Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Complete Works Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies by Plutarch

Part 12 out of 17

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

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):--

Book of the day: