Tag Archives: 2017

On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book VII

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

On the recommendation of his brother Helenus, Hector invites any one of the Greeks to single combat—as his brother Paris did, though this is not recollected. The proposed combat will not resolve the war, but may remove from one side, by death, its best man. No Greek takes the challenge until Menelaus offers to. Agamemnon stops him, since he is not good enough. Nestor chides the Greeks, recalling how he once took the challenge of fighting Ereuthalion and won. Nine Greeks now come forward. A lot being picked from Agamemnon’s helmet, Ajax Telemon recognizes it as his own. His combat with Hector ends not with death, but with night and exchange of gifts. In Troy, Paris rejects a suggestion that he return Helen to Menelaus, but he is willing to return her property, and more. This offer is rejected, but not an offer of a truce for burial of the dead. The Greeks build a wall around their burial site and themselves, offending Neptune by not making due sacrifices first. Jove says Neptune may raze the wall when the Greeks go back home. Meanwhile the Greeks enjoy wine purchased from a merchant fleet of Lemnos.

That is my concise prose summary of Book 7 of the Iliad, read in the translation of George Chapman. Chapman himself provides, even more concisely, two summaries or “arguments” for each book: one argument is a poem of five or more heroic couplets; the other, a couplet in iambic tetrameter.

Why summarize at all? It is an attempt to see at once a work that unfolds over time, like music. I say this as somebody who enjoys concerts, but cannot then remember what he has heard. Besides the reckless consumption of fossil fuel, a regret I have about the world today is the prevalence of recorded music. The popular music that I listened to when young is now an endless source of earworms—currently Cat Stevens’s Lady D’Arbanville, because it was part of a mix that some neighbors were listening to yesterday, here at our seaside resort. They and I had a shared interest in the Istanbul Biennial, though we did not discuss the title of this year’s event, opening soon, A Good Neighbor.

An earworm is a distraction. It is not necessarily annoying, but I wonder what kind of earworms one has if one has not grown up able to fill every silent hour with the sound of a radio. I have a head full of simple tunes, but do not know how to remember a longer serious work of several movements. How do I then remember Homer?

When I started visiting Washington art museums on my own as an adolescent, I would want to take home something tangible, perhaps a print or a book from the shop. Later, the memory of the visit was enough to take home.

Now I have read the Iliad a number of times, in at least three translations, along with some of the original. I want to take away something tangible or at least visible from my reading: these blog articles. At the Aegean beach where I am now, I have read at a pace of four books a day, so as to finish in six days; but this is too fast for details. To write an article for each book is at least a way to notice some things.

At the end of Book 6, Hector and Paris were getting ready to rejoin the battle. At the beginning of Book 7, they come out of Troy like a wind that allows exhausted oarsmen to rest. Paris kills Menestheus; Hector, Eioneus; Glaucus, Iphinous. Seeing Greeks fall, Pallas comes down from Olympus to Troy. Apollo follows her and suggests that today, no more should die. Pallas is willing, but asks how this is to be accomplished. Apollo suggests giving Hector the idea of single combat.

By augury, Helenus sees the design of Apollo and Pallas. He proposes the combat to Hector, telling him he is not fated to die in it. Hector advances between the hosts with his spear. The Trojans are immediately silent; Agamemnon silences the Greeks. Pallas and Apollo look on like vultures from “Ioues Beech” (line 47)—supposedly a Valonia oak, though the Greek φηγός would seem to correspond to the Latin fagus, used for the genus of beeches.

Meanwhile, the troops take some time to settle down, but first are like black waves excited “By rising Zephyre” (line 50). Hector makes his speech. The war will not end until one side is destroyed; but meanwhile, let there be a single combat (lines 53–60).

Heare Troians, and ye well arm’d Greeks, what my strong mind (diffusde
Through all my spirits) commands me speake; Saturnius hath not vsde
His promist fauour for our truce, but (studying both our ils)
Will neuer ceasse till Mars, by you, his rauenous stomacke fils,
With ruin’d Troy; or we consume, your mightie Sea-borne fleet.
Since then, the Generall Peeres of Greece, in reach of one voice meete;
Amongst you all, whose breast includes, the most impulsiue mind,
Let him stand forth as combattant, by all the rest designde.

The body of the loser will be stripped of its arms, but returned to its people. If Hector is victor, the Greeks will erect a monument to the loser, “where Hellespontus fals Into Egaeum,” and thus, like the rose in that Cat Stevens song, the fame of Hector will never die.

Menelaus condemns the Greeks for falling silent. He will fight, though they think he will lose; for victory is the gods’ to give. Then steps up his more practically minded brother (lines 92–3),

Who tooke him by the bold right hand, and sternly pluckt him backe:
Mad brother, tis no worke for thee, thou seekst thy wilfull wracke.

Not forgetting his feud, he says even Achilles is reluctant to face Hector.

Achilles’s father Peleus was impressed by the list of names, supplied by Nestor, of the warriors sailing to Troy; now he will weep. Nestor recalls at some length the single combat (mentioned in the initial summary above) with Ereuthalion, who wore the arms of Areithous, who fought not with spear or bow (lines 122–5),

But with a massie club of iron, he brake through armed bands:
And yet Lycurgus was his death, but not with force of hands;
With sleight (encountring in a lane, where his club wanted sway)
He thrust him through his spacious waste, who fell, and vpwards lay.

So Lycurgus tricked Areithous and got his arms, which, when he was old, he gave to his soldier Ereuthalion; but Nestor slew him. If Nestor still had his powers of youth (lines 140–2),

Soone should bold Hector be impugn’d: yet you that most are crownd
With fortitude, of all our hoast; euen you, me thinkes are slow,
Not free, and set on fire with lust, t’encounter such a foe.


On December 12, 2020, I add this note on how, in the three lines above, Chapman

  • joins lust with freedom, which we might then understand as license;

  • adjusts Homer’s lines to do so, shrinking one line by half, so that another can become half again as much.

Freedom and license are in antithesis. Chapman may get Homer’s meaning better than a literal translator such as Murray, whose prose is thus (broken into verses corresponding to Homer’s):

then should Hector of the flashing helm soon find one to face him.
Whereas ye that are chieftains of the whole host of the Achaeans,
even ye are not minded with a ready heart to meet Hector face to face.

“Minded with a ready heart”! It sounds funny, but the references to heart and mind have technical justification.

  • Murray’s adverbial phrase “With a ready heart” comes from προφρονέως, which might be rendered more literally as, “with heart in front”: heart taking the lead, heart making free.

    The heart, φρήν, is not necessarily the blood-pumping muscular organ. It seems to be something in the trunk, but it could be a lung. I talk more about the possibilities in “On Translation” (which post I was able to find by searching my site for φρήν in Greek letters; the post on Book I of the Odyssey also came up).

    In his Greek etymological dictionary, Beekes finds it plausible that φρήν is connected to φράζομαι “to think, consider.” This word is the origin of our “phrase.”

  • Murray’s verb “to be minded” corresponds to the Greek verb used in the perfect form μέμονα (though Cunliffe defines it under the unattested present form *μάω). The Indo-European root is *men- “think,” which is the origin of our “mind.” Beekes derives from the root

    • μιμνήσκω “to remind (oneself), remember, heed, care for, make mention”;

    • αὐτόματος “spontaneous, automatic, of one’s own accord.”

    Evidently from the latter we obtain “automatic.” There is a curious progression in the meaning of this adjective: from what is deliberate to what is precisely not deliberate. The word then represents another antithesis, or an instance of what Heraclitus is referring to in the fragment,

    Ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω μία καὶ ὡυτή,

    The road up and the road down is one and the same.

    Whether the road is up or down depends on whether we are going up or down. If something else is going up or down, on its own, we can see it in two ways, corresponding to the two senses of “automatic”:

    1. It moves itself the way we move ourselves.

    2. It moves independently of us or anybody like us.

    The two senses are illustrated in what we have seen in the Iliad far:

    1. In Book II, when Agamemnon calls a council of war, but does not call his brother to it, Homer tells us in lines 408–9:

      αὐτόματος δέ οἱ ἦλθε βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Μενέλαος:
      ᾔδεε γὰρ κατὰ θυμὸν ἀδελφεὸν ὡς ἐπονεῖτο.

      As Chapman has it, in his lines 355–8,

      but at-a-martiall-crie,
      Good Menelaus, since he saw, his brother busily
      Employd at that time, would not stand, on inuitation,
      But of himselfe came.

      Chapman has a note in his “Commentarivs” on this passage,

      about which, a passing great peece of worke is pickt out by our greatest Philosophers, touching the vnbidden coming of Menelaus to supper or Counsell, which some commend; others condemne in him: but the reason why he staid not the inuitement, rendered immediatly by Homer, none of thē will vnderstand …

      If I understand Chapman, what the greatest philosophers do not understand is that Homer’s explanation for why Menelaus comes uninvited is ironical. I have figured Menelaus was sensitive enough to save his brother the trouble of summoning him; but perhaps he also knows he can get away with being where his big brother doesn’t really want him.

      Plutarch recognizes Homer’s irony (says Chapman), in Question II, “Whether the entertainer should seat the guests …,” of Book I of the Questiones Convivales (which Chapman calls Symposium):

      Menelaus is accounted absurd and passed into a proverb, for pretending to advise when unasked; and sure he would be more ridiculous that instead of an entertainer should set up for a judge, when nobody requests him or submits to his determination which is the best and which the worst man in the company; for the guests do not come to contend about precedency, but to feast and be merry.

    2. In Book V, when Juno and Athena are ready to fly down from Olympus to aid the Greeks, Homer tells us in line 749:

      αὐτόμαται δὲ πύλαι μύκον οὐρανοῦ ἃς ἔχον Ὧραι.

      Chapman renders this as, “the ample gates of heauen / Rung, and flew open of themselues; the charge whereof is giuen / … to the distinguisht Howres” (lines 756–8).

We return to Book VII, where Homer’s lines 158–60 read in full:

τώ κε τάχ᾽ ἀντήσειε μάχης κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ.
ὑμέων δ᾽ οἵ περ ἔασιν ἀριστῆες Παναχαιῶν
οὐδ᾽ οἳ προφρονέως μέμαθ᾽ Ἕκτορος ἀντίον ἐλθεῖν.

With the latter two lines, I think one can be even more literal than Murray, thus:

Of you, those who even are best of all [you] Greeks,
Not—those who are with heart in the lead—are you minded to go opposite Hector.

This does not read so well, but aims to use “those who” to correspond to the nominative plural pronoun οἵ, which occurs on either line and is third person, not second like the genitive plural pronoun ὑμέων and the verb that, isolated, would be μέματε. Actually the ὑμέων doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense unless joined with the Παναχαιῶν at the end of its line. But then I would still connect προφρονέως—even though it is an adverb—with the οἵ that precedes it; otherwise, why is οἵ there? So I get the meaning,

Even those who are best of all you Greeks, those who have heart in front: you are not minded to face Hector.

However, like Murray, the professional line-by-line translators construe προφρονέως μέματε as a unit:

  • Lattimore:

    But you, now, who are the bravest of all the Achaians,
    are not minded with a good will to go against Hektor.

  • Caroline Alexander:

    But you men who are best of all Achaeans,
    not even you with good heart seek to go against Hector.

These translations seem automatic in the sense of mechanical. There is something mechanical about composing in meter in the first place. The poet follows an algorithm that picks words according to the lengths or stresses of their syllables.

The words come with meanings as well as sounds, and the meanings are supposed to fit the context. Chapman would seem to take the meanings especially seriously here. But let us now continue beyond the passage.


After Nestor’s rebuke, Nine Greeks warriors come forward:

  • Agamemnon,
  • Diomedes,
  • both Ajaces,
  • Idomeneus and his “consort” Meriones,
  • Eurypylus,
  • Thoas,
  • Ulysses.

Nestor proposes drawing lots. Each man marks his own. The soldiers pray Jove that Ajax Telamon, or Diomedes, or Agamemnon will win. Nobody recognizes the lot that is drawn until finally it reaches Ajax. This suggests that these warriors are illiterate; on the other hand, what is there to write with on the battlefield?

Ajax is pleased to be chosen. He suits up like Mars. Hector is nervous, but knows he must stand firm; after all, he asked for this. Ajax tells him he will soon see there are great Greek fighters besides Achilles. Don’t treat me like a girl, says Hector: I know what I am doing and am going to fight fair.

Each throws a spear, but it sticks in the shield. To retrieve their spears, they come at each other like lions (lines 226–7),

Whose bloudie violence is increast, by that raw food they eate:
Or Bores, whose strength, wilde nourishment, doth make so wondrous great.

Ajax wounds Hector in the neck. Hector hits Ajax with a stone; Ajax, Hector, with a larger stone, but Phoebus holds him up.

The men would have at one another with swords, did a herald from either side not stop the fighting. Idaeus from the Trojan side says, in effect, it is time to go to bed. Tell Hector, says Ajax: he started it. Hector agrees to stop, saying he and Ajax must exchange gifts and be friends. Hector gives Ajax a sword; Ajax, Hector, “A fair well-glossed purple waste.”

On the morrow, says Nestor, we should burn all of the dead bodies that have piled up; make one tomb; and surround it with a wall that will protect us. In Troy, Antenor proposes to return Helen, with her wealth; otherwise, “No good euent can I expect, of all the warres we vse” (line 298). Paris refuses to give back the woman, but only her wealth. Priam accepts his son’s offer, or demand; on the morrow, Idaeus should make Paris’s offer to the Greeks, as well as suggesting a cease-fire, “till fire consume our souldiers slaine.”.

In the morning, Idaeus shares with Agamemnon the Trojan offer, even as he condemns Paris (lines 324–30):

Atrides! my renowned king, and other kings his aid,
Propose by me, in their commands, the offers Paris makes,
(From whose ioy all our woes proceed) he Princely vndertakes
That all the wealth he brought from Greece (would he had died before)
He will (with other added wealth) for your amends restore:
But famous Menelaus wife, he still meanes to enioy,
Though he be vrg’d the contrarie, by all the Peeres of Troy.

Diomedes says the offer should be refused. All agree. Agamemnon turns it down, but accepts the cease-fire. Idaeus tells the Trojans, and everybody gets to work (lines 350–9):

All, whirlewind like, assembled then: some, bodies to transport,
Some to hew trees: On th’other part, the Argiues did exhort
Their souldiers to the same affaires: then did the new fir’d Sunne
Smite the brode fields, ascending heauen, aud th’Ocean smooth did runne:
When Greece and Troy mixt in such peace, you scarce could either know:
Then washt they off their blood and dust, and did warme teares bestow
Vpon the slaughterd, and in Carres, conueid them from the field:
Priam commanded none should mourne, but in still silence yeeld
Their honord carkasses to fire, and onely grieue in heart.
All burnd: to Troy, Troyes friends retire: to fleet, the Grecian part.

The Greeks now build their wall, and Neptune is not pleased. Will anybody seek our consent again, he asks Jove, if the Greeks are allowed to build without first making sacrifices? The Greek wall will be remembered, and the walls built by Neptune and Apollo for Laomedon of Troy be forgotten (these were the walls beseiged by Hercules, as recalled by Sarpedon in Book V).

The Greek wall will be to the glory of Neptune, says Jove, since Neptune will be able to devour it after the Greeks go home (lines 386–7):

That what their fierie industries, haue so diuinely wrought,
In raising it: in razing it, thy powre will proue it nought.

Their work done, the Greeks slay their oxen and revive themselves with food (lines 391–6);

When out of Lemnos a great fleete, of odorous wine arriu’d,
Sent by Euneus, Iasons sonne, borne of Hypsiphile.
The fleete containd a thousand tunne: which must transported be
To Atreus sons, as he gaue charge; whose merchandize it was.
The Greeks bought wine for shining steele, and some for sounding brasse;
Some for Oxe hides; for Oxen some, and some for prisoners.

So with metals, hides, animals, and slaves, the Greeks buy wine, conveniently offered; but none dare drink before pouring out a libation to Jove. Nonetheless (lines 399–400):

And all the night Ioue thunderd lowd: pale feare all thoughts dismaide.
While they were gluttonous in earth, Ioue wrought their banes in heauen.

In short, it was a dark and stormy night.

NL XXII: The Family As a Mixed Community

Index to this series

Executive summary (added September 10, 2018): The family is a mixed community, consisting of a society and a non-social community. Usually the society is a married couple; if they have children, these constitute the nursery, which is the non-social part of the family. The children need an ordered, regular life. They grow up and leave the nursery; the parents may replenish it.


This chapter and the next concern the family, which like most communities is a mixed community (22. 11): part of it is a non-social community, but some part of it is a society proper (22. 1), this being, again, as in Chapter XX especially, a community constituted as an act of will on the part of its members.

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book VI

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

Book VI of the Iliad may illustrate or test what I have also been reading, whose second title is Man, Society, Civilization and Barbarism. For the Greeks, the Trojan war is a fight for civilization, against the barbarism of stealing the wife of the man who has played host to you. In Book VI is the great exemplar of civilization: the meeting of Diomedes with Glaucus. Discovering that the grandfather of his Trojan enemy had once been a guest of his own grandfather, Diomedes urges that he and Glaucus must exchange gifts, be friends, and avoid meeting on the battlefield; and Glaucus agrees.


One flame of the Chimera, with my backpack, 2009

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NL XXI: Society as Joint Will

Index to this series

Executive summary (added September 10, 2018):

1.
I cannot say “I will” without recognizing the possibility of joining with others to say “we will.”
2.
A social consciousness consists of (1) a precise idea of one’s place in a society and (2) a vague sense of the society as a whole. The latter sense may be incorrect, having been foolishly accepted on the word of an authority.
3.
Properly understood, ruling, of itself and perhaps of a non-social community, may be all that a society does. It is the responsibility of the members alone.
4.
To form a society means (1) to form social relations and (2) to do this for some purpose. To focus on (1) yields the idea of a universal society—which cannot actually exist, despite foolish hopes for the League of Nations.
5.
The universal society cannot exist, because we produce a society by transforming an earlier community, and some trace of this must remain.
6.
Members of a society are equal, (1) in having the freedom to join and (2) in just being members. A society may create an inequality, as by delegating authority. There may be natural inequalities, not produced by the society itself; society may compensate for them, turn them into assets, or even depend on them, as in the case of initiative.
7.
Rule by force (in a non-social community) may be by rewards and punishments, that is, objects of desire and fear. These may be promised or threatened fraudulently. One who grows too accustomed to exerting force may lose freedom of will.
8.
Societies institute criminal law to mitigate members’ losses of freedom of will.
9.
Societies can be temporary or permanent.

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book V

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

Book V of the Iliad is long and rich, with lots of characters like War and Peace, and stories within stories. The main story is of Tydeus’s son Diomedes, who with Pallas’s help is able to wound both Venus and Mars—I follow Chapman in using the Roman names.

  • Mars agrees with Minerva not to interfere with the war, but she immediately breaks the agreement.

  • A skilled hunter is successfully hunted down.

  • An oracle is mentioned that the Trojans should not go to sea; the master builder of Paris’s ships is slain.

  • A man who can read the future in dreams is bereft of the sons he let go to war.

  • An old man loses his only sons, the offspring of his old age.

  • Pandarus, who broke the truce and shot Menelaus, had left his horses in Lycia, because he didn’t think they would eat well in Troy.

  • The story is mentioned twice of the horses of Aeneas, offspring of the horses of Jove.

  • Pandarus thinks the horses of Aeneas will respond better to Aeneas’s command than Pandarus’s.

  • Venus is not the first deity to have been injured by a mortal, and her mother Dione advises patience.

  • “He that fights with heaven hath never long to live”—or perhaps to have a faithful wife.

  • Dione can cure a wound without balm.

  • “The race of gods is far above men creeping here below.”

  • Sarpedon discusses justice and sets an example of it.

  • “Strength is but strength of will.”

  • To have self-confidence may be good, but not to tempt fate.

  • Pallas has a theory of just war.

At the beginning of the book, Pallas breathes on Diomedes, so that he shines “like rich Autumnus golden lampe” (line 6). This lamp is “Sirius, the star whose rising marked the beginning of that season”—namely ὀπώρα or late summer, according to the Liddell–Scott lexicon, which refers to the passage of Homer under the featured adjectival form, ὀπωρ-ινός , ή, όν.

Diomedes’s first targets are the sons of Dares, a priest of Mulciber (namely Hephaestus or, as the Romans, Chapman, and now I have it, Vulcan). The spear of Ideus hits the left shoulder of Diomedes, but does no harm, while Diomedes deals Ideus a fatal blow. Vulcan (called “the God, great president of fire” in line 23) helps Ideus’s brother Phegeus to flee.

The Trojans are amazed. Pallas suggests to their divine partisan Mars that the two of them leave the fighting to humans, so that Jove can decide the outcome, as he would insist on doing anyway (lines 34–7):

Now shall we ceasse to shew our breasts, as passionate as men,
And leaue the mixture of our hands? resigning Ioue his right
(As rector of the Gods) to giue, the glorie of the fight,
Where he affecteth? lest he force, what we should freely yeeld?

Mars withdraws without comment, perhaps because (I suggest), as the prototypical bullyboy, he is dumb as an ox. The Trojans withdraw with him, and of the Greeks, “euerie Leader slue a man” (line 41):

  1. Agamemnon runs Odius through with a lance at the back as he flees.

  2. Idomeneus strikes Phaestus son of Borus through the shoulder, and “the spoile his souldiers tooke” (line 52).

  3. Though taught hunting by Diana herself, Scamandrius son of Strophius cannot escape being the prey of Menelaus, who hits him in the back.

  4. Phereclus son of Harmonides was a man (lines 64–6),

    whom she that nere was wife,
    Yet Goddesse of good housewiues, held, in excellent respect,
    For knowing all the wittie things, that grace an Architect.

    Though Phereclus is a Trojan, the goddess who admires him is Minerva. Phereclus “built all Alexander’s ships” (line 70), unaware of certain oracles, namely (lines 72–3),

    The Oracles, aduising Troy (for feare of ouerthrow)
    To meddle with no sea affaire, but liue by tilling land.

    His right hip is struck by the head of the lance of Meriones, which runs “through the region / About the bladder” (lines 75–6).

  5. Pedaeus takes the lance of Pylides through his teeth.

  6. Eurypilus son of Euaemon slays Hypsenor, son of Dolopion and “consecrate Scamander’s Priest” (line 87).

Now Book V becomes the Book of Diomedes, but with a strange comment (lines 94–6):

Thus fought these, but distinguisht well; Tydides so implies
His furie, that you could not know, whose side had interest
In his free labours, Greece or Troy …

Diomedes comes on like a torrent. It is he himself who is first struck, in the shoulder, by Pandarus, who thinks the end of his victim is nigh, “if Ioues faire Sonne, did worthily constraine / My foot from Lycia” (lines 110–1).

Diomedes calls Sthenelus to pull the arrow from his shoulder, which then bleeds all over his mail shirt. Diomedes prays to, “of Ioue Aegiochus, thou most vnconquerd maid” (line 118), that he may kill the braggart Pandarus.

In what would seem to be a violation of her agreement with Mars, Pallas responds by healing Diomedes and even giving him the power of distinguishing gods from men. He should avoid all other deities, but attack the goddess who caused the war in the first place.

Diomedes returns to battle with thrice his normal vigor, like a lion only strengthened after being struck by a shepherd: the shepherd hides himself, leaving his flocks to be taken.

  1. Diomedes kills Hypenor and Astynous.

  2. Eurydamas could read the future in dreams, but could not foretell the death of his sons Abas and Polyeidus at the hands of Diomedes. I do not know whether to take this as tacit recognition of the futility of fortune-telling.

  3. Diomedes kills Xanthus and Thoon, the only sons of Phaenops, who sired them only as an old man; he will have no more issue.

  4. Like a lion again, Diomedes kills, or at least throws from their chariot, Echemmon and Chromius, and takes their horses and arms.

Apparently unaware that he has already tried, Aeneas now calls on Pandarus, as the supreme archer, to kill the man who would seem to have the support of a god; this god must be “Incenst for want of sacrifice” (line 183).

Pandarus recognizes that the man is Diomedes and that he must indeed be the beneficiary of divine aid, perhaps because Pandarus has foolishly, even impiously, left his horses back in Lycia, in the court of his father Lycaon, fearing that, in a city under seige, the horses would find little fodder. If he can ever go home again, he will sacrifice his bow, though he may find this hard to do (212–9):

In an vnhappie starre,
I therefore from my Armorie, haue drawne those tooles of warre:
That day, when for great Hectors sake, to amiable Troy
I came to leade the Troian bands. But if I euer ioy
(In safe returne) my Countries sight; my wiues, my lofty towres;
Let any stranger take this head, if to the firie powres,
This bow, these shafts, in peeces burst (by these hands) be not throwne;
Idle companions that they are, to me and my renowne.

Aeneas tells Pandarus just to attend to the task at hand. He should find out how well the Trojan horses can either pursue or flee. Aeneas does not mention that his horses are the offspring of Jovian horses. Pandarus can take the reins, or Aeneas will.

Aeneas should take the reins, says Pandarus, since the horses will respond better to the master they know.

Sthenelus sees them coming and suggests that Diomedes flee. Diomedes is angry at the suggestion, which belies the boast of Sthenelus to Agamemnon in the previous book. If Athena should grant Diomedes the lives of Aeneas and Pandarus, Sthenelus must take Aeneas’s horses (263–72):

For, these are bred of those braue beasts, which for the louely Boy,
That waits now on the cup of Ioue, Ioue, that farre-seeing God,
Gaue Tros the king in recompence: the best that euer trod
The sounding Center, vnderneath, the Morning and the Sunne.
Anchises stole the breed of them; for where their Sires did runne,
He closely put his Mares to them, and neuer made it knowne
To him that heird them, who was then, the king Laomedon.
Sixe horses had he of that race, of which himselfe kept foure,
And gaue the other two his sonne; and these are they that scoure
The field so brauely towards vs, expert in charge and flight.

The cuirass of Diomedes is struck by the arrow of Pandarus, who boasts again that he has slain his man. Au contraire, says Diomedes, and Minerva guides his lance through Pandarus’s eye; the point exits through the jaw. Aeneas tries to protect Pandarus’s body with shield and threats; Diomedes strikes him in the hip with a stone. The blow were fatal, stepped not in Aeneas’s mother Venus, to spirit her son away.

Sthenelus takes the horses of Aeneas and gives them (lines 311–3),

To his belou’d Deiphylus, who was his inward friend,
And (of his equals) one to whom, he had most honor showne,
That he might see them safe at fleete …

Thus Sthenelus is somehow paired with both Diomedes and Deiphylus.

Diomedes can see that the goddess who rescued Aeneas is not a fighting goddess like Minerva or Bellona (Ἐνυώ, Enyo). He runs his lance through Venus’s hand. She can no longer carry her son, but Apollo takes him. Diomedes taunts her. Iris takes her to her brother Mars, whom she asks to take her to heaven with his own horse, and he agrees. Her mother Dione asks what the matter is, and when Venus tells her (lines 364–7),

She answerd, Daughter, thinke not much, though much it grieue thee: use
The patience, whereof many Gods, examples may produce,
In many bitter ils receiu’d; as well that men sustaine
By their inflictions; as by men, repaid to them againe.

Dione gives examples:

  1. Ephialtes and Otus, sons of Aloeus, chained Mars in a tower for thirteen months, until his stepmother Ereboea (Ἠερίβοια) saw this and told Mercury, who freed Mars, though he remained sorely weakened.

  2. Hercules struck Juno through the right breast with a three-pointed arrow.

  3. Hercules struck also Pluto, through the shoulder, and he would have effectively died (though being deathless), had he not been given a balm by Paeon.

Hercules here is described first as Amphitryon’s son, then Jove’s; in the same way might Jesus of Nazareth be described as Joseph’s son and Jehovah’s.

Dione continues. Diomedes wounded Venus, “Not knowing he that fights with heauen, hath neuer long to liue” (line 387).

Addressing Diomedes, Dione suggests that his wife will cuckold him (lines 391–7):

Take heed a stronger meet thee not, and that a womans powre
Containes not that superiour strength; and lest that woman be
Adrastus daughter, and thy wife, the wise Aegiale,
When (from this houre not farre) she wakes, euen sighing with desire
To kindle our reuenge on thee, with her enamouring fire,
In choosing her some fresh young friend, and so drowne all thy fame,
Wonne here in warre, in her Court-peace, and in an opener shame.

Only now does Dione tend the wound of her daughter. She cleans it, but does not use balm, and still the pain ends, the wound cured.

As, at the beginning of the last book, Jove joked about how the women of his court were at war, so now Athena (conspiring with Juno) suggests to Jove that perhaps Venus scratched her hand on the brooch of some new Greek women whom she wanted to give to a Trojan. Jove just smiles and tells Venus to mind her own business (lines 416–7) :

She should be making mariages, embracings, kisses, charmes;
Sterne Mars and Pallas had the charge, of those affaires in armes.

Meanwhile, on the battlefield, Diomedes thrice attacks Aeneas, though knowing Apollo protects him. The fourth time (lines 425–7),

The far-off-working Deitie, exceeding wrathfull grew,
And askt him: What? Not yeeld to Gods? thy equals learne to know:
The race of Gods is farre aboue, men creeping here below.

The only answer of Diomedes is to withdraw. Apollo spirits away Aeneas to “the holy place / Of Pergamus” (lines 430–1) and leaves him in the temple, where Apollo’s mother Latona and “the dart-pleased Queene” (line 434) cure and strengthen him. Pergamus here is supposed to be a place within Troy, not the Aeolian city of Pergamum.

In Aeneas’s stead on the battlefield, Apollo places an image (εἴδωλον) of Aeneas, which excites the warriors on both sides. Apollo ridicules Mars for this, apparently as an example of the passion that war can create in men, even to the point of attacking the gods themselves (lines 439–42):

Which error Phoebus pleasd to vrge, on Mars himselfe in scorne:
Mars, Mars, (said he) thou plague of men, smeard with the dust and blood
Of humanes, and their ruin’d wals; yet thinks thy God-head good,
To fright this Furie from the field? who next will fight with Ioue.

Diomedes has already attacked Mars’s own “Love” (line 443), and then Apollo, who now withdraws to Pergamus himself, while Mars proceeds to rally the Trojans, taking the form of Acamas.

Sarpedon taunts Hector, who has apparently boasted that the men of Troy alone could defend Troy without the help of Lycians. Sarpedon can see no Trojans around, they having been scared off by Diomedes; but Sarpedon and his comrades are ready to help, as Hector once helped them in some unspecified way, back in Lycia presumably. Sarpedon is motivated by neither hope of gain nor fear of loss. Hector should be rallying the Trojans, freely encouraging their equanimity, something that Hector already has (lines 484–7):

pray their minds, to beare their far-brought toiles,
To giue them worth, with worthy fight; in victories and foiles
Still to be equall; and thy selfe (exampling them in all)
Need no reproofes nor spurs: all this, in thy free choice should fall.

Though later not so much, Hector now has a virtuous response (lines 487–90):

This stung great Hectors heart: and yet, as euery generous mind
Should silent beare a iust reproofe, and shew what good they find
In worthy counsels, by their ends, put into present deeds:
Not stomacke, nor be vainly sham’d: so Hectors spirit proceeds.

Hector joins the battle, “And all hands turn’d against the Greeks” (line 494). The feet of the Greeks and their horses raise such dust as to make them white, as if they were winnowers and the wind had shifted, blowing the chaff onto them.

Mars rallies the Trojans, though Pallas has retired from helping the Greeks. Apollo brings the real Aeneas back, and apparently his fellows can tell, though they pause to ask no questions (lines 510–1):

Yet stood not sifting, how it chanc’t: another sort of taske,
Then stirring th’idle siue of newes, did all their forces aske.

Diomedes, Ulysses, and the Ajaces are an example for the Greeks, who stand their ground as if they are clouds on a calm day; Agamemnon encourages them (lines 525–31):

Atrides yet coasts through the troupes, confirming men so stayd:
O friends (said he) hold vp your minds; strength is but strength of will;
Reuerence each others good in fight, and shame at things done ill:
Where souldiers shew an honest shame, and loue of honour liues,
That ranks men with the first in fight; death fewer liueries giues
Then life; or then where Fames neglect, makes cow-herds fight at length:
Flight neither doth the bodie grace, nor shewes the mind hath strength.

Strength is but strength of will. This is pretty much the understanding of force in my last article, on Chapter XX, “Society and Community,” of Collingwood’s New Leviathan: force in politics is moral force or mental strength.

Agamemnon kills Aeneas’s friend Deicoon Pergasides.

Aeneas kills Orsilochus and Crethon, sons of Diocleus, son of Orsilochus, son of Alphaeus, a river of Pylos. Aeneas kills them as if they were lions attacking his steers and oxen—and apparently in Homer’s day there were still lions in Asia Minor.

We shift metaphors. When Menelaus sees Orsilochus and Crethon fall like tall fir-trees (lines 557–61),

their timelesse fals he rew’d;
And to the first fight, where they lay, a vengefull force he tooke;
His armes beat backe the Sunne in flames; a dreadfull Lance he shooke:
Mars put the furie in his mind, that by Aeneas hands,
(Who was to make the slaughter good) he might haue strewd the sands.

