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 3. Greece
The poetics of loneliness
δεῦρο μαχησόμενος, ἐπεὶ οὔ τί μοι αἴτιοί εἰσιν·
οὐ γὰρ πώ ποτ᾿ ἐμὰς βοῦς ἤλασαν οὐδὲ μὲν ἵππους,
οὐδέ ποτ᾿ ἐν Φθίῃ ἐριϐώλακι βωτιανείρῃ
καρπὸν ἐδηλήσαντ᾿, ἐπεὶ ἦ μάλα πολλὰ μεταξύ,
οὔρεά τε σκιόεντα θάλασσά τε ἠχήεσσα.”
spearmen to fight against them, since to me they have done nothing.
Never yet have they driven away my cattle or my horses,
never in Phthia where the soil is rich and men grow great did they
spoil my harvest, since indeed there is much that lies between us,
the shadowy mountains and the echoing sea …”
Achilles succinctly expresses his special position among the other Achaean leaders. By stating that neither he nor his possessions have been injured by the Trojans in the past, because his homeland lies far away from theirs,  Achilles emphasizes that this is not his war. He has come to Troy, after all, for the sake of the Atreidai, not because of personal interest or the desire for revenge. The function of Phthia in this context is threefold. First, it designates Achilles’ homeland by using two distinct spatial aspects: size and distance. Second, it tacitly brings up a subtle irony, by using an argument that is readily applicable to almost every other Achaean leader: that is, the lack of any direct harm to their possessions by the Trojans. Third, it opens a window of allusion to the background of the Trojan War, and especially to the oath that Tundareos has made all the suitors take, by which they are bound to help Menelaos and Helen should any reason arise.
ἀμφὶ γάμωι κούρης εὐ[ω]λ[ένο]υ̣· ὃ̣ς̣ δ̣έ̣ κ̣ε̣ν ἀνδρῶν̣
αὐτὸς ἕλοιτο βίηι, νέμεσίν τ’ ἀπ[ο]θ̣ε̣ῖ̣το καὶ αἰδῶ,
τὸν μέτα πά̣ν̣τας ἄνωγεν ἀολλέας ὁρμηθῆνα̣[ι
ποινὴν τεισομένους. τοὶ δ’ ἀπτερέως ἐπί̣θ̣ο̣ν̣[το
ἐλπόμενοι τελεέιν πάντες γάμον·
regarding the fair-armed maiden’s marriage; any man
who would seize her by force, and set aside indignation and shame,
he commanded all of them together to set out against him
to exact punishment. They swiftly obeyed,
all hoping to fulfill the marriage themselves. 
Achilles’ spatial language thus acquires an ironic tone, for the external audience (and even perhaps the internal) would immediately notice the difference by recalling the oath Tundareos made the suitors of Helen swear. The audience would also remember that Achilles was not bound by this oath, since he was not a suitor of Helen, for
Πηλείδην ἐκ̣ό̣μιζε πόδας ταχύν, ἔξοχον ἀνδρῶν,
παῖδ’ ἔτ’ ἐόν[τ’·] οὐ γάρ μιν ἀρηΐφιλος Μενέλαος
νίκησ’ οὐδέ τις ἄλλος ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων
μνηστεύων Ἑλένην, εἴ μιν κίχε παρθένον οὖσαν
οἴκαδε νοστήσας ἐκ Πηλίου ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς.
was taking care of Peleus’ swift-footed son, greatest of men,
who was still a boy; for neither warlike Menelaus
nor any other human on the earth would have defeated him
in wooing Helen, if swift Achilles had found her still a virgin
when he came back home from Pelion. 
Achilles’ use of spatial diction and motifs in this particular passage (and context) seems to point to the Hesiodic version of the episode of Helen’s suitors. In fact, both Phthia’s wealth in cattle and horses and the “spatial” argument of distance separating Achilles’ homeland from Troy are also employed in reverse in the Hesiodic episode. In particular, by the use of traditional formulas (fr. 198.30 ἄργυφα μῆλα καὶ εἰλίποδας ἕλικας βοῦς; fr. 204.50 εἰλίποδάς τε βόας καὶ ἴφια μῆλα), the Hesiodic narrator emphasizes that several suitors offered sheep and cattle as marriage gifts to make Helen their wife. Riches of this sort are directly connected to the land each suitor comes from or has under his control. Of Telamonian Ajax, for example, it is explicitly stated that he “would drive them together and give” (fr. 204.51 συνελάσας δώσειν), that is to say he would collect them from a rather extended area including Troizen, Epidauros, Aegina, Mases, Megara, Corinth, Hermione, and Asine. Animal offerings to win Helen are therefore employed in a different manner, namely as wedding gifts. Moreover, in the Hesiodic episode distance is used not as a boundary that separates but as a space that will be crossed. Idomeneus, we are told, was the only one who did not ask for Helen’s hand by proxy,
β̣ῆ̣ ὑπ̣ὲ̣ρ̣ Ὠ̣γ̣υλίου πόντου διὰ κῦμα κελαιν̣[ὸν
Τ̣υ̣νδαρέου ποτὶ δῶμα δαΐφρονος, ὄφρ̣[α ἴδοιτο
Ἀ]ρ̣[γείην] Ἑλένην, μηδ’ ἄλλ̣ων ο̣ἶο̣ν̣ ἀ̣κ[ούοι
μῦθον, ὃς] ἤ̣δ̣η̣ πᾶσαν ἐπ̣ὶ̣ [χθ]όνα δῖαν ἵκαν̣[εν
came over the Ogylian sea through the black waves
to valorous Tyndareus’ mansion, so that [he could see
Argive] Helen, and not merely [hear what others
said,] what had already reached the whole godly earth. 
Whereas in Achilles’ speech distance is a barrier that prevents the Trojans from harming his homeland, in the Hesiodic passage it becomes the proof of Idomeneus’ determination. Seen from this vantage point, the strong spatial framework of Achilles’ words is put into perspective within the much wider framework of epic poetry. It seems then that both the internal and the external audience would evaluate Achilles’ arguments, and by comparing them with the episode of Helen’s marriage would realize the limits and limitations of the hero’s viewpoint: he is certainly right, but he is alone in this, perhaps tragically alone. 
οἴκαδ’ ἴμεν σὺν νηυσὶ κορωνίσιν, οὐδέ σ’ ὀΐω
ἐνθάδ’ ἄτιμος ἐὼν ἄφενος καὶ πλοῦτον ἀφύξειν.”
to go home again with my curved ships, and I am minded no longer
to stay here dishonoured and pile up your wealth and your luxury.”
Achilles ends his speech by revealing his intended departure for Phthia, since he is no longer willing to increase the wealth of Agamemnon in Troy. In order to explore the spatial dynamics of this powerful declaration, we need first to discuss in some detail the function of misdirection as a narrative mechanism. Next to the techniques of retardation, gradual determination of the plot, and dramatic irony, misdirection constitutes one of the key devices for creating suspense in Homeric epic.  With the term misdirection, I refer to anticipated events that are either completely nullified by being canceled, or fulfilled only partially and with important deviations from what was planned. 
In the name of the father: Phthia and Peleus
“ὦ πέπον, ἦ μὲν σοί γε πατὴρ ἐπετέλλετο Πηλεύς
ἤματι τῷ, ὅτε σ’ ἐκ Φθίης Ἀγαμέμνονι πέμπεν,
‘τέκνον ἐμόν, κάρτος μὲν Ἀθηναίη τε καὶ Ἥρη
δώσουσ’, αἴ κ’ ἐθέλωσι, σὺ δὲ μεγαλήτορα θυμόν
ἴσχειν ἐν στήθεσσι· φιλοφροσύνη γὰρ ἀμείνων·
ληγέμεναι δ’ ἔριδος κακομηχάνου, ὄφρα σε μᾶλλον
τίωσ’ Ἀργείων ἠμὲν νέοι ἠδὲ γέροντες.’”
that day when he sent you away to Agamemnon from Phthia:
‘My child, for the matter of strength, Athene and Hera will give it
if it be their will, but be it yours to hold fast in your bosom
the anger of the proud heart, for consideration is better.
Keep from the bad complication of quarrel, and all the more for this
the Argives will honour you, both their younger men and their elders.’”
“νῦν δ’, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἐθέλω πολεμιζέμεν Ἕκτορι δίῳ,
αὔριον ἱρὰ Διὶ ῥέξας καὶ πᾶσι θεοῖσιν,
νηήσας εὖ νῆας, ἐπὴν ἅλαδε προερύσσω,
ὄψεαι, ἢν ἐθέλῃσθα καὶ αἴ κέν τοι τὰ μεμήλῃ,
ἦρι μάλ’ Ἑλλήσποντον ἐπ’ ἰχθυόεντα πλεούσας
νῆας ἐμάς, ἐν δ’ ἄνδρας ἐρεσσέμεναι μεμαῶτας·
εἰ δέ κεν εὐπλοΐην δώῃ κλυτὸς Ἐννοσίγαιος,
ἤματί κε τριτάτῳ Φθίην ἐρίβωλον ἱκοίμην.”
tomorrow, when I have sacrificed to Zeus and to all gods,
and loaded well my ships, and rowed out on to the salt water,
you will see, if you have a mind to it and if it concerns you,
my ships in the dawn at sea on the Hellespont where the fish swarm
and my men manning them with good will to row. If the glorious
shaker of the earth should grant us a favouring passage
on the third day thereafter we might raise generous Phthia.” 
“ἢν γὰρ δή με σαῶσι θεοὶ καὶ οἴκαδ’ ἵκωμαι,
Πηλεύς θήν μοι ἔπειτα γυναῖκά γε μάσσεται αὐτός·
πολλαὶ Ἀχαιΐδες εἰσὶν ἀν’ Ἑλλάδα τε Φθίην τε,
κοῦραι ἀριστήων, οἵ τε πτολίεθρα ῥύονται·
τάων ἥν κ’ ἐθέλωμι φίλην ποιήσομ’ ἄκοιτιν.”
Peleus himself will presently arrange a wife for me.
There are many Achaian girls in the land of Hellas and Phthia,
daughters of great men who hold strong places in guard. And of these
any one that I please I might make my beloved lady.”
“… σοὶ δέ μ’ ἔπεμπε γέρων ἱππηλάτα Πηλεύς
ἤματι τῷ, ὅτε σ’ ἐκ Φθίης Ἀγαμέμνονι πέμπεν
νήπιον, οὔ πω εἰδόθ’ ὁμοιΐοο πτολέμοιο
οὐδ’ ἀγορέων, ἵνα τ’ ἄνδρες ἀριπρεπέες τελέθουσιν·
τούνεκά με προέηκε διδασκέμεναι τάδε πάντα,
μύθων τε ῥητῆρ’ ἔμεναι πρηκτῆρά τε ἔργων.”
on that day when he sent you from Phthia to Agamemnon
a mere child, who knew nothing yet of the joining of battle
nor of debate where men are made pre-eminent. Therefore
he sent me along with you to teach you all of these matters,
to make you a speaker of words and one who accomplished in action.”
“φεῦγον ἔπειτ’ ἀπάνευθε δι’ Ἑλλάδος εὐρυχόροιο,
Φθίην δ’ ἐξικόμην ἐριβώλακα, μητέρα μήλων,
ἐς Πηλῆα ἄναχθ’· ὃ δέ με πρόφρων ὑπέδεκτο
καί μ’ ἐφίλησ’, ὡς εἴ τε πατὴρ ὃν παῖδα φιλήσῃ
μοῦνον τηλύγετον πολλοῖσιν ἐπὶ κτεάτεσσι·
καί μ’ ἀφνειὸν ἔθηκε, πολὺν δέ μοι ὤπασε λαόν,
ναῖον δ’ ἐσχατιὴν Φθίης, Δολόπεσσιν ἀνάσσων.”
and came as far as generous Phthia, mother of sheepflocks,
and to lord Peleus, who accepted me with a good will
and gave me his love, even as a father loves his own son
who is a single child brought up among many possessions.
He made me a rich man, and granted me many people,
and I lived, lord over the Dolopes, in the edge of Phthia.”
ἤματι τῷ ὅτε σ’ ἐκ Φθίης Ἀγαμέμνονι πέμπεν·
νῶϊ δέ τ’ ἔνδον ἐόντες, ἐγὼ καὶ δῖος Ὀδυσσεύς,
πάντα μάλ’ ἐν μεγάροις ἠκούομεν, ὡς ἐπέτελλεν·”
that day when he sent you out from Phthia to Agamemnon.
