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The Montréal Review, June 2012


 "The Soul of the Greeks: An Inquiry" by Michael Davis (University of Chicago Press, 2011)


"The Soul of the Greeks offers fresh interpretations of age-old texts that are deep, insightful, and revelatory. Richly rewarding, lucid, and original, Davis's approach will add substantially to the existing scholarship."

--Jill Frank, University of South Carolina

"From Homer's Iliad to Aristotle's De Anima, from Herodotus's history and Euripides' tragedies to the Platonic dialogues, Michael Davis recovers, through his probing readings of the Greeks, the fundamental problem of the human soul. Attuned to the recurrent puzzles that lead to the philosophic core of these works, Davis explores and illuminates their understanding of the essential 'alienation' of soul-its distance from the world-as the condition for its deepest longing and the nature of soul revealed by its necessary imperfection."

--Ronna Burger, Tulane University


The question of soul in the West has been shaped by Christianity. While the Christian soul in its various incarnations clearly has great bearing on our lives, its origin in ordinary experience is less clear. As this soul is thought to be what gives us our identity over time, it is in some way not itself temporal. Nor is it bodily, for our bodies undergo constant change. Although everything around us seems enmeshed in a causal network, this soul, while itself a cause, is nevertheless not caused. It is splendidly, if mysteriously, free. As what initiates, it is what makes us morally responsible agents, and so worthy of punishment and reward. These, in turn, are such serious matters because an immaterial, atemporal, and free soul may be understood to be immortal and so ultimately not concerned with the ephemeral needs and pleasures that we encounter in this vale of tears, but with things more final and substantial. The soul with which we are familiar is serious business. There are, of course, reasons for this understanding of soul, and, while it is perhaps most available to us as the soul of Christianity, it is not so very different from what we sometimes seem to encounter elsewhere--say in Plato's Phaedo. Still, is this how we first encounter, and so first come to speak of, soul? Is it the soul of everyday life? Was soul music designed to appeal a detached, non-bodily, immortal being? (1) Might there be a more natural way to begin thinking about soul that is obscured by the very power of our tradition? While such a beginning need not be the truth of the being of soul, it might nevertheless be the truth of how soul first appears. And even if first impressions prove subsequently problematic, it is always worth reflecting on why things initially appear as they appear. Let us then turn to the first sighting of soul in the West available to us--the poetry of Homer.

The first word of the first extant work of Greek literature is menis, wrath or anger. Menis occurs twelve times in the Iliad--four times describing Achilles (1.1, 1.517, 19.35, 19.75) and everywhere else describing a god. Accordingly, it seems worth asking what Achilles, and Achilles alone, might share with the gods. The Iliad is the story of a choice. Achilles seems to know before he comes to Troy that he will either return home to Phthia and live a long life without glory or remain with the army and gain immortal glory but at the cost of his own death (9.410-20). While Achilles does not so much choose death as the manner of his death, our first impression is still that in choosing glory, kleos, he thinks himself to choose a kind of immortality. Achilles longs to overcome death. Homer thus uses him as a paradigm for what moves he-men (andres) generally. Their longing for glory sets them apart from ordinary human beings (anthropoi) and signals their wish to live as gods. The tension between god and he-man is echoed by the distinction between he-man and human being, which, in turn, points to a tension within human beings as such. As an exemplar of this human quality, Achilles is in some way essentially human. And yet, as an exemplar, he is also in some way qualitatively different from what he exemplifies. Achilles, as the man who wished to transcend his humanity, is exemplary of humanity. The Iliad is the story of man's striving for what seems highest, for an immortality that preserves one's greatness as a person. It is the story of a man's attempt to become a god--a perfect soul--which, by virtue of being perfect, will no longer be human.

Given this aspiration, it is curious that nowhere in the Iliad, or the Odyssey or, for that matter, in any text extant in all of Greek literature prior to the dialogues of Plato is a god ever said to have a soul. And even in Plato, the attribution is rare and arguably ironical. (2) In the first sentence of the Iliad Homer urges an unnamed goddess to sing of the menis of Achilles, a wrath that sent many worthy souls--psuchai--to Hades. (3) Perhaps psuche here is not yet quite "soul"; it is frequently thought rather to mean something like "the breath of life." Homer does use a collection of words to refer to what one might call our inner life--thumos, phren , etor, noos, kardie, kradie, and ker; depending on the context they may mean "spirit," "breast," "mind," "heart," or "the seat of our life"--what animates us. Still, by the time of the classic age of Greek literature in the fifth century, psuche has become the most important of these words by far. And it has a splendid future, for it is the word that Christianity will adopt in the New Testament. (4) It is thus of some interest that of the thirty-three times psuche appears in the Iliad, thirty have to do directly with dying or avoiding death. (5) Of the remaining three instances, one is Hector asking Achilles to swear by his psuche that he will return Hector's corpse to the Trojans when he dies (Achilles refuses), one is Achilles claiming that a man's psuche cannot be brought back after it passes the wall of his teeth, and one is an account of Andromache's psuche departing when she faints after she has seen the corpse of her husband. So, in a way, all thirty-three occurrences have to do with death or the appearance of death. From the very beginning, then, psuche is connected to human mortality and, insofar as we seek to avoid and overcome death, therewith to incompleteness and imperfection. Insofar as soul makes an appearance in the Iliad, it seems to mean imperfect soul.

The plot of the Iliad divides in three. (6) The Greeks go to war against the Trojans for the sake of Helen. Whether understood in terms of eros (of Paris, of Helen, of Menelaus, or of some combination) or in terms of justice (that is, of retribution for the violation of the law of xenia--guest-friendship), the initial cause of the war is grounded in the particulars of a specific situation and demands a specific resolution. The first three books of the Iliad display the gradual erosion of this framework. Helen belongs to Menelaus as a matter of conventional right, but the poem begins with a challenge to conventional right as Achilles' quarrel with Agamemnon sets at odds conventional rank and natural superiority. In book 3, the story of the monomachia between Paris and Menelaus, this tension comes to a head, for as soon as Menelaus agrees to settle the question of Helen by personal combat with Paris, he relinquishes any claim to her that is grounded in right. That he proves to be Paris's superior in combat does not mean Menelaus has a legal right to Helen. If the war is about Helen in particular, then settling the question of Helen should end the war. The ground-rules set for the contest between Paris and Menelaus confirm this (3.67-110). Whoever wins will get Helen and her possessions; Trojans and Greeks will then become friends. But Homer shows us that, while Helen may have launched the war, once launched, this war, and perhaps all war, acquires a life of its own, for after the failure of the monomachia (Aphrodite spirits Paris away), another principle is at work in the conflict, the paradigm for which is the second monomachia in book 7 where Hector and Ajax fight solely for the sake of glory-- kleos. In the second stage of the poem, men fight not only to be "best and preeminent among men" but also to make their preeminence known. They fight for immortal glory. Of this sort of war, there is in principle no end, for the question of justice, the answer to which might settle things, has disappeared. After they fight, Ajax and Hector can exchange gifts to indicate their mutual esteem. They do not hate each other; they even recognize that, in a way, they are alike in their deepest longing.

After Hector and Ajax fight, the transition begins to the final stage of the poem, where the war changes its character once more. When Achilles returns to avenge the death of Patroclus, a return foretold by Zeus to Hera at the end of book 8 (473-77), the war once again has a particular goal and so a potential end. As Seth Benardete puts it,

The love for Helen turns into the love for fame, which in turn becomes Achilles' love for Patroclus. From eros to eros kleous ("love of fame") to eros is the cycle of the Iliad; but how Achilles' eros unites the other two will be our final problem. (7)

The movement of the poem first traces the origin of heroic longing as love of kleos and then reveals the tragedy of this longing in the tragedy of Achilles. One can begin to see the root of this tragedy by reflecting on the transformation in the menis of Achilles. He is not initially angry at the Trojans--his putative enemies; they are for him just the opportunity to display his virtue. The anger of the poem's first line is directed at Agamemnon, who claims precedence over an obviously superior Achilles. Achilles resents his dependence on conventional men and conventional distinctions. He therefore withdraws, for he is bigger than the battle that surrounds him. When Patroclus is killed, Achilles' anger is redirected at Hector and the Trojans. But Patroclus dies because he seeks to save the Greeks from the catastrophe Achilles has brought upon them. Achilles is in an awkward position. The Greeks are losing badly, and it seems to be his fault. If things continue as they are going at the end of book 15, Achilles' immortal glory will give way to ignominy. And yet he cannot return to the battle without acknowledging Agamemnon as his lord and so losing face. Patroclus is for him the perfect solution, for when he begs for Achilles' armor so that he may pretend to be Achilles, it becomes possible for Achilles to remain apart from the battle while "Achilles" returns to save the day. If even a simulacrum of Achilles is sufficient to rout the Trojans, what must this mean about the virtue of the real Achilles? Achilles thus accepts Patroclus's proposal. The problem, however, is that by accepting, he places Patroclus's life in jeopardy and knows that he does so. (8)

May the gods not bring to pass evil troubles for my spirit, as my mother once made clear to me and told me that while I yet lived, the best of the Myrmidons would leave the light of the sun at the hands of the Trojans. (18.8-11)

Moreover, Achilles lies to himself about what he has done, for, while he claims to have warned Patroclus not to fight with Hector (18.13-14), in fact he said nothing about Hector at all (16.80-96). And when Patroclus asks him whether he has some prophecy that makes him reluctant to lend his armor (16.36-39), Achilles flatly denies having any such knowledge (16.49-51). When Patroclus dies, then, at whom is Achilles really angry? When Achilles takes revenge by killing Hector, we are told that he knew precisely where to strike because he knew the weakness of his own armor, the armor Hector wears because he has stripped it from the body of the dead Patroclus (22.320-27). We also know that the armor of the time hides the man beneath it, for the Trojans initially believed Patroclus to be Achilles. (9) Accordingly, when Achilles confronts Hector, what he really confronts is himself insofar as he is revealed by his armor. He confronts "Achilles." The Iliad thus marks Achilles' gradual discovery that a self-idealized version of himself is the true object of his menis.

This tragedy begins first, however, with the problematic status of love of fame as a means to immortality. At the beginning of book 6 it is the Trojans who are in trouble-they have just suffered the aristeia of Diomedes in book 5, and now fifteen of them die in quick succession. Hector is far and away the most able of their warriors, and yet on the advice of Helenos, the seer, he returns to Troy. (10) After first arranging for the women to prepare a sacrifice to Athena, Hector has a conversation with his brother, Paris, in which it becomes clear how little the charms of Helen affect him (6.359-68)-Helen is no longer the issue; she has become a mere spectator of the unfolding events (6.323-24). Hector is hot to return to the battle, but in a famous scene, before leaving the city, he spends a moment with his wife, Andromache, and his infant son, Astynax (6.390-502). We are meant to see how fond he is of his son, for whom he even has a pet name; while all others call him Astynax, Hector calls him Skamandrios. Weeping out of fear for Hector's life, Andromache begs him to remain in the city. Achilles already has slain her father and her seven brothers, and Artemis has struck down her mother. Hector, she says, is now her whole family-he is father, mother, brother, and husband to her. With shocking candor, Hector admits that he will not save Troy-that his mother, father, and brothers will perish, and Andromache will be carried off (he does not mention the fate of his son and a few lines later even expresses his hope that Astynax will surpass him as a leader of the Trojans). Nevertheless, Hector does not waver in his intent to reenter the battle. As solace to Andromache, he announces that "sometime someone will say, seeing your tears pour down, 'This is the wife of Hector, who was the best in fighting of the Trojans, breakers of horses, when they fought about Ilion'" (6.459-61). Unlike Helen and Paris, Hector is not erotic. Nor is he particularly moved by the fate of his family or his city. "For I know this well in my mind and in my heart; there will be a day when sacred Ilion will perish.." (6.447-48). For Hector, there remains but one thing-immortal glory. The true Hector-the potentially immortal, and so permanent, Hector-is Hector armed for battle. Yet when this Hector reaches out to take his son in his arms, Astynax wails and withdraws from the frightening figure of his father's plumed helmet. Hector in armor is somehow not real; he is only "Hector." Permanence, apparently, will come at a cost.

