Homer, Philosopher

Seneca, Moral Epistles 88.5

“Maybe they’ve persuaded you that Homer was a philosopher, even though they undermine this with the same arguments they marshal  in its favor.  See, sometimes they turn him into a Stoic, praising only virtue, fleeing pleasures, and never turning from honor, even at the cost of immortality. Other times, he’s an Epicurean, commending the nature of a state at peace, pursuing life among feasts and songs; and yet other times, he is a Peripatetic, categorizing the good into three kinds, or even an Academic, saying that everything is indeterminate.

Clearly, none of these ideas are truly Homer’s, just because they all are found there. These concepts clash with one another! Sure, Homer was a philosopher, but he became wise before he learned any songs. So, let us learn those things that made Homer understand.”

Nisi forte tibi Homerum philosophum fuisse persuadent, cum his ipsis, quibus colligunt, negent. Nam modo Stoicum illum faciunt, virtutem solam probantem et voluptates refugientem et ab honesto ne inmortalitatis quidem pretio recedentem, modo Epicureum, laudantem statum quietae civitatis et inter convivia cantusque vitam exigentis, modo Peripateticum, tria bonorum genera inducentem, modo Academicum, omnia incerta dicentem.

Adparet nihil horum esse in illo, quia omnia sunt. Ista enim inter se dissident. Demus illis Homerum philosophum fuisse; nempe sapiens factus est, antequam carmina ulla cognosceret. Ergo illa discamus, quae Homerum fecere sapientem.

Homer simpson looking satisfied Meme with the words "mmmmmmm wisdom"

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