The Phaeacian Princess - Homer and Nietzsche

  • Ιπποκρατης Μπουρνελης:


    This is for Elli , the Phaeacian Princess

    When my hero Odysseus met her


    Προς την Ναυσικα ( Meeting Nausicaa )

    οὐ γάρ πω τοιοῦτον ἴδον βροτὸν ὀφθαλμοῖσιν,

    οὔτ᾿ ἄνδρ᾿ οὔτε γυναῖκα: σέβας μ᾿ ἔχει εἰσορόωντα.

    Δήλῳ δή ποτε τοῖον Ἀπόλλωνος παρὰ βωμῷ

    φοίνικος νέον ἔρνος ἀνερχόμενον ἐνόησα:

    Τέτοιο θνητό ποτέ τα μάτια μου δεν έχουν δει, μήτε άντρα

    μήτε γυναίκα αλήθεια᾿ θάμπωσα θωρώντας σε μπροστά μου!

    Μονάχα στο βωμό του Απόλλωνα, στη Δήλο, κάποια μέρα

    μιας φοινικιάς βλαστάρι νιόβγαλτου να ξεπετιόταν είδα᾿


    These eyes of mine have never gazed upon [160]

    anyone like you—either man or woman.

    As I observe you, I’m gripped with wonder.

    In Delos once I saw something like this—

    a youthful palm-tree shoot growing up

    beside Apollo’s altar.

    • Elli Pensa Elli PensaMbz9o9urRmo.png Wow, good catch my friend Ιπποκρατης. Let’s interpret these verses by Homer in consistency with Epicurean Philosophy.

      In the book “beyond good and evil” by Friedrich Nietzsche, we read the aphorism 96 which says :

      “One should depart from life as Odysseus departed from Nausicaa-- blessing it rather than in love with it.”

      And here is the above by Nietzsche according to the Epicurean saying 47: “But when it is time for us to go, spitting contempt on life and on those who cling to it maundering, we will leave from life singing aloud a glorious triumph-song on how nicely we lived”.

      Τhe greek word [ευλογώ] i.e “I blessing”, has a synonym greek word [υμνώ] that means “I sing a hymn i.e. a glorious triumph-song”.

      So, lets read the Epicurean Doctrine 20. "The flesh perceives the limits of pleasure as unlimited, and unlimited time is required to supply it. But the mind, having attained a reasoned understanding of the ultimate good of the flesh and its limits and having dissipated the fears concerning the time to come, supplies us with the complete life, and we have no further need of infinite time: but neither does the mind shun pleasure, nor, when circumstances begin to bring about the departure from life, does it approach its end as though it fell short in any way of the best life".

      And now let’s see these verses by Homer that describe the feelings of Odysseus (that is the man - the human being)

      These eyes of mine have never gazed upon
      anyone like you—either man or woman.
      As I observe you, I’m gripped with wonder.
      In Delos once I saw something like this—
      a youthful palm-tree shoot growing up
      beside Apollo’s altar.

      What Odysseus saw upon Nausicaa ? A beautiful woman? No, Odysseus makes it clear “my eyes have never gazed anyone like you-either man or woman”. What Odysseus saw upon Nausicaa actually? Odysseus saw the LIFE itself and the PLEASURES that life has. And how Odysseus is being described here? As being in the situation of “ataraxia” or the “absence of pain” when he consciously saw Nausicaa i.e. the LIFE itself ?

      No, Odysseus gripped the life with WONDER, and that means he was ASTONISHED, he was FASCINATED from the life and pleasures that life has. He was so grateful that he was born to see the LIFE as : “ the youthful palm tree shoot growing up beside Apollo’s altar”. Apollo means the “mind” i.e. the consciousness, and the realization of the goal of life that is described with the island of DELOS. What means DELOS ? Delos means the CLEAR and the OBVIOUS.

      So, according to ED 20 : “with his mind, having attained a reasoned understanding of the ultimate good (i.e. pleasure) of the flesh and its limits”.

      Thus, Odysseus makes it clear and obvious that the goal of life is pleasure, and nothing less or more. And when Odysseus departed from life, he feels completed i.e. consciously fully satisfied on how pleasantly he lived. So, according to the PD 20 we read : “and having dissipated the fears concerning the time to come, supplies us with the complete life, and we have no further need of infinite time: but neither does the mind shun pleasure, nor, when circumstances begin to bring about the departure from life, does it approach its end as though it fell short in any way of the best life”.

      Conclusion : From the epoch of Homer those were the Hellenes as the man Odysseus was, and in this way they were departed from life: grateful that were born singing a glorious triumph song on how PLEASANTLY they lived. (y) 1