C. P. CAVAFY-POEMS

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THE SATRAPY

How unfortunate though you are made
for great and beautiful deeds
your unjust fate always denies you
encouragement and success;
worthless habits, pettiness
and indifference distract you.
And what a horrible day when you give in
(the day you let yourself give in)
and you set out on the road to Susa
and you approach the monarch Artaxerxes
who favors you with a place at his court
and offers you satrapies and such.
And you accept them in despair
these things that you don’t want.
Your soul craves other things, yearns for other things:
the praise of the people and the sophists,
that difficult and priceless “Well Done”;
the Agora, the Theater, and the Laurels.
Will Artaxerxes give you these things?
Can your Satrapy provide them?
And what sort of life will you live without them?

Η ΣΑΤΡΑΠΕΙΑ

Τί συμφορά, ενώ είσαι καμωμένος
για τα ωραία και μεγάλα έργα
η άδικη αυτή σου η τύχη πάντα
ενθάρρυνσι κ επιτυχία να σε αρνείται
να σ’ εμποδίζουν ευτελείς συνήθειες
και μικροπρέπειες, κι αδιαφορίες.
Και τί φρικτή η μέρα που ενδίδεις
(η μέρα που αφέθηκες κ’ ενδίδεις)
και φεύγεις οδοιπόρος για τα Σούσα,
και πιαίνεις στον μονάρχη Αρταξέρξη
που ευνοϊκά σε βάζει στην αυλή του,
και σε προσφέρει σατραπείες και τέτοια.
Και συ τα δέχεσαι με απελπισία
αυτά τα πράγματα που δεν τα θέλεις.
Άλλα ζητεί η ψυχή σου, γι’ άλλα κλαίει
τον έπαινο του Δήμου και των Σοφιστών
τα δύσκολα και τ’ ανεκτίμητα Εύγε
την Αγορά, το Θέατρο, και τους Στεφάνους.
Αυτά που θα στα δώσει ο Αρταξέρξης,
αυτά που θα τα βρεις στη σατραπεία
και τί ζωή χωρίς αυτά θα κάμεις.

~Κωνσταντίνου Καβάφη-Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~C. P. Cavafy-Poems/translated by Manolis Aligizakis

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The Myth of Sisyphus

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From the moment absurdity is recognized, it becomes a passion, the most harmonious of all. It is not the world that is absurd, nor human thought but when then human need to understand meets the unreasonableness of the world, like when my appetite for the absolute and for unity meets the impossibility of redusing this world to a rational and reasonable principle.

Απ’ τη στιγμή που η έννοια του παράλογου αναγνωρίζεται, μετατρέπεται σε πάθος και μάλιστα το πιο οδυνηρό. Δεν είναι ο κόσμος που είναι παράλογος, ούτε η ανθρώπινη σκέψη, αλλά όταν η ανάγκη να καταλάβουμε συγκρούεται με τον αλόγιστο κόσμο, όπως όταν η επιθυμία μου για το απόλυτο και για το ενιαίο συναντά την αδυναμία μου να μειώσω τον κόσμο τούτο σε μια λογική και αποδεκτέα αρχή.

~ Αλμπέρτος Καμύ, Ο Μύθος του Σίσυφου
~ Albert Camus, The Myth of Sysiphus

CRUELTY OF EUROZONE CAPITALISM

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The euro ‘family’ has shown it is capable of real cruelty

by Suzanne Moore

Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker seek to justify their Greek bailout deal, but what kind of family asset-strips one of its members in broad daylight?
The seemingly indestructible Angela Merkel can go without sleep, and still manage a half smile and speak about Greece’s wish to remain in “the euro family”. This may sound reasonable and pleasant. All families have their little local difficulties, don’t they? But they work through them. People see reason. When they are forced to.
By infantilising Greece, Germany resembles a child who closes its own eyes and thinks we can not see it. We can. The world is watching what is being done to Greece in the name of euro stability.
It sees a nation stripped of its dignity, its sovereignty, its future.
What kind of family, we might ask, does this to one of its own members? Even Der Spiegel online described the conditions that have been outlined as “a catalogue of cruelties”, but perhaps we should now put it another way, given Jean-Claude Juncker has denied that the Greek people have been humiliated. Juncker instead says that this deal is a typical “European” compromise. Yes, we see.
The machinations of financial institutions (the troika) have been exposed as much as the institutions themselves. Who runs these banks, and for whom? Twitter slogans talk of the three world wars: the first waged with guns, the second with tanks and this third world war waged by banks. Extreme? Well, there clearly is more than one way to take over a country.
The Eurozone and Germany want regime change in Greece, or at least to split Syriza. Alexis Tsipras has fought tooth and nail for something resembling the debt restructuring that even the International Monetary Fund acknowledges is needed. The incompetence of a succession of Greek governments and tax evasion within Greece is not in doubt. But the creditors of the euro family knew this as they upped their loans, and must now delude themselves that everything they have done has been for the best. It hasn’t, and now that same family will go in and asset-strip in broad daylight a country that can no longer afford basic medicines. In three days Greece is supposed to push through heaps of legislation on privatisation, tax and pensions so it can be even poorer.
There is to be no debt forgiveness in this family. Tsipras has to sell this to his people so the banks can reopen. His endurance has been remarkable, and more will be needed. The unsustainability of Greek debt, even if the country could achieve growth, remains. The words trust and confidence keep being used but by the wrong people. Trust is gone in this European project. François Hollande, ever the pseudo–mediator, may rattle on about the history and culture of Greece. Its value has actually been shown. Its value is purely symbolic. It is worth nothing.
The euro family has been exposed as a loan-sharking conglomerate that cares nothing for democracy. This family is abusive. This “bailout”, which will be sold as being a cruel-to-be-kind deal is nothing of the sort. It is simply being cruel to be cruel.

~ Suzzane Moore, The Guardian
~ http://www.guardian.com

EU and GREECE

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Bryan Gould: Greece may now be forced to leave the EU

2:10 PM Friday Jul 10, 2015

Like so many others, I long ago got used to being pilloried as “anti-European”.
My crime was daring to say that the “Europe” we were urged to sign up to was no such thing, but was a particular arrangement cooked up by the powerful and foisted on the people of that often benighted continent without bothering either to consult them or to take count of their wishes.
As the Greek crisis unfolds, and as it strips bare the pretensions of those powerful forces who talk with less and less conviction of the European ideal and of democratic rights, we can surely no longer be in any doubt.
The “Europe” in whose service so much sacrifice is now demanded is a cartel of bankers, financiers and right-wing politicians who have no interest in democracy, or jobs, or the living standards of ordinary people.
As the Greek people suffer, and plead “no more”, it is not the travails of the Greeks – or, for that matter, the Spanish, or the Portuguese, or the Italians – that weigh with Europe’s powerful; their sights are fixed on maintaining austerity and discipline, on adhering to ideology and doctrine.
Above all, they are determined to protect the euro, because it is the one weapon that ensures that there can be no backsliding. The euro was put in place so that, whatever temptations – or even imperatives – there may be, there can be no going back. The grim and unrelenting disciplines of neo-classical economics demand nothing less.
For many of us, this imposition of a single monetary policy and discipline on a hugely diverse European economy was always destined to fail. There was no way that small and underdeveloped economies like Greece could survive competition from a powerful German economy, especially when it was the Germans who had the power to decide on the monetary policy that should be put in place – and no prizes for guessing whose interests that policy turned out to serve.
The irony is that is those powerful interests – represented by the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission and obliged to follow the dictates of the German Finance Minister – who now find that, despite the disparity in power between them and a bankrupt and demoralised Greece, it is they – and not the supposedly feckless Greeks – who have the responsibility for saving the euro.
With the power of the referendum result behind him, Prime Minister Tsipras can now say that there is nothing more he can do. Ravaged by austerity, Greece has no resources left. Unless they are helped by a bail-out package that does not drive them deeper into collapse but instead gives them a chance, over time, to begin to grow again, they will be forced – since there is no other option – to leave the euro and seek their own salvation.
The Greeks have, in other words, taken their decision. There is nothing left for them to decide. The ball is now in the court of Europe’s leaders. It is nor fort them to give up entrenched positions. It is up to them to decide whether to refuse to help, with the result that Greece will have to leave the euro whether they like it or not, simply to survive, or to relent and offer a more acceptable and realistic package that will keep Greece afloat and allow them to stay in a re-shaped common currency.
We know what they want to do. They have stuck to the current stance in the hope that the Greek government will fall and “regime change” will be brought about. There has even been talk of a government imposed on the Greek people from outside or of a government of “technocrats” that will do the bidding of the financial establishment. The referendum result, though, seems to have put paid, for the time being at least, to that disgraceful objective.
But, for a brief period, the Greek crisis has given us a glimpse of the mailed fist and doctrinaire rigidity behind the “European” ideal. Rarely can there have been such a stark demonstration of the inherently undemocratic nature of the European power structure and of the interests it truly serves.
It may be that the Greeks, by forcing an “agonising re-appraisal”, will end up having done the true adherents of a united Europe a favour. It may be that, at long last, we will begin to contemplate a Europe based on agreement freely given by the continent’s governments and peoples, an agreement to build a Europe by learning from each other how to work together and to cooperate more closely, a functional Europe that will do those things that are best done together rather than separately, a “bottom-up” Europe that will develop as a result of, but not getting ahead of, a growing sense of European identity and the wishes of its peoples.
We need a Europe, in other words, that is not just a vehicle for advancing powerful interests, and riding roughshod over everyone else, but that understands that the Greek poor and unemployed are just as important, and just as essential, to Europe’s future, and that enabling them and millions like them to live a better life is both a united Europe’s true purpose and its only real chance of success.

~Bryan Gould is a former UK Labour MP and former vice-chancellor of Waikato University.

~WWW.NZHERALD.CO.NZ

AUSTERITY MEASURES

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The only reason the EU would force Greece to leave the euro is to punish it
Date: July 2, 2015 – 12:34AM
~ Clive Crook
In my more than 30 years writing about politics and economics, I have never before witnessed such an episode of sustained, self-righteous, ruinous and dissembling incompetence — and I’m not talking about Alexis Tsipras and Syriza. As the damage mounts, the effort to rewrite the history of the European Union’s abject failure over Greece is already underway. Pending a fuller post-mortem, a little clarity on the immediate issues is in order.
On Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at a news conference that he’d been betrayed by the Greek government.

A woman passes a banner supporting the No vote to the upcoming referendum in Athens. Photo: AP
The creditor institutions, he said, had shown flexibility and sought compromise. Their most recent offer involved no wage cuts, he emphasised, and no pension cuts; it was a package that created “more social fairness”. Mr. Tsipras had misled Greeks about what the creditors were asking. The talks were getting somewhere. Agreement on this package could have been reached “easily” if Mr. Tsipras hadn’t collapsed the process early on Saturday by calling a referendum.
What an outrageous passel of distortion. Since these talks began five months ago, both sides have budged, but Mr. Tsipras has given vastly more ground than the creditors. In particular, he was ready to accede to more fiscal austerity — a huge climb-down on his part. True, the last offer requires a slightly milder profile of primary budget surpluses than the creditors initially demanded; nonetheless, it still calls for severely (and irrationally) tight fiscal policy.
In contrast, the creditors have refused to climb down on the question of including debt relief in the current talks, absurdly insisting that this is an issue for later. On Tuesday, Mr. Tsipras made his most desperate attempt yet to bring the issue forward.
Far from expressing any desire to compromise, dominant voices among the creditors — notably German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who often seemed to be calling the shots — have maintained throughout that there is nothing to discuss. The program already in place had to be completed, and that was that.
Yes, the program had failed. No, it wouldn’t achieve debt sustainability. Absolutely, it was pointlessly grinding down Greek living standards even further. What did that have to do with it?
Juncker says the last offer made no demand for wage cuts. Really? The offer says the “wage grid” should be modernised, including “decompressing the [public sector] wage distribution”. On the face of it, decompressing involves cuts. If the creditors were calling for public-sector wages to be decompressed upward perhaps they should have made this clear. Regardless, the increases in value-added taxes demanded by the creditors mean lower real wages, public and private alike. As for no pension cuts, the creditors called for phasing out new early-retirement penalties and the so-called social solidarity payment for the poorest pensioners. Those are cuts.
The creditors called for a lot else, too. Remember that the Greek economy is on its knees. Living standards have collapsed and the unemployment rate is 25 per cent. Now read the offer document, and see if you think the advance in “social fairness” that Juncker stressed at his news conference shines through.
But I haven’t mentioned the biggest distortion of all. Noticing for the first time that Greece has EU citizens within its borders, Juncker addressed them directly on the subject of the July 5 referendum. Greeks will be asked whether they accept the offer presented by the creditors – an offer, by the way, that the creditors say no longer stands. “No [to the offer that no longer exists] would mean that Greece is saying no to Europe,” Juncker explained. President Francois Hollande of France clarified: The vote would determine “whether the Greeks want to stay in the euro zone”.
Nonsense. There’s no doubt that Greeks want to stay in the euro system – though I find it increasingly difficult to see why. If Greece leaves the system, it won’t be because Greeks decide to leave; it will be because Europe decides to kick them out.
This isn’t just semantics. There’s no reason, in law or logic, why a Greek default necessitates an exit from the euro. The European Central Bank pulls this trigger by choosing – choosing, please note – to withhold its services as lender of last resort to the Greek banking system. That is what it did this week. That is what shut the banks and, in short order, will force the Greek authorities to start issuing a parallel currency in the form of IOUs.
A truly independent European Central Bank, willing to do whatever it takes to defend the euro system, could have announced that it would keep supplying Greek banks with liquidity. If the Greek banks are deemed in due course to be insolvent (which hasn’t happened yet), that doesn’t have to trigger an exit, either. Europe has the wherewithal and a bank-rescue mechanism that would allow the banks to be taken over and recapitalized. These options are foreclosed because the supposedly apolitical European Central Bank has let Europe’s finance ministers use it as a hammer to extract fiscal concessions from Greece.
Nobody ever imagined that a government default in Europe would dictate ejection from the euro zone. The very possibility would have been correctly recognized as a fatal defect in the design of the system.
If the Greeks vote no, a Greek exit is a possible and even likely consequence. But if it happens, the reason won’t be that Greece chose to go. The reason will be that the European Union and its politicized central bank chose to inflict exit as punishment.