Antilochus, son of Nestor, goes to help Menelaus attack Aeneas, who flees. They can thus rescue the bodies, and then they kill Pylaemen and his charioteer Mydon. Antilochus takes the horse.

Hector is roused by this, and runs for the Greeks, Mars and Bellona marching before him. “This sight, when great Tydides saw, his haire stood vp on end” (line 595). Like a lost traveller who encounters a raging river, Diomedes turns back, warning the Greeks, concerning Hector (lines 604–7),

Now Mars himselfe (formd like a man), is present in his rage:
And therefore, whatsoeuer cause, importunes you to wage
Warre with these Troians; neuer striue, but gently take your rod;
Lest in your bosomes, for a man, ye euer find a God.

Chapman’s rod may be road: Butler has

Keep your faces therefore towards the Trojans, but give ground backwards, for we dare not fight with gods.

Hector kills Menesthes and Anchialus. Ajax Telamon is roused to kill Amphius Selages and is able to retrieve his javelin, but not to despoil the body.

Next is an important match, between son and grandson (Chapman says nephew) of Jove. The grandson is overconfident (lines 627–34):

Tlepolemus, a tall big man, the sonne of Hercules,
A cruell destinie inspir’d, with strong desire to proue
Encounter with Sarpedons strength, the sonne of Cloudy Ioue;
Who, coming on, to that sterne end, had chosen him his foe:
Thus Ioues great Nephew, and his sonne, ’gainst one another go:
Tlepolemus (to make his end, more worth the will of Fate)
Began, as if he had her powre; and shewd the mortall state
Of too much confidence in man, with this superfluous Braue.

Tlepolemus says a son so young as Sarpedon cannot have been sired by Zeus, whose true issue was Tlepolemus’s own father Hercules, who razed Troy and took the horse that Jupiter had given Tros.

There is further trash-talk, to which Sarpedon replies in kind. Hercules had just cause to overthrow Ilion, because he had rescued King Laomedon’s daughter Hesione from a whale (and given her to Telamon, father of the strongest Greek), but Laomedon kept the magic horses, which had been offered as a reward. The mention of Hesione and Telemon seems to be Chapman’s gloss. Sarpedon continues (lines 661–4):

And therefore both thy fathers strength, and iustice might enforce
The wreake he tooke on Troy: but this, and thy cause differ farre;
Sonnes seldome heire their fathers worths; thou canst not make his warre:
What thou assum’st from him, is mine, to be on thee imposde.

Thus it would seem, for Sarpedon, it is just to destroy a city for horses offered, but not for a woman stolen.

The opponents throw their javelins at once. Tlepolemus is killed; Sarpedon, thanks to Jove, is only wounded, though nobody can pause to pull out the javelin. Ulysses is of two minds about whom to pursue (lines 676–87):

Vlysses knew the euents of both, and tooke it much to hart,
That his friends enemie should scape; and in a twofold part
His thoughts contended; if he should, pursue Sarpedons life,
Or take his friends wreake on his men. Fate did conclude this strife;
By whom twas otherwise decreed, then that Vlysses steele
Should end Sarpedon. In this doubt, Minerua tooke the wheele
From fickle Chance; and made his mind, resolue to right his friend
With that bloud he could surest draw. Then did Reuenge extend
Her full powre on the multitude; Then did he neuer misse;
Alastor, Halius, Chromius, Noemon, Pritanis,
Alcander, and a number more, he slue, and more had slaine,
If Hector had not vnderstood …

Sarpedon pleads to Hector to save his body from despoliation and let it be buried in Trojan soil. Remembering Sarpedon’s earlier criticism, Hector ignores the plea, in order to attack the Greeks. Sarpedon’s friends rescue him and place him under the Beech of Jupiter, and Pelagon draws the lance from his thigh. Sarpedon’s spirit goes out with the lance, but a cool breeze from Boreas keeps him from dying.

In quick succession, Hector kills Helenus Oenopides, Teuthras, Orestes, Oenomaus, Trechus, and Oresbius. Saturnia (namely Juno) sees this and shares her annoyance with Pallas. The preparation of Juno’s chariot is described in some detail, as is the shield that Pallas takes up, fringed with snakes and displaying the Gorgon’s head. Juno takes up the scourge, and the goddesses fly. Tended by the Hours (Ὧραι), the gates of Olympus open for them—open outward, it seems, in order to reach (lines 761–2)

The top of all the topfull heauens, where aged Saturns sonne
Sate seuerd from the other Gods …

Juno complains that Mars is killing the Greeks, and Apollo and Venus only laugh at this; Juno herself wants permission to remove Mars from the battlefield for his impiety. Jove says that Athena should do this. The goddesses then fly down to Troy. Juno hides her horse in a mist at the confluence of the Scamander and the Simois, where ambrosia grows naturally. The goddesses themselves march to the battlefield, “like a paire of timorous Doues” (line 781).

Taking the shape of Stentor, whose voice is as loud as fifty men, Juno shames the Greeks, recalling that when Achilles was fighting, the Trojans dared not venture from their city.

Athena seeks out Diomedes in particular, whose wound keeps him from battle. She recalls that, with her help, a reluctant Tydeus nonetheless joined the feast at Thebes mentioned in the previous book, and he challenged the Thebans to the contests that he won: “the rust of rest / (That would haue seisd another mind) he sufferd not” (lines 809–10). Diomedes is not worthy of such a father.

Recognizing Pallas, Diomedes makes the excuse that he was only obeying her order to attack no deity but Venus; he did wound her, but now Mars is abroad, and so Diomedes has duly told the Greeks to withdraw. Pallas replies with a rudimentary just-war theory (lines 828–34):

What then was fit is chang’d: Tis true, Mars hath iust rule in warre,
But iust warre; otherwise he raues, not fights; he’s alterd farre;
He vow’d to Iuno and my selfe, that his aide should be vsd
Against the Troians, whom it guards; and therein he abusd
His rule in armes, infring’d his word, and made his warre vniust:
He is inconstant, impious, mad: Resolue then; firmly trust
My aide of thee against his worst, or any Deitie.