We two, brilliant Odysseus and I, were inside with you
and listened carefully to everything, all that he told you.”
By reduplicating the motif of “paternal assent” that is now developed around the figure of Patroklos,  just as it was presented with reference to Achilles by Odysseus in Iliad IX, Nestor intensifies the importance of Phthia even more. Phthia therefore becomes a spatiotemporal metonym for the involvement of Achilles and Patroklos in the war, a chronotope where the two friends started their journey to Troy and death, but also to epic κλέος.
Places of memory: Phthia as “anti-Troy”
“τίπτε δεδάκρυσαι, Πατρόκλεις, ἠΰτε κούρη
νηπίη, ἥ θ’ ἅμα μητρὶ θέουσ’ ἀνελέσθαι ἀνώγει
εἱανοῦ ἁπτομένη, καί τ’ ἐσσυμένην κατερύκει,
δακρυόεσσα δέ μιν ποτιδέρκεται, ὄφρ’ ἀνέληται;
τῇ ἴκελος, Πάτροκλε, τέρεν κατὰ δάκρυον εἴβεις.
ἠέ τι Μυρμιδόνεσσι πιφαύσκεαι ἠ’ ἐμοὶ αὐτῷ,
ἦέ τιν’ ἀγγελίην Φθίης ἒξ ἔκλυες οἶος—
ζώειν μὰν ἔτι φασὶ Μενοίτιον Ἄκτορος υἱόν,
ζώει δ’ Αἰακίδης Πηλεὺς μετὰ Μυρμιδόνεσσιν,
τῶν κε μάλ’ ἀμφοτέρων ἀκαχοίμεθα τεθνηώτων—
ἦε σύ γ’ Ἀργείων ὀλοφύρεαι, ὡς ὀλέκονται
νηυσὶν ἔπι γλαφυρῇσιν ὑπερβασίης ἕνεκα σφῆς;
ἐξαύδα, μὴ κεῦθε νόῳ, ἵνα εἴδομεν ἄμφω.”
are you crying like some poor little girl, Patroklos,
who runs after her mother and begs to be picked up and carried,
and clings to her dress, and holds her back when she tries to hurry,
and gazes tearfully into her face, until she is picked up?
You are like such a one, Patroklos, dropping these soft tears.
Could you have some news to tell, for me or the Myrmidons?
Have you, and nobody else, received some message from Phthia?
Yet they tell me Aktor’s son Menoitios lives still
and Aiakos’ son Peleus lives still among the Myrmidons.
If either of these died we should take it hard. Or is it
the Argives you are mourning over, and how they are dying
against the hollow ships by reason of their own arrogance?
Tell me, do not hide it in your mind, and so we shall both know.”
In this light, and taking a closer look at the wrong assumptions Achilles makes in the erroneous questions he has asked in the first place, we can see that they closely associate the news from Phthia with the imagined deaths of Menoitios and Peleus, the fathers of the two interlocutors Patroklos and Achilles. The two wrong assumptions, whose style echoes that of popular poetry,  do “form a negative background from which the positive assertion will emerge, in full clarity, at the end,” but are also linked to the particular way Achilles constructs the notion of his homeland.  The “news from Phthia” thus becomes a linchpin that keeps together fathers and sons, namely Menoitios and Peleus with Patroklos and Achilles respectively. That said, and given that this is the only example in the Iliad where the “right” answer to the erroneous questions asked is anticipated by the same person who asks the question, before it is confirmed by the addressee, Patroklos (Iliad XVI 21–24), it can be argued that Achilles employs Phthia as a hook on which to hang his personal outlook on the Trojan War. By stating at the end of his speech that the Achaeans are suffering because of their arrogance, Achilles draws a line between “home” and “Troy,” between the pain that he feels for the potential death of both his own and Patroklos’ father in Phthia as well as his indifference to the deaths of Achaean warriors at Troy. Phthia is thus elevated from a location to a “site of memory,”  albeit a constructed or imaginary memory that emphatically contrasts with the reality of Troy. Suffering for human losses is thus measured by spatial features, since Phthia allows Achilles to play with such perceptions as absence, privation, and estrangement.
κουριδίην ἄλοχον θήσειν, ἄξειν τ’ ἐνὶ νηυσίν
ἐς Φθίην, δαίσειν δὲ γάμον μετὰ Μυρμιδόνεσσιν.
τώ σ’ ἄμοτον κλαίω τεθνηότα μείλιχον αἰεί.”
wedded lawful wife, that you would take me back in the ships
to Phthia, and formalize my marriage among the Myrmidons.
Therefore I weep your death without ceasing. You were kind always.”
In Briseis’ speech there is no description of the objective space of Phthia: on the contrary, this space acquires an imaginative value, it becomes a toponymic metaphor for a better life. The death of Patroklos thus signifies for Briseis the cancellation of a promise that would have turned her journey to Phthia from exile into a return to the status of a married woman, and to all the respect derived from it. The fulfillment of such important cultural prerequisites as marriage turns Phthia into an “anti-Troy,” through a process of adjusting the topography of identity into an emotional, rational, and cultural landscape  and allowing the slave woman to become once again a lawful wedded wife.
αὐτὸς ἐνὶ κλισίῃ λαρὸν παρὰ δεῖπνον ἔθηκας
αἶψα καὶ ὀτραλέως, ὁπότε σπερχοίατ’ Ἀχαιοί
Τρωσὶν ἔφ’ ἱπποδάμοισι φέρειν πολύδακρυν ἄρηα·
νῦν δὲ σὺ μὲν κεῖσαι δεδαϊγμένος, αὐτὰρ ἐμὸν κῆρ
ἄκμηνον πόσιος καὶ ἐδητύος, ἔνδον ἐόντων,
σῇ ποθῇ. οὐ μὲν γάρ τι κακώτερον ἄλλο πάθοιμι,
οὐδ’ εἴ κεν τοῦ πατρὸς ἀποφθιμένοιο πυθοίμην,
ὅς που νῦν Φθίηφι τέρεν κατὰ δάκρυον εἴβει
χήτει τοιοῦδ’ υἷος· ὃ δ’ ἀλλοδαπῷ ἐνὶ δήμῳ
εἵνεκα ῥιγεδανῆς Ἑλένης Τρωσὶν πολεμίζω.
ἠὲ τόν, ὃς Σκύρῳ μοι ἐνιτρέφεται φίλος υἱός,
εἴ που ἔτι ζώει γε Νεοπτόλεμος θεοειδής.
πρὶν μὲν γάρ μοι θυμὸς ἐνὶ στήθεσσιν ἐώλπει
οἶον ἐμὲ φθίσεσθαι ἀπ’ Ἄργεος ἱπποβότοιο
αὐτοῦ ἐνὶ Τροίῃ, σὲ δέ τε Φθίην δὲ νέεσθαι,
ὡς ἄν μοι τὸν παῖδα θοῇ σὺν νηῒ μελαίνῃ
Σκυρόθεν ἐξαγάγοις καί οἱ δείξειας ἕκαστα,
κτῆσιν ἐμὴν δμῶάς τε καὶ ὑψερεφὲς μέγα δῶμα.
ἤδη γὰρ Πηλῆά γ’ ὀΐομαι ἢ κατὰ πάμπαν
τεθνάμεν, ἤ που τυτθὸν ἔτι ζώοντ’ ἀκάχησθαι
γήραΐ τε στυγερῷ καὶ ἐμὴν ποτιδέγμενον αἰεί
λυγρὴν ἀγγελίην, ὅτ’ ἀποφθιμένοιο πύθηται.”
when you yourself would set the desirable dinner before me
quickly and expertly, at the time the Achaians were urgent
to carry sorrowful war on the Trojans, breakers of horses.
But now you lie here torn before me, and my heart goes starved
for meat and drink, though they are here beside me, by reason
of longing for you. There is nothing worse than this I could suffer,
not even if I were to hear of the death of my father
who now, I think, in Phthia somewhere lets fall a soft tear
for lack of such a son,  for me, who now in a strange land
make war upon the Trojans for the sake of accursed Helen;
or the death of my dear son, who is raised for my sake in Skyros
now, if godlike Neoptolemos is still one of the living.
Before now the spirit inside my breast was hopeful
that I alone should die far away from horse-pasturing Argos
here in Troy; I hoped you would win back again to Phthia
so that in a fast black ship you could take my son back
from Skyros to Phthia, and show him all my possessions,
my property, my serving men, my great high-roofed house.
For by this time I think that Peleus must altogether
have perished, or still keeps a little scant life in sorrow
for the hatefulness of old age and because he waits ever from me
the evil message, for the day he hears I have been killed.”
Achilles’ vision of places is discursively constructed more or less like Foucault’s and Said’s emotional and genealogical geographies.  The “great divide” between “here” (Troy)  and “there” (Phthia) is verbalized by Achilles’ brief mental journey with respect to his family. Along these lines, Skyros becomes a “stopover” bridging Troy and Phthia,  the two ends of the hero’s spatialized identity (see Table 5).
Table 5: Spatial thematization of Achilles’ family
|Skyros||foreign and familiar||Neoptolemos|
Ἀτρείδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς
Atreus’ son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus.
ἡμετέρῳ ἐνὶ οἴκῳ, ἐν Ἄργεϊ, τηλόθι πάτρης,
ἱστὸν ἐποιχομένην καὶ ἐμὸν λέχος ἀντιόωσαν.”
in my own house, in Argos, far from her own land,
going up and down by the loom and being in my bed as my companion.”
σχέτλιος, ὃς πρὶν μέν μοι ὑπέσχετο καὶ κατένευσεν
Ἴλιον ἐκπέρσαντ’ εὐτείχεον ἀπονέεσθαι,
νῦν δὲ κακὴν ἀπάτην βουλεύσατο, καί με κελεύει
δυσκλέα Ἄργος ἱκέσθαι, ἐπεὶ πολὺν ὤλεσα λαόν.
He is hard; who before this time promised me and consented
that I might sack strong-walled Ilion and sail homeward.
Now he has devised a vile deception, and bids me go back
to Argos in dishonour having lost many of my people.”
αὐτίκα γὰρ μνήσονται Ἀχαιοὶ πατρίδος αἴης,
κὰδ δέ κεν εὐχωλὴν Πριάμῳ καὶ Τρωσὶ λίποιμεν
Ἀργείην Ἑλένην· σέο δ’ ὀστέα πύσει ἄρουρα
κειμένου ἐν Τροίῃ ἀτελευτήτῳ ἐπὶ ἔργῳ.”
for now at once the Achaians will remember the land of their fathers;
and thus we would leave to Priam and to the Trojans Helen
of Argos, to glory over, while the bones of you rot in the ploughland
as you lie dead in Troy, on a venture that went unaccomplished.”
νωνύμνους ἀπολέσθαι ἀπ’ Ἄργεος ἐνθάδ’ Ἀχαιούς.”
that the Achaians must die here forgotten and far from Argos.”
Agamemnon reads Argos not as simply a place, but as an evaluation  of his undertaking the whole enterprise of the Trojan War.  Regarding himself (together with his brother) as the main instigator of the expedition, Agamemnon sees his homeland not as the locus of his family or a happy life left behind, but as the measure of his success or failure. Argos exists for him only in the future tense, not in the past. The epithets δυσκλεής ‘ill-famed, in dishonor’ (Iliad II 115), ἐλέγχιστος ‘a thing of reproach’ (IV 171), and νώνυμνος ‘nameless, forgotten’ (XII 70 = XIII 227)  belong to the language of blame that runs high on every warrior’s heroic agenda,  the more so that of the commander-in-chief of the entire Achaean army. Although the expression ἐπεὶ πολὺν ὤλεσα λαόν (“having caused the loss of many of my people”; II 115 = IX 22; my translation)  amounts to Agamemnon’s remorse intensified by his preeminent role in recruiting the army and leading the expedition,  it is contradicted by his selfish insistence on being recompensed for the loss of Khruseis, a stance that was clearly inconsiderate of the interests of the army. In IV 171–175, Agamemon’s fears that Menelaos might die are translated into his concern about both being reproached by the Achaeans and giving Priam and the Trojans a reason to boast.
γαμβρός κέν μοι ἔοι, τίσω δέ μιν ἶσον Ὀρέστῃ,
ὅς μοι τηλύγετος τρέφεται θαλίῃ ἔνι πολλῇ.”
he may be my son-in-law; I will honour him equally with Orestes
my growing son, who is brought up there in abundant luxury.”
καί κέ τοι ἡμεῖς ταῦτά γ’ ὑποσχόμενοι τελέσαιμεν,
δοῖμεν δ’ Ἀτρείδαο θυγατρῶν εἶδος ἀρίστην
Ἄργεος ἐξαγαγόντες ὀπυιέμεν, εἴ κε σὺν ἄμμιν
Ἰλίου ἐκπέρσῃς εὖ ναιόμενον πτολίεθρον.
ἀλλ’ ἕπε’, ὄφρ’ ἐπὶ νηυσὶ συνώμεθα ποντοπόροισιν
ἀμφὶ γάμῳ, ἐπεὶ οὔ τοι ἐεδνωταὶ κακοί εἰμεν.”
See now, we also would make you a promise, and we would fulfill it;
we would give you the loveliest of Atreides’ daughters,
and bring her here from Argos to be your wife, if you joined us
and helped us storm the strong-founded city of Ilion.
Come then with me, so we can meet by our seafaring vessels
about a marriage; we here are not bad matchmakers for you.”
Idomeneus’ ironic comments play on Agamemnon’s offer to Achilles: Agamemnon seems willing to give Achilles not only twenty Trojan slave women in case the Achaeans sack Troy, but even one of his daughters, without expecting any gifts in return (ἀνάεδνον), only Achilles’ return to the battlefield with the ultimate purpose of sacking Troy; likewise, Othruoneus brings no gifts, and Priam is willing to give him the hand of Kassandra on the sole condition that he repel the Greeks. The comments of Idomeneus evoke Agamemnon’s promise to Achilles, especially since Idomeneus uses language that explicitly refers to Agamemnon’s daughters (δοῖμεν δ’ Ἀτρεΐδαο θυγατρῶν εἶδος ἀρίστην / Ἄργεος ἐξαγαγόντες ὀπυιέμεν),  and ironically suggests to Othruoneus that he join the Achaean cause and help them sack Troy. In that case, he adds, they will bring one of Agamemnon’s daughters from Argos and give her to him to marry. In other words, Idomeneus virtually says to Othruoneus that the Achaeans are desperately looking for an Achilles. In that case Othruoneus (whose name, like Orestes’, means “mountainous” < ὄθρυς ‘mountain’) would, Achilles-like,  have become Orestes’ brother-in-law. Moreover, Idomeneus’ words must have struck a familiar chord with the audience, since they point also to Kassandra, who instead of becoming Othruoneus’ wife would be brought back to Argos as Agamemnon’s slave. The Iliadic storyteller is clearly building on both the scene in Iliad IX and the tradition of the Nostoi (where Kassandra will be murdered together with Agamemnon in Argos).
The spatialized alias
πολλοὶ γὰρ δὴ τλῆμεν Ὀλύμπια δώματ’ ἔχοντες
ἐξ ἀνδρῶν, χαλέπ’ ἄλγε’ ἐπ’ ἀλλήλοισι τιθέντες.
τλῆ μὲν Ἄρης, ὅτε μιν Ὦτος κρατερός τ’ Ἐφιάλτης
παῖδες Ἀλωῆος, δῆσαν κρατερῷ ἐνὶ δεσμῷ·
χαλκέῳ δ’ ἐν κεράμῳ δέδετο τρισκαίδεκα μῆνας.
καί νύ κεν ἔνθ’ ἀπόλοιτο Ἄρης ἆτος πολέμοιο,
εἰ μὴ μητρυιή, περικαλλὴς Ἠερίβοια,
Ἑρμέᾳ ἐξήγγειλεν· ὃ δ’ ἐξέκλεψεν Ἄρηα
ἤδη τειρόμενον, χαλεπὸς δέ ἑ δεσμὸς ἐδάμνα.
τλῆ δ’ Ἥρη, ὅτε μιν κρατερὸς πάϊς Ἀμφιτρύωνος
δεξιτερὸν κατὰ μαζὸν ὀϊστῷ τριγλώχινι
βεβλήκει· τότε καί μιν ἀνήκεστον λάβεν ἄλγος.
τλῆ δ’ Ἀΐδης ἐν τοῖσι πελώριος ὠκὺν ὀϊστόν,
εὖτέ μιν ωὑτὸς ἀνήρ, υἱὸς Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο,
ἐν Πύλῳ ἐν νεκύεσσι βαλὼν ὀδύνῃσιν ἔδωκεν·
αὐτὰρ ὃ βῆ πρὸς δῶμα Διὸς καὶ μακρὸν Ὄλυμπον
κῆρ ἀχέων, ὀδύνῃσι πεπαρμένος, αὐτὰρ ὀϊστός
ὤμῳ ἔνι στιβαρῷ ἠλήλατο, κῆδε δὲ θυμόν·”
For many of us who have our homes on Olympos endure things
from men, when ourselves we inflict hard pain on each other.
Ares had to endure it when the strong Ephialtes and Otos,
sons of Aloeus, chained him in bonds that were too strong for him,
and three months and ten he lay chained in the brazen cauldron;
and now might Ares, insatiable of fighting, have perished,
had not Eëriboia, their stepmother, the surpassingly lovely,
brought word to Hermes, who stole Ares away out of it
as he was growing faint and the hard bondage was breaking him.
Hera had to endure it when the strong son of Amphitryon
struck her beside the right breast with a tri-barbed arrow,
so that the pain he gave her could not be quieted. Hades
the gigantic had to endure with the rest the flying arrow,
when this self-same man, the son of Zeus of the aegis,
struck him among the dead men at Pylos, and gave him to agony;
but he went up to the house of Zeus and to tall Olympos
heavy at heart, stabbed through and through with pain, for the arrow
was driven into his heavy shoulder, and his spirit was suffering.”
The role of Herakles in this passage is crucial, for we not only have ample early evidence of his involvement in a war in Pylos, but we are in a position to see that these verses were later on particularly associated with him in a fifth-century epic, Panyassis’s Heracleia (fr. 16 Matthews = fr. 3, PEG 1): 
τλῆ δὲ Ποσειδάων, τλῆ δ’ ἀργυρότοξος Ἀπόλλων
ἀνδρὶ παρὰ θνητῶι †θητευσέμεν  εἰς ἐνιαυτόν,
τλῆ δὲ <καὶ> ὀβριμόθυμος Ἄρης ὑπὸ πατρὸς ἀνάγκης.
Poseidon had to endure it and Apollo of the silver bow
to spend a long year at the service of a mortal man
and Ares had to endure it …
Spacing the epic past
Turkeltaub’s apt phrasing sheds light on the fact that Nestor not only “resurrects” the epic past but also creates the necessary background for Achilles’ eventual choice. This is true, but I maintain that Nestor’s special access to the epic past has a further role to play, especially since the paranarratives he systematically unravels are directly relevant to the exigencies of the Iliadic plot. What matters is not simply his ability to recall the epic past, but mainly, and tellingly so, the kind of epic past he systematically evokes. In other words, we need to study the particular kind of paranarrative he develops, but also to consider the effect that calling upon his epic past may have on the Iliadic narrative.  As we shall see, Pylos plays a particular role in this process, a role that is relevant to the poetics of space that the Iliad employs for other chief characters to whom Nestor’s speech is addressed, directly or indirectly. Let us consider his first intervention in the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles:
ἦ κεν γηθήσαι Πρίαμος Πριάμοιό τε παῖδες,
ἄλλοι τε Τρῶες μέγα κεν κεχαροίατο θυμῷ,
εἰ σφῶϊν τάδε πάντα πυθοίατο μαρναμένοιιν,
οἳ περὶ μὲν βουλὴν Δαναῶν, περὶ δ’ ἐστὲ μάχεσθαι.
ἀλλὰ πίθεσθ’· ἄμφω δὲ νεωτέρω ἐστὸν ἐμεῖο.
ἤδη γάρ ποτ᾿ ἐγὼ καὶ ἀρείοσιν ἠέ περ ὑμῖν
ἀνδράσιν ὡμίλησα, καὶ οὔ ποτέ μ᾿ οἵ θ’ ἀθέριζον.
οὐ γάρ πω τοίους ἴδον ἀνέρας, οὐδὲ ἴδωμαι,
οἷον Πειρίθοόν τε Δρύαντά τε ποιμένα λαῶν
Καινέα τ᾿ Ἐξάδιόν τε καὶ ἀντίθεον Πολύφημον
Θησέα τ᾿ Αἰγεΐδην, ἐπιείκελον ἀθανάτοισιν· 
κάρτιστοι δὴ κεῖνοι ἐπιχθονίων τράφεν ἀνδρῶν·
κάρτιστοι μὲν ἔσαν καὶ καρτίστοις ἐμάχοντο,
φηρσὶν ὀρεσκῴοισι, καὶ ἐκπάγλως ἀπόλεσσαν.
καὶ μὲν τοῖσιν ἐγὼ μεθομίλεον ἐκ Πύλου ἐλθών,
τηλόθεν ἐξ ἀπίης γαίης· καλέσαντο γὰρ αὐτοί.
καὶ μαχόμην κατ᾿ ἔμ᾿ αὐτὸν ἐγώ· κείνοισι δ’ ἂν οὔ τις
τῶν οἳ νῦν βροτοί εἰσιν ἐπιχθόνιοι μαχέοιτο.
καὶ μέν μεο βουλέων ξύνιεν πείθοντό τε μύθῳ.
ἀλλὰ πίθεσθε καὶ ὔμμες, ἐπεὶ πείθεσθαι ἄμεινον·
μήτε σὺ τόνδ’ ἀγαθός περ ἐὼν ἀποαίρεο κούρην,
ἀλλ’ ἔα, ὥς οἱ πρῶτα δόσαν γέρας υἷες Ἀχαιῶν·
μήτε σύ, Πηλείδη, ἔθελ’ ἐριζέμεναι βασιλῆϊ
ἀντιϐίην, ἐπεὶ οὔ ποθ’ ὁμοίης ἔμμορε τιμῆς
σκηπτοῦχος βασιλεύς, ᾧ τε Ζεὺς κῦδος ἔδωκεν.
εἰ δὲ σὺ καρτερός ἐσσι, θεὰ δέ σε γείνατο μήτηρ,
ἀλλ’ ὅδε φέρτερός ἐστιν, ἐπεὶ πλεόνεσσιν ἀνάσσει.
Ἀτρείδη, σὺ δὲ παῦε τεὸν μένος· αὐτὰρ ἐγώ γε
λίσσομ᾿ Ἀχιλλῆϊ μεθέμεν χόλον, ὃς μέγα πᾶσιν
ἕρκος Ἀχαιοῖσιν πέλεται πολέμοιο κακοῖο.”
Now might Priam and the sons of Priam in truth be happy,
and all the rest of the Trojans be visited in their hearts with gladness,
were they to hear all this wherein you two are quarrelling,
you, who surpass all Danaans in council, in fighting.
Yet be persuaded. Both of you are younger than I am.
Yes, in my time I have dealt with better men than
you are, and never once did they disregard me. Never
yet have I seen nor shall see again such men as these were,
men like Peirithoös, and Dryas, shepherd of the people,
Kaineus and Exadios, godlike Polyphemos,
or Theseus, Aigeus’ son, in the likeness of the immortals.
These were the strongest generation of earth-born mortals,
the strongest, and they fought against the strongest, the beast men
living within the mountains, and terribly they destroyed them.
I was of the company of these men. Coming from Pylos,
a long way from a distant land, since they had summoned me.
And I fought single-handed, yet against such men no one
of the mortals now alive upon earth could do battle. And also
these listened to the counsels I gave and heeded my bidding.
Do you also obey, since to be persuaded is better.
You, great man that you are, yet do not take the girl away
but let her be, a prize as the sons of the Achaians gave her
first. Nor, son of Peleus, think to match your strength with
the king, since never equal with the rest is the portion of honour
of the sceptred king to whom Zeus gives magnificence. Even
though you are the stronger man, and the mother who bore you was immortal,
yet is this man greater who is lord over more than you rule.
Son of Atreus, give up your anger; even I entreat you
to give over your bitterness against Achilleus, he who
stands as a great bulwark of battle over the Achaians.”
