Homer Odyssey, 13.248-249

 

 

“Just so, Stranger, the name of Ithaca has traveled to Troy,

that place they say is far from our Achaean soil.”

 

τῷ τοι, ξεῖν᾽, Ἰθάκης γε καὶ ἐς Τροίην ὄνομ᾽ ἵκει,
τήν περ τηλοῦ φασὶν Ἀχαιΐδος ἔμμεναι αἴης.

 

This oft-overlooked passage ends Athena’s speech to the bewildered Odysseus in book 13 of the Odyssey when he has awoken, believing the Phaeacians left him somewhere other than home. The lines nicely invert the refrain of the Trojan War–the events of which have been broadcast all over the world, according to the conversations of books 1-12–and instead extend the locus of the second half of this epic outward. The poetic effect is to reframe epic fame: from this point on it is the story of Ithaca and not the story of Troy that will be known.

 

Don’t believe it? Here’s the full text.

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