Monthly Archives: August 2018

On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XI

Index to this series | Text of Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad

After the active night of Book X comes the dawn of a thrilling day.

  1. AVrora, out of restfull bed, did from bright Tython rise,
  2. To bring each deathlesse essence light, and vse, to mortall eyes.

The deathless essence called Jove sends Discord to the Greeks. She lights on the ship of Ulysses, in the middle of the fleet, so all can hear as she belts out her “Orthian song.”

  1. And presently was bitter warre, more sweet a thousand times
  2. Then any choice in hollow keeles, to greet their natiu climes.

The sweetness of war is the theme of the book. Continue reading

NL XXVI: Democracy and Aristocracy

Index to this series

Executive summary (added September 12, 2018): Aristocracy and democracy are abstractions. They are inseparable from one another, and they are properly understood as correlative rules for the ruling class:

  1. Don’t let in anybody who is unqualified.
  2. Don’t keep out anybody who is.

By what in Chapter XXXI will be called the Principle of the Limited Objective (which was recognized by the Early Church Fathers), the ruling class should be prepared, not to solve every problem (as Plato wanted), but to solve those problems that are expected to come up. The concept of revolution is borrowed from the literary concept of peripety; it has no place in history, where there are no heroes or villains, just human beings, partly good and partly bad.


There can be no pure democracy, not for any length of time, not if we understand a democracy to be a society whose ruling class is the whole of it. Even the most extreme democrat of ancient Greece never contemplated citizenship for women, slaves, or resident foreigners. We may be more liberal today, at least regarding women and slavery. Still we do not open the ruling class to foreigners, such as myself where I am; nor do we open it to children. We could do so, in the sense of extending the franchise to all human residents. Both possibilities were discussed favorably by a legal minor in The Nation in the early 1990s, as I recall. However, perhaps most children could not be given such adminstrative duties as used to be assigned by lot to Athenian citizens. Even if they could, what of the animals that live among us?

Edward Hicks (American, 1780-1849 ), The Cornell Farm, 1848, oil on canvas, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book X

Index to this series | Text of Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad

In Book X of the Iliad, Diomedes and Ulysses go to spy on the Trojan camp at night. When they return to the Greek camp,

  1. Then entred they the meere maine sea, to cleanse their honord sweate
  2. From off their feet, their thighes and neckes…

I can enter the same sea now. After more than ten months, I return to my reading of Homer, and Chapman’s Homer, as I have returned to the place where I was doing it last year, on the Aegean coast opposite Lesbos, after the sweat-soaked struggle of—teaching in the Nesin Mathematics Village, south of here, in the hills above Ephesus.

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Eastern Black Sea Yayla Tour

Here are some photos from our recent tour (July 21–29, 2018), in chronological order. More then ten times as many photos, along with a verbal account, not always in chronological order, are on a page of this website (as opposed to a post, like the present one); the page is called Karadeniz, which is the Turkish for Black Sea.

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