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How Great Was He?

An immensely successful father poses a problem for a son. The son may follow in his father’s footsteps, with the likely result of living always in his shadow; or depart his father’s field of endeavor and set out on a different course; or surpass his father in the same field, thereby casting his . . . . Continue Reading »

Declaiming Homer

The Iliad translated by peter green university of california, 608 pages, $29.95 A translator of Homer is like a pentathlete, who needs not just sheer stamina but a variety of skills. The first example of European literary writing adapts episodes of the Trojan War myth from a long, winding oral . . . . Continue Reading »

“He Wept Tears of Blood”

Avery odd thing happens in Book 16 of the Iliad when Zeus decides that Sarpedon must die. Sarpedon was one of the greatest of the Trojan warriors. He also happened to be the son of Zeus—though this does not render him immortal. As Sarpedon and Patroklos are about to fight, Zeus laments to Hera: Continue Reading »

Between Beasts and God

Near the beginning of the twenty-fourth and last Book of Homer’s Iliad, called by Simone Weil “the only true epic” the West possesses, even the gods—detached as they are in their bliss from all sufferings—have seen enough. Achilles has become inhuman. Ignoring our animal nature, . . . . Continue Reading »

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