Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Dear Mythology Kids,

Welcome back! I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. If you missed class,
we completed the following:

1. HELEN! I completed my presentation regarding Helen and her significance to the ILIAD.
2. The PRIAM group then shared their information with us. We read a section from the ILIAD involving Priam and Achilles, then watched this event portrayed through the genre of film.


This is the text that we read in class together. Please read it.

With these words,
Hermes went on his way, back to high Olympus.
Priam then climbed from his chariot to the ground.
He left Idaios there to tend the mules and horses. [470]
The old man went directly in the hut
where Achilles, dear to Zeus, usually sat. 580
He found Achilles there, with only two companions,
sitting some distance from him—warrior Automedon
and Alcimus, offshoot of the war god Ares—
busy attending him. He’d just completed dinner.
He’d had food and drink, but the table was still there.
The men did not see great Priam as he entered.
He came up to Achilles, then with his fingers
clasped his knees and kissed his hands, those dreadful hands,
man-killers, which had slain so many of his sons.
Just as sheer folly grips a man who in his own land 590 [480]
kills someone, then runs off to a land of strangers,
to the home of some rich man, so those who see him
are seized with wonder—that’s how Achilles then
looked on godlike Priam in astonishment.
The others were amazed. They gazed at one another.
Then Priam made his plea, entreating:

“Godlike Achilles,
remember your own father, who’s as old as me,
on the painful threshold of old age.
It may well be that those who live around him
are harassing him, and no one’s there 600
to save him from ruin and destruction.
But when he hears you’re still alive, [490]
his heart feels joy, for every day he hopes
he’ll see his dear son come back home from Troy.
But I’m completely doomed to misery,
for I fathered the best sons in spacious Troy,
yet I say now not one of them remains.
I had fifty when Achaea’s sons arrived—
nineteen born from the same mother’s womb,
others the women of the palace bore me. 610
Angry Ares drained the life of most of them.
But I had one left, guardian of our city,
protector of its people. You’ve just killed him,
as he was fighting for his native country. [500]
I mean Hector. For his sake I’ve come here,
to Achaea’s ships, to win him back from you.
And I’ve brought a ransom beyond counting.
So Achilles, show deference to the gods
and pity for myself, remembering
your own father. Of the two old men, 620
I’m more pitiful, because I have endured
what no living mortal on this earth has borne—
I’ve lifted up to my own lips and kissed
the hands of the man who killed my son.”

Priam finished. His words roused in Achilles
a desire to weep for his own father. Taking Priam’s hand,
he gently moved him back. So the two men there
both remembered warriors who’d been slaughtered.
Priam, lying at Achilles’ feet, wept aloud [510]
for man-killing Hector, and Achilles also wept 630
for his own father and once more for Patroclus.
The sound of their lamenting filled the house.

When godlike Achilles had had enough of weeping,
when the need to mourn had left his heart and limbs,
he stood up quickly from his seat, then with his hand
helped the old man to his feet, feeling pity
for that grey head and beard. Then Achilles spoke—
his words had wings:

“You unhappy man,
your heart’s had to endure so many evils.
How could you dare come to Achaea’s ships, 640
and come alone, to rest your eyes on me, [520]
when I’ve killed so many noble sons of yours?
You must have a heart of iron. But come now,
sit on this chair. Though we’re both feeling pain,
we’ll let our grief lie quiet on our hearts.
For there’s no benefit in frigid tears.
That’s the way the gods have spun the threads
for wretched mortal men, so they live in pain,
though gods themselves live on without a care.
On Zeus’ floor stand two jars which hold his gifts— 650
one has disastrous things, the other blessings.
When thunder-loving Zeus hands out a mixture,
that man will, at some point, meet with evil, [530]
then, some other time, with good. When Zeus’ gift
comes only from the jar containing evil,
he makes the man despised. A wicked frenzy
drives him all over sacred earth—he wanders
without honour from the gods or mortal men.
Consider Peleus. The gods gave him gifts,
splendid presents, right from birth. In wealth, 660
in his possessions, he surpassed all men.
And he was king over the Myrmidons.
Though he was a mortal, the gods gave him
a goddess for a wife. But even to him
the gods gave evil, too, for in his palace
there sprang up no line of princely children.
He had one son, doomed to an early death. [540]
I’ll not look after him as he grows old,
since I’m a long way from my native land,
sitting here in Troy, bringing pain to you 670
and to your children. Think of yourself, old man.
We hear that you were fortunate in former times.
In all the lands from Lesbos to the south,
where Macar ruled, and east to Phrygia,
to the boundless Hellespont, in all these lands,
old man, they say that you surpassed all men
for wealth and children. But from the time
you got disaster from the heavenly gods,
man-killing battles round your city
have never ceased. You must endure it all, 680
without a constant weeping in your heart.
You achieve nothing by grieving for your son. [550]
You won’t bring him to life again, not before
you’ll have to suffer yet another evil.”

