Homer Quotes

Quotes tagged as "homer" Showing 1-30 of 85
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homer
“When night falls and the world lies lost in sleep,
I take to my bed, my heart throbbing, about to break,
anxieties swarming, piercing—I may go mad with grief.”
Homer, The Odyssey

Marshall McLuhan
“In the "Republic," Plato vigorously attacked the oral, poetized form as a vehicle for communicating knowledge. He pleaded for a more precise method of communication and classification ("The Ideas"), one which would favor the investigation of facts, principles of reality, human nature, and conduct. What the Greeks meant by "poetry" was radically different from what we mean by poetry. Their "poetic" expression was a product of a collective psyche and mind. The mimetic form, a technique that exploited rhythm, meter and music, achieved the desired psychological response in the listener. Listeners could memorize with greater ease what was sung than what was said. Plato attacked this method because it discouraged disputation and argument. It was in his opinion the chief obstacle to abstract, speculative reasoning - he called it "a poison, and an enemy of the people.”
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage

Bernard Knox
“Zeus in his sphere of power, Aphrodite in hers, are irresistible. To be a god is to be totally absorbed in the exercise of one's own power, the fulfillment of one's own nature, unchecked by any thought of others except as obstacles to be overcome; it is to be incapable of self questioning or self-criticism. But there are human beings who are like this. Preeminent in their particular sphere of power, they impose their will on others with the confidence, the unquestioning certainty of their own right and worth that is characteristic of gods. Such people the Greeks called "heroes"; they recognized the fact that they transcended the norms of humanity by according them worship at their tombs after death. Heroes might be, usually were, violent, antisocial, destructive, but they offered an assurance that in some chosen vessels humanity is capable of superhuman greatness, that there are some human beings who can deny the imperative which others obey in order to live.

The heroes are godlike in their passionate self-esteem. But they are not gods, not immortal. They are subject, like the rest of us, to failure, above all to the irremediable failure of death. And sooner or later, in suffering, in disaster, they come to realize their limits, accept mortality and establish (or reestablish) a human relationship with their fellowmen.”
Bernard Knox, The Iliad

Homer
“You stupid food!" -Athene to Ares”
Homer

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“When, in the morning at sunrise, I go out to Walheim, and with my own hands gather in the garden the peas which are to serve for my dinner, when I sit down to shell them, and read my Homer during the intervals, and then, selecting a saucepan from the kitchen, fetch my own butter, put my mess on the fire, cover it up, and sit down to stir it as occasion requires, I figure to myself the illustrious suitors of Penelope, killing, dressing, and preparing their own oxen and swine. Nothing fills me with a more pure and genuine sense of happiness than those traits of patriarchal life which, thank Heaven! I can imitate without affectation. Happy is it, indeed, for me that my heart is capable of feeling the same simple and innocent pleasure as the peasant whose table is covered with food of his own rearing, and who not only enjoys his meal, but remembers with delight the happy days and sunny mornings when he planted it, the soft evenings when he watered it, and the pleasure he experienced in watching its daily growth.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Homer
“All right then. Here's my story. Even though
it plunges me into deeper grief than I feel now.
But that's the way of the world, when one has been
so far from home, so long away as I, roving over
many cities of men, enduring many hardships.”
Homer, The Odyssey

August Wilhelm Schlegel
“The poetry of Homer, sprung from the soil of legend, is not yet wholly detached from it, even as the figures of a bas-relief adhere to an extraneous backing of the original block. These figures are but slightly raised, and in the epic poem all is painted as past and remote. In bas- relief the figures are usually in profile, and in the epos all are characterized in the simplest manner in relief; they are not grouped together, but follow one another; so Homer's heroes advance, one by one, in succession before us. It has been remarked that the Iliad is not definitively closed, but that we are left to suppose something both to precede and to follow it. The bas-relief is equally without limit, and may be continued ad infinitum, either from before or behind, on which account the ancients preferred for it such subjects as admitted of an indefinite extension, sacrificial processions, dances, and lines of combatants, &c. Hence they also exhibited bas-reliefs on curved surfaces, such as vases, or the frieze of a rotunda, where, by the curvature, the two ends are withdrawn from our sight, and where, while we advance, one object appears as another disappears. Reading Homer is very much like such a circuit; the present object alone arresting our attention, we lose sight of that which precedes, and do not concern ourselves about what is to follow.”
August Wilhelm Schlegel, Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature

Emily Wilson
“The goddess did not shoot me in my home,
aiming with gentle arrows. Nor did sickness
suck all the strength out from my limbs, with long
and cruel wasting. No, it was missing you,
Odysseus, my sunshine; your sharp mind,
and your kind heart. That took sweet life from me.
— The Odyssey (11.198-203)”
Emily Wilson

“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

“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

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

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