Essays and Miscellanies, by Plutarch

Literary Essays.

The Life and Poetry of Homer

(Homeric quotations are almost all taken from Lord Derby’s “Iliad” and Butcher and Long’s “Odyssey.” The first is indicated by the letter I, the second by O.)

Homer, who was in time first among most poets and by his power first of all poets, we justly read first, thereby gaining the greatest advantages for our language, for our intellect, and for practical knowledge. Let us speak of his poetry, first having shortly recalled his origin.

Homer, Pindar says, was a Chian and of Smyrnae; Simonides says a Chian; Antimachus and Nicander, a Colophonion; but the philosopher Aristotle says he was of Iete; the historian Ephorus says he was from Kyme. Some do not hesitate to say he was from Salamis in Cyprus; some, an Argive. Aristarchus and Dionysius the Thracian say that he was an Athenian. By some he is spoken of as the son of Maeon and Kritheus; by others, (a son) of the river-god Meles.

Just as there is a difficulty about his origin, so there is about the time in which he flourished. Aristarchus says he lived about the period of the Ionian emigration; this happened sixty years after the return of the Heraclidae. But the affair of the Heraclidae took place eighty years after the destruction of Troy. Crates reports that he lived before the return of the Heraclidae, so he was not altogether eighty years distant from the Trojan War. But by very many it is believed that he was born one hundred years after the Trojan War, not much before the foundation of the Olympic games, from which the time according to the Olympics is reckoned.

There are two poems of his, the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey,” both, of which are arranged according to the number of letters in the alphabet, not by the poet himself, but by Aristarchus, the grammarian. Of these, the “Iliad” records the deeds of the Greeks and Barbarians in Ilium on account of the rape of Helen, and particularly the valor displayed in the war by Achilles. In the “Odyssey” are described the return of Ulysses home after the Trojan War, and his experiences in his wanderings, and how he took vengeance on those who plotted against his house. From this it is evident that Homer sets before us, through the “Iliad,” bodily courage; in the “Odyssey,” nobility of soul.

But the poet is not to be blamed because in his poetry he sets forth not only the virtues but the evils of the soul, its sadness and its joys, its fears and desires; for being a poet, it is necessary for him to imitate not only good but evil characters. For without these the deeds would not get the admiration of the hearer, who must pick out the better characters. And he has made the gods associating with men not only for the sake of interest and entertainment, but that he might declare by this that the gods care for and do not neglect men.

To sum up, an extraordinary and mythical narration of events is employed in order to stir his readers with wonder and to make his hearers strongly impressed. Whence he seems to have said some things contrary to what is likely. For the persuasive always follows where the remarkable and elevated are previously conjoined. Therefore he not only elevates actions, and turns them from their customary course, but words as well. That he always handles novel things and things out of the common sphere, and leads on his hearers, is evident to every one. And indeed in these fabulous narratives, if one reads not unattentively but carefully each element of what is said, Homer appears to have been at home in the whole sphere and art of logic, and to have supplied many incentives, and as it were seeds of all kinds of thought and action to his posterity, not to poets alone, but to the authors of historical and scientific works. Let us first look at his varied form of speech, and afterward at his sound knowledge on matters of fact. All poetry grips the hearer by definite order of coordinated expressions, by rhythm and metre, since the smooth and flowing, by becoming at the same time grave and sweet, forces the attention by its action on the senses. Whence it comes to pass also that it delights not only by the striking and attractive parts, but easily persuades by the parts tending to virtue.

The poems of Homer have the most perfect metre, the hexameter, which is also called heroic. It is called hexameter because each line has six feet: one of these is of two long syllables, called spondee; the other, of three syllables, one long and two short, which is called dactyl. Both are isochronic. These in interchangeable order fill out the hexameter verse. It is called heroic because in it the deeds of the heroes are recounted.

He makes use of a sound diction, combining the characteristics of every Greek dialect, from which it is plain that he travelled over the whole of Greece and among every people in it. He uses the ellipse of the Dorians, due to their practice of shortening their speech, saying for [Greek omitted], as (O. i. 392): “Immediately a beautiful horse ([Greek omitted]) was his,” and for [Greek omitted] he uses [Greek omitted], as (O. xix. 543): “Because ([Greek omitted]) an eagle killed my geese”; and for [Greek omitted], “back,” [Greek omitted], changing the o into a, the [Greek letter omitted] and the [Greek letter omitted] into its related letter. And [Greek omitted] he changes to [Greek omitted](I. xiv. 249): “For before at another time ([Greek omitted]) your precepts made me modest,” and similar cases. Likewise, dropping the middle syllable, he says for [Greek omitted], “of like hair,” and [Greek omitted], “of the same years,” [Greek omitted]; and for [Greek omitted], that is, “of the same father,” [Greek omitted]; for [Greek omitted]; “to tremble,” [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], “I honour,” [Greek omitted]. It is a characteristic of the Dorians also to transpose letters, as when they say for [Greek omitted], [Greek omitted].

In composite words he makes use of the syncope of the Aeolians, saying [Greek omitted] instead of [Greek omitted], “they went to sleep,” and [Greek omitted], for [Greek omitted], “to subject.”

Then when the third person of the imperfect among other Greek peoples ends in the diphthong [Greek letter], the Eolians end in [Greek letter], as when they say for [Greek omitted], “he was loving,” [Greek omitted], and for [Greek omitted], “he was thinking,” [Greek omitted]. This custom Homer followed, saying (I. xi. 105): “He bound ([Greek omitted]) in tender twigs,” instead of [Greek omitted], and (O. v. 478): “Which neither any humid power of the wind penetrates” [Greek omitted]. Besides this they change [Greek letter] into [Greek letter], as they say [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], “odor,” and [Greek Omitted] for [Greek omitted], “we knew.”

Besides, they use pleonasm in some expressions, as when they put for [Greek omitted], “calm,” [Greek omitted], [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], “but,” [Greek omitted] got [Greek omitted], “having cried.” And when to the second person of verbs they add [Greek omitted], for [Greek omitted] “thou speakest,” [Greek omitted], and for [Greek omitted], “thou hast spoken,” [Greek omitted]. Some attribute the doubling of the consonant to the Dorians, some to the Aeolians. Such as we find in I. v. 83: “Black death laid hold on [Greek omitted] him,” [Greek omitted]; for [Greek omitted] as I. iii. 321): “Each did these deeds.”

He preserves the peculiarity of the Ionians for the preterite tenses of verbs the aphaeresis, as where he says [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted]. So in past tenses they are want to begin with the same letter as in present tenses and to leave off the [Greek letter] in the word [Greek omitted], “priest” and [Greek omitted], “hawk.” Besides, they add [Greek letter] to the third persons of the subjunctive mood, as when they say for [Greek omitted] “may have come,” [Greek omitted], and for [Greek omitted], “may have taken,” [Greek omitted]. This participle they add to the dative, [Greek omitted], “to the gates,” “to the woods.” Besides, they say [Greek omitted] for “name”, and [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], “disease” and [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], “empty,” and [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], “black.” And then they change long [Greek letter] into [Greek letter], as[Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], “Juno,” and for [Greek omitted], Minerva. And sometimes they change [Greek letter] into [Greek letter], saying for [Greek omitted], “having forgotten.” Moreover, they write in full by diaeresis words which are circumflexed, for [Greek omitted], “intelligent,” [Greek omitted]. In the same way they lengthen genitive singulars in [Greek omitted], as [Greek omitted], and genitive feminines in [Greek omitted], as [Greek omitted], “of gates,” [Greek omitted], “of nymphs,” and finally regular plurals of nouns in the neuter gender ending in [Greek letter] as [Greek omitted], [Greek omitted], “breasts,” “darts,” and their genitives likewise. They say in their way [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted].

But he most largely used the Attic dialect for it was combined with others. For just as in Attic they say [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], “people,” so he did, as [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted], “debt.” It is a custom with them sometimes to use contractions and to put one syllable for two, as for [Greek omitted], “word,” [Greek omitted], and for [Greek omitted], “clothes,” [Greek omitted]. Related to these is that Homeric expression, “the Trojans in crowds bent over” [Greek omitted], and another case, “fields bearing the lotos” [Greek omitted], instead of [Greek omitted]. Besides they take [Greek letter] from that type of optative, saying for [Greek omitted], “it might seem good to thee,” [Greek omitted], for [Greek omitted], “mightiest thou be honored,” [Greek omitted]. There is also an Atticism [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted] in his verse (I. iii. 102):—

But you others discerned most quickly.

Likewise this, too, is Attic, “the more were worse [Greek omitted], the few better [Greek omitted], than their fathers;” we say [Greek omitted] or [Greek omitted]. And they do not prolong these by diaeresis, [Greek omitted], as “oxen [Greek omitted] falling down,” and, “fishes [Greek omitted] and birds.” And that, too, is said in the Attic fashion (O. xii. 331):—

Nor flowing do they break ([Greek omitted] for
[Greek omitted]) by their violence.

In the same way as [Greek omitted], [Greek omitted].

And the taking away short vowels is Attic: [Greek omitted], “he is washed,” [Greek omitted], “I think,” [Greek omitted]; in the same way for [Greek omitted], “he is loosed,” he says [Greek omitted]. The Attics say [Greek omitted], adding an unnecessary [Greek letter], whence also comes [Greek omitted], “he was pouring out wine.” They contract the iota in words of this sort, as for [Greek omitted], “shores,” [Greek omitted], “shores,” and for [Greek omitted], [Greek omitted]. So also (I. xi. 782):—

You two [Greek omitted] wished it very much.

Finally in datives ending in pure iota with a penultimate of alpha the same is done, as [Greek omitted], “horn,” [Greek omitted], “old age,” [Greek omitted], “ray.” And this, too, is Attic, where it is said [Greek omitted], “let them be,” and [Greek omitted], “let them follow,” for [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted]. The use of the dual which Homer repeatedly employs is of the same type. Also with feminine substantives he joins masculine articles, participles, and adjectives, as [Greek omitted]. This is a practice with Plato, as when he uses [Greek omitted] “pillaging,” and [Greek omitted], “the wise just woman.” So, too, Homer (I. viii. 455), speaking of Here and Athene, says:—

In vain smitten [Greek omitted] with a thunderbolt on
our chariots —

and (I. iv. 22):—

Athene was indeed unwilling [Greek omitted] —

and (I. ii. 742):—

Famous [Greek omitted] Hippodamea.

Moreover the dialects have many peculiarities of construction. When the poet says (I. iv. 100):—

But seek with your javelins of divine Menelaos —

instead of the accusative, he presents an Attic usage. But when he says (I. ii. 186):—

He took for him the sceptre and he took the cup for
fair-cheeked Themis —

instead of “from him” and “from Themis,” he is employing a Dorian usage.

Accordingly it appears how he makes his diction varied by throwing together words of all the Greek dialects, and sometimes he makes use of foreign words as are the aforesaid, sometimes archaic words, as when he says [Greek omitted], “falchion,” and [Greek omitted], “sword,” sometimes common and ordinary words, as when he says [Greek omitted], sword and shield”; one might wonder how well common words in his poetry preserve dignity of speech.

But an artificially wrought style cultivates variation from the customary, by which it becomes clever, more dignified, and altogether more attractive. The turn of expression is called a Trope, and change of construction is called a Schema. The forms of these are described in technical treatises. Let us examine if any of these is omitted by Homer or whether anything else was discovered by his successors which he himself did not use first.

Among Tropes, Onomatopoeia is very common. For he knew the early origin of words. The first who gave names to things called many of them from what had taken place, and therefore introduced inarticulate sounds into writing. As when they said [Greek omitted], “to blow,” [Greek omitted], “to cut,” [Greek omitted], to woo,” [Greek omitted], “to thunder,” and others like these. Whence he himself created certain words not previously existing, copying the things they signified, as [Greek omitted], “sound,” and other things also indicating sounds, [Greek omitted], and others of the same kind. None could be found more significant. And again where some words pertaining to certain things he attributes to others, as when he says (I. xxi. 337):—

Bearing an evil fire —

which signifies its power in burning, and “fever” he uses for “fire.” Like these is the expression (I. xix. 25):—

Brass striking wounds —

he writes to express wounds inflicted by brass. And to sum up he uses much novelty of speech, with great freedom, changing some from their customary use, giving distinction to others for the sake of infusing in his language beauty and grandeur.

He has also much fertility in epithets; these being fitted to their objects properly and naturally have the force of proper names, as when he gives to the several gods each some proper designation, so he calls Zeus the “all-wise and high thundering,” and the Sun, Hyperion, “advancing aloft,” and Apollo, Phoebus, that is, shining. But after the Onomatopoeia let us examine other Tropes.

Catechresis, which changes a word from a customary signification to another not recognized. This is to be found in the poet when he says golden chain [Greek omitted], but [Greek omitted] properly means a rope, and when he says a goat helmet [Greek omitted]; now a helmet is [Greek omitted] in Homer, because it used to be made of dog’s skin, not of goat’s skin.

Metaphor, so-called because it transfers a thing from its proper significance to another with an analogous likeness to both, occurs in many and varied forms in verse, as is the line (0. ix. 481):—

He comes, having broken off the crown of a great mountain —

and (O. x. 195):

An island which the sea laves and crowns.

For the relation a crown has to him whom it encircles, the same the sea has to an island. By making use of related but not usual words he makes his speech not only more beautiful but more picturesque.

There are in Homer various kinds of metaphors; some applied from animate things to animate, as, “the driver of the caerulean ship spoke” instead of the sailor, and “he went to Agamemnon the son of Atreus, the shepherd of the people” instead of king. Some are applied from animate to inanimate, as (I. ii. 824):—

Under the extreme foot of Ida —

that is, the rising ground. Also (I. ix. 141):—

The breast of the field —

that is, the fertility. Others, on the contrary, from inanimate to animate, as (I. xxiv. 205):—

The iron breast.

From inanimate to animate, as (O. v. 490):—

Preserving the seed of fire —

instead of the generating origin. Then he has metaphors of verbs as well as substantives (I. xvii. 265):—

As the shores bellow with the smiting salt and gale —

instead of “resound.”

Another Trope which is called Metalepsis, signifying a different thing by a synonym (O. xv. 299):—

I beached the ship in the sharp islands —

for he wishes to signify islands properly called jagged. Both words in Greek are synonyms. For in Greek sharp not only signifies swiftness of motion, but also in a figure that which rises into a slender shape. Such is the quotation (O. ix. 327):—

accompanied him and sharpened my pace.

Another Trope is named Synecdoche, called from this reason; that from what is properly meant, another of the like kind is understood. This Trope has also many varieties. For either we perceive the part from the whole, as (I. xii. 137):—

They advanced straight to the walls the burning bulls —

for he wishes to indicate by the appellation “bulls” the leather out of which shields are wont to be made. Or from a part the whole (O. i. 343):—

I long for such a head —

for from the head he signifies the man. And when for beautiful he says “endowed with beautiful cheeks,” and for well armed he says “well greaved.” Or from one the many, as when he speaks of Odysseus (O. i. 2):—

When he wasted the sacred citadel of Troy.

Not he by himself took Troy, but along with the rest of the Greeks. From the many one, as (I. iii. 397), “happy breasts,” i.e. breast. From the species the genus, as (I. xii. 380):—

Casting on the hard marble —

for marble is a species of rock. From the genus the species (O. ii. 159). —

To know the birds and to say many fitting things.

He wishes to say not all birds, but only the birds of auspices. From the instruments the action, as (I. ii. 827):—

Pandorus to whom he gave the bow of Apollo.

By the bow he indicates the skill in using it. And (O. xii. 172):—

Sitting they made the water white —

and (O. iii. 486):—

Now others moved the whole day the thong of their sandal.

This comes from an accidental feature; in the first case “they were rowing,” in the next “they were running,” is to be implied. Besides there is the consequent to the precedent, as (O. xi. 245):—

She loosed the virgin zone.

It follows that she defiled it. From the consequent the precedent, as when instead of saying “to kill” he says “to disarm,” that is, to spoil.

There is another Trope called Metonymy, i.e. when an expression applied properly to one thing indicates another related to it, such as (I. ii. 426):—

But the young men proceed to grind Demeter —

for he means the crop of grain named from its inventor, Demeter. And when he says (O. xix. 28):—

They held the transfixed entrails over Hephaestus.

By the name Hephaestus he signifies fire. Like what has previously been mentioned is this (I. i. 223). —

Whoever shall touch my choenix —

for what is contained in the choenix is intended.

There is besides another Trope, Autonomasia, when an epithet or co-title is used for a proper name, as in this example (I. viii. 39):—

The son of Peleus again attacked the son of Atreus
with petulant words.

