Shepherd of the Host

Schol. ad Il. 285b

“The shepherd of the host”: For it is right that the ruler be as careful of the led as a shepherd is of his sheep.”

ex. <ποιμένι λαῶν:> δεῖ γὰρ τὸν ἄρχοντα τοσοῦτον εἶναι τῶν ἀρχομένων προνούστερον ὅσον ποιμένα προβάτων. λέγει δὲ τὸν ᾿Αγαμέμνονα. b(BCE3E4)


Od. 17.246

“Bad shepherds ruin their flocks.”

… αὐτὰρ μῆλα κακοὶ φθείρουσι νομῆες.


Johannes Haubold, Homer’s People, Cambridge 2015, 20

“Failure of the shepherd is the rule not the exception.”


Xenophon, Mem. 3.2.1

“When he met a men who had been selected general, Socrates said why do you think that Homer call Agamemnon the shepherd of the host? Do you think that it is because it is right that he take care as a shepherd that his sheep be safe, that they have what they need, and that the reason they are raised will turn out well—that a general must act so that his people are safe, they have what they need and that they will obtain why they became an army? They went on an expedition so that, by overcoming their enemy, they might be happier?

…For a king is selected not so that he may care for himself well, but so that those who chose him may do well because of him. And all go to war so thet their life may be as good as possible, and they choose generals for this reason, so that they might have leaders to this end.”

᾿Εντυχὼν δέ ποτε στρατηγεῖν ᾑρημένῳ τῳ, Τοῦ ἕνεκεν, ἔφη, ῞Ομηρον οἴει τὸν ᾿Αγαμέμνονα προσαγορεῦσαι ποιμένα λαῶν; ἆρά γε ὅτι, ὥσπερ τὸν ποιμένα δεῖ ἐπιμελεῖσθαι, ὅπως σῶαί τε ἔσονται αἱ οἶες καὶ τὰ ἐπιτήδεια ἕξουσι καί, οὗ ἕνεκα τρέφονται, τοῦτο ἔσται, οὕτω καὶ τὸν στρατηγὸν ἐπιμελεῖσθαι δεῖ, ὅπως σῶοί τε οἱ στρατιῶται ἔσονται καὶ τὰ ἐπιτήδεια ἕξουσι καί, οὗ ἕνεκα στρατεύονται, τοῦτο ἔσται; στρατεύονται δέ, ἵνα κρατοῦντες τῶν πολεμίων εὐδαιμονέστεροι ὦσιν.

[3] καὶ γὰρ βασιλεὺς αἱρεῖται οὐχ ἵνα ἑαυτοῦ καλῶς ἐπιμελῆται, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα καὶ οἱ ἑλόμενοι δι᾽ αὐτὸν εὖ πράττωσι: καὶ στρατεύονται δὲ πάντες, ἵνα ὁ βίος αὐτοῖς ὡς βέλτιστος ᾖ, καὶ στρατηγοὺς αἱροῦνται τούτου ἕνεκα, ἵνα πρὸς τοῦτο αὐτοῖς ἡγεμόνες ὦσι.

Image result for Odysseus and sheep

Hom. Il. 1.231

“You are a people-eating king who rules over nobodies”
δημοβόρος βασιλεὺς ἐπεὶ οὐτιδανοῖσιν ἀνάσσεις·

Apollonius Sophista

“People-eater: one who eats the people’s common goods”
δημοβόρος ὁ τὰ τοῦ δήμου κοινὰ κατεσθίων.

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