Homer Quotes

Quotes tagged as "homer" Showing 1-30 of 92
Homer
“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”
Homer, The Iliad

Matt Groening
“To alcohol! The cause of... and solution to... all of life's problems”
Matt Groening

Homer
“And empty words are evil.”
Homer, The Odyssey

Roman Payne
“Alexander the Great slept with 'The Iliad' beneath his pillow. During the waning moon, I cradle Homer’s 'Odyssey' as if it were the sweet body of a woman.”
Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

Homer
“And overpowered by memory
Both men gave way to grief. Priam wept freely
For man - killing Hector, throbbing, crouching
Before Achilles' feet as Achilles wept himself,
Now for his father, now for Patroclus once again
And their sobbing rose and fell throughout the house.”
Homer, The Iliad

Sun Tzu
“There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:
(1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
(2) cowardice, which leads to capture;
(3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
(4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame;
(5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Umberto Eco
“After so many years even the fire of passion dies, and with it what was believed the light of the truth. Who of us is able to say now whether Hector or Achilles was right, Agamemnon or Priam, when they fought over the beauty of a woman who is now dust and ashes?”
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

Homer
“Take courage, my heart: you have been through worse than this. Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier; I have seen worse sights than this.”
Homer, The Odyssey

William Allingham
“Not like Homer would I write,
Not like Dante if I might,
Not like Shakespeare at his best,
Not like Goethe or the rest,
Like myself, however small,
Like myself, or not at all.”
William Allingham, Blackberries

Roman Payne
“I fancied my luck to be witnessing yet another full moon. True, I’d seen hundreds of full moons in my life, but they were not limitless. When one starts thinking of the full moon as a common sight that will come again to one’s eyes ad-infinitum, the value of life is diminished and life goes by uncherished. ‘This may be my last moon,’ I sighed, feeling a sudden sweep of sorrow; and went back to reading more of The Odyssey.”
Roman Payne

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
“I also became a poet, and for one year lived in a Paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein

Mark Twain
“Homer, in the second book of the Iliad says with fine enthusiasm, "Give me masturbation or give me death." Caesar, in his Commentaries, says, "To the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a benefactor. They that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion." In another place this experienced observer has said, "There are times when I prefer it to sodomy." Robinson Crusoe says, "I cannot describe what I owe to this gentle art." Queen Elizabeth said, "It is the bulwark of virginity." Cetewayo, the Zulu hero, remarked, "A jerk in the hand is worth two in the bush." The immortal Franklin has said, "Masturbation is the best policy." Michelangelo and all of the other old masters--"old masters," I will remark, is an abbreviation, a contraction--have used similar language. Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II, "Self-negation is noble, self-culture beneficent, self-possession is manly, but to the truly great and inspiring soul they are poor and tame compared with self-abuse." Mr. Brown, here, in one of his latest and most graceful poems, refers to it in an eloquent line which is destined to live to the end of time--"None knows it but to love it; none name it but to praise.”
Mark Twain, On Masturbation

Walter Kaufmann
“What Pascal overlooked was the hair-raising possibility that God might out-Luther Luther. A special area in hell might be reserved for those who go to mass. Or God might punish those whose faith is prompted by prudence. Perhaps God prefers the abstinent to those who whore around with some denomination he despises. Perhaps he reserves special rewards for those who deny themselves the comfort of belief. Perhaps the intellectual ascetic will win all while those who compromised their intellectual integrity lose everything.

There are many other possibilities. There might be many gods, including one who favors people like Pascal; but the other gods might overpower or outvote him, à la Homer. Nietzsche might well have applied to Pascal his cutting remark about Kant: when he wagered on God, the great mathematician 'became an idiot.”
Walter Kaufmann, Critique of Religion and Philosophy

Jorge Luis Borges
“The gods weave misfortunes for men, so that the generations to come will have something to sing about.” Mallarmé repeats, less beautifully, what Homer said; “tout aboutit en un livre,” everything ends up in a book. The Greeks speak of generations that will sing; Mallarmé speaks of an object, of a thing among things, a book. But the idea is the same; the idea that we are made for art, we are made for memory, we are made for poetry, or perhaps we are made for oblivion. But something remains, and that something is history or poetry, which are not essentially different.”
Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights

Homer
“Question me now about all other matters, but do not ask who I am, for fear you may increase in my heart it's burden of sorrow as I think back; I am very full of grief, and I should not sit in the house of somebody else with my lamentation and wailing. It is not good to go on mourning forever.”
Homer The Odyssey Book 19 115120

Thomas Jefferson
“...as we advance in life these things fall off one by one , and I suspect we are left with only Homer and Virgil, perhaps with only Homer alone.”
Thomas Jefferson

Homer
“so evenly was strained their war and battle,
till the moment when Zeus gave the greater renown to Hector, son of
Priam, who was the first to leap within the wall of the Achaians. In a
piercing voice he cried aloud to the Trojans: "Rise, ye horse-taming
Trojans, break the wall of the Argives, and cast among the ships fierce
blazing fire."

