Iliad I. lines 8-21

Blathering first this time:

In the next lines we learn that Apollo is driving the anger between the still unnamed Agamemnon and Achilles. He’s also killing off the Greek army with a plague. Why? Because Agamemnon insulted Chryses, a priest of Apollo. How? Well, the Greeks enslaved his daughter, taking her as a war prize.

That’s a lot to unpack in the first few lines of the first canonical text. Let’s see: slaves as war prizes are okay, just not priests’ daughters; we’re about to get the old rescue the maiden tale (for the first time, actually), but the hero of this little mini story is an old man and the woman’s father, not a would be love interest — no wining the woman’s hand, no chivalry or any of that baggage — just a hefty dose of the needing to be rescued baggage; Chryses doesn’t care if the Greeks destroy Troy, in fact, in his position as priest he’ll pray for it, as long as he gets his daughter back. Does he feel some sympathy with the Greeks because he sees his daughter as another Helen, or is he just really out for his own? Taken, old school. As we shall see soon, Chryses has a very special skill set.

The Greek:
τίς τ᾽ ἄρ σφωε θεῶν ἔριδι ξυνέηκε μάχεσθαι;
Λητοῦς καὶ Διὸς υἱός: ὃ γὰρ βασιλῆϊ χολωθεὶς
νοῦσον ἀνὰ στρατὸν ὄρσε κακήν, ὀλέκοντο δὲ λαοί, 10
οὕνεκα τὸν Χρύσην ἠτίμασεν ἀρητῆρα
Ἀτρεΐδης: ὃ γὰρ ἦλθε θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν
λυσόμενός τε θύγατρα φέρων τ᾽ ἀπερείσι᾽ ἄποινα,
στέμματ᾽ ἔχων ἐν χερσὶν ἑκηβόλου Ἀπόλλωνος
χρυσέῳ ἀνὰ σκήπτρῳ, καὶ λίσσετο πάντας Ἀχαιούς,
15
Ἀτρεΐδα δὲ μάλιστα δύω, κοσμήτορε λαῶν:
Ἀτρεΐδαι τε καὶ ἄλλοι ἐϋκνήμιδες Ἀχαιοί,
ὑμῖν μὲν θεοὶ δοῖεν Ὀλύμπια δώματ᾽ ἔχοντες
ἐκπέρσαι Πριάμοιο πόλιν, εὖ δ᾽ οἴκαδ᾽ ἱκέσθαι:
παῖδα δ᾽ ἐμοὶ λύσαι τε (NB following pharr) φίλην, τὰ δ᾽ ἄποινα δέχεσθαι, 20
ἁζόμενοι Διὸς υἱὸν ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα.
The Greeklish:
And so who of Gods brought these two together to fight?
Leto’s and Zeus’s son; for that one, angered at the king,
Stirred up a plague throughout the army — a vile plague, and the people were being killed
Because the son of Atreus dishonored Chryses, a priest!
For he (Chryses) went to the swift ships of the Achaeans
Intending to free his daughter and bearing boundless ransoms,
Holding the garlands in his hands of sharp-shooting Apollo
upon a golden staff, and he was begging all the Achaeans,
especially the two sons of Atreus, the commanders of armies:
“Sons of Atreus and also (you) other well-greaved (good-grief ha.) Achaeans,
You on the one hand may the gods, dwelling in Olympian houses, grant
to destroy Priam’s city, and to safely come home;
(on the other hand) Free my dear one, my child, and accept these ransoms,
Since you stand in awe of Zeus’s son, sharp-shooting Apollo.”

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