On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XXI

Jove allowed the gods to aid whom they would, in the previous book of the Iliad; now, in Book XXI, they fight with one another. The god of fire attacks a river god; the god of war, the goddess of wisdom. This calls into question the notion of gods as personifications of abstract concepts.

Road to beach, shaded by pines

One may say that of course fire is at war with water, and war with wisdom. I would say rather that we can be at war with one another, because none of us is simply one thing distinct from any other.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

We have similarities and differences, and so do the gods. We can all do many things.

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XX

The Wikipedia article “Superhero” traces the word itself to “at least 1917,” giving “such folkloric heroes as Robin Hood” as “Antecedents of the archetype.” I don’t know why Achilles should not be considered as an antecedent. According to the opening description,

A superhero is a type of heroic stock character, usually possessing supernatural or superhuman powers, who is dedicated to fighting the evil of their universe, protecting the public, and usually battling super-villains.

Achilles has superhuman powers; he has supernatural powers, when aided by the gods; and now in Book XX of the Iliad, as far as the Greeks are concerned, he is fighting the evil of their universe. However, the Trojans are not evil in Homer’s universe. Here there is no Manichaean principle of evil, and much less is Achilles personally devoted to fighting it.

Nonetheless, Book XX would seem to be a battle of the superheroes.

Spreading pine branches

The scene from where I read as the sun went down

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XIX

Book XIX of the Iliad consists mostly of speeches.

Myself on the beach with dogs, pines behind

Thetis

Do not grieve so, Achilles. It was a god who killed your friend, and the will of god is law. However, a god has also provided this new armor.

Achilles

That’s jolly good armor. I’ll use it, but I’m worried about the flies on this corpse.

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XVIII

I analyze Book XVIII of the Iliad into seven scenes.

Branches against sky

  1. Achilles receives from Antilochus the news of Patroclus’s death, and Thetis receives the news from Achilles. She tells him not to fight till she has brought new arms from Mulciber (Chapman’s lines 1–136).

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XVII

Book XVI of the Iliad ended with the death of Patroclus; Book XVIII will begin with Achilles’s learning of the death. Book XVII gives us the fight over the body.

Dogs in the shade on the beach in the waning summer

Why is a body so important? I can only observe that a belief in its importance is something that keeps warriors fighting.

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XVI

It is the story of Icarus. A man gets wings, flies too high, and is burned. Icarus is Patroclus, the wings are Achilles’s armaments, and flying too high is assaulting the very walls of Troy.

Kocabey Mosque, Şavşat, Artvin

That is the simple story of Book XVI of the Iliad. The book also contains a puzzle: why does Achilles let Patroclus to fight in his place?

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XV

After a year, I return to reading the Iliad on the Asian mainland of Turkey. I am opposite Lesbos, south of Mount Ida, where in the last episode, Juno seduced Jove, so that he would not see Neptune’s interference on behalf of the Greeks, in the war down at Troy.

We were here in Altınova (in the province of Balıkesir) in July, but my mind then was on mathematics, including mathematics coming out of my April post here, “Elliptical Affinity.” I went on to speak of this mathematics in two other countries, one of these the homeland of Medea. In the other country, I was moved to write a post concerning the book I had already blogged a lot about. Now Ayşe and other Peace Academics are being cleared of charges, our fall semester does not begin till October, and we can spend time at the beach.

Twelve Apostles, a former Armenian church, now a mosque, in Kars

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A Final Statement

This concludes the series that began with “An Indictment” and continued with “A Defense.”

Ayşe and Meriç her lawyer

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Math, Maugham, and Man

A human being was once a man. A female of the species was a wife; a male, a were. The latter appeared in werewolf, but also were-eld, which became our world. Our woman comes from wife-man.

That is roughly the history, which I shall review later in a bit more detail. It would be a fallacy to think the history told us how we must use the words “woman” and “man” today. The history does suggest what may happen again: in a world dominated by men, a word like “person,” intended for any human being, may come to have its own meaning dominated by men. Yet again, this is no reason not to try to make our language better.

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On Being Given to Know

  1. What if we could upload books to our brains?
  2. What if a machine could tell us what was true?

We may speculate, and it is interesting that we do speculate, because I think the questions do not ultimately make sense—not the sense that seems to be intended anyway, whereby something can be got for nothing.

View from Şavşat

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