The Iliad Friendship Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Richmond Lattimore's translation.
"Welcome. You are my friends who have come, and greatly I need you,
who even to this my anger are dearest of all the Achaians.'
So brilliant Achilleus spoke, and guided them forward,
and caused them to sit down on couches with purple coverlets […]." (9.197-200)
In this scene, Achilleus welcomes Odysseus, Aias, and Phoinix, who have come to his tent to present Agamemnon's offer of a consolation gift. It seems similar to his lines in Book 1 above, where he shows that, even though he's mad at Agamemnon, he doesn't hold a grudge against those who have to carry out his orders.
The thing is, the Greek text here is actually a bit unclear. The end of line 197 really just says "there is great need," which could be interpreted as either "I need you" or "you need me." How would your interpretation of Achilleus's actions change if Lattimore (the translator we have been using) had translated it the other way?
"Hephaistos, come this way; here is Thetis, who has need of you."
Hearing her the renowned smith of the strong arms answered her:
"Then there is a goddess we honour and respect in our house.
She saved me when I suffered much at the time of my great fall
through the will of my own brazen-faced mother, who wanted
to hide me, for being lame. […]
Now she has come into our house; so I must by all means
do everything to give recompense to lovely-haired Thetis
for my life. Therefore set out before her fair entertainment
while I am putting away my bellows and all my instruments." (18.392-397, 406-409)
Friends help out friends. Can you think of any other parts of the Iliad where this code is either followed or abandoned?
[…] afterwards when the sun sets
make ready a great dinner, when we have paid off our defilement.
But before this, for me at least, neither drink nor food shall
go down my very throat, since my companion has perished
and lies inside my shelter torn about with the cutting
bronze, and turned against the forecourt while my companions
mourn about him. (19.208-213)
In most cultures, eating is a social occasion to join together with friends. Why do you think Achilleus would refuse food at this point of the story?