365 Posts: Day 5

January 5: Call Me Ishmael

Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.

μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,
πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
5οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ᾽ ἐτελείετο βουλή,
ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε
Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.

This sentence. This was the reason I took Greek in college. To be able to read Homer how it was meant to be read. Not in translation, but the original language. This started my want. My need to have a better grasp on the primary documents of the ancient world. Translated, the following Greek is as follows: The wrath sing, goddess, of Peleus’ son Achilles, the accursed wrath which brought countless sorrows upon the Achaeans, and sent down to Hades many valiant souls of warriors, and made the men themselves to be the spoil for dogs and birds of every kind; and thus the will of Zeus was brought to fulfillment. Of this sing from the time when first there parted in strife Atreus’ son, lord of men, and noble Achilles.

The sentence that launched a thousand ships. The sentence that began the most epic of epics told throughout all of history. This story did not start my love of history, but it cemented my need and want to learn as much as humanly possible about the ancient world. The mythology and made up world of which was the basis for so many great stories throughout time.

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