The Humour of Homer

Samuel Butler free ebook
A lecture delivered at the Working Men’s College, Great Ormond Street 30th January, 1892
The rst of the two great poems commonly ascribed to Homer is called the Iliad|a title which we may be sure was not given it by the author. It professes to treat of a quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles that broke out while the Greeks were besieging the city of Troy, and it does, indeed, deal largely with the consequences of this quarrel; whether, however, the stensible subject did not conceal another that was nearer the poet’s heart|
I mean the last days, death, and burial of Hector|is a point that I cannot determine. Nor yet can I determine how much of the Iliadas we now have it is by Homer, and how much by a later writer or writers. This is a very vexed question, but I myself believe the Iliadto be entirely by a single poet. The second poem commonly ascribed to the same author is called the Odyssey. It deals with the adventures of Ulysses during his ten years of wandering after Troy had fallen. These two works have of late years been
believed to be by di erent authors. The Iliadis now generally held to be the older work by some one or two hundred years.
The leading ideas of the Iliadare love, war, and plunder, though this last is less insisted on than the other two. The key-note is struck with a woman’s charms, and a quarrel among men for their possession. It is a woman who is at the bottom of the Trojan war itself. Woman throughout the Iliadis a being to be loved, teased, laughed at, and if necessary carried o … free ebook