Old godlike Priam then answered Achilles:

“Don’t make me sit down on a chair, my lord,
while Hector lies uncared for in your huts.
But quickly give him back, so my own eyes
can see him. And take the enormous ransom
we’ve brought here for you. May it give you joy. 690
And may you get back to your native land,
since you’ve now let me live to see the sunlight.”

With an angry look, swift-footed Achilles snapped at Priam:

“Old man, don’t provoke me. I myself intend [560]
to give you Hector. Zeus sent me here
a messenger, the mother who bore me,
a daughter of the Old Man of the Sea.
And in my heart, Priam, I recognize—
it’s no secret to me—that some god
led you here to the swift Achaean ships. 700
No matter how young and strong, no living man
would dare to make the trip to our encampment.
He could not evade the sentries or push back
our door bolts—that would not be easy.
So don’t agitate my grieving heart still more,
or I might not spare even you, old man,
though you’re a suppliant here in my hut. [570]
I could transgress what Zeus has ordered.”

Achilles spoke. The old man, afraid, obeyed him.
Then Peleus’ son sprang to the door, like a lion. 710
Not alone—his two attendants went out with him,
warrior Automedon and Alcimus, whom he honoured
the most of his companions after dead Patroclus.
They freed the mules and horses from their harnesses,
led in the herald, the old man’s crier, sat him on a stool.
Then from the polished wagon they brought in
that priceless ransom for Hector’s head, leaving there
two cloaks and a thickly woven tunic, so Achilles [580]
could wrap up the corpse before he gave it back
for Priam to take home. Achilles then called out, 720
ordering his servant women to wash the body,
and then anoint it, after moving it away,
so Priam wouldn’t see his son, then, heart-stricken,
be unable to contain his anger at the sight.
Achilles’ own spirit might then get so aroused
he could kill Priam, disobeying Zeus’ orders.
Servants washed the corpse, anointed it with oil,
and put a lovely cloak and tunic round it.
Achilles himself lifted it and placed it on a bier.
Then together he and his companions set it 730 [590]
on the polished wagon. Achilles, with a groan,
called to his dear companion:

“O Patroclus,
don’t be angry with me, if you learn,
even in Hades’ house, that I gave back
godlike Hector to his dear father.
He’s brought to me a fitting ransom.
I’ll be giving you your full share of it,
as is appropriate.”

Godlike Achilles spoke,
then went back once more into the hut and sat
on the richly decorated chair he’d left 740
by the opposite wall. Then he spoke to Priam:

“Old man, your son has been given back,
as you requested. He’s lying on a bier. [600]
You’ll see him for yourself at day break,
when you take him. We should think of eating.
Even fair-haired Niobe remembered food,
with twelve of her own children murdered in her home,
her six young daughters and her six strong sons.
Apollo was so enraged at Niobe,
with his silver bow he killed the sons. The daughters 750
Artemis the Archer slaughtered, for Niobe
had compared herself to lovely Leto,
saying the goddess only had two children,
while she had given birth to many. Even so,
though only two, those gods killed all her children.
For nine days they lay in their own blood— [610]
there was no one there to give them burial.
Cronos’ son had turned the people all to stone.
The tenth day, the gods in heaven buried them.
That’s when, worn out with weeping, Niobe 760
had thoughts of food. And now, somewhere in the rocks
in Sipylus, among the lonely mountains,
where, men say, goddess nymphs lie down to sleep,
the ones that dance beside the Achelous,
there Niobe, though turned to stone, still broods,
thinking of the pain the gods have given her.
But come, royal old man, let’s think of food.
Later you can lament for your dear son,
when you have taken him to Ilion, [620]
where you’ll shed many tears for him.”  
3. We started with Paris, but did not finish. We will continue with him on Wednesday. 
Homework:
1. Please read pages 185-top paragraph on 189 in your book. This is the beginning of The Iliad. If you stay on top of your reading, then you won't experience any anxiety.
2. You will have a quiz covering Helen, Priam, Paris, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and Iphigenia on Friday.
3. PLEASE make sure you HAVE YOUR BOOK on WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY!
I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.