Mars has just killed Periphas, strongest of the Aetolians and son of Ochisius. Mars is about to despoil the body when he sees Diomedes driving up; he does not see Pallas, who can use her helmet as a cloaking device and who keeps the lance of Mars from piercing the breast of Diomedes.

Athena also allows the lance of Diomedes to pierce the belly of Mars, who cries out with the voice of nine or ten thousand men and flies to heaven, where he complains that, while the other gods obey, Jove’s daughter does whatever she wants (lines 882–93).

Iupiter, with a contracted brow,
Thus answerd Mars: Thou many minds, inconstant changling thou;
Sit not complaining thus by me; whom most of all the Gods
(Inhabiting the starrie hill) I hate: no periods
Being set to thy contentions, brawles, fights, and pitching fields;
Iust of thy mother Iunos moods; stiffe-neckt, and neuer yeelds,
Though I correct her still, and chide; nor can forbeare offence,
Though to her sonne; this wound I know, tasts of her insolence.
But I will proue more naturall, thou shalt be cur’d, because
Thou com’st of me: but hadst thou bene, so crosse to sacred lawes,
Being borne to any other God; thou hadst bene throwne from heauen
Long since, as low as Tartarus, beneath the Giants driuen.

Jove calls Paeon to treat Mars’s wound. It heals the way milk curdles when rennet is put in. Hebe bathes and dresses Mars, who sits (line 901),

Exulting by his Sire againe, in top of all his state.

Their work being done, Juno and Pallas come back too.

NL XX: Society and Community

Index to this series

Executive summary (added September 9, 2018): Henceforth we are concerned with communities, namely “societies” of human beings (or beings with at least the potential for free agency). Indeed, the whole of Part II is “an inquiry into communities” (1. 15). A society, also called a partnership, is a community formed by common agreement among its members, each with each, for some purpose: this relaxes the original, more specific requirements of Roman law. Members of any community share something; members of a society share a social consciousness. Any community is established and maintained by rule: immanent rule if the community is a society, otherwise transeunt rule. Practically speaking, the ruler of others must also rule him- or herself. Rule of a non-social community is by force: this is moral force, an irresistable emotion within the person being ruled, excited by somebody who is mentally stronger in any of various ways.


A society is an act of will: it emerges and persists because its members will that it do so. We said this in the previous chapter; we say it now in more detail. In particular, we impose on a society no such further requirement of economic interest as Roman lawyers (apparently) did.

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book IV

Index | Text

The gods confer. The humans can make war or peace; which shall it be? Juno insists on war, so that Troy can be punished. When Jove objects, Juno offers up her most beloved Greek cities in return. Mycenae, Argos, and Sparta: let Jove destroy them at will, if only Pallas be sent to induce one of the Trojans to break the truce.

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NL XIX: Two Senses of the Word “Society”

Executive summary (below) | Index to this series

After a break of half a year, I return to reading Collingwood’s New Leviathan. Being on holiday at an Aegean beach gives me the opportunity. While here, I may also return to Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad. Last winter I finished Part I of the New Leviathan, the part called “Man.” Here I continue with the first chapter of “Society.” I have reason to look at what Mary Midgley and Albert Einstein say about science. Collingwood’s investigation suggests a way of thinking about prejudice and discrimination.

Part II of the New Leviathan is “Society,” and the first two chapters of this, XIX and XX, concern the distinction between society proper and two more general notions. In Chapter XX, the more general notion will be community. In Chapter XIX, the more general notion has not got its own proper name, and so Collingwood denotes it by writing “society,” in quotation marks.

A “society” of chairs at the beach (Altınova 2017.08.31)

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Ahtamar Island

During a mathematics conference, I visit the ruins of a monastery on a remote island in an inland sea. This moves me to consider the relation between introversion and, if not mathematics, then monasticism. On the origins of Christian monasticism, I look at several sources, notably Gibbon (see the References); also Maugham, who writes of a hermit on an island of the Torres Strait. Since the monastery on the island was Armenian, in what is now Turkey, one should consider also the treatment of minority populations here. I only acknowledge the issue, suggesting Wikipedia pages (linked to presently) as a starting point for research. Old books on my shelves are not much help; my own experience, not much more, at least not in a way that lends itself to being written of here. I do know that Turkish politicians will treat imputations of their own Armenian ancestry as an insult.

We visited Ahtamar Island for a second time on Wednesday, August 23, 2017. Thus we saw again the remains of the Church of the Holy Cross. This Armenian church was consecrated in 921 and presumably desecrated in 1915, if not earlier; now, since our last visit, though officially a museum, the church would seem to have been reconsecrated, to judge by the new altarpiece, featuring an icon of the Madonna and Child.


Altarpiece, Church of the Holy Cross, Ahtamar Island

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Hypomnesis

When is a help a hindrance? The Muses have provoked this question. They did this through their agents, the cicadas, who sang around the European Cultural Center of Delphi, during the 11th Panhellenic Logic Symposium, July 12–5, 2017.

     Cicada, European Cultural Center of Delphi, 2017.07.15     

Cicada, European Cultural Center of Delphi, 2017.07.15

My question has two particular instances.

  1. At a mathematical conference, can theorems “speak for themselves,” or should their presenters be at pains to help the listener appreciate the results?

  2. When the conference is in Greece, even at one of the country’s greatest archeological sites, does this enhance the reading of ancient Greek texts, or is it only a distraction?

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