Sunday, October 22, 2006


A Thousand Ships?

Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Act V, Scene 2:
Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
The precise number, according to Homer's catalogue of ships (Iliad, Book 2), was 1,186. Thucydides rounds it up to the nearest hundred (1,200 at 1.10.4).

But most ancient authorities do say an even thousand (e.g. Vergil, Aeneid 2.198).

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