Tagged: Iliad

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Autodidact 4: Homer on Friendship

Friendship Kinship is one key element in Greek social life, from the time of Homer down to the present.  They other is friendship, a term (as I have indicated) that includes kin-relations.  Homer’s word generally translated friendship is “philotes.”  The adjective philos means “dear” or “one’s own” and may be related to filius/filia in Latin, son and daughter.  This should give us a clue that kinship and friendship are not entirely distinct. Greek does not have a common expression like friends and family, because there is no sharp distinction.  All close members of a family are philoi, and to the...

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Autodidact: Homer 3

Kith and Kin By Thomas Fleming Athena’s intervention in the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles reminds us how powerful and terrifying the gods can be.  The gods are not, however, all-powerful or all-knowing, not even Zeus.  They are subject to the usual passions–love, hatred, envy, and revenge, and when they are not making war on human beings, they are fighting with each other.  Zeus is undoubtedly wise and powerful, a god of justice, but it is all he can do to keep his wife, brother, and children in line. Here is a question that has tormented scholars: Can we find...

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The Autodidact: Homer 2

Man in his Place Where to begin?  If we were liberals, we would have to begin with the individual or with the Greek concept of the individual, and then we would show how the individual interfaced with the state, which either invaded or protected his rights.  Alas for the liberals, the state has not been invented yet, and the Greeks hardly even have the concept of the individual.  Our heroes do have names, of course, which implies that they could tell each other apart—and some of them seem self-willed to the point of egomaniacal.  But in addition to a regular...

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The Autodidact I: Homer Part 1

The Autodidact Returns I:  Homer 1 I thought of calling this series “The Autodidact Rides Again,” but I would need to know how to insert the famous ride from the overture to William Tell, and the old familiar radio voice that invited listeners to  “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear….”   In fact, in these first installments we are going back a bit farther than those days when the masked rider of the plains stung the gun out of a villain’s hand by shooting his gun barrel.  Recent changes in my career delayed the plan I...