torrey Philemon: I think that archaic language gives us a sense of the Greece in the past, but modern language makes the story and characters seem more real...
20:47 Theseus Artistides: Otherwise it was very accessible.
20:48 Asterix Flavius: I read Fagles. I heard him talking on radio about translating the Iliad/Odyssey and what he tried to do so I ordered them.  Happily, the Iliad was the first choice on our readers poll.  I liked the verse trans, think he did a good job.  It reads well out loud.  The only other I've read was Rouse in the early sixties.  As I remember, I liked it [was taking Greek back then] but can't remember anything special about the trans.
20:48 Belay Fabius enters...
20:49 Ricardex Cornelius: Belay greetings!
20:49 Belay Fabius: Greetings all, too many people and my browser is already shaking
20:50 Torrey Philemon: Asterix, I too read Rouse in the 60s...back in high school. I couldn't relate to the archaic language at the time, nor did I see the Iliad as any more than a war story then.
20:50 Asterix Flavius: >Belay - Hi!  I had a question from the last chat.  You said that the Homerian gods were the projections of mortal humans' best and worst aspirations, but the projections were neither conscious nor unconscious.  Could you expand on what you meant?
20:51 Melisa Alexandros: Repetitions, dear Theseus, make think us that we are in the original times---
20:52 Aurora Inca: Torrey, I also only saw it as a war story in my teens. Only now am I rediscovery it in greater depth.
20:53 Donalda Antonius: How many times have your read it Torrey; to arrive at a very different conclusion from your younger years?
20:53 Theseus Artistides: I suppose, sweet Melisa, that it was just the almost modern, and yet old-fashioned, phrase itself.  I should have read a more recent translation I suppose.
20:53 Torrey Philemon: Donalda, this is only the second time..and the first time was 30 years ago!
20:54 Donalda Antonius: That was what I wondered......
20:54 Donalda Antonius: please continue.....
20:54 Melisa Alexandros: I like in the liad, Theseus, the repited epythets, for example, they gave me the sense of eternity.
20:55 Belay Fabius: Asterix, I don't know where the chat is pointed  at this point. But it is my view the Iliad is not a chronicle per se but a plot of a few weeks concerning Achiles anger towards the end of the war and thr role of the gods in human destiny . The greek gods unlike any gods of other especially the east, are human images but more powerful. A projections of the highest and the worst human beings can  attain are personified in the various gods role
20:55 David Marius: I think that is important - that different ages of readers see different things
20:55 Asterix Flavius: >Torrey - I wonder if the difference was in the translation or in you 30 years later.
20:56 Theseus Artistides: I liked the epithets too.  I found myself thinking I should come up with one for myself, and some for the people around me.
20:56 Ricardex Cornelius: So folks do we want to focus this discuss on topic or freflow it? you are doing fine by me either way!
20:57 Torrey Philemon: I doubt that many high school teachers explore the depths of the Iliad....and often, only as we grow older, do we begin to explore more deeply world views and relate more to the charactres...
20:57 Belay Fabius: >Ricardex, could you point what is the specific point we are discussing for later entries like me
20:58 Aurora Inca: Teenagers lack the life experiences to relate to the characters and situations, I think
20:58 Melisa Alexandros: I think yes, Theseus, living and being called with the same epythet conviced Ulysses, for example, he was sourceful.
20:58 Ricardex Cornelius: We starte don translations and if language wa sclear as to events, and the poetic vs. storline aspects of work.
20:59 Torrey Philemon: Here's a question: How important was Briseis to Achilles? Do you think he really loved her? Or was his withdrawal from the war mostly due to being dishonored by Agamemnon, and not at losing Briseis?
21:01 Asterix Flavius: Another aspect I would like to see comments on is Achilles as hero.  I see him as petulant and argumentative until his catharsis with Priam [father figure?].  He destroys,what little harmony exists within the Achaean camp.
21:01 Aurora Inca: Tough question, Torrey.
21:01 Ricardex Cornelius: I think he was more concerned with honor and she was associated with it, but they make big point when she is returned, that she was not touched!
21:01 David Marius: If yoy take the hero line (of Knox, which I posted on the thread) Breises is only a symbol of the lowered status
21:01 Theseus Artistides: I think although Achilles was certainly fond of Briseis, he was primarily incensed by Agammemnon's treatment of him.
21:02 David Marius: But what is a hero?
21:02 Ricardex Cornelius: Achilles doe snot  get off as noble to me but a killing machine with gods in favor, doe she ever overcome anything without the gods?
21:02 Donalda Antonius exits...
21:02 Aurora Inca: Women were replaced so easily, it seems. I don't think he would pout so over losing one so newly acquired.
21:03 Asterix Flavius: >Ricardex - I agree with you on Briseis.  Not being touched could have been thought to increase Achilles' honor
21:03 Melisa Alexandros: Briseída Kaliparéon (Briseis of the beautiful cheeks) wasn't loved by Achilles. it was his proud as a warior, as a man, as a prince what he felt menaced by Agamemnon
21:03 David Marius: To Knox, his willing destructiveness (or willing to ignore the destruction he has caused) makes his a hero (like the gods).
21:04 Belay Fabius: Briseis is a  trophy of war mainly. Whether  Agmamenon was in live is secondary. The primary motive  of the quarrel is the implication of humility. Honor is a primary virtue of that society and violation of honor or belittling one's honor is tantamount to the death of the hero character.
21:04 Torrey Philemon: BTW, there's a novel I plan to read soon, the Iliad told from the point of view of Briseis. It's Daughter of Troy by Sarah Franklin.
21:04 Asterix Flavius: >Aurora - I don't think it was Briseis herself but that Agamemnon figured he could take her from Achilles that p/o'd him.
21:05 Theseus Artistides: (My browser is having increasing trouble with the chat window.  Please excuse me.  Good evening all.)
21:05 Torrey Philemon: At first Achilles appears to say quite calmly, well, take her, I don't care. He somewhat passively lets Agamemnon take her...THEN he rages.
21:06 Asterix Flavius: >Torrey - sounds intriguing.  Like Beowulf from Grendel's POV.  Anyone remember who wrote that? Gardner??
21:07 Ricardex Cornelius: Theseus it is th esystem not your browser.
21:07 Melisa Alexandros: Torrey, Achilles had time to think and to react. This anger makes gro and vibrate the Iliad fresco
21:07 Ricardex Cornelius: It blinks!
21:07 David Marius: Torrey, is it here or later Athena stops his from drawing his sword on Agamemnon?
21:08 Torrey Philemon: David, I think it's right after Agamemnon takes her that Athena stops him. That would be an interesting passage to compare, in terms of the different translations.
21:08 Asterix Flavius: Here
21:10 Torrey Philemon: Sorry. I'm wrong. Looking it up now. Athena's stops his rage when Agamemnon first threatens to take Briseis.
21:12 Ricardex Cornelius: Does Hector come off as noble?
21:13 Melisa Alexandros: orrey, Athena offers three times more gifts to Achilles if he stops his angers. He takes him to the future, in order to calm him: the greeks will as for his forgiveness
21:14 Torrey Philemon: Lombardo: Achilles' chest was a rough knot of pain/Twisting around his heart: should he/ Draw the sharp sword that hung by his thigh,/Scatter the ranks and gut Agamemnon,/Or control his temper, repress his rage? (That's when Athena comes, when Agamemnon first threatens to take Briseis...)
21:15 Asterix Flavius: I think Hector comes off as noble until the battle over Patroclus' body.  Throwing a warrior to the dogs upsets the order of life.
21:16 David Marius: Knox feels that Hector and all the Trojan are civilized and thus ultimately will fall victim to the Argives (especially Achilles) who knows no bounds
21:16 Torrey Philemon: Yes, Ricardex, I think that Hector does appear as noble. Hector, Priam and Odysseus perhaps appear the most noble...(and Nestor also appears as wise)
21:18 Asterix Flavius: He broke off and anguish gripped Achilles./ The heart in his rugged chest was pounding, torn.../Should he draw the long sharp sword slung at his hip,thrust through the ranks and kill Agamemnon  now?--  Fagles'
21:18 Melisa Alexandros: Ricardex, Hector is the most noble, he feels the superiority of Achilles as a warrior, he feels the terrible destiny of Troy, but against all hope, he fights.
21:19 Torrey Philemon: David, your phrase "knows no bounds" is an interesting one. Achilles doesn't have a sense of limits, except in regard to the commands of the gods. He does in the end bow to Zeus...
21:19 Asterix Flavius: >Melisa - that may be the best definition of hero, to my way of thinking.
21:19 Belay Fabius: What is the criteria of noble deed in the Iliad?
21:20 Torrey Philemon: Very interesting, Asterix. In the Fagles translation, the word NOW changes the meaning. Should he kill Agamemnon now implies that he might be thinking of killing Agamemnon anyway, whether now or later...
21:21 Ricardex Cornelius: On being thrown to dogs, was that a commonthing, I mean why does Hector what to demean the body of the guy?
