previous next

The heroes used also flutes and pipes. At all events Agamemnon hears “the voice of flutes and pipes,” which however he never introduced into banquets, except that in the Manufacture1 of Arms, he mentions the flute on the occasion of a marriage-feast. But flutes he attributes to the barbarians. Accordingly, the Trojans had “the voice of flutes and pipes,” and they made libations, when they got up from the feast, making them to Mercury, and not, as they did afterwards, to Jupiter the Finisher. For Mercury appears to be the patron of sleep: they drop libations to him also on their tongues when they depart from a banquet, and the tongues are especially allotted to him, as being the instruments of eloquence.

Homer was acquainted also with a variety of meats. At all events he uses the expression “various meats,” and

Meats such as godlike kings rejoice to taste.
He was acquainted, too, with everything that is thought luxurious even in our age. And accordingly the palace of Menelaus is the most splendid of houses. And Polybius describes the palace of one of the Spanish kings as being something similar in its appointments and splendour, saying that he was ambitious of imitating the luxury of the Phæacians, except as far as there stood in the middle of the palace huge silver and golden goblets full of wine made of barley. But Homer, when describing the situation and condition of Calypso's house, represents Mercury as astonished; and in his descriptions the life of the Phæacians is wholly devoted to pleasure:
We ever love the banquet rich,
The music of the lyre,
[p. 27] and so on. And
How goodly seems it, etc. etc.
lines which Eratosthenes says ought to stand thus:—
How goodly seems it ever to employ
Far from all ills man's social days in joy,
The plenteous board high heap'd with cates divine
While tuneful songs bid flow the generous wine.2
When he says “far from all ills,” he means where folly is not allowed to exhibit itself; for it would be impossible for the Phæacians to be anything but wise, inasmuch as they are very dear to the gods, as Nausicaa says.

1 That is to say, in the eighteenth book of the Iliad, which relates the making of the arms for Achilles by Vulcan.

2 Odyss. ix. 7.

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.

load focus Greek (Kaibel)
load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: