Homer Makes You Better, One Way or Another


“The ancient Greeks revered Homer as the healer of the soul” (Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam, 1994: 188)

Aristotle,  Poetics 1448a 8-14

“In the way it is possible to develop stylistic contrasts in dance, flute-playing, and kithara-playing, so too in the art using speeches and recited poetry, for example Homer makes men who are better than people are, Kleophôn renders men who are equal, Hêgêmôn of Thasos who created parody makes them worse and so does Nikokharês who wrote the Deiliad.

καὶ γὰρ ἐν ὀρχήσει καὶ αὐλήσει καὶ κιθαρίσει ἔστι γενέσθαι ταύτας τὰς ἀνομοιότητας, καὶ [τὸ] περὶ τοὺς λόγους δὲ καὶ τὴν ψιλομετρίαν, οἷον ῞Ομηρος μὲνβελτίους, Κλεοφῶν δὲ ὁμοίους, ῾Ηγήμων δὲ ὁ Θάσιος τὰς παρῳδίας ποιήσας πρῶτος καὶ Νικοχάρης ὁ τὴν Δειλιάδα χείρους•

Xenophon, Symposium 3.5

“And what about you, Nikêratos—what kind of knowledge do you cherish?” And he said “My father, because he wished for me to…

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