Fighting Words and Feuding Words: Anger and the Homeric Poems

Chapter 9. Fighting Deeds

ἐπέων κεχολωμένος ἠδὲ καὶ ἔργων

(Il . 11.703)

{162|163} In the preceding chapter, khólos emerged in the context of speeches in which a character speaks out of anger or where the speaker elicits an angry reply, or both. In these instances, the angered party has a specific motive derived from the immediate context. But, as we will now see, khólos does not always remain a matter of discourse; its most grave consequences take place in the world of action.

The Warrior’s Anger

Indeed, khólos is the warrior’s anger, par excellence. For example, at the end of Book 4, Odysseus, kills a Trojan, Democoon. [1] The encounter results from the death of Simoeisios, who was killed by Ajax; [2] the Trojan Antiphus attempts to kill Ajax to avenge Simoeisius, only to miss Ajax and hit instead Leucus. Odysseus responds, with khólos, to the death of his comrade:

τοῦ μὲν ἄμαρθ’, ὁ δὲ Λεῦκον, Ὀδυσσέος ἐσθλὸν ἑταῖρον,
βεβλήκει βουβῶνα, νέκυν ἑτέρωσ’ ἐρύοντα·
τοῦ δ’ Ὀδυσεὺς μάλα θυμὸν ἀποκταμένοιο χολώθη,

(Il. 4.491-92; 494)

He missed him, but instead he [Antiphus] hit Leucus, the good companion of Odysseus, in the groin, as he was dragging the corpse [of Simoeisios] to the {163|164} other side. And with his death Odysseus became the more angry (kholṓthē) in his heart.

The anger of Odysseus is specifically khólos, [
3] as is soon restated in line Il. 4.501, when Odysseus has shot into a crowd of scattering Trojans (Il. 4.496-98), only to hit the hapless Democoon, an illegitimate son of Priam:

ἀλλ’ υἱὸν Πριάμοιο νόθον βάλε Δημοκόωντα,
ὅς οἱ Ἀβυδόθεν ἦλθε, παρ’ ἵππων ὡκειάων.
τόν ῥ’ Ὀδυσεὺς ἑτάροιο χολωσάμενος βάλε δουρὶ

(Il. 4.499-501)

But he struck the illegitimate son of Priam, Demokoon, who had come from Abudos, on swift horses. Odysseus hit him with his spear, out of anger (khólōsámenos) for his companion.

In contrast to kótos, khólos presents us with a scene from the heat of the battle, where Odysseus’s surprise at the death of his companion leads him to display his anger at the Trojans, so that he turns then to hit not the man responsible for the death of Leucus, namely Antiphus, but some other Trojan who happens to be in the crowd at that moment. We are far here from the specific, long-lasting, distantly motivated kótos, one that cannot be satisfied with simply the expenditure of bodily energy. Here the rage rises from immediate circumstance—the death of a charioteer, [
4] and it is dealt with in the thick atmosphere of wrath, by a killing, any killing. In a sense, kótos was delimited by the notion of complete revenge, down to the wiping out of an entire people: [5] it may mean killing everyone. Khólos is different: it may mean killing anyone—any Trojan will do, whereas for kótos, only all Trojans will do. [6]

What is the relationship, then, of khólos to the violence that characterizes Homeric narrative? I begin by looking at the forms of khólos that are linked to violent death. Consider the forms of the aorist participle in the context of killing.

For a dramatic example, in the speech of Zeus, where the plot of the Iliad is recounted in brief by the king of gods (Il. 15.61-77), the result of Zeus’s boulḗ, the death of Hector, is prophesied in the line toû dè khólōsámenos kteneî Héktora dîos Akhileús (Il. 15.68) “Thus having come to be angry luminous Achilles will kill Hector.” This line, occurring in a brief summary by Zeus shows {164|165} a causal participle sketching Achilles’ entire motive for his vengeance. [8] So too, in Il. 6.205 where Glaucus quickly runs through his genealogy, Artemis’ anger (kholōsaménē, Il. 6.205, “having come to be angry”) provides the causal circumstance for the killing, in a narrative summary after a digression. In this passage, Glaucus’s paternal aunt, Laodameia, is killed by Artemis:

Ἴσανδρον δέ οἱ υἰὸν Ἄρης ἆτος πολέμοιο
μαρνάμενον Σολύμοισι κατέκτανε κυδαλίμοισι·
τὴν δὲ χολωσαμένη χρυσήνιος Ἄρτεμις ἔκτα.

(Il. 6.203-5)

And as for Isandros, his son, Ares insatiable of war killed him in the struggle with the glorious Solymi. And as for his daughter, Artemis of the golden reins killed her, out of khólos .

In both cases, the speakers are anxious to summarize the motive for the death. A form of kteínō is repeated twice in the space of two lines, in the style of a catalogue leading to a climax, the birth of Glaucus (Il. 4.206). [
9] Thus the causal participle (at the main caesura) and the aorist (line-final) verb are placed for a strong rhetorical effect, signaling a transition to a new part of Glaucus’s narrative, by setting aside two deaths in the family, the last one needing only the explanation that khólos motivated Artemis.

One other character directly suggests khólos as a motive for killing. Odysseus, after he hits the mark twice in his contest with the Phaeacian youth, mentions khólos, in two different contexts. The first is the kind of khólos that stimulates competition:

τῶν δ’ ἄλλων ὅτινα κραδίη θυμός τε κελεύει,
δεῦρ’ ἄγε πειρηθήτω, ἐπεί μ’ ἐχολώσατε λίην,
ἢ πὺξ ἠὲ πάλῃ ἢ καὶ ποσίν, oὔ τι μεγαίρω,
πάντων Φαιήκων, πλήν γ’ αὐτοῦ Λαοδάμαντος.
ξεῖνος γάρ μοι ὅδ’ ἐστί·

(Od. 8.204-8)

But of the others, whomever heart and soul encourages, let him come here and test me—since you have caused me to have excessive anger ( khólos )—either in boxing, wrestling, or racing; not at all do I begrudge it of all the Phaeacians except of course Laodamas himself. For this man is my guest-friend.

That khólos can involve competition will be discussed later in this chapter, but certain kinds of competition are especially dangerous, as Thamyris finds out, when the Muses have khólos because of his boast that he can beat them in a singing contest (Il. 2.594-600, to be discussed below). But neither is Odysseus’s bravado about his victory on Scheria innocent of threat, for in establishing his credentials as an archer, in moving from the field of games (boxing, wrestling, racing) to that of archery and its potential violent use, he recounts the story of {165|166} Eurytus who contended with the gods, and because of that contention aroused the khólos of Apollo:

τῶ ῥα καὶ αἶψ’ ἔθανεν μέγας Εὔρυτος, οὐδ’ ἐπὶ γῆρας
ἵκετ’ ἐνὶ μεγάροισι· χολωσάμενος γὰρ Ἀπόλλων
ἔκτανεν, οὕνεκά μιν προκαλίζετο τοξάζεσθαι.

(Od. 8.226-28)

Therefore great Eurytus died quite quickly, and old age did not come upon him in halls. For Apollo, with anger ( khólos ), killed him, because he challenged him at archery.

I take the placement of éktanen as emphatic in this context, where Odysseus’s khólos was just mentioned, his prowess at archery praised to the heights, and the challenge posed by the Phaeacians presented as possibly a violation of xenía: if Odysseus turns out to be a god, his khólos could mean as much trouble for Euryalus, as it does for Eurytus. [
10] That khólos—or indeed any modifier—should be so rare with kteínō makes the rhetoric of this passage a work of high artistry. [11]

Sure action can attend khólos, as Glaucus warns Hector in Iliad 16:

ἀλλά, φίλοι, πάρστητε, νεμεσσήθητε δὲ θυμῷ,
μὴ ἀπὸ τεύχε’ ἕλωνται, ἀεικίσσωσι δὲ νεκρὸν
Μυρμιδόνες, Δαναῶν κεχολωμένοι ὅσσοι ὄλοντο,
τοὺς ἐπὶ νηυσὶ θοῇσιν ἐπέφνομεν ἐγχείῃσιν.

(Il. 16.544-47) {166|167}

But, friends, stand by and let it be an offense to your heart to let the Myrmidons take the armor, and disfigure the corpse, in anger for the Danaans that have perished, whom we killed by the swift ships with our spears.

In fact, besides the outright killing of the victim, mutilation forms one of the characteristic responses to khólos. [
17] whether it be the blinding of Thamyris, the beheading of Imbrios, or the potential defilement of Sarpedon’s corpse. [18] Penelope herself makes clear the way that khólos can lead to outrageous acts of violence, when in anger she reminds Antinoos of the favor that Odysseus did for his father, when the Ithacans had thought to slay him, out of anger:

ἦ οὐκ οἶσθ’ ὅτε δεῦρο πατὴρ τεὸς ἵκετο φεύγων,
δῆμον ὑποδδείσας; δὴ γὰρ κεχολώατο λίην,
οὕνεκα ληιστῆρσιν ἐπισπόμενος Ταφίοισιν
ἤκαχε Θεσπρωτούς· οἳ δ’ ἥμιν ἄρθμιοι ἦσαν·
τόν ῥ’ ἔθελον φθῖσαι καὶ ἀπορραῖσαι φίλον ἦτορ
ἠδὲ κατὰ ζωὴν φαγέειν μενοεικέα πολλήν·

(Od. 16.424-29)

Or do you not know about the time when your father came here in flight, out of fear of the populace? For indeed their anger had become very great, because he had followed Taphian pirates and had caused trouble for the Thesprotians.They were close to us. See they wanted to kill him and to tear out his heart, and to eat his livelihood, great as it is, pleasing as it is.

Instead of considering at this point a restricted set of causes for khólos, I put khólos in the context of the situations that produce it. The advantage to this contextually-based approach is that the narrative is not made to interrogate the culture for a logical sequence, a chain of causation whose putative goal is some predetermined definition of our subject of khólos. To do so would make it seem as if khólos had its own teleology on which the text is focused. More fruitful would be to see what kind of social circumstances stimulate the growth of wrath. So I would like to look to three kinds of category of Homeric events that can be called “sites” for khólos. One of these sites is that of competition and contention, as in a neîkos or in funeral games. Another one of these sites is the assembly. Finally death becomes a site for khólos, especially if it is the death of a phílos.

Site One: Contest and Challenge

For the first site, note that khólos arises frequently during competition, as already seen in the contest between Ajax and Odysseus, so tactfully alluded to in Odysseus’s voyage to the underworld. Here I want to take the analysis further, by pointing out that there are three references to khólos in this scene (kekholōménē, Od. 11.544; khólou, Od. 11.553; kekholōménos, Od. 11.565), in order to suggest that the anger occurs because the contest takes place in a questionable manner. This passage is extremely valuable for us because Odysseus, both as narrator and as participant in the narrative, takes pains to explain how the contest over the arms provides a site for khólos. [21] What is it about that contest that produces khólos? In Odysseus’s description of the event we see key words for the judgment:

οἴη δ’ Αἴαντος ψυχὴ Τελαμωνιάδαο
νόσφιν ἀφειστήκει, κεχολωμένη εἵνεκα νίκης,
τήν μιν ἐγὼ νίκησα δικαζόμενος παρὰ νηυσὶ
τεύχεσιν ἀμφ’ Ἀχιλῆος· ἔθηκε δὲ πότνια μήτηρ·
παῖδες δὲ Τρώων δίκασαν καὶ Παλλὰς Ἀθήνή.
ὥς δὴ μὴ ὄφελον νικᾶν τοιῷδ’ ἐπ’ ἀέθλῳ·
τοίην γὰρ κεφαλὴν ἕνεκ’ αὐτῶν γαῖα κατέσχεν,
Αἴανθ’, ὃς περὶ μὲν εἶδος, περὶ δ’ ἔργα τέτυκτο
τῶν ἄλλων Δαναῶν μετ’ ἀμύμονα Πηλεḯωνα.

(Od. 11.543-51) {168|169}

Alone did the soul of Telamonian Ajax stand apart, angry on account of the victory, which I won in the judgment by the ships concerning Achilles’ arms. And his lady mother set it up, and the children of the Trojans and Pallas Athena determined the judgment. Would that for such a prize there had been no victory, since the earth claims such a man on account of these things—I mean Ajax, who in form and in action is superior to the rest of the Danaans after the blameless son of Peleus.

The language of competition with forms of níkē (Od. 11.543, 544, 547, “victory”), and dikázō (Od. 11.544, 546, “judge”), including éthēke (Od. 11.545, “set up”) in its technical sense of setting up prizes in the games, underscores the social context of the khólos, namely a competitive arena. But what happens that forces khólos? Surely it can’t be that any contest leads to anger?

We can return again to the khólos that we observed in the Scherian games as Odysseus is challenged by the island’s youth. The first khólos phrase (Od. 8.205, discussed above) is spoken by Odysseus when he confronts the young men:

δεῦρ’ ἄγε πειρηθήω, ἐπεὶ μ’ ἐχολώσατε λίην,
ἢ πὺξ ἠὲ πάλῃ, ἢ καὶ ποσίν, οὔ τι μεγαίρω,
πάντων Φαιήκων, πλήν γ’ αὐτοῦ Λαοδάμαντος.

(Od. 8.205-7)

But come let there be a competition—since you have angered me to excess— either boxing, or wrestling, or the foot-race, not at all do I begrudge it, of all the Phaeacians, except of course Laodamas.

Indeed, Odysseus had already become angry at Euryalos, who had challenged him with anger: tòn d’ aût’ Eurúalos epameíbeto neíkesé te ántēn: “… oud’ athlētêri eoikas (Od. 8.158; 164) “Euryalus responded to him and challenged him directly … ‘You don’t resemble an athlete. ’” [
23] That anger is then expressed in the discus throw ( peirḗsom ’ aéthōn, Od. 8.184, “I will contend in the games”), [24] after which, in the flush of victory, Odysseus takes the opportunity to establish his devotion to xenía (“guest-friendship”): {169|170}

This man is my guest-friend. Who would fight a phílos ? One would be stupid and a man of no worth, to contend in strife over prizes with a host in a strange land; he cuts short all things from himself.

