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for literary purposes, the sense of literary property was not strong, and each bard or "rhapsode" felt at liberty to modify and to add. But that a true and great poetic genius put the poems into essentially their present form, fewer doubt now than a quarter of a century ago. This poet probably lived as early as the ninth century before our era. Other scholars would hold that the poems are the product of three or four poets in different ages,—the later poet extending and developing the plan of his predecessors. The earliest of these may have lived as early as the tenth century, and the latest in the eighth century B. C.

The translations from the Iliad are by William Cullen Bryant; that from the Odyssey by Philip Stanhope Worsley.



From the Sixth Book of the Iliad, verses 390–502; in Bryant's translation, verses 505–633.

In the first of the four great battles of the Iliad, the Trojans are hard pressed, and Hector, the bravest and mightiest of the sons of King Priam, returns to the city from the battle on the plain, to bid the Trojan matrons offer vows to the goddess Pallas Athena for the safety of the city, and to urge his brother Paris to return to the fight. From the house of Paris, Hector turns to his own home, that he may see his wife, Andromachè.

This evidently is intended by the poet to be the last meeting between Hector and Andromache before his death, although in the present form of the Iliad, Hector might have returned to his home at the close of this day of battle.

Hector left in haste 505
The mansion, and retraced his way between
The rows of stately dwellings, traversing
The mighty city. When at length he reached
The Scaean gates, that issue on the field,
His spouse, the nobly dowered Andromache, 510
Came forth to meet him—daughter of the prince
Eëtion, who, among the woody slopes