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[1461a] [1] In another case, perhaps, there is no advantage but "such was the fact," e.g. the case of the arms, "Their spears erect on butt-spikes stood,"1 for that was then the custom, as it still is in Illyria.

As to the question whether anything that has been said or done is morally good or bad, this must be answered not merely by seeing whether what has actually been done or said is noble or base, but by taking into consideration also the man who did or said it, and seeing to whom he did or said it, and when and for whom and for what reason; for example, to secure a greater good or to avoid a greater evil.

Some objections may be met by reference to the diction, for example, by pleading "rare word," e.g. οὐρῆας μὲν πρῶτον, for perhaps he means not mules but sentinels.2 And Dolon, "One that was verily evil of form," it may be not his deformed body but his ugly face, for the Cretans use "fair-formed" for "fair-featured."3 And again "Livelier mix it" may mean not undiluted as for drunkards but quicker.4 Other expressions are metaphorical, for example: Then all the other immortals and men lay all night in slumber," while yet he says: "Yea, when indeed he gazed at the Trojan plain Agamemnon Marvelled at voices of flutes . . ." [20] "All" is used instead of "many" metaphorically, "all" being a species of "many."5 And again, "Alone unsharing "6 is metaphorical; the best known is called the only one.

By intonation also; for example, the solutions of Hippias of Thasos, his " δίδομεν δέ οἱ"7 and τὸ μὲν οὗ καταπύθεται ὄμβρῳ8; and by punctuation; for example, the lines of Empedocles: Soon mortal grow they that aforetime learnt Immortal ways, and pure erstwhile commingled.9 Or again by ambiguity, e.g. παρῴχηκεν δὲ πλέω νύξ, where πλείω is ambiguous.10 Others according to the habitual use of the phrase, e.g. wine and water is called "wine" so you get the phrase "greaves of new-wrought tin";11 or workers in iron are called "braziers," and so Ganymede is said to pour wine for Zeus, though they do not drink wine. This last might however be metaphorical.12

Whenever a word seems to involve a contradiction, one should consider how many different meanings it might bear in the passage, e.g. in "There the bronzen shaft was stayed,"13 we should ask in how many ways "being stayed" might be taken, interpreting the passage in this sense or in that, and keeping as far as possible from the attitude which Glaucon14 describes

1 Hom. Il. 10.152. Problem: "Surely a bad stance: they might so easily fall and cause alarm." Solution: "Homer does not defend it. He merely states a fact." It is thus that we excuse "unpleasant" fiction.

2 Hom. Il. 1.50: "The mules and swift-footed hounds he first beset with his arrows." Apollo is sending plague upon the Greek army. Problem: "Why should he first attack the mules?" Solution: "The word may here mean 'sentiels.'"

3 Hom. Il. 10.316: "One that was verily evil inform but swift in his running." Problem: "If Dolon were deformed, how could he run fast?" Solution: "'Form' may here mean 'feature.'"

4 Hom. Il. 9.202: "Set me, Menoetius' son, a larger bowl for the mingling, Livelier mix it withal and make ready for each one a beaker." Problem: "'Livelier' suggests intemperance." Solution: "Perhaps the word means 'quicker.'" Similar scruples emended the lines in "Young Lochinvar" to read: "And now am I come with this pretty maid To dance but one measure, drink one lemonade."

5 Hom. Il. 2.2 (quoted by mistake for Hom. Il. 10.1) and Hom. Il. 10.13, 14: "Then all the other immortals and all the horse-crested heroes Night-long slumbered, but Zeus the sweet sleep held not. . . (Hom. Il. 2.1, 2) Yea, when indeed he gazed at the Trojan plain, Agamemnon Marvelled at voices of flutes and of pipes and the din of the soldiers." (Hom. Il. 10.13, 14) Problem: "If all were asleep, who was playing the flute?" Solution: "This may be a metaphor; as explained in chapter 21, 'all' is one kind or species of 'many,' and thus by transference 'all' is used for 'many,' the species for the genus."

6 Hom. Il. 18.489: "She alone of all others shares not in the baths of the Ocean." The reference is to the Great Bear. Problem: "Why does Homer say 'she alone' when the other Northern Constellations also do not set?" Solution: "As in the last instance, the may be 'metaphorical,' i.e., the genus, 'sole,' may be here used by transference for one of its species, 'best known.'"

7 Hom. Il. 2.15. Our text is different. Aristotle, who quotes the line agains elsewhere, read thus: "No longer the gods in the halls of Olympus Strive in their plans, for Hera has bent them all to her purpose Thus by her prayers; and we grant him to win the boast of great glory." Zeus is instructing the Dream, whom he is sending to lure Agamemnon to disaster. Problem: "The last statement is a lie." Solution: "Change the accent and the statement δίδομεν δέ οἱ becomes a command (the infinitive διδόμεναι written in a shortened form and used as an imperative). The lie will then be told by the Dream and not by Zeus, who may thus save his reputation for veracity."

8 Hom. Il. 23.327: "A fathom high from the earth there rises a stump all withered, A stump of an oak or a pine, that rots not at all in the rain." Problem: "The last statement is incredible." Solution: "Alter the breathing and τὸ μὲν οὐ becomes τὸ μὲν οὗ and means part of it rots in the rain.'"

9 The Problem is "erstwhile" goes with "pure" or with "commingled." The former interpretation seems to give the best solution. Empedocles is speaking of the elements or atoms.

10 Hom. Il. 10.252: "Come now, the night is far spent and at hand is the dawning, Far across are the stars and more than two parts of the night-time Are gone, but a third is still left us." Problem: If "more than two parts" are gone, a third cannot be left. Solution: πλέω here means "full," i.e., " the full night of two-thirds"="full two-thirds of the night is gone," and so Homer's arithmetic is saved.

11 Problem: "Greaves are made not of tin but of an alloy of tin and copper." Solution: "Compounds are called by the name of the more important partner. Just as a mixture of wine and water is called 'wine,' so here an alloy of tin and copper is called 'tin.'" So, too, is whisky and water called "whisky."

12 Nectar:gods::wine: men. Therefore, according to the rules of metaphor in chapter 21, nectar may be called "wine" or "the wine of the gods."

13 Hom. Il. 20.272: "Nay but the weighty shaft of the warlike hero Aeneas Brake not the shield; for the gold, the gift of a god, did withstand it. Through two folds it drave, yet three were beneath, for Hephaestus, Crook-footed god, five folds had hammered; two were of bronze-work, Two underneath were of tin and one was of gold; there the bronzen Shaft of the hero was stayed in the gold." Problem: "Since the gold was presumably outside for the sake of ornament, how could the spear he stayed in the gold and yet penetrate two folds?" Bywater suggests as a solution that "the plate of gold sufficed to stop the course of the spear, though the spear-point actually pierced it and indented the underlying plates of brass."

14 This may well be the Glaucon mentioned in Plato's Ion as an authority on Homer.

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