Notes on not Englishing Homer
῎Ανδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσε·1
Man, Muse — tell me about that trickster, tossed topsy-turvy since the time he torched Troy’s sacred towers…
The main problem with it being (aside from its awfulness2 ) that the Greek is primarily plosive, while the translation is terribly dental.
- Transliteration: Andra moi ennepe Mousa, polutropon, hos mala polla / plankhthē epei Troiēs hieron ptoliethron eperse… [↩]
- Even though it has no merits in English, it also fails to capture with any accuracy the feeling (or even the grammar) of the original. I can already hear the pointed questions from teachers of Greek, such as: ‘and how many citadels of Troy were there? How many?’ To which I reply, according to the excavation reports, at least seven. (‘Nobody likes a smart-ass,’ observes the teacher.) [↩]