These are potent words indeed for our Odyssey, pointing to the basics of the guest-host relationship, even as they demarcate the limits of anger and response within such relationships. Here Odysseus indicates that the central value of the Odyssey, xenía, is also threatened by khólos, [
26] but that it can be modified by human action, such as choosing whom to oppose in a contest, what events are appropriate, and so forth; nonetheless, his magnanimity here, as with Ajax, functions to show him being gracious in victory.

This kind of khólos can result from a challenge across social boundaries. The contest may arouse khólos because the contenders inappropriately cross boundaries such as that between gods and mortals. [29] In a digression within the catalogue of ships, a leads to a khólos, when Thamyris, the Thracian singer, foolishly contends with the muses. As it happens, it was as Thamyris made his way back from Eurytus’s Oichalian home that he made his fateful boast to the muses: [30]

ἔνθα τε Μοῦσαι
ἀντόμεναι Θάμυριν τὸν Θρήικα παῦσαν ἀοιδῆς,
Οἰχαλίηθεν ἰόντα πάρ Εὐρύτου Οἰχαλιῆος·
στεῦτο γὰρ εὐχόμενος νικησέμεν, εἴ περ ἂν αὐταὶ
Μοῦσαι ἀείδοιεν, κοῦραι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο·

(Il. 2.594-98)

There the Muses, encountering the Thracian Thamyris stopped his song as he made his way out of Oichalia from Oichalian Eurytus; for he averred in a boast that he would win, even if the Muses themselves should sing, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus.

Here the language of opposition (antómenai, Il. 2.595) and competition (nikēsémen), [
31] coupled with the parallel fate of Eurytus, all make the outcome of Thamyris’ foolhardy boast predictably bad. The muses’ response to this challenge is to become angry and react violently:

αἳ δὲ χολωσάμεναι πηρὸν θέσαν, αὐτὰρ ἀοιδὴν
θεσπεσίην ἀφέλοντο καὶ ἐκλέλαθον κιθαριστύν·

(Il. 2.599-600)

But they out of khólos made him blind, and they took away his godly song and caused him to forget his instrument.

Here it is inappropriate to challenge the divinities, and the result is their khólos, which they express through divine violence, mutilating the singer and depriving him of his art.

Site Two: Dispute and Quarrel

The second site for khólos is that of the neîkos (“quarrel”). Words for contention, including neîkos (“quarrel”), níkē (“victory”), [32] and éris (“contention”), [33] as they relate to khólos, are an important part of the plot of the Iliad. Neîkos is the technical term for the quarrel that signals the theme of the death of Achilles in Iliadic epic. [34] In the song of Demodocus (Od. 8.72-82)

The neîkos and all else that happened thereupon are described as the Will of Zeus (Od. 8.72), which is the same traditional device that motivates the neîkos {171|172} at the beginning of the Cypria (Proclus 102.13-14; Cypria fr . 1. Allen). Likewise at the beginning of our Iliad, the Will of Zeus (Il. 1.5) leads to éris ‘strife’ between Achilles and Agamemnon (ἐρίσαντε: I.6; ἔριδι: I 8), and this strife takes the form of a neîkos ‘quarrel’

(Nagy 1979, 130-31)

Such quarrels, typified in a specific way by the tradition, provide sites for khólos. Indeed, although Calchas mentions Apollo’s mênis in his plea to Achilles (Il. 1.75), the poem opens by describing Apollo’s motive for destroying the Greeks, the emotional locus of that motive being khólos:

Τίς τ’ ἄρ σφωε θεῶν ἔριδι ξυνέηκε μάχεσθαι;
Λητοῦς καὶ Διὸς υἱός· ὃ γὰρ βασιλῆι χολωθεὶς
νοῦσον ἀνὰ στρατὸν ὦρσε κακήν, ὀλέκοντο δὲ λαοί,
οὕνεκα τὸν Χρύσην ἠτίμασεν ἀρητῆρα.

(Il. 1.8-11)

Now who among gods cast those two in strife to fight? The son of Leto and Zeus. For he came to have khólos against the king and roused an evil sickness along the camp, and the host died, because he had dishonored Chryses his priest.

This particular form of khólos—the reaction to inappropriate behavior as expected within the social code [
35] —is the most common source of khólos throughout the Iliad. Thus a violation of the rules concerning timḗ is the primary motive for the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon in Book 1. [36] And this violation makes transgressions against social codes constitute a threat to the social order. [37] In this case, orderly relations between gods and mortals are threatened by the denial of a ransom duly asked for and assented to by the social body as a whole (Il. 1.220). And the response is the khólos of Apollo. [38]

There are nine attested instances of khólos and related forms in the first book of the Iliad. [42] Apart from one reference to the khólos of Apollo at Agamemnon (Il. 1.9) for rejecting Chryses, all the other references in Book 1 are situated in the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon, four times in reference to Achilles, [43] with one reference to Agamemnon. [44] That these are all tightly focused on the quarrel, its inception at the dishonoring of Chryses and the subsequent verbal duel between Agamemnon and Achilles, contrasts with what Muellner has described for mênis in Book 1:

The simple underlying structure of the whole narrative in Book 1 … consists of three intertwined instances of the μῆνις theme. First is the μῆνις of Apollo … In fact, it is Achilles’ μῆνις that Thetis persuades Zeus to validate … In attempting to suppress [Hera’s] foreseeable protest, Zeus threatens Hera with μῆνις, but the threat is averted by Hephaestus’s cautionary narrative about Zeus’ μῆνις against him. Thus, Apollo’s μῆνις proceeds through a complete cycle, the incipient μῆνις of Achilles is incurred and validated by Zeus, but the potential μῆνις of Zeus against Hera is averted. The goal of the narrative in Book I, is to be sure, to set into motion the μῆνις of Achilles, but it also serves to reveal, in three thematically coherent and interlaced examples, how a μῆνις can be appeased, incurred, and averted, for those are the exact points at which each of these first instances of the μηνις theme concludes. The μῆνις of Achilles is now clearly situated between its two models, that of Apollo and that of Zeus.

(Muellner 1996, 128-29)

Beside the tripartite elegance of this analysis of mênis in Iliad 1, I set the tight focus of khólos in the same book, where it all hangs from the central narrative moment in the opening of the poem, the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles.

Thus when Agamemnon makes his first gestures towards taking a substitute for Chryseis, he suggests that the warrior he approaches will have khólos, [45] a result made concrete in the vivid presentation of Achilles’ moment of truth, when he seems ready to yield to his khólos and—sword drawn—moves to slay Agamemnon, ēè khólon paúseien erētúseié te thumón (“or stop his khólos and restrain his spirit,” Il. 1.192). Indeed, Athena’s visitation here, coupled with her suggestion that the second of the alternatives is preferable, leads Achilles to underscore that it is her divinity that can overcome his anger, specifically khólos:

χρὴ μὲν σφωίτερόν γε, θεά, ἔπος εἰρύσασθαι
καὶ μάλα περ θυμῷ κεχολωμένον· ὣς γὰρ ἄμεινον.
ὅς κε θεοῖς ἐπιπείθηται, μάλα τ’ ἔκλυον αὐτοῦ.

(Il. 1.216-18) {173|174}

O goddess, Ι must heed this command from both of you even though my heart is full of khólos to a high degree; for it’s better that way. To obey the gods is to be heard by them the more.

As discussed above, mála and related words point to the degrees of khólos, thereby highlighting Calchas’s definition that khólos is subject to modification. In the same way, Achilles’ action with respect to anger is well within his power to modify. The scene also shows that Achilles can both obey Athena by not harming Agamemnon, even while he continues his khólos: Pēleídēs d’ exaûtis atartēroîs epéessin /Atreídēn proséeipe, kaì oú pō lêge khóloio “And the son of Peleus once again addressed the son of Atreus with violent words, and he had not yet let go of his khólos .” [
46] In sum, Achilles’ khólos is situated in a neîkos, whose prosecution has taken an unfair turn, so that even Agamemnon has to acknowledge that khólos will come to the fore because of his actions. And that khólos is seen to be under the control of the principal character, Achilles.

Thus far in Book 1 all the references to a specific mortal’s khólos have been made in reference to Achilles, but there is one certain reference to the khólos of Agamemnon at Il. 1.387. This singular reference to his khólos—of special significance to the way one assigns responsibility for the quarrel—is made by none other than Achilles himself in his reply to his mother’s inquiry (Il. 1.365412), and thus is full of the rhetoric of persuasion. Achilles’ mentions others’ anger (Chryses’ at Il. 1.380, Agamemnon’s at Il. 1.387) but not a word of his own. His argument here indeed hinges on the issue of timḗ (Il. 1.407-12), but not on his response to being deprived of it. It is left then to Thetis to see through this ruse so as to identify the problem. She then will advise him to continue his wrath, [47] with the assurance that Zeus will attend to things:

ἀλλὰ σὺ μὲν νῦν νηυσὶ παρήμενος ὠκυπόροισι
μήνι’ Ἀχαιοῖσιν, πολέμου δ’ ἀποπαύεο πάμπαν.

(Il. 1.421-22)

But sitting by the swift ships now rage on at the Achaeans, and hold back totally from the war.

Where Achilles does not or cannot [
48] mention his anger, Thetis names it its highest name, thereby sanctioning, in sacral and numinous terms, the depth of Achilles’ passion, a gesture made even more powerful by her commissioning and delivering the arms of Hephaestus which will come to have the powerful result of injecting Achilles with khólos:

αὐτὰρ Ἀχιλλεὺς
ὡς εἶδ’, ὥς μιν μᾶλλον ἔδυ χόλος,

(Il. 19.15-16)

And Achilles when he saw [the arms], then the, khólos entered him the more. {174|175}

In sum, the last occurrence of khólos in Iliad 1 refers us to Agamemnon and his rage, but only through Achilles’ eyes and as Achilles gauges the propriety of mentioning his own rage to his mother.

Site Three: The Death of One Near and Dear

I begin by looking at who has khólos over the death of a phílos in the Iliad:


Odysseus (Il. 4.494, 501), for Leucus, his charioteer

Ajax OIliades (Il. 13.203), for Amphimachus

Paris (Il. 13.660), for Euchenor

Achilles (Il. 15.72, 17.310, 18.337, 23.23), for Patroclus

Maris (Il. 16.320), a Trojan, for his brother, Atymnius

Myrmidons (Il. 16.546), for Danaans slain

Patroclus (Il. 16.585), for Epeigeus

Priam (Il. 24.584), potential khólos at Achilles for Hector {175|176}


Ares (Il. 15.138), for his son

Scamander (Il. 21.136), over the Trojans slain by Achilles

Poseidon (Il. 13.206), for his grandson

Three examples come from the Odyssey:

Suitors (Od. 22.26), for Antinoos (the only example concerning mortals, in the Odyssey)

Poseidon (Od. 1.69, 78), for Polyphemus

Helius (Od. 12.348), for his cattle

The special character of khólos over the death of a phílos sends the cultural notion of khólos beyond its site in games, contests, or quarrels to the field of aggression and its deadly result. Such a khólos is particularly a concern of the Iliad, but strikingly much less so for the Odyssey, where we really see only three examples of this kind of anger, that of Poseidon for Polyphemus (Od. 1.69 and 78), that of Helius for his cattle, and that of the suitors for Antinoos. As for the Iliad, besides the passage at the end of Book 4 (with which this chapter opened) the concern over the death of a phílos primarily applies to the great central battle books, where, moreover, it is a mortal who can respond in this way. As for the gods, their relation to this kind of khólos is limited to special kinship relations, for example, when Scamander has khólos over the excessive slaying of the Trojans in Iliad 21 (136), or Poseidon’s khólos for his grandson Amhimachus in Il. 13.206-7 (cf. 185-87). Indeed, Poseidon seems particularly susceptible to the khólos that responds to harm that comes to others. For example, he monitors Zeus’s potential khólos over the overturning of fate that Achilles would accomplish by killing Aeneas (Il. 20.293-308). In another case, his anger flares up over the damage Odysseus does to Polyphemus (Od. 1.69, 78). [

In the battle books, the narrative initiates a flurry of khólos surrounding the death of phíloi with a grisly reprisal by Oilean Ajax for the death of Amphimachus. This complex battle scene has Hector aiming for Teucer in revenge for Imbrios, only to kill Amphimachus in the process. Then, Hector, tugging at the helmet of Amphimachus as he strips him of his armor, is pushed back by Ajax, leaving the two corpses, one Greek and one Trojan, to be dealt with by the Greeks. Amphimachus’s corpse is rescued by Greeks (Il. 13.19596), the two Ajaxes carry out Imbrius’s body, with a chilling simile preparing the ground for the khólos that drives Oilean Ajax to an extremity of Homeric violence:

Ἴμβριον αὖτ’ Αἴαντε μεμαότε θούριδος ἀλκῆς·
ὥς τε δύ’ αἶγα λέοντε κυνῶν ὑπὸ καρχαροδόντων
ἁρπάξαντε φέρητον ἀνὰ ῥωπήια πυκνὰ,
ὑψοῦ ὑπὲρ γαίης μετὰ γαμφηλῇσιν ἔχοντε, {176|177}
ὥς ῥα τὸν ὑψοῦ ἔχοντε δύω Αἴαντε κορυστὰ
τεύχεα συλήτην· κεφαλὴν δ’ ἁπαλῆς ἀπὸ δειρῆς
κόψεν Ὀιλιάδης, κεχολωμένος Ἀμφιμάχοιο,
ἧκε δέ μιν σφαιρηδὸν ἑλιξάμενος δι’ ὁμίλου·

(Il. 13.197-204)

And after Imbrius [came] the two Ajaxes, both vigorous in their ferocious valor; and as two lions rip off and carry a goat from snaggle-toothed dogs to the thick undergrowth, lifting it high above the ground in their jaws, so did both helmed Ajaxes hold him high up and strip his armor. And his head from his soft neck, Oilean Ajax cut off, out of khólos for Amphimachus, and he cast it throwing it like a ball through the throng.

While this passage is one of the few instances of beheading in the Iliad, [
55] this is also, after Odysseus’ khólos for Leucus in Iliad 4, the first instance of khólos since Iliad 4, where khólos comes from a comrade’s death.

Ajax’s extreme action leads to a divine manifestation of khólos for the very same Amphimachus. Poseidon, in one of only two passages where an Olympian has khólos for the death of a phílos, comes to be angered about Amphimachus, whom Ajax had just avenged so brutally. After the beheading of Imbrius’s corpse, this passage initiates a self-metamorphosis by Poseidon as Thoas to rouse Idomeneus (Il. 13.206-20). Now the motivation for Poseidon’s challenge to the will of Zeus is the khólos he feels for the death of his grandson.

καὶ τότε δὴ περὶ κῆρι Ποσειδάων ἐχολώθη
υἱῶνοῖο πεσόντος ἐν αἰνῇ δηïοτῆτι,
βῆ δ’ ἰέναι παρά τε κλισίας καὶ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν
ὀτρυνέων Δαναούς, Τρώεσσι δὲ κήδε’ ἔτευχεν.

(Il. 13.206-9)

And just then in his heart Poseidon came to have khólos for his grandson who had fallen in the terrible fighting; and he went to go by the huts and ships of the Achaeans, rousing the Danaans, but he fashioned woes for the Trojans.

Amphimachus’s roles as grandson of Poseidon and comrade of Ajax have had his death marked twice by khólos, once from his mortal phílos and once from a member of his family who is a god. But why is khólos in play at this point? Is there a sense that the death of someone who was not the target is unfair, as contests can be unfair or as Achilles might legitimately claim Agamemnon has been unfair?

Fenik compares Poseidon’s rage here to that of Ares over his son Ascalaphus (with italics indicating my emphasis):

There is one similarity between the two passages [the death of Amphimachus (170-81) and (506) the death of Askalaphos] which is probably accidental. At N 185 the man killed is Amphimachus, a grandson of Poseidon. The god is {177|178} enraged at this (206) and incites the Greeks and Idomeneus again. At N 518 Ascalaphus is the man slain by mistake. He is a son of Ares, who at O 113 is enraged when he hears of it and wants to intervene and take vengeance.

(Fenik 1968, 127)

But the similarity is not accidental. In Book 13 the death of Amphimachus has moved two of his phíloi to action through khólos, and later in Book 13, at line 518, Ascalaphus perishes in a passage that featured prominently in my discussion of kótos in Part I: [

τοῦ δὲ βάδην ἀπιόντος ἀκόντισε δουρὶ φαεινῷ
Δηίφοβος· δὴ γάρ οἱ ἔχεν κότον ἐμμενὲς αἰεί.
ἁλλ’ ὅ γε καὶ τόθ’ ἅμαρτεν, ὃ δ’ Ἀσκάλαφον βάλε δουρὶ,
υἱὸν Ἐνυαλίοιο· δι’ ὤμου δ’ ὄβριμον ἔγχος
ἔσχεν· ὃ δ’ ἐν κονίῃσι πεσὼν ἕλε γαῖαν ἀγοστῷ.
οὐδ’ ἄρα πώ τι πέπυστο βριήπυος ὄβριμος Ἄρης
υἷος ἐοῖο πεσόντος ἐνὶ κρατερῇ ὑσμίνῃ,
ἀλλ’ ὅ γ’ ἂρ’ ἄκρῳ Ὀλύμπῳ ὑπὸ χρυσέοισι νέφεσσιν
ἧστο Διὸς βουλῇσιν ἐελμένος, ἔνθα περ ἄλλοι
ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἦσαν ἐεργόμενοι πολέμοιο.

(Il. 13.516-25)

And Deiphobus as he was stepping slowly back shot him with the shining spear. For indeed he had kótos against him always. But he missed him then, and instead he hit Ascalaphus, with his spear, the son of Enyalius. And through his shoulder stuck the heavy spear. And he took his fall in the dust grasping the earth with his hand. Not yet did loud strong Ares come to know this, that his own son had fallen in the strong combat. But he was rather sitting on high Olympus under golden clouds yielding to the counsels of Zeus, just where the other immortal gods were being kept from the war.

Here, it should be noted, the contrast between khólos and kótos could not be more stark. Where the Trojan Deiphobus’s anger is based on the long-past rivalry among Helen’s suitors, the immediate death of Ascalaphus is hidden from his divine god-father simply because he was not there to observe it and because, as an Olympian subordinate to Zeus, Ares has yielded to his supreme will. The comparison with Poseidon’s reaction to the death of Amphimachus is invited by the parallel between line Il. 13.522 (underlined above) and huionoîo pesóntos en ainêi deiotêti (Il. 13.207) “his grandson having fallen in the grievous battle” and the misfortune of being the victim of a misdirected missile-shot. It will be two books before Ares is told of the death of his son, by Hera, in a treacherous move to arouse a revolt among the gods:

ἤδη γὰρ νῦν ἔλπομ’ Ἄρηί γε πῆμα τετύχθαι·
υἱὸς γάρ οἱ ὄλωλε μάχη ἔνι, φίλτατος ἀνδρῶν,
Ἀσκάλαφος, τὸν φησὶν ὃν ἔμμεναι ὄβριμος Ἄρης.

(Il. 15.110-12) {178|179}

For now I expect woe has been fashioned for Ares; for his son has perished in the battle, the closest to him among men, Ascalaphus, whom furious Ares declares to be his own.

Hera presents us with the central motifs of the theme of khólos before the death of a phílos, emphasized by the claim of Ares that Ascalaphus is indeed his son. This cruel revelation has its desired effect by eliciting Ares’ immediate rage in a manner that traditionally indicates a deep but restrainable wrath, [
57] explicitly identified by Athena as khólos in line 138 of this passage, as she keeps him from his rage against Zeus:

τῶ σ’ αὖ νῦν κέλομαι μεθέμεν χόλον υἷος ἑῆος.
ἤδη γάρ τις τοῦ γε βίην καὶ χεῖρας ἀμείνων
ἢ πέφατ’, ἢ καὶ ἔπειτα πεφήσεται· ἀργαλέον δέ
πάντων ἀνθρώπων ῥῦσθαι γενέην τε τόκον τε.

(Il. 15.138-41)

So I order you know to desist from this khólos about your son. For already someone better in strength and hand than he has either died or will thereupon die. Difficult it is to save the tribe and offspring of all men.

Then, as Achilles’ support of Calchas tests Agamemnon’s power, so Ares challenges Zeus to the extent that the supreme god’s khólos threatens to emerge as a possible reaction to Ares’ vengeance:

ἔνθα κ’ ἔτι μείζων τε καὶ ἀργαλεώτερος ἄλλος
πὰρ Διὸς ἀθανάτοισι χόλος καὶ μῆνις ἐτύχθη,
εἰ μὴ Ἀθήνη πᾶσι περιδείσασα θεοῖσιν
ὧρτο διὲκ προθύρου.

(Il. 15.121-24)

Thereupon a still greater and more difficult khólos and mênis could have been fashioned from Zeus against the immortals, had not Athena, out of fear for all the gods, rushed from the threshold.

