Translation of Iliad 14.329-345

Hapax Legomenon

Translation of Iliad 14.329-345

Fumiko Egawa, '11

In this passage, I sought to preserve the character of divine speech between Hera and Zeus. A fresh departure from the grief of Thetis and the many deaths of heroes, it is flirtatious and burlesque, lending itself to a modern translation. Here, Hera distracts Zeus to give favor to the Greeks in battle, since Zeus has shown favor to the Trojans as a part of his promise to Thetis, of which Hera is ignorant. Zeus falls unsuspecting for her seductive trap, proclaiming how beautiful she is while listing all of the women with whom he'd previously slept. Ironically, once Hera lures Zeus in, she acts appalled at his idea to act upon her suggestion there on top of Ida. As she begs for a more private venue, Zeus assures Hera of their privacy and off the two gods go.

Accurately conveying the nuanced meanings of each Greek word in English was greatly challenging and would have been restricted by choosing only the medium either of poetry or prose. With poetry alone, I would lose audience accessibility and much of the original Greek; with prose, I would lose the ease with which one could read my passage. Taking liberties with the Greek, I have chosen to straddle both mediums, giving the prose a more poetic feel accessible to a greater audience. Like Lattimore, I referenced Cunliffe's Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect, but found that many of the definitions given were too anachronistic for a modern reader unfamiliar with Homeric Greek. Thus I found myself translating the English as well as Greek to present a more reader-friendly interpretation that retains some of the original Greek.

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Planning trickery, the lady Hera spoke:
"Most terrible son of Kronos, what words you speak!
If you wish to have sex now, here
Upon this peak of Ida, then everything we do can be seen for miles around
Think how it would be, should any one of the immortal gods
See us sleeping together and run, showing the many other gods?
I could not go to your home, having risen
From your bed - doing so would be disgraceful!
But now if you so desire, and it became dear to your heart,
There is my chamber, which your own son Hephaistos crafted
For me, the well-fitted doors attached to the posts.
So let us leave, going to rest, since now the bed has called you."
Then, answering her, cloud-gathering Zeus spoke:
"Hera, fear not that any one of the gods or mortal men
Will lay eyes upon us. I shall conceal you in so golden a cloud;
Indeed, not even Helios could see through to the two of us,
Though his rays of light are most penetrating.