Misquoting Homer

Doug Harris cats22 at STNY.RR.COM
Sun Aug 23 17:32:30 UTC 2009

I thought it said 'sheep'... and I thought 'Homer said THAT???'

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----- Original message ----------------------------------------
From: "Jonathan Lighter" <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Received: 8/23/2009 1:23:04 PM
Subject: Misquoting Homer

>This should probably go to the Homer list, but they may know about it there

>These lines show up fifty times on Google Books, back to 1942 (in a book of
>quotations...) as a Homeric statement on men and war:

>"Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing, sooner than of war."

>Great comment, right?

>Well, maybe, but what Homer really said was something like this:

>“A man may have enough of anything—

>sleep or love or the sweet song or the dance—

>and all are much better than battle, but

>these Trojans never get their fill of war!”

>     ---- Iliad, XIII, 636-39, trans. Michael Reck.

>See, Menelaus is complaining that the Trojans are inhuman for keeping the
>war going, whereas the misquotation implies that an overweening love of war
>is the norm.

>I picked Reck's undeservedly lesser-known translation (it came out at the
>same time as Robert Fagles's blockbuster! Oops!) because it's the simplest
>for mof the statement, but all the others I've looked at say essentially the
>same thing.

>"There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed

>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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