Archaic Greek in Book II, The Iliad, “The Catalogue of Ships” Translation into English: Part II, Lines 35-75 (Click to ENLARGE):

Homer Iliad Book 2 Lines 35-75


My commentary on the derivation of the archaic Greek vocabulary and grammar in Book II of the Iliad from its much older Mycenean Linear B counterparts appears immediately after this post, and after every consecutive post of my running translation of Book II.  As we proceed through Book II of the Iliad, we shall come to realize, quickly enough, that in fact the grammar and vocabulary of Book II, and in particular of the Catalogue of Ships (Lines 484-779), is inextricably woven with its parent dialect, namely, Mycenaean Greek, and consequently with the grammar and vocabulary of Linear B itself, from which the archaic Greek of this book of th Iliad is ultimately derived.

One thing I would like to make perfectly clear. While the Greek of Book II of the Iliad is archaic in many places, there is no way on earth that I would translate any of the Iliad into archaic English! Far too many translations of the Iliad reek of archaic English, and to my mind at least, have no place whatsoever in the annals of twenty-first century translations of ancient Greek texts into English, or into any other modern language, for that matter.  The whole idea of the exercise is to make the ancient Homeric Greek as accessible and as readable as is humanly possible to today's allophone readers of the Iliad.  Otherwise, I see no point in translating the text at all. If we are to get any real enjoyment out of any translation of the Iliad, for heaven's sake, let it be easy (and perhaps even fun) to read!

      

Richard