What Homer Can Tell Us About Modern War

What Homer Can Tell Us About Modern War


Charlotte Higgins (The Guardian) on the continuing relevance of a 3,000-year-old poem

Many wishing to make sense of wars in their own time have reached for The Iliad. Alexander the Great, perhaps the most flamboyantly successful soldier in history, slept beside a copy annotated by his tutor, Aristotle. “He esteemed it a perfect portable treasure of all military virtue and knowledge,” according to Plutarch’s biography. Simone Weil’s essay, “L’Iliade ou le poème de la force”, published in 1940, holds that “the true hero, the true ­subject at the centre of The Iliad is force”, which she defines as “that X that turns anybody who is subjected to it into a thing”.

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The Island Of Mystery – Part 1

the anonymous novelist

Today, I’m going to take you on a journey through history where you will become familiar with one of the most interesting cities in the ancient world.

Tyre, also know as Tyrus, from the root word Tzor, meaning rock for the rocky terrain on which it was built, was a Phoenician city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Tyre was also an island off the coast of the city. That island no longer exists. The island and city of Tyre was perfectly situated, the Tyrians were productive, laborious, and kind to travelers and traders. Tyrians invented navigation and, because they accepted all people, they were never known as a single people, but a group in possession of the best of the world.

For its position and wealth, the city has been under siege multiple times throughout the course of history. The first of these famous sieges was by Nebuchadnezzar…

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Hephaestion’s Remains – Update

The Second Achilles

Exactly one year ago I wrote a post for this blog in which I speculated about what might have happened to Hephaestion’s body after he died.

You can read the post here but in short, I said that I did not think that his magnificent funeral (Diodorus XVII.115) took place, and that after Alexander died, Hephaestion was probably quietly cremated and buried by the Successors in Babylon before being forgotten about.

When I wrote my post, I never imagined that a year on I would have reason to return to it. However, the discovery of a skeleton in the Lion Tomb at Amphipolis, and the suggestion that it could be Hephaestion’s, has drawn me back to the subject.

The person to whom I owe the idea that Hephaestion might be buried at Amphipolis is Dorothy King – see her post here.

As you’ll see, she theorises that the Lion Tomb was originally built for…

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Pointing out Passages in Gutenberg’s Bible

[ Dog Ear ] Magazine

Only 48 original copies of the Gutenberg Bible are known to exist in the world today; one of them can be found at the University of Texas at Austin Harry Ransom Center. The Ransom Center’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible is unique in many ways, most notably for it’s interesting and mysterious marginalia.

For example, one reader of the manuscript has scratched the year 1589 into the gilded ‘h’ at the beginning of Deuteronomy for reasons unknown.

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Another feature of the Bible is a drawing of a hand that literally points to a marginal inscription of verse from Jeremiah that has been added to Vol. 2 by another reader.

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Drawings of hands used to point to important passages in manuscript texts were already being used by scribes centuries before the printing of Gutenberg’s Bible. The example below is a scan from a thirteenth-century Latin Bible from England, predating the Gutenberg by about two…

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