Tsagalis, Christos. 2012. From Listeners to Viewers: Space in the Iliad. Hellenic Studies Series 53. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_TsagalisC.From_Listeners_to_Viewers.2012.
Chapter 2. Framing Spaces
The Achaean Camp, Troy, and the World of the Immortals
The Achaean Camp
The headquarters of Agamemnon and Achilles
ὑψηλήν—τὴν Μυρμιδόνες ποίησαν ἄνακτι
δοῦρ’ ἐλάτης κέρσαντες, ἀτὰρ καθύπερθεν ἔρεψαν
λαχνήεντ’ ὄροφον λειμωνόθεν ἀμήσαντες·
ἀμφὶ δέ οἱ μεγάλην αὐλὴν ποίησαν ἄνακτι
σταυροῖσιν πυκινοῖσι· θύρην δ’ ἔχε μοῦνος ἐπιβλής
εἰλάτινος, τὸν τρεῖς μὲν ἐπιρρήσσεσκον Ἀχαιοί,
τρεῖς δ’ ἀναοίγεσκον μεγάλην κληῗδα θυράων,
τῶν ἄλλων, Ἀχιλεὺς δ’ ἄρ’ ἐπιρρήσσεσκε καὶ οἶος—
shelter the Myrmidons had built for their king, hewing
the timbers of pine, and they made a roof of thatch above it
shaggy with grass that they had gathered out of the meadows;
and around it made a great courtyard for their king, with hedgepoles
set close together; the gate was secured by a single door-piece
of pine, and three Achaians could ram it home in its socket
and three could pull back and open the huge door-bar; three other
Achaians, that is, but Achilleus all by himself could close it.
The emphasis on detail and the almost idyllic atmosphere created by this elaborate description preface the meeting between Priam and Achilles and set the tone for a profound shift in the function of space. Only within this locus-image can the two heroes use narratives that build on the politics of pity. By reminding Achilles of his father Peleus in distant Phthia, Priam plays a powerful game with his interlocutor’s emotions, as their lives are revealed to be remarkably complementary: Priam is at home and knows the fate of his son, who lies dead, while Achilles is alive but not at home and does not know the fate of his father. Seen from this angle, space becomes an integral part of Priam’s emotional politics. Proximity and distance, far and near, Troy and Phthia are bipolar antitheses transformed into symmetrical analogies of pain and suffering. The larger space of the two heroes’ fates encroaches upon the smaller space of Achilles’ headquarters and turns it from the marginalized, unfriendly, and deadly habitat of Hektor’s killer into a locus of pity and sharing. At the end of the epic, Achilles’ hut becomes a place of reconciliation, not only between the old Trojan king and the young Achaean hero but also between Achilles and the heroic community to which he finally returns.
The Achaean wall
The literary topography of space: The funeral games for Patroklos
The contest area
The chariot race
Table 1: Order of participants in the chariot race (Iliad XXIII 287–538)
Duel in Armor
|A. ἔνθ’ Αἴας μὲν ἔπειτα κατ’ ἀσπίδα πάντοσ’ ἐΐσην νύξ’,||A. Then Aias on the shield [of Diomedes], the circular one on all sides [he] stabbed|
|B. οὐδὲ χρό’ ἵκανεν||B. but did not reach the skin,|
|C. ἔρυτο γὰρ ἔνδοθι θώρηξ||C. for the corselet inside it guarded him.|
|A. Τυδείδης δ’ ἄρ’ ἔπειτα ὑπὲρ σάκεος μεγάλοιο||A. Then the son of Tudeus, over the top of the huge shield,|
|B. αἰὲν ἐπ’ αὐχένι κῦρε||B. was always menacing the neck [of Ajax]|
|C. φαεινοῦ δουρὸς ἀκωκῇ||C. with the point of the shining spear|
Table 2: Order of participants in the weight-throwing contest (Iliad XXIII 826–849)
|1. First Introduction||2. Order of Throwing||3. Results|
|Telamonian Ajax||Telamonian Ajax||Leonteus|
|A. ἱστὸν δ’ ἔστησεν νηὸς κυανοπρῴροιο||and planted the mast pole|
|B. τηλοῦ ἐπὶ ψαμάθοις,||far away on the sands|
|C. ἐκ δὲ τρήρωνα πέλειαν||and a tremulous wild pigeon to it|
|D. λεπτῇ μηρίνθῳ δῆσεν ποδός||he tethered by a thin string attached to her foot|
|A. ὄρνιθος μὲν ἅμαρτε·…||He missed the bird …|
|B. αὐτὰρ ὃ μήρινθον βάλε πὰρ πόδα, τῇ δέδετ’ ὄρνις,||but … hit the string beside the foot where the bird was tied|
|C. ἀντικρὺ δ’ ἀπὸ μήρινθον τάμε πικρὸς ὀϊστός.||and straight through cut the string the bitter arrow|
|D. ἣ μὲν ἔπειτ’ ἤϊξε πρὸς οὐρανόν,||and she leapt towards the sky|
|E. ἣ δὲ παρείθη / μήρινθος ποτὶ γαῖαν·||while the string dropped and dangled / toward the ground|
|A. ὕψι δ’ ὑπὸ νεφέων εἶδε τρήρωνα πέλειαν·||Way up under the clouds he saw the tremulous pigeon|
|B. τῇ ῥ’ ὅ γε δινεύουσαν ὑπὸ πτέρυγος βάλε μέσσην.||and as she circled struck her under the wing in the body|
|C. ἀντικρὺ δὲ διῆλθε βέλος·||and the shaft passed clean through and out of her|
|D. τὸ μὲν ἂψ ἐπὶ γαίῃ / πρόσθεν Μηριόναο πάγη ποδός·||and dropped back on the ground and stuck before Meriones’ foot,|
|E. αὐτὰρ ἣ ὄρνις /… τῆλε δ’ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ / κάππεσε·||but the bird … fell far away from there|
Table 3: Teukros’ and Meriones’ attempts in the archery contest
|1. Misses pigeon||1. Sees pigeon|
|2. Hits the string attached to the pigeon’s foot||2. Hits pigeon under the wing|
|3. Arrow pierces the string||3. Arrow pierces pigeon|
|4. Missed target (pigeon) flies to the sky||4. Arrow falls on the ground|
|5. Hit target (string) falls on the ground||5. Pigeon flies back to the mast pole but then falls down|
τοιῇδ’ ἀμφὶ γυναικὶ πολὺν χρόνον ἄλγεα πάσχειν·
αἰνῶς ἀθανάτῃσι θεῇς εἰς ὦπα ἔοικεν.
ἀλλὰ καὶ ὧς, τοίη περ ἐοῦσ’, ἐν νηυσὶ νεέσθω,
μηδ’ ἡμῖν τεκέεσσί τ’ ὀπίσσω πῆμα λίποιτο.”
if for long time they suffer hardship for a woman like this one.
Terrible is the likeness of her face to immortal goddesses.
Still, though she be such, let her go away in the ships, lest
she be left behind, a grief to us and our children.”
The sheer wonder at the divine beauty of Helen walking towards the tower (Iliad III 154 Ἑλένην ἐπὶ πύργον ἰοῦσαν) indicates a specific attitude toward what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has called the socializing of the body.  The very appearance of Helen on the walls and the display of her body constitute a real social event, marking the walls as social space.  What is of particular importance to this scene is that although there is no single expression in the text describing Helen’s bodily deportment, sight becomes the key factor in the perceptual representation of space.  This time, though, sight acquires a specific social dimension, as it reveals the inner tensions within the Trojan community concerning Helen as the cause of the war, and consequently of Troy’s present suffering.  The divine movement of her body (154 ἰοῦσαν), contrasted with the immobility of the seated elders (149 εἵατο), turns her temporarily into a viewed object, whose eyes and face recall those of a goddess (158 αἰνῶς ἀθανάτῃσι θεῇς εἰς ὦπα ἔοικεν). Helen’s body constitutes a site,  not only in narrative terms,  but also with respect to its political underpinnings and implications for Trojan society at large. In an attempt to reappropriate and embed Helen, who inspires awe and fear at the same time, into the hierarchy and framework of Trojan society, Priam asks her to approach and sit next to him (162 “δεῦρο πάροιθ’ ἐλθοῦσα, φίλον τέκος, ἵζε’ ἐμεῖο”). In other words, he tries to turn Helen from a viewed object into a viewing audience.  In this light, the walls―in the τειχοσκοπία scene―are the locus for social performance, the site where the embedding of another site—Helen herself—is made possible, at least briefly, until it is subsumed by the social framework represented by the seated Trojan elders.
The World of the Immortals
Spatial theography: Height and depth
ηὗρεν δ’ εὐρύοπα Κρονίδην ἄτερ ἥμενον ἄλλων
ἀκροτάτῃ κορυφῇ πολυδειράδος Οὐλύμποιο·
She found Kronos’ broad-browed son apart from the others
sitting upon the highest peak of rugged Olympos.
ἀκροτάτῃ κορυφῇ πολυδειράδος Οὐλύμποιο.
gods, upon the highest peak of rugged Olympos.
κρατὸς ἀπ’ Οὐλύμποιο πολυπτύχου· ἣ δ’ ἄρα πάντῃ
φοιτήσασα κέλευσε Διὸς πρὸς δῶμα νέεσθαι
told Themis to summon all the gods into assembly. She went
everywhere, and told them to make their way to Zeus’ house.
The contrast between higher and lower loci within the realm of Olympos points to the higher divine status of Zeus, who is first among all the Olympian gods. Along the same lines, the emphasis on both the (often) lonely figure of Zeus, whom divine travelers visit at Olympos, and the fact that Zeus never travels in order to meet with another god, connects the cognitive schema that highlights the importance of “one” versus “many” with the primacy of Zeus, who dominates Olympos. In other words, figures and place references within the realm of Olympos are mentioned according to axiological, not topological order. 
Αἰγάς· ἔνθα δέ οἱ κλυτὰ δώματα βένθεσι λίμνης
χρύσεα μαρμαίροντα τετεύχαται, ἄφθιτα αἰεί.
ἔνθ’ ἐλθὼν ὑπ’ ὄχεσφι τιτύσκετο χαλκόποδ’ ἵππω
ὠκυπέτα, χρυσέῃσιν ἐθείρῃσιν κομόωντε,
χρυσὸν δ’ αὐτὸς ἔδυνε περὶ χροΐ, γέντο δ’ ἱμάσθλην
χρυσείην εὔτυκτον, ἑοῦ δ’ ἐπεβήσετο δίφρου.
βῆ δ’ ἐλάαν ἐπὶ κύματ’· ἄταλλε δὲ κήτε’ ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ
πάντοθεν ἐκ κευθμῶν, οὐδ’ ἠγνοίησεν ἄνακτα,
γηθοσύνῃ δὲ θάλασσα διίστατο· τοὶ δ’ ἐπέτοντο
ῥίμφα μάλ’, οὐδ’ ὑπένερθε διαίνετο χάλκεος ἄξων·
τὸν δ’ ἐς Ἀχαιῶν νῆας ἐΰσκαρθμοι φέρον ἵπποι.
ἔστι δέ τι σπέος εὐρὺ βαθείης βένθεσι λίμνης,
μεσσηγὺς Τενέδοιο καὶ Ἴμβρου παιπαλοέσσης·
ἔνθ’ ἵππους ἔστησε Ποσειδάων ἐνοσίχθων
λύσας ἐξ ὀχέων, παρὰ δ’ ἀμβρόσιον βάλεν εἶδαρ
ἔδμεναι· ἀμφὶ δὲ ποσσὶ πέδας ἔβαλε χρυσείας
ἀρρήκτους ἀλύτους, ὄφρ’ ἔμπεδον αὖθι μένοιεν
νοστήσαντα ἄνακτα· ὃ δ’ ἐς στρατὸν ᾤχετ’ Ἀχαιῶν.
Aigai, where his glorious house was built in the waters’
depth, glittering with gold, imperishable forever.
