Pandarus’ bow


In the Iliad, Pandarus is tricked by Athene to take a pot shot at Menelaus with his bow. Homer describes his bow as being made from the horns of the leaping wild goat or Capra Ibex fitted together. This ibex is still found in Turkey although not North West Turkey where Pandarus came from. To get some idea of what the bow looked like, I have found this picture of the Turkish ibex.

αὐτίκ᾽ ἐσύλα τόξον ἐΰξοον ἰξάλου αἰγὸς
ἀγρίου, ὅν ῥά ποτ᾽ αὐτὸς ὑπὸ στέρνοιο τυχήσας
πέτρης ἐκβαίνοντα δεδεγμένος ἐν προδοκῇσι
βεβλήκει πρὸς στῆθος: ὃ δ᾽ ὕπτιος ἔμπεσε πέτρῃ.
τοῦ κέρα ἐκ κεφαλῆς ἑκκαιδεκάδωρα πεφύκει:
καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀσκήσας κεραοξόος ἤραρε τέκτων,
πᾶν δ᾽ εὖ λειήνας χρυσέην ἐπέθηκε κορώνην.
καὶ τὸ μὲν εὖ κατέθηκε τανυσσάμενος ποτὶ γαίῃ

At once he took out his polished bow made from a leaping wild goat which once he had hit below the breast as it came out from a rock as he lay in wait and shot in the heart. It fell on its back on the rock. Its horns grew from his head to a length of sixteen palms (4 feet?) And a craftsman who worked in horns had prepared and fitted the horns together. He had smoothed it all and fixed gold on the tips. This he laid carefully down when he had strung it leaning it on the ground.

The length of the bow would be too big to handle if the horns were four feet each and apparently would beat the record for an ibex horn. But maybe the Trojan lengths were shorter than the Greek ones.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s