Nestor’s narrative about his participation in the war between the Lapithai and the Centaurs, which started because of the rape of Hippodameia and other women by the Centaurs during her wedding with Peirithous, bears striking similarities to the situations in both Iliad I and Iliad IX. Given that the same story is referred to in Odyssey xxi 295–304, we need to deal with all three passages as forming the mythical backdrop against which Nestor’s paranarrative is developed:
ἀασάμην, οὐδ’ αὐτὸς ἀναίνομαι. ἀντί νυ πολλῶν
λαῶν ἐστὶν ἀνὴρ ὅν τε Ζεὺς κῆρι φιλήσῃ,
ὡς νῦν τοῦτον ἔτισε, δάμασσε δὲ λαὸν Ἀχαιῶν.
ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ ἀασάμην φρεσὶ λευγαλέῃσι πιθήσας,
ἂψ ἐθέλω ἀρέσαι δόμεναί τ’ ἀπερείσι’ ἄποινα.”
I was mad, I myself will not deny it. Worth many
fighters is that man whom Zeus in his heart loves, as now
he has honoured this man and beaten down the Achaian people.
But since I was mad, in the persuasion of my heart’s evil,
I am willing to make all good, and give back gifts in abundance.”
ἄασ’ ἐνὶ μεγάρῳ μεγαθύμου Πειριθόοιο,
ἐς Λαπίθας ἐλθόνθ’· ὁ δ’ ἐπεὶ φρένας ἄασεν οἴνῳ,
μαινόμενος κάκ’ ἔρεξε δόμον κάτα Πειριθόοιο·
ἥρωας δ’ ἄχος εἷλε, διὲκ προθύρου δὲ θύραζε
ἕλκον ἀναΐξαντες, ἀπ’ οὔατα νηλέϊ χαλκῷ
ῥῖνάς τ’ ἀμήσαντες· ὁ δὲ φρεσὶν ᾗσιν ἀασθείς
ἤϊεν ἣν ἄτην ὀχέων ἀεσίφρονι θυμῷ.
ἐξ οὗ Κενταύροισι καὶ ἀνδράσι νεῖκος ἐτύχθη,
οἷ δ’ αὐτῷ πρώτῳ κακὸν εὕρετο οἰνοβαρείων.”
The story told by Nestor in Iliad I 254–284 has been regarded as an ad hoc invention, an αὐτοσχεδίασμα the poet of the Iliad made up in order to supply Agamemnon and Achilles with an example of Nestor’s authority and status, and thus persuade them to listen to his advice and put an end to their quarrel. Conversely, Kirk seems to consider the possibility that this paranarrative may be due to Nestor’s Thessalian origins,  a view that is further supported by two points that have escaped scholarly attention:
αὖτις ἔτ’ ἄλλο τέταρτον ἐπὶ χθονὶ πουλυβοτείρῃ
Ζεὺς Κρονίδης ποίησε, δικαιότερον καὶ ἄρειον,
ἀνδρῶν ἡρώων θεῖον γένος, οἳ καλέονται
ἡμίθεοι, προτέρη γενεὴ κατ’ ἀπείρονα γαῖαν.
καὶ τοὺς μὲν πόλεμός τε κακὸς καὶ φύλοπις αἰνή
τοὺς μὲν ὑφ’ ἑπταπύλῳ Θήβῃ, Καδμηίδι γαίῃ,
ὤλεσε μαρναμένους μήλων ἕνεκ’ Οἰδιπόδαο,
τοὺς δὲ καὶ ἐν νήεσσιν ὑπὲρ μέγα λαῖτμα θαλάσσης
ἐς Τροίην ἀγαγὼν Ἑλένης ἕνεκ’ ἠυκόμοιο.
Thebes is thus used in the Iliad as a spatiotemporal linchpin, bridging mainly the epic past of the Theban tradition with the Trojan War myth. In the case of the weaker connection with Herakles, Thebes becomes synonymous with a tradition of deception and bewilderment that serves as a useful parallel to the theme of μῆνις that stands at the very core of the Iliad.
ξεῖνος ἅμ’ ἀντιθέῳ Πολυνείκεϊ λαὸν ἀγείρων·
οἳ δὲ τότ’ ἐστρατόωνθ’ ἱερὰ πρὸς τείχεα Θήβης,
καί ῥα μάλα λίσσοντο δόμεν κλειτοὺς ἐπικούρους.”
with godlike Polyneikes, a guest and a friend, assembling
people, since these were attacking the sacred bastions of Thebe,
and much they entreated us to grant him renowned companions.”
Agamemnon’s criticism of Diomedes by alluding to his father’s Theban past is answered again in Theban terms, since Sthenelos reminds him of the second Theban war, the successful expedition of the Epigonoi:
“Ἀτρείδη, μὴ ψεύδε’, ἐπιστάμενος σάφα εἰπεῖν.
ἡμεῖς τοι πατέρων μέγ’ ἀμείνονες εὐχόμεθ’ εἶναι·
ἡμεῖς καὶ Θήβης ἕδος εἵλομεν ἑπταπύλοιο,
παυρότερον λαὸν ἀγαγόνθ’ ὑπὸ τεῖχος ἄρειον,
πειθόμενοι τεράεσσι θεῶν καὶ Ζηνὸς ἀρωγῇ·
κεῖνοι δὲ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ὄλοντο.”
“Son of Atreus, do not lie when you know the plain truth.
We two claim we are better men by far than our fathers.
We did storm the seven-gated foundation of Thebe
though we led fewer people beneath a wall that was stronger.
We obeyed the signs of the gods and the help Zeus gave us,
while those others died of their own headlong stupidity.”
καί ῥ’ ὅτε πέρ μιν ἐγὼ πολεμίζειν οὐκ εἴασκον
οὐδ’ ἐκπαιφάσσειν, ὅτε τ’ ἤλυθε νόσφιν Ἀχαιῶν
ἄγγελος ἐς Θήβας πολέας μετὰ Καδμείωνας·
δαίνυσθαί μιν ἄνωγον ἐνὶ μεγάροισιν ἕκηλον,
αὐτὰρ ὃ θυμὸν ἔχων ὃν καρτερόν, ὡς τὸ πάρος περ,
κούρους Καδμείων προκαλίζετο, πάντα δ’ ἐνίκα
ῥηϊδίως· τοίη οἱ ἐγὼν ἐπιτάρροθος ἦα.”