Athena intervenes to stop the anger between the gods just as she intervenes between the Achaeans in Book 1. There she had physically restrained Achilles by grabbing his hair before he could draw his sword and violently attack Agamemnon. Here, in contrast, she restrains Ares from putting his khólos into action after getting him to doff his armor:

ὧρτο διὲκ προθύρου, λίπε δὲ θρόνον, ἔνθα θάασσε,
τοῦ δ’ ἀπὸ μὲν κεφαλῆς κόρυθ’ εἵλετο καὶ σάκος ὤμων,
ἔγχος δ’ ἔστησε στιβαρῆς ἀπὸ χειρὸς ἑλοῦσα
χάλκεον· ἣ ἐπέεσσι καθάπτετο θοῦρον Ἄρηα·

(Il. 15.124-27) {179|180}

She rushed from the threshold, and left the throne, where she sat, and she took from his head the helmet and the shield from his shoulders, and she took and stood up the spear from his firm hand, the bronze spear; and she restrained quick Ares with words.

In both cases, Athena restrains the khólos of one who is righteously angry. But she approaches the two situations differently. In the case of Achilles, she pronounces her order succinctly (all’ áge lêg’ éridos, Il. 1.210, “But come, stop strife”); but in Iliad 15, the situation is pressing in a different manner—we are in the world of the immortals, where the potential for wrath can include the mênis of Zeus. [
58] Nevertheless, in speaking to Ares she reviews the consequences should Ares pursue his vengeance, in a passage that resembles Nestor’s criticism in Il. 1.254-84.

ἦ ἐθέλεις αὐτὸς μὲν ἀναπλήσας κακὰ πολλὰ
ἂψ ἴμεν Οὔλυμπόνδε καὶ ἀχνύμενός περ ἀνάγκῃ,
αὐτὰρ τοῖς ἄλλοισι κακὸν μέγα πᾶσι φυτεῦσαι;
αὐτίκα γὰρ Τρῶας μὲν ὑπερθύμους καὶ Αχαιοὺς
λείψει, ὁ δ’ ἡμέας εἶσι κυδοιμήσων ἐς Ὄλυμπον,
μάρψει δ’ ἑξείης ὅς τ’ αἴτιος ὅς τε καὶ οὐκί.
τῶ σ’ αὖ νῦν κέλομαι μεθέμεν χόλον υἷος ἑῆος.

(Il. 15.132-38)

Or do you yourself wish, having had your full measure of evils, to go back forcibly to Olympus, though griefstricken, and then to plant a great evil among the rest of us, all of us? For immediately he will leave the bold Trojans and the Achaeans, but he will come to Olympus to rout us, and he will snatch us one after another, the blameworthy with the blameless. Therefore, I order you now to leave off this khólos about your son.

Athena here argues that it is expedient for Ares to cease lusting for vengeance because of the harm that will come to guilty and innocent alike if Zeus learns of Ares’ khólos. [

But this is all about the death of a phílos, a theme introduced vitally in Iliad 13, with two examples of the khólos of divinities (Poseidon and Ares) and, thus far, one example of a mortal’s khólos for a phílos, namely Ajax’s for Amphimachus. But even Paris can have this kind of khólos. The case in question is the death of Harpalion at the hands of Meriones in Il. 13.643ff. This dead warrior was a guest friend of Paris, and—perhaps with irony—the text thus motivates the return of Paris against the Greeks:

Τοῦ δὲ Πάρις μάλα θυμὸν ἀποκταμένοιο χολώθη·
ξεῖνος γάρ οἱ ἔην πολέσιν μετὰ Παφλαγόνεσσι·
τοῦ ὅ γε χωόμενος προḯει χαλκήρε’ ὀιστόν.
ἦν δέ τις Εὐχήνωρ, Πολυίδου μάντιος υἱός, {180|181}
τὸν βάλ’ ὑπὸ γναθμοῖο, καὶ οὔατος.

(Il. 13.660-63; 671)

And Paris deeply in his heart came to have khólos over his dead companion. For he had been his guest-friend among the Paphlagonians; with anger over this man, he shot his bronze arrow. But there was one Eukhenor, the son of Poluidus the prophet … He struck him between the jaw and the ear.

In such a passage, a clear example of the general case, we see the workings of khólos as it engages itself on the battlefield. When a xenos (“guest-friend”) is killed, the reaction is khólos, with its immediate result being a violent act against the killer. The anger is experienced to an intense degree (mála).

Another example of khólos over the death of one near and dear occurs in Il. 16.320, where the death of a brother leads to a khólos that motivates an act of vengeful violence. Here Antilochus slays the brother of Maris, Atymnius. This murder causes Maris to seek vengeance, with khólos as the accompanying emotion. The khólos of Maris against Antilochus happens in Book 16, so that from Book 13 to Book 16 we have a climactic series that displays this kind of anger, from Ajax to Paris to Antilochus, all prefiguring (for the purpose of climax) the greatest example of wrath over the death of a phílos. Thus within the story of Patroclus, we have one clear example of khólos in response to a companion’s death, one that anticipates the central example of this kind khólos, the anger of Achilles over the death of Patroclus.

In Iliad 18, Achilles says to his dead friend’s corpse:

νῦν δ’ ἐπεὶ οὖν, Πάτροκλε, σεῦ ὕστερος εἶμ’ ὑπὸ γαῖαν
οὔ σε πρὶν κτεριῶ, πρίν γ’ Ἔκτορος ἐνθάδ’ ἐνεῖκαι
τεύχεα καὶ κεφαλήν, μεγαθύμου σοῖο φονῆος·
δώδεκα δὲ προπάροιθε πυρῆς ἀποδειροτομήσω
Τρώων ἀγλαὰ τέκνα, σέθεν κταμένοιο χολωθείς.

(Il. 18.333-37)

But now since I will go later than you beneath the earth, I will not perform the funerary ritual for you before bringing great-hearted Hector’s armor and head—he was your murderer; and twelve shining children of Trojans will I slaughter before the pyre, because of my khólos for your death. {181|182}


I have argued that the frequent references to khólos in Homeric discourse correspond to regular and traditional patterns of usage. Notably, Homeric poetics has typical ways to indicate the beginning and end of khólos. In the Iliad, one kind of anger is, as Calchas says, autêmar (Il. 1.81). It can catch fire immediately from the long-smoldering anxiety over one’s honor or it can flame up at a violation coming—so it seems—out of the blue. Moreover, a singer who is to compose an Iliad uses traditional strategies for marking the moments at which this anger comes to be and passes away. Furthermore, the prominent effects of khólos are utterly different from the almost sublime nature of kótos: volatile speech or violent action characterize khólos, in a way that we did not see marked for kótos. To put it a different way, khólos, in contrast to kótos, can be rhetorically manipulated so that it is as possible for human beings to bring this violent emotion under control as it is to let it get out of control.

Thus, our most poignant example of khólos for the death of one near and dear is in Iliad 24, where we might expect it. But the light shot through the prism of khólos comes not from a warrior’s wrath but from that of an old man, watched by the specimen of war’s art that is Achilles.

In addition to affirming the ultimate grounding for khólos in the immediacy of the moment, khólos emerges where conflict, unfairness, and the death of phíloi present themselves. We are in a terrain that differs from that of the nearly cosmological kótos, whose goal is díkē, whose god is Zeus. Khólos is rooted in the physically and psychologically felt response of a human being to the loss of esteem (as in the loss of timḗ) or the loss of an esteemed other (as in the loss of a child or friend, one of one’s phíloi). Such concerns place khólos at the heart of the Iliad.

