Priam also, as the poet represents him, reproaches his sons for looking for unusual delicacies; and calls them
The wholesale murderers of lambs and kids.1Philochorus, too, relates that a prohibition was issued at Athens against any one tasting lamb which had not been shorn, on an occasion when the breed of sheep appeared to be failing. And Homer, though he speaks of the Hellespont as abounding in fish, and though he represents the Phæacians as especially addicted to navigation, and though he knew of many harbours in Ithaca, and many islands close to it, in which there were large flocks of fishes and of wild birds; and though he enumerates among the riches of the deep the fact of its producing fish, still never once represents either fish or game as being put on the table to eat. And in the same way he never represents fruit as set before any one, although there was abundance of it; and although he is fond of speaking of it, and although he speaks of it as being supplied without end. For he says, “Pears upon pears,” and so on. Moreover, he does not represent his heroes as crowned, or anointed, or using [p. 15] perfumes; but he portrays even his kings as scorning all such things, and devoting themselves to the maintenance of freedom and independence. In the same way he allots to the gods a very simple way of life, and plain food, namely, nectar and ambrsia; and he represents men as paying them honour with the materials of their feasts; making no mention of frankincens, or myrrh, or garlands, or luxury of this sort. And he does not describe them as indulging in even this plain food to an immoderate extent; but like the most skilful physicians he abhors satiety.
But when their thirst and hunger were appeased;2then, having satisfied their desires, they went forth to athletic exercises; amusing themselves with quoits and throwing of javelins, practising in their sport such arts as were capable of useful application. And they listened to harp players who celebrated the exploits of bygone heroes with poetry and song.