Loving the Lotus: Addicted to Hearing Homer

From Philostratus’ Heroicus 43.1

The Phoenician Says to the Vinedresser

“If those who ate the lotus leaf in Homer desired the plant so eagerly that they completely forgot about their homes, don’t doubt that I am addicted to your tale, just like the lotus. Instead of leaving here willingly, I would practically have to be carried off to a ship and tied to it while weeping and I’d continue mourning the fact that I hadn’t had enough of your tale.

You have already convinced me concerning the poems of Homer, to believe now that they are divine and clearly beyond human ability. And now I am surprised more not at the poetry alone nor even at the pleasure that comes from it, but much more at the names of the heroes and their heritages and, by Zeus!, how each one was fated to kill someone or be killed by another.”

Φ. Εἰ οἱ τοῦ λωτοῦ παρ’ ῾Ομήρῳ φαγόντες, ὦ ἀμπελουργέ, προθύμως οὕτως προσέκειντο τῇ πόᾳ, ὡς ἐκλελῆσθαι τῶν οἴκοι, μὴ ἀπίστει κἀμὲ προσ-
κεῖσθαι τῷ λόγῳ, καθάπερ τῷ λωτῷ, καὶ μήτ’ ἂν ἑκόντα ἀπελθεῖν ἐνθένδε, ἀπαχθηναί τε μόγις ἂν ἐπὶ τὴν ναῦν καὶ δεθῆναι δ’ αὖ ἐν αὐτῇ κλάοντα καὶ ὀλοφυρόμενον ἐπὶ τῷ μὴ ἐμπίπλασθαι τοῦ λόγου.

καὶ γάρ με καὶ πρὸς τὰ τοῦ ῾Ομήρου ποιήματα οὕτω διατέθεικας, ὡς θεῖά τε αὐτὰ ἡγούμενον καὶ (οἷα) πέρα ἀνθρώπου δόξαι νῦν ἐκπεπλῆχθαι μᾶλλον οὐκ ἐπὶ τῇ ἐποποιίᾳ μόνον, οὐδ’ εἴ τις ἡδονὴ διήκει σφῶν, ἀλλὰ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἐπί τε τοῖς ὀνόμασι τῶν ἡρώων ἐπί τε τοῖς γένεσι καί, νὴ Δί’, ὡς ἕκαστος αὐτῶν ἔλαχε τοῦ κτεῖναί τινα ἢ ἀποθανεῖν ὑφ’ ἑτέρου.

My students do not say such things to me…

One thought on “Loving the Lotus: Addicted to Hearing Homer

  1. Ever since I decided the lineages were basically little cameos like the “easter eggs’ for super nerds in comic book fans I’ve warmed to them considerably.

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