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Chryses' Prayer

Jonathan Slocum and Carol Justus

Chryses' Prayer

The first prayer in the Iliad (Book I, lines 37-42) is Chryses' prayer to Apollo to avenge the dishonor done him by Agamemnon, the leader of the Danaans (Greeks), who took Chryses' daughter as a war prize, refused to release her, and mistreated Chryses when he offered a ransom for her return. It illustrates older Indo-European prayer form and linguistic structure, as well as properly epic Greek features.

Each line is transcribed in Greek, transliterated into Roman script, briefly glossed word-for-word, then translated into English.

κλῦθί μευ ἀργυρότοξ', ὃς Χρύσην ἀμφιβέβηκας
kluthi meu argurotox', hos Chrusên amphibebêkas
hear imp; me gen; silver-bow masc.; that masc.; Chryses fem.; go-around perf.ind.
Hear me O (you with the) silver bow, who guard Chryses
Κίλλάν τε ζαθέην Τενέδοιό τε ἶφι ἀνάσσεις,
Killan te zatheên Tenedoio te iphi anasseis,
Cilla fem.; and; very-sacred fem.; Tenedos fem.; and; mightily; rule pres.ind.
and holy Cilla and (who) rule with might over Tenedos,
Σμινθεῦ εἴ ποτέ τοι χαρίεντ' ἐπὶ νηὸν ἔρεψα,
Smintheu ei pote toi charient' epi nêon erepsa,
Sminthe masc.; if; ever; you dat; pleasing; upon; temple masc.; feed-on aor.ind.
O Sminthe, if I ever put a roof on a temple (that was) pleasing to you,
ἢ εἰ δή ποτέ τοι κατὰ πίονα μηρί' ἔκηα
ê ei dê pote toi kata piona mêri' ekêa
or; if; then; ever; you dat; down; fat; thigh neut.; burn aor.ind.
or if I ever burned for you the fat thighs
ταύρων ἠδ' αἰγῶν, τὸ δέ μοι κρήηνον ἐέλδωρ:
taurôn êd' aigôn, to de moi krêênon eeldôr:
bull masc.; or; goat masc.; that; but; me dat; grant aor. imp; wish neut.
of bulls or goats, then grant me this wish:
τίσειαν Δαναοὶ ἐμὰ δάκρυα σοῖσι βέλεσσιν.
tiseian Danaoi ema dakrua soisi belessin.
pay-for aor. opt; Danaan masc.; my neut.; tear neut.; your neut.; arrow neut.
let the Danaans pay for my tears with your arrows.

Key to gloss abbreviations:

Abbrev.   Meaning
1. = 1st (person)
2. = 2nd (person)
3. = 3rd (person)
acc. = accusative (case)
aor. = aorist (tense)
dat. = dative (case)
fem. = feminine (gender)
gen. = genitive (case)
imp. = imperative (mood)
ind. = indicative (mood)
masc. = masculine (gender)
neut. = neuter (gender)
nom. = nominative (case)
opt. = optative (mood)
perf. = perfect (aspect)
pl. = plural (number)
pres. = present (tense)
sg. = singular (number)
voc. = vocative (case)

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