Saturday, June 7, 2014

Herakleitos, Again

Opposition and change are the foundation of Herakleitos's philosophy. His fragment 27 says, again in Guy Davenport's translation
When Homer says that he wished war might disappear from the lives of gods and men, he forgot that without opposition all things would cease to exist.
Well, Homer puts the wish into the mouth of Achilles, mourning in Book XVIII for Patroclos. In Book IX, when he and his were still sitting out the battle, Odysseus and Ajax found Achilles playing on a plundered lyre, and singing the glory of warriors. Till then, only Thetis, in Achilles's circle, showed much feeling for the shortness of life.

Fragment 93 says
Homer should be thrown out of the games and whipped, and Archilochos with him.
I don't know what in Archilochos bothered Herakleitos. Archilochos, a mercenary, did know the chances and sufferings of war, and left, like Horace (Odes, II, 7), a poem about discarding his shield in flight from a losing battle.

No comments:

Post a Comment