By this he indicates Achilles and Agamemnon respectively. And again (I. xxii. 183):—

Be of good cheer, Tritonia, dear daughter —

and in other places (I. xx. 39):—

Shorn Phoebus.

In the one case he means Athene and in the other Apollo.

There is, too, Antiphrasis, or an expression signifying the opposite from what it appears to do (I. i. 330):—

Seeing these Achilles did not rejoice.

He wishes to say the contrary, that seeing them he was disgusted.

There is also Emphasis, which through reflection adds vigor to what is said (O. xi. 523):—

But descending into the home which Epeus constructed.

In the word “descending” he reveals the great size of the house. Of the same kind is the line (I. xvi. 333):—

The whole sand was hot with blood —

for in this he furnishes a more intense description, as if the sand was so bathed with blood that it was hot. These kind of Tropes were invented by Homer first of all.

Let us look at the changes of construction which are called figures to see if Homer also first invented these. Figure is a method of expression divergent from ordinary custom for the sake of ornament or utility, altered by a kind of fiction. For beauty is added to narrative by variety and change of expression, and these make the style more impressive. They are also useful because they exalt and intensify innate qualities and powers.

Among the figures Pleonasm is sometimes used for the sake of the metre; as in (I. xix. 247):—

Odysseus adding all ten talents of gold —

for the word “all” is added without contributing to the sense. It is done for the sake of ornament, cf. (I. xviii. 12). —

Certainly the strenuous son of Menoetius is quite dead —

for the word “quite” is pleonastic after the Attic fashion.

Sometimes by several forms of speech he unfolds his meaning. This is called Periphrasis. As when he says “Sons of the Achaeans” for Achaeans, and the “Herculean might” for Hercules.

Things are said figuratively by Mutation when the ordinary order is inverted. But he puts in an expression in the midst which is called Hyperbaton, as in this (I. xvii. 542):—

Just as a lion feeds on an eaten bull —

instead of saying the lion eats up the bull. And so he passes the limits of the sentence (I. ii. 333):—

He said, and loudly cheered the Greeks — and loud
From all the hollow ships came back the cheers —
In admiration of Ulysses’ speech.

The order is the Argives applauded with a great shout the speech of divine Odysseus.

Of the same kind is the figure called Parembole, or interposition, when something outside having nothing to do with the subject is introduced. If it is removed, the construction is not affected I. i. 234):—

By this I say and with an oath confirm
By this my royal staff, which never more
Shall put forth leaf nor spray, since first it left
Upon the mountain side its parent stem
Nor blossom more; since all around the axe
Hath lopped both leaf and bark — . . .

and the rest as much as he has said about the sceptre, then joining what follows with the beginning (I. i. 340):—

The time shall come when all the sons of Greece
Shall mourn Achilles’ loss.

He uses also Palillogia — that is the repetition of some part of a sentence, or several parts are repeated. This figure is called Reduplication, such as (I. xx. 371):—

Encounter him well! Though his hands were hands of fire,
Of fire, his hands, his strength as burnished steel.

Sometimes certain insertions are made and they are repeated, as in (O. i. 22):—

Howbeit Poseidon had now departed for the distant Ethiopians,
the Ethiopians that are sundered in twain, the uttermost
of men.

This is a figure revealing the feeling of the speaker and at the same time affecting the hearer.

Of the same kind is Relation; when at the commencement of several members of a sentence the same part is repeated. An example of this from the poet is (I. ii. 671):—

Nireus three well-trimmed ships from Syme brought.
Nireus to Charops whom Aglaia bore.
Nireus the goodliest man of all the Greeks.

This figure is likewise adapted to excite the emotions and give sweetness to the expression.

He has also Regression. This is when one puts forward two names of objects. When the sense is not yet complete, the poet returns to both of the names, completing what is lacking in the sense, as (I. v. 518). —

Followed the thronging bands of Troy, by Mars and fierce
Bellona led: she by the hand wild uproar held; while Mars
a giant spear brandished aloft.

The characteristic of this figure is variety and perspicuity.

He has also the figure called Homoioteleuton in which the parts of the sentence have endings similar in sound and have the same syllables at the end (O. xv. 74):—

Men should love a guest while he is with them, and send
him on his way when he would depart —

and in the following (O. vi. 42):—

And she departed to Olympus, where they say is the seat of the gods that standeth fast forever. Not by the wind is it shaken nor ever wet with rain nor doth the snow come nigh thereto, but most clear air is spread about it cloudless and the white light floats over it.

When periods or their members end in nouns which are of the same declension this is properly called Homoioptolon, as the following (I. ii. 87):—

[Greek omitted]

As swarms of bees, that pour in ceaseless stream
From out the crevice of some hollow rock.

The above and others like them add grace and attractiveness to the narrative.

As a proof of his care in composition we often see he employs two figures in the same verses, as Epanaphora and Homoioteleuton (I. ii. 382):—

Each sharpen well his spear, his shield prepare
Each to his fiery steeds their forage give.

Belonging to these is the figure called Parison, which is formed out of two or more numbers having an equal number of words (I. vii. 93):—

Shamed to refuse, but fearful to accept. —

and again (I. xvi. 282):—

Had cast away difference, had resumed friendship —

That this figure gives much ornament of style is very clear.

The like grace comes from Paranomasia, when besides the name in question another similar one is added at a slight interval (I. vi. 130):—

Not long did Dryas’ son, Lycurgus brave —

and in another (I. ii. 758):—

Swift-footed Protheus led.

But the above examples are arranged either by Pleonasm or by some such like artifice. But there is another due to absence of a word. Of these there is what is called Ellipse, when some word being omitted the sense is plain from what has gone before, as in the following (I. ix. 328):—

Twelve cities have I taken with my ships,
Eleven more by land on Trojan soil —

where the words “have I taken” are wanting in last line, but are supplied from the preceding one. This is said to be by Ellipse (I. xii. 243):—

One bird best to defend the fatherland —

where the word “is” is lacking. And (I. xx. 293):—

Alas I the grief to me of great-hearted Aeneas —

when the words “is present,” “comes,” or something of the kind, are understood.

There are many kinds of Ellipses in Homer; the effect of the figure is quickness.

Of this sort is Asyndeton when the conjunctions uniting sentences are removed. This is done not only for the sake of celerity, but also of the sake of emotional emphasis. Such as is the following (O. x. 251):—

We went on our way, noble Odysseus, up through the coppice
even as thou didst command; we found within the forest glades
the fair halls builded of polished stone of Circe.

In these the conjunction is dropped since the speaker seeks the quickest method of expressing his message. There is among the figures what is called the Incongruous or the Variation. It is used when the ordinary arrangement is made different. And the variety is due either to impressing grace and elegance to the words; the ordinary movements not seeming to be followed, but the alteration has an arrangement of its own.

It often takes place when the genders of nouns are changed as [Greek omitted] instead of [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted]. It was not unusual for the ancients, and especially among the people of Attica, to use masculine for feminine as superior and more vigorous. Nor did they do this without rhyme and reason, but when they made use of a word, as an epithet apart from the body which was spoken of. For the words concerned with the body are “great, beautiful,” those not connected with it, “glorious, fortunate.” Besides, they are ambiguous on account of their composition. For in general all compound things are common to either gender. And wherever a verb or participle is used with a masculine and feminine noun, the masculine prevails (I. vi. 567):—

The virgins and the youths minding childish things —

where the participle is masculine.

Certain things, owing to the peculiarity of the dialect or the custom of that time, are said differently, [Greek omitted] feminine instead of [Greek omitted] (O. i. 53):—

And himself upholds the tall pillars which keep earth
and sky asunder.

Often as the narrative proceeds he changes the genders, as in (O, xv. 125):—

I give to you the gift, my dear son.

Son is a neuter substantive to which the adjective agrees; the poet refers it to the person. Of the same kind is that which is said by Dione to Venus (I. v. 382):—

Have patience, dearest child; though much enforced.

Analogous to it is that (O. xi. 90):—

Anon came the soul of Theban Teiresias, with a golden sceptre
in his hand —

for he made the participle [Greek omitted] agree not with the gender of soul [Greek omitted], but the gender of the body, that is, Teiresias. For often he looks not to the word but to the sense, as in this passage (I. xvi. 280):—

In all their spirit stirred, and the phalanxes moved hoping
for the idle son of Peleus from the ships —

for the participle [Greek omitted] does not agree with the word “phalanxes,” but with the men composing them.

In another way he changes genders, as when he says (O. xii. 75):—

And a dark cloud encompasses it; this never streams away —

since [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted], “cloud,” are synonyms, using first [Greek omitted] he afterward makes his adjectives agree with [Greek omitted] understood. Like this are these verses (I. ii. 459):—

As various tribes of winged fowl or geese
Or cranes or long necked swans
Besides Coysters stream, now here, now there,
Disporting, ply their wings.

For having first set down generically the kinds of birds, which are neuter, then after speaking of the species in the masculine he comes back again to the neuter — settling down with a noise giving the proper agreement to the general word of the species.

The poet often changes the number as well as the gender (I. xv. 305):—

The crowd approach the ships of the Achaeans.

First comes a singular then a plural verb, plainly looking to the sense, for although the word “crowd” is called singular, yet it embraces many individuals.

Like it in the opposite way is when the plural precedes the singular follows (I. xvi. 264):—

They having a martial heart each one rushes on.

The word [Greek omitted] is singular, being applied to a multitude has the same effect as all ([Greek omitted]). The same kind of figure is the following (O. iii. 4):—

And they reached Pylas, the stablished castle of Neleus, and
the people were doing sacrifice on the seashore.

The people of Pylas are meant.

He has changes of cases, the nominative and the vocative being interchanged in the following verse (I. ii. 107):—

To Agamemnon last Thyestis left it —

and (I. i. 411):—

Cloud-compelling Zeus —

and (0. xvii. 415):—

Friend [Greek omitted] give me for thou dost not seem to me
to be the worst of the Greeks.

The genitive and dative are changed in the next example (I. iii. 16):—

Godlike Paris fights in front for the Trojans —

instead of “in front of.” And the contrary in the next (O. v. 68):—

There about the hollow cave trailed a gadding vine.

Where in the original the Greek word “cave” is in the genitive case, not as it should be, dative. And the cause of the mutation is that the nominative accusative and vocative seem to have a certain relation to one another. On which account nouns of the neuter gender and many masculine and feminine ones have these three cases alike. Likewise the genitive has a certain affinity with the dative. This is found in the dual number of all words. Hence the cases are changed contrary to what is usual. Sometimes it is possible to discover the reason for the change, as in the expression (I. v. 222):—

Understanding of the field —

and (I. ii. 785):—

They crossed the field —

just as if he had used the preposition “through.”

A fine example of change of case is found in the beginning of both his poems:—

Sing, O Muse, the vengeance, etc., whence to Greece unnumbered
ills arose.

Tell me, Muse, of that man, of many a shift and many the woes
he suffered.

Sometimes after the genitive he brings in the nominative, as in this (I. i. 272):—

Of others who are now mortal.

He arranges many things in figures in various ways, as the following passage (I. ii. 350):—

For well I ween, that on the day when first
We Grecians hitherward our course address’d
To Troy the messengers of blood and death
Th’ o’erruling son of Saturn, on our right
His lightning flashing, with auspicious sign
Assur’d us of his favor.

And the following is not unlike it (I. vi. 510):—

His bright arms flashing like the gorgeous sun
Hasten’d with boastful mien and rapid step.

And these things, according to the ancient fashion, he exalts not unreasonably. If any one changes the participles into verbs, he will discover the sequence, for the word “lightning” has the same value as “when it was lightning,” and “relying” “since he relied.” Like these cases are the following (O. xii. 73):—

There are two crags, one reaches the broad sky,

and (I. vii. 306):—

They parted: Ajax to the Grecian camp
And Hector to the ranks of Troy returned.

And others of the same kind. For it is reasonable when one is about to speak of two individuals to put first what is common to the two, keeping the nominative in both cases. It is plain that this common use displays much grace. Sometimes employing a common case he signifies only one, as in the following (I. iii. 211):—

Both sat down, Ulysses was the higher in honor.

The form of words he often changes, sometimes putting the comparative instead of the absolute (I. i. 32):—

That you may return a more sane being.

Sometimes the superlative for the positive, as (I. xi. 832); —

Most just of Centaurs.

Such is the change in nouns. But in verbs there is a change in moods, as when the infinitive is used for the imperative, as (I. v. 124):—

Go fearless onward, Diomed, to meet the Trojan darts —

where the imperative “meet” might be expected.

Or the, indicative in place of the optative, as (I. ii. 488):—

The crowd I shall not relate nor name —

where one would expect “I could not relate nor name.” And, on the contrary, the optative for the indicative, as (I. v. 388):—

Mars would then be lost —

for “was lost.”

There is a variation of tenses when the present is used for the future (I. l. 29)—

Her I release not till her youth be fled —

instead of “shall flee.” Or for the imperfect (O. vi. 86):—

Where truly were the unfailing cisterns, and bright water
wells up free from beneath —

instead of “welled up.” And the future for the present (O. i. 24):—

Abiding some, where Hyperion will sink; and some, where
he rises.

Or in place of the past (O. v. 300):—

I fear that indeed the goddess may spake all things truly.

And the voices are often changed. Instead of the active, the passive and middle are often used, as (I. i. 194):—

A great sword is drawn from its sheath —

instead of “he drew.” And (I. xiii. 4):—

His keen glance turning to view —

instead of “seeing.”

And, on the other hand, the active instead of the passive:—

I shall give a tripod with a golden handle —

instead of “shall be given.”

It can be seen how he changes numbers, putting the plural for the singular as often happens in common speech when one speaks of himself as if of several, as in the following (O. i. 10):—

Of these things, goddess daughter of Zeus, from whatsoever
source thou wilt declare even to us —

instead of “to me.”

We find with him a change of persons of one sort, as (I. v. 877):—

The other gods, who in Olympus dwell,
Are to thee obedient and we are submissive.

For since there are many gods, among whom is the person speaking, both classes are well indicated by saying, “they are obedient” and “we are submissive.” In another way leaving the person who is spoken of, he changes from one to another. This is called specifically Apostrophe, and affects us by its emotional character and stimulates the hearer, as in the following stanza (I. xv. 346):—

While loudly Hector to the Trojans called
To assail the ships and leave the bloody spoils
Whom I elsewhere and from the ships aloof
Shall find —

changing from the narrative to direct discourse. In the narration itself he often uses Apostrophe (I. xx. 2.):

Round thee eager for the fray stood the sons of Greece.

But he makes use of direct narrative and change of persons, as in the following passage (I. ii. 337):—

Like children, Grecian warriors, ye debate
Like babes to whom unknown are feats of arms.
Atrides thou, as is thy wont, maintain
Unchang’d thy counsel; for the stubborn fight
Array the Greeks.

There is another kind of this Apostrophe (I. ii. 344):—

Thou wouldst not know to whom Tydides may join himself —

instead of “no one can know.”

And again (O. ix. 210):—

And a marvellous sweet smell went up from the mixing bowl:
then truly it was no pleasure to refrain.

58. He uses participles in the place of verbs, as in these words (I. viii. 306):—

Weighed down in a garden by this fruit —

instead of “it is weighed,” and (O. xiii. 113):—

Thither they as having knowledge of that place drive
their ships —

instead of “before they knew.”

And articles he often changes, setting demonstrative instead of relatives (I. xvi. 150):—

Whom Podarge, swift of foot, to Zephyr bore —

and the contrary (I. xvii. 460):—

And breastplate: for his own his faithful friend hath lost.

So he was wont to change prepositions (I. i. 424):—

Yesterday he went through the banquet —

instead of “to the banquet.”

And (I. i. 10):—

And he stirred up an evil plague through the army.

Likewise he joins with a preposition a noun improperly, as in the
verse (I. x. 101):—

Lest perchance they wish to decide the contest in the night —

where the preposition is followed by, the accusative, not the
genitive. And as to other prepositions, some he changes, some he
omits (I. ii. 696):—

Of whom he lies lamenting —

instead of “concerning whom.”

And (O. xxiii. 91):—

Expecting whether he would bespeak him —

instead of “speak to him.” And other prepositions he in the same
fashion changes or leaves out. And adverbs he changes, using
indifferently motion towards, rest in, and motion from a place
(I. xx. 151):—

His grandchildren were setting down from elsewhere —

instead of “elsewhere” (I. vii. 219):—

And Ajax came from near —

instead of “near.”

Finally he has changes of conjunctions, as (O. i. 433):—

He never lay with her and he shunned the wrath of his lady —

instead of “for he shunned,” etc. And these are the figures of
speech which not only all poets but the writers of prose
have employed.

But significance is given by him in many ways. One of which is Proanaphonesis, which is used when any one in the midst of a narration uses an order proper to other things, as in the following line (O. xxi, 98):—

He was to be the first that should taste the arrow —

and Epiphonesis (I. xvii. 32):—

After the event may e’en a fool be wise.

The use of Prosopopoiia is frequent and varied with him. For he
introduces many different people speaking together, to whom he
attributes various characteristics. Sometimes he re-creates
characters no longer living, as when he says (I. vii. 125):—

What grief would fill the aged Pellus’s soul.

There is, too, Diatyposis, which is the working out of things
coming into being or actually existent or that have come to pass,
brought in to make what is said clearer, as in the following
(I. ix. 593):—

The slaughtered men, the city burnt with fire,
The helpless children and deep-bosomed dames.

Or, to produce pity (I. xxii. 60):—

Look, too, on me with pity: me on whom
E’en on the threshold of mine age, hath Jove
A bitter burthen cast, condemned to see
My sons struck down, my daughters dragged away
In servile bonds: our chamber’s sanctity
Invaded; and our babes by hostile hands
Dashed to the ground.

There is also to he found in him Irony, i.e. an expression
revealing the opposite of what is said with a certain ethical
artifice; as in the speech of Achilles (I. ix. 391):—

Let him choose among the Greeks a fitter King.

For he hints that he would not find one of more royal temper.
And this is the same Trope used when one speaks about himself in
extenuation and gives a judgment contrary to one’s own. There is
another form when any one pretends to praise another and really
censures him. As the verse in Homer, put in the mouth of
Telemachus (O. xvii. 397):—

Antinous — verily thou hast good care of me, as it were a
father for his son.

For he says to an enemy that he cares as a father for his son, and,
again, when any one by way of jest extolls his neighbor, as the
suitors (O. ii. 325):—

In my truth Telemachus planneth our destruction. He will
bring a rescue either from sandy Pylos, or it may be from
Sparta, so terribly is he set on slaying us.

Sarcasm is a species of Irony used when any one jibes at another
with a pretence of smiling. As Achilles, in the following passage
(I. ix. 335):—

He meted out
Their several portions, and they hold them still.
From me, from me alone of all the Greeks,
He bore away and keeps my cherished wife.
Well! let him keep her, solace of his bed.

Like this in kind is Allegory, which exhibits one thing by another,
as in the following (O. xxii. 195):—

Now in good truth Melanthiusi shalt thou watch all night,
lying on, a soft bed as beseems thee.

For being in chains and hanging, he says he can rest on a soft bed.

Often, too, he makes use of Hyperbole, which, by exaggerating the truth, indicates emphasis, as (I. x. 437):—

These surpass in brilliancy the snow, in speed the eagle.

Homer used Tropes and figures of this sort and handed them down to
posterity, and justly obtains glory beyond all others.

Since there are also Characters of speech called Forms, of which one is Copiousness, the other Gracefulness, and the third Restraint, let us see if Homer has all these separate classes, on which poets and orators have worked after him. There are examples of these — copiousness in Thucydides, gracefulness in Lysias, restraint in Demosthenes. That is copious which by combination of words and sentences has great emphasis. An example of this is (O. v. 291):—

With that he gathered the clouds and troubled the waters of
the deep, rasping his trident in his hands: and he roused all
storms of all manner of winds and shrouded in clouds the land
and sea: and down sped night from heaven.

The graceful is delicate by the character of the matter. It is drawn out by the way it is expressed (I. vi. 466). —

Thus he spake, great Hector stretch’d his arms
To take the child: but back the infant shrank,
Crying, and sought his nurse’s sheltering breast,
Scar’d by the brazen helm and horse-hair plume.

The restrained is between the two, the copious and the graceful, as
(O. xxii. 291):—

Then Odysseus, rich in counsel, stripped him of his rags and
leaped on the great threshold with his bow and quiver full of
arrows, and poured forth all the swift shafts there before his
feet, and spake among the wooers.

But the florid style of speech, which has beauty and capacity for
creating delight and pleasure, like a flower, is frequent in our
poet; his poetry is full of such examples. The kinds of phrasing
have much novelty in Homer, as we shall go on to show, by giving a
few examples from which the rest may be gathered.

Every type of style practised among men is either historical, theoretic, or political. Let us examine whether the beginnings of these are to be found in him. Historical style contains a narration of facts. The elements of such a narration are character, cause, place, time, instrument, action, feeling, manner. There is no historical narration without some of these. So it is with our poet, who relates many things in their development and happening. Sometimes in single passages can be found relations of this kind.

Of character, as the following (I. v. 9):—

There was one Dores ‘mid the Trojan host,
The priest of Vulcan, rich, of blameless life;
Two gallant sons he had, Idaeus named
And Phegeus, skilled in all the points of war.

He describes features, also, as in the case of Thersites
(I. ii. 217):—

With squinting eyes, and one distorted foot,
His shoulders round, and buried in his breast
His narrow head, with scanty growth of hair.

And many other things, in which he often pictures the type or
appearance or character, or action or fortune of a person, as in
this verse (I. xx. 215):—

Dardanus first, cloud-compelling
Zeus begot —

and the rest.

There is in his poetry description of locality; where he speaks about the island near that of the Cyclops, in which he describes the look of the place, its size, its quality, and the things in it, and what is near it. Also, when he describes the things adjacent to the island of Calypso (O. v. 63):—

And round about the cave there was a wood-blossoming alder
and poplar, and sweet-smelling cypress.

And what follows. And innumerable other things of the same kind.

Time narratives are found as follows (I. ii. 134):—

Already now nine weary years have passed.

And (I. ii. 303):—

Not long ago, when ships of Greece were met at Aulis charged
with evil freight for Troy.

Then there are the causes, in which he shows why something is
coming to pass or has come to pass. Such are the things said at
the beginning of the “Iliad” (I. i. 8):—

Say then, what god the fatal strife provoked
Jove’s and Latona’s son; he filled with wrath
Against the King, with deadly pestilence
The Camp afflicted — and the people died
For Chryses’ sake, his priest, whom Atreus’ son
With scorn dismissed,-

and the rest. In this passage he says the cause of the difference
between Achilles and Agamemnon was the plague; but the plague was
caused by Apollo, and his wrath was due to the insult put upon
his priest.

Description of the instrument he gives, as when he tells of the shield made by Vulcan for Achilles. And there is a briefer one on the spear of Hector (I. viii. 493):—

In his hand
His massive spear he held twelve cubits long,
Whose glittering point flash’d bright with hoop of gold
Encircled round.

Narrations of fact are of several kinds, some like the following
(I. vii. 60):—

When in the midst they met, together rush’d
Bucklers and lances, and the furious might
Of mail-clad warriors; bossy shield on shield
Clattered in conflict; loud the clamor rose.

The emotional narrative is where the incident is connected with
some personal cause or energy, as when he speaks about things
arising from anger or fear or sorrow, or when people are wounded,
killed, or any other such thing happens to them. As a specimen of
cause, take the following (I. i. 103):—

His dark soul filled with fury, and his eyes
Flashed like flames of fire.

Of an action (I. xvii. 51):—

Those locks, that with the Graces hair might vie,
Those tresses bright, with gold and silver bound,
Were dabbled all with blood.

A Trope is constructive of action, or experience, or form,
according as one acts in a special way or is acted upon.
He follows the whole scene in this sort of narrative. An example of
it would be as follows (O. xxii. 15):—

But Odysseus aimed and smote him with the arrow in his throat,
and the point passed clean out through his delicate neck and
he fell back, and the cup dropped from his hand as he was
smitten, and at once through his nostrils there came up a
thick jet of slain man’s blood.

There is also in Homer narration which has for the most part
copious expression, a method of working in full, fitting the
subject. Sometimes, however, it is concise, as in the following
(I. xviii. 20):—

Patroclus lies in death,
And o’er his body now the war is waged,
His naked body, for his arms are now
The prize of Hector of the glancing helmet.

This type is often useful, for the quickness of the words make the reader and speaker more intent, and he immediately takes in the subject.

Sometimes he tells his story lightly; sometimes by an image or likeness or simile. An image, as when he says (O. xix. 53):—

Now forth from her chamber came the wise Penelope like
Artemis or golden Aphrodite.

A likeness as (I. iii. 196):—

He like a goat crossed the serried lines first.

A simile, when he makes a comparision of closely related things that has a connection with subject narrated. There are in Homer various kinds of similes. Constantly and in many ways he compares the behavior and nature of animals to the arts and habits of men.

Sometimes he takes a similitude from very small things, not considering the size of the body, but the nature of each; whence he likens boldness to a fly (I. xvii. 570):—

And she breathed in his breast the courage of the fly.

And he compares assiduity to the same creature (I. ii. 469):—

As the many generations of numberless flies.

The packing together and orderly moving crowd to bees (I. ii. 87):—

As are the crowds of countless bees.

So he shows anger and irritation (I. xvi. 259):—

Like skilful wasps.

And he adds in the same place “when boys are wont to tease,” in
order that he might heighten their passionate temper by being
stirred up by children. Of a continuous sound, he says
(I. iii. 151):—

Abundant as the cricket.

For it is a most chattering creature and incessant in it.

But those that produce with no order all kinds of sounds, he likens to (I. iii. 3):—

Just as the clamor of geese strikes to heaven.

But the multitudes resting in order, he likens to birds settling
down (I. ii. 493):—

Sitting down with clamor.

Sharpness of sight and act he sometimes likens to the falcon (I. xv. 238):—

Like to a falcon, swooping on a dove, swiftest of birds.

But sometimes to an eagle (I. xvii. 676):—

Like to an eagle, famed of sharpest sight
Of all that fly beneath the vault of Heav’n
Whom, soaring in the clouds, the crouching dove
Eludes not.

He declares its sharpness by its seeing from afar off;
its swiftness, by its seizing a very active animal. A man,
overcome by the sight of an enemy he compares to one who sees a
snake, for he does not hesitate to take examples from reptiles
(I. iii. 33):—

As when some traveller spies, could in his path upon the
mountain side, a deadly snake.

From the other animals he takes examples; of timidity from the hare
and also from the stag (I. iv. 243):—

Why stand ye thus like timid fawns?

From dogs sometimes he takes daring (I. x. 360):—

And as the hounds, well practis’d in the chase.

Sometimes love for their offspring (I. x. 14):-

As a dog loves and defends its pups.

But sometimes their readiness in watching (I. x. 183):—

As round a sheepfold keep their anxious watch
The dogs.

A capture done with passion and boldness he is wont to compare to
wolves (I. xvi. 352):—

As rav’ning wolves that lambs or kids assail.

Bravery and constancy he shows by wild boars, panthers, and lions,
dividing to each one what belongs to its nature. From boars, the
onslaught they have, in fighting, making it irresistible
(I. iv. 253):—

Idomeneus of courage stubborn as the forest boar.

From panthers, inexhaustible daring (I. xxi. 577):—

As when a panther by the spear transfixed does not remit
her rage.

From lions, hesitation, finally bravery, as (I. xx. 171):—

And with his tail he lashes both his flanks and limbs.

Again the rush of a valiant man he likens to a horse which has had a full meal (I. vi. 506):—

As some proud steed, at well-fill’d manger fed.

And, on the contrary, one slow to move; but in endurance not easily
overcome, he shows in this way (I. xi. 558):—

As near a field of corn, a stubborn ass o’powers his
boyish guides.

The kingly temper and dignity he expresses in the following
(I. ii. 480):—

As ‘mid the thronging heifers in a herd
Stands, proudly eminent, the lordly bull.

He does not omit similes taken from marine creatures, the
perseverance of a polypus and the difficulty of removing it from a
rock (O. v. 432):—

As when the cuttlefish is dragged forth from his chamber.

The leadership and prominence of the dolphin over the rest
(I. xxi. 22):—

As fishes flying from a dolphin.

Oftentimes things made by men he compares to others similarly made,
as in this (I. xi. 67):—

The rival bands of reapers mow the swathe.

Showing the resistance and bravery of men. But one lamenting
ignobly, he blames in a clear comparison (I. xvi. 7):—

Why weeps Patroelus like an infant girl?

He dared to compare human actions to the elements of nature, as in
the following passage (I. ii. 394):—

From th’ applauding ranks of Greece
Rose a loud sound, as when the ocean wave,
Driv’n by the south wind on some lofty beach,
Dashes against a prominent crag expos’d
To blasts from every storm that wars around.

In these it is plain he used Hyperbola and Amplification, for he
was not satisfied with comparing the clamor to the sound of the
wind, but to the waves beating on a craggy shore, where the high
sea makes the noise greater. Nor is the tempest an ordinary one,
but it comes from the south, which especially stirs up the billows,
and it is driven against a projecting crag stretching out into the
sea, and surrounded by it, and it has the sea over it constantly,
and from every side the winds blow and fall upon it. Such things
as these are worked out by him in his descriptions. From a few
examples we can become acquainted with many.

Let us see if the other forms of narrative are to be found in our author and how he took cognizance of them and clearly prepared them. We will give a few examples and so facilitate acquaintance with the rest.

There is the theoretic style, which embraces what is called speculative matter, which is a knowledge of the truth conceived in art. By these it is possible to know the nature of reality, both divine and human things, and to discriminate virtues and vices in morals and to learn how to attain truth by logical skill. These things are the province of those who are occupied in philosophy, which is divided into natural, ethical, and dialectical. If we find out Homer supplying the beginnings and the seeds of all these, is he not, beyond all others, worthy of admiration? Because he shows matters of intelligence by dark sayings and mythical expressions, it ought not to be considered strange. The reason is to be found in poetic art and ancient custom. So those who desired to learn, being led by a certain intellectual pleasure, might the easier seek and find the truth, and that the unlearned might not despise what they are not able to understand. For what is indicated indirectly is stimulating, while what is said clearly is valued more moderately.

Let us begin with the beginning and creation of the whole universe, which Thales the Milesian refers to the substance water, and let us see whether Homer first discovered this when he said (I. xiv. 246):—

Even to the stream of old Oceanus Prime origin of all.

After him Xenophanes of Colophon, laying down that the first elements were water and land, seems to have taken this conception from the Homeric poems (I. vii. 99):—

To dust and water turn all ye who here inglorious sit.

For he indicates their dissolution into the original elements of
the universe. But the most likely opinion makes four elements —
fire, air, water, earth. These Homer shows he knows, as in many
places he makes mention of them.

He knew, too, the order of their arrangement. We shall see that the land is the lowest of them all, for as the world is spherical, the sky, which contains all things, can reasonably be said to have the highest position. The earth being in the midst everywhere is below what surrounds it. This the poet declares chiefly in the lines where he says if Zeus let a chain down from Olympus, he could turn over the land and sea so that everything would be in the air (I. viii. 23):—

But if I choose to make my pow’r be known,
The earth itself and ocean I could raise,
And binding round Olympus’ ridge the cord
Leave them suspended so in middle air.

Although the air is around the earth, he says the ether is higher
in the following lines (I. xiv. 287):—

And going up on a lofty pine, which then grew on the summit
of Ida and through the air reached into the ether.

But higher than the ether is heaven (I. xvii. 424):—

And thus they fought: the iron clangor pierc’d
The airless ether and brazen vault of Heaven.

And, besides, in the following (I. i. 497):—

The vapor ascended to the great heaven and to Olympus.

The top part of the air is finer and more distant from the earth
and its exhalations. Therefore it is said Olympus is called
“wholly shining.” Where the poet says Hera is the wife of Zeus,
although she is his sister, he seems to speak in an allegory, since
Hera stands for the air, which is a humid substance. Therefore he
says (I. xxi. 6):—

Hera spread before their path clouds of thick darkness.

By Zeus is signified the ether, that is the fiery and heated
substance (I. xv. 192):—

Broad Heav’n amid the sky and clouds, to Jove.

They seem brother and sister on account of a certain likeness and
relationship, because both are light and mobile; they dwell
together and are intimate, because from their intercourse all
things are generated. Therefore they meet in Ida, and the land
produces for them plants and flowers.

The same explanation have those words in which Zeus says he will, hang Hera and fasten two weights to her feet, namely, the land and the sea. He works out especially the principles of the elements in what Poseidon says to him (I. xv. 187):—

We were brethren, all of Rhaea born
To Saturn: Jove and I and Pluto third,
Who o’er the nether regions holds his sway,

and (I. xv. 189):—

Threefold was our partition: each obtain’d
His meed of honor due.

And in the division of the whole, Zeus obtained the element fire,
Poseidon water, and Hades that of air. Him he also calls “aerial
darkness,” because the air has no proper light, but is lightened by
the sun, moon, and other planets.

The fourth part was left common to all, for the primal essence of the three elements is always in motion. The earth alone remains unmoved, to which he added also Olympus; it may have been because it is a mountain, being a part of the earth. If it belongs to heaven, as being the most brilliant and purest part of it, this may be the fifth essence in the elements, as certain distinguished philosophers think. So he, with reason, has conjectured it was common, the lowest part belonging to the earth by its weight, and the top parts to Olympus by their lightness. The natures between the two are borne upward to the one and downward to the other.

Since the nature of the elements is a combination of contraries, of dryness and moisture, hot and cold, and since by their relation and combination all things are constructed and undergo partial changes, — the whole not admitting of dissolution — Empedocles says all things exist in this manner: “Sometimes in love all things meeting together in one. Sometimes, again, each being carried away by animosity of hate.” The concord and unity of the elements he calls love, their opposition, hate.

Before his time Homer foreshadowed love and hate in what he says in his poetry (I. xiv. 200):—

I go to visit old Oceanus
The sire of gods, and Tethys,
I go to visit them and reconcile a lengthen’d feud.

A similar meaning has the myth about, Aphrodite and Ares, the one
having the same force as Empedocles’s love, the other his hate.
When they sometimes come together, and again separate, the sun
reveals them, Hephaestus binds them, and Poseidon releases them.
Whence it is evident that the warm and dry essence, and the
contrary of these, the cold and wet, sometimes combine all things
and again dissolve them.

Related to these is what is said by other poets that by the intercourse of Ares and Aphrodite arises Harmony; a combination of contraries grave and acute analogously accommodating themselves to one another. By which arrangement things which are endowed with a contrary nature are all mutually opposed. The poet seems to have signified this enigmatically in the conflict of the gods, in which he makes some help the Greeks and some the Trojans, showing. allegorically the character of each. And he set over against Poseidon Pboebus, the cold and wet against the hot and dry: Athene to Ares, the rational to the irrational, that is, the good to the bad. Hera to Artemis, that is, the air to the moon, because the one is stable and the other unstable. Hermes to Latona, because speech investigates and remembers, but oblivion is contrary to these. Hephaestus to the River God, for the same reason that the sun is opposed to the sea. The spectator of the fight was the primary god, and he is made taking joy in it.

From the afore-mentioned matter Homer seems to show this: that the world is one and finite. For if it had been infinite, it would never have been divided in a number having a limit. By the name “all” he signifies the collective whole. For in many other cases he uses the plural for the singular. He signifies the same thing more clearly in saying (I. xiv. 200):—

The ends of the earth —

and again where he says (I. vii. 478):—

Nor should I care
Though thou wert thrust beneath the lowest deep
Of earth and ocean —

and in

On the very top of many-peaked Olympus where there is a top,
there, too, is a limit.

His opinions about the sun are plain. That it has an orbicular
energy sometimes appearing over the earth, sometimes going under
it, this he makes evident by saying (O. x. 190):—

My friends, lo we know not where is the place of darkness or
of dawning, nor where the sun that gives light to men goes
beneath the earth, nor where he rises.

And that he is always preceding over us and on this account is
called Hyperion by our poet; that he makes the sun rising from the
water which surrounds the earth the ocean, that the sun descends
into it, is clearly expressed. First, as to the rising
(O. iii. l):—

Now the sun arose and left the lovely mere speeding to the
brazen heaven, to give light to the immortals and to mortal
men on the earth.

Its setting (I. vii. 486):—

The sun, now sunk beneath the ocean wave,
Drew o’er the teeming earth the veil of night.

And he declares its form (O. xix. 234):—

He was brilliant as the sun,

and its size (I. xi. 735):—

We as sunlight overspread the earth.

and more in the following (O. iv. 400):—

So often as the sun in his course has reached the
mid-heaven —

and its power (O. ii. log):—

Of Helios, who overseeth all and ordereth all things.

Finally that it has a soul, and in its movement is guided by choice
in certain menaces it makes (O. xii. 383):—

I will go down to Hades and shine among the dead.

And on this thus Zeus exhorts him:—

Helios, see that thou shine on amidst the deathless gods amid
mortal men upon the earth, the grain giver.

From which it is plain that the sun is not a fire, but some more
potent being, as Aristotle conjectured. Assuredly, fire is borne
aloft, is without a soul, is easily quenchable and corruptible;
but the sun is orbicular and animate, eternal and imperishable.

And as to the other planets scattered through the heavens, that Homer is not ignorant is evident in his poems (I. xviii. 480):—

Pleiads and Hyads and Orions might.

The Bear which always encircles the North Pole is visible to us.
By reason of its height it never touches the horizon, because in an
equal time, the smallest circle in which the Bear is, and the
largest in which Orion is, revolves in the periphery of the world.
And Bootes, slowly sinking because it makes a frequent setting, has
that kind of position, that is carried along in a straight line.
It sinks with the four signs of Zodiac, there being six zodiacal
signs divided in the whole night. That he has not gone through all
observations of the stars, as Aratus or some of the others, need be
surprising to no one. For this was not his purpose.

He is not ignorant of the causes of disturbances to the elements as earthquakes and eclipses, since the whole earth shares in itself air, fire, and water, by which it is surrounded. Reasonably, in its depths are found vapors full of spirit, which they say being borne outward move the air; when they are restrained, they swell up and break violently forth. That the spirit is held within the earth they consider is caused by the sea, which sometimes obstructs the channels going outward, and sometimes by withdrawing, overturns parts of the earth. This Homer knew, laying the cause of earthquakes on Poseidon, calling him Earth Container and Earth Shaker.

Now, then, when these volatile movements are kept within the earth, the winds cease to blow, then arises the darkness and obscurity of the sun. Let us see whether he was aware also of this. He made Poseidon moving the earth after Achilles issued forth to fight. For he had previously mentioned on the day before what the state of the air was. In the incident of Sarpedon (I. xvi. 567):—

Zeus extended opaque shadows over the fight —

and again in the case of Patroclus (I. xvii. 366):—

Now might ye deem the glorious sun himself nor moon was safe,
for darkest clouds of night overspread the warriors.

And a little while afterward Ajax prays (I. xvii. 645):—

O Father Jove, from o’er the sons of Greece,
Remove this cloudy darkness; clear the sky
That we may see our fate.

But after the earthquake, the vapor issuing forth, there are
violent winds, whence Hera says (I. xxi. 334):—

While from the sea I call the strong blast
Of Zephyr and brisk Notus who shall drive
The raging flames ahead.

On the following day Iris calls the winds to the pyre of Patroclus
(I. xxiii. 212):—

They with rushing sound rose and before them drove the
hurrying clouds.

So the eclipse of the sun takes place in a natural manner, when the
moon on its passage by it goes under it perpendicularly and is
darkened. This he seems to have known. For he said before that
Odysseus was about to come (O. xiv. 162):—

As the old moon wanes, and the new is born; —

that is, when the month ends and begins, the sun being conjoined
with the moon at the time of his coming. The seer says to the
suitors (O. xiv. 353):—

Ah, wretched men, what woe is this ye suffer, shrouded in
night are your heads and your faces and knees, and kindled is
the voice of wailing and the path is full of phantoms and full
is the court, the shadows of men hasting hellwards beneath the
gloom, and the sun is perished out of heaven, and an evil mist
has overspread the world.

He closely observed the nature of the winds, how they arise from
the moist element. For the water transformed goes into air.
The wind is air in motion. This he shows in very many places, and
where he says (O. v. 478):—

The force of the wet winds blew —

he arranged the order of their series (O. v. 295):—

The East wind and the South wind clashed and the stormy West
and the North that is born in the bright air, welling onwards
a great wave.

Of these one comes from the rising, one from the midday quarter,
one from the setting, one from the north.

And Subsolanus, being humid, changes into the South, which is warm. And the South, rarefying, is changed into the East; but the East, becoming further rarefied, is purified into the North wind, therefore (O. v. 385):—

She roused the swift North and brake the waves before him.

Their contention he explains naturally (O. v. 331):—

Now the South would toss it to the North to carry, and now
again the East would yield it to the West.

He knew besides that the North Pole is suspended over the earth,
and how it weighs on the men who dwell in that climate. But the
South Pole, on the contrary, is profound; as when he says of the
North Pole (O. v. 296):—

And the North that is born in the bright air rolling on a
great wave on the Southwest wind.

(O. iii. 295):—

Where the Southwest wind drives a great wave against the
left headland.”

For by saying “rolling” he notes the force of the wave rushing on
from above, but the wind “driving” signifies a force applied to
what is higher, coming from what is lower.

That the generation of rains comes from the evaporation of the humid, he demonstrates, saying (I. xi. 54):—

Who sent from Heav’n a show’r of blood-stained rain —

and (I. xvi. 459):—

But to the ground some drops of blood let fall —

for he had previously said (I. vii. 329):—

Whose blood, beside Scamander’s flowing stream,
Fierce Mars has shed, while to the viewless shade
Their spirits are gone —

where it is evident that humors of this sort exhaled from the
waters about the earth, mixed with blood, are borne upward.
The same argument is found in the following (I. xvi. 385):—

As in the autumnal season when the earth with weight of rain
is saturate —

for then the sun on account of the dryness of the ground draws out
humors from below and brings from above terrestrial disturbances.
The humid exhalations produce rains, the dry ones, winds. When the
wind is in impact with a cloud and by its force rends the cloud, it
generates thunder and lightning. If the lightning falls, it sends
a thunderbolt. Knowing this our poet speaks as follows
(I. xvii. 595):—

His lightnings flash, his rolling thunders roar.

And in another place (O. xii. 415):—

In that same hour Zeus thundered and cast his bolt upon
the ship.

Justly thinking men consider that gods exist, and first of all
Homer. For he is always recalling the gods (I. i. 406):—

The blessed gods living a happy life.

For being immortal they have an easy existence and an inexhaustible
abundance of life. And they do not need food of which the bodies of
mortal men have need (I. v. 341):—

They eat no bread, they drink no ruddy wine,
And bloodless and deathless they become.

But poetry requires gods who are active; that he may bring the
notion of them to the intelligence of his readers he gives bodies
to the gods. But there is no other form of bodies than man’s
capable of understanding and reason. Therefore he gives the
likeness of each one of the gods the greatest beauty and adornment.
He has shown also that images and statues of the gods must be
fashioned accurately after the pattern of a man to furnish the
suggestion to those less intelligent, that the gods exist.

But the leader and head of all these, the chief god the best philosophers think, is without a body, and is rather comprehensible by the intelligence. Homer seems to assume this; by him Zeus is called (I. iv. 68):—

The Sire of gods and men. O father ours, son of Kronos, chief
of the greater beings.

And Zeus himself says (I. viii. 27):—

As much as I am better than gods and men.

And Athene says of him (I. viii. 32):—

Well do we know thy power invincible.

If it is necessary to ask how he knew that God was an object of the
intelligence, it was not directly shown, as he was using poetic
form combined with myth. Yet we can gather it from the things he
says (I. i. 498):—

The all-seeing son of Saturn there she found sitting apart.

And where he himself says (I. xx. 22):—

Yet he will upon Olympus’ lofty ridge remain and view serene
the combat.”

That solitude and the not mingling with the other gods, but being
gladly by himself and using leisure for one directing and ordering
all things, these constitute the character of an “intelligible”
God. He knew besides that God is mind and understands all things,
and governs all. For censuring Poseidon, he says (I. xiii. 354):—

Equal the rank of both, their birth the same,
But Jupiter in wisdom as in years the first.

And this expression frequently is used “when he again thought over
other things.” This shows that he was ever in thought.

But to the mind of God pertain Providence and Fate, concerning which the philosophers have spoken much. The stimulus to this came from Homer — why should any one insist on the providence of the gods? Since in all his poetry not only do they speak to one another on behalf of men, but descending on the earth they associate with men. A few things we shall look at for the sake of illustrations; among these is Zeus speaking to his brother (I. xx. 20):—

The purpose, Neptune, well thou know’st thyself
For which I called thee; true, they needs must die,
But still they claim my care.

And in other places (I. xxii. 168):—

A woful sight mine eyes behold: a man
I love in plight around the walls! my heart
For Hector grieves.

He refers to the royal dignity of the gods and their loving care of
men, saying (O. i. 65):—

How should I forget divine Odysseus, who in understanding is
beyond mortals, and beyond all men hath done sacrifice to the
deathless gods who keep the wide heaven?

How he makes the gods mingling with and working with men themselves
it is possible to learn completely in many passages for just as he
represents Athene once helping Achilles and always aiding Odysseus,
so he represents Hermes helping Priam, and again Odysseus, for he
says (O. xvii. 485):—

Yea even the gods, in the likeness of strangers from far
countries, put on all manner of shapes, and wander through
cities to watch the violence and the righteousness of men.

It is the characteristic of divine providence to wish men to live
justly. This the poet indicates very clearly (O. xiv. 83):—

Verily it is not forward deeds the gods love, but they
reverence justice and the righteous acts of men.

And (O. xvi. 386):—

When Jove
Pours down his fiercest storms in wrath to men,
Who in their courts unrighteous judgments pass.

Then just as he introduces the gods caring for men, so he
represents men as mindful of them in every crisis. As the leader,
succeeding in an action, says (I. viii. 526):—

Hopeful to Jove I pray, and all the gods
To chase from hence these fate-inflicted hounds.

And in danger (I. xvii. 646):—

Father Jove, from o’er the sons of Greece,
Remove this cloudy darkness.

And again when one has slayed another (I. xxii. 379):—

Since heaven has granted us this man to slay.

And dying (I. xxii. 358):—

But see I bring not down upon thy head the wrath of heaven.

From what other place than here did originate that doctrine of the
Stoics? I mean this, that the world is one and in it both gods and
men minister, sharing in justice by their nature. For when he says
(I. xx. 4):—

Then Jove to Themis gave command to call
The gods to council from the lofty height
Of many ridg’d Olympus.
Why, Lord of lightning, hast thou summoned here
The gods of council, dost thou aught desire
Touching the Greeks and Trojans?

What does this mean except that the world is conducted by civilized
laws and the gods consult under the presidency of the father of
gods and men?

His opinion on fate he shows clearly in his poems (I. vi. 488):—

Dearest, wring not thus my heart,
For till my day of destiny is come
No man may take my life, and when it comes
Nor brave, nor coward can escape that day.

But among the other things in which he confirms the power of fate,
he thinks as the most-approved philosophers have thought after him,
— Plato, Aristotle, and Theophrastus — that not all things happen
by fate, but some things are in the power of men, the choice of
whom is free. The same man in a way acts as he desires and falls
into what he does not desire. And this point of view he has
clearly expounded in many places, as in the beginning of each of
his poems: in the “Iliad” saying the wrath of Achilles was the
cause of the destruction of the Greeks and that the will of Zeus
was fulfilled; in the “Odyssey” that the comrades of Odysseus went
to their destruction by their own folly. For they had offended by
touching the sacred oxen of the Sun, although they could have
abstained from doing so. Yet it was foreordained (O. xi. 110):—

But if thou hurtest them, I signify ruin for thy ships, and
for thy men, and even though thou shalt thyself escape.
If thou doest them no hurt and art careful to return, so may
ye yet reach Ithaca, albeit in evil case.

So not to violate them depended on themselves, but that those who
had done the evil should perish follows from fate.

It is possible to avoid what happens accidentally by foresight as he shows in the following (O. v. 436):—

Then of a truth would luckless Odysseus have perished beyond
what was ordained had not gray-eyed Athene given him some
counsel. He rushed in and with both his hands clutched the
rock whereto he clung till the great wave went by.

Then on the other hand running a great danger as he was, he had
perished by fortune; yet by prudence he was saved.

Just as about divine things there are many divine reasonings in the philosophers taking their origin from Homer, so also with human affairs it is the same. First we will take up the subject of the soul. The most noble of the doctrines of Pythagoras and Plato is that the soul is immortal. To it in his argument Plato affixed wings. Who first determined this? Homer says this among other things (I. xvi. 856):—

But the soul flying on its members came to Hades —

i.e. into a formless and invisible place, whether you think it in
the air or under the earth. But in the “Iliad” he makes the soul of
Patroclus stand by the side of Achilles (I. xxiii. 65):—

The soul of wretched Patroclus came.

He makes a small speech for him in which he says this
(I. xxiii. 72):—

The spirits and spectres of departed men
Drove me from them, nor allow to
Cross the abhorred river.

In the “Odyssey” through the whole account of the descent to Hades
what else does he show but that souls survive after death, and when
they drink blood can speak. For he knows that blood is the food
and drink of the spirit, but spirit is the same thing as soul or
the vehicle of the soul.

123. Most clearly he reveals that he considers man is nothing else but soul, where he says (O. xi. 90):—

There came up the soul of the Theban
Tiresias having a golden sceptre.

Purposely he changes the word for soul to the masculine, to show
that it was Tiresias. And afterward (O. xi. 601):—

And after him I described the mighty Heracles, his phantom
I say; but as for himself he hath joy at the banquet among the
deathless gods.

For here again he showed that the semblance thrown off from the
body appeared, but no longer connected with its matter. The purest
part of the soul had gone away; this was Heracles himself.

124. Whence that seems to philosophers a probable theory that the body is in a way the prison house of the soul. And this Homer first revealed; that which belongs to the living he calls [Greek omitted] (from “binding”) as in this line (I. i. 115):—

Not the body nor the nature.

O. iv. 196:—

A body came to the woman.

O. xvi. 251:—

By my form, my virtue, my body.

But that which has put off the soul he calls nothing else but body

as in these lines (I. vii. 79):—

To bring home my body again.

And (O. xxiv. 187):—

The bodies lie uncared for in the hall of Odysseus.

O. xi. 53:—

And we left the body in the house of Circe.

For the same thing, while a man lives, was the bond of the soul;
when he dies it is left, as it were, his monument.

To this is related also another doctrine of Pythagoras, namely, that the souls of the dead pass into other forms of bodies. This did not escape Homer’s notice, for he made Hector talking with horses, and Antilochus and Achilles himself not only talking with them but listening to them, and a dog recognizing Odysseus before men, even before his intimates. What other thing is he establishing but a community of speech and a relation of soul between men and beasts? Besides, there are those who ate up the oxen of the Sun and after this fell into destruction. Does he not show that not only oxen but all other living creatures, as sharers of the same common nature, are beloved by the gods?

The change of the comrades of Odysseus into swine and that type of animal signifies this, that the souls of undeserving men are changed into the likeness of brute beasts; they fall into the circular periphery of the whole, which he calls Circe; whereas she is justly represented as the child of the Sun, dwelling in the island of Aeaea, for this word [Greek omitted] is so called because men lament and wail by reason of death. But the prudent man Odysseus did not suffer the change, because from Hermes, i.e. reason, he had received immortality. He went down into Hades, as it were, dissolving and separating the soul from the body, and became a spectator of souls both good and bad.

The Stoics define the soul as a cognate spirit, sensible to exhalations. It has its origin from the humid portions of the body. In this they follow Homer, who says (I. ix. 609). —

While the breath abides in the breast.

And again (I. xxiii. 100):—

Vanish’d like smoke, the spirit beneath the earth.

Here he makes the vital spirit, being humid, a breath; when it is
extinguished he likens it to smoke. And the word “spirit” itself
he uses for soul (I. xv. 262):—

His words fresh vigor in the chief infus’d.

And (I. iv. 524):—

Breathing away his spirit.

And (I. xxii. 475):—

But when her breath and spirit returned again.

That is, she collected her distracted spirit (I. v. 697):—

But soon revived, as on his forehead blew,
While yet he gasped for breath, the cooling breeze.

While his spirit was failing him in a faint, the outside breeze
having a natural affinity to it brought him back to life.
This argument is strengthened because for the external spirit he
uses the word “soul,” saying (I. xxiii. 440):—

He turned aside with lightest breath.

He wishes to say: “Having got back his breath.”

Plato and Aristotle considered the soul incorporeal, but always associating with the body and needing it as a vehicle. On this account, then, it drew along the spiritual matter with it, oftentimes as an image, which had the shape of the body impressed upon it. So therefore Homer is never in his poetry found calling the soul body, but to what is deprived of soul he always gives the name, as we have mentioned in what has gone before.

The soul has, according to the views of the philosophers, a rational part, seated in the head, and an irrational part of which one element, the passionate, dwells in the heart and another, the appetitive, in the intestines. Did not Homer see this distinction when he made in the case of Achilles, the rational struggling with the passionate, deliberating in the same moment whether he should drive off the one who had filled him with grief or should stay his anger (I. i. 193):—

Up to this time he revolved these things in his mind
and heart,

that is, the intelligent part and what is opposed to it?
The emotional anger is represented by him as overcome by prudence.
For the appearance of Athene signifies this. And in these places
he makes reason admonish the emotions, as a ruler giving orders to
a subject (O. xx. 18):—

Endure my heart; yea, a baser thing thou once didst bear.

And often the passionate element gives way to reason (I. xx. 22):—

Pallas indeed sat silent and though inly wroth with Jove,
yet answered not a word.

Likewise injury (I. xviii. 112):—

Though still my heart be sore,
Yet will I school my angry spirit down.

Sometimes he shows the passionate element getting the better of reason. This he does not praise, but openly blames; as when Nestor speaks upbraiding the insult offered by Agamemnon to Achilles (I. ix. 108):—

Not by my advice
I fain would have dissuaded thee; but thou,
Swayed by the promptings of a lofty soul,
Didst to our bravest wrong dishonoring him
Whom ev’n the Immortals honor’d.

Achilles speaks like things to Ajax (I. ix. 645):—

All thou hast said hath semblance just and fair,
But swells my heart with fury at the thought of him,
Of Agamemnon, who, amid the Greeks
Assembled, held me forth to scorn.

So, too, reason is paralysed by fear, where Hector deliberates whether he will abide the conflict with Achilles (I. xxii. 129):—

Better to dare the fight and know at once
To whom Olympian Jove the triumph wills,

Then he withdraws when he gets near Achilles (I. xxii. 136):—

Nor dared he there await th’ attack, but left
The gates behind, and terror-stricken fled.

It is also plain that he places the emotions about the heart. Anger as (O. xx. 13):—

The heart within barked for him.

Grief (I. xiv. 128):—

How long, my son, wilt thou thy soul consume with grief
an mourning?

Then fear (I. x. 95):—

And leaps my troubled heart as tho’ it would burst
My bosom’s bounds; my limbs beneath me shake.

In the same way just as fear, so he declares daring to be about the heart (I. xvi. 11):—

And fix’d in every breast
The fierce resolve to wage unwearied war.

From these passages the Stoics took the opinion that the leading element is about the heart. That the appetitive element is placed in the intestines in many places he declares; in these verses, for example (O. xviii. 54):—

But my belly’s call is urgent on me, that evil worker —

and (O. xvii. 286):—

But now may conceal a ravening belly, a thing accursed.

And the causes which belong to the passionate element of the soul he says happen by nature. For wrath created by grief he shows is a kind of effervescence of the blood and the spirit in it as in the following (I. i. 103):—

His dark soul filled with fury, and his eyes flashing like
flames of fire.

For he seemed to call spirit [Greek omitted], i.e. wrath, and this in the case of those who are angry he thinks is extended and inflamed. Again the spirit, if there is fear, is perturbed and made cold, generates tremors and terrors and pallors in the body. Pallor, by the heat coursing into the interior ruddiness leaves the surface. Tremor, because being, confined within the spirit it shakes the body. Terror, because when the moisture is congealed the hairs are contracted and stand on end. All of these Homer clearly indicates when he says (I. xv. 4):—

Pallid from fear.

And (I. vii. 479):—

Pallid fear lay hold on him.

(I. x. 95):—

My valiant members tremble.

And (I. xxiv. 358):—

The old man heard, his mind confus’d with dread,
So grievously he fear’d that every hair
Upon his bended head did stand on end.

According to these passages for “feared” he says “frozen” and “fear” he calls “freezing.” On the other hand, for “daring” and “courage” he uses [Greek omitted], “heat.” Evil effects, he distinguishes in these ways.

Again when Aristotle considers indignation a mercy among the generous emotions (for when good men are stirred because their neighors seem to succeed beyond their worth, it is called indignation. When they, beyond their desert, have misfortunes, it is called pity.) These two Homer considers to belong, to the good, for he reckons them as belonging to Zeus. Other passages he has as well as the following (I. xi. 542):—

But Jove, high-throned, the soul of Ajax filled with fear.

And in other places he pities him being chased about the wall.

What opinion the poet had about virtue and vice he shows in many places. For since one part of the soul is intelligent and rational, and the other devoid of reason and open to emotions, and on this account man has a middle position between God and brute, he thinks the highest, virtue, is divine, and the other extremity, evil, is brutelike. Just as later on Aristotle thought, he adopts these principles in his companions. For he always considers good men to be like gods, and as he says (I. ii. 167):—

By a counsel not, unworthy of Zeus.

Among the evil ones he names cowards (I. xiii. 102):—

Like to timid stags —

and to sheep without a shepherd and to hares in flight. About those borne headlong and heedlessly to anger (I. xvii. 20):—

Nor pard, nor lion, nor the forest boar,
Fiercest of beasts, and provident of his strength
In their own esteem
With Panthous’ sons for courage nor may vie.

The laments of those grieving to no purpose he compares to the sounds of birds (O. xvi. 218):—

Where Younglings the country folk have taken from the nest
ere yet they are fledged.

The Stoics who place virtue in apathy follow the passages in which he takes up every feeling, saying about grief (I. xix. 218):—

Behoves us bury out of sight our dead,
Steeling our heart and weeping but a day.

And (I. xvi. 7):—

Why weep over Patroclus as a girl?

About anger (I. xviii. 107):—

May strife perish from gods and men.

About fear (I. v. 252):—

Do not speak of fear, if thou thinkest to persuade me.

And (O. xv. 494):—

Struck and smitten seeing fate and death, he fell heroicly
from the sword. So those challenged to single combat obey
fearlessly, and several arise to take the place of one.
And the wounded man has none the less abiding courage.

(I. xi. 388):—

And now because thy shaft has grazed my foot, thou mak’st
thy empty boast.

And every valiant person is likened to a lion, boar, to a torrent and whirlwind.

Now the Peripatetics think that freedom from emotion is unattainable by men. They bring in a certain mean; by taking away excess of feeling, they define virtue by moderation. And Homer brings in the best men neither feeble nor altogether fearless nor devoid of pain, but yet differing from the worst in not being overcome extravagantly by their feelings. For he says (I. xiii. 279):—

The cowards color changes, nor his soul
Within his heart its even balance keeps
But changing still, from foot to foot he shifts,
And in his bosom loudly beats his heart
Expecting death; and chatter all his teeth.
The brave man’s color changes not with fear,
He knows the ambush ent’ring.

For it is evident that by taking away excessive fear from the good man he leaves the mean between the two. The same must be thought about the like emotions, pain and anger. To this effect is that verse of his (I. vii. 215):—

The Trojans’ limbs beneath them shrank with fear,
E’en Hector’s heart beat quicker in his breast,
The others, even at the sight, trembled.

But he, in the midst of dangers being brave, was only troubled. So he makes Dolon and Lycaon feeling fear; Ajax and Menelaus, turning gradually and going away step by step, as lions driven from their quarry. In the same way he shows the differences of those who grieve and also of those who rejoice. As Odysseus, relating the way he deceived the Cyclops, says (O. ix. 413):—

My heart within me laughed.

The suitors seeing the beggar laying on the ground (O. xviii. 100):—

But the proud wooers threw up their hands, and cried outright
for laughter.

But in more trivial matters the difference of moderation appears. Odysseus though loving his wife, and seeing her lamenting on his account, contains himself (O. xix. 211):—

His eyes kept steadfast between his eyelids as it were
horn or iron.

But the suitors who were in love with her when they saw her (O. xviii. 212):—

And straightways the knees of the wooers were loosened, and
their hearts were enchanted with love, and each one uttered
a prayer that he might be her bedfellow.

Such is the poet’s treatment of the powers and passions of the soul.

Although there are various things said by the philosophers about the chief end of virtue and happiness, it is agreed by all that virtue of the soul is the greatest of goods. But the Stoics consider that virtue by itself is sufficient for happiness, taking the cue from the Homeric poems in which he has made the wisest and most prudent man on account of virtue despising trouble and disregarding pleasure. As to the first point in this way {O. iv. 242):—

Now all of them I could not tell or number, so many as were
the adventures of the patient Odysseus. He bruised himself
with unseemly stripes and cast a sorry covering over his
shoulders, and in the fashion of a servant he went into the
wide-wayed city of the foemen.

And as to the second, i.e. (O. ix. 29):—

Vainly Calypso, the fair goddess, would fain have kept me
with her in her hollow caves longing to have me for her lord.
Circe of Aia would have stayed me in her halls, longing to
have me for her lord. But never did they prevail upon my
heart within my breast.

Especially does he expound his opinion of virtue in the passages in which he makes Achilles not only brave but most beautiful in form, and swiftest of foot, and most illustrious in birth and distinguished in race and aided by the chiefest of the gods; and Odysseus understanding and firm in soul — in other respects not enjoying an equal fortune. His stature and aspect not conspicuous, his parentage not altogether noteworthy, his country obscure, hated by a god who was all but first. None of these things prevented him from being famous, from gaining the chief good of the soul.

But the Peripatetic School think the goods of the soul have the pre-eminence, such as prudence, fortitude, temperance, justice. Afterward are those of the body, such as health, strength, beauty, swiftness; and there are besides external goods such as reputation, nobility, wealth. For they think any one worthy of praise and admiration if he, fortified by the protective virtues of the soul, holds out against evils in the midst of sufferings, disease, want, unforeseen accidents, but that this situation is not a desirable nor a happy one. For not only the possession of virtue do they think good, but its use and its activity. And these distinctions Homer directly showed, for he always makes the gods (O. viii. 325):—

The givers of good things —

these things also men pray the gods to furnish them, as being plainly neither useless to them nor indifferent, but advantageous to happiness.

What the goods are men aim at, and through which they are called happy, he declares in many places. But all of them together were centred in Hermes (I. xxiv. 376):—

Blessed are thy parents in a son so grac’d,
In face and presence, and of mind so wise.

He bears witness to his beauty of body, his intelligence, and his lineage. Separately he takes them up (I. vi. 156):—

On whom the gods bestowed
The gifts of beauty and of manly grace,
And Zeus poured out lordly wealth —

for this, too, is a gift of God (O. vi. 188):—

For Zeus himself gives prosperity to mortals.

Sometimes he esteems honor a good (I. viii. 540):—

Would that I might be adored as Athene and Apollo.

Sometimes good fortune in children (O. iii. 196):—

So good a thing it is that a son of the dead should be left.

Sometimes, too, the benefit of one’s family (O. xiii. 39):—

Pour ye the drink offering, and send me safe on my way, and
as for you, fare ye well. For now I have all my heart’s
desire — an escort and loving gifts. May the gods of heaven
give me good fortune with them and may I find my noble wife
in my home, and my friends unharmed while ye, for your part,
abide here, and make glad your gentle wives and children, and
may the gods vouchsafe all manner of good and may no evil
come, nigh the people.

That in a comparison of goods valor is better than wealth, he shows in the following (I. ii. 872):—

With childish folly to the war he came,
Laden with stress of gold; yet naught availed
His gold to save him from the doom of death.

And (O. iv. 93):—

I have no joy of my lordship among these my possessions.

And that intelligence is better than beauty of form (O. viii. 169):—

For one man is feebler than another in presence, yet the
gods crown his words with beauty.

It is evident that bodily excellence and external things he considers as good, and that without these virtue alone is not sufficient for happiness he declares in the following way. He created two men who attained to the height of virtue, Nestor and Odysseus, different indeed from one another, but like one another in prudence and valor and power of eloquence. He has made them not at all equal in fortune, but on the side of Nestor he has placed the gods (O. iv. 208):—

Right easily is known that man’s seed for whom Cronion
weaves the skein of luck at bridal and at birth, even as now
hath he granted prosperity to Nestor forever, for all his
days, that he himself should grow into smooth old age in his
halls, and his sons moreover should be wise and the best
of spearsmen.

But Odysseus, though shrewd and clever and prudent, he often calls unfortunate. For Nestor goes back home quickly and safely, but Odysseus wanders about for a long time and endures constantly innumerable sufferings and dangers. So it is a desirable and blessed thing if fortune is at hand helping and not opposing virtue.

How the possession of virtue is of no use unless it accomplishes something, is evident from the passages where Patroclus complains to Achilles and says (I. xvi. 31):—

Whoe’er may hope in future days by thee
To profit, if thou now forbear to save
The Greeks from shame and loss.

So he speaks to him because he makes his virtue useless by inactivity. Achilles himself deplores his inactivity (I. xviii. 104:):—

But idly here I sit cumb’ring the ground,
I, who amid the Greeks no equal own
In fight —

for he laments because though possessing virtue he does not make use of it; but being indignant with the Greeks (I. i. 490):—

No more he sought
The learned council, nor the battlefield;
But wore his soul away, and only pined
For the fierce joy and tumult of the fight.

And so Phoenix admonished him (I, ix. 433):—

To teach thee how to frame
Befitting speech, and mighty deeds achieve.

After his death he is indignant at that inertia, saying (O. xi. 489):—

Rather would I live upon the soil as the hireling of another
with a lordless man who had no great livelihood, than bear
sway among the dead that are no more.

And he adds the cause (O. xi. 498):—

For I am no longer his champion under the sun, so mighty a
man as once I was, when in wide Troy I slew the best of the
host, succoring the Argives.

That saying of the Stoics, that good men are friends of the gods, is taken from Homer, who says about Amphiaerus (O. xv. 245):—

Whom Zeus, lord of the ages, and Apollo loved with all
manner of love.

And of Odysseus (O. iii. 52):—

And Athene rejoiced in the wisdom and judgment of the man.

There is, too, an opinion of the same philosophic school that virtue is teachable, and has for its beginning good birth. For Homer says (O. iv. 206):—

And from such a sire thou too art sprung, wherefore thou dost
even speak wisely.

And by training it is brought to perfection. For virtue is the knowledge of living rightly, i.e. of doing the things which it is necessary for those who live well to do. These principles can also be found in Homer, for he says (I. ix. 440):—

Inexperienced yet in war, that sorrow brings alike on all
And sage debate in which attends renown.

And in other places (I. vi. 446):—

Nor did my heart compel me, since I had learnt to be good,

And Phoenix says of Achilles (I. ix. 442):—

Me then he sent, to teach thee how to frame
Befitting speech, and mighty deeds achieve.

For since life is made up of acts and speech, therefore he says he was the young man’s teacher in these things. From what has been said it is plain that he declares the whole of virtue to be teachable. So, then, Homer is the first philosopher in ethics and in philosophy.

Now to the same science belongs arithmetic and music, which Pythagoras especially honored. Let us see whether these are mentioned by our poet. Very often. A few examples from very many will suffice. For Pythagoras thought number had the greatest power and reduced everything to numbers — both the motions of the stars and the creation of living beings. And he established two supreme principles — one finite unity, the other infinite duality. The one the principle of good, the other of evil. For the nature of unity being innate in what surrounds the whole creation gives order to it, to souls virtue, to bodies health, to cities and dwellings peace and harmony, for every good thing is conversant with concord. The nature of duality is just the contrary — to the air disturbance, to souls evil, to bodies disease, to cities and dwellings factions and hostilities. For every evil comes from discord and disagreement. So he demonstrates of all the successive numbers that the even are imperfect and barren; but the odd are full and complete, because joined to the even they preserve their own character. Nor in this way alone is the odd number superior, but also added to itself it generates an even number. For it is creative, it keeps its original force and does not allow of division, since PER SE the mind is superior. But the even added to itself neither produces the odd nor is indivisible. And Homer seems to place the nature of the one in the sphere of the good, and the nature of the dual in the opposite many times. Often he declares a good man to be [Greek omitted] “kind” and the adjective from it is “benignity”; as follows (I. ii. 204):—

It is not good for many to reign, let there be but one ruler.

And (O. iii. 127):—

We never spake diversely either in the assembly or in the
council, but always were of one mind.

He always makes use of the uneven number as the better. For making the whole world to have five parts, three of these being the mean, he divides it (I. xv. 189):—

Threefold was our portion each obtained,
His need of honor due.

Therefore, too, Aristotle thought there were five elements, since the uneven and perfect number had everywhere the predominance. And to the heavenly gods he gives the uneven shares. For Nestor nine times to Poseidon sacrificed nine bulls; and Tiresias bids Odysseus sacrifice (O. xi. 131):—

A ram and a bull and a boar, the mate of swine.

But Achilles immolated for Patroclus, all in even numbers, four horses and (I. xxiii. 175):—

Twelve noble sons he slew, the sons of Troy —

and of nine dogs he casts two on the pyre, in order to leave for himself seven. And in many places he uses the ternary, quinary, and septenary number, especially the number nine (I. vii. 161):—

The old man spoke reproachfully; at his words
Uprose nine warriors.

And (O. xi. 311):—

At nine seasons old they were of breadth nine cubits, and
nine fathoms in height.

(I. i. 53):—

Nine days the heavenly Archer on the troops hurl’d his
dread shafts.

And (I. vi 174):—

Nine days he feasted him, nine oxen slew.

Why pray, is the number nine the most perfect? Because it is the square of the first odd number, and unevenly odd since it is divided into three triads, of which again each is divided into three units.

But not only the virtue of numbers but a natural way of counting he showed, as in the catalogue of ships he made (I. ii. 509):—

With these came fifty ships; and in each
Were sixscore youths, Boeotia’s noblest flow’r.

And again (I. xvi. 170):—

They were fifty men.

Whence it is possible to compute that as all the ships were near 1200, and each had 100 men, the whole number is 12 myriads — 120,000.

Again speaking. of the Trojans (I. viii. 563):—

A thousand fires burnt brightly; and round each
Sat fifty warriors in the ruddy glare.

He enables one to compute that without counting allies they were 50,000 men.

Now music being closest to the soul, since it is a harmony produced by different elements, by melodies, and by rhythms, intensifies what is relaxed and relaxes the intense. The Pythagoreans have clearly proved this, and before them Homer. For he gives praise to music, in the case of the Sirens, to which he adds the following (O. xii. 188)

And had joy thereof and gone on his way the wiser.

In another place he introduces in banquets the lyre, as among the suitors (O. xvii. 271):—

And the voice of the lyre is heard there which the gods made
to be mate of the feast.

And at the house of Alcinous the player on the lyre (O. vii. 266):—

Was composing a beautiful song.

And at marriages (I. xviii. 495):—

The pipes and lyres were sounding.

And in the works of the vintage (I. xvii. 569):—

A boy amid them, from a clear-ton’d pipe
Drew lovely music; well his liquid voice
The strings accompanied.

Besides in war (I. x. 13):—

Of pipes and flutes he heard the sound.

Also he uses music to express grief (I. xxiv. 721):—

Poured forth the music of the mournful dirge,

by the sweetness of melodies softening the bitterness of the soul.

It is clear that melody is twofold — one of the voice, the other of instruments, partly wind, partly string. Of sound some are bass, some treble. These differences Homer knew, since he represents women and boys with treble voices, by reason of the tenuity of their breath; men, he makes with bass voices. As in the following (I. xviii. 70):—

She with bitter cry
Clasped in her hands his head, and
Sorrowing spoke.

And again (I. ix. 16):—

So with deep groans he thus addressed the Greeks.

But old men like the locusts (I. iii. 151) he compares to shrill-voiced creatures. Instruments whose strings are thin and vibrate quickly, easily cut the air, and give an acute sound. Those with thick ones, through the slow movement, have a deep sound. Homer calls the pipe acute — acute because being thin it gives an acute sound. Homer has this information about music.

Since we are speaking here about Pythagoras, to whom taciturnity and not expressing those things which it is wrong to speak were especially pleasing, let us see whether Homer had also this opinion. For about those drunken with wine he says (O. xiv. 466):—

And makes him speak out a word which were better unsaid.

And Odysseus upbraids Thersites (I. ii. 246):—

Thou babbling fool Therites, prompt of speech,
Restrain thy tongue.

And Ajax speaks, blaming Idomeneus (I. xxiii. 478):—

But thou art ever hasty in thy speech.
And ill becomes thee this precipitance

And while the armies are entering the fight (I. iii. 2–8):—

With noise and clarmor, as a flight of birds,
The men of Troy advanced,
On th’other side the Greeks in silence mov’d.

Clamor is barbaric, silence is Greek. Therefore he has represented the most prudent man as restrained, in speech. And Odysseus exhorts his son (O. xvi. 300):—

If in very truth thou art my son and of our blood, then let
no man hear that Odysseus is come home; neither let Laertes
know it nor the swineherd nor any of the household nor
Penelope herself.

And again he exhorts him (O. xix. 42):—

Hold thy peace and keep all this in thine heart and ask
not thereof.

So the opinions of famous philosophers have their origin in Homer.

If it is necessary to mention those who elected for themselves certain individual views, we could find them taking their source in Homer. Democritus in constructing his “idola,” or representative forms, takes the thought from the following passage (I. v. 449):—

Meanwhile Apollo of the silver bow
A phantom form prepar’d, the counterpart
Of great Aeneas and alike in arms.

Others deviated into error in ways he would not approve of, but he represented them as fitting to the special time. For when Odysseus was detained with Alcinous, who lived in pleasure and luxury, he speaks to him in a complimentary way (O. ix. 5):—

Nay, as for me I say that there is no more gracious or perfect
delight than when a whole people make merry, and the men sit
orderly at feasts in the halls and listen to the singer, and
the tables by them laden with food and flesh, and a winebearer
drawing the wine serves it into the cups. The fashion seems
to me the fairest thing in the world.

Led by these words, Epicurus took up the opinion that pleasure was the SUMMUM BONUM. And Odysseus himself is at one time covered with a precious and thin woven garment, sometimes represented in rags with a wallet. Now he is resting with Calypso, now insulted by Iros and Melantheus. Aristippus taking the model of this life not only struggled valiantly with poverty and toil, but also intemperately made use of pleasure.

But it is possible to take these as specimens of Homer’s wisdom, because he first enunciated the many excellent sayings of the Wise Men, as “follow God” (I. i. 218):—

Who hears the gods, of them his prayers are heard,

And “nothing too much” (O. xv. 70):—

I think it shame even in another heart, who loves overmuch
or hates overmuch; measure is in all things best.

And the expression (O. viii. 351):—

A pledge is near to evil,
Evil are evil folks’ pledges to hold.

And that saying of Pythagoras to one who asked who is a friend said “an ALTER EGO.”

Homer’s parallel saying is (O. xviii. 82):—

The equal to my head.

Belonging to the same species of Apothegm is what is called the Gnome, a universal expression about life stated briefly. All poets and philosophers and orators have used it and have attempted to explain things gnomically. Homer was the first to introduce in his poetry many excellent Gnomes stating a principle he wishes to lay down; as when he says (I. i. 80):—

And terrible to men of low estate the anger of a king.

And again what must needs be done or not done (I. ii 24):—

To sleep all night but ill becomes a chief.

Of Homer’s many good sayings and admonitions not a few afterward have been paraphrased. Some examples of these should find a place here; as the following passage of Homer (I. xv. 104):—

Fools are we all, who madly strive with Jove,
Or hope, by access to his throne, to sway
By word or deed his course! From all apart,
He all our counsels heeds not, but derides!
And boasts o’er all the immortal gods to reign.
Prepare, then, each his several woes to bear.

Like this is a saying of Pythagoras:—

Whatever pains mortals have from the gods, whatever fate
thou hast, bear it nor murmur.

And also these words of Euripides:—

Nor is it fitting to be indignant at events, no good comes
of it; but when things go wrong, if one bears them right,
they do go well.

Again Homer says (I. xxiv. 128):—

How long, my son, wilt thou thy soul consume with grief
and mourning?

So Pythagoras:—

Spare thy life, do not wear out thy soul.

Then Homer says (O. xviii. 136):—

For the spirit of men upon the earth is even as their day,
that comes upon them from the father of gods and men.

Archilochus, who imitates other things of Homer, has paraphrased this too, saying:—

Such for mortal men, O Glaucus, son of Leptineus, is their
mind, as Zeus directs for a day.

And in other words, Homer says (I. xiii. 730):—

To one the gods have granted warlike might,
While in another’s breast all-seeing Jove
Hath plac’d the spirit of wisdom and mind
Discerning for the common good of all.
By him are states preserved! and he himself
Best knows the value of the precious gift.

Euripides has followed this original:—

Cities are well ordered by the instructions of one man.
So, too, a house. One again is mighty in war. For one wise
judgment conquers many hands, but ignorance with a crowd
brings the most evil.

Where he makes Idomeneus exhorting his comrade, he says (I. xii. 322):—

O friend, if we survivors of this war
Could live from age and death forever free,
Thou shouldst not see me foremost in the fight,
Nor would I urge thee to the glorious field;
But since in man ten thousand forms of death
Attend, which none may ‘scape, then on that we
May glory in others’ gain, or they on us!

Aeschylus saying after him:—

Nor receiving many wounds in his heart does any one die,
unless the goal of life is run. Nor does any one sitting by
the hearth flee any better the decreed fate.

In prose, Demosthenes speaks as follows (Or. xviii. 9):—

For all mortals, death is the end of life even if one keeps
himself shut up in a cell; it is necessary ever for good men
to attempt noble things and bravely to bear whatever God
may give.

Again take Homer (I. iii. 65):—

The gifts of Heav’n are not to be despis’d.

Sophocles paraphrases this, saying:—

This is God’s gift; whatever the gods may give, one must never
avoid anything, my son.

In Homer there are the words (I. i. 249):—

From whose persuasive lips. Sweeter than
Honey flowed the stream of speech.

Theocritus said (I. vii. 82):—

Therefore the Muse poured in his mouth
Sweet nectar.

How, also, Aratus paraphrased this (I. xviii. 489):—

Sole star that never bathes in th’ ocean wave —

saying:—

The Bears protected from cerulean ocean.

(I. xv. 628):—

They win their soul from death,

is paraphrased:—

He escaped Hades by a small peg.

Let this be enough on this subject.

But civil discourse belongs to the rhetorical art, with which it seems Homer was first to be familiar. If Rhetoric is the power of persuasive speaking, who more than Homer depended on this power? He excels all in eloquence; also in the grasp of his subject he reveals an equal literary power.

And the first part of this art is Arrangement, which he exhibits in all his poetry, and especially at the beginning of his narratives. For he did not make the beginning of the “Iliad” at a distant period, but at the time when affairs were developing with energy and had come to a head. The more inactive periods, which came into past time, he goes over in other places succinctly. The same he did in the “Odyssey,” beginning from the close of the times of Odysseus’s wanderings, in which it was clearly time to bring in Telemachus and to show the haughty conduct of the suitors. Whatever happened to Odysseus in his wanderings before this he introduces into Odysseus’s narrative. These things he prefers to show as more probable and more effective, when said by the one who experienced them.

As therefore all orators make use of introductory remarks to get the benevolent attention of their audience, so our poet makes use of exordiums fitted to move and reach the hearer. In the “Iliad” he first declares that he is about to say how many evils happened to the Achaeans through the wrath of Achilles and the high-handed conduct of Agamemnon; and in the “Odyssey” how many labors and dangers Odysseus encountered and surmounted all of them by the judgment and perseverance of his soul. And in each one of the exordiums he invokes the Muse that she may make the value of what is said greater and more divine.

While the characters introduced by him are made to say many things either to their relatives or friends or enemies or the people, yet to each he assigns a fitting type of speech, as in the beginning he makes Chryseis in his words to the Greeks use a most appropriate exordium. First he desires for them that they may be superior to their enemies and may return home, in order that he might gain their kindly feeling. Then he demands his daughter. But Achilles being angered by the threat of Agamemnon combines a speech for the Greeks and for himself, in order to make them more friendly disposed. For, he says, all had proceeded to the war, not on account Of some private enmity, but to please Agamemnon himself and his brother, and he went on to say he had done many things himself and had received a present not from Agamemnon and Menelaus, but from the whole body of the Greeks. Agamemnon replying to him has no difficulty in winning the crowd. For when Achilles says he means to sail back home, on account of the insult he has received, he does not say “go” but “flee,” changing what is said abruptly into an attack on Achilles reputation. And his words are:—

I do not exhort you to remain; there are here who value me.

And this was agreeable to his hearers.

And afterward he introduces Nestor, whom he had previously called sweet in speech and a shrewd orator (I. i. 249):—

Whose voice flowed from his tongue sweeter than honey.

There could be no greater praise for an orator. He starts off with an exordium by which he tries to change the minds of the contesting chiefs, bidding them consider by opposing one another they give occasion of joy to their enemies. He goes on to admonish both and to exhort them to give heed to him as their elder. And by telling one to be prudent, he says what gratifies the other. He advises Agamemnon not to take away what has been given to a man who has labored much; Achilles, not to strive with the king who is his superior. And he gives suitable praise to both: to the one as ruling over more people; to the other, as having more prowess. In this way he seeks to moderate them.

Again, in what follows, when Agamemnon saw the dream bearing good hopes to him from Zeus, and exhorting him to arm the Greeks, did he not use rhetorical art speaking to the multitude, saying the contrary of what he wishes, to try their feeling and to see if they will be disgusted by being compelled to do battle for him. But he speaks to please them. Another of the men able to influence them bids them stay in their tents, as if the king really wished this. For to those he speaks to he indicates that he desires the contrary. Odysseus taking up these words, and making use of a convenient freedom, persuades the leaders by his mild language; the common people he compels by threats to heed their superiors. Stopping the mutiny and agitation of the crowd, he persuades all by his shrewd words, moderately blaming them for not carrying out what they promised, and at the same time excusing them on the ground that they have been idle for some time and have been deprived of what is dearest to them. He persuades them to remain by the hope of the seer’s prophecy.

Likewise Nestor, using arguments unchanged indeed but tending to the same end, and also using greater freedom to those who have been spoilt by inaction, brings over the crowd. He places the blame of their negligence on a few unworthy people and advises the rest. He threatens the disobedient and immediately takes counsel with the king as to how the forces are to be drawn up.

Again, when in the deeds of war the Greeks have partly succeeded and partly failed and been reduced to terror, Diomed, since he has the audacity of youth and freedom of speech by reason of his success, before he had shown his valor, took the king’s reproof in silence, but afterward he turns on Agamemnon as if he had counselled flight through cowardice. For he says (I. ix. 32):—

Atrides I thy folly must confront,
As is my right in council! thou, O King,
Be not offended.

In his speech he tries to advise him and at the same time deprecate his anger. He then recites the things just performed by him, without envy, saying (I. ix. 36):—

How justly so
Is known to all the Greeks both young and old.

Afterward he exhorts the Greeks, giving them indirect praise (I. ix. 40):—

How canst thou hope the sons of Greece shall prove
Such heartless cowards as thy words suppose?

And he shames Agamemnon, excusing him if he wishes to depart, saying the others will be sufficient, or if all flee, he will remain alone with his comrade and fight (I. ix. 48):—

Yet I and Sthenelaus, we two, will fight.

Nestor commends the excellence of his judgment and his actions. As to the aim of the council he considers that, as the eldest, he has the right to offer advice. And he continues endeavoring to arrange for sending ambassadors to Achilles.

And in the embassy itself he makes the speakers employ different devices of arguments. For Odysseus, at the opening of his speech, did not say immediately that Agamemnon repented the taking away of Briseis, and would give the girl back, and that he was giving some gifts immediately and promised the rest later. For it was not useful, while his feelings were excited, to remember these things. But first he wished to provoke Achilles to sympathize with the misfortunes of the Greeks. Then he suggests that later on he will want to remedy these disasters and will not be able to. After this he recalls to him the advice of Peleus; removing any resentment toward himself, he attributes it to the character of his father as being more able to move him. And when he seemed mollified, then he mentioned the gifts of Agamemnon and again goes back to entreaties on behalf of the Greeks, saying that if Agamemnon is justly blamed, at least it was a good thing to save those who had never injured him.

It was necessary to have a peroration of this kind containing nothing to irritate the hearer. He specifically recalls the purpose of the speech. The final exhortation has something to stir him against the enemy, for they are represented as despising him. “For now you can take Hector if he stands opposed to you! Since he says none of the Greeks is his equal.” But Phoenix, fearing that he has used less entreaties than were befitting, sheds tears. And first he agrees with his impulse, saying he will not leave him if he sails away. This was pleasant for him to hear. And he tells Achilles how Peleus intrusted Phoenix to bring Achilles up, taking him as a child, and how he was thought worthy to be his teacher in words and deeds. In passing he relates Achilles’ youthful errors, showing how this period of life is inconsiderate. And proceeding he omits no exhortation, using briefly all rhetorical forms, saying that it is a good thing to be reconciled with a suppliant, a man who has sent gifts, and has despatched the best and most honored ambassadors; that he himself was worthy to be heard, being his tutor and teacher; that if he let the present occasion go, he would repent. He makes use of the example of Meleager who, when called upon to help his fatherland, did not heed until by the necessity of the calamities that overtook the city he turned to defend, it. But Ajax used neither entreaty nor pity, but freedom of speech. He determined to remove Achilles’ haughtiness partly by blaming him seasonably, partly by exhorting him genially not to be completely embittered. For it befitted his excellency in virtue. Replying to each of these Achilles shows nobility and simplicity. The others he refutes cleverly and generously by bringing out worthy causes of his anger; to Ajax he excuses himself. And to Odysseus he says that he will sail away on the following day; then being stirred by the entreaties of Phoenix, he says he will take counsel about leaving. Moved by the free speech of Ajax, he confesses all that he intends to do: that he will not go forth to fight until Hector gets as far as his tents and the ships, after killing many of the Greeks. Then he says, “I think I shall stop Hector no matter how earnestly he fights.” And this argument he offers in rebuttal to Odysseus about resisting the onslaught of Hector.

In the words of Phoenix he shows that there is such a thing as the art of Rhetoric. For he says to Achilles that he had taken him over (I. ix. 440):—

Inexperienced yet in war that sorrow brings alike on all
And sage debate, on which attends renown
Me then he sent, to teach thee how to frame
Befitting speech and mighty deeds achieve.

These words show that the power of speech especially makes men renowned.

It is besides possible to find in many other parts of his poems passages pertaining to the art of Rhetoric. For he shows the method of accusation and purgation elsewhere and in the place where Hector taxes his brother, accusing him of cowardice and dissoluteness. Because he had this character, he had injured those who were far different from him; so he had become the cause of evil to his family. And Alexander softens his brothers’ temper by confessing he was rightly blamed; he wipes off the charge of cowardice by promising to meet Menelaus in combat. And that Homer was a skilful speaker, no one in his right mind would deny, for it is all clear from reading his poems.

He did not overlook to give certain types to his speakers. He introduces Nestor as agreeable and attractive to his hearers; Menelaus, fond of brevity, attractive, and sticking to his subject; Odysseus, abundant subtility of speech. These things Antenor testifies about the two heroes; he had heard them when they came to Ilium as ambassadors. And these characteristics of speech Homer himself introduces, displaying them in all his poetry.

He was acquainted with Antithesis in eloquence. This in every subject introduces the contrary, and proves and disproves the same thing by clever handling of the art of logic. For he says (I. xx. 248):—

For glibly runs the tongue, and can at will
Give utt’rance to discourse in every vein;
Wide is the range of language, and such words
As one may speak, another may return.

He knew how to say the same things at length, and to repeat them briefly, which is called Recapitulation, and is used by orators whenever it is necessary to recall briefly the numerous things which have been said. For what Odysseus related in four books in the Phaeacians, these he goes over again shortly in the passage beginning (O. xxiii. 310):—

He began by setting forth how he overcame the Cicones, etc.

But civil discourse embraces also knowledge of laws. No one can really say whether the word “law” was used in his time. Some say that he certainly knew it, for he said (O. xvii. 487):—

To watch the violence and righteousness of men.

Aristachus says the word “righteousness” ([Greek omitted]) comes from the words “to distribute well.” Hence law ([Greek omitted]) seems to be called, because it distributes ([Greek omitted]) equal parts to all or to each according to his worth. But that he knew the force of law was conserved, if not in writing at least in the opinion of men, he shows in many ways. For he makes Achilles talking about the sceptre say (I. i. 237):—

And now ’tis borne,
Emblem of justice, by the sons of Greece,
Who guard the sacred ministry of law
Before the face of Jove.

For usages and customs, the laws of which Zeus is reported as the lawgiver, with whom Minos the king of the Cretans had converse men say; which converse is, as Plato bears witness, the learning of the laws. Clearly in his poems he reveals that it is necessary to follow the laws and not to do wrong (O. xviii. 141):—

Wherefore let no man forever be lawless any more, but keep
quietly the gifts of the gods, whatsoever they may give.

Homer first of all divided into different parts civil polity. For in the shield which was made in imitation of the whole world by Hephaestus (that is, spiritual power) he imagined two cities to be contained: one enjoying peace and happiness; the other at war, and exposing the advantages of each he shows that the one life is civil and the other military. Neither did he pass over even the agricultural. But he showed this, too, making it clear and beautiful in his language.

In every city it is sanctioned by the law that there is to be a meeting of a council to consider before the popular assembly is called together. This is evident from the words of Homer (I. ii. 53):—

But first of all the Elders
A secret conclave Agamemnon called.

Agamemnon collects the Elders, and examines with them how to arm the people for the fight.

And that it is necessary for the leader before all things to care for the salvation of the whole, he teaches in his characters by the advice he gives (I. ii. 24):—

To sleep all night but ill becomes a chief.

And how it is necessary for subjects to obey their leader, and how the commander should bear himself toward each class; Odysseus shows this, persuading the superior class by soft words, but using toward the crowd bitter words of rebuke.

To rise up for one’s superiors is sanctioned in all laws. This the gods themselves do in the case of Zeus (I. i. 535):—

At his entrance all
Rose from their seats at once; not one presumed
To wait his coming.

There is a rule among most that the eldest shall speak. Diomed by necessity of the war having dared to speak first, requests to be pardoned (I. xiv. 111):—

Nor take offence that I,
The youngest of all, presume to speak.

And it is an universal rule that voluntary offences are punished and involuntary ones are excused. This, too, the poet shows, in what the minstrel says (O. xxii. 350):—

And Telemachus will testify of this, thine own dear son, that
not by mine own will or desire did I resort to thy house to
sing to the wooers after their feasts; but being so many and
stronger than I, they led me by constraint.

There are three forms of polity intended to attain justice and good laws — Royalty, Aristocracy, and Democracy. To these are opposed three which end in injustice and lawlessness — Tyranny, Oligarchy, and Mob Rule. Homer does not seem ignorant of these. Throughout his whole poem he names kingly rule and praises it; for example (I. ii. 196):—

For fierce his anger, and the Lord of counsel, Jove,
From whom proceeds all honor, loves him well.

And what sort of a man a king must be, he plainly reveals (O. ii. 236):—

Be kind and gentle with all his heart.

And (O. iv. 690):—

One that wrought no iniquity toward any man, nor spake aught
unrighteous in the township, as is the wont of divine kings.

And severally where he enumerates five kings of the Boeotians, and among the Phaeacians (O. viii. 390):—

Behold there are twelve glorious princes who rule among this
people and bear sway, and I myself am the thirteenth.

The image of democracy he shows clearly on the shield, in which he makes two cities. The one he says is ruled democratically, since they have no leader, yet all by their own will conduct themselves according to the laws; then, too, he introduces a trial proceeding. And he exhibits a democracy when he says (O. xvi. 425):—

In fear of the people, for they were exceedingly wroth against
him, because he had followed with Topheon sea-robbers and
harried the Thesprotians, who were at peace with us.

A man ruling with violence and contrary to the laws he does not call a tyrant, for the name is of more recent date. But his nature he exhibits in his deeds (O. vxiii. 85):—

And send thee to the mainland to Echetus the king, the maimer
of all mankind, who will cut off thy nose and ears with the
pitiless steel.

And he shows Aegisthus tyrannical, who killed Agamemnon and lorded over Mycenae. And when he was killed he says he would have had no sepulchre if Menelaus had been there. For this was the custom with tyrants (O. iii. 258):—

Then even in his death would they not have heaped the piled
earth over him, but dogs and fowls of the air would have
devoured him as he lay on the plain far from the town:
so dread was the deed he contrived.

Oligarchy he seems to show in the ambition of the suitors, about whom he says (O. i. 247):—

As many as lord it in rocky Ithaca.

He describes the mob rule in the Trojan government in which all are accomplices of Alexander and all are involved in misfortunes. Priam accuses his sons of being the cause (I. xxiv. 253):—

Haste, worthless sons, my scandal and my shame!

And also another Trojan, Antimachus (I. xi. 124):—

’Twas he who chief
Seduc’d by Paris’ gold and splendid gifts
Advis’d the restitution to refuse
Of Helen to her lord.

It is esteemed just among men to distribute to each according to his worth. This principle concerns especially reverencing the gods, and honoring parents and relations. Piety toward the gods he teaches in many passages, introducing the heroes sacrificing, praying, offering gifts to the gods, and celebrating them in hymns, and as a reward for their piety they receive from the gods.

Honor to parents he shows especially, in the character of Telemachus, and in his praise of Orestes (O. i. 298):—-

Or hast thou not heard what renown the goodly Orestes got
among all men in that he slew the slayer of his father?

For parents to be cared for in their old age by their children is just by nature and a debt of retribution; this he showed in one passage where he says (I. xvii. 302):—

Not destin’d he his parents to repay their early care.

The good will and good faith of brothers to one another he shows in Agamemnon and Menelaus, of friends in Achilles and Patroclus, prudence and wifely love in Penelope, the longing of a man for his wife in Odysseus.

How we should act toward our country he showed especially in these words (I. xii. 243):—

The best of omens is our country’s cause.

And how citizens should share a common friendship (I. ix. 63):—

Outcast from kindred, law, and hearth is he
Whose soul delights in fierce, internal strife.

That truthfulness is honorable and the contrary to be avoided (I. ix. 312):—

Him as the gates of hell my soul abhors
Where outward speech his secret thought belies.

And (O. xviii. 168):—

Who speak friendly with their lips, but imagine evil in the
latter end.

Households are chiefly well ordered when the wife does not make a fuss over the undeclared plans of her husband nor without his counsel undertakes to do any thing. Both he shows in the person of Hera; the former he attributes to Zeus as speaker (I. i. 545):—

Expect not Juno, all my mind to know.

And the latter Hera herself speaks (I. xiv. 310):—

Lest it displease thee, if, to thee unknown,
I sought the Ocean’s deeply flowing stream,

There is a custom among all people for those who go to a war or who are in danger to send some message to their families. Our poet was familiar with this custom. For Andromache, bewailing Hector, says (I. xxiv. 743):—

For not to me was giv’n to clasp the hand extended from thy
dying bed,
Nor words of wisdom catch, which night and day,
With tears, I might have treasur’d in my heart.

Penelope recalls the commands of Odysseus when he set forth (O. xviii. 265):—

Wherefore I know not if the gods will suffer me to return, or
whether I shall be cut off there in Troy; so do thou have a
care for all these things. Be mindful of my father and my
mother in the halls, even as thou art or yet more than now,
while I am far away. But when thou see’st thy son a bearded
man, marry whom thou wilt and leave thine own house.

He knew also the custom of having stewards (O. ii. 226):—

He it was to whom Odysseus, as he departed in the fleet, had
given the charge over all his house. that it should obey the
old man, and that he should keep all things safe.

Grief at the death in one’s household he thinks should not be unmeasured; for this is unworthy, nor does he allow it altogether to be repressed; for apathy is impossible for mankind, whence he says the following (I. xxiv. 48):—

He mourns and weeps, but time his grief allays,
For fate to man a patient mind hath given.

Other places he says (I. xix. 228):—

Behooves us bury out of sight our dead
Steeling our hearts and weeping but a day.

He also knew the customs used now at funerals, in other passages and in the following (I. xvi. 456):—

There shall his brethren and his friends perform
His fun’ral rites, and mound and column raise
The fitting tribute to the mighty dead

And as Andromache says (before) the naked and prostrate body of Hector (I. xxii. 509):—

But now on thee, beside the beaked ships
Far from thy parents, when the rav’ning dogs
Have had their fill, the wriggling worms shall feed
In thee all naked; while within thy house
Lies store of raiment, rich and rare, the work
Of women’s hands: these I will burn with fire
Not for thy need — thou ne’er shalt wear them more
But for thine honor in the sight of Troy.

So, too, Penelope prepares the shroud (O. ii. 99):—

Even this shroud for the hero Laertes.

But these are examples of moderation. But exceeding these are the living creatures and men Achilles burns on the pyre of Patroclus. He tells us of them, but does not do so in words of praise. Therefore he exclaims (I. xxi. 19):—

On savage deeds intent.

And he first of all mentions monuments to the slain (I. vii. 336):—

And on the plains erect
Around the pyre one common pyre for all.

And he gave the first example of funeral games. These are common to times of peace and war.

Experience in warlike affairs, which some authorities call Tactics, his poetry being varied by infantry, siege, and naval engagements, and also by individual contests, covers many types of strategy. Some of these are worth mentioning. In drawing up armies it is necessary always to put the cavalry in front, and after it the infantry. This he indicates in the following verses (I. ii. 297):—

In the front rank, with chariot and with horse,
He plac’d the car-borne warriors; in the rear,
Num’rous and brave, a cloud of infantry!

And as to placing leaders among the soldiers as they are arranged in files (I. ix. 86):—

Seven were the leaders; and with each went forth,
A hundred gallant youths, with lances armed.

Some of the leaders fight in the front rank; some in the rear exhort the rest to fight (I. iv. 252):—

And come where round their chief
Idomeneus, the warlike bards of Crete
Were coming for the fight; Idomeneus
Of courage stubborn as the forest boar
The foremost ranks array’d; Meriones
The rearmost squadrons had in charge.

It is necessary for those who are valiant to camp in the extreme limits, making as it were a wall for the rest; but for the king is pitched his tent in the safest place, that is, in the midst. He shows this by making the most valorous men, Achilles and Ajax, encamp in the most exposed spaces of the fleet, but Agamemnon and the rest in the middle.

The custom of surrounding the camp with earth-works, and digging around it a deep and wide ditch and planting it in a circle with stakes so that no one can jump over it by reason of its breadth, nor go down into it because of its depth, is found in the warlike operations of Homer (I. xii. 52):—

In vain we seek to drive
Our horses o’er the ditch: it is hard to cross,
’Tis crowned with pointed stakes, and then behind
Is built the Grecian wall; these to descend,
And from our cars in narrow space to fight,
Were certain ruin.

And in battle those who follow the example of Homer’s heroes die bravely (I. xxii. 304):—

Yet not without a struggle let me die,
Nor all inglorious; but let some great act,
Which future days may hear of, mark my fall.

And another time (O. xv. 494):—

And if there be among you who this day shall meet his doom by
sword or arrow slain, e’en let him die! a glorious death is
his who for his country falls.

To those who distinguish themselves he distributes gifts (I. ix. 334):—

To other chiefs and kings he meted out their several portions.

And he threatens deserters (I. xv. 348):—

Whom I elsewhere, and from the ships aloof
Shall find, my hand shall down him on the spot.

Why is it necessary to speak of the heroes in battle? How differently and variously he makes them give and receive wounds. One he thinks worthy of mention, because he thinks those wounded in front are the more honorable because they prove steadfastness and a desire to abide the shock. Those who are struck in the back or neck were less honorable, since these blows they received in flight. Both of these are mentioned in Homer (I. xii. 288):—

Not in the neck behind, nor in thy back
Should fall the blow, but in thy breast in front,
Thy courage none might call in doubt
Shouldst thou from spear or sword receive a wound.

And again (I. xxii. 213):—

Not in my back will I receive thy spear,
But through my heart.

In putting enemies to flight he gives useful advice, not to be busied with the spoil, nor give time for flight, but to press on and pursue (I. vi. 68):—

Loiter not now behind, to throw yourselves
Upon the prey, and bear it to the ships;
Let all your aim be now to kill, then
Ye may at leisure spoil your slaughtered foe.

There are in his poetry successful deeds achieved by every age, by which every one, no matter who he may be, can be encouraged: the man in the flower of his strength by Achilles, Ajax, and Diomed; by younger ones Antilochus and Meriones; the mature by Idomeneus and Odysseus; the old men by Nestor; and every king by all of these named and by Agamemnon. Such are in Homer the examples of the discourse and action of civilized life.

Let us see now whether Homer had any familiarity with medicine. That he held the art in high regard is clear from the following (I. xi. 514):—

Worth many a life is his, the skilful leech.

Medical science appears to be the science of disease and health. That it is a science any one can learn from this (O. iv. 23):—

There each one is a leech skilled beyond all men.

That it deals with disease and health (O. iv. 230):—

Many that are healing in the cup, and many baneful —

he indicates with these things.

Medicine has, too, a theoretical side which reaches the knowledge of particulars by universal reasoning and by inductive method. The parts of this are the study of symptoms and the knowledge of the courses of disease. The active part treating of action and effect; the parts of it diatetic, surgical, medicinal. How did Homer appraise each of these? That he knew the theoretical side is evident from this (O. iv. 227):—

Medicines of such virtue and so helpful had the daughters
of Zeus.

He calls them “of such virtue” because they were prepared by theoretic art.

But the study of symptoms he goes over in the case of Achilles. For he was a disciple of Charon. He first observed, then, the causes of the pestilence which was attacking the Greeks. For he knew that the causes of common diseases were from Apollo, who seems to be the same as the Sun. For he notices the seasons of the year. If these are intemperate, they become the causes of disease. For, in general, the safety and destruction of men are to be ascribed to Apollo, of women to Artemis, i.e. to the Sun and Moon, making them the casters of arrows by reason of the rays they throw out. So dividing the male and female he makes the male of the warmer temperament. On this account, at any rate, he says Telemachus is of this type, “by the guidance of Apollo”; but the daughters of Tyndarus grew up, he says, under the protection of Artemis. Moreover, to these gods he attributes death in many places, and among others in the following (I. xxiv. 605):—

The youths, Apollo with his silver bow;
The maids, the Archer Queen Diana slew.

Where he relates the rising of the Dog Star, the same is a sign and cause of fever and disease (I. xxii. 30):—

The highest he but sign to mortal man
Of evil augury and fiery heat.

He gives the causes of disease where he speaks about the gods (I. v. 341):—

They eat no bread, they drink no ruddy wine,
Thence are they bloodless and exempt from death.

For food, whether dry or humid, is generative of blood. And this nourishes the body; if it is excessive or corrupt, it becomes the cause of disease.

The practical part of medicine he carefully distinguishes. In this is the dietetic. First, he knew the periods and cures of diseases, as when he says (O. xi. 171):—

What doom overcame thee of death that lays men at their
length? Was it a slow disease, or did Artemis the archer slay
them with the visitation of her gentle shafts?

It is evident that he thinks a light diet is healthful. For he pictures his heroes making use of cooked food and so removes extravagant attention about things to eat. And since the stomach needs constant repletion, when cooked food, which has the closest relation to the body, is digested in the heart and veins, and the surfeit is cast forth, he says words like the following (O. vii. 215):—

But as for me suffer me to sup afflicted as I am; for naught
is there more shameless than a ravening belly, which biddeth a
man perforce be mindful of him.

And again (O. vii. 219):—

Yet ever more he biddeth me eat and drink, and maketh utterly
to forget all my sufferings and commandeth me to take my fill.

He knew, too, the difference in the use of wine: that immoderate drinking is harmful. but moderate profitable; as follows (O. xxi. 294):—

Honey sweet wine, that is the bane of others too, even of all
who take great draughts and drink out of measure.

The other so (I. vi. 261):—

But great the strength,
Which gen’rous wine imparts to men who toil
And that gives additional force.

and (I. xix. 167):—

But he who first with food and wine refreshed
All day maintains the combat with the foe.
His spirit retains unbroken, and his limbs
Unwearied till both armies quit the field.

And he thinks the agreeable taste contributes to good fellowship (O. vii. 182):—

So spake he, and Pontonous mixed the gladdening wine.

The strong and heady kind Odysseus gives to the Cyclops, the sharp kind for a medicine, for such is the Promneon brand, which he gives to wounded Machaon.

That he advises the use of gymnastics is evident in many places, for he makes his characters always at work, some in appropriate occupations, some for the sake of exercise. Although the Phaeacians are externally given to softness, and the suitors are dissolute, he introduces them doing gymnastic feats. And moderate exercise he thinks is the cause of health. For a tired body sleep is a remedy. For he says “sleep came upon Odysseus” after he had been tired out by the sea (O. v. 493):—

That so it might soon release him from his weary travail,
overshadowing his eyelids.

Nature requires a tired body to take rest. And where there is too little heat, as it is not able to penetrate everywhere, it remains at the lowest level. Why does the body rest? Because the tension of the soul is remitted and the members are dissolved and this he clearly says (O. iv. 794):—

And she sank back in sleep, and all her joints were loosened.

As in other things, immoderation is not advantageous; so he declares the same with regard to sleep, at one time saying (O, xiv. 394):—

Weariness and much sleep.

And another (O. xx. 52):—

To wake and watch all night, this, too, is vexation of spirit.

He knew, too, that clearness of air contributes to health, where he says (O. iv. 563):—

But the deathless gods will convey thee to the Elysian plain
and the World’s end, where is Rhadamanthus of the fair hair,
where life is easiest for men. No snow is there, nor yet
great storm, nor any rain; but always ocean sendeth forth the
breeze of the shrill west to blow cool on men.

He knew remedies for sufferings; for cold revives those who are fainting, as in the case of Sarpedon (I. v. 697):—

He swooned, and giddy mists o’erspread his eyes,
But soon revived as on his forehead blew
While yet he gasped for breath the cooling breeze.

Heat is a remedy for cold, as in the case of storm-tossed Odysseus, who bends down in the thicket, where there is a protection against winds and rains, and he covers himself with the wood about him. And other places he mentions baths and anointing, as in the case of Diomed and Odysseus returning from their night expedition. The special usefulness of baths he shows especially in the following (O. x. 362):—

She bathed me with water from out a great caldron, pouring it
over head and shoulders, where she had mixed it to a pleasant
warmth till from my limbs she took away consuming weariness.

It is plain that the nerves have their origin in the head and shoulders. So probably from this he makes the healing of fatigue to be taken. This takes place by the wetting and warming; for labors are parching.

We have now to consider how he treated the function of surgery. Machaon heals Menelaus by first removing the javelin; then he examines the wound and presses out the blood, and scatters over it dry medicaments. And it is evident that this is done by him in a technical fashion. Eurypalus, who is wounded in the thigh, first treats it with a sharp knife, then he washes it with clear water; afterward to diminish the pain, he employs an herb. For there are many in existence that heal wounds. He knew this, too, that bitter things are suitable; for to dry up wounds requires exsiccation. After Patroclus has applied the healing art, he did not go away immediately, but (I. xv. 393):—

Remaining, with his converse soothed the chief.

For a sufferer needs sympathy. Machaon wounded not with a great or
fatal wound on the shoulder, he makes using intentionally a
somewhat careless diet. Perhaps here he shows his art. For he who
takes care of himself at ordinary times is able to heal himself.

This is noted, too, in Homer, that he knows the distinction of drugs. Some are to be used as plasters, others as powders, as when he says (I. iv. 218):—

And applied with skilful hand the herbs of healing power.

But some are to be drunk, as where Helen mixes a medicine in a bowl (O. iv. 221):—

A drug to lull all pain and anger, and bring forgetfulness of
every sorrow.

He knows, too, that some poisonous drugs are to be applied as ointments (O. i. 261):—

To seek a deadly drug, that he might have wherewithal to
smear his bronze-shod arrows.

Others are to be drunk, as in these words (O. ii. 330):—

To fetch a poisonous drug that he may cast it into the bowl
and make an end of all of us.

So much for medicines in the Homeric poems.

Divination is useful to man like medicine. A part of this the Stoics call artificial, as the inspection of entrails and birds’ oracles, lots, and signs. All of these they call in general artificial. But what is not artificial, and is not acquired by learning, are trances and ecstasy, Homer knew, too, of these phenomena. But he also knew of seers, priests, interpreters of dreams, and augurs. A certain wise man in Ithaca he tells of (O. ii 159):—

He excelled his peers in knowledge of birds and in uttering
words of fate.

And Odysseus, praying, says (O. xx. 100):—

Let some one I pray of the folk that are waking show me a
word of good omen within and without; let soon other sign be
revealed to me from Zeus.

Snoring with him is a good sign. A divinely inspired seer is with the suitors, telling the future by divine inspiration. Once, too, Helenus says (I. vii. 53):—

He was the recipient of a divine voice.
By revelation from th’ eternal gods.

He gives cause of believing that Socrates had actually communications from the voice of the daemon.

What natural or scientific art is left untouched? Tragedy took its start from Homer, and afterward was raised to supremacy in words and things. He shows that there is every form of tragedy; great and extraordinary deeds, appearances of the gods, speech full of wisdom, revealing all sorts of natures. In a word, his poems are all dramas, serious and sublime in expression, also in feeling and in subject. But they contain no exhibition of unholy deeds, lawless marriages, or the murder of parents and children, or the other marvels of more recent tragedy. But when he mentions a thing of this kind, he seems to conceal rather than to condemn the crime. As he does in the case of of Clytemnestra. For he says (O. iii. 266):—

That she was endowed with an excellent mind as she had with
her a teacher appointed by Agamemnon, to give her the
best advice.

Aegisthus got this tutor out of the way and persuaded her to sin. He allows that Orestes justly avenged his father’s death by killing Aegisthus; but he passes over in silence the murder of his mother. Many of the like examples are to be seen in the poet, as a writer of majestic, but not inhuman, tragedy.

None the less, however, Comedy took from him its origin; for he contains, although he relates the gravest and most serious things, episodes which move to laughter, as in the “Iliad” Hephaestus is introduced limping and pouring out wine for the gods (I. i. 599):—

Rose laughter irrepressible, at sight
Of Vulcan hobbling round the spacious hall.

Thersites is most contemptible in body and most evil in disposition, from his raising a disturbance, and his slanderous speech and boastfulness. Odysseus attacks him on this account and gives occasion to all to laugh (I. ii. 270):—

The Greeks, despite their anger, laugh’d aloud.

In the “Odyssey” among the pleasure-loving Phaeacians their bard sings the adultery of Ares and Aphrodite. He tells how they fell into the snares of Hepheastus, and were taken in the act, and caused all the gods to laugh, and how they joked frequently with one another. And among the dissolute suitors Irus the beggar is brought in, contesting for a prize with the most noble Odysseus, and how he appeared ridiculous in the action. Altogether it is the character of human nature, not only to be intense, but to take “a moral holiday” so that the men may be equal to the troubles of life. Such relaxation for the mind is to be found in our poet. Those who in later days introduced Comedy to produce laughter made use of bare and naked language, but they cannot claim to have invented anything better. Of erotic feelings and expression, Homer makes but a moderate use; as Zeus says (I. iii. 442):—

For never did thy beauty so inflame my sense.

And what follows, and about Helen (I. iii. 156):—

And ’tis no marvel, one to other said,
The valiant Trojans and the well-greaved Greeks
For beauty such as this should long endure
The toils of war.

And other things of the same kind. Other poets have represented men taken by this passion uncontrollably and immoderately. This is sufficient for this subject.

Epigrams are a pleasing variety of speech; they are found on statues and on monuments indicating succinctly to whom they are dedicated. And this, too, is a mark of Homer where he says (I. vii. 89):—

Lo! there a warrior’s tomb of days gone by,
A mighty chief whom glorious Hector slew.

And again (I. vi. 460):—

Lo! this was Hector’s wife, who, when they fought
On plains of Troy, was Ilion’s bravest chief.

But if any one should say that Homer was a master of painting, he would make no mistake. For some of the wise men said that poetry was speaking painting, and painting silent poetry. Who before or who more than Homer, by the imagination of his thoughts or by the harmony of his verse, showed and exalted gods, men, places, and different kinds of deeds? For he showed by abundance of language all sorts of creatures and the most notable things — lions, swine, leopards. Describing their forms and characters and comparing them to human deeds, he showed the properties of each. He dared to liken the forms of gods to those of men. Hephaestus prepared Achilles’ shield; he sculptured in gold, land, sky, sea, the greatness of the Sun and the beauty of the Moon and the host of the stars crowning all. He placed on it cities in different states and fortunes, and animals moving and speaking. Who has more skill than the artificer of such an art?

Let us see in another example out of many how poems resemble more those things that are seen than those that are heard. As for example, in the passage where he tells of the wound of Odysseus, he introduces what Eurychleias did (O. xix. 468):—

Now the old woman took the scarred limb and passed her hand
down it, and knew it by the touch and let the foot drop
suddenly, so that the knees fell into the bath, and the vessel
broke, being turned over on the other side, and that water was
spilled on the ground. Then grief and joy came on her in one
moment, and her eyes filled with tears, and the voice of her
utterance was stayed, and touching the chin of Odysseus, she
spake to him saying, “Yea, verily, thou art Odysseus, my dear
child, and I knew thee not before till I had handled all the
body of my lord.” Therewithal she looked toward Penelope, as
minded to make a sign and the rest.

For here more things are shown than can be in a picture and those can be weighed by the eyes. They are not to be taken in by the eyes, but by the intelligence alone: such as the letting go of the foot through emotion, the sound of the tears, the spilt water and the grief, and at the same time the joy of the old women, her words to Odysseus, and what she is about to say as she looks toward Penelope. Many other things are graphically revealed in the poet which come out when he is read.

It is time to close a work which we have woven, like a crown from a beflowered and variegated field, and which we offer to Muses. And we, we shall not lay it to the heart if any one censures us, because the Homeric poems contain the basis of evil things, if we ascribe to him various political, ethical, and scientific discussions. Since good things are by themselves simple, straightforward, and unprepared; but what is mixed with evil has many different modes and all kinds of combinations, from which the substance of the matter is derived. If evil is added to the others, the knowledge and choice of the good is made easier. And on the whole a subject of this sort gives occasion to the poet for originating discourse of all kinds, some belonging to himself, some proper to the characters he introduces. From this circumstance be gives much profit to his readers. Why should we not ascribe to Homer every excellence? Those things that he did not work up, they who came after him have noticed. And some make use of his verses for divination, like the oracles of God. Others setting forward other projects fit to them for our use what he has said by changing or transposing it.

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Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 16:24