Πλέων επί οίνοπα πόντον επ' αλλοθρόους ανθρώπους (Odyssey 1.183) -> While sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech

BethanieKay

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I am currently in Frankfurt, Germany, and this phrase is on a big sign over the Main river in the center of the city:

ΠΛΕΩΝ ΕΠΙ ΟΙΝΟΠΑ ΠΟΝΤΟΝ ΕΠ ΑΛΛΟΘΡΟΟΥΣ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥΣ

It must be in ancient Greek, because my Greek fiance cannot translate it from modern Greek.

Can anyone help?

Efharisto poli!

« Last Edit: 17 Apr, 2009, 06:55:43 by billberg23 »


vmelas

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Οδύσσεια, Α.180-184

«Μέντης Ἀγχιάλοιο δαίφρονος εὔχομαι εἶναι
υἱός, ἀτὰρ Ταφίοισι φιληρέτμοισιν ἀνάσσω.
νῦν δ’ ὧδε ξὺν νηὶ κατήλυθον ἠδ’ ἑτάροισιν
πλέων ἐπὶ οἴνοπα πόντον ἐπ’ ἀλλοθρόους ἀνθρώπους,
ἐς Τεμέσην μετὰ χαλκόν, ἄγω δ’ αἴθωνα σίδηρον.»

Translation in modern Greek from (http://www.omhros.gr/kat/P/km/txt/Od/Kaz/Odys1.htm):

«πως είμαι γιος του Αγχίαλου πέτομαι του καστροπολεμάρχου.
Μέντη με λεν, κι οι καραβόχαροι Ταφιώτες μ’ έχουν ρήγα.
Εδώ έχω φτάσει με τους συντρόφους στο πλοίο μου. Ταξιδεύω
για τόπο αλλόγλωσσο
, την Τέμεσα, στο πέλαο το κρασάτο,
στραφταλιστό να δώσω σίδερο, χαλκό να πάρω πίσω.»

In essence "while sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech" (link to text from Perseus). It is one of the most beautiful metaphors and one that has been discussed at length.

Here is the translation in German „Segelnd auf weinfarbenem Meer hin zu Menschen anderer Sprache“ (courtesy of Wikipedia)




vmelas

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Σπύρο, φτιάξε τον τίτλο ... κόπηκε στο τέλος ...
« Last Edit: 15 Apr, 2009, 23:23:12 by wings »




BethanieKay

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Wow, thank you Valentini!   So this text is from the Odyssey ... but reading through it, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with Germany itself (unless I'm just not reading it correctly?)  Maybe the Germans just chose to use this line above their bridge for poetic purposes only :)





vmelas

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The popular theory (from what I see from the pages I read online) is that because Frankfurt's population is 40%  non German they placed this sign as an allegory but also as a statement to the visitors; whoever visits Frankfurt takes a voyage on a dark river to a place where people speak a multitude of languages.



billberg23

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I think you're definitely on the right track, Valentini.  The inscription is attached to the old iron foot-bridge on which you "voyage" across a muddy river to a different sector of the city, where a different dialect is spoken.


BethanieKay

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Well, thank you for your thoughts and information!  I just thought it was interesting ... I'm American, and here in Frankfurt on business.   As I'm crossing over the bridge, I look up and see Greek.    I travel to Greece a lot, since my fiance lives in Athens, so naturally I'm used to seeing Greek there... but in Germany?   It made me pause for a second and think ... "HUH?"  :)   

Regardless, thank you for the translation and the ponderings!   Efharisto poli, ke to ektimo afto!  :)


 

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