previous next

Homer, too, has pointed out whom one ought not to invite, but who ought to consider that they have a right to come uninvited, showing by the presence of one of the relations that those in similar circumstances had a right to be present—
Unbidden there the brave Atrides came.1
For it is plain that one ought not to send a formal invitation to one's brother, or to one's parents, or to one's wife, or to any one else whom one can possibly regard in the same light as these relations, for that would be a cold and unfriendly proceeding. And some one has written an additional line, adding the reason why Menelaus had no invitation sent him, and yet came—
For well he knew how busy was his brother:
as if there had been any need of alleging a reason why his brother should come of his own accord to a banquet without any invitation,—a very sufficient reason having been already given. “For,” said the interpolater of this line, “did he not know that his brother was giving a banquet? And how can it be otherwise than absurd to pretend that he did not know it, when his sacrifice of oxen was notorious and visible to every one? And how could he have come if he had not [p. 291] known it Or, by Jove, when he saw him,” he continues, “occupied with business, was it not quite right of him to excuse his not having sent him an invitation, and to come of his own accord?” As if he were to say that he came uninvited in order that the next day they might not look at one another, the one with feelings of mortification, ad the other of annoyance.

But it would be an absurd thing to suppose that Menelaus forgot his brother, and this, too, when he was not only sacrificing on his account at the present moment, but when it was on his account that he had undertaken the whole war, and when he had invited those who were no relations of his, and who had no connexion even with his country. But Athenocles the Cyzicene, understanding the poems of Homer better than Aristarchus did, speaks in a much more sensible manner to us, and says that Homer omitted to mention Menelaus as having been invited because he was more nearly related to Agamemnon than the others. But Demetrius Phalereus having asserted that interpolated verse to be a bungling and unseasonable addition, quite unsuited to the poetry of Homer,—-the verse, I mean,

For well he knew how busy was his brother,
says that he is accusing him of very ungentlemanly manners. “For I think,” says he, “that every well-bred man has relations and friends to whom he may go, when they are celebrating any sacrifice, without waiting for them to send him an invitation.”

1 Iliad, ii. 408.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: