After so many years even the fire of passion dies, and with it what was believed the light of the truth. Who of us is able to say now whether Hector or Achilles was right, Agamemnon or Priam, when they fought over the beauty of a woman who is now dust and ashes?
Take courage, my heart: you have been through worse than this. Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier; I have seen worse sights than this.
I fancied my luck to be witnessing yet another full moon. True, I’d seen hundreds of full moons in my life, but they were not limitless. When one starts thinking of the full moon as a common sight that will come again to one’s eyes ad-infinitum, the value of life is diminished and life goes by uncherished. ‘This may be my last moon,’ I sighed, feeling a sudden sweep of sorrow; and went back to reading more of The Odyssey.
The gods weave misfortunes for men, so that the generations to come will have something to sing about.” Mallarmé repeats, less beautifully, what Homer said; “tout aboutit en un livre,” everything ends up in a book. The Greeks speak of generations that will sing; Mallarmé speaks of an object, of a thing among things, a book. But the idea is the same; the idea that we are made for art, we are made for memory, we are made for poetry, or perhaps we are made for oblivion. But something remains, and that something is history or poetry, which are not essentially different.
The greatest war story ever told commemorates a war that established no boundaries, won no territory, and furthered no cause.
This, the only occasion in the Iliad when furious Achilles smiles serves as a bittersweet reminder of the difference real leadership could have made to the events of the Iliad. Agamemnon's panicked prize-grabbing in Book One and even Nestor's rambling authority pale beside Achilles' instinctive and absolute command of himself and the dangers of this occasion.
Surely, by all convention, the Iliad will end here, with the triumphant return of its vindicated hero. But the Iliad is not a conventional epic, and at the very moment of its hero's greatest military triumph, Homer diverts his focus from Achilles to the epic's two most important casualties, Patroklos and Hektor: it is to the consequences of their deaths, especially to the victor, that all action of the Iliad has been inexorably leading.
Homer's epic does not tell of such seemingly essential events as the abduction of Helen, for example, nor of the mustering and sailing of the Greek fleet, the first hostilities of the war, the Trojan Horse, and the sacking and burning of Troy. Instead, the 15,693 lines of Homer's Iliad describe the occurrences of a roughly two-week period in the tenth and final year of what had become a stalemated siege of Troy.
Alexander the Great slept with 'The Iliad' beneath his pillow. During the waning moon, I cradle Homer’s 'Odyssey' as if it were the sweet body of a woman.
Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.
I love reading.It makes me feel like I am swallowing up Christ, Homer, Confucius, Newton, Franklin, Socrates, Caesar, and the whole world into one gigantic invincible Sir Moffat. Mine is creative reading. I read building empires in mind. I pray I won't read and read and forget to marry.
As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries-not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer. For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conception only as cultural posits. The myth of physical objects is epistemologically superior to most in that it has proved more efficacious than other myths as a device for working a manageable structure into the flux of experience.
Fate is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard.We are all held in a single honour, the brave with the weaklings.A man dies still if he has done nothing, as one who has done much.
Warriors with developed senses of honour and hair-trigger tempers sensitive to the slightest insult make dangerous enemies but they also make uncertain allies. Indeed, Aristotle claims that ‘our anger is more aroused against associates and friends we think have insulted us than against strangers’. This is the dilemma at the heart of heroic values. It is, again, one reason that Homer invites the goddess to sing about anger, one reason that she sings a song in which that anger is first directed against friends and then against enemies.
Plato utterly condemns the poets for publishing trivial, false and indeed wicked stories about the gods, such as that they fight with each other, or are overcome by emotions like grief, anger, mirth. Reluctantly, he will not allow Homer in his Republic, and he is very angry with the tragic poets for spreading unworthy ideas of the Deity.It may well be that there were inferior tragic poets who deserved Plato's strictures, but so far as concerns the tragic poets whom we know, Plato's attack is absurd. It is the attack of a severely intellectual philosopher who was also more of a poet than most poets have contrived to be; one who invented some of the profoundest and most beautiful of Greek myths. 'There is a long-standing quarrel', says Plato, 'between philosophy and poetry.' So there was, on the part of the philosophers, and most of all in Plato's own soul.
Question me now about all other matters, but do not ask who I am, for fear you may increase in my heart it's burden of sorrow as I think back; I am very full of grief, and I should not sit in the house of somebody else with my lamentation and wailing. It is not good to go on mourning forever.
There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:(1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction;(2) cowardice, which leads to capture;(3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;(4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame;(5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.
Honour to Agamemnon is a thing / That he can pick, pick up, put back, pick up again, / A somesuch you might find beneath your bed.
I also became a poet, and for one year lived in a Paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated.