Quotations by Homer


Rage — Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds.

[Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,
πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 1, ll. 1-5 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990)]

Alt. trans.:
The wrath of Peleus' son, the direful spring
Of all the Grecian woes, O Goddess, sing!
That wrath which hurled to Pluto's gloomy reign
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain,
Whose limbs, unburied on the naked shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore ....
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Achilles sing, O Goddess! Peleus' son;
His wrath pernicious, who ten thousand woes
Caused to Achaia’s host, sent many a soul
Illustrious into Ades premature,
And Heroes gave (so stood the will of Jove)
To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey.
[tr. Cowper (1791)]

Sing, O 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 ....
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Of Peleus' son, Achilles, sing, O Muse,
The vengeance, deep and deadly; wence to Greece
Unnumber'd ills arose; which many a soul
Of mighty warriors to the viewless shades
Untimely sent; they on the battle plain
Unburied lay, a prey to rav'ning dogs,
And carrion birds ....
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Sing, goddess, the wrath of Achilles Peleus' son, the ruinous wrath that brought on the Achaians woes innumerable, and hurled down into Hades many strong souls of heroes, and gave their bodies to be a prey to dogs and all winged fowls ....
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Sing, O goddess, the rage of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures ....
[tr. Butler (1898)]

The wrath sing, goddess, of Peleus' son, Achilles, that destructive wrath which brought countless woes upon the Achaeans, and sent forth to Hades many valiant souls of heroes, and made them themselves spoil for dogs and every bird ....
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Achilles' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that cause the Achaeans loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men -- carrion
for dogs and birds ....
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Sing now, goddess, the wrath of Achilles the scion of Peleus,
ruinous rage which brought the Achaians uncounted afflictions;
many the powerful souls it sent to the dwellings of Hades,
those of the heroes, and spoil for the dogs it made of their bodies,
plunder for all of the birds ....
[tr. Merrill (2007)]
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Always it is, that the hearts in the younger men are frivolous,
but when an elder man is among them, he looks behind him
and in front, so that all comes out far better for both sides.

[Αἰεὶ δ’ ὁπλοτέρων ἀνδρῶν φρένες ἠερέθονται·
οἷς δ’ ὁ γέρων μετέῃσιν ἅμα πρόσσω καὶ ὀπίσσω
λεύσσει, ὅπως ὄχ’ ἄριστα μετ’ ἀμφοτέροισι γένηται.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 3, ll. 108-110 [Menelaus] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Lattimore (1951)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
All young men’s hearts are still unstaid; but in those well-weigh'd deeds
An old man will consent to pass things past, and what succeeds
He looks into, that he may know, how best to make his way
Through both the fortunes of a fact, and will the worst obey.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 113-16]

And youth itself an empty wavering state:
Cool age advances, venerably wise,
Turns on all hands its deep-discerning eyes;
Sees what befell, and what may yet befall,
Concludes from both, and best provides for all.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Young men are ever of unstable mind;
But when an elder interferes, he views
Future and past together, and insures
The compact, to both parties, uninfringed.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 124-27]

For the minds of younger men are ever fluctuating; but for those among whom a senior is present, he looks at the same time both backward and forward, in order that the best results may accrue to both parties.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

For young men's spirits are too quickly stirr'd;
But in the councils check'd by rev'rend age,
Alike are weigh'd the future and the past,
And for all int'rests due provision made.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 130-34]

Young men's minds are light as air, but when an old man comes he looks before and after, deeming that which shall be fairest upon both sides.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Ever unstable are the hearts of the young; but in whatsoever an old man taketh part, he looketh both before and after, that the issue may be far the best for either side.
[tr. Murray (1924), #95]

The minds of the younger men are always flighty,
but let an old man stand his ground among them,
one who can see the days behind, the days ahead --
that is the best hope for peace, for both our armies.
[tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 131-34]

Always in fact do the spirits in younger men flutter unsteady;
but with an elder among them, at once the before and the after
he can observe, so that things will become far better for both sides.
[tr. Merrill (2007), ll. 108-110]
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Who on earth could blame them? Ah, no wonder
the men of Troy and Argives under arms have suffered
years of agony all for her, for such a woman.
Beauty, terrible beauty!
A deathless goddess — so she strikes our eyes!

[Οὐ νέμεσις Τρῶας καὶ ἐϋκνήμιδας Ἀχαιοὺς
τοιῇδ’ ἀμφὶ γυναικὶ πολὺν χρόνον ἄλγεα πάσχειν·
αἰνῶς ἀθανάτῃσι θεῇς εἰς ὦπα ἔοικεν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 3, ll. 156-58 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 187-190]

Alt. trans.:
Surely there is no blame on Trojans and strong-greaved Achaians
if for long time they suffer hardship for a woman like this one.
Terrible is the likeness of her face to immortal goddesses.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

No wonder, such celestial charms
For nine long years have set the world in arms!
What winning graces! what majestic mien!
She moves a goddess, and she looks a queen.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Trojans and Grecians wage, with fair excuse,
Long war for so much beauty. Oh, how like
In feature to the Goddesses above!
Pernicious loveliness!
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 181-83]

It is not a subject for indignation, that Trojans and well-greaved Greeks endure hardships for a long time on account of such a woman. In countenance she is wondrous like unto the immortal goddesses ....
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Small blame is it that Trojans and well-greaved Achaians should for such a woman long time suffer hardships; marvellously like is she to the immortal goddesses to look upon.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

And, "'tis no marvel," one to other said,
"The valiant Trojans and the well-greav'd Greeks
For beauty such as this should long endure
The toils of war; for goddess-like she seems."
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Small wonder that Trojans and Achaeans should endure so much and so long, for the sake of a woman so marvellously and divinely lovely.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

There is indeed no blame on the Trojans and well-greaved Achaians,
over a woman like this so long a time suffering sorrows;
dreadfully like the immortal goddesses is she to look on.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]
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Idiot, not to know
his days are numbered who would fight the gods!
His children will not sing around his knees
“Papa! Papa!” on his return from war.

