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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Homer Bilingual Anthology : THE UNDERWORLD

From Homer's Iliad, * Rhapsody 11. 1-332, 385-640, * Translated by S. Butler, * Greek Fonts 


HEN, when we had got down to the sea shore we drew our ship into the water and got her mast and sails into her; we also put the sheep on board and took our places, weeping and in great distress of mind. Circe, that great and cunning goddess, sent us a fair wind that blew dead aft and staid steadily with us keeping our sails all the time well filled; so we did whatever wanted doing to the ship's gear and let her go as the wind and helmsman headed her. All day long her sails were full as she held her course over the sea, but when the sun went down and darkness was over all the earth, we got into the deep waters of the river Oceanus, where lie the land and city of the Cimmerians who live enshrouded in mist and darkness which the rays of the sun never pierce neither at his rising nor as he goes down again out of the heavens, but the poor wretches live in one long melancholy night. When we got there we beached the ship, took the sheep out of her, and went along by the waters of Oceanus till we came to the place of which Circe had told us.


Αὐτὰρ ἐπεί ῥ΄ ἐπὶ νῆα κατήλθομεν ἠδὲ θάλασσαν͵ νῆα μὲν ἂρ πάμπρωτον ἐρύσσαμεν εἰς ἅλα δῖαν͵ ἐν δ΄ ἱστὸν τιθέμεσθα καὶ ἱστία νηῒ μελαίνῃ͵ ἐν δὲ τὰ μῆλα λαβόντες ἐβήσαμεν͵ ἂν δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ βαίνομεν ἀχνύμενοι͵ θαλερὸν κατὰ δάκρυ χέοντες. ἡμῖν δ΄ αὖ κατόπισθε νεὸς κυανοπρῴροιο ἴκμενον οὖρον ἵει πλησίστιον͵ ἐσθλὸν ἑταῖρον͵ Κίρκη ἐϋπλόκαμος͵ δεινὴ θεὸς αὐδήεσσα. ἡμεῖς δ΄ ὅπλα ἕκαστα πονησάμενοι κατὰ νῆα ἥμεθα· τὴν δ΄ ἄνεμός τε κυβερνήτης τ΄ ἴθυνε. τῆς δὲ πανημερίης τέταθ΄ ἱστία ποντοπορούσης. δύσετό τ΄ ἠέλιος σκιόωντό τε πᾶσαι ἀγυιαί· ἡ δ΄ ἐς πείραθ΄ ἵκανε βαθυρρόου Ὠκεανοῖο. ἔνθα δὲ Κιμμερίων ἀνδρῶν δῆμός τε πόλις τε͵ ἠέρι καὶ νεφέλῃ κεκαλυμμένοι· οὐδέ ποτ΄ αὐτοὺς Ἠέλιος φαέθων καταδέρκεται ἀκτίνεσσιν͵ οὔθ΄ ὁπότ΄ ἂν στείχῃσι πρὸς οὐρανὸν ἀστερόεντα͵ οὔθ΄ ὅτ΄ ἂν ἂψ ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἀπ΄ οὐρανόθεν προτράπηται͵ ἀλλ΄ ἐπὶ νὺξ ὀλοὴ τέταται δειλοῖσι βροτοῖσι. νῆα μὲν ἔνθ΄ ἐλθόντες ἐκέλσαμεν͵ ἐκ δὲ τὰ μῆλα εἱλόμεθ΄· αὐτοὶ δ΄ αὖτε παρὰ ῥόον Ὠκεανοῖο ᾔομεν͵ ὄφρ΄ ἐς χῶρον ἀφικόμεθ΄͵ ὃν φράσε Κίρκη.

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