Homeric Epigrams: Unknowable Minds; Pitiable Sailors; Dog-Feeding Instructions

Three Epigrams from the Pseudo-Herodotean Life of Homer

Epigram 5

“Thestorides, though men encounter many unexpected things,
There is nothing more unknowable than the human mind.”

Θεστορίδης θνητοῖσιν ἀνωΐστων πολέων περ,
οὐδὲν ἀφραστότερον πέλεται νόου ἀνθρώποισιν.

Epigram 9

“Sea-traveling sailors with your hateful task,
Living an unenviable life on the shimmering waves,
Revere Zeus the guest-god who rules from on high.
For Zeus Xenios’ rage is great for the man who crosses him”

ναῦται ποντοπόροι στυγερῇ ἐναλίγκιοι ἄτῃ,
πτωκάσιν αἰθυίῃσι βίον δύσζηλον ἔχοντες,
αἰδεῖσθε ξενίοιο Διὸς σέβας ὑψιμέδοντος•
δεινὴ γὰρ μέτ’ ὄπις ξενίου Διός, ὅς κ’ ἀλίτηται.


Epigram 11

“Glaukos, overseer, I will place another saying in your thoughts:
Give the dogs dinner first near the courtyard’s gates.
This is better: for the dog hears first when a man
Approaches or if a wild beast dares near the fence.”

Γλαῦκε πέπων, ἐπιών τοι ἔπος τι ἐνὶ φρεσὶ θήσω•
πρῶτον μὲν κυσὶ δεῖπνον ἐπ’ αὐλείῃσι θύρῃσι
δοῦναι• ὣς γὰρ ἄμεινον• ὃ γὰρ καὶ πρῶτον ἀκούει
ἀνδρὸς ἐπερχομένου καὶ ἐς ἕρκεα θηρὸς ἰόντος.

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