Ὅττι μάλ’ οὐ δηναιὸς ὃς ἀθανάτοισι μάχηται,
οὐδέ τί μιν παῖδες ποτὶ γούνασι παππάζουσιν
ἐκ πολέμοιο καὶ αἰνῆς δηϊοτῆτος.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 5, ll. 407-409 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

Not knowing he that fights with Heav’n hath never long to live,
And for this deed, he never shall have child about his knee
To call him father, coming home.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 387-89]

No man who fights with gods will live long or hear his children prattling about his knees when he returns from battle.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Know thou, whoe'er with heavenly power contends,
Short is his date, and soon his glory ends;
From fields of death when late he shall retire,
No infant on his knees shall call him sire.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Infatuate! he forgets
That whoso turns against the Gods his arm
Lives never long; he never, safe escaped
From furious fight, the lisp’d caresses hears
Of his own infants prattling at his knees.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 474-78]

Infatuate! nor does the son of Tydeus know this in his mind, that he is by no means long-lived who fights with the immortals, nor ever at his knees will sons lisp a father’s name, as he returns from war and dreadful battle.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Unknowing he how short his term of life
Who fights against the Gods! for him no child
Upon his knee shall lisp a father's name,
Safe from the war and battle-field return'd.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 463-466]

Verily he endureth not for long who fighteth with the immortals, nor do his children prattle about his knees when he is come back from war and the dread conflict.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

That man who fights the immortals lives for no long time, his children do not gather to his knees to welcome their father when he returns home after the fighting and the bitter warfare.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Doesn't the son of Tydeus know, down deep,
the man who fights the gods does not live long?
Nor do his children ride his knees with cries of 'Father' --
home at last from the wars and heat of battle.
[tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 465-468]

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In form of Stentor of the brazen voice,
Whose shout was as the shout of fifty men.

[Στέντορι εἰσαμένη μεγαλήτορι χαλκεοφώνῳ,
ὃς τόσον αὐδήσασχ’ ὅσον ἄλλοι πεντήκοντα.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 5, ll. 785-86 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Derby (1864)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

Stentor the strong, endued with brazen lungs,
Whose throat surpassed the force of fifty tongues.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Stentor for his voice
Of brass renown’d, audible as the roar
Of fifty throats.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 931-33]

Great-hearted, brazen-voiced Stentor, who was accustomed to shout as loud as fifty other men.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Great-hearted Stentor with voice of bronze, whose cry was loud as the cry of fifty other men.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Bronze-voiced Stentor,
who could cry out in as great a voice as fifty other men
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Stentor, whose brazen lungs could give a battle-shout as loud as fifty soldiers.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Stentor, a lord greathearted and bronze-voiced,
one who was always shouting as loudly as shout fifty others.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

The brazen voice of great-lunged Stentor
who cries out with the blast of fifty other men.
[tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 903-04]
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When a Man’s exhausted, wine will build his strength.

[Ἀνδρὶ δὲ κεκμηῶτι μένος μέγα οἶνος ἀέξει.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 6, l. 261 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 310]

Alt. trans.
For to a man dismay’d
With careful spirits, or too much with labour overlaid,
Wine brings much rescue, strength'ning much the body and the mind.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 274-76]

Then with a plenteous draught refresh thy soul,
And draw new spirits from the generous bowl.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

For wine is mighty to renew the strength
Of weary man.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 318-19]

For to a wearied man wine greatly increases strength.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

For great the strength
Which gen'rous wine imparts to men who toil.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 306-07]

When a man is awearied wine greatly maketh his strength to wax.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Wine gives a man fresh strength when he is wearied.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

When a man is spent with toil wine greatly maketh his strength to wax.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

In a tired man, wine will bring back his strength to its bigness.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Wine will restore a man when he is weary as you are.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

When someone is fatigued, wine greatly increases his power.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

Added on 30-Sep-20 | Last updated 24-Nov-20
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As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
Burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.

[Οἵη περ φύλλων γενεὴ τοίη δὲ καὶ ἀνδρῶν.
φύλλα τὰ μέν τ’ ἄνεμος χαμάδις χέει, ἄλλα δέ θ’ ὕλη
τηλεθόωσα φύει, ἔαρος δ’ ἐπιγίγνεται ὥρη·
ὣς ἀνδρῶν γενεὴ ἣ μὲν φύει ἣ δ’ ἀπολήγει.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 6, ll. 146-49 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Lattimore (1951)]
    (Source)

Like the race of leaves
The race of man is, that deserves no question; nor receives
My being any other breath? The wind in autumn strows
The earth with old leaves, then the spring the woods with new endows;
And so death scatters men on earth, so life puts out again
Man’s leavy issue.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 141ff]

Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground:
Another race the following spring supplies,
They fall successive, and successive rise:
So generations in their course decay;
So flourish these, when those are past away.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]


For, as the leaves, such is the race of man.
The wind shakes down the leaves, the budding grove
Soon teems with others, and in spring they grow.
So pass mankind. One generation meets
Its destined period, and a new succeeds.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 175ff]

As is the race of leaves, even such is the race of men. Some leaves the wind sheds upon the ground, but the fructifying wood produces others, and these grow up in the season of spring. Such is the generation of men; one produces, another ceases.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

The race of man is as the race of leaves:
Of leaves, one generation by the wind
Is scatter'd on the earth; another soon
In spring's luxuriant verdure bursts to light.
So with our race; these flourish, those decay.
[tr. Derby (1864)]


Even as are the generations of leaves such are those likewise of men; the leaves that be the wind scattereth on the earth, and the forest buddeth and putteth forth more again, when the season of spring is at hand; so of the generations of men one putteth forth and another ceaseth.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Men come and go as leaves year by year upon the trees. Those of autumn the wind sheds upon the ground, but when spring returns the forest buds forth with fresh vines. Even so is it with the generations of mankind, the new spring up as the old are passing away.
[tr. Butler (1898)]


Even as are the generations of leaves, such are those also of men. As for the leaves, the wind scattereth some upon the earth, but the forest, as it bourgeons, putteth forth others when the season of spring is come; even so of men one generation springeth up and another passeth away.
[tr. Murray (1924)]


Very like leaves upon this earth are the generations of men -- old leaves, cast on the ground by wind, young leaves the greening forest bears when spring comes in. So mortals pass; one generation flowers even as another dies away.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]


Like the generations of leaves, the lives of mortal men.
Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth,
now the living timber bursts with the new buds
and spring comes round again. And so with men:
as one generation comes to life, another dies away.
[tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 171-75]
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He sent me off to Troy …
And I hear his urgings ringing in my ears:
“Always be the best, my boy, the bravest,
and hold your head up high above the others.
Never disgrace the generation of your fathers.
They were the bravest champions born in Corinth,
In Lycia far and wide.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 6, ll. 245-51 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990)]

This is the first appearance of the Greek "Αἰὲν ἀριστεύειν καὶ ὑπείροχον ἔμμεναι ἄλλων" ["Always strive for excellence and prevail over others"] in the Illiad, Glaucus telling of his father's command to him. Peleus urges Achilles with the same words in Book 11. The two passages are sometimes confused.

Alt. trans.:

By his decree I sought the Trojan town,
By his instructions learn to win renown;
To stand the first in worth as in command,
To add new honours to my native land;
Before my eyes my mighty sires to place,
And emulate the glories of our race."
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]


He sent me forth
To fight for Troy, charging me much and oft
That I should outstrip always all mankind
In worth and valor, nor the house disgrace
Of my forefathers, heroes without peer
In Ephyra, and in Lycia’s wide domain.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 254ff]

Me he sent to Troy, and gave me very many commands, always to fight bravely, and to be superior to others; and not to disgrace the race of my fathers, who were by far the bravest in Ephyra, and ample Lycia.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

To Troy he sent me, and enjoin'd me oft
To aim at highest honours, and surpass
My comrades all; nor on my father's name
Discredit bring, who held the foremost place
In Ephyre, and Lycia's wide domain.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 245-249]


He sent me to Troy and bade me very instantly to be ever the best and to excel all other men, nor put to shame the lineage of my fathers that were of noblest blood in Ephyre and in wide Lykia.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

When he sent me to Troy he urged me again and again to fight ever among the foremost and outvie my peers, so as not to shame the blood of my fathers who were the noblest in Ephyra and in all Lycia.
[tr. Butler (1898)]


He sent me to Troy and straitly charged me ever to be bravest and pre-eminent above all, and not bring shame upon the race of my fathers, that were far the noblest in Ephyre and in wide Lycia.
[tr. Murray (1924)]


He sent me here to Troy, commanding me to act always with valour, always to be the most noble, never to shame the line of my progenitors, great men first in Ephyra, then in Lycia.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]


Added on 23-Sep-20 | Last updated 24-Nov-20
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And fate? No one alive has ever escaped it,
neither brave man nor coward, I tell you —
it’s born with us the day that we are born.

[Μοῖραν δ’ οὔ τινά φημι πεφυγμένον ἔμμεναι ἀνδρῶν,
οὐ κακὸν οὐδὲ μὲν ἐσθλόν, ἐπὴν τὰ πρῶτα γένηται.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 6, ll. 488-89 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 582-84]

Hector bidding his wife farewell. Alt. trans.:

And fate, whose wings can fly?
Noble, ignoble, fate controls. Once born, the best must die.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 528-29]

Fixed is the term to all the race of earth,
And such the hard condition of our birth.
No force can then resist, no flight can save;
All sink alike, the fearful and the brave.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Nor lives he who can overpass the date
By heaven assign’d him, be he base or brave
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 595-96]

But I think there is no one of men who has escaped fate, neither the coward nor the brave man, after he has once been born.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

If a man's hour is come, be he brave or be he coward, there is no escape for him when he has once been born.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Only his doom, methinks, no man hath ever escaped, be he coward or valiant, when once he hath been born.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

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He bent drooping his head to one side, as a garden poppy
bends beneath the weight of its yield and the rains of springtime;
so his head bent slack to one side beneath the helm’s weight.

[Μήκων δ’ ὡς ἑτέρωσε κάρη βάλεν, ἥ τ’ ἐνὶ κήπῳ
καρπῷ βριθομένη νοτίῃσί τε εἰαρινῇσιν,
ὣς ἑτέρωσ’ ἤμυσε κάρη πήληκι βαρυνθέν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 8, ll. 306-08 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Lattimore (1951)]
    (Source)

Describing the death of Gorgythion, son of Priam.

Alt. trans.:
And, as a crimson poppy flow’r, surchargéd with his seed,
And vernal humours falling thick, declines his heavy brow,
So, of one side, his helmet’s weight his fainting head did bow.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 265-67]

As full-blown poppies, overcharged with rain,
Decline the head, and drooping kiss the plain, --
So sinks the youth; his beauteous head, depressed
Beneath his helmet, drops upon his breast.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

As in the garden, with the weight surcharged
Of its own fruit, and drench’d by vernal rains
The poppy falls oblique, so he his head
Hung languid, by his helmet’s weight depress’d.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 351ff]

And as a poppy, which in the garden is weighed down with fruit and vernal showers, droops its head to one side, so did his head incline aside, depressed by the helmet.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Down sank his head, as in a garden sinks
A ripen'd poppy charg'd with vernal rains;
So sank his head beneath his helmet's weight.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 349-51]

Now he bowed his head as a garden poppy in full bloom when it is weighed down by showers in spring -- even thus heavy bowed his head beneath the weight of his helmet.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

And he bowed his head to one side like a poppy that in a garden is laden with its fruit and the rains of spring; so bowed he to one side his head, laden with his helmet.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Fallen on one side, as on the stalk a poppy falls, weighed down by showring spring, beneath his helmet's weight his head sank down.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

As a garden poppy, burst into red bloom, bends
by its full seeds and a sudden spring shower,
so Gorgythion's head fell limp over one shoulder,
weighed down by his helmet.
[tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 349-53]

Off to one side his head he let drop, like a poppy that in some
garden is heavy with its own seed and the showers of springtime --
so to one side did his head incline, weighed down by his helmet.
[tr. Merrill (2007), ll. 306-08]
Added on 14-Oct-20 | Last updated 24-Nov-20
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Now down in the Ocean sank the fiery light of day,
drawing the dark night across the grain-giving earth.

[Ἐν δ’ ἔπεσ’ Ὠκεανῷ λαμπρὸν φάος ἠελίοιο
ἕλκον νύκτα μέλαιναν ἐπὶ ζείδωρον ἄρουραν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 8, ll. 485-86 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990)]

Alt. trans.: "Then into Oceanus fell the bright light of the sun drawing black night over the face of the earth, the giver of grain." [tr. Murray (1924)]
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As stars in the night sky glittering
round the moon’s brilliance blaze in all their glory
when the air falls to a sudden, windless calm …
all the lookout peaks stand out and the jutting cliffs
and the steep ravines and down from the high heavens bursts
the boundless, bright air and all the stars shine clear
and the shepherd’s heart exults.

[Ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἄστρα φαεινὴν ἀμφὶ σελήνην
φαίνετ’ ἀριπρεπέα, ὅτε τ’ ἔπλετο νήνεμος αἰθήρ·
ἔκ τ’ ἔφανεν πᾶσαι σκοπιαὶ καὶ πρώονες ἄκροι
καὶ νάπαι· οὐρανόθεν δ’ ἄρ’ ὑπεῤῥάγη ἄσπετος αἰθήρ,
πάντα δὲ εἴδεται ἄστρα, γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 8, ll. 551-55 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 641-47]

Used as a metaphor for the campfires of the Trojan troops before Ilium. Alt. trans.:

As when about the silver moon, when air is free from wind,
And stars shine clear, to whose sweet beams, high prospects, and the brows
Of all steep hills and pinnacles, thrust up themselves for shows,
And ev’n the lowly valleys joy to glitter in their sight,
When the unmeasur’d firmament bursts to disclose her light,
And all the signs in heav’n are seen, that glad the shepherd’s heart.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 486ff]

As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,
O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumbered gild the glowing pole,
O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed,
And tip with silver every mountain's head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies:
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

As when around the clear bright moon, the stars
Shine in full splendor, and the winds are hush’d,
The groves, the mountain-tops, the headland-heights
Stand all apparent, not a vapor streaks
The boundless blue, but ether open’d wide
All glitters, and the shepherd’s heart is cheer’d.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 643ff]

As when in heaven the stars appear very conspicuous around the lucid moon, when the æther is wont to be without a breeze, and all the pointed rocks and lofty summits and groves appear, but in heaven the immense æther is disclosed, and all the stars are seen, and the shepherd rejoices in his soul.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

As when in Heav'n, around the glitt'ring moon
The stars shine bright amid the breathless air;
And ev'ry crag and ev'ry jutting peak
Stands boldly forth, and ev'ry forest glade;
Ev'n to the gates of Heav'n is open'd wide
The boundless sky; shines each particular star
Distinct; joy fills the gazing shepherd's heart.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 629-35]

Even as when in heaven the stars about the bright moon shine clear to see, when the air is windless, and all the peaks appear and the tall headlands and glades, and from heaven breaketh open the infinite air, and all stars are seen, and the shepherd’s heart is glad.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

As when the stars shine clear, and the moon is bright -- there is not a breath of air, not a peak nor glade nor jutting headland but it stands out in the ineffable radiance that breaks from the serene of heaven; the stars can all of them be told and the heart of the shepherd is glad.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Even as in heaven about the gleaming moon the stars shine clear, when the air is windless, and forth to view appear all mountain peaks and high headlands and glades, and from heaven breaketh open the infinite air, and all stars are seen, and the shepherd joyeth in his heart.
[tr. Murray (1924)]
Added on 11-Nov-20 | Last updated 24-Nov-20
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Be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds.

[Μύθων τε ῥητῆρ’ ἔμεναι πρηκτῆρά τε ἔργων.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 9, c. l. 442 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

That thou might'st speak, when speech was fit, and do, when deeds were done,
Not sit as dumb, for want of words, idle, for skill to move.
[tr. Chapman (1611)]

Be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

A man of words, and a man of action, too.
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 538]

Added on 24-Nov-20 | Last updated 25-Nov-20
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Who dares think one thing, and another tell,
My heart detests him as the gates of hell.

[Ἐχθρὸς γάρ μοι κεῖνος ὁμῶς Ἀΐδαο πύλῃσιν
ὅς χ’ ἕτερον μὲν κεύθῃ ἐνὶ φρεσίν, ἄλλο δὲ εἴπῃ.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 9, ll. 312-313 [Achilles to Odysseus] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

For, like hell mouth I loath, Who holds not in his words and thoughts one indistinguish’d troth. [tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 300-01]

For I abhor the man, not more the gates Of hell itself, whose words belie his heart. [tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 385-86]

Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is he who conceals one thing in his mind and utters another. [tr. Buckley (1860)]

Him as the gates of hell my soul abhors,
Whose outward words his inmost thoughts conceal.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 373-74]

For hateful to me even as the gates of hell is he that hideth one thing in his heart and uttereth another. [tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Him do I hate even as the gates of hell who says one thing while he hides another in his heart.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

I hate that man like the very Gates of Death
who says one thing but hides another in his heart.
[tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 378-79]

Added on 4-Nov-20 | Last updated 24-Nov-20
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Cursed is the man, and void of law and right,
Unworthy property, unworthy light,
Unfit for public rule, or private care,
That wretch, that monster, that delights in war:
Whose lust is murder, and whose horrid joy
To tear his country, and his kind destroy!

[Ἀφρήτωρ ἀθέμιστος ἀνέστιός ἐστιν ἐκεῖνος
ὃς πολέμου ἔραται ἐπιδημίου ὀκρυόεντος.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 9, ll. 63-64 [Nestor] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

A hater of society, unjust, and wild, is he
That loves intestine war, being stuff’d with manless cruelty.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 63-64]

He is a wretch, insensible and dead
To all the charities of social life,
Whose pleasure is in civil broils alone.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 75-77]

Tribeless, lawless, homeless is he, who loves horrid civil war.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Religious, social, and domestic ties
Alike he violates, who willingly
Would court the horrors of internal strife.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 72-74]

He that foments civil discord is a clanless, hearthless outlaw
[tr. Butler (1898)]

A clanless, lawless, hearthless man is he that loveth dread strife among his own folk.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Lost to the clan,
lost to the hearth, lost to the old ways, that one
who lusts for all the horrors of war with his own people.
[Fagles (1990), ll. 73-75]
Added on 28-Oct-20 | Last updated 24-Nov-20
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Ah my friend, if you and I could escape this fray
and live forever, never a trace of age, immortal,
I would never fight on the front lines again
or command you to the field where men win fame.
But now, as it is, the fates of death await us,
thousands poised to strike, and not a man alive
can flee them or escape — so in we go for attack!
Give our enemy glory or win it for ourselves!

[Ὦ πέπον εἰ μὲν γὰρ πόλεμον περὶ τόνδε φυγόντε
αἰεὶ δὴ μέλλοιμεν ἀγήρω τ’ ἀθανάτω τε
ἔσσεσθ’, οὔτέ κεν αὐτὸς ἐνὶ πρώτοισι μαχοίμην
οὔτέ κε σὲ στέλλοιμι μάχην ἐς κυδιάνειραν·
νῦν δ’ ἔμπης γὰρ κῆρες ἐφεστᾶσιν θανάτοιο
μυρίαι, ἃς οὐκ ἔστι φυγεῖν βροτὸν οὐδ’ ὑπαλύξαι,
ἴομεν ἠέ τῳ εὖχος ὀρέξομεν ἠέ τις ἡμῖν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 12, ll. 322-28 [Sarpedon to Glaukos] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 374-81]

Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

O friend, if keeping back
Would keep back age from us, and death, and that we might not wrack
In this life’s human sea at all, but that deferring now
We shunn’d death ever, nor would I half this vain valour show,
Nor glorify a folly so, to wish thee to advance;
But since we must go, though not here, and that, besides the chance
Propos’d now, there are infinite fates of other sort in death,
Which, neither to be fled nor ’scap’d, a man must sink beneath,
Come, try we, if this sort be ours, and either render thus
Glory to others, or make them resign the like to us.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 323-33]

Could all our care elude the gloomy grave,
Which claims no less the fearful than the brave,
For lust of fame I should not vainly dare
In fighting fields, nor urge thy soul to war;
But since, alas! ignoble age must come,
Disease, and death's inexorable doom;
The life which others pay, let us bestow,
And give to fame what we to nature owe;
Brave though we fall, and honoured if we live,
Or let us glory gain, or glory give!
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Oh Glaucus, if escaping safe the death
That threats us here, we also could escape
Old age, and to ourselves secure a life
Immortal, I would neither in the van
Myself expose, nor would encourage thee
To tempt the perils of the glorious field.
But since a thousand messengers of fate
Pursue us close, and man is born to die --
E’en let us on; the prize of glory yield,
If yield we must, or wrest it from the foe.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 389-98]

O dear friend, if indeed, by escaping from this war, we were destined to be ever free from old age, and immortal, neither would I combat myself in the van, nor send thee into the glorious battle. But now -- for of a truth ten thousand Fates of death press upon us, which it is not possible for a mortal to escape or avoid -- let us on: either we shall give glory to some one, or some one to us.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

O friend! if we, survivors of this war,
Could live, from age and death for ever free,
Thou shouldst not see me foremost in the fight,
Nor would I urge thee to the glorious field:
But since on man ten thousand forms of death
Attend, which none may ’scape, then on, that we
May glory on others gain, or they on us!
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Ah, friend, if once escaped from this battle we were for ever to be ageless and immortal, neither would I fight myself in the foremost ranks, nor would I send thee into the war that giveth men renown, but now -- for assuredly ten thousand fates of death do every way beset us, and these no mortal may escape nor avoid -- now let us go forward, whether we shall give glory to other men, or others to us.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

My good friend, if, when we were once out of this fight, we could escape old age and death thenceforward and for ever, I should neither press forward myself nor bid you do so, but death in ten thousand shapes hangs ever over our heads, and no man can elude him; therefore let us go forward and either win glory for ourselves, or yield it to another.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Ah friend, if once escaped from this battle we were for ever to be ageless and immortal, neither should I fight myself amid the foremost, nor should I send thee into battle where men win glory; but now -- for in any case fates of death beset us, fates past counting, which no mortal may escape or avoid -- now let us go forward, whether we shall give glory to another, or another to us.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Man, supposing you and I, escaping this battle,
would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal,
so neither would I myself go on fighting in the foremost,
nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory.
But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us
in their thousands, no man can turn aside or escape them,
let us go on and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]
Added on 2-Dec-20 | Last updated 2-Dec-20
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Trojans pounded down on them!
Tight formations led by Hector careering breakneck on
like a deadly rolling boulder torn from a rock face —
a river swollen with snow has wrenched it from its socket,
immense floods breaking the bank’s grip, and the reckless boulder
bounding high, flying with timber rumbling under it,
nothing can stop it now, hurtling on undaunted
down, down till it hits the level plain
and then it rolls no more for all its wild rush.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 13, l. 136ff (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 162-70]

Cowper notes "The following simile is considered by critics as one of the finest in Homer." Alt. trans.:

Troy charged the first, and Hector first of Troy.
As from some mountain's craggy forehead torn,
A rock's round fragment flies with fury borne,
Which from the stubborn stone a torrent rends,
Precipitate the ponderous mass descends:
From steep to steep the rolling ruin bounds;
At every shock the crackling wood resounds;
Still gathering force, it smokes; and, urged amain,
Whirls, leaps, and thunders down, impetuous to the plain:
There stops -- So Hector. Their whole force he proved,
Resistless when he raged, and, when he stopped, unmoved.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

The powers of Ilium gave the first assault
Embattled close; them Hector led himself
Right on, impetuous as a rolling rock
Destructive; torn by torrent waters off
From its old lodgment on the mountain’s brow,
It bounds, it shoots away; the crashing wood
Falls under it; impediment or check
None stays its fury, till the level found,
There, settling by degrees, it rolls no more.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 168-76]

