What Achilles and his men were doing

ἀλλ᾽ ὃ μὲν ἐν νήεσσι κορωνίσι ποντοπόροισι
κεῖτ᾽ ἀπομηνίσας Ἀγαμέμνονι ποιμένι λαῶν
Ἀτρεΐδῃ: λαοὶ δὲ παρὰ ῥηγμῖνι θαλάσσης
δίσκοισιν τέρποντο καὶ αἰγανέῃσιν ἱέντες
775τόξοισίν θ᾽: ἵπποι δὲ παρ᾽ ἅρμασιν οἷσιν ἕκαστος
λωτὸν ἐρεπτόμενοι ἐλεόθρεπτόν τε σέλινον
ἕστασαν: ἅρματα δ᾽ εὖ πεπυκασμένα κεῖτο ἀνάκτων
ἐν κλισίῃς: οἳ δ᾽ ἀρχὸν ἀρηΐφιλον ποθέοντες
φοίτων ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα κατὰ στρατὸν οὐδὲ μάχοντο.

But Achilles was lying among the beaked sea-going ships angry at Agamemnon, shepherd of the people. Meanwhile his people were playing at discus and throwing the javelin and archery next to the seashore. The horses were each besides their chariot grazing the clover and marsh parsley. The well built chariots of the lords stood still among the huts. They missed their warlike leader and wandered here and there through the army but they did not fight.

Many, many years ago I remember my Greek master saying that Homer always left a scene with some activity going on so that even though the scene had changed, at the back of your mind you had an image of what was going on. For example while the rest of the Greeks and Trojans are out fighting, you have this picture in your mind of Achilles’ men playing their games.

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