Sunday, December 5, 2021

Reading Homer With A Misogynistic Eye: Greek Anthology IX.166

 Trigger Warning: misogyny

Despite the clearly biased content of the following poem, it is important to document the vast spectrum of ideas on women in the ancient world. Even women with exemplary virtue could be warped and abused by the author's pen.  

Omnem Homerus ostendit malam fallacemque esse mulierem,

modestam et meretricem, utramque perniciosam.

Etenim ex Helenae adulterio caedes orta virorum est,

et per modestia Penelopes funera.

Ilias igitur opus unius gratia exstitit mulieris,

Odysseae autem Penelope causa fuit.

πᾶσαν Ὅμηρος ἔδειξε κακὴν σφαλερήν τε γυναῖκα,

σώφρονα καὶ πόρνην, ἀμφοτέρας ὄλεθρον.

ἐκ γὰρ τῆς Ἑλένης μοιχευσαμένης φόνος ἀνδρῶν,

καὶ διὰ σωφροσύνην Πηνελόπης θάνατοι.

Ἰλιὰς οὖν τὸ πόνημα μιᾶς χάριν ἐστὶ γυναικός:

αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσείῃ Πηνελόπη πρόφασις.

--Palladas, Greek Anthology IX.166; Translated into Latin by Friedrich Duebner (1872)

Homer revealed that woman is pure evil & temptation;

Whether she’s modest or unchaste, both paths lead to destruction.

For Helen’s adultery caused the murder of men,

And death came to men through Penelope’s marital fidelity.

The entirety of the Iliad springs from one woman’s deed,

But the Odyssey is all Penelope’s fault.




Name:  Palladas

Date:  4th c. CE

Works:  poems





 Palladas was a 4th c. poet and scholar who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. Little is known about his life, but several of his poems were preserved in the Greek Anthology.




Name:  ????


Works:  Greek Anthology; Anthologia Graeca; Florilegii Graecii





 The Greek Anthology is a modern collection of Greek lyric poetry compiled from various sources over the course of Greco-Roman literature. The current collection was created from two major sources, one from the 10th century CE and one from the 14th century CE. The anthology contains authors spanning the entirety of Greek literature, from archaic poets to Byzantine Christian poets. 

 Byzantine / Late Greek

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