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NOTES TO THE ILLA D.

BOOK I.

Ver. 1.Peleus' son.

66

Through the whole of Homer we have occasion to note the immense force of the paternal and ancestral element in determining the value of the individual. No notable man is sufficiently designated by his own name; the name of his father is always added. The 6

son of Peleus" is a designation of Achilles as common and constant as - divine" or

swift-footed.” And not only the father, but the grandfather also is often named, and a long genealogy paraded, as in the case of Æneas (xx. 215). This might of ancestry is seen everywhere in the Old Testament, and in the whole political arrangements of the ancient Athenians and Romans. The romances of the middle ages recognise the same element in the strongest manner. In King Arthur, no knight erer performs deeds of remarkable prowess without his turning out to be a man of noble birth (so Sir Beaumains, 1. 130). The same aristocratic element is visible in the proper names of all languages, a great proportion of which is manifestly patronymic. So with us: Richardson, Wilson, Tomlinson, Anderson, Dickson, Paterson, and many others. In Greek, Ευρυβιάδης, Αλκιβιάδης, Διογένης, Ocayévns, etc., are formed on the same principle. There is a true instinct of nature, and a strong foundation, both of physical reality and social virtue, in this matter, which the conceits of modern democratic individualism will never be able to annihilate.

VOL. IV.

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VER. 2.The Grecian force." The word in the original is " Achaan," which the Germans-V. and D., --with the usual minute accuracy of that people, conscientiously preserve. In a poctical translation, intended not for the curious scholar but for the cultivated general reader, I have considered it unnecessary, and contrary to the genius of our literature, to imitate their example in this matter. The ancient nomenclature of the Greek tribes will be discussed afterwards under Book 11. I use Greek, Achæan, Danaan, Argive, as it may suit my line.

Ver. 3.-Hades.

This word, according to the traditional, and not improbable etymology, means “the invisible or unseen world”—the realm of the dead generally, and of course does not at all correspond to our word “hell,” of which the Greek counterpart, Tartarus, is only one division of IIades. The etymology of the word has been in this place well preserved by Ch., who says,

,
“ Sent them far to that invisible cave

Which no light comforts ;" but this looks too like a phrase coined by modern imagination, not the fixed term of an old theology. In translating from the ancients generally, the word Hades may now be considered as naturalized. Wr. has it here; and even C. ventured on it in more purely English days. Trench is no doubt quite right in wishing that, to prevent certain theological misapprehensions, this word had been introduced by the English translators of the Bible for the Hebrew word singy, which corresponds to the Greek çiồns in every respect ; but for practical purposes I can see no reason why the vigorous and emphatically English word “hell,” should not still be used in all cases where its use would not involve a manifest confusion; as even in the New Testament I should be sorry to see, in the famous passage about the Christian Church (Matt. xvi. 18), “the gates of hell," replaced by “the gates of harles." Accordingly, I have retained this word in ix. 312 and elsewhere, regardless of Vi's example, who, with true German fidelity, sacrifices the poetical force of his translation in that passage to its scholarly accuracy.

VER. 3.–Stout heroic soul.

Ψυχάς ηρώων. Whatever the etymology of the word ήρως be (Passow compares Herr, "Hpa, on which Donaldson, N. C. 329, enlarges), it is certain that at a very early period of the Greek language, it signified a race of demigods, of a dignity intermediate between man and god, expressly mentioned by Hesiod (Op. et Di. 159), and alluded to, without the word ispws, in XII. 23. In Plato's time the graduated distinction between άνθρωπος, ήρως, δαίμων, and Jeós was distinctly understood (Crat. 397 D). These heroes, strictly so called, had generally a god either for their father or their mother. In Homer, however, as in the present passage, the word is often used very loosely, pretty much as the word Rechen” in the Niebelungen lay (see Richter's Real., 116). To the word "hero" among the Greeks, the word “saint" in the Christian Church affords a perfect parallel. Applied at first to all the members of the Christian Church, it was gradually confined to the small section of canonized mortals, corresponding to the “uíocou of Hesiod and Plato. The special views on this word stated in Phil. Mus. ii. p. 90, seem to me more erudite than necessary, and more curious than sound. The article in L. and S. is excellent.

VER. 5.-To dogs and vultures.

1 Sam. xvii. 41, 46; 1 Kings xiv. 11, xvi. 4, xxi. 24; Jer. vii. 33, xix. 7. There is a peculiarity in the phraseology of the original here

ψυχάς "Αϊδι προΐαψεν

ηρώων, αυτούς δε ελώρια τειχε κύνεσσινwhere the word souls is not contrasted with bodies, but with aútois __"their

tery selves.” So, in Voss, "sie seller.This manner of expression is not without interest, as marking the realism of

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Homer's method of conception, contrasted with the ultra-spiritualism afterwards asserted by Plato and his successors, who make common cause in this matter with the asceticism and monachism which so early made themselves felt in the history of the Christian Church. Homer's heroes are never ashamed of their bodies.

Ver. 5.— Thus the will of mightiest Jove vus done.

In these words a most important element in the conduct of the Iliad is enunciated. Modern critics of the French school were wont to talk of the part played by the gods in heroic poems as a sort of mere machinery got up by the poet to add dignity to the human actors, and for the sake of variety. But Homer's conception of the position of the gods was very different. He was not ashamed-as indeed no popular poetry is—of the old healthy notion, that all things which happen in the world, much more all great and important matters, are managed and controlled by the Supreme Disposer of all events. This supreme disposer in his phraseology was Zevs (Lat. Deus, dirus, dies), who therefore constantly appears in the Iliad as the great steward of the war (Tauins modéoto), and director of all its movements. In this respect Granville Penn is quite right when he says that "the will of Jupiter prescribes the rule of the action of Achilles, and is the efficient agency of the main action of the poem." That the father of gods and men with this high position does not appear so often upon the stage, but sits apart (xx. 22), is in no respect to the detriment of his controlling power, but in perfect consistency with the very natural and true idea, that a great sovereign acts generally through his subordinates, and only on rare occasions personally seizes the helm. This very obvious relationship of the Olympian powers is not properly appreciated by Glad. (ii. 119), who, with a chaste chivalry, seems eager to plant Minerva on the supreme seat, as the Romanists do the Virgin Mary; and then Jove becomes, of course, only an omnipotent debauchee, or a "caput mortuum" (ii. 174). Nothing could possibly be more heterodox in Homeric theology than such a notion.

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