Homer and His Age (Paperback)

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Poets of an uncritical age do not archaise. This rule is overlooked by the critics whorepresent the Homeric poems as a complex of the work of many singers in many ages. Forexample, Professor Percy Gardner, in his very interesting New chapters in Greek History(1892), carries neglect of the rule so far as to suppose that the late Homeric poets, beingaware that the ancient heroes could not ride, or write, or eat boiled meat, consciously andpurposefully represented them as doing none of these things. This they did "on the sameprinciple on which a writer of pastoral idylls in our own day would avoid the mention ofthe telegraph or telephone." {Footnote: Op. cit., p. 142.} "A writer of our own day,"-there isthe pervading fallacy It is only writers of the last century who practise this archaeologicalrefinement. The authors of Beowulf and the Nibelungenlied, of the Chansons de Geste and ofthe Arthurian romances, always describe their antique heroes and the details of their life inconformity with the customs, costume, and armour of their own much later ages.But Mr. Leaf, to take another instance, remarks as to the lack of the metal lead in theEpics, that it is mentioned in similes only, as though the poet were aware the metal wasunknown in the heroic age. {Footnote: Iliad, Note on, xi. 237.} Here the poet is assumed tobe a careful but ill-informed archaeologist, who wishes to give an accurate representationof the past. Lead, in fact, was perfectly familiar to the Mycenaean prime. {Footnote: Tsountas and Manatt, p. 73.} The critical usage of supposing that the ancients were like themost recent moderns-in their archaeological preoccupations-is a survival of theuncritical habit which invariably beset old poets and artists. Ancient poets, of the uncriticalages, never worked "on the same principle as a writer in our day," as regardsarchaeological precision; at least we are acquainted with no example of such accuracy.
Product Details
ISBN: 9798694790048
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: December 23rd, 2020
Pages: 106
Language: English