Book 7 contains the second great monomachia of the Iliad, the battle between Hector and Ajax. It is not insignificant that in proposing it, Hector refers to himself in the third person. Standing outside himself as though to contemplate himself, he challenges the Greeks to choose someone to fight "brilliant Hector" (7.75) in one-on-one combat. This is not the monomachia of book 3. (11) Here there is no talk of ending the war. The ground rules too are different: whoever wins will strip the armor from the other, but return his corpse for burning or burial. Hector glosses this by saying that should he win, the following will happen when the Greeks bury Ajax in a tomb or mound (a sema, or sign):

And at a future time, one of those human beings seeing [the sema], one sailing in his many-benched ship on the wine dark sea, will say: "This is the sema of a man who died long ago. Shining Hector killed him who was once one of the best." Thus will someone at some time speak, and my kleos will never perish. (7.89-91)

In order that Hector's kleos not perish there will be two signs: the funeral mound of his opponent and the armor that Hector will strip from him and hang in front of the temple of Apollo (7.83). Hector thus acknowledges that his immortality depends on, or even consists in, signs. Not he but a sêma will last forever; not Hector but his name will "live" on.

At the end of book 7 Poseidon complains to Zeus that in the guise of a funeral mound the Greeks have built a wall around their camp that threatens to rival the wall he and Apollo previously built around Troy. Furthermore, these clever Greeks have artfully used the truce declared to bury the dead to enhance their defenses. A sign of human mortality has been turned into a display of defiance. This undermines the respect owed to the gods. Zeus replies to his brother that he need not worry, for human kleos is ephemeral, while his will last as long as there is a dawn. The wall of the Greeks will be worn away by the sea (as in fact will Poseidon's wall as well). But the sea, of which Poseidon is the lord, will last forever. (12) Accordingly, Hector's claim to immortality earlier in the book represents an enormous exaggeration. Signs do not have such power. Now, on the one hand, this means that no physical monument can grant immortality. On the other hand, we are meant to be reminded of book 6. Even if Helen is right when she claims that she and Paris will "hereafter be sung of by human beings in the future" (6.357-58), only their names will live on. They will not. There is something hollow in the immortality of immortal fame. Immortality in speech by way of a sign preserves the shell of a man-his helm-but not his person. It preserves "Hector" but not Hector. Minus a name, a monument does not preserve a memory. Without explanation-words-mounds (semata) do not memorialize. They are not signs at all but only piles of dirt. Even if poetry, the Iliad, is the true monument, this means that Hector depends on a poet for his immortality; he is not preserved as "best and preeminent among men" but as the creature of a wordsmith. What about the wordsmith, then? Since the poet is responsible for the preservation of his own deed, his poem, doesn't the Iliad immortalize Homer? One is at first tempted to say yes but then reminded of the old joke that the poem was written not by Homer but by another poet of the same name. The person Homer is not immortalized in the name Homer. The attempt to become immortal in one's particularity seems willy-nilly to lead to something like generic immortality. The Caesar who first ruled the world "lives on" not as a soul but only as a name, which, in turn, displays its curious reality by giving way to various caesars, tsars, and Kaisers.

The problem deepens as the Iliad takes us still one step further. The truce in book 7 is for the purpose of honoring the individual dead. On the advice of Nestor, however, the Greeks construct a mass grave that serves also as a defensive wall. This mound is at best a generic honor, and so, if the enemy here is death, it is not clear that their defense works. We are reminded of Zeus's remark to Poseidon. If the sea is the model for immortality, then what becomes of the gods as individuals, as persons? In book 5 Diomedes wounds Aphrodite, who, depending on how one translates ambroton haima, bleeds either "immortal blood" or "bloodless blood" (5.339); she is characterized by an oxymoron. (13) Diomedes then proceeds to wound Ares, whom Homer addresses at the beginning of book 5 as "Ares Ares" (5.31). (14) A repetition of a vocative occurs only twice in Homer-both times of Ares and both times in book 5. It is as though we are meant to take the first "Ares" as a proper name and the second as generic, as "war." We are witness to Aphrodite being forced to withdraw from battle as a person, and to Ares becoming generic. Neither of the two ever return to battle human beings in the Iliad. (15) In book 7, Zeus thunders for the first time in the poem (7.479); his thunder will be far more prominent in book 8. Thus as the Iliad moves away from gods as persons toward gods as cosmic principles, it echoes on the level of the gods the problem of immortality on the level of human beings. That Hector seems to disappear in "Hector" suggests that immortality is incompatible with life-with soul. But then what would it mean for the gods to be immortal? And if not immortal, how would they be gods? If the imperishability of his kleos depends on being identified with the sea, Poseidon may have more to worry about than Zeus acknowledges. Human beings (anthropoi) long for immortality, and some of them (andres) try to do something about their longing. The model at which they aim is the gods. The Iliad, behind its own back (because it needs them for the unraveling of its story), brings the very possibility of the existence of the gods into question.

In the final stage of the Iliad, we witness Achilles' tragic attempt to reconcile a splendid but lifeless and only nominal immortality with the humanity signified by the particularity of his love of Patroclus. When Patroclus enters the battle wearing Achilles' armor in book 16, he kills more Trojans (fifty-two) faster than occurs in any other aristeia of the Iliad. This is all the more surprising because there is no hint before this that he possesses such prowess. We have seen him previously as a domestic partner, as one who prepares Achilles' food and drink (9.199-211) and does his bidding by fetching Briseis when she must be returned to Agamemnon (1.335-350). As soon as Apollo strips him of Achilles' armor (16.793-805), however, Patroclus is killed easily and without much opposition. Book 16 is thus an aristeia not of Patroclus but of Achilles' armor. It is a testimony to the power of Achilles' reputation, his doxa or seeming. The greatness of Achilles, however, brings with it the problem of Achilles: How can a great man show himself as great once he is thought already to be great? Once Achilles becomes the measure of praise, it is almost impossible for him to do anything that will be praised. His virtue becomes his nature.

Zeus's great concern for Achilles conceals, even to himself, a profoundly selfish motive, for at the bottom of this concern lies the problem of his own existence. Achilles is a test case for Zeus's own possibility. The poem reveals in various ways two sources of "action." On the one hand, natural forces like the sea simply behave in a certain way owing to their natures; they are what they are. They are governed rather by necessity than by intention. On the other hand, there is choice-persons as causes. Initially, gods seem to be the combination of these two-they are perfect beings with fixed natures who nevertheless have souls and make choices. The last part of the Iliad is concerned with the extent to which these two can really be combined. Achilles, as both the standard against which all heroes are measured and a hero himself, is the battleground on which the possibility of this combination is tested. Achilles' reputation, what he seems to be, is so powerful as to be in no way lacking. His armor, his exterior shell, terrifies his enemies. However, this means that he need no longer do anything at all; his success is altogether mechanical-soulless. There is therefore no place for him in battle. Prior to the death of Patroclus, then, Achilles has become like a force of nature. He is all outside and no inside. It is Zeus's plan to use the death of Patroclus to restore Achilles' soul and therewith demonstrate his own possibility.

This is the meaning of the structure of the Iliad. The principle of books 1-3 is eros. Helen is the purpose, the external goal, of the war; here Menelaus is prominent. From book 4 to book 15, there is no external goal to action. The principle of the war is kleos. Helen disappears after book 6, and, with one interesting exception (13.581-642), Menelaus recedes from view. The fighting has no goal but to show one's splendor-to live up to one's epithet, one's armor, and become like a force of nature. In books 16-24, Achilles seeks to show his fixed nature not for its own sake but out of love of Patroclus. He thus tries to synthesize principles of the first two stages of the poem. This synthesis is not easy to understand; the Trojans, for example, mistaking Patroclus for Achilles, think that Achilles has "put aside anger and chosen love" (16.282). They do not realize that Achilles will put aside anger for love only out of anger. Achilles cannot enter the battle without armor, his external shell. It will be fashioned by the defective god, Hephaestus, who forges an image on the shield in which he likens himself to a mortal, Daedalus (18.590-605, 18.378, and 18.479). Achilles' new armor is meant to represent the new object of his longing-perfect humanity, the idealizing of the defective. Hephaestus is now the paradigmatic god.

In his lament, Achilles remembers Patroclus as serving him food (19.315-18). Just prior to this, Odysseus unsuccessfully urges Achilles to eat remarking that men need food if they are to fight (19.162-3). Patroclus makes Achilles human; he attaches him to his humanity. Agamemnon is the conventional ruler, Hector the enemy, Briseis the object of love (19.282), but Patroclus is a particular that cannot be subsumed under a class. This is what it means to love another. (16) In feeding Achilles, Patroclus makes him real. When Patroclus dies, however, with what is Achilles in love? The difficult to describe attachment to a person is transformed into an attachment to the idea of a person. Once humanized by love of a human being, Achilles rages on behalf of a lost love. It is no longer a particular, incomplete, and contingent being who moves him; he is now moved by the idea of particularity, incompleteness and contingency. For Achilles, the heroic life once meant becoming like a god; now it means the redemption of the human by avenging the loss of the human. Achilles' ideal has now become "attachment to humanity" and shows itself in his insatiable grief for Patroclus.

In this final version of his menis Achilles the exemplar of heroic action gives way to Achilles the exemplar of human mourning. If really to love another means to love another as a soul-a person-loving the dead proves problematic. And if loving the dead is problematic, to seek to overcome death by way of immortal glory is a fool's errand. In the last two books of the Iliad, we discover the tragedy of human mourning, for it does not seem possible really to mourn a person. The act of mourning turns the object of sorrow into just that, an object. What was previously a soul becomes a sign or a tomb-a sêma. (17) Perhaps we find it so difficult to speak our sorrow because to speak of a soul necessarily involves leaving out what is most important about it. This is the necessary sadness of our humanity that the longing for immortality seeks to overcome but tragically simply recreates. If we wish to be gods, the sadness of death is like Achilles' inability to cease punishing Hector. It is without limit, for, absent the soul, there is no punishing a body. Achilles' anger requires that he invent a proper object for it. To do this, he must make the body (soma) a sign (sema) of the person. To make what he hates visible to himself he thus turns it into something undeserving of hatred. Something similar happens with his love. When Patroclus dies Achilles discovers Hades, where Patroclus longs to be allowed to go. But when a soul passes into Hades it becomes an eidolon--an image. Like a character on a movie screen, it has a semblance of life but lacks what is the most distinctive feature of life-the hope characteristic of an open future. Its story is complete-written. Achilles would perhaps change nothing of what he does that leads to his own death; nevertheless, the eidolon of Achilles in Odyssey 11 would rather be a day laborer than king of all those in Hades. This is simply a version of the issue that winds like a thread through the entire Iliad--the oxymoronic character of the gods. The Iliad is the tragedy of heroic virtue. Like Oedipus who, having recognized that he overreached in his attempt to control his own life, proceeds to seek to take control of his own punishment, Achilles comes to recognize the hollowness of the immortality of godlike kleos only to reproduce it in his celebration of the human. Achilles struggles with human imperfection; he attempts to perfect it. Zeus looks on with great interest because the gods are nothing but the perfection of the human. Achilles must fail, and so Homer creates a poem in which Zeus comes to recognize his own impossibility; this amounts to the discovery of the human soul.


*Reprinted with permission from The Souls of the Greeks: An Inquiry, by Michael Davis, published by the University of Chicago Press. © 2012 Michael Davis. All rights reserved.


Michael Davis is professor of philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College.



1. Those inclined to doubt this sort of argument-that is to doubt the relation between the way things show up in ordinary life and their deeper reality, or between the surface and the depth -might consider the remarkable overlap between the subject of the indisputably "deep" Oedipus Tyrannus and the most insulting of street epithets.

2. See Euthydemus 302d1-302e3, Symposium 195e4-7, and Timaeus 29d7-30c1and 40b8-41a6. See also Phaedrus 245c, where Socrates speaks of the "nature of the soul concerning both the divine and the human," and 246a, where he introduces an image for soul (two horses and a charioteer) and then speaks of the horses of the gods. Immediately thereafter (247b), Socrates first speaks of the "toil and struggle" set before the soul and then goes on to speak of "those called immortal" who stand on the back of heaven. It is of note that he does not name them as souls. He goes on to juxtapose the "thinking of god by mind" with that of every soul (247d) and the "life of the gods" with "other souls" (248a).

3. At 2.484-93, with respect to the catalogue of ships, Homer comments on the difference between what he reports and what the Muses report. The Muses know all; Homer's knowledge (and presumably ours as well) depends on kleos--that is, on what is said or rumor, but also fame. Homer's account, the poetic account, proves to aggrandize the role of leaders as agents.

4. Psuche occurs 105 times in the New Testament. It is not always translated "soul," but generally there is no other word in the text translated by "soul." See E.W. Bullinger, ed., The Companion Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), appendix 110.

5. 1.3, 5.296, 5.654, 5.696, 7.330, 8.123, 8.315, 9.322, 9.401, 9.408, 11.333, 11.445, 13.763, 14.518, 16.453, 16.505, 16.625, 16.856, 21.569, 22.161, 22.257, 22.325, 22.338, 22.362, 22.467, 23.54, 23.72, 23.100, 23.104, 23.106, 23.221, 24.168, 24.754.

6. For this division see Seth Benardete, Achilles and Hector: the Homeric Hero (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, 2005), 85-90.

7. Benardete, Achilles and Hector, 90.

8. Ibid., 106-109, 111-15.

9. It will prove important that Astynax, Hector's infant son, is frightened by Hector in his armor and wearing a helmet. He does not recognize his father and cries (6.467-73).

10. That Hector should become a messenger in the middle of a desperate battle seems a strange use of resources--unless perhaps he who is best in deeds is thought also to best describe deeds. I owe this observation to Charlie Gustafson-Barrett.

11. Benardete, 88-89.

12. Ibid., 89.

13. Seth Benardete, "The Aristeia of Diomedes" in The Argument of the Action (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 56.

14. See also 5.455 as well as G.S. Kirk, The Iliad: A Commentary, vol. 2, Books 5-8 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 56.

15. Benardete, "The Aristeia of Diomedes," 48.

16. If the mother points to the attachment to one's own because it is one's own--Antigone and Clytemestra come to mind--then it is important that Achilles' mother is a god. There will be a problem with turning particular attachment into a principle.

17. See Plato, Gorgias, 493a-e.


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