In this post we present and analyze an excerpt from Homer’s Iliad.
Rhapsody Z, Verses 200-205
Ancient Greek: «αλλ’ ότε δή καί κείνος απήχθετο πάσι θεοίσιν, ήτοι ο κάπ πεδίον τό Αλήϊον οίος αλάτο, όν θυμόν κατέδων, πάτον ανθρώπων αλεείνων. Ίσανδρον δέ οι υιόν Άρης άτος πολέμοιο μαρνάμένον Σολύμοισι κατέκτανε κυδαλίμοισι. τήν δέ χολωσαμένη χρυσήνιος Άρτεμις έκτα»
In English: «but when he also became abhorrent to all the gods, then he was wandering alone on the Aleeon field, devouring his vitality, avoiding even the steps of humans. His son, Hisandros was killed by Aris -the voracious for war- while he was fighting the glorious Solymoe. The other (note: his daughter is meant here) was killed by the resentful Artemis –Artemis with the golden reins»
NovoScriptorium: This excerpt refers to Vellerofontis. In the previous verses (which we have analyzed in one of our previous articles) the hero was praised for his virtue and integrity. Here, without explaining the reasons this happened, Vellerofontis is presented as being ‘abhorrent before all the gods’. [We suggest here a read of some of our previous posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)]. So, the man who becomes ‘abhorrent before God’ will face a very specific series of calamities, one of them, some of them, or all of them. Let us examine what are these:
a) He is wandering alone
Things evolve in such a way that the person ends up isolated from the rest of the people and is found suffering from deep loneliness. A mechanism thus works on this man that repels people around him. We all know that man is a social animal and that being social is his natural condition. When sociability seizes to exist, man definitely lives an abnormal situation. Justifiably, this produces various side-effects and consequences, all negative of course; from mental and bodily diseases to madness and self-destruction.
b) ‘Devouring his vitality’
This man ends up gloomy/despondent, continually tired in body, soul and mind. This resembles what we call ‘Depression’ today.
c) On the above it is added that he ‘avoids even the steps of humans’
As this terrible situation evolves, man ends up either ‘anthropophobic’ or even ‘misanthrope’. We do not believe it is a coincidence that people who belong to this man-type portrayed here are very often charged with big and totally sick crimes against other humans – or animals, too. They can equally belong to both edges; self-destruction or destruction of people around them.
d) The abhorrent to the gods ends up burying his children.
It is Homer’s strong belief –throughout his work- that the sins of the parents make children suffer or that the sins of one man may cause suffering to many more; it is clear that he believed in the ‘spiritual collective responsibility’. While there is nothing worse for a parent than to bury his own child, what he really says here is that the abhorrent to the gods man ‘will suffer the worst possible’.
And now, after establishing the distinctive marks of which one can recognize whether or not a person has ended up ‘abhorrent to the gods’, the last and useful thing that remains to do is think on our current personal and social situation. We notice that as years go by, there is an increase in the number of people who become more and more ‘abhorrent before the Divine’, and this is derived straight from observation and social statistics. It is important that all of us think hard on ‘what’s wrong’. We are convinced that things get worse and worse because of the increasing dedication of Man to Matter and Pleasures instead of the Divine and Virtues. The central message of Homer here echoes like: ‘Man! Try not to ever become abhorrent before the Divine because this will bring you destruction!’ or else: ‘Life without God or, even worse, against God is a life condemned to total failure’
Research-Analysis for NovoScriptorium: Isidoros Aggelos
A wonderful post and an excellent lesson! I’m very interested to learn what Bellerophon did to earn the enmity of ‘all the gods’ – Thanks very much for sharing!
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lol, We probably could have guessed it was due to pride: http://www.theoi.com/Heros/Bellerophontes.html the encyclopedia entry at the bottom of the page is excellent and contains all the source annotations.
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Thank you very much! Indeed, it is a very common thing for Pride to receive divine punishment in ancient Greek Mythology, which, obviously, suggests an analogous Theology behind all this…
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