21:22 David Marius: A point that struck me as I was thinking about the Iliad is realism. On  the one hand, we are given a detailed description of the way to put Priam wagon for Hector together. On the other hand, where did the Greeks keep all the animals they kept sacrificing and eating.
21:22 Melisa Alexandros: Asterix, hector is man, with the resources of a man. He deals, he fights versus gods and versus fate.
21:22 Asterix Flavius: Actually, I think the funeral rites are the common thing for a warrior rather than desecration of the body.
21:22 Aurora Inca: Denying burial was quite an insult to the dead. Antigone risked her life to properly bury her brother who had been left exposed.
21:23 David Marius: Ricardex, I think you have a variety of stages of dishonoring a corpse starting with ripping the armor off. That is why you have several scenes of battles over corpses.
21:24 Torrey Philemon: Yes I think we have to understand how incredibly important the proper burial was to the Greeks...though I'm not clear how much of that has to do with honor and how much has to do with the person's status in the afterlife...
21:25 Melisa Alexandros: Achilles was desmesurated in almos everything: denying buring to Hector made the audience and makes the readers being terribly concerned about the figure of the troyan.
21:25 Ricardex Cornelius: Armor has value and trophy status, but feding a guy to the dos you doo not really hate, I meanthey were niot rivials.
21:25 David Marius: No, status in afterlife. That is made abundantly clear over and over. One passes to nothinness.
21:26 Aurora Inca: There wasn't much status difference among people in the Greek afterlife. They are basically portrayed as mere shades, regardless of burial, actions during life, etc.
21:26 Melisa Alexandros: For Achilles, dogs weren't enough for the man that have killed the loved Pathroclus
21:27 Torrey Philemon: But as David said, without burial, no afterlife. So does deseceating a body make any difference in the afterlife...or is it primarily a means of dishonoring him and hurting his family?
21:27 Asterix Flavius: >Aurora - good point with Antigone.  She is frenzied to give a proper burial.  Reminds me of the English mistake after the 1916 uprising in Dublin.  They executed most of the leaders and dumped the bodies in lime pits so they couldn't be buried.  If they had just jailed them they might still be ruling in Dublin.
21:28 Melisa Alexandros: Even that pale existence afterdeath was better than being left without sepulture, abandoned to the regions of nowhere
21:28 David Marius: I don't hink there is afterlife even with burial
21:28 Torrey Philemon: Interesting that Achilles could have cared so much for Patroclus and yet be so callous and insensitive to the death of his comrades....He could really blow hot and cold, caring deeply or not at all.
21:29 Melisa Alexandros: Pathorclus was more than his comrade. He was his soul.
21:29 Torrey Philemon: David, we're using the word afterlife differently. I'm using to the term to imply even a rudimentary existence as a shade...
21:30 Belay Fabius: We should note  the concept of after life is very different in the classical greek thought. Unlike judeo-christian  thought...
21:30 Melisa Alexandros: Achilles loved Pathroclus. He wanted for him the same immortality, because he loved him. Besides, Pathorclus wearing Achille's armour was in a way, the same Achilles.
21:31 David Marius: Torrey, I'm not sure that even that is held out. Only  for Pathorchlus, until Achilles is able to put him to rest. But for others death is the end.
21:33 Torrey Philemon: Achilles doesn't appear to acknowledge that Patroclus disobeyed "his orders" and didn't retreat, but moved onward to Troy, resulting in his death. Patroclus unnecessarily put himself at greater risk, by choice, without thought of the consequences....
21:33 Aurora Inca: Doesn't Odysseus see fallen commrades when he visits the underworld?
21:33 David Marius: Melissa, what immortality? Achilles knows he is going to get his once Hector is killed,
21:33 Aurora Inca: Of course, that is The Odyssey, but still Homer.
21:34 Torrey Philemon: I'm very aware too of other Greek heroes visiting the underworld, and encountering those from their past who are now Shades. I've had the impression that after death, one is a kind of ghostly shade (in Greek myth)
21:35 Melisa Alexandros: David, excuse me I wasn't clear. The inmortality that the lover wants for the loved.
21:36 Melisa Alexandros: To love someone is to tell him: "you musn't die". I think that the troyan war and the sense of death appear to Achilles only with the concrete death of his friend.
21:36 Aurora Inca: Torrey, that is the impression I have, also. The concept of a more "personal" immortality develops later. An interesting topic in its own right.

continued on next page
Go to Trojan War Transcripts Index

First Iliad Chat Saturday September 12 Transcript HERE
Third Iliad Chat Sunday September 20 Transcript HERE
Ricardex Cornelius is Librarian of FB and moderator of the chat.
Torrey Philemon posted this transcript.