But the combined Trojans first made the attack, and impetuous Hector first rushed against them: as a destructively-rolling stone from a rock, which a wintry torrent drives down the brow, having burst with a mighty shower the stays of the rugged rock, and bounding along, it rolls, and the forest resounds beneath it: but straightway it runs on uninterruptedly until it reach the plain, but then it rolls no longer, though impelled.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

On pour’d the Trojan masses; in the van
Hector straight forward urg’d his furious course.
As some huge boulder, from its rocky bed
Detach’d, and by the wintry torrent’s force
Hurl’d down the cliff’s steep face, when constant rains
The massive rock’s firm hold have undermin’d;
With giant bounds it flies; the crashing wood
Resounds beneath it; still it hurries on,
Until, arriving at the level plain,
Its headlong impulse check’d, it rolls no more.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Then the Trojans drave forward in close array, and Hector led them, pressing straight onwards, like a rolling rock from a cliff, that the winter-swollen water thrusteth from the crest of a hill, having broken the foundations of the stubborn rock with its wondrous flood; leaping aloft it flies, and the wood echoes under it, and unstayed it runs its course, till it reaches the level plain, and then it rolls no more for all its eagerness.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

The Trojans advanced in a dense body, with Hector at their head pressing right on as a rock that comes thundering down the side of some mountain from whose brow the winter torrents have torn it; the foundations of the dull thing have been loosened by floods of rain, and as it bounds headlong on its way it sets the whole forest in an uproar; it swerves neither to right nor left till it reaches level ground, but then for all its fury it can go no further.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Then the Trojans drave forward in close throng and Hector led them, pressing ever forward, like a boulder from a cliff that a river swollen by winter rains thrusteth from the brow of a hill, when it has burst with its wondrous flood the foundations of the ruthless stone; high aloft it leapeth, as it flies, and the woods resound beneath it, and it speedeth on its course and is not stayed until it reacheth the level plain, but then it rolleth no more for all its eagerness.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

The Trojans came down on them in a pack, and Hektor led them raging straightforward, like a great rolling stone from a rock face that a river swollen with winter rain has wrenched from its socket and with immense washing broken the hold of the unwilling rock face; the springing boulder flies on, and the forest thunders beneath it; and the stone runs unwavering on a strong course, till it reaches the flat land, then rolls no longer for all its onrush.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Trojans massed and running charged them now, with Hector in the lead in furious impetus, like a boulder a river high with storm has torn away from a jutting bank by washing out what held it; then the brute stone upon the flood goes tossed and tumbling, and the brush gives way, crashing before it. It must roll unchecked as far as level ground, then roll no more.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Then in a throng charged forward the Trojans, and Hektor was leading, avidly pressing ahead, as a rock rolls down from a cliff, thrust off of the crest of a hill when a river with winter rains swollen breaks with a marvelous deluge the pitiless cliff's foundation; bounding aloft it is flying along, and beneath it the woods are crashing, and it speeds ever unswerving until at the level plain it arrives, then rolls no longer for all of its onrush.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]
Added on 16-Dec-20 | Last updated 16-Dec-20
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Even cowards gain courage from companionship.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 13, l. 235 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Butler (1898)]
    (Source)

Poseidon, appearing as Thoas, talking with Idomeneus. Alt. trans.:
  • "We find, / That virtue co-augmented thrives in men of little mind." [tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 218-19]
  • "Not vain the weakest, if their force unite." [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
  • "Union much / Emboldens even the weakest." [tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 292-93]
  • "For useful is the valour of men, even the very pusillanimous, if combined." [tr. Buckley (1860)]
  • "E’en meaner men, united, courage gain." [tr. Derby (1864)]
  • "Ay, and very cowards get courage from company." [tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]
  • "Prowess comes from fellowship even of right sorry folk." [tr. Murray (1924)]
  • "Even the poorest fighters turn into brave men when they stand side by side." [tr. Rieu (1950)]
  • "The worst cowards, banded together, have their power." [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 281]
Added on 8-Jan-09 | Last updated 25-Nov-20
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Both gods knotted the rope of strife and leveling war,
strangling both sides at once by stretching the mighty cable,
never broken, never slipped, that snapped the knees of thousands.

[Τοὶ δ’ ἔριδος κρατερῆς καὶ ὁμοιΐου πτολέμοιο
πεῖραρ ἐπαλλάξαντες ἐπ’ ἀμφοτέροισι τάνυσσαν
ἄῤῥηκτόν τ’ ἄλυτόν τε, τὸ πολλῶν γούνατ’ ἔλυσεν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 13, l. 358ff (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 417ff]

On Zeus and Poseidon driving on the Greeks and Trojans during the war. Alt. trans.:

So these Gods made men’s valours great, but equall’d them with war
As harmful as their hearts were good; and stretch’d those chains as far
On both sides as their limbs could bear, in which they were involv’d
Past breach, or loosing, that their knees might therefore be dissolv’d.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 336ff]

These powers infold the Greek and Trojan train
In War and Discord's adamantine chain;
Indissolubly strong; the fatal tie
Is stretched on both, and close-compelled they die.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Thus, these Immortal Two, straining the cord
Indissoluble of all-wasting war,
Alternate measured with it either host,
And loosed the joints of many a warrior bold.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 438ff]

This way and that they tugg’d of furious war
And balanc’d strife, where many a warrior fell,
The straining rope, which none might break or loose.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

These twain had strained the ends of the cords of strong strife and equal war, and had stretched them over both Trojans and Achaians, a knot that none might break nor undo, for the loosening of the knees of many.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Thus, then, did these two devise a knot of war and battle, that none could unloose or break, and set both sides tugging at it, to the failing of men's knees beneath them.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

So these twain knotted the ends of the cords of mighty strife and evil war, and drew them taut over both armies, a knot none might break nor undo, that loosed the knees of many men.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

So these two had looped over both sides a crossing
cable of strong discord and the closing of the battle, not to be
slipped, not to be broken, which unstrung the knees of many.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

These gods had interlocked and drawn
an ultimate hard line of strife and war
between the armies; none
could loosen or break that line
that had undone the knees of many men.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Added on 30-Dec-20 | Last updated 30-Dec-20
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Though great in all, thou seem’st averse to lend
Impartial audience to a faithful friend:
To gods and men thy matchless worth is known,
And every art of glorious war thy own;
But in cool thought and counsel to excel,
How widely differs this from warring well!
Content with what the bounteous gods have given,
Seek not alone to engross the gifts of heaven.
To some the powers of bloody war belong,
To some, sweet music, and the charm of song;
To few, and wondrous few, has Jove assigned
A wise, extensive, all-considering mind;
Their guardians these the nations round confess,
And towns and empires for their safety bless.

[Ἕκτορ ἀμήχανός ἐσσι παραρρητοῖσι πιθέσθαι.
οὕνεκά τοι περὶ δῶκε θεὸς πολεμήϊα ἔργα
τοὔνεκα καὶ βουλῇ ἐθέλεις περιίδμεναι ἄλλων:
ἀλλ᾽ οὔ πως ἅμα πάντα δυνήσεαι αὐτὸς ἑλέσθαι.
ἄλλῳ μὲν γὰρ ἔδωκε θεὸς πολεμήϊα ἔργα,
ἄλλῳ δ᾽ ὀρχηστύν, ἑτέρῳ κίθαριν καὶ ἀοιδήν,
ἄλλῳ δ᾽ ἐν στήθεσσι τιθεῖ νόον εὐρύοπα Ζεὺς
ἐσθλόν, τοῦ δέ τε πολλοὶ ἐπαυρίσκοντ᾽ ἄνθρωποι,
καί τε πολέας ἐσάωσε, μάλιστα δὲ καὐτὸς ἀνέγνω.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 13, l. 726ff (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
    (Source)

Polydamas, suggesting Hector accept counsel from others. Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

Hector, still impossible ’tis to pass
Good counsel upon you. But say some God prefers thy deeds,
In counsels wouldst thou pass us too? In all things none exceeds.
To some God gives the pow’r of war, to some the sleight to dance,
To some the art of instruments, some doth for voice advance;
And that far-seeing God grants some the wisdom of the mind,
Which no man can keep to himself, that, though but few can find,
Doth profit many, that preserves the public weal and state,
And that, who hath, he best can prize.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 646ff]

Hector! Thou ne’er canst listen to advice;
But think’st thou, that if heaven in feats of arms
Give thee pre-eminence, thou must excel
Therefore in council also all mankind?
No. All-sufficiency is not for thee.
To one, superior force in arms is given,
Skill to another in the graceful dance,
Sweet song and powers of music to a third,
And to a fourth loud-thundering Jove imparts
Wisdom, which profits many, and which saves
Whole cities oft, though reverenced but by few.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 877ff]

Hector, thou art impossible to be persuaded by advice. Because indeed a god hath given thee, above others, warlike deeds, for this reason dost thou also desire to be more skilled than others in counsel? But by no means canst thou thyself obtain all things at once. To one indeed hath the deity given warlike deeds; to another dancing; and to another the harp and singing. To another again far-sounding Jove implants a prudent mind in his bosom, of which many men reap the advantage, as it even preserves cities; and he himself who possesses it especially knows its value.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Hector, I know thee, how unapt thou art
To hearken to advice; because the Gods
Have giv’n thee to excel in warlike might,
Thou deemest thyself, in counsel too, supreme;
Yet every gift thou canst not so combine:
To one the Gods have granted warlike might,
To one the dance, to one the lyre and song;
While in another’s breast all-seeing Jove
Hath plac’d the spirit of wisdom, and a mind
Discerning, for the common good of all:
By him are states preserv’d; and he himself
Best knows the value of the precious gift.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Hector, thou art hard to be persuaded by them that would counsel thee; for that god has given thee excellence in the works of war, therefore in council also thou art fain to excel other men in knowledge. But in nowise wilt thou be able to take everything on thyself. For to one man has god given for his portion the works of war, to another the dance, to another the lute and song, but in the heart of yet another hath far-seeing Zeus placed an excellent understanding, whereof many men get gain, yea he saveth many an one, and himself best knoweth it.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Hector, there is no persuading you to take advice. Because heaven has so richly endowed you with the arts of war, you think that you must therefore excel others in counsel; but you cannot thus claim preeminence in all things. Heaven has made one man an excellent soldier; of another it has made a dancer or a singer and player on the lyre; while yet in another Jove has implanted a wise understanding of which men reap fruit to the saving of many, and he himself knows more about it than any one.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Hector, hard to deal with art thou, that thou shouldest hearken to words of persuasion. Forasmuch as god has given to thee as to none other works of war, therefore in counsel too art thou minded to have wisdom beyond all; but in no wise shalt thou be able of thine own self to compass all things. To one man hath God given works of war, to another the dance, to another the lyre and song, and in the breast of another Zeus, whose voice is borne afar, putteth a mind of understanding, wherefrom many men get profit, and many he saveth; but he knoweth it best himself.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

You are a hard man to persuade.
Zeus gave you mastery in arms; therefore
you think to excel in strategy as well.
And yet you cannot have all gifts at once.
Heaven gives one man skill in arms, another
skill in dancing, and a third man skill
at gittern-harp and song; but the Lord Zeus
who views the wide world has instilled clear thought
in yet another. By his aid men flourish,
and there are many he can save; he knows
better than any what his gift is worth.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Impossible man! Won't you listen to reason?
Just because some god exalts you in battle
you think you can beat the rest at tactics too.
How can you hope to garner all the gifts at once?
One man is a splendid fighter -- a god has made him so --
one's a dancer, another skilled at lyre and song,
and deep in the next man's chest farseeing Zeus
plants the gift of judgment, good clear sense.
And many reap the benefits of that treasure:
troops of men he saves, as he himself knows best.
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 839ff]

You are a difficult man to convince with words of persuasion,
Hektor--because god gave you war-deeds beyond others,
therefore in counsel as well as beyond others you wish to have wisdom.
But no way by yourself can you possibly have all together.
For it is true that the god gives war-deeds mainly to one man,
and to another the dance, to another the song and lyre-playing,
while in another man's bosom the lord wide-thundering Zeus puts
excellent wisdom, from which many people derive the advantage --
numerous men he saves, but himself best knows of its value.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]
Added on 6-Jan-21 | Last updated 6-Jan-21
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Locking spear by spear, shield against shield at the base, so buckler leaned on buckler, helmet on helmet, man against man.

[Φράξαντες δόρυ δουρί, σάκος σάκεϊ προθελύμνῳ·
ἀσπὶς ἄρ’ ἀσπίδ’ ἔρειδε, κόρυς κόρυν, ἀνέρα δ’ ἀνήρ.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 13, ll. 130-31 (c. 750 BC) [tr. Lattimore (1951)]
    (Source)

The Greek phalanxes awaiting Hector and the Trojans. Alt. trans.:

An iron scene gleams dreadful o'er the fields,
Armour in armour locked, and shields in shields,
Spears lean on spears, on targets targets throng,
Helms stuck to helms, and man drove man along.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Spear crowded spear,
Shield, helmet, man, press’d helmet, man and shield
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 162-63]

Spear close by spear, and shield by shield o’erlaid,
Buckler to buckler press’d, and helm to helm,
And man to man.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

And spear on spear made close-set fence, and shield on serried shield, buckler pressed on buckler, and helm on helm, and man on man.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

They made a living fence, spear to spear, shield to shield, buckler to buckler, helmet to helmet, and man to man.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Fencing spear with spear, and shield with serried shield; buckler pressed on buckler, helm on helm, and man on man.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Spear by spear and shield by shield in line with shield-rims overlapping, serried helms, and men in ranks packed hard.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

A wall of them bulked together,
spear-by-spear, shield-by-shield, the rims overlapping,
buckler-to-buckler, helm-to-helm, man-to-man massed tight.
[tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 1154-56]

Spear by spear was protected, and shield by shield overlapping; buckler on buckler and helmet on helmet and man against man pressed.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]
Added on 9-Dec-20 | Last updated 9-Dec-20
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No shame in running,
fleeing disaster, even in pitch darkness.
Better to flee from death than feel its grip.

[Οὐ γάρ τις νέμεσις φυγέειν κακόν, οὐδ’ ἀνὰ νύκτα.
βέλτερον ὃς φεύγων προφύγῃ κακὸν ἠὲ ἁλώῃ.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 14, l. 80ff [Agamemnon] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 96ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Better from evils, well foreseen, to run
Than perish in the danger we may shun.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

For there is no disgrace in flying from evil, not even during the night. It is better for a flying man to escape from evil, than to be taken.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

For there is no shame in fleeing from ruin, yea, even in the night. Better doth he fare who flees from trouble, than he that is overtaken.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

There is nothing wrong in flying ruin even by night. It is better for a man that he should fly and be saved than be caught and killed.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

There is no shame in running, even by night, from disaster.
The man does better who runs from disaster than he who is caught by it.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

There's no disgrace in getting away from ruin, not by a night retirement. Better a man should leave the worst behind him than be caught.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]
Added on 14-Jan-21 | Last updated 14-Jan-21
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Thou knowest the errors of unripened age,
Weak are its counsels, headlong is its rage.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 23 [tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Antilochus to Menelaus. Alt. trans.:

You, more in age
And more in excellence, know well, the outrays that engage
All young men’s actions; sharper wits, but duller wisdoms, still
From us flow than from you.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 505ff]

Thou know’st how rash is youth, and how propense
To pass the bounds by decency prescribed,
Quick, but not wise.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 729ff]

Thou knowest of what sort are the errors of a youth; for his mind is indeed more volatile, and his counsel weak.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Thou know’st the o’er-eager vehemence of youth,
How quick in temper, and in judgement weak.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Thou knowest how a young man's transgressions come about, for his mind is hastier and his counsel shallow.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

You know how easily young men are betrayed into indiscretion; their tempers are more hasty and they have less judgement.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Thou dost know
The faults to which the young are ever prone;
The will is quick to act, the judgment weak.
[tr. Bryant (1905)]

Thou knowest of what sort are the transgressions of a man that he is young, [590] for hasty is he of purpose and but slender is his wit.
[tr. Murray (1924), l. 589-90]

It is easy for a youngster to go wrong from hastiness and lack of thought.
[tr. Graves, The Anger of Achilles (1959)]

You know a young man may go out of bounds:
his wits are nimble, but his judgment slight.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Well you know how the whims of youth break all the rules.
Our wits quicker than wind, our judgment just as flighty.
[tr. Fagles (1990)]
Added on 2-Jun-10 | Last updated 25-Nov-20
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What a lamentable thing it is that men should blame the gods as the source of their troubles, when it is their own wickedness that brings them suffering worse than any which Destiny allots them.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey, 1.32 (tr. E. Rieu (1946))
Added on 17-Dec-08 | Last updated 17-Dec-08
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It is equally offensive to speed a guest who would like to stay and to detain one who is anxious to leave.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey, 15.69 [Menelaus to Telemachus]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Apr-10
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It is not right to glory in the slain.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey, bk. 22, l. 412 [tr. Palmer (1929)]

Alt. trans. [Hull (1978)]: "It isn't right to gloat over the dead."
Added on 28-Jan-08 | Last updated 29-Apr-10
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For too much rest itself becomes a pain.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey, Book 15, l. 429 [tr. Pope]
Added on 9-Jun-10 | Last updated 9-Jun-10
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The ruins of himself! now worn away
With age, yet still majestic in decay.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey, Book 24, l. 271 [tr. Pope]
Added on 14-Jul-10 | Last updated 14-Jul-10
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Jove weighs affairs of earth in dubious scales,
And the good suffers while the bad prevails.

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey, Book VI, l. 229-30 [tr. Pope]
Added on 30-Jun-10 | Last updated 30-Jun-10
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