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ca 750-650 BC __ « Iliad » — Beacon smoke
Homer (Homère) (end of the 8th century BC)
Comment : The Iliad (Greek: Ἰλιάς, Iliás) is an epic poem recounting significant events during a portion of the final year of the Trojan War.the Greek siege of the city of Ilion (Troy).hence the title (“pertaining to Ilios”). The Iliad, and its sequel, the Odyssey, are attributed to Homer, but his sole authorship is doubted by some scholars who think the poems exhibit different poetic styles (dialect, idiom, metre) which may indicate several authors, a presumed characteristic of the Ancient Greek oral tradition. Twentieth century scholars dated these poems to the late-ninth and early-eighth centuries BC, notably G. S. Kirk, Richard Janko, and Barry B. Powell (who links its transcription to the invention of the Greek alphabet); however, Martin West and Richard Seaford, posit either the seventh or the sixth centuries BC, as the composition time(s) of this oldest extant literary work of Ancient Greece, and the world. The titles of the poem.the Greek Iliad and the Latin Ilium.derive from the city’s name. It is at the supreme crisis of the Iliad. Achilles has been sulking and chafing in his tent for many days ; since his bitter quarrel with Agamemnon, the Greeks have suffered disaster, almost annihilation, from the Trojans ; Patroclus has at last obtained permission to go forth clad in the armor of Achilles to beat back the foe, has been led away too far by the frenzy of war, till he has met his doom, and is now borne back by the Greek chieftains, pursued by the Trojans wild with victory behind them. Antilochus hurries with the dread tidings to Achilles's tent, and Iris descends from Olympus to urge Achilles even without his armor to show himself at the trench, and let the Trojans see that he is again ready for the battle-field. (Compiled from various sources)
Original excerpt 1 : « Book XVIII.[...] But Achilles dear to Jove arose, and Minerva flung her tasselled aegis round his strong shoulders; she crowned his head with a halo of golden cloud from which she kindled a glow of gleaming fire. As the smoke that goes up into heaven from some coty that is being beleaguered on an island fat out at sea - all deay long do men sally from the city and fight their hardest, and at the going down of the sun the line of beacon-fires blazes forth, flaring high for those that dwell near them to behold, if so be that they may come with their ships and succour them - even do did the light flare from the head of Achilles, as he stood by the trench, going beyond the wall - but he aid not join the Achacans for he heeded the charge which his mother laid upon him. There did he stand and shout aloud. Minerva also raised her voice from afar, and spread terror unspeakable among the Trojans. Ringing as the note of a trumpet that sounds alarm then the foe is at the gates of a city, even so brazen was the voice of the son of Aeacus, and when the Trojans heard its clarion tones they were dismayed; the horses turned back with their chariots for they boded mischief, and their drivers were awe-struck by the steady flame which the grey-eyed goddess had kindled above the head of the great son of Peleus. Thrice did Achilles raise his loud cry as he stood by the trench, and thrice were the Trojans and their brave allies thrown into confusion; whereon twelve of their noblest champions fell beneath the wheels of their chariots and perished by their own spears. The Achaeans to their great joy then drew Patroclus out of reach of the weapons, and laid him on a litter: his comrades stood mourning round him, and among them fleet Achilles who wept bitterly as he saw his true comrade lying dead upon his bier. He had sent him out with horses and chariots into battle, but his return he was not to welcome. [...] » (Translated by Alexander Pope & Smauel Butler.)
French translated excerpt 2 : « Rhapsodie XVII.[...] Et Akhilleus cher à Zeus se leva ; et, sur ses robustes épaules, Athènè mit l’aigide frangée ; et la grande Déesse ceignit la tête du héros d’une nuée d’or sur laquelle elle alluma une flamme resplendissante. De même, dans une île lointaine, la fumée monte vers l’Aithèr, du milieu d’une ville assiégée. Tout le jour, les citoyens ont combattu avec fureur hors de la ville ; mais, au déclin de Hélios, ils allument des feux ardents dont la splendeur monte dans l’air, et sera peut-être vue des peuples voisins qui viendront sur leurs nefs les délivrer d’Arès. Ainsi, une haute clarté montait de la tête d’ Akhilleus jusque dans l’Aithèr. Et il s’arrêta sur le bord du fossé, sans se mêler aux Akhaiens, car il obéissait à l’ordre prudent de sa mère. Là, debout, il poussa un cri, et Pallas Athènè cria aussi, et un immense tumulte s’éleva parmi les Troiens. Et l’illustre voix de l’Aiakide était semblable au son strident de la trompette, autour d’une ville assiégée par des ennemis acharnés. Et, dès que les Troiens eurent entendu la voix d’airain de l’Aiakide, ils frémirent tous ; et les chevaux aux belles crinières tournèrent les chars, car ils pressentaient des malheurs, et leurs conducteurs furent épouvantés quand ils virent cette flamme infatigable et horrible qui brûlait sur la tête du magnanime Pèléiôn et que nourrissait la déesse aux yeux clairs Athènè. Et, trois fois, sur le bord du fossé, le divin Akhilleus cria, et, trois fois, les Troiens furent bouleversés, et les illustres alliés ; et douze des plus braves périrent au milieu de leurs chars et de leurs lances. [...] » (Translated by Leconte de Lisle)
Source : Merriam, Augustus C. (1890), “Telegraphing Among the Ancients”, Papers of the Archaeological Institute of America, Classical Series III, Vol. 3, n°1, Cambridge : University Press, printed by John Wilson and Son, p. 1.
Source : Homer, “Iliad”, Translated by Alexander Pope (1910), Book XVIII, Plain Label Books, p. 188.
Urls : http://www.archive.org/stream/telegraphingamo00merrgoog/telegraphingamo00merrgoog_djvu.txt (last visited ) http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/iliad.18.xviii.html (last visited )

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