Tag Archives: Aphrodite

Samatya Tour, July 2018

This is about a solo walking tour on Sunday, July 1, 2018. I was mostly around the Seventh Hill of the old walled city of Constantinople, ultimately in the quarter called Ψαμάθεια in Greek, and in Turkish Samatya.

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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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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book III

Index | Text

The Iliad is about the feud between Achilles and Agamemnon, a feud that occurs during the Trojan War. Book III of the Iliad has nothing to do with Achilles, a little to do with Agamemnon, and everything to do with why the whole war is happening at all.

Photo of the tower of books used for this article

Book III has led me to a number of physical books that are in my possession, here in Istanbul, and that I am somehow delighted to be able to make use of. Some of the books, I brought from the US; others, I bought here.

Thus this post is not a continuous narrative of the story of Book III, but I make a number of digressions. I have gone back to analyze the post into sections as follows (I added this index on December 16, 2018, and edited the whole post on December 6, 2020).

  1. A duel could end the war, but does not.

  2. Paris must lack shame, to be such a devotee of Aphrodite—who is called Cyprides because of her origins (as I shall happen to recall in “Antitheses”).

  3. The book opens with two similes.

    1. The Trojans are like cranes, bringing death to Pygmy men. It is not clear whether a later legend of battle between cranes and African Pygmies derives from Homer’s simile; if it does, it could be a misinterpretation, as snake-handling is probably a misinterpretation of the Gospel. Note added April 11, 2019: Thoreau refers to the legend in Walden,Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” just before “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”

      Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men; like pygmies we fight with cranes; it is error upon error, and clout upon clout, and our best virtue has for its occasion a superfluous and evitable wretchedness. Our life is frittered away by detail.

    2. The Greeks raise a cloud of dust, such as would be grateful to thieves seeking concealment.

  4. Holding up a lance is a sign of wanting to treat; sacrificing lambs is then a sign of good faith.

  5. Chapman elaborates on the virtue of Helen. He uses “offense,” apparently in the sense of a moral stumbling-block; but the passage is obscure.

  6. The old men whom Helen joins on the ramparts are like cicadas with lily-like voice; this leads me to references in the Theogony of Hesiod, the Phaedrus of Plato, and the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius. In this context, Hesiod refers to “an oak or a rock,” as Socrates does too in chastising Phaedrus.

  7. Homer digresses by allowing Helen and Priam to tell some of the backstory.

  8. The rite of pouring out wine as a symbol of blood predates Christianity.

  9. Homer takes us between war and peace, the battlefield and the bedroom.

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