Homer: An Education for Life

Leonardo Bruni de Studiis et Litteris 21

“In my opinion, ignorance of the poets is debilitating in literary affairs. The poets speak so much, so fittingly, and so wisely about life and manners, about the principles and causes of nature and generation; these can be found in the poets as the seeds of all learning. There is in them also a great authority based on their reputation for wisdom and their distinction; there is a notable splendor which stems from their elegance; there is an ingenuity so befitting free men that anyone who lacks it will seem like an uneducated yokel. What is lacking in Homer, that we should not consider him to be the wisest man in every kind of wisdom? Some people claim that his poetry is a complete education for life, equally divided between times of war and peace.”

Dante, Homer, Virgil, and Statius by Raffaello Sanzio

Mea quidem sententia mancus quodammodo in litteris est, qui poetas non didicit. Nam de vita moribusque percommode multa sapienterque ab illis dicta et naturae generationisque principia et causae et quasi doctrinarum omnium semina in illis reperiuntur; et inest auctoritas magna propter opinionem sapientiae ac vetustatem et splendor eximius propter elegantiam et ingenuitas quaedam liberis hominibus digna, ut, cui haec non adsit, paene subrusticus videatur. Quid Homero deest, quominus in omni sapientia sapientissimus existimari possit? Eius poesim totam esse doctrinam vivendi quidam ostendunt, in belli tempora pacisque divisam.

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