« ForrigeFortsett »
to be the chief envoy to Achilles on the critical occasion of the Ninth Iliad, we might be tempted to say it is on account of his superior ability. But this, I am satisfied, would be a mistake. Achilles is perfectly equal to Odysseus in argument and in power of debate. He is chosen in my opinion mainly because he is so acceptable. And he is acceptable because, while the two characters have the sympathies which paramount greatness will always beget, they are not in competition with one another. The distinctions between them are more marked, the outside lines of each more distant from one another, than in the case of any others among the leading personages of the Iliad.
Achilles exhibits the pure Achaian ideal, and represents not the average but the superlative man, in whom every quality is raised to the highest point of intensity and of magnitude that can be touched without passing into deformity. He is the perfect megalopsuchos and megaloprepes of Aristotle, without ceasing to be the sophron or, to use the Homeric epithet, echephron, in the base of his nature : while Odysseus is essentially the sophron, without ceasing to be the megalopsuchos or the megaloprepes. Nothing ever disturbs his vast power of self-command, except that appetite of enlargement, in knowledge and in adventure as well as in property, which made the Phænicians the most daring as well as the most shrewd and acquisitive of men, and fitted them for their providentially appointed office of carrying everywhere, even over the wild western main, the seeds of arts and manners.
It is surely upon this Phænician type that the character of Odysseus is moulded. In comparing the office of the Phænician with that of the Achaian factor in the business of producing the historical Hellenic compound, we shall find the first more remarkable for its accomplishments and aptitudes, and these are the salient characteristics of Odysseus. There was nothing to which he could not turn his mind, nothing to which he could not turn his hand. handled alike every weapon of war, the spear, the sword, the bow, and with invariable success : only the stone is reserved for the warriors, in whom brute force was more entirely dominant (II. iv. 517–22) or at the least intellect less absolutely sovereign (Il. v. 302, viii. 321, xx. 285). In acting upon men, he was alike apt to persuade, or to compel (nl. ii. 199, 265). But the ambush for Homer was a severer trial of the man (Il. xiii. 277) than the ordinary battle and here, by the crucial experiment of the horse, he excelled all others (Od. iv. 287). In the Games (but Achilles is above the Games) as wrestler, the huge Aais cannot throw him (1. xxiii. 720); he wins the foot-race (778), and in throwing the quoit excels and abashes all the Phaiakians (Od. viii. 186-93). He builds his own raft in Ogygiê. In the construction of his bed he reaches the climax of Phænician art: combining the device which renders it immovable by incorporating in it a great olive trunk, with the skill of the builder in raising a chamber of massive stones (puknai lithades) around it, of the carpenter in framing and adjusting the parts of the bedstead, and of the artist in inlaying it with silver, ivory, and gold, as well as dyeing the leather used in its ornamentation (Od. xxiii. 134-201). At the same time he challenges Eurumachos the Suitor to match him in driving the plough, any more than he could in arms (xviii. 365-80), and proposes himself for a menial place as being by the help of Hermes a consummate indoor servant, whether in splitting wood, making the fire, laying the table, roasting the food, or pouring out the wine. He is an Admirable Crichton, but one who includes in his range all the lower with all the higher accomplishments, the line between them being, in those days of simple ideas and institutions, less sharp than it is now: and it is difficult to understand why Homer should thus offer to us as one of bis protams
a personage equipped with every Phænician art and woment, unless he had in his eye, as a great and worthy portion of his poetical and patriotic scheme, the special exhibition of the Phænician element in the Hellenic compound.
We have already seen how the character of Odysseus leans towards the lower side of the Phænician type in his undertaking the search for drugs wherewith to poison arrows; which Ilos, the son of Mermeros, was too much Hellenised to give him, “ for he feared the immortal gods' (Od. i. 263). The Phænicians, whom we meet in the Poems as the actual agents of trade, are also buccaneers and kidnappers: and countenance is certainly given by the great Athenê to such ideas when, on the recognition in Ithaca, she claims for herself in heaven, and accords to Odysseus among men, supremacy in devices, figments, and tricks. This Phænician element in a personage so lofty seems to show that Homer probably included in his materials for the construction of her powerful character some portion of the Phænician traditions, but they are subordinate and not dominant in the presentation.
The episode however of the Scar brings into our view another trait, which is highly illustrative of the Phænician religion, and which also goes to support strongly the hypothesis I am endeavouring to support, that the base of the character and associations of Odysseus is Phænician. Odysseus received the wound, which left the scar and enabled his nurse Eurukleia to discover him, when he was bunting the wild boar on a visit to his maternal grandfather Autolycos. But what we have now to do with is the character of Autolycos himself and the special source from which he derived his gifts. He is marked by the epithet esthlos, an epithet not significant of moral virtue, applicable for example without strain to the unjust steward of the parable: but meaning any such quality as is solid and efficient for its own proper aim. His aim was, if not rare, yet peculiar. He excelled other men in thieving (kleptosunè) and in the
use, that is the perjured use, of the oath (horkos), and these accomplishments he owed directly to divine bounty: they were the gift of Hermes (Od. xix. 394-8). Now in the Olympian scheme Hermes, the god of exchange and intercourse, is characteristically the beneficial god (eriounios, I. xx. 72, et alibi). In the Homeric hymn he presents especially the features of precocious roguery:
ήφος γέγονεν, μέσω ήματι εγκιθάριζεν,
Hymn, vv. 17, 18. He was born at dawn, at noon he played the lyre, at dusk he stole the cattle of far-darting Apollo. In the episode of the Scar, we seem to have him as a purely Phænician divinity, and the character presented is in agreement with that borne by the commercial mariners of the day, a byword of rapacious gains (Od. viii. 161-4) and models of ready perjury for profit (Od. xv. 415–75). I find, then, in the relation of Odysseus through Laertes and his own mother to Autolycos, and in that of Autolycos to Hermes, a fresh indication of the strongly Phænician colour which Homer bas given to Ithaca and to its lord. Not that Odysseus was given over like his grandfather to dishonourable practices. In him we have, it must be remembered, according to my hypothesis, not the crude but the Hellenised Phænician.
While the separate elements were passing into the final compound, each imparted to, and each received from, the other. But they imparted and received according to the law of their respective natures: the Phænician imparted what he knew, the Achaian imparted what he was, and that which had been acquired gradually became blent, in each, with that which was ingenital.
Stature is not a Phænician endowment: and it will be remembered that Menelaos was taller by head and shoulders than Odysseus (Il. iii. 210). Dark complexion however was associated with Poseidon and the south: and although there is some difficulty in the text of the Odyssey on this point, I gather from it that Odysseus was of dark complexion. To conclude: there is another Phænician accomplishment which we must not omit. It is the gift of song. I ascribe it to the race, because it is pointedly stated in the case of both Calypso and Kirkê, the Phænician goddesses, when we are introduced to them, that they were engaged in song (Od. v. 61, x. 136, 221). Nowhere is the Bard presented to us by Homer in such living fulness as in the palace of Alkinoos, the whole of whose associations are Phænician; and Odysseus himself is represented as profoundly susceptible to the gift of song. It is true that this accomplishment is also expressly assigned to Achilles (Il. ix. 189), who practises it in his retirement. But he was the consummate man of all the men of Homer, and his character was the focus in which all the highest and most heroic accomplishments as well as qualities were concentrated.
Thus, then, stands the case of Ithaca and of Odysseus as to Phænician association. If the evidence be sufficient, the fact is highly interesting. The ethnographical case of Ithaca, in this view, piainly bears upon and sustains the ethnological doctrine of a Phænician infusion into the composite formation known in history as the Greek nation; and the ethnological theory in like manner supports the ethnographical picture. And both combine to show with what solid and careful interlacing of the particular parts Homer has built up the magnificent structure of his Poems. They represent not the casual union of the thoughts of many, not even the wayward, careless effusions of the fancy of one: they were wrought upon a system, and with an aim, or with many aims woven into mne, and they exhibit the consummate effort of a brain never excelle in its marvellous combination of discursive, constructive, and create power.
W. E. GLADSTONE.
Although the question respecting the keeping of swine, and the use of pork, is by no means disposed of, either by the authorities quoted in the text, or by Wilkinson, I venture at this stage to offer the following conjectures, as somewhat probable in themselves, and not inconsistent with the evidence as a whole.
1. That, in the warm climates of Egypt and Phænicia, the use of pork was, on sanitary grounds, repressed by prohibitions, or restricted to particular occasions.
2. That the great thrift, resulting from the rearing and consumption of the animal, may have kept the practice extensively alive, notwithstanding restrictive laws; especially among the classes to whom thrift was an important object.
3. That, as the pig is useless to man during life, it is very difficult to account for its being bred and kept, as it evidently was, except upon the supposition that it was wanted for food.
4. That if the animal, as domesticated, was brought into Greece by Phænician ships, its consumption for food may have spread there, in a cooler climate, and a society free from sumptuary restraints, and yet in Homer's day may not have wholly ceased to be a distinctive mark of south-eastern origin and associations.
5. That the sialos, the carefully and delicately fatted pig, was served as a luxury at the tables of the rich; while the use of commoner pork was reserved, as in the cottage of Eumaios, for the poorer class. Such is the evidence of the Odyssey.—W. E. G.
THE FRENCH IN GERMANY.
In the beginning of May, M. St.-Genest published two very sensible articles in the Figaro against the cry for revenge. He plainly informed his countrymen that only such people were speaking of war who risked nothing because they had nothing to lose; the French liked to be considered a warlike people, and to be told that their enemies were afraid of them, but as to a real war for reconquering Alsace and Lorraine, all the propertied classes would be against it, because they would suffer most by it after the introduction of universal service. The old accounts of Jena had been settled once for all by Frankfort, so the French had better keep silent. There is a good deal of truth in this; the fear of the Germans is much stronger than the hatred which Frenchmen entertain against them, but the danger lies in the passiveness of the masses, which may be carried away by noisy demagogues, and the Parisian populace, who have nothing to lose. We have had a foretaste of this in the insult offered to the late King of Spain, as well as in the outcry of the French press when a visit of the Emperor William the Second and the King of Italy to Strasburg seemed imminent. That visit was undoubtedly planned, the horses of the Emperor were on their way to Alsace, and bills were posted at Strasburg for his reception, when Bismarck and Crispi interfered, and prevented what they justly considered an unnecessary provocation; so the matter was allowed to drop, and General Menabrea informed M. Spuller that his sovereign never thought of returning by way of Strasburg. Nevertheless, the fact is that, whilst the Emperor had a clear right to visit his Alsatian capital and show it to his royal guest, the exercise of this right was considered by the French press as an unwarrantable outrage. The danger, therefore, remains that some unforeseen incident may produce a conflict, however it may be abhorred by both nations at large, the more so as the political air of Europe is charged with electricity.
In this condition of things it may not be without interest to show, by a retrospective glance on the relations of France and Germany, that M. St.-Genest was not only right in maintaining that the peace of Frankfort should be considered as a final settlement of the disputes of the two countries, and as the end of the French