« السابقةمتابعة »
to him in his active life, to the profound study of the Homeric writings, seeking, both in public and private, to advance knowledge and elevate human existence, and cultivating literature, not merely as a scholar, to be charmed with the glorious melody and stately splendour of the Greek epos, but as a statesman, to learn debate and state craft from the Hellenic fountain head; as an orator, to learn thence how to move the spirit of modern men, and as a Christian, to trace out how all ancient history led up to the advent of the Messiah-Greece contributing an elegant language and a matchless intellectual discipline; Rome, a finished political organization; the East, its mystic abstractions; and Egypt and Chaldæa, their philosophies, in order that christianity might inherit all, and carry forward the light that forever in
In 1858 Mr. Gladstone produced a very able and scholarly work, to which he gave the title of “Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age.” The work before us, which he has named “Juventus Mundi,” might, with equal propriety, have been styled part the second, or a continuation of the “studies," although some of the views which he put forward in the former have been considerably modified in the latter. The " Juventus Mundi” was composed during the parliamentary recesses of 1867 and 1868, a period of singularly fierce political excitement, occasioned by the reform bills for the amendment and extension of the elective franchise, by the proposed disestablishment of the Irish Church, and by the Fenian agitation in Ireland. The object which the author proposes to himself in this work shall be stated in his own language.*
"The immediate purpose of the former work was to draw out of the text of Homer, by a minute investigation of particulars, the results that it appeared to me to justify. Many of them were more or less new, and the process of inquiry was therefore exhibited in great, perliaps in excessive or wearisome, detail. I have now felt warranted to give a large space to deduction, and a smaller one to minute particulars of inquiry in a work which aims at offering some practical assistance to Homeric study in our schools and universities, and even at conveying a partial knowledge of this subject to persons who are not habitual students.
* Preface, pp. vi.--viii.
main object, then, in this and in the former work, has been to encourage, or, if I may so say, provoke, the close textual study of the poet, as the eondition of real progress in what is called the Homeric question, and as a substitute for that loose and second-hand method, not yet wholly out of
vogue in this country, which seeks for information about Homer anywhere rather than in Homer himself."
That Mr. Gladstone has accomplished his self-imposed task well, on the whole, may be learned from a perusal of the work. But his labors are not yet ended, he is yet to give to the world an analysis, or more properly, a concordance, of the contents of Homer's writings, and this he has promised to do as soon as other calls upon his time (including the settlement of the Irish land question and the pacification of Ireland) will permit.
Before noticing the leading features of the work, a few words must be devoted to the orthography, as regards proper names adopted by Mr. Gladstone. He has followed Mr. Grote in the nomenclature of the Greek deities, places, and men, though not to so rigidly harsh an extent. We think this a blemish, and believe that the attempt to revolutionize the old familiar names to which the ears of men have been accustomed, and which have been incorporated into the literature of the last two thousand years, will prove futile. There is no sufficiently important object to be gained by substituting the original Greek names in Roman type, for their Latin equivalents. Moreover the latter are the more musical and poetical, except in Greek poems; and sometimes the English forms of them are pleasanter. We prefer Homer to Homeros ; Ulysses to Odusseus; Thucydides to Thoukudides; Clytemnestra to Clutaimnestra ; Minerva to Athenè, and Venus to Aphroditè. Jupiter has a grander sound than Zeus, and Ceres looks better in print than Demeter does. As for Poseidon, Aïdoneus, and Hephaistos, we beg them to remain in the original world, and let us have our old friends Neptune, Pluto, and Vulcan in their stead : and we can dispense with Phoibos-Apollon, being satisfied with plain Apollo.
Some will, perhaps, sneer at this feeling of attachment to familiar names; but they have become so interwoven in our language, and our very modes of thinking, that we do
not see any utility in attempting to change them. Moreover, there is a very large class of readers who, whatever their classical attainments may have been in their college days, have allowed their Greek and Latin to grow rusty. To such persons it would be almost necessary to go to school again, in order to understand some of the proposed changes. Kuklopes can easily be rendered into Cyclopes; but not so with Scheriè, Aiaiè, Aioliè, Laistrugoniè, the Phaiakes, the Phoinikes, Suriè; it requires a little consideraion before the unlearned can recognize in these names, Coreyra (Corfu), Aced, Æolia, Lestrigonia, the Pheacians, the Phænicians, Syria ; and thus the charm of an immense body of literature would be impaired.
