Quintus. His genealogy, as delivered to us by the ancients, is this: Paris, Priam, Laomedon, Ilus, Tros, Erichthonius, Dardanus, Jupiter. According to this account Paris is the seventh from Jupiter, whereas Helen makes him only the fifth. We must therefore conclude, that either the text is corrupted, or that the genealogy here referred to by Ovid, differs from that which is commonly received. Perhaps he designedly makes Helen fall into this error, as she was not supposed to be conversant in these points. We meet with several examples of this kind in our poet.Primus; for Jupiter was the father of Helen. It is therefore with reason she boasts of her own pedigree, as more illustrious than that of Paris, because she was nearer to Jupiter. The notions that now prevail with regard to birth and a noble descent, seem to be of a very different kind. The farther any one is removed from some distinguished hero who ennobles the race, the more honorable is he reckoned, from an imaginary value put upon the antiquity fo their line. If true nobility consists in personal merit, one should think the nearer to this, the greater the honor. It is hard, according to my apprehension, to conceive, how a hero who lived a hundred years age, cannot give the same credit to his descendants now, as he will do five hundred years hence.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.