"The Incident" Greek Text Translated
posted 8 years, 8 months ago. by Audibly Lost to Audibly Lost, Lost, Season 5, The Incident, The Lostmeister, Translation

That’s right folks, I’ve managed not to blog almost all season because I was saving my effort for now (even though I actually did little to no work on translating this myself)… it was some nice people (who don’t even watch Lost) on a Debian Linux chat room (specifically user gvaiou) through which I was able to get the Ancient Greek text from last night’s episode translated. It’s from The Odyssey book 6, when Odysseus washes up on the shore of Skheria and speaks with Nausicaa, who aids him. The line, translated as “May heaven grant you in all things your heart’s desire,” is part of what Odysseus says to Nausicaa as he is thanking her for clothing and food.

“And now, O queen, have pity upon me, for you are the first person I have met, and I know no one else in this country. Show me the way to your town, and let me have anything that you may have brought here to wrap your clothes in. May heaven grant you in all things your heart’s desire – husband, house, and a happy, peaceful home; for there is nothing better in this world than that man and wife should be of one mind in a house. It discomfits their enemies, makes the hearts of their friends glad, and they themselves know more about it than any one.”

I reached out the Debian guys while searching for translations last night and by morning I had an answer waiting for me. Special shout out to Joshmeister from The Lostmeister blog and podcast who was recording his podcast when I began looking, I joined him for the podcast and we discussed this quite a bit, though didn’t have the final translation.

Obviously a lot more work can be done interpreting this and perhaps going through that portion of the Odyssey in detail (which I have not done by any means) so it will be cool to see what people make of this.

Here it is:

  • philologist

    Well, not quite exactly. Θεοί doesn’t mean heaven, it means gods in greek. A a Greek and a philologist I would translate the phrase like this: “May Gods give you all that your mind wishes”.

  • Congested

    Good point, as many have since informed me. As you can see form the link I went with the Samuel Butler translation, though it is admittedly a different interpretation. When I studied in Greece that’s the version we studied with, so that’s why I used it… having said that it was more of a personal preference and I realize its not the literal translation.

  • Congested


  • Anonymous

    As much as I respect everyone’s opinions and contributions regarding the translation of the Greek lines on the tapestry, there are canonical translations of Homer’s Odyssey, like the author of this blog well understands and uses. May I need to remind that those translations are NOT made by astronauts, postmen, cooks or marines? But by professors of literature and linguistics? That the history of canonical translations consist of many discussions as to which word choices reflect best the meaning intended in the original text, instead of some dry word-by-word correspondence?

    In every single canonically acknowledged translation, it is HEARTS, not minds. The reason for this is philosophical and cultural, more than ‘philological’. In Ancient Greek culture, there’s no such clear cut semantic difference between heart, mind as opposed to modern thought suggests. In short: this is an issue that exceeds “hey I notice that Greek word and can read it and it isn’t ‘heart’. “

    Greetings to Congested, and thnx for the good work. I sure will be checking this blog in the future.