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Well, do you not think this is a grand thing to know, that the name of that river is rightly Xanthus, rather than Scamander? Or, if you like, do you think it is a slight thing to learn about the bird which he says “gods call chalcis, but men call cymindis,
Hom. Il. 14.291 that it is much more correct for the same bird to be called chalcis than cymindis? Or to learn that the hill men call Batieia is called by the gods Myrina's tomb,1 and many other such statements by Homer and other poets? [392b] But perhaps these matters are too high for us to understand; it is, I think, more within human power to investigate the names Scamandrius and Astyanax, and understand what kind of correctness he ascribes to these, which he says are the names of Hector's son. You recall, of course: the lines which contain the words to which I refer.


Which of the names of the boy do you imagine Homer thought was more correct, Astyanax or Scamandrius? [392c]

I cannot say.

Look at it in this way: suppose you were asked, “Do the wise or the unwise give names more correctly?”

“The wise, obviously,” I should say.

And do you think the women or the men of a city, regarded as a class in general, are the wiser?

The men.

And do you not know that Homer says the child of Hector was called Astyanax by the men of Troy;2 [392d] so he must have been called Scamandrius by the women, since the men called him Astyanax?

Yes, probably.

And Homer too thought the Trojan men were wiser than the women?

I suppose he did.

Then he thought Astyanax was more rightly the boy's name than Scamandrius?

So it appears.

Let us, then, consider the reason for this. Does he not himself indicate the reason most admirably? For he says— [392e] “He alone defended their city and long walls.
Hom. Il. 22.5073 Therefore, as it seems, it is right to call the son of the defender Astyanax (Lord of the city), ruler of that which his father, as Homer says, defended.

That is clear to me.

Indeed? I do not yet understand about it myself, Hermogenes. Do you?

No, by Zeus, I do not.

1 Hom. Il. 2.813 f

2 Hom. Il. 22.506

3 But the verb is in the second person, addressed by Hecuba to Hector after his death.

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