So spake he, spurring them on, and they all heard him with their ears,
and in one mass rushed straight against the wall, and with sharp spears
in their hands climbed upon the machicolations of the towers. And
Hector seized and carried a stone that lay in front of the gates, thick
in the hinder part, but sharp at point: a stone that not the two best
men of the people, such as mortals now are, could lightly lift from the
ground on to a wain, but easily he wielded it alone, for the son of
crooked-counselling Kronos made it light for him. And as when a shepherd
lightly beareth the fleece of a ram, taking it in one hand, and little
doth it burden him, so Hector lifted the stone, and bare it straight
against the doors that closely guarded the stubborn-set portals, double
gates and tall, and two cross bars held them within, and one bolt
fastened them. And he came, and stood hard by, and firmly planted
himself, and smote them in the midst, setting his legs well apart, that
his cast might lack no strength. And he brake both the hinges, and the
stone fell within by reason of its weight, and the gates rang loud
around, and the bars held not, and the doors burst this way and that
beneath the rush of the stone. Then glorious Hector leaped in, with face
like the sudden night, shining in wondrous mail that was clad about his
body, and with two spears in his hands. No man that met him could have
held him back when once he leaped within the gates: none but the gods,
and his eyes shone with fire. Turning towards the throng he cried to the
Trojans to overleap the wall, and they obeyed his summons, and speedily
some overleaped the wall, and some poured into the fair-wrought
gateways, and the Danaans fled in fear among the hollow ships, and a
ceaseless clamour arose.”
Homer, The Iliad

“Fate is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard.
We are all held in a single honour, the brave with the weaklings.
A man dies still if he has done nothing, as one who has done much.”
Richmond Lattimore

Carl Sagan
“For a long time the human instinct to understand was thwarted by facile religious explanations, as in ancient Greece in the time of Homer, where there were gods of the sky and the Earth, the thunderstorm, the oceans and the underworld, fire and time and love and war; where every tree and meadow had its dryad and maenad.”
Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“We stepped to the window. Off to one side there was thunder, and the splendid rain was trickling down upon the land; the most refreshing fragrance rose up to us from the rich abundance of the warm atmosphere. She stood leaning on her elbows, with her gaze searching the countryside; she looked up to heaven and at me; I saw her eyes fill with tears, and she laid her hand on mine, saying, "Klopstock!" I recalled at once the glorious ode she had in mind, and became immersed in the stream of emotions which she had poured over me by uttering this symbolic name. I could not bear it, I bent down over hand and kissed it amid tears of the utmost rapture. And looked into her eyes again - noble poet! Would that you had seen your apotheosis in that gaze, and would that your name, so often profaned, would never reach my ears from any other lips.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Homer
“Must you have battle in your heart forever? The bloody toil of combat? Old contender, will you not yield to the immortal gods? That nightmare cannot die, being eternal evil itself – horror, and pain, and chaos; there is no fighting her, no power can fight her. All that avails is flight.”
Homer, The Odyssey

Caroline Alexander
Éris—strife—between heroes, it will be recalled, was a favorite theme of epic. Looked at coldly, stripped of the dignity of their noble epic contexts, these quarrels are almost always petty. In the Cypria, "Achilles quarrels with Agamemnon because he received a late invitation" to a feast; in the Aethiopis, "a quarrel arises between Odysseus and Aias over the armor of Achilles"; the Odyssey tells of a quarrel between Achilles and Odysseus at a festival, not to mention the Iliad's own dramatic action arising from the "quarrel" between Achilles and Agamemnon.”
Caroline Alexander, The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War