Even on that time when I would not consent to his fighting
nor drawing men’s eyes, when he went by himself without the Achaians
as a messenger to Thebe among all the Kadmeians,
then I invited him to feast at his ease in their great halls;
even so, keeping that heart of strength that was always within him
he challenged the young men of the Kadmeians, and defeated all of them
easily; such a helper was I who stood then beside him.”
“κέκλυθι νῦν καὶ ἐμεῖο, Διὸς τέκος, Ἀτρυτώνη·
σπεῖό μοι ὡς ὅτε πατρὶ ἅμ’ ἕσπεο Τυδέϊ δίῳ
ἐς Θήβας, ὅτε τε πρὸ Ἀχαιῶν ἄγγελος ᾔει,
τοὺς δ’ ἄρ’ ἐπ’ Ἀσωπῷ λίπε χαλκοχίτωνας Ἀχαιούς,
αὐτὰρ ὃ μειλίχιον μῦθον φέρε Καδμείοισιν
κεῖσ’· ἀτὰρ ἂψ ἀπιὼν μάλα μέρμερα μήσατο ἔργα
σὺν σοί, δῖα θεά, ὅτε οἱ πρόφρασσα παρέστης.”
“Hear me also, Atrytone, daughter of great Zeus.
Come with me now as you went with my father, brilliant Tydeus,
into Thebes, when he went with a message before the Achaians,
and left the bronze-armoured Achaians beside Asopos
while he carried a word of friendship to the Kadmeians
in that place; but on his way back he was minded to grim deeds
with your aid, divine goddess, since you stood in goodwill beside him.”
Μηκιστῆος υἱὸς Ταλαϊονίδαο ἄνακτος,
ὅς ποτε Θήβασδ’ ἦλθε δεδουπότος Οἰδιπόδαο
ἐς τάφον· ἔνθα δὲ πάντας ἐνίκα Καδμείωνας.
man, son of lord Mekisteus of the seed of Talaos;
of him who came once to Thebes and the tomb of Oidipous after
his downfall, and there in boxing defeated all the Kadmeians.
We are dealing here with the motif “visit to Thebes by one of the Seven and subsequent victory over the Kadmeians.” Given that this motif is hardly reflected in Diomedes’ role in the Iliad  and serves no paradigmatic purpose,  it may be reflecting older epic material stemming from the Theban tradition. W. Kullmann  has convincingly argued that the presence of Diomedes, Sthenelos, and Eurualos in the Iliad points both to an Epigoni- and an Alcmaeonis-lay, since Eurualus is named as one of the Epigonoi only in the Alcmaeonis and not in the Epigoni. Ιn like manner, the bulk of the references to Tudeus in the Iliad come from the tradition of the Thebais, though the episode of his visit to Thebes and his heroic exploits there probably reflects an initially distinct heroic song about Tudeus, part of which was later incorporated in the tradition of the Seven. 
ἥ ῥ’ Ἡρακλῆα κρατερόφρονα γείνατο παῖδα,
ἣ δὲ Διώνυσον Σεμέλη τέκε, χάρμα βροτοῖσιν·”
when Alkmene bore me a son, Herakles the strong-hearted,
while Semele’s son was Dionysos, the pleasure of mortals.”
ἀνδρῶν ἠδὲ θεῶν φασ’ ἔμμεναι· ἀλλ’ ἄρα καὶ τόν
Ἥρη θῆλυς ἐοῦσα δολοφροσύνῃς ἀπάτησεν
ἤματι τῷ, ὅτ’ ἔμελλε βίην Ἡρακληείην
Ἀλκμήνη τέξεσθαι ἐϋστεφάνῳ ἐνὶ Θήβῃ.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ὣς ἔφατο· Ζεὺς δ’ οὔ τι δολοφροσύνην ἐνόησεν,
ἀλλ’ ὄμοσεν μέγαν ὅρκον, ἔπειτα δὲ πολλὸν ἀάσθη.
he is the highest one of gods and mortals. Yet Hera
who is female deluded even Zeus in her craftiness
on that day when in strong wall-circled Thebe Alkmene
was at her time to bring forth the strength of Herakles.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
So Hera spoke. And Zeus was entirely unaware of her falsehood,
but swore a great oath, and therein lay all his deception.
Herakles is regularly mentioned in archaic Greek epic in connection with Thebes, which is his standard birthplace.  The question to be asked here is whether the reference to Thebes is simply typological, and if not what is its function. One could argue that the point of the analogy in both passages is the theme of deception linked to a mythological reference to Herakles, and that Thebes plays no role in it whatsoever. Conversely, deception is linked in both cases to a particular incident or episode in Herakles’ widely known saga, namely his birth. In other words, deception is not associated, for example, with his death, although Herakles “died” by means of deception and not heroic defeat. The insistence on his birth necessarily leads us directly to Thebes. Given that his birth was closely associated with Zeus’ deception by Hera, Thebes (which in Iliad XIV 325 is also the birthplace of another “illegal” son of Zeus, Dionysus, who was born to Semele) and birth are turned into a single semantic pair. The birth of a great son, Herakles, from the union of a mortal and a god is of course particularly appropriate to the Iliad, given that one of its major heroes, Achilles, was born to a mortal (Peleus) and a goddess (Thetis). Galinsky has convincingly argued that “Herakles is cited as a parallel to the central hero of the Iliad, Achilles” mainly because they both break the “noble code of behaviour” and are constantly presented as two famous misfits.  In the light of these observations, we can see that Agamemnon’s reference to Herakles’ birth in Thebes as an example of the workings of Ate, who blinded Zeus as she blinded him in Troy,  reinforces the analogy even more: in the framework of his argument, Herakles and Achilles are intricately interwoven with Thebes and Troy respectively, the places where Ate can twist the minds of the most eminent leaders—the shepherd of men and the father of men and gods.  Uttered at a point in the plot where Agamemnon openly acknowledges his fault and Achilles is ready to return to battle, the implicit analogy between Thebes and Troy becomes the spatial vehicle for a temporary assimilation of Herakles and Achilles, who are called “dearest of all to lord Zeus”  and “dearer to the immortals”  respectively.