Mr. Gladstone assigns a higher antiquity to Homer than that usually allowed. He considers the date of 1183 (1189 ?) B. C., fixed by Eratashenes, for the fall of Troy, to be merely conjectural, and thinks that event is quite as likely to have been older as to have been more recent. Why? He assigns no reason. Not only does he abstain from doing so, but he appears to be ignorant of the evidence there is in favor of a later date. Mr. Sharpe * makes use of the Egyptian chronology to determine the date of the Trojan war, which, according to him, should be placed between the years 925 and 900 B.C., on the following grounds: Herodotus says † that Proteus, the king of Egypt, who received Paris and Helen, on their flight from Sparta, was contemporary with the Trojan war, that there was only one reign between him and Sesostris (Shishah) who conquered Jerusalem, B. C. 960; and that there were twelve reigns between him and the Persian invasion of Egypt, B. C. 525. Allowing the computation of Herodotus as to the length of these reigns, this period would amount to 390 years, which would give the year B. C. 915 as that of the capture of Troy. Again, Manetho says that Thuæris, who reigned seven years, lived in the time of the Trojan war, and that he was succeeded by the 20th dynasty, which reigned from 135 to
* Early Ilistory of Egypt, pp. 158.-162. + Euterpe, chap. 118-120.
Quoted by Sharp, Eurly History of Egypt, p. 45.
172 years. Assuming that the 21st, 220, 230 and 24th dynasties reigned contemporaneously with it, computing from the reign of So (B.C. 730), we have the year B. C. 900 as the date. Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel, daughter of Ithebal, king of Tyre, B. C. 918; Dido fled to Carthage on the death of Ithebal, and Æneas, according to Roman tradition, visited her on his flight from Troy, thus fixing the fall of that city at about B. C. 886. To our thinking it is more likely that the seige of Troy, or the great ten years' war between the Pelasgi of Asia Minor and the Hellenes of Greece, which has since received that name, took place considerably later than B. C. 1189 and not 1183, as Mr. Gladstone has it. Now this becomes important in attempting to determine the era of Homer. Mr. Gladstone infers from a passage in the Iliad, * wherein Neptune predicts that the grandchildren of Æneas shall reign in Troas, that the poet must have lived after the fulfilment of the prophecy, as he would not have ventured to put such a prediction into the god's mouth if he had not been sure of its accomplishment. A grandson of Æneas might have reigned there fifty years after the fall of Troy, and Homer might have been contemporary with him. The poet himself tells us that he was not an eye-witness of the war,t which would imply that he lived while it was going on, and would have been superflous if he had lived a century or two afterwards. Then, again, he makes no mention of the conquest of the Peloponnesus by the Heraclidæ, under Onylus, which is assigned to the year B. C. 1104, and it is hardly likely he would have omitted all allusion to an event so fatal to the kingdoms of Agamemnon, Menelaus, Diomed, Nestor, and others of his prominent heroes, if he had lived after its occurrence.
The internal evidence of the Homeric poems is in favor of the theory that they were written very soon after the close of the war, when many of those who took part in it were living to relate their own exploits, and those of their principal leaders. Mr. Gladstone is of this opinion, and con
* Book i, v. 260--272. + 'Ημείς σε κλέος οίον ακομομεν, ουδέ τι ιδμεν. Book ii, v. 486. VOL. XX.--NO. XXXIX. 10.
jectures that Homer was familiar with many of the heroes themselves. He also sees in the poems, proof that the poet was intensely Greek in his ideas and feelings, and concludes from this that there is neither reason nor trustworthy authority for supposing him to have been an Asiatic Greek. There remains, however, the fact that
“Seven cities claimed the Homer dead,
Through which the living Homer begged his bread.” Four of these were Asiaties, viz. : Smyrna, Rhodes, Colophon, and Chios; the others, viz. : Athens, Argos, and Salamis, were purely Hellenic. Mr. Grote appears rather to incline to the claim of Smyrna.* Byron prefers Chios, and speaks of the
"immortal dreams that could beguile The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle. + The famous controversy respecting the authorship of the poems—whether the Iliad and the Odyssey were the work of one and the same man, and that man Homer-is very curtly treated by Mr Gladstone. He does not dispose of the argument of Wolf, that the poems are not genuine, because the art of writing did not exist at the time of their composition, and that poems of such length could not have been orally transmitted. He contents himself with admitting the force of the first objection, and evading the other, by observing that persons have lived who professed to be able to recite these poems, entire, from memory.
We confess to considerable misgivings on this point. A few such may possibly have existed, but to suppose that two such long poems, containing, between them, upwards of fifty thousand lines, could have been transmitted verbatim, from generation to generation, from the days of Homer to those of Pisistratus, king of Athens, who first collected them in a written form, about the year B.C. 535, is, in fact, to suppose an utter impossibility. How much has been lost, or added to them, it is now impossible to tell. Mr. Gladstone thinks that we have the poems substantially as they were composed, and that they have been but slightly tampered with.
* Iistory of Greece, vol. 2, chap. 21.