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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
The Greeks Us / Greece in West  

Gogol, We recognise in them the divine origin of man

Gogol, Letters; excerpts from the letter to Iazikov (without date). - Here translated by Elpenor


The Original Greek New Testament

    THERE IS a certain view in the Odyssey, man's unavoidable task, whatever one's destiny might be, to bear everywhere many tests, to fight against them - this is the reason why life was given to man - and never to lose courage, just like Ulysses. Before such a difficult work he always spoke to his heart, without suspecting that this way, he was saying that internal prayer to God which all men say in the hours of their testing, even without having any concept about God.

John Keats, To Homer

Standing aloof in giant ignorance, / Of thee I hear and of the Cyclades, / As one who sits ashore and longs perchance / To visit dolphin-coral in deep seas.

So thou wast blind!- but then the veil was rent, / For Jove uncurtain'd Heaven to let thee live, / And Neptune made for thee a spumy tent, / And Pan made sing for thee his forest-hive;

Aye, on the shores of darkness there is light, / And precipices show untrodden green; / There is a budding morrow in midnight; / There is a triple sight in blindness keen; / Such seeing hadst thou as it once befel / To Dian, Queen of Earth, and Heaven, and Hell.

    But how can one not be surprised, seeing the accuracy of the pictures and the description of life, which neither painting, nor sculpture, nor any other ancient monument achieved in such perfection? Moreover, this revelation of all sides of the human soul, and the deep political knowledge, that difficult science, to govern people and rule them - how perfectly knew all of them the blind old-man, legislator of his age and of the ages that followed! ...

    The open-hearted hospitality, the preference and respect for man, who represented the image of the deity, the belief that no good thought is born in the soul, without the dominant will of the Being who is above us, and that man cannot achieve anything alone, with his own powers only - all these, which the pages of Odyssey are full of, reveal to us the wish of the poet of poets, to leave to the ancient man a living and complete legislative work ... Just imagine, an old-man to see, to hear, to imagine and to guess everything. And this old-man to be without eyes, which all mortals have. Yet he possessed that internal eye, which the others didn't have. ...

    In spite of all the imperfection of their religion, a religion that permitted cheating, revenge, lying in order to defeat the enemy, with a nature insubordinate and crude, with insignificant laws ... yet their full being managed to become noble and great - from their language to the slightest gesture, even to the folds of their dress. One can say that we recognise in them the divine origin of man.

       Cf. A. N. Mouravieff, Introduction of Christianity into Russia (A.D. 988-1015) - Conversion of Vladimir the Great   Pavle of Serbia, 550 years since the Fall of Constantinople  Schiller, A glorious humanity  Emerson, When the Gods come among men  Bryant, Saintly and criminal  Ortega y Gassett, The birth of the city  Chesterton, Sanity and imagination  Papacy  David Turner, Byzantium : The 'alternative' history of Europe  Al. Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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