Helen’s Weaving: An Archetype for Homer’s Poem

Il. 3.121-128
Iris then went as a messenger to white-armed Helen,
Looking for all the world like the wife of Antênor’s son, sister-in-law,
The wife of the lord of Helikaon, Antênor’s son, Laodikê,
The most beautiful of Priam’s daughters,
Who found her at home. She was weaving on her great loom,
A double-folded garment, in which she was embroidering
The many struggles of the horse-taming Trojans and the bronze-girded Achaeans,
All the things they had suffered for her at Ares’ hands.”

῏Ιρις δ’ αὖθ’ ῾Ελένῃ λευκωλένῳ ἄγγελος ἦλθεν
εἰδομένη γαλόῳ ᾿Αντηνορίδαο δάμαρτι,
τὴν ᾿Αντηνορίδης εἶχε κρείων ῾Ελικάων
Λαοδίκην Πριάμοιο θυγατρῶν εἶδος ἀρίστην.
τὴν δ’ εὗρ’ ἐν μεγάρῳ· ἣ δὲ μέγαν ἱστὸν ὕφαινε
δίπλακα πορφυρέην, πολέας δ’ ἐνέπασσεν ἀέθλους
Τρώων θ’ ἱπποδάμων καὶ ᾿Αχαιῶν χαλκοχιτώνων,
οὕς ἑθεν εἵνεκ’ ἔπασχον ὑπ’ ῎Αρηος παλαμάων·

Schol T ad. Il 3.125b ex: “She does not sing like Kirke and Kalypso, for they live without suffering and calmly.”

ex. ἡ δὲ μέγαν ἱστὸν ὕφαινε: οὐκ ᾄδει ὡς Κίρκη καὶ Καλυψώ· ἀπαθῶς γὰρ ἐκεῖναι καὶ ἠρέμα ζῶσαι. T

Schol. bT ad Il. 3.126-127: “The poet has shaped here a worthy archetype for his own poetry. Perhaps on this [s?]he is trying to show to those who see it the violence of the Trojans and the just strength of the Greeks.”

ex. πολέας δ’ ἐνέπασσεν ἀέθλους<—χαλκοχιτώνων>: ἀξιόχρεων ἀρχέτυπον ἀνέπλασεν ὁ ποιητὴς τῆς ἰδίας ποιήσεως. ἴσως δὲ τούτῳ τοῖς ὁρῶσιν ἐπειρᾶτο δεικνύναι τὴν Τρώων βίαν καὶ τὴν ῾Ελλήνων δικαίαν ἰσχύν. b(BCE3E4)T



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