Caroline Alexander
“That after the roll of centuries, this same Iliad, whose message had been so clearly grasped by ancient poets and historians, came to be perceived as a martial epic glorifying war is one of the great ironies of literary history. Part of this startling transformation can undoubtedly be attributed to the principal venues where the Iliad was read—the elite schools whose classically based curriculum was dedicated to inculcating into the nation's future manhood the desirability of "dying well" for king and country. Certain favorite outstanding scenes plucked out of context come to define the entire epic: Hektor's ringing refusal to heed the warning omen, for example—" 'One bird sign is best: to fight in defence of our country' "—or his valiant resolution—" 'not die without a struggle and ingloriously.' " Homer's insistent depiction of the war as a pointless catastrophe that blighted all it touched was thus adroitly circumvented.”
Caroline Alexander, The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War

“Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”
Homer, The Iliad

Susan Sontag
“What are the implacable values of Homer? Honor, status, personal courage—the values of an aristocratic military class? But this is not what the Iliad is about. It would be more correct to say, as Simone Weil does, that the Iliad—as pure an example of the tragic vision as one can find—is about the emptiness and arbitrariness of the world, the ultimate meaninglessness of all moral values, and the terrifying rule of death and inhuman force. If the fate of Oedipus was represented and experienced as tragic, it is not because he, or his audience, believed in “implacable values,” but precisely because a crisis had overtaken those values. It is not the implacability of “values” which is demonstrated by tragedy, but the implacability of the world. The story of Oedipus is tragic insofar as it exhibits the brute opaqueness of the world, the collision of subjective intention with objective fate. After all, in the deepest sense, Oedipus is innocent; he is wronged by the gods, as he himself says in Oedipus at Colonus. Tragedy is a vision of nihilism, a heroic or ennobling vision of nihilism.”
Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation and Other Essays

“Plato’s heirs—armed with his methods, but unchained from his wistful predilections—abstracted away the faces of the pagan gods: the marbles that in Homer’s day were warm Olympian flesh were philosophized into dust and that dust into theology. Consequently, the labor of keeping beauty and goodness yoked became moot as their separation in the realm of experience, in art and religion—their correspondent spheres of human activity—became so obviously distinct. Christianity supplanted paganism and the art of yore, which had formerly been principally confined to civil and religious expression, was gradually supplanted by an art that was its own unique means by which humanity understood itself. In due course, following the birth of Romanticism, art stood on the field of history its own inexorable self.”
Michael Shindler

“We have already remarked that the great scientific books are in many ways easier to read than non-scientific ones, because of the care with which scientific authors help you to come to terms, identify the key propositions, and state the main arguments. These helps are absent from poetical works, and so in the long run they are quite likely to be the hardest, the most demanding, books that you can read. Homer, for example, is in many ways harder to read than Newton, despite the fact that you may get more out of Homer the first time through. The reason is that Homer deals with subjects that are harder to write well about. (P. 331)”
Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren

“Zoals de wester met geweld van vlagen
toeslaat, de wolken van de blauwe zuider
verstoot: een massa golven zwelt en rolt
en zeeschuim spat omhoog door het gehuil
van waaiwind waarin water wijduit dwarrelt-
zo velde Hektor tal van krijgerskoppen.”
Patrick Lateur, The Iliad

“…the epithet rosy-finger'd, which Homer hath given to the morning. … Aristotle hath observed the effect solely in respect of beauty, but the remark holds equally true of these epithets in respect of vivacity. … It at once gratifies two of the senses, the nose by its fragrance, and the eye by its beauty.”
George Campbell, The Philosophy of Rhetoric

Alberto Manguel
“In 1990, the Colombian Ministry of Culture set up a system of itinerant libraries to take books to the inhabitants of distant rural regions. For this purpose, carrier book bags with capacious pockets were transported on donkeys’ backs up into the jungle and the sierra. Here the books were left for several weeks in the hands of a teacher or village elder who became, de facto, the librarian in charge. Most of the books were technical works, agricultural handbooks, collections of sewing patterns and the like, but a few literary works were also included. According to one librarian, the books were always safely accounted for. ‘I know of a single instance in which a book was not returned,’ she said. ‘We had taken, along with the usual practical titles, a Spanish translation of the Iliad. When the time came to exchange the book, the villagers refused to give it back. We decided to make them a present of it, but asked them why they wished to keep that particular title. They explained that Homer’s story reflected their own: it told of a war-torn country in which mad gods mix with men and women who never know exactly what the fighting is about, or when they will be happy, or why they will be killed.”
Alberto Manguel, Homer's the Iliad and the Odyssey: A Biography

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