Going there he harnessed under his chariot his bronze-shod horses,
flying-footed, with long manes streaming of gold; and he put on
clothing of gold about his own body, and took up the golden
lash, carefully compacted, and climbed up into his chariot
and drove it across the waves. And about him the sea beasts came up
from their deep places and played in his path, and acknowledged their master,
and the sea stood apart before him, rejoicing. The horses winged on
delicately, and the bronze axle beneath was not wetted.
The fast-running horses carried him to the ships of the Achaians.
There is a cave, broad and deep down in the gloom of the water,
lying midway between Tenedos and Imbros of the high cliffs.
There Poseidon the shaker of the earth reined in his horses,
and slipped them from the yoke, and threw fodder immortal before them
so they could eat, and threw around their feet golden hobbles
not to be broken or slipped from, so they would wait there steadfast
for their lord gone. And Poseidon went to the ships of the Achaians.
The shining palace (κλυτὰ δώματα … μαρμαίροντα) of Poseidon and the repeated references to gold (δώματα … χρύσεα, χρυσέῃσιν ἐθείρῃσιν, χρυσόν, ἱμάσθλην χρυσείην, πέδας … χρυσείας) are not only “the simplest and most popular way of giving emphasis,”  but when combined with the presentation of nature as the partner of the god, it becomes clear that they constitute an espace vécu, a “lived space” “whose elements, loci, dimensions, and directions are fraught with affective charges.”  Emphasis on movement is here combined with a massive, almost complete participation of nature in divine activity.  That said, it is no surprise that divine immortality is transferred to elements of Poseidon’s world (his palace and the fodder for his horses). This brief view of the underwater palace of the supreme sea god is, as usual, associated with his involvement in the plot, but it also suggests a particular form of spatial theography: depth is seen as simply a mirror of height,  the other side of a vertical path or continuum straddled by the gods, who can easily move from one end to the other.
καὶ γὰρ ὃ θαυμάζων ἧστο πτόλεμόν τε μάχην τε,
ὑψοῦ ἐπ’ ἀκροτάτης κορυφῆς Σάμου ὑληέσσης
Θρηϊκίης· ἔνθεν γὰρ ἐφαίνετο πᾶσα μὲν Ἴδη,
φαίνετο δὲ Πριάμοιο πόλις καὶ νῆες Ἀχαιῶν.
ἔνθ’ ἄρ’ ὅ γ’ ἐξ ἁλὸς ἕζετ’ ἰών, ἐλέαιρε δ’ Ἀχαιούς
Τρωσὶν δαμναμένους, Διὶ δὲ κρατερῶς ἐνεμέσσα.
for he sat and admired the fighting and the run of the battle,
aloft on top of the highest summit of timbered Samos,
the Thracian place; and from there all Ida appeared before him,
and the city of Priam was plain to see, and the ships of the Achaians.
There he came up out of the water, and sat, and pitied the Achaians
who were beaten by the Trojans, and blamed Zeus for it in bitterness.
Ἴδης ἐν κορυφῇσι παρὰ χρυσοθρόνου Ἥρης.
στῆ δ’ ἄρ’ ἀναΐξας, ἴδε δὲ Τρῶας καὶ Ἀχαιούς,
τοὺς μὲν ὀρινομένους, τοὺς δὲ κλονέοντας ὄπισθεν
Ἀργείους, μετὰ δέ σφι Ποσειδάωνα ἄνακτα·
Ἕκτορα δ’ ἐν πεδίῳ ἴδε κείμενον, ἀμφὶ δ’ ἑταῖροι
εἵαθ’· ὃ δ’ ἀργαλέῳ ἔχετ’ ἄσθματι, κῆρ ἀπινύσσων,
αἷμ’ ἐμέων, ἐπεὶ οὔ μιν ἀφαυρότατος βάλ’ Ἀχαιῶν.
by Hera of the gold throne on the high places of Ida,
and stood suddenly upright, and saw the Achaians and Trojans,
these driven to flight, the others harrying them in confusion,
these last Argives, and saw among them the lord Poseidon.
He saw Hektor lying in the plain, his companions sitting
around him, he dazed at the heart and breathing painfully,
vomiting blood, since not the weakest Achaian had hit him.