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Perceiving and Knowing in the "Iliad" and "Odyssey" Author(s): J. H. Lesher Source: Phronesis, Vol. 26, No. 1 (1981), pp.

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Perceiving and Knowing in the Iliad

and Odyssey

The Homeric epics may contain a 'philosophyof man, or the gods, or a 'philosophicalworld view' of the dome of the heavens and the encircling rivers,but they lack those featureswhichusuallymarkoff the beginningof distinctlyphilosophicalthought:a criticalattitudetowardearlierviews,the detectionof inconsistencies,and the reductionof variousphenomenato a single unifyingprinciple.Homerdoes providesome of the vocabularyand and he is at motifs for later philosophers(e.g. Parmenidesand Heraclitus) least mentioned by philosophers(Xenophanes and Heraclitus)who disagreed with what he said. But beyond this, there seems to be little of distinctly philosophical interest. Indeed, the very idea of philosophical content in oral poetryseems a prioriunlikely. This view of Homeric poetry is not without justification, but it is neverthelessunsatisfactory,and for two main reasons:the Iliad and the Odysseyare not all of a piece; in particular,they present quite different views of the nature of human experience and intellect. Second, the prominencein the Odysseyof the gap betweenperceptionand knowledge (or recognition, realization, understanding)should lead us to wonder is really a fair description.If, as is sometimes whether'pre-philosophical' the case, philosophicalthinkingtakes the form of reflectionon the nature Fr. 1), the Odyssey of our cognitivefaculties(as for examplein Heraclitus' merits reconsideration.Before presentingthe evidence from the epic to impediment substantiatethis claim, I want firstto clearawaya preliminary arising from the distinctly oral characterwhich Homeric poetry is now almost universallyacknowledgedto have. Is it really possible for philosophy to exist in an oral setting?If, as has been recentlyargued, philosophizing were an essentially literate phenomenon, then the idea of a 'Homericphilosophy'could be easily dismisseda priori,as easily perhaps as an illiteratenuclearphysicsor an oral biochemistry.
Literacy and Philosophy

The exact date of the emergenceof literacyon the Greek mainlandis not known.The epigraphical evidencedoes not warranta date earlierthan the late 8th century B.C.,1but the possibilityof an earlierwritten language 2

we are to have any confidence that some specificphilosophical innovation either presupposed or was caused by literacy.and librarieswere not uncommon. and. some crucial features of Western culture came into being in Greece soon after the existence.3 It is reasonableto accept Aristotle's generalizationas accurate at least for his own time: "readingand writing are useful in money making.7 Unfortunately.and in political life.Ourconclusionsmustbe basedon disparate bodies of evidence and we cannot assume a uniform development of literacyin differentsettings."4Philosophical books moreoverexisted as early as Anaxagoras. the practiceof ostracism whichrequired6000citizens to write the name of the personon theirpotsherds). Considerfor example the claim made by Watt and Goody: . The evidence is not of uniform value (literacymight spread at a differentrate among differentclassesand sexes. at least in Athens.. and from the inscriptionson vasesor public buildings.thereforephilosophy becauseof literacy. it becomes very difficult to specify who acquiredalphabeticliteracywhere and when.6 When we go beyond rough generalizations.or in differentprofessions and activities)and it is not uncontroversial (the practiceof ostracismis not the conclusive evidence some have believed it to be).as it is a simplepost hoc fallacy: philosophyafterliteracy.g. moreover.5 and by the time of Plato and Aristotle. consequently[my italics] the overwhelmingdebt of the whole contemporarycivilization to classicalGreece must be regardedas in some measure the result.but in this also it is difficultto be precise.therewas.cannot be absolutelyexcluded.The argumentcan be bolsteredby drawingattentionto specificfeaturesof earlyphilosophicalthought. the line in Aristophanes' Frogs: "everyone is a reader these days").and arguingpoint by point that a particularphilosophicalinnovationeitherrequiredor resultedfrom 3 .C. of a richurbansociety in which a substantialportion of the population was able to read and write..however.g.when so stated. in the acquisitionof knowledge.books.in the management of a household. the initiation of a law suit by writing the graphe or complaint).not so much of the Greek genius.the thesisis transparently implausible.2 By the 5th century B. and evidencefrom the law courts (e. this is information that we cannot do without.and evidence fromGreekdrama(e. There is evidence of a spreadof literacyto various partsof Greece over the next three centuries.and from the surviving documentsof commercial trade. for the first time. If. readers. as of the intrinsicdifferences between non-literate(or proto-literate)and literate societies the latter being mainly representedby those societies using the Greek alphabet and its derivatives.Thereis evidencerelatingto 5thcenturysocial and politicallife (e.g.a substantial degreeof literacy.

himself a travelingbard of the early 6th century.How are we to know this?The Ionians did clearly draw upon Homeric and Hesiodic resources. Given that the earliestsurvivingreference to reading as a pastime occurs in Euripides' Erechtheus. centurydialogue Hipparchus werepossible.and the first Birds. It is reasonableto suppose. What we need to know is notjust that some writtenpoems existed.. we will considerseriatim threesuch proposals. There are in his poems new ideas and criticismof old waysof thinking.10 noticesthe inconsistencies holds out a conception of certain truth known perhaps by the gods.but how little any of it has to do with writtendiscourse.Certainly. plicitly referto what their predecessors The first reference to any Homeric text does not occur until the 4th earliertexts of the Platoniccorpus. This the emergenceof the Ionian school of scientistphilosophers" will not suffice. but otherswould do.a specificallywritten medium. but only approximatedby mortal men. that inspectionof writtenaccountsfacilitated.8 Xenophanes is perhaps the clearest example of an emerging critical attitudetowardHomer. 45).and the sixth centuryHomeridaemayhave defended Homer's poems from corruptionby referenceto a writtentext. He criticizescurrentbeliefs. attacks religious superstitionand superstitiouspractices.just in general. philosophicalcriticism. 48).C.Xenophanes.p.Goody and Wattbegin fromthe fact that "the Homeric poems were written down between 750 and 650 B. but there is no hard evidence that they did so.that having a writtenrecord availablein some semi-permanentformwill contributeto the detectionof errors of fact and inconsistencies. (1) Literacy made available written texts of older accounts.and moreover'impelled'.What we need however is reason to believe that this is what actuallyhappenedin Ioniain the early6th century B. He criticizesHomer for his tales about the gods.divorcingthe 4 .9and He betweenreligiousbeliefs in differentareas.C.but they never refer to any written versions (if there were any) and they frequentlyexsaid. but that the critical responses were facilitated(or impelled) by contactwith these writtenaccounts.and articulatesa sharp distinctionbetween the realmsof the divine and the mortal. and the seventhcenturysaw the firstrecordingof lyricverse and then (at the end) (p. In what follows. and the detectionof inconsistencieswhich this allowed'impelled'a moreconscious and criticalattitude(Goody-Watt.was well aware of the impact of Homer on everydaymorals and religiousbelief.the notionof a body of mentionof the book tradeis in Aristophanes' available written literatureas much as four centuriesearliercan only be judged as highly conjectural.

and does all this without a single suggestionof the criticismof written texts. There is reason however to doubt that the study of logical proof is 5 . for example. Contrast. Plato's labored explanationof 'holiness'and 'the right'(and 'fear'and 'reverence')in the Euthyphro with the simplicity of the Aristotelianprinciplethat All S is P does not imply that All P is S.g.the fact of the matteris that pre-Socratic thinkingdoes not seem to begin as the Goody-Wattthesiswould ask us to think. c. Phaedrus) and Aristotle's taxonomy. the validityof all argumentsof the same logical type) and that the use of lettersservingas variablesmarksthe real beginning of the discipline of logic.including Plato's method of collection and division (in the Sophist. Plato used the writtencharactersof the alphabetin his account of the 'processof reasoning'(in the Theaetetus) and they serve a similarfunction in Aristotle'sAnalytics(p. and literaturehave been formed. 53). Whatevermay be the case generally about the special virtues of written accounts. 54). p. From the latter come the "key methods and distinctionsin the world of knowledge"from which western science.so understood. it must be rejected.g. b. By 'logic' is meant not just the logic of the Organonbut a systemof 'rulesof thinking'generally. 53). Statesman.or delivered.both (a) and (b) are falsifiedby almostany day in the life of Socrates.much less completelyunderstoodin oral form'(p.Thereis no evidence that the availabilityof writtenaccountscontributedto. (b) confuses the constructionof complexargumentswith the analysisof theirlogicalform(or an accountof the rightrules for inquiry). The complex seriesof philosophicalarguments(e.11 Thus.in spiteof some primafacie generalplausibilityof (1). It is true that logicproperdemandsan appreciation of the more abstract featuresof argument(e. In Aristotle. much less impelled. detects inconsistencies.presupposes literacy is based upon the following: a.whole range of naturalistic phenomena from theistic intentions. In general.The claim that'logic'.oral communicationwould be insufficientlyabstractfor the purpose(p. Xenophanesmakes all the appropriate criticalmoves:he departsfromold ways of thinking. (2) Logic is 'essentiallyliterate'and hence could not have emergedin a strictlyoral culture (Goody-Watt. philosophy. and all these presupposeliteracy. of Plato'sRepublic) could not be 'created.provides new conceptions.the beginningof a criticalphilosophicalattitude. (a) and (b) can be promptly dismissed. 53).logic is at least partlya literary enterprise.

they involved the use of writtenaccounts.Obviously.12). for such purposes.as well as his own penchant for categorizationand departmentalization.or groups of numbersto representfigures.and the passage is misunderstoodand misused.That scientificclassificationand is inconceivablein an earlyand largelyilliteratecondepartmentalization text is less believable.These are also all 'essentiallyliterate'in the sense that as they existed.are importantcontributionsto later thought.e. The method of collection and division is significant as a heuristic principle. pp. nor episteme means "reasoning").Goody and Watt think that it is "not far" from the Theaetetusto the Analytics. the use of pebbles to represent numbers.and symbols. would be superfluous. Some studies of a form of logical inferencedid take place in pre-alphabeticcontexts. 6 .took place originallywithout recourse to writing.15-420.as well as a conceptionof and proceduresfor demonstration.12These are the techniques (familiar in Bk. Procluson Eucl.as well as the use of specificshapesto establishprinciplesabout all shapes(or numbers)suffice to show thatthe realizationof abstractprinciples. and Aristotle's program of classification by genus and differentia.as a means for proof . through the 'applicationof areas'. namely among the earliest students of geometricalproof (from whom Aristotleacquiredmany of the ideas and terminology for the doctrine of the syllogism). lamblichus(Vit. It is a mistaketo credit Plato with the discoveryof logic in any precise sense. 419. and communicationwas characteristic we know that they could devise geometricalproofs without recourse to lettereddiagrams. 1.terms. Plato and Aristotle are worldsapart.i. (Cf.were seen clearly as early as Aristotle.Plato is there discusfrom the Theaetetus sing the lettersand syllablesas a model for a theoryof simpleand complex knowledge (and not 'reasoning': neither gnosis. The limitations of the method of collection and division .or written statements of proof. II of Euclid) of decomposing squares and trianglesinto smaller geometricalfigures and then recombiningthem to establishequalityof size or similarityof shape. Pyth. 88) says that Hippasuswas "thefirstto publishand writedown the (constructionof the sphere)"but this act of impietyto the Master cost him his life. The tradition of oral of the school of the Pythagoreans. but on the basic question of the notion of general logical form and substitutablevariables. The medical schools of Cos and Cnidos are later stages of a Greek medicine which as early as the Homeric epics was thoughtto have perfecteda varietyof techniquesfor ailmentsand disease. In any case.necessarilyliterate.the use of written(and lettered) diagrams.

3.and ailments. or the psychologicaldifficultyof memorizing accounts other than those about persons and actions.Xenophanes'conceptionof God. etc.13 The rationalebehind the thesis that writtendiscourseis more amenable to the statement of general principles is not obvious. nor scientificclassification.Whateverthe theoreticalbackground. or some general unsuitability of oral discourse for abstractmatters. The same is truefor Parmenides: his poetic accountof the natureof the realis modeled extensivelyon the epic.nor the conception of general principles governing each should therefore be viewed as 'essentiallyliterate'. He succeeds thereforein conveying a 'world-view'.g. the Good. or the transferenceof the greaterpermanenceand stabilityof the writtenwordsto the entities written. that they fashionednew ideaswithin an older poetic framework. method. A writtenlanguage favors the statementof generalprinciples.16 The utterances of Heraclitus. antithesisand symmetryshow clear signs of being skillfully turned aphorisms designed to be heard and memorized.and the descriptionof separateentities(e. the thesisdoes not stand up when measured against the accomplishmentsof Ionian and Eleaticphilosophy. and Heraclitus'view of justice and the good all fail to fit the descriptionof written discourseson abstract matters. medicine has long been in possessionof its own beginning points. Pythagorean viewsof the soul.'the over-ridingprinciple of the logos'.if we mean by this not only that could they not have been written down. That Heraclitus'style is an oral one is clear from the frequent referenceto his speakingj5 his audience hearing. but also that they could not have been conceivedwithout alphabeticliteracy. Justice. In his view.).e. includingthe classificationof diseases. completewith 7 .The firstwrittendiscussionof the principlesof the art is in the Hippocratic corpusof the mid-5thcentury. the cola of the Homerichexameter). Parmenides'accountof dike.wounds. repetition. It may lie in the transiencyof the spoken word.assonance.the Soul. Neither distinctlylogical thinking.and objectives.definable truths.existedlong before he began to write it down.still operatingunder the acousticcues of the epic. borrowinga whole familyof Homericepithetsand phrases. God. There is also a wealth of evidence14 that the pre-Socratics from Xenophanesto Parmenides were figureswho 'composedwithinthe context of an oralculture'. withinthe constraints of the traditional oral medium(devising a variantof the epic style. with their striking images.but the contentionof its authors(especially the author of On Ancient Medicine)is that the knowledgeof treatments.and other cases of oral instruction.i.

17 the nature of the faculties of sense and thought.The simplestkind of case is one of perceptual discriminationof an individual person or object without further identificationor classification. There is then no reasonwhy the Homericepics could not.personifiedDike. and. we must however look beyond the use of a single term to observe a whole family of related expressions. He went his way glancing this way and that 8 . As might be expected in a workwith varyingmetricalrequirements. the claims made for their are theoreticallyunconvincingand at odds necessaryinterconnectedness of The criticism with the little thatis knownaboutthe earliestphilosophers.these expressions are linked with three of what might be termed'knowledgewords'in Homer: noein. The upshot is that literacydoes not appearto have been a crucialfactor in the onset of philosophicalthinking. olderwaysof thinkingcannot be linkedwith the inspectionof writtentexts.and eidenai.In the face of all this. logic and scientific thinking do not necessitateliteracy. gigno5skein. in a similar way. as to use in Hamlyn observed. XVII. Homer frequently links the possession or achievementof knowledge with the use of the facultiesof sense perception. simply picking it out from its surroundingenvironment.But what positive reasonis there to think that they did? Perceiving and Knowing in Homer There is no explicit theory of perception stated in either epic. Homer has no single word like "perception" reflectingabout the processesof seeing and hearing.and early Ionian and Eleatic philosophy does succeed in exploringabstractquestionsand articulatinggeneral principles even though it retains the language and techniquesof earlierpoets. have addressed distinctly philosophical questionseven though they were ostensiblysagas about heroicfiguresand events. formatprecludedthe articulationof principles. and 'animal'wisdom.18 The sorts of things that become known throughsense perceptionvary.It does not however follow.especially the faculty of sight.abstraction. it is difficult to understandwhy one would also want to say that Parmenides'poetic or logic. and immediately was aware of them (autika d' egn6) (I. thereare a varietyof termsemployed for seeing or some kind of visual act. 82-85). that Homer "wasnot in the position To see how Homerunderstood to thinkabout perceptionin itself at all".as Hamlyn evidentlybelieved.that is.Although roughlyco-incidentphenomena (at least within several centuries). Quite commonly in both the Iliad and Odyssey. He glanced (paptinen) then along the lines.

disguised as Laodocus. This has had the salutaryeffect of disposing of some overly intellectual versions of the early meaning of noein. Von Fritz. for instance that this brown patch is not only a human being but an enemy lying in ambush. and pointing to the evolution from epic to later classicalconcepts. or a human being . then. The arrow strikes Menelaus but inflicts only a superficial 9 . The context is this: Athene. simplerand morecomplex statesof awareness: The term idein covers all the cases in which something comes to our knowledge by the sense of vision. and he marked him (enoesen) where he stood (I.. induces Pandarusto shoot a poisoned arrow at Menelaus.. 160). XV. I spy the two horses coming into view (prophanente) (enoezsa) (I.. Turning my eyes (skepsamenos)to the swift ship. the classification of the object under a general concept .. . And acquisitionof knowledge about the individuals throughperceptual discrimination: Sit and watch (eisoraasthe)and you will know (gnosesihe)which (of the horses) is ahead and which behind (11. I noted above me (enoesa) their feet and hands as they were raised aloft (Od. 200). 358)...Consider first a case wherenoeinseems to involve not the realizationof a situationbut merely perceptual discrimination: II. respectively.20including the case in which this object remainsindefinite: for instance.XXIII. XIl. XVII. a green patch or a brown patch the shape of which we cannot quite distinguish. idon) that he was a birdof omen (Od.or a mound. signifies a further step in the recognition of the object: the realization.2' The passages already cited (and others) go against the von Fritz-Snell thesis..and in both respects:noeincan on occasiondesignatesimply object recognition. There is also perceptual discrimination of an individual as an individual of kind or nature: a particular When they were a spearcastoff or even less. 532). IV. The term gign5skein on the other hand. 1 knew as I looked upon him (egn5n . for example. The term noein. . 494). 486).a shrub. . We do not as yet have howeveran accurateaccountof the details of how Homer does and does not think that knowing is a matterof having seen. and gignoskein a more complicated realization of the significanceof what one has seen and recognized..(paptainon). 247).. X.. Telemachus did not see or notice her (enoesen)(Od XVI. IV. he knew them for enemies (gno) (I. designates specifically the recognitionof this object as somethingdefinite: for instance. 105ff. Earlier studies of the Greek expressionsfor knowledge have noted the connection between noein and vision. (following Snell19)claimed that gignoskeinand noein mark out non-overlappingareas of a semantic field designating...

recognizing. making his way through the crowd and looking around(paptainon) for Machaon.as the von Fritz-Snellthesis would require. or recognize at a particular time.ordersTalthybiusto go find Machaon. and not capacities or states.23 we must reject the von Fritz-Snell demarcation of noein and gignoskein as designating distinct types of perceptual knowledge. recognizes. since what one notices. thinkingthat they are friends. Talthybiusis not being characterized as realizinganythingabout the situation. realizing.22 A passage from II. On the basisof these and otherpassages. coming to know. and noein. IV.is just that. Taithybius. and "he stoodstillwhen he heard the sound. stands: T6v8' ?v6'rarv Talthybius brings Machaon back to Menelaus to perform his medical duties. Odysseus and Diomedes have set out to trap Dolon. 'recognizing'.g.Only then does he realize that they are not friends but enemies. Dolon is clearly already aware that people are runningafter him. and knowing.24 'Noticing'. 'he noticed that S was P but did not know that S was P' is transparently contradictory). the peerlessleech".As Dolon runspast they startup afterhim.wound. and this realization. But one knows something over or during a period of time while one can only realize. and therefore although they relate to knowing. "son of Aesclepius. noesai. They decide to let Dolon pass by them as they lie among the slain. 105-220). they are not identical with it.'spotshim'wherehe Tarrr'rvwvijpwa MaXaXova.which ought (accordingto the thesis) to be a form of noein. X containinggignoskeintells against restrictingits sense to perceptualknowledge simply of an object ratherthan the realization of the significance of that object or situation.upon seeing the wound. they can not be thought of simply as synonymous with 'knowing'. Agamemnon. Although they cannot be correlated one to one with idein. and 'realizing' like 'detecting' and 'spotting' but unlike 'knowing' designate occurrences or events.but simplypicking Machaonout of the crowd. Each of them entails knowing.. he 'knew them for enemies' (yvCo p' av8pas 8iliovs) and attempted to flee" (340-350). making sure that they hem him in against the ships if he tries to escape. but when they were a spearcastoff or even less. notice. or realizes is something one has gained knowledge of (e. and then they will set out on foot after him. removing the arrow and then sucking out the blood (Il. ro .. so that Machaonmay suck out the poisoned blood. for in his hearthe supposedthey were friendscoming fromamid the Trojans. Since noein and gigno-skein are often best understood as one or more of the latter. there are significant differences in the concepts of noticing.so thathe maycompletehis assignedtask. gignoskein. for he stops.and ought not be a formof gignoskein.

but rather what emerges upon reflection. but 'coming to know' does not.20 but this. or the true meaning of the situation one has encountered. Recognizing something requires already being familiar with it or something of its type.e. On other occasions gignoskein probably means 'recognizing'. although realizing entails acquiring knowledge. it would be inaccurate to say that this is something I have realized. Noein and gign5skein cut across the field marked out by recognizing and realizing and although both noein and gign5skein entail knowledge they are not synonymous with either 'knowing' or'coming to know'. i. cannot be identified with 'acquiring knowledge'.g. 'Noticing' carries a special element of being struck by something. for obvious reasons. If I hear that my grandfather has died. not all acquisitions of knowledge meet the special requirements of recognition. 11 . Thus even though noein and gign6skein are often best understood as 'realizing'. Because of this. noein and gignoskein are a matter of perceptual recognition and realization. (has come to be in a state of knowing. or what sinks in after a while. that I am about to come into a fortune). coming to know. or having our attention caught in some ways by some feature of what we perceive. There are in short a number of distinctions to be drawn between the concepts of knowing. Clearly.' 'recognizing. or what we are simply informed of. or has acquired some capacity) but even so they are not equivalent with 'coming to know' or 'acquiring knowledge' nor do they simply mean either of these.25 they could not in such cases be understood as synonymous with 'coming to know' or 'acquiring knowledge'. not all instances of coming to know take the special form of realizing or realization. One salient feature of noein and gignoskein does remain: although isolated cases of noein and gignoskein occur in which no perceptual act is mentioned.' and 'realizing' also imply that one has acquired knowledge. although I may upon hearing the news realize something about this (e. and I could thereby learn of it without having noticed it. I could for example learn of it by having been told that this was so. but I could do the latter without having done so through noticing. Similarly. recognizing and noting. and involves the specific realization that the x presently encountered is the same x or the same kind of x as one already known to us. then I have acquired some knowledge about him.27 in a very large number of cases. If I notice that the emperor has no clothes. What is realized cannot be what is obvious.'Noticing. realizing. becoming aware of the true identity or nature of the object (or person) one perceives. but there is no basis for correlating them one to one with respective Greek equivalents.

Clearly.. 'I know'.. Thereis a directness and immediacyin such encounters.and he slipped back among his comrades(30-33). Oida functionsas a presenttense. knowledge is connected with first hand experience. ratherthan a matterof generalinformation. The encountertakes the form of many other such incidents:A sees B.484-488). there is a connection within the very terms for knowledge. he was glad when he saw with his eyes the godlike Alexander (2 1-28).and reaction.29 The invokingof the Muses is the poet's way of obtainingwhat he knows. A connectionbetweenseeing and knowingholds truefor eidenaias well as for noeinand gignoskein.28 A brief excerpt from Iliad III shows just how close the connection is betweenvision. necessarily. But the feeling is not mutual: When Alexanderspotted (enoesen)Menelausas he appearedbefore the champions.but why. between knowledgeand vision. or knowledgeof truths. with seeing?The reasonsstem from some features of Greek etymology.but it is 12 .knowingand feeling are treatedas threeconcurrentaspectsof the momentof encounter. B sees A. as in other Indo-European languages.Menelausspots him: But when Menelaus dear to Ares spotted (enoesen)him as he came out before the crowd with long strides. A immediately recognizes B and is delighted or terrified.The famousopeningof the Catalogueof Ships in the second book of the Iliad is the locus classicus: Tell me now.or well defended propositional belief. but the originalknowledgepossessedby the Musesis explicitlylinkedwith being present(pareste) whereasignoranceis linkedwith not being present but relying only on rumour.both formsof oida(which is usuallyrenderedsimply'I know'. they are not slow to react to the presenceof the enemy. In the Iliad at least seeing. Muses that dwell in the palace of Olympus For you are goddesses.the heroes of the Iliad are not baffled by what they see.but is literally 'I have seen'). are significant. which though not decisive. his heart was shattered.The Greek words here translatedas 'knowledge'are iste and idmen. B immediatelyrecognizesA and is delightedor terrified.'Homeric knowledge' (apart from the 'know-how'matter of epistasthai) takes on a special character:it is primarilya matterof what one makesof his immediatesurroundings. recognition. you are at hand and know all things (iste tepanta) But we hear only a rumourand know nothing (oude ti idmen) Who were the captains and lords of the Danaans (11.here as elsewhere. In Greek. As Parisstandsout among the Trojans.

. German wissen(to know). The well traveled (or far-seeing) man (or god) is nothing less than a Homeric paradigm of man (meanknowledge. Zeus is the epitome of wisdom or counsel (metis. I.and "thewiderthe experience.you all being witnessesto it" &Vi ppEo.. in what is a remarkable. 'I see'. and we know (idmen)all things that come to pass upon the fruitfulearth (Od. Anothersign in Homer of this close connection is the frequentexplicit association of much-knowingwith much-seeing.31 in these cases at least sufficientfor it. English witness. Menelausconnectshis superiorknowledgewith his wide experience: I have come to know the counsel (boulen) and the mind (noon) of many warriors.the greaterthe knowledge" seems Seeing. 508).*woid-. 143). The connection between knowing and seeing is thereforedeeply embedded in the language.while not an absolutelynecessaryconditionforknowledge.wit. 66): many were the men whose cities he saw (iden) and whose mind he came to know (noon egn6) (Od. 267-269). I. 1. their ships of themselves understandthe thoughts and minds of men (noemala kaiphrenas andron). As Snell puts it: the Ionic epic sanctions the solid and dependable knowledge of the eye-witness (DM.V. II. 13 . In the same way. and someone of many devices) whom Zeus holds to be 'beyond all mortalsin noos'(Od.actually a perfect tense formed on the present tense of eido. CCLbIEv are Se 'TarvTres [LapTvpoL). but logicalenough extensionof this.Latin video(I see). 189-191). thepolytropos ing both one who has traveledmany ways. The Sirens who tempt Odysseus with their sweet voices can offer the promiseof becomingwiser men (pleionaeidos)for: we know (idmen)all the toils that in wide Troy the Argivesand the Trojansendured. much traveledships of the Phaeaciansare intelligent(phresineas): .and they know the cities and rich fields of all peoples (panion isasi) (Od. (DM.even the And. and he also carries the epithet 'far-seeing' (euruopa). Both forms *weid-. 3-4). XII. etc. VIII. 137).Odysseusis the most obvious case.30 A passage in Iliad II offers anotherexampleof the assumptionthat knowledgeand directexperience go together:"thiswe well knownin ourhearts. expressionshave theiroriginsin the Indo-European and form a pattern within the family of Indo-European languages: Sanskritveda(knowledge). 556-560). and have travelledover the wide earth (Od IV.

he fails to recognize his native land). most notably Penelope (Od XXIII. deceptions. Along the way there are major and minor confusions. Perhaps the single most famous recognition scene is that in which the nurse Eurycleia recognizes (egno) Odysseus upon touching his scar.deception and error are virtually ubiquitous. illusions. In the Iliad. 346 (Laertes). It is in such ruses and revelations that the story of the Odyssey unfolds. XXIV.: Hermes takes the form of a mortal prince in order to convey Priam in safety to the camp of the Achaeans).g. Aristotle in fact described the Odyssey as characterized throughout by the theme of disguise and recognition (anagnorisis. those who are themselves unable to recognize. and deception. but he progresses through the employment of his own intelligence and guile toward the final moment of recognition and reunion with Penelope. and second. Most important are those occasions on which someone is said to see. if we attend not just to terminology. and there are many others. XIX. There is little of this in the Iliad. name. 174). 94. falsehood. and guile are especially prominent in Odysseus himself. and recognize one another. 533 (Alcinoos). after landing on Ithaca. IV. or realize. XXIV. XXI. 330ff. 498) but even occasionally Odysseus himself (at Od. but in the metamorphosis from divine to mortal form. A related aspect of this theme is the presence of trickery. The lengthy account of Odysseus' return and destruction of the suitors 14 . and mistaken identities. There are two main types of case: the insightful individual who recognizes or realizes while others remain uncomprehending: Od. 1459b). illusion. We have already mentioned the first case of occurrence of the phenomenon of disguise and delayed recognition (Od. VII. and it is obvious that the dramatic power of the poet's tale presupposes the possibility of deceptive and misunderstood appearance. and the elements of deception. but to the content and development of Homer's story. The Odyssey relates a succession of encounters between gods and men32 who see but consistently fail to properly identify. Poetics. 196. recognize. Even when the gods don some mortal form they are correctly perceived as the mortals they have become. It is in such passages that the gap between perceiving and knowing emerges. The deception lies not in visual illusion. I. XIII. things really are as they appear to be. In the Odyssey. it will become clear that the attribution to Homer of a simple equivalence of knowledge with sense perception is untenable. This is not true of the Odyssey. 218 (Eumaeus).It would be a mistake however to stop here with a blanket identification of 'knowing' with 'having seen'. Hermes' deception of Priam at Il. For the most part. but not to notice. He travels from place to place. 250 (Helen). this takes the form of divine misrepresentation and disguise (e.

The failureto recognizethe true identity of the guest. Not until the bow is strungdoes it dawn on them that they have acted in greatfolly.. the suitorsact to assure their own destruction. and the ominous characterof his words is the hallmarkof Anti-noosand the noos-lesssuitors. 333). perhaps the pre-eminentsign of his noos. .The seer Theoclymenusdoes not miss it: "I have eyes and earsand a noos . with those who sense the ominous meaningof his actions and words. VOEW XOXOV V IILLV From the moment Odysseusappearsbefore them.The Odysseyshows that Homer was aware of a contrast. 117): XaXlPEV 8e XXE8OVL Ios O8viOGEVs The suitors tear apart the meat served to them. They ask that Zeus might grant to the beggar all his hopes for the future.and it is a contributingfactor to their undoing.found in both the Iliad and the 15 . and I see the evil to come upon you: rioL LLo opOoAXioL TE Xi( OVxTa . . . Odysseusknows an omen when he sees one and rejoices(XVIII. 348 foreshadowingXXII. overlooking the dark meaningof the bloody scene (XX. shows not just awarenessof the distinction.Recognitionof the true natureof the situationis a sign. "it is clear (delon) that Odysseuswill never return"(XX. 19).concocting verbal and physical abuse. The mastery of appearanceand the use of deception is a hallmarkof Odysseus'metis or cunning. There is one very prominent model of interpersonalcommunication. and that it was a distinctionof importancefor his story. but the prominenceof the theme in the Odyssey.What is obvious and apparentto the suitorsis in fact furthest from the truth.becomes an intervalin which human intelligence can either assert itself or come to grief. especiallyin so centrala fashion in the story'sclimax.. between the obvious appearanceand the more subtle realityof the situation. and a consistentinabilityto guess that the strangerin theirmidst is the returning lord of the house. 32): bi 0 VT0OL OVX 'Vuaxv The occurrenceof only one of these incidentswould suffice to establish the awarenessof a gap between what one sees and what one understands. for Agelaus. XtL VOOS . showing a mindlessdisregardfor theirown safety. . but the poet's use of the distinctionfor dramaticpurposes. failing to appreciate the irony of their prayer.continuallycontraststhose who fail to comprehendthe trueidentityof the disguisedguest. A parallel to this can be seen in the way in which language and communicationare understoodin the epics.The gap between the visible and the known. It is therefore a mistake to attribute to Homer an uncritical identificationof sense perception with recognitionand realization. Homersums it up (XXII.

harshv rrTLOS). The 'pneumatic' this view of communicationhelps to accountfor the factthat a speakercan 'inspire'. V.easily accommodatethe possibilityof misunderstandings. In the Iliad.but it is not adequate for dealing with a number of features. and so frequentlyutter words which 'sting the phren'33So mechanicala view of languageand meaningmay be well suitedfor a vivid depictionof mass persuasionor the exchangeof 'aerialinsults'. Homeroften speaksof the word as being itself an instance of the quality it designates.'Ex'rWp 1iOov &xoi$axs The exchange of words (frequentlyinsults about one's lineage) typically followsupon the initialmomentof encounterand precedesthe exchangeof physicalblows. 350). 425.or are endowed with. 213). among other or verbal things. II. If the muthos conveys meaning in so far as it is. XX. Homer's phrasesare telltale evidence of a conceptionof languagewhich not only allows but ensuresimmediacyof effect.but now one hearsand immediatelyunderstands emotion.hearing. of the teeth (phugen throughthe mouth. let out herkosodonton.Hector. same word mean one thing in the mind of the speakerand anotherin the breastof the hearer. IV.then to receivethe wordin one'sphrenis ipsofacto to take in its meaning. and Hectorreacts: Parisanswers(TOv 8' xv'TE 'TpOOhEvTEV. XIII.It cannot. VI.and by heard are pteroenta).xtaXp6s. 72.literally 'breathecourage' into his audience (II.and feelingareclosely in whichspeaking. harshness and foolishness. The reason for the immediacyin the case of visual recognitionwas not obvious. XVII. they are shaped by the tongue (glossa. the 'pneumatictheoryof meaning'appearsfrequently(it is also present in the Odyssey) and in the absence of verbal subtlety. the quality being signifiedby the speaker. one's words are themselves.shame. gentleness. When they are released.understanding. II. upon seeing Paris(38): veixaoev Li8v Ox()XpoLSkiTEOsOLV 'rov8"Exrwp 58). 8' avXT' .or verbal deceit which tradeson either of these. Odyssey. There could be no gap between the speaker's nor could the intended message and the hearer'sreceivedunderstanding. Wordsare contained in one'sphrenorphrenes(I.Where one's words convey wisdom. ambiguity. 16 .tLaXax6s.The encounterin Iliad III also showsthis. linkedwith one another. but here.X&piPFya WsEqa0('. stxp6s. shame. 72). the propertyof wisdom. II. there is more to go on.or foolishness(srvxwvos. ness. on the auditoryside. fly throughthe air (epea of character lodge in the phrenof the hearer(II.escape the barrier the ears. 493). It has the same direct and immediatequalityof the initial and feels some encounter. 248). or is an example of.

but it is deception throughoutrightprevarication.34and he mentioned in this connection Odysseus'most famous verbal trick: the deception of the Cyclops. W.he triesto deceive them simplyby lying.his cry of pain brings the neighboringCyclops to the outside of the blockadedcave. and it is an especiallyclever one: "Noman (Outis) is my name.The storyof the smallerman outwittingthe giant is no doubt one of the staplefolk tales of many peoples. but he assertsjust the opposite (II. it also trades significantlyon the possibilityof failing to grasp correctly the meaning of what is said. but in Homer. In both visual and auditoryperceptiontherefore. B. of impression and reception. When Odysseusand his comradesblind the Cyclops. How different in both these ways is the Odyssey. 110ff.).the cleverstratagem contains an element of linguistic subtlety and possibility that leaves the moreprimitivemechanisticview of languagefar behind. II.35 When asked by Polyphemusfor his name.Deception occurs. Polyphemushearsand repeatsthe namecorrectlywhen he replies: "Noman (Outin) will I eat last among your comrades"(369). Polyphemus. and forthwithreacts. He believesthathe will takeTroythat day. one speaksand another hears.Not only does it frequentlydisplaythe failureto comprehendthe trueidentityand meaning of what is seen. immediately understandswhat is meant.vq qL V qpiX0Ll.In the Iliad at least. Stanford noted this contrast between the two epics. intendingto say: "(The man called) Noman is killing me by guile and not by force. Noman (Outin)do they call me.the Iliad is characterized by a directness and immediacy of action and effect.The soldiers are not baffled by his remarksand they do not misunderstand the meaningof his words(their'heartsare roused'and they are 'bowedover like cornstalks hit by a blast of wind'.When Agamemnonfor exampletestshis soldiers.). 147f. They ask: "Is not some (me tis) mortal driving off your flocks?Is not someone (me tis) killing you by guile or by force?" Polyphemusnaturallyanswers: W XTLVCL 806Xw OVlriS JJE oV'e . not throughequivocation. Odysseus fabricatesa fictitious name (as he does elsewherein the epic). 366-67). II. my motherand father and all my friends"(IX." 17 .

There are other paragons of metis mentioned by Homer: Athena. pre-eminently. Collectively these passages give a dimension to the Odyssey which was lacking in the Iliad and its characters: a sense of the subtle and potentially deceptive powers of speech.36 Individually these passages have been taken as puns or word-play. 'fp6V OVTLS. Homer adds a final touch to the Cyclops' undoing when he at last wishes his heart could be freed of: 460)." Seeing the Cyclops deceivedby the unintendedambiguityof Polyphemus' words. That quality of intellect is of course personified in Odysseus the polytropos man. Odysseusrejoices. certainly. much traveled and of many devices. and it is signaled in the opening line of the Odyssey. and the corresponding powers of intelligence and ingenuity that is needed to master them. and Zeus. tries to compensate in 'all round cunning' (metin pantoien) and gives a short course in the subject: By metisis a woodsman betterthan by force. In the Iliad. but even the meiis of Antilochus and his father Nestor falls short of the metis of Odysseus. by mehis also does the helmsmanon the 18 . Homer adds yet another double meaning: "My heart laughed at how my name and splendid device (6vo[?a had deceived." and depart. There is no other incident in the story of Odysseus which can match the ingenuity of the Cyclops' confusion. Homer had spoken at length about metis (in Antilochus' race in Book XXIII). "theevilswhichthisnobodyNomanhasbrought"(ov&rL&8av6 The essential element of the Cyclops' undoing is the double-edged cha- racterof Odysseus'new name and this is significantlya deceptiveproperty of the name (no matter who has it or says it).saying: "If then no man (me tis) does violence to you then there is no escaping the sickness that comes to you from Zeus. It is summed up in the word Odysseus applied to his scheme: metis. but double-edged names and remarks occur elsewhere. aware that Antilochus has slower horses.The Cyclopshowevertake him to mean: "No man is killing me either by guile or by force. but there is mortal metis as well. Nestor.and in his last words. The contrast is instructive. but their cumulative effect is greater than just this." xai [tiTrts &at3wwv) Outis becomes ou lis and the me tis becomes metis.

439). It does not follow. but he succeeded mainly in being dangerous(olo5terosallos. Odysseus says it about his own device: "He laughed at how his name and metis had deceived"(exapatesen. and resolutepurpose.That at least is Nestor'sidea of racingmetis. 414). delayed recognition. Od.qualitiescalled to mind by Aristotle'scharacterization of the Odysseyas a story about ethikE.in contrastwith the Iliad. If he can takethe lead at thatpoint. metis took two forms: the ability to plan or advise.In the Odyssey. Nestor advisesAntilochusto look out for a stump along the racecourse. and keeps an eye on the leader .. he that knows cunning ways (kerdea eidei) though he drives poorer horses keeps his eye on the turningpost and cuts in close by. The thesis is rather that metis and noos play a central role in the story of Odysseus'returnand that. nor do I claim.wine dark sea do better at guiding a ship buffeted by winds. Antilochushad aimed for metis. or schemedevised(used interchangeably in this sensewith noosandboule).pulls up. fearinga collision (430-35).and intelligencethatwas absentin the Iliad. paces his horses.. IX.). Still enoughof the natureof metishas emerged from the incident to suggest its generalfeatures:metisreliesmore on craft than it does on brutestrength.39 Odysseus' meiis is in short just what one would expect in a story about disguise. (315-325). and by metis does charioteer become better than charioteer. and polymechanos.knowledge.fidelity.Certainly the epic lacks an argumentativeor demonstrativeform. to turnclose in by the turningpost.and the ambiguityof the spoken word. not even if his horseis a god (340ff. but so also are long suffering. it becomes complex and variegated (poikilometes).no one will be able to pass him.37 What Nestor'spraise of metis omits however and what Antilochus lacks.. polytropos.metisinvolvesa sense of timing. In the Iliad. Choosing a narrowspot in the road (not at the turning post) Antilochus veers off the track in order to pass. Antilochus'executionof the schemeleaves something to be desired. Menelaus. advic.. but so also does 19 . rattledby Antilochus'recklessness. and metis requiresflexibility and adaptability to changing circumstances.they reflect an interestin sense perception. they typicallyinvolve the creationand penetrationof deceptiveappearance and utterance. Whether this merits the label 'philosophical'depends largely on what one adopts as minimum ingredientsfor philosophicalthought.38 Odysseushas in spades: guile and deceit. that the Odysseyis pre-eminentlya story about the nature and qualities of human intelligence. in the exploits of Odysseus. When coupled with the roles played by noein and gign6skein. deception. and the plan.Noos is a recurring motif.the sense to select the right moment to act. and the poly-prefix becomes commonplace: polymetis.

52 (1948). HSCP.. Cf. Accordingto Xenophon. 6 See F. Greene. 39-40.Heraclitusstated a view of perceptionand knowledgethat was not entirelywithout precedent. most notably Heraclitus. Writing (New York. "Literacyin the Athenian Democracy. 5 A general summary of the evidence can be found in W. This does not sit well with Plato'sportraitof 20 . G. Jeffery. Socrates and his disciples spent time poring over collections of books. 34). 1338a 15f.as I have argued.Anaxagoras'book is well documented in the Phaedo(97-98) and Apology(26). asked Aristideshimself to write the name of Aristideson his potsherd (Harvey.A."A. "The Antiquity of the Greek Alphabet.79 (1966). and "The Greek Alphabet Again. H." Revue des etudes grecques. M. "Homer and the Art of Writing. The oral characterof Homericpoetry. Kenyon. 56) and does not ensureunderstanding (Fr. and David Diringer. J. University of Maryland NOTES See Rhys Carpenter. 42 (1938).. 107) and hear but not understand(Fr. 101). It seems likely that Anaximander was the first Greek prose book.J."A.. More generaldiscussionsare given by H.and the limited amount of literacysignified by knowinghow to spell a name ("Prologueto Greek Literacy.) 4 Politics. 55. 3 See F.General theories about knowledgeand intelligence do not appear before Plato and Aristotle. 60 (1951).J. Lorimer.much of what counts as pre-Socraticphilosophy. Books and Readers in Greece and Rome (Oxford. not knowing who Aristideswas. Havelock points also to wide variations in spelling."A. The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece(Oxford.A. 2 R. 592). taking from them what was of value. and Carpenter'slengthy review of Jeffery'swork in A.J.J.does not of itself precludethe possibility of philosophicalreflection. Harvey's comment on the discovery of ostraka on the north slope of the Acropolisin 1937:" 190ostrakawere found dumped in a well. not in 190 handwritings. 40).J. for people may see and not recognize(Fr. p. but Heraclitus'book is uncertain. In these remarks. L. D. 591. but in fourteen". 19. the absence of a convenientwritingmaterial. 1963.A. these were written. pp. G."Universityof CincinnatiSemple Lectures (1970). 25. 1961). p. p. 21.They suggest the Greek settlement at Al Mina as a likely starting point but it could have been begun by Greeks residingelsewherein Syria and Phoenicia.perceptionmay be deceptive(Fr. 63 (1959). Woodhead. 175-178.He observedthat althoughsense perception(especiallyvision) may be useful for knowing(Fr. Cook and A.A. C.but there are scattered observations made by several pre-Socraticphilosophers. 17. 1962). "The Diffusion of the Greek Alphabet."A. 37 (1933). all inscribedwith the name of Themistocles.P. pp. p. 1951). There is also the famous anecdote from Plutarchof an illiterateman who.

Davidson in "The Transmissionof the Text. the criticism of Theognis (95e-96a). Die Ausdrucke fur den Begriffdes Wissensin der vorplatonischen Philosophie (Philologische Untersuchungen. 1961). pp. Heath. 12 Cf.). Daitales.Elsewhere'Homerand Hesiod have 'attributed' shameful activities to the gods' (B 11: anethekan. 8-9." "of those whose logos I have listened to". There is a similar thesis defended in his earlier Prefaceto Plato. 99^105). A similar proposal is made by Eric Havelock. I5 B 1:phrazon. IV. which is noncommittal. told'. epistasthaipolemizein)than it is awarenessof objectsor situations. 1971). B.A Companionto Homer(1963). 961-1023. It is worth noting that where there is clear evidence of the learning of Homer and other poets from written texts."BulletinNo." 7 Sensationand Perception(New York. 21 . i. 13. pp. and make the conversationof the crowd their instructor. 87 (1966). Clouds. 18 They are not however closely tied to episteme(epistasthai)which." B 104:"they attend to the bardsof the people. I think.Socrates. 55. 6.p. Walter Leaf (London. early 5th century Athens (see Herodotus VI. 53. nor the contempt of 'book learning' which Socrates displays elsewhere in the Memorabilia(IV. is more a matterof skill or physical ability (most commonly seen in the form of epistasthai plus the infinitive. Lesser Hippias. ed. "Neither principlesnor laws nor formulas are amenable to a syntaxwhich is orally memorizable". A Historyof GreekMathematics. 27. "The Consequences of Literacy.. He there argues that the oral tradition and influence remained unabated until the time of Plato's Republic.pp.) 10 Ethiopians 'say' that their gods are snub-nosed and black. 24ff." References to the Greek texts are to the Iliad. with less success. 2).The weaknessesof Havelock's thesis about the Republichave been discussed at length by others (see Solmsen'scritical review. 13 Goody and Watt. ed. 9 Diogenes Laertius'word is eiremena. 1900) in two volumes. and an implicit defense of literacy." in Wace and Stubbings. The single exception is Od." in Goody. Aristophanes. Instituteof ClassicalStudies(Universityof London. the Thracians that theirs have light blue eyes and red hair (B 16:phasi. 7 J. "knowing well in your hearts (epistamenaisapha thum6i) when he went on board. etc. 44-67. 11 Similar points could not be made about Hecataeus: ('the logoi the Greeks tell are many and ridiculous' is not obviously detecting absurdities in written accounts). 730. spoken. "Prologue to Greek Literacy"(The Semple Lectures.'what is said. 14 Evidence assembled in fact by Havelock himself in "Pre-Literacyand the PreSocratics. Xenophanes on the other hand is said to have writtenin epic meter(gegraphe). 223.Havelock takes Plato'scritique of poetry to be essentially an attack on the whole 'Homeric state of mind' and attendant psychological and spiritual phenomena. "speaking(legontas)with nous. 1961) in two volumes. 1966). 1924). but not hearing the logos. 8 An extensive discussion is provided by J. e. but. Watt. the criticism of Stasinus (12a).e. Ch. 1968). Goody and 1. the detection of Achilles' falsehoods (369-370). Literacy in TraditionalSocieties (Cambridge. AJP. p. A.p. B 114.g. as is well known. pp." 16 B I: "listening.Universityof Cincinnati. Protagoras. W. 1353-1379). fr. and The Odyssey of Homer. 66. there is also the explicit detection of poetic inconsistency (see Plato's Meno. 143-154. B55: "hearingbut not understanding. 19 Bruno Snell. Stanford(London. pp. not a referenceto writtenaccounts).

146. 11. 486: spying (enoesa) two horses coming into view.g. IX. 88. . looking upon (eisoroon)the city of the Trojansand 22 . Noticing. 79). 26 This may be either gign5skein or anagignoskein. The Discoveryof Mind (Boston.The fact remains however that noein does sometimesoccur in contexts where an object is being 'spotted' or 'spied'. (p. etc."C. 85).g.Alcinous alone notices Odysseus crying while listening to the singer's tale: "Now from all the rest he concealed the tears that he shed. IL. however. recognizing. IV. 173.This is almost always the case.doxa. A careful account of the relations among these notions is given by Alan White (Attention. Rosenmeyer in Snell. . 346 are typical cases: Arete recognizes (egno) the tunic which she herself had made. VIl. and realizing something (or that somethingis so) are not a matterof simply receivinginformationor knowledge(e.Oxford. The lattertermsoccur in Homer but doxa and logos do not have the same meaning for Homer as they do for Plato. For other examples. p. "as the noos of a man who has travelledfar and thinksin his breast(phresinoesei). the only exception I know of is ll."(p. being told of something rather than realizing it oneself) but acquiring knowledge through attention. and logos. not with any suggestion of a broader (or deeper) realization.and not necessarilywith violent emotion either. or 'you notice this' where 'this' means a situationand not a concrete object. G. 136. 29 Translationby T. Alternatively and often read 'far-sounding'or 'thundering'.hereaftercited as DM. but he does not specify in which category eidenai. for we have heardtales. Od. coming to know (gn355) 24 Von Fritz(in "Nous. 549ff: that Odysseus speaks unerringlyabout everything. Laertes recognizes(anagnontos)all the items mentioned by Odysseus. "the poet never says in quiet discussion and where thereis no emotion involved:'you notice M' but always 'you notice that. 21 Kurt von Fritz.'. the lack of a tie between knowing and aletheia. 25 For this of course see the examples given by von Fritz. Von Fritz claims. and gignoskein belong. Od. 30 Il.P.XV. 95. nor does he explain how they are related to the acquisitionof knowledge (either as entailing it.V. see Od XVII. . but Alcinous alone marked him and took heed 20 ('AXxivoos Si zIV OSosE'ncqppa6tr' W' v66aev. 533) for he sat by him and heard him groaningheavily. or as synonymouswith it). 232. 28 A full defense of this thesis would involve documentingthe absence of the vocabulary of 'propositional knowledge' in Homer.or the truthabout the personor object".XIX. .e. 'you notice how'. see 11. 234 and XXIV. 1 would not however want to endorse his characterizationof them as 'reception concepts'. IV. 686. 475:'1 neither see nor notice anyone' (TOv ViV oS TLV' iyo L8iLV Uvan' ov'S VolaaxL) said to Hector when he appears before Sarpedon without the company of his sisters' husbands and brothers. XX. 1964). Od. V. or entailed by it. i. "NOOEand NOEIN in the Homeric Poems. Noein. 38 (1943).") speaks only of"Greek termsdesignatingknowledge or the acquisition of knowledge". etc. For gignoskein. but not throughsight do you know mine nor I yours". p. At Od VIII. 530ff. XVII. 27 e. upon noticing Odysseuscrying. 116. 22 Von Fritz would allow that noein does on occasion take a direct object.experience or exhibit an emotional reaction. 23 Similar counter-examplesare provided by I. but he insists that this is merelyshort-handfor "realizingthe situation. 203ff. 1953). noein.but Zeus clearly enjoys a synoptic view of the world: "he sat amid the mountainpeaks exulting in his glory. I.: "we know (idmen)each other'sparentsand lineage."Neither does Alcinous. 80-81.

'well skilled in archery. wordes ord breasthordFurhbraec.III. only two contain the 'nobody' trick.epistamaisometimes have littleor nothing to do with seeing... and the listenerputs them.Glenn observesthat of the 125versions examined. 33 See Onians. the lungs. 1). Od. are the organs of mind. the associationof thoughts with the words in one's phren is well attested in Homer. Cf.'began to speak' is wordhord onleac. Chantraine (Dictionnaire Etymologique.reprintedby Johnson Reprint Corporation. VII.g. Hesiod. inevitable among men unfamiliar with writing. 67ff: .but.. etymology aside. "in Beowulf. 51-52. it was natural to say that the speeches of a man who pepnutai (breathes) are themselvespepnumena(wise).p. 32 The gods of course are known to one another. The poet uses both muthosand epos for unspoken thought. 23 . but from a root meaning 'vigor' or 'possessing vigor' (LSJ s. 98). 138).The mind is the breasthoard. the Originsof EuropeanThought(Cambridge. He also comments. mind to mind. 236.but held back the word (muthon) always revolving in his chest (eni stethessi)thoughtsof great cunning". This conception of words would be natural. They pass from lung to lung. his knowledge.1960-72).e. and in early Englishliterature." IL VIII.stronglysupportsthe idea of the linguisticelement in the story as a distinctly Homericcontribution. 'an opening word broke from his breast-hoard'. Penelope 'put the muthos pepnumenos'of her son in the thumos and words are continually said to be 'put in thephrenes' Not only the evident connection between breathing and emotion already urged. XIII. Thersitesepeaphresineisin akosma te polla te eide (whose phren was fully of disorderlywords). .v. Works. 884) rejectsOnians'claim as imprudent." The comparativeevidence. Frisk accepts the pneo-pepnumaiconnexion (Hjalmar Frisk. New York. p. 102 (1971). takes them into his thumos.e.TES OCOL c'XXT1X&0LL 1TiXov'rat). Liddell and Scott claimed that the meaning of pepnumena. 254 is anothergood example of this: "he spoke not the truth. and are exempt (as one might expect) from the tribulationsbrought on by deception and misrepresentation (see Od. 34 Ambiguity in GreekLiterature (first published in Oxfordin 1932."(p. pepnumai). These words or thoughts are kept in the lungs. but also the belief that thoughts are words and words are breath . and they may be influenced by the Homeric account (p. 215. does not actually derive from pneo5 or cognate 'breath' forms.'I. eidenai. 'how to handle the polished bow'. in short. Griechisches Etymologisches Worterbuch.the ships of the Achaeans. they are partsof it. 'unlocked his wordhoard'. pp."TAPA.'wise'.thus adding to his store. knowing (eidenai) how to utter taunts' II. They come forthwith the breaththat is intelligencein them. Onians mentions parallel views of this association of thought. "The Polyphemus Folktale and Homer's KYKLOPEIA. 201. 68). 133-181. 35 An informativeexamination of the parallelsbetween Homer'sCyclopsstory and other similar tales is provided by Justin Glenn."(p. breath and words in the natives of New Guinea. VIII. e.g. Od. 1972): "what the language of the Odyssey lacks in grandeurand richness compared with the Iliad it replaces with a greater flexibility and delicacy . Compare Shakespeare's'So shall my lungs coin words'(Coriolanus.epea aeria as Sappho seems to have called them . nuances of verbal meaning quite beyond the rangeof the bluntcampaigners at Troy. "The 'nobody'-trickallows Homer's hero to meet the challenge with a resourcefulnessand foresightpracticallyunparalleledin the folktale as we know it. 31 As we have noted.would lead to the belief that the organs of breath. V.g. 79: ov yIXp T' &-yVC.. XX.267: 'n&vira 1wv ^Mos Xai 1T&VTaL OCPaOX)L6s VOAGMs. 1951).III.

(aphradiiof a similarsortcan be seen at l. 62: it is just aphrade5s"to try to drive the chariotsthrougha trenchset with sharpstakes and rightunder the wall of the Achaeans. 22) Has Antilochus feigned aphradie?It seems more plausible that his action is aphradesno matterwhat his intentionsmight have been: to try to pass Menelaus on the shoulder of a narrowstretchof the road. XVII. 37 The general traits of metis have been discussed at length by Marcel Detienne and Jean-PierreVernant.. It is not throughdeceit that a woodsmanworks. it might be tied to Odysseus'ability to 'dart swiftly' (aiss5n) at the band of attackerssurroundinghim. is just to be aphrades:reckless. Cunning Intelligencein Greek Cultureand Society.. 21) is too strong. but the case is not convincing: "the prudent trick of Antilochus adopts the guile of its opposite in order to fool Menelaus and simulates madness . 38 Detienne and Vernant claim that Antilochus actually practices deception against Menelaus. 200. 24 . 39 Only once is Odysseus spoken of in the Iliad as poikilometes. and yet both are paradigmsin Nestor's accountof metis. when one of the suitors refers to Odysseus as daiton.but the epithet has no clearconnection with the context in which it appears(XI. the generalizationthat"metisis itself a power of cunning and deceit" (p. 1978).36 For example at Od. both chariotsat full speed. Xi1. It is not in any case the 'dappled' all-roundshiftinessof the Odysseusof the Odvssey. by Janet Lloyd(New Jersey. At best.").'a kill-joy at banquets'. feigning thoughtlessnessand loss of control" (p. 377. trans.or a helmsman guides the ship. 482).In any event.little realizingthe ominous sense of his own apolumantera words.

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