Unqualified Praise of Homer

Velleius Paterculus 1.5:

“Then the most renowned genius of Homer shone forth – it was the greatest ever, without precedent. Homer alone, from the greatness of his work and the splendor of his poems, deserved to be called a poet. The most significant thing is that he had no one preceding him whom he could imitate, nor could any of his successors imitate him. Nor will we find anyone else, who was the first author of his own particular genre, who is entirely perfect except for Homer and Archilochus. Homer was farther removed from the times of the Trojan War, about which he wrote, than certain people think; for he flourished about nine hundred and fifty years ago, and he was born within the last thousand. For that reason, it is not to be wondered at that he often employed the expression, ‘Such as men are today;’ for, by this he indicated the difference not just of men, but of generations. If anyone thinks that Homer was born blind, he has been totally deprived of his senses.”

“Homer and His Guide”, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Clarissimum deinde Homeri inluxit ingenium, sine exemplo maximum, qui magnitudine operis et fulgore carminum solus appellari poeta meruit;  in quo hoc maximum est, quod neque ante illum, quem ipse imitaretur, neque post illum, qui eum imitari posset, inventus est. Neque quemquam alium, cuius operis primus auctor fuerit, in eo perfectissimum praeter Homerum et Archilochum reperiemus. 3 Hic longius a temporibus belli, quod composuit, Troici, quam quidam rentur, abfuit; nam ferme ante annos nongentos quinquaginta floruit, intra mille natus est. Quo nomine non est mirandum, quod saepe illud usurpat “OIOI NYN BROTOI EISIN”; hoc enim ut hominum, ita saeculorum notatur differentia. Quem si quis caecum genitum putat, omnibus sensibus orbus est.

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