If you haven’t seen Jamie Rieger‘s website, follow the link; his deconstruction of Homer and Herodotus is absolutely priceless. He’s no longer updating, but says he plans to leave the site intact, at least for now.
Jamie R. Reads the Iliad
“Let us ask some priest or prophet, or some reader of dreams (for dreams, too, are of Zeus) who can tell us why Phoebus Apollo is so angry, and say whether it is for some vow that we have broken, or hecatomb [sacrifice] that we have not offered, and whether he will accept the savour of lambs and goats without blemish, so as to take away the plague from us.”
Now, the first thing that comes to my mind is, they have to ask about unblemished sheep? Were they sacrificing blemished sheep before? You build yourself a vast armada, you empty your nation of its best men, you send them all on a perilous journey across the uncharted sea, you spend nine years attempting to sack one crappy little Anatolian city, and you’re sacrificing blemished sheep? Look, maybe trim the budget for royal salad forks and slave girl flutes, but spare no expense on the sacred offerings to the gods, that’s my thought. And what kind of blemishes are we talking about?
Apollo: Ah Hermes, winged messenger of the gods, swift as thought and dreams, you see all and report all. Tell me, then, what offerings have those bold Achaeans made for Phoebus Apollo today?
Hermes: Do you remember that cow that fell in the ravine the other day?
Hermes: Okay. That guy. And those three chickens that the big rock landed on.
Hermes: Ooh! Also a goat.
Apollo: A handsome animal?
Hermes: It had some liver problems.