Teacher Says: Homer is Better than Real Life!

Julian, Misopogon 351d:

“By Zeus and the Muses, my tutor often told me when I was still just a little boy, ‘Don’t let the vulgar mob of your peers prevail upon you to run off to the theater in eagerness to see the show. You want a horse race? There is a fine one in Homer. Go get your book and read through it. You hear them talking about dancing pantomimes? Forget them! The children dance in a more manly way among the Phaiakians. You have there the citharist Phemios and the singer Demodokos. There are plants in Homer which are more delightful to hear of than to see.”

῎Εφη δέ μοι πολλάκις, εὖ ἴστε, μὰ Δία καὶ Μούσας, ὁ παιδαγωγὸς ἔτι παιδαρίῳ κομιδῇ· «Μή σε παραπειθέτω τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ἡλικιωτῶν ἐπὶ τὰ θέατρα φερόμενον ὀρεχθῆναί ποτε ταυτησὶ τῆς θέας. ῾Ιπποδρομίας ἐπιθυμεῖς; ἔστι παρ’ ῾Ομήρῳ δεξιώτατα πεποιημένη· λαβὼν ἐπέξιθι τὸ βιβλίον. Τοὺς παντομίμους ἀκούεις ὀρχηστάς; ἔα χαίρειν αὐτούς· ἀνδρικώτερον παρὰ τοῖς Φαίαξιν ὀρχεῖται τὰ μειράκια· σὺ δὲ ἔχεις κιθαρῳδὸν τὸν Φήμιον καὶ ᾠδὸν τὸν Δημόδοκον. ῎Εστι καὶ φυτὰ παρ’ αὐτῷ πολλῷ τερπνότερα ἀκοῦσαι τῶν ὁρωμένων·

 

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