Commentary on the Odyssey (1886)

Commentary on the Odyssey (1886)
By W. Walter Merry
Oxford Clarendon Press 1886-1901

Perseus Documents Collection Table of Contents

Book 1 (α)

Book 2 (β)

Book 3 (γ)

Book 4 (δ)

Book 5 (ε)

Book 6 (ζ)

Book 7 (η)

Book 8 (θ)

Book 9 (ι)

Book 10 (κ)

Book 11 (λ)

Book 12 (μ)

Book 13 (ν)

Book 14 (ξ)

Book 15 (ο)

Book 16 (π)

Book 17 (ρ)

Book 18 (ς)

Book 19 (τ)

Book 20 (υ)

Book 21 (φ)

Book 22 (χ)

Book 23 (ψ)

Book 24 (ω)

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Book 5

Book 5 (ε)

Commentary on line 1

In Book 1, (82-95) Athena had made two propositions to Zeus; (1) that Hermes should be sent to release Odysseus from Ogygia; and (2) that she herself should proceed to Ithaca, and despatch Telemachus in search of his father. Her own task had been accomplished: Telemachus travels to Sparta and Pylos (Od. 2. 414-4. 624) on this mission. Meanwhile the suitors have taken alarm at his departure, and set sail in the hope of intercepting him on his return (4. 787). At this critical point the scene changes to Olympus. Six days had elapsed since Athena's first appeal to Zeus (as may be gathered from the notes of time in 2. 1; 3. 1, 404, 491; 4. 306), and Hermes had not yet been sent to Ogygia. At the opening of this book Athena renews her request.

*)hw\s de/. This is a poetical way of expressing the next morning. Cp. Il.11. 1.Tithonus is here represented as a youthful hero (ἀγαυός), whom Eos had carried off because of his beauty. Cp. Tyrtaeus, ap. Stob. Flor. 51. 1 οὐδ' εἰ Τιθωνοῖο φυὴν χαριέστερος εἴη. The first mention of his unhappy gift of immortality without immortal youth is made in h. Hom. Ven. 219 foll.
βῆ δ̓ ἴμεν 6 αἰτήσουσα κελαινεφέα Κρονίωνα
ἀθάνατόν τ̓ ἔμεναι καὶ ζώειν ἤματα πάντα:
τῇ δὲ Ζεὺς ἐπένευσε καὶ ἐκρήηνεν ἐέλδωρ.
νηπίη: οὐδ̓ ἐνόησε μετὰ φρεσὶ πότνια Ἠὼς
ἥβην αἰτῆσαι ξῦσαί τ̓ ἄπο γῆρας ὀλοιόν
. So Mimnerm. ap. Stob Flor. 116. 33 Τιθωνῷ μὲν ἔδωκεν ἔχειν κακὸν ἄφθιτον Ζεὺς,

γῆρας καὶ θανάτου ῥίγιον ἀργαλέου. The story may be supposed to allegorize the change of the fresh morning hours into the scorching noon that brings weariness and weakness with it. The old Tithonus, turning again to childish treble, pipes and whistles in his sound, so that his voice was compared to the noise of the cicala, the only creature heard in the heat of the day: compare sole sub ardenti resonant arbusta cicadis Virg. Ecl.2. 13.LycophronVirg. Ecl., 941, follows Callimachus in giving Eos herself the name Τιτώ, which must be etymologically connected with Τιθωνός.