Sunday, April 21, 2013


To Believe as They Believed

Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1848-1931), Greek Historical Writing and Apollo. Two Lectures Delivered before the University of Oxford, June 3 and 4, 1908, tr. Gilbert Murray (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908), p. 45:
That emotion which inspired the hearts of men long dead must live again in our hearts. We must feel with them that awe and that rapture whose source they worshipped in their gods. We must learn to believe as they believed. Be it in the quiet of our chamber, when we read the verses of some religious poet, be it on the floor of some ancient temple which to the historical sense still preserves its sanctity, we must feel in our own lives the epiphany of the god.
ὡπόλλων οὐ παντὶ φαείνεται, ἀλλ' ὅτις ἐσθλός·
ὅς μιν ἴδηι, μέγας οὗτος· ὃς οὐκ ἴδε, λιτὸς ἐκεῖνος·
ὀψόμεθ’, ὦ Ἑκάεργε, καὶ ἐσσόμεθ’ οὔποτε λιτοί.
The quotation is from Callimachus, Hymns 2.9-11 (tr. A.W. Mair):
Not unto everyone doth Apollo appear, but unto him that is good. Whoso hath seen Apollo, he is great; whoso hath not seen him, he is of low estate. We shall see thee, O Archer, and we shall never be lowly.

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