In the next chapter, my focus will turn to the central issues of the Iliad, where khólos puts into relief the embassy to Achilles and points to the central position of the Iliad within its tradition. {182|183}


[ back ] 1. For this kind of battle scene, see Fenik 1968, 139.

[ back ] 2. An exemplary death, as argued by Schein (1984, 73-76); see also Friedrich 1956, 65-66.

[ back ] 3. And we should note the adjective of degree, mála, corresponding to the phrase kholṓsato kēróthi mâllon (“he came to be the more angry in his heart”), as discussed in Chapter 8.

[ back ] 4. There are other motives for revenge, for example, ákhos (“grief”), as in Patróklōi d’ ár ákhos géneto phthiménou hetároio, Il. 16.581, “there was grief for Patroclus over his fallen comrade.”

[ back ] 5. As in Il. 16.386ff.

[ back ] 6. One can see here a sort of mass/count distinction: Achilles is angry enough to kill 12 children of the Trojans out of khólos (Il. 18.336-37); but when Zeus has kótos the images of natural catastrophe come fast and furious and the summary statement puts the destruction of a culture into a mass: minúthei dé te érg’ anthrṓpōn, Il. 16.392, “and the works of mortals decline.” So too for the duel between Paris and Menelaus, where the death of one man is presented as the télos of the kótos, thus constituting the structural equivalent of all the Trojans, one sole representative stands for the group. In sum, khólos is about killing individual persons; kótos is about killing the people as a collectivity.

[ back ] 7. The few exceptions, apart from the lines being examined here, are banal: eidóte khármēs, Il. 5.608; ephormēthéntes, Il. 6.410 (in a speech); daízōn, Il. 24.393 (in a speech); hupophthámenos, Od. 4.547 (in a speech); lokhḗsas, Il. 22.53; elthṓn, Od. 24.429 (in a speech). The phrasing of expressions for killing have been meticulously studied by Visser (1987). See the important elaboration and corroboration of this method by Riggsby (1992).

[ back ] 8. This account presents another reason to read khólon in Il. 15.72 as that of Achilles and not of Zeus. Only the khólos of Achilles is a motive force for the death of Hector on the Trojan plain.

[ back ] 9. Notice that the form with the preverb precedes that without. On the repetition of kteínō, see Il. 18.309, Od. 1.299-300, Od. 11.411-12, Od. 16.400, 402, 404; and compare Od. 3.307, Od. 11.279-80, Od. 14.405.

[ back ] 10. Given the propensity for wordplay in the Odyssey (see Louden 1995), it makes sense to compare the name Euryalus to Eurytus and to make the connection to the suitors, to Eurymachus, and among the crew, the rebellious Eurylochus. As for the placement of éktanen (“he killed”), see báll’ (“struck”) at Il. 1.52 (at clause boundary), indicating dramatic violence.

[ back ] 11. Achilles once again shares the stage only with gods: just as mênis has a tendency to signal a connection between the gods and Achilles (Watkins 1977a, Muellner 1992), so too, kholōsámenos with kteínō is used only with Achilles among mortals, and among immortals, with Artemis and Apollo. For important qualifications of this principle, see Muellner 1996.

[ back ] 12. See Appendix 2, Group 9b.

[ back ] 13. mḗ ti kholōsámenos rhéxēi kakòn huîas Akhaiôn, Il. 2.195, “lest out of anger he do something bad to the sons of the Achaeans.”

[ back ] 14. Il. 13.204, and see Janko 1992 at 204-5, who refers us to the games at Odyssey 6, where we have already seen khólos at work.

[ back ] 15. “Out of anger for his fallen grandson,” Il. 13. 206-7, ekholṓthē / huiōnoîo pesóntos.

[ back ] 16. “And Paris came to be the more angry in his heart,” Il. 13.660, toû dè Páris mála thumòn apoktaménoio kholṓthē.

[ back ] 17. On the mutilation of the corpse, see Segal 1971. He points out that the passage from Book 16 introduces “the verb aeikízein for the first time in the Iliad.” Segal contends that the “brutality toward the bodies of the slain” (Segal 1971, 72) reaches a crescendo in Books 16-22 (and to be continued in the remainder of the poem); in the same way, khólos promotes a connection with the death of phíloi only in the second half of the poem.

[ back ] 18. On the maltreatment of the corpse see Segal 1971. As Muellner points out no one’s corpse is so maltreated in the Iliad (Muellner 1996, 145).

[ back ] 19. See the discussion of this passage and issues relating to violence and cannibalism in O’Brien 1993, 81-94.

[ back ] 20. As seen above in Part II, Chapter 1.

[ back ] 21. “On account of victory,” Od. 11.544, heíneka níkēs and “on account of armor,” Od. 11.554, heíneka teukhéōn.

[ back ] 22. See Od. 8.109-233, esp. 165, 205. The narrative of Odysseus is in competition with that of the Phaeacian bard.

[ back ] 23. Signaled by hupódra idṓn (“glowering”) in Od. 8.164 and the strong rebuke xeîn’ ou kalòn eeipes; atasthálōi andrì eoikas (“Stranger you are speaking out of line; you are an uncivil sort,” Od. 8.166), an echoing response to Euryalus’s denunciation (xeîne, Od. 8.159 ~ 66; éoikas, Od. 8.164 ~ 66, cf. eískō, Od. 8.159).

[ back ] 24. Note the parallel of peirēthḗtō (Od. 8.205) with peirḗsom(ai) (Od. 8.158).

[ back ] 25. Koloúei closes off this section of his speech with possible wordplay pun on ekholṓsate in Od. 8.205; for another example of such verbal artistry involving khólos, see Louden 1995, 30.

[ back ] 26. For the important and old cultural features manifest in the vocabulary of xenía, see the revealing article of M. Schwartz 1982 with 1985, 486-89 and 495-96. And for éris, see Nagler 1988, where contextual features are identified (especially 82-83); cf. Hogan 1981. Notice that both kótos and khólos can respond to violations of xenía. What distinguishes the two is the cultural understanding of the event that motivates the emotion. If we were interviewing living informants, we could ask them why violations of xenía sometimes lead to a violent but containable khólos, while at others such outrages yield kótos with dire consequences. Such a possibility makes Calchas’s definition necessary in the first place.

[ back ] 27. Compare hoúneka with heíneka níkḗs (Od. 8.544, “on account of victory”) and heíneka teukhéōn (“on account of the arms”), all three in quoted speech.

[ back ] 28. For comparative purposes, consider the relationship between English, “host” and “guest” in the light of “host” (in the sense of an enemy army) as well as “hostile.” For all these, see Skeat 1963, under “guest” and “host.”

[ back ] 29. Khólos shares some of these categories with mênis and other terms for anger, such as éris. Note that Muellner (1996, 190, with the arguments presented in his Chapters 1and 2) has secured the meaning of mênis as “the name of the sanction for fundamental transgressions of the cosmic order… . ” See Muellner 1996, 83 for a use of khólos in Hesiod in just such a context. See also n. 38 below.

[ back ] 30. It is striking that both these passages invoke the story of Eurytus. Kirk (1985, 216) points out in passing that Philoctetes provides another digression in the catalog, and, we may now add, he provides another exemplum of a better archer in Odysseus’s address to the Phaeacian youth (Od. 8.219-20).

[ back ] 31. See in this context Nagy’s comment that “the name of the competitive poet Thamuris … seems to be the embodiment of the social context for poetic competition” (1979, 311 n, with literature).

[ back ] 32. Despite Chantraine’s cautions (DELG s.v. níkē), both Frisk (s.v.) and Pokorny (761) have good reason to associate the two words. For our purposes, it is clear that the theme of contention is being invoked in these passages through these words.

[ back ] 33. Cf. Nagy 1979, 224, “These words [éris and neîkos] are appropriate for motivating the Trojan War in particular and the human condition in general.”

[ back ] 34. Nagy 1979, 130.

[ back ] 35. Namely, ētímasen, 11 (“he dishonored”).

[ back ] 36. Cf. Il. 1.412; and see, among other examples, Phoenix’s attempt to recruit Achilles through a focus on timḗ, Il. 9.601-5.

[ back ] 37. Cf. Riedinger 1976, 257, “la timḗ du héros, la timḗ en général, n’ est pas celle qui est réclamée par l’ individu. Elle est l’ objet d’ une réponse de la société, mesurée par elle. Plus exactement encore: l’aspect subjectif et l’aspect objectif de timḗ ne sont pas séparables.”

[ back ] 38. See Muellner 1996, 83-84 and 111-12 for the way in which mênis and khólos interact. That the mênis of Apollo attends to major transgressions of the social code has affinities with this competitive notion of khólos. Grosso modo, khólos has at its core non-cosmic issues, such as competition, death on the battlefield, and so on, while mênis is centered on cosmic issues, such as violations of the boundary between divinities and mortals, failure to observe death ritual, and the like.

[ back ] 39. This last responding to the neîkos of Paris and the three goddesses.

[ back ] 40. See Alcinoos’s reassurrance that Odysseus’s behavior to his daughter has not led to khólos on her father’s part, Od. 7.309-10.

[ back ] 41. For mênis in Book 1, see Muellner 1996, 94-132.

[ back ] 42. Il. 1.9, Il. 1.78, Il. 1.81, Il. 1.139, Il. 1.192, Il. 1.217, Il. 1.224, Il. 1.283, and Il. 1.387.

[ back ] 43. Il. 1.192, Il. 1.217, Il. 1.224, Il. 1.283.

[ back ] 44. In general terms at Il. 1.81, and specifically at 1.387. The remaining reference is generic, with an oblique reference to Agamemnon (1.139).

[ back ] 45. “He will become angry, the one I approach,” Il. 1.139, ho dé ken kekholṓsetai hon ken híkōmai.

[ back ] 46. Il. 1.283 poses a number of problems; for now I suggest that it is well-taken to refer to Achilles’ khólos and not Agamemnon’s. For an outline of the problems see van Bennekom 1984, with Eisenberger 1985 in response. See also Lowenstam 1993, 60-61. The rhetorical force of this passage will be treated in a separate piece.

[ back ] 47. Here magnified to mênis.

[ back ] 48. The issue of the taboo against speaking one’s own mênis comes up here (see Watkins 1977a, with a dissenting view in Turpin 1988; cf. Muellner 1996). Muellner’s latest analysis presents a sophisticated view of taboo in regard to Homeric mênis, by linking mênis as a linguistic entity to the taboo behavior that it sanctions; see Muellner 1996, 191-94 for a careful analysis of this issue. Moreover, it must be noted that here Achilles can speak of no anger, not mênis, not even khólos as his own, though just a short while earlier he was proudly announcing his khólos to Athena (Il. 1.217).

[ back ] 49. The Iliad has 101 examples of khólos forms, with the Odyssey showing 36 examples, for a total of 137.

[ back ] 50. For example, Il. 1.192, Il. 9.157, Il. 9.260, Il. 9.261, Il. 9.299, Il. 9.436, Il. 9.523, Il. 9.646, Il. 9.675, Il. 9.678, Il. 10.107, Il. 14.367, Il. 16.30, Il. 16.61, Il. 16.203, Il . 16.206, Il. 18.111, and so on.

[ back ] 51. I take this passage as referring to the anger of Achilles.

[ back ] 52. At least 5: Il. 15.68, 72, Il. 18.337, Il. 20.301, Il. 23.23; perhaps to be included here are the related instances of Patroclus at Il. 15.585 and the Myrmidons at Il. 16.546.

[ back ] 53. The examples of Odysseus having khólos are in Book 4.

[ back ] 54. The only other example of this kind of khólos in the Odyssey is that of Helius concerning the death of his cattle (Od. 12.348), but can they, even in an otherworldly sense, be considered part of the sun’s social group? Even if we grant this, remember that Eurylochus, the rebellious crew member, posits this khólos; he certainly means by khólos the anger of a god over violated timḗ. It is important to remember that timḗ and philótēs are closely bound together. See Riedinger 1976, Muellner 1996, 149-50.

[ back ] 55. The others are Il. 11.146, Il. 11.261, Il. 14.465-68, Il. 14.496, Il. 20.481; and potentially at Il. 17.126, Il. 18.176f (Hector’s intent against Patroclus); and at Il. 18.334-35 (Achilles against Hector). See Fenik 1968, 84 and Janko 1992 at Il. 13.201-3. The taking of the enemy’s head has a special relationship to anger and violence in many warlike cultures, for which see Rosaldo 1980, 56-57, and 158-59, where she recounts that among the Ilongot, “the celebration of beheadings is itself a sort of commentary on the experience of ‘anger,’ showing private and disruptive feelings to be part of a larger process that provides for an intense and satisfying collective life.” The throng of warriors that frame the rescue of Amphimachus and the mutilation of Imbrios suggest such a collectivity in a sort of halo over Imbrius’s head as it manifests its gruesome individuality.

[ back ] 56. See Part I, Chapter 2.

[ back ] 57. Il. 15.113-14 on which see Lowenstam 1981.

[ back ] 58. On mênis and Zeus see Muellner 1996, 123-29 as well as his chapter 1 for the mênis of Zeus among the gods.

[ back ] 59. This entire scene has received illuminating analysis by Muellner (1996, 6-7), where he shows that mênis can be rooted in group solidarity among the gods. “[Athena] has in mind not that Ares will act alone on behalf of his son but that all the gods will be roused to action by what Zeus has done to her and the Achaeans” (7). The khólos of Ares, located in the site of the death of a phílos may lead to a mênis that threatens group solidarity. Such a progression has much to do with the genre of the Iliad itself, as I hope to show in Chapter 10.

[ back ] 60. See Nagler’s clarification of the withdrawal-devastation-return pattern in the Iliad (1974, 174). Based on my analysis of khólos, I now add to his analysis that the narrative uses the violation of timḗ to motivate the first two withdrawals and the death of a phílos as the motivation for the last withdrawal.

[ back ] 61. See above note 6.