Sailing the Wine Dark Sea- Why the Greeks Matter

Books / Sunday, June 27th, 2004

Sailing the Wine Dark Sea- Why the Greeks Matter by Thomas Cahill.

I read this book and sold it on so I have to record a few passages I wanted to remember, what better place than on my blog?

1. The percipient Samuel Johnson remarked.

“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.”

2. Plato, speaking through the goddess Diomitra “an expert in love” who schools Socrates on this subject.

“The right kind of love for a boy can help you ascend from the things of this world until you begin to catch sight of that Beauty”

“One who reaches the absolute can then give birth to true goodness instead of phantom goodness, because it is truth rather than illusion whose company he is in. And don’t you realize that the gods smile on a person who bears and nurtures true goodness and that, to the extent that any human being does, it is he who has the potential for immortality?”

“In the business of acquiring immortality, it would be hard for human nature to find a better partner than Love.”

3. Constantine Cavafy “Ithaca”

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Whatcha talkin' bout Willis?