The odyssey in translation
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The Odyssey in Translation. Spring 2009. Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy. Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds, many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,

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Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns

driven time and again off course, once he had plundered

the hallowed heights of Troy.

Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,

many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,

fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.

Robert Fagles (1996)


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The Man, O Muse, informe that many a wayWound with his wisedome to his wished stay;That wanderd wondrous farre when He the towneOf sacred Troy had sackt and shiverd downe.The cities of a world of nations,With all their manners, mindes and fashions,He saw and knew; at Sea felt many woes,Much care sustaind, to save from overthrowesHimselfe and friends in their retreate for home.

George Chapman (1616)


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The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd,

Long exercised in woes, O Muse! resound;

Who, when his arms had wrought the destined fall

Of sacred Troy, and razed her heaven-built wall,

Wandering from clime to clime, observant stray'd,

Their manners noted, and their states survey'd,

On stormy seas unnumber'd toils he bore,

Safe with his friends to gain his natal shore:

AlexanderPope 1725


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Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the storyof that man skilled in all ways of contending,the wanderer, harried for years on end,after he plundered the strongholdon the proud height of Troy.          He saw the townlandsand learned the minds of many distant men,and weathered many bitter nights and daysin his deep heart at sea, while he fought onlyto save his life, to bring his shipmates home.

Robert Fitzgerald (1961)


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Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was drivenfar journeys, after he had sacked Troy‘s sacred citadel.Many were they whose cities he saw, whose minds he learned of,many the pains he suffered in his spirit on he wide sea,struggling for his own life and the homecoming of his companions.

Richard Lattimore 1967


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[1] Tell me, O Muse, of that many-sided hero who traveled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the people with whose customs and thinking [noos] he was acquainted; many things he suffered at sea while seeking to save his own life [psukhê] and to achieve the safe homecoming [nostos] of his companions;

Samuel Butler [1900?]


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Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and

wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities

did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home;

Samuel Butler [1921?]


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[1] Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. Many were the men whose cities he saw and whose mind he learned, aye, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the sea, [5] seeking to win his own life and the return of his comrades.

A.T. Murray, 1919


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Tell me, Muse, the story of that very resourceful man who was driven to wander far and wide after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy. He saw the cities of many people and he learnt their ways. He suffered great anguish on the high seas in his struggles to preserve his life and bring his comrades home.

Emil Rieu and DCH Rieu (1946)


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Tell me, Muse, of the versatile man who was driven off course many times after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy.  Many were the peoples whose cities he saw, and whose minds he got to know; and at sea many were the pains he felt in his heart as he tried to secure his own life and his comrades’ return home. 

R.D. Dawe 1993


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The Man . . . that many a way course many times after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy.  Many were the peoples whose cities he saw, and whose minds he got to know; and at sea many were the pains he felt in his heart as he tried to secure his own life and his comrades’ return home. Wound with his wisedome . . . .

The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd

that man skilled in all ways of contending

the man of many ways

that many-sided hero

that ingenious hero

the man of many devices

that very resourceful man

the versatile man

the man of twists and turns


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ἄνδρα course many times after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy.  Many were the peoples whose cities he saw, and whose minds he got to know; and at sea many were the pains he felt in his heart as he tried to secure his own life and his comrades’ return home. μοιἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃςμάλαπολλὰπλάγχθη, ἐπεὶΤροίηςἱερὸνπτολίεθρονἔπερσεν:πολλῶνδ᾽ἀνθρώπωνἴδενἄστεακαὶνόονἔγνω,πολλὰδ᾽ὅγ᾽ἐνπόντῳπάθενἄλγεαὃνκατὰθυμόν,5ἀρνύμενοςἥντεψυχὴνκαὶνόστονἑταίρων.ἀλλ᾽οὐδ᾽ὣςἑτάρουςἐρρύσατο, ἱέμενόςπερ:

A. T Murray 1919


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πολύ course many times after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy.  Many were the peoples whose cities he saw, and whose minds he got to know; and at sea many were the pains he felt in his heart as he tried to secure his own life and his comrades’ return home. -τροπος , ον, (τρέπω) A. much-turned, i.e. much-travelled, much-wandering, epith. of Odysseus, Od.1.1, 10.330.

II. turning many ways: metaph., shifty, versatile, wily, of Hermes, h.Merc.13,439; “τοῖςἀσθενέσικαὶπ. θηρίοις” Pl.Plt.291b; and in this sense Plato took the word as applied to Odysseus, Hp.Mi.364e (Sup.), al.; τὸπ. τῆςγνώμηςtheir versatility of mind, Th.3.83; τὸπ., of Alcibiades, Plu.Alc. 24.

2. fickle, “ὅμιλος” Ps.-Phoc.95.

3. of diseases, changeful, complicated,Plu.Num.22; also “πόλεμοςτοῖςπάθεσιποικίλοςκαὶταῖςτύχαιςπολυτροπώτατος” Id.Mar.33; “στρατεία” Eun.Hist. p.223D.

III. various, manifold, “ξυμφοραί” Th.2.44; ἐπιθυμίαι, ἐθισμοὶτῶνλέξεων, Epicur.Fr.471, Nat.28.1 (p.7V.); “κακά” Ph.2.567; “ἔθνη” Plu.Marc.12; “τύχαι” Id.Alc.2; “ὄργια” Lyr.Alex.Adesp.36.3; “τὸπ.” Phld.Sign.26. Adv. “-πως” in many manners,Meno Iatr.20.31, Ph.2.512, Ep.Hebr.1.1, Iamb.Comm.Math.12: Comp., “-ωτέρωςκαὶποικιλωτέρως” Epicur.Nat.5 G.

Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by. Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.


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I want to acknowledge the help of Eric McMillan’s website course many times after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy.  Many were the peoples whose cities he saw, and whose minds he got to know; and at sea many were the pains he felt in his heart as he tried to secure his own life and his comrades’ return home.  “Translations of the Odyssey” < http://www.editoreric.com/greatlit/translations/Odyssey.html>

And of the Perseus Project < http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text.jsp?

doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0135>

And Ian Johnston’s Published English Translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey < http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/homer/homertranslations.htm>


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