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divinities of the Olympian Court. This threefold division of the unseen world is in some kind of correspondence with the Christian, and with what may have been the patriarchal tradition ; as is the retributive character of the future State, however imperfectly developed, and the continuance there of the habits and propensities acquired on earth.
HOMER'S HABITAT AND DATE.
(From "Homeric Synchronisms.") I must confess it to be a common assumption repeated in a multitude of quarters, that Homer was an Asiatic Greek, living after the great Eastward Migration. The number and credit of its adherents have been such that I might have been abashed by their authority, but for the fact that the adhesion seems to have been very generally no more than the mechanical assent which is given provisionally, as it were, to any current tradition, before it comes to be subjected to close examination. At the point to which my endeavors to examine the text of the Poems have led me, when I confront the opinion that he was an Asiatic Greek, born after the Dorian conquest, I can only say to it, “ Aroint thee.” I could almost as easily believe him an Englishman, or Shakespeare a Frenchman, or Dante an American.
In support of this proposition I have met with but little of serious argument. The elegant but very slight treatise of Wood adopted it, and occupied the field in this country at a period (1775) when the systematic study of the text had not yet begun. The passage in N. iv., 51, requires, I think, no such conclusion. But if it did (though this remedy is not one to be lightly adopted) it ought itself, as I hold, to be rejected without hesitation. I will only here mention a few of the arguments against the opinion which denies to Homer a home in Achaian Greece; only premising that he lived under the voluntary system, sang for his bread, and therefore had to keep himself in constant sympathy with the prevailing and, so to speak, uppermost sympathies of his audience.
1.- It is the Achaian name and race to which the Poems give constant and paramount glory. But after the invasion of the Heraclids the Achaians had sunk to be one of the most insignificant, and, for the time, discredited portions of the Greek people.
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Conversely, if Homer had sung at such a period, the Dorians supreme in the Greek Peninsula, and the Ionians rising in Attica, or distinguished and flourishing in Asia Minor, could not have failed to hold a prominent and favorable position in the Poems. Whereas, while the older names of Argeioi and Danaoi are constantly put forward, the Dorian name, but twice casually mentioned, is altogether insignificant; and the Ionian name, besides being obscure, is coupled with the epithet édkezíroves, “tunic-trailing,” or, as we translate it in a more friendly spirit, “ with tunics that swept the ground,” in the one place where the Ionian soldiery are introduced. This is surely a disparaging designation for troops.
3.- Not less important are the considerations with the Aiolian title. In the later Greek tradition we have numerous notices of Aiolians as settled in various parts of Greece. But rone of these can be considered as historical in the form they actually bear. When we go back to Homer, whom many have called an Aiolian Greek, we find that he was not even conscious of the existence of Aiolians, but only of Aiolids. He brings before us a variety of persons and families, holding the highest stations, and playing important parts in the early history of the country, who are descended from or connected with an Aiolos. This Aiolos has every appearance of a mythical Eponymist. But though Homer knows perfectly well the Dorians and the Ionians, while the Achaians are his main theme, of an Aiolian tribe he is profoundly ignorant. And this we perfectly understand if (as I contend) he was an Achaian Greek, or a Greek anterior to the Dorian Conquest.
If Homer were an Aiolian Greek or an Asiatic Greek at all, Aiolis having been a principal Greek conquest in Asia, and the oldest among them, how could he have been ignorant of the Aiolian name? How could he have effectively denied the existence of that name by giving us Aiolids — scattered members of a particular family, very few in number, very illustrious in position, but no community or tribe ? the distinction is a vital one; for as he knows nothing of a tribe in the Aiolian case, so he knows nothing of an Eponymist or family in the Dorian or Achaian
4. — This portion of the argument becomes yet more cogent when we consider that in the Aiolis of the period following the Dorian conquest were included the Plain and Site of Troy. Now if Homer had been an Aiolian Greek, or a Greek of the later Ionic migration, he must have sung among people many of whom were familiar with the topography of the spot. But I hold it to be certain that, while he has given us the local features of the Site and Plain, sufficiently for a large indication, he has handled them loosely and at will in points of detail. He has treated the Plain without any assumption of a minute acquaintance with it, just as one who was sketching, boldly but slightly, a picture for his hearers, and not as one who laid his scene in a place with which they were already personally familiar, and which formed by far the most famous portion of the country they inhabited.
10.- But this strong negative reasoning is less strong than the positive argument: What is it - what men, what manners, what age is it that Homer sings of? I aver that they are Achaian men, Achaian manners, an Achaian age. The atmosphere which he breathes is Achaian. It is all redolent of the youth and health of the nation, its hope, its ardor, and its energy. How could the Colonies of Asia Minor have supplied him with his ideas of free yet kingly government? What do we know of any practice of oratory there, such as could have inspired his great speeches and debates? He shows us the Achaian character in the heroic form, with its astonishing union of force and even violence, with gentleness and refinement; how did he learn of this but by observation of those among whom, and whose representatives he lived ? There is an entireness and an originality in that Achaian life, a medium in which all its figures move, which was afterward vaguely and faintly embodied by poets in the idea of an heroic age, such as hardly could have been and such as we have not the smallest reason to suppose was, reproduced on a new soil, and in profoundly modified circumstances, after the Migration.
11.- In truth, the traditions about the birthplace of Homer are covered with marks truly mythical. That is, they are just such as men, in the actual course of things, were likely to forge. If he had lived and sung amidst an Achaian civilization, yet that civilization was soon and violently swept away. But during all the time of their banishment from the Peninsula, these poems may well have had an enduring continuous currency among the children of those whose sires in recent generations had so loved to hear them, and whose remoter heroes had, or were thought to have, received from them the gift of immortality. This by a natural progression, as these poems were
for the time Asiatic, as relating to them - and most of all the Singer
came to be claimed as Asiatic too. In the verse “Smyrna, Rhodes, Colophon, Salamis, Chios, Argos, Athens,” we have set forth as candidates for the honor of having given them birth — cities of which only one (Argos) has a considerable interest in the action of the Iliad, but most of which, as the seat of an after civilization ard power, had doubtless harbored and enjoyed the works. Such, as it appears to me, is no unnatural explanation of the growth and progress of an opinion which, when tried upon its merits only, must, I think, seem a strange one to those who have at all tried to measure truly the extraordinary nearness of association and close and ardent
sympathy between Homer and the men and deeds he celebrates.
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE.
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, a famous German poet and dramatist, born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Aug. 28, 1749; died at Weimar, March 22, 1832. At sixteen he was sent to the University of Leipsic, and two years later to that of Strasburg to complete his studies in jurisprudence. In 1772 he went to the little town of Wetzlar, then the seat of the Imperial Court of Justice, in order to enter formally into the legal profession.
Goethe's romance, “ Die Leiden des Jungen Werther,” known in English as “The Sorrows of Werther," was published in 1774, and created an immense sensation not only in Germany, but throughout Europe. The celebrity attained by “Werther" brought Goethe to the notice of Charles Augustus, Grand-Duke of Saxe-Weimar, who in 1775 invited Goethe to spend a few weeks at his Court. The result was he virtually became Prime-Minister. His life at Weimar was interrupted by a two years' visit to Italy (1786–1787), which he describes in his “ Italianische Reise.” Another episode occurred in 1792, when he accompanied the Prussian army in the expedition to France. Of the inglorious campaign Goethe wrote a graphic account.
During the twenty years from 1775 to 1795, Goethe gave much thought to scientific subjects. He wrote much which is still regarded of high value upon Optics, upon the Theory of Colors, upon Comparative Anatomy, and upon the Metamorphoses of Plants.
The First Part of “Wilhelm Meister” – “The Apprenticeship” — appeared in 1795. This is known to English readers by Carlyle's spirited translation. The minor poems of Goethe were written from time to time during the course of fully sixty years. His principal works are as follows: “Götz von Berlichingen" (1773); “Die Leiden des Jungen Werther" (1774); “ Clavigo” (1774); “Iphigenia auf Tauris (1779); “Jery und Bätely” (1780); " Torquato Tasso" (1786); “Die Italianische Reise" (1788); “Egmont” (1788); “Reinecke Fuchs” (1793); “Farbenlehre” (1794); “Wilhelm Meister" (Part I., 1795); “ Hermann und Dorothea” (1797); “The Achilleis ” (1797); “Faust” (Part I., 1805); “Wilhelm Meister” (Part II., 1808); “Wahlverwandschaften” (1809); “Dichtung und Wahrheit” (1812); “Faust” (Part II.,