~ Copyright © 2015 Fairfax Media

CLEPSYDRAS OF THE UNKNOWN

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And forever the world the small the Great!

~ Le temps est si clair que
je tremble qu’il ne finisse…

~ André Breton

For Andreas Embeirikos

7

The sky rests in ignorance
Man rests on the gunwale of sleep
A lucky captive of a flame is exonerated
writing its initials in the dark
Spread in another privileged world of shut eyelids

Lust applies its images nearer the lock
Of the great unsuspected secret that moves toward
its deliverance: life existing in another life
Blood flowing from my eyes, to the actions of
its heroes (discreet star)
And the fear of my hands trembles, rises to the
colors of the oblivion’s escutcheon
I see the laughter that wrote its destiny
I see the hand that gave its shiver
And I am wrapped in clouds that a shovelful of clear sky
easily deciphers.

Trusted light refills my green park, ready I am
to your calling
We are two, and farther down the seashore again
with most well-known cries of the gulls
Wherever I sail here I moor, darkness owes my body
to light
Earth to the sea, rough seas to calmness
Hanging from the fringes of a dawn which purified
nocturnal pasts
I taste the new sounds, achievements of the dew
that believed in trees
A fresh presence proceeds to its roots and
earns the day
Like a heart that finally finds its place
Like a woman who finally feels her youth
And gifts unending lust opening her eyes to the worlds

Blonde day, reward of the sun and Eros.

~ Orientations, Odysseus Elytis, 1940, (Ikaros 2002)

~ http://www.thepoetsiloved.wordpress.com
Αιέν ο κόσμος ο μικρός, ο Μέγας!

Οι κλεψύδρες του αγνώστου, ζ’ (Οδυσσέας Ελύτης)

Le temps est si clair que
je tremble qu’il ne finisse…

~André Breton
Στον Ανδρέα Εμπειρίκο
ζ’
Στην άγνοια ξεκουράζεται ο ουρανός
Στην κουπαστή του ύπνου ο άνθρωπος
Τυχερός αιχμάλωτος μιας φλόγας που αθωώνεται γράφοντας τ’ αρχικά της στο σκοτάδι
Απλωμένο σ’ άλλον κόσμο των κλειστών βλεφάρων προνομιούχο
Πιο κοντά στην κλειδαριά
Μεγάλου μυστικού που ανύποπτο σαλεύει προς τη λύτρωση
Εφαρμόζει ο πόθος τις εικόνες του, ζωή που υπάρχει σ’ άλλη ζωή
Αίμα που τρέχει από τα μάτια μου, στις πράξεις των ηρώων του (άστρο εχέμυθο)
Και τρέμει ο μόχθος των χεριών μου, υψώνεται ως τα χρώματα του θυρεού της λήθης
Βλέπω το γέλιο που έγραψε τη μοίρα του
Βλέπω το χέρι που έδωσε το ρίγος του
Και τυλίγομαι σύννεφα που εύκολα ξεδιαλύνει μια φτυαριά ουρανού καθάριου.
Έμπιστο φως ξαναγεμίζεις το άλσος μου, έτοιμος είμαι στο προσκάλεσμά σου
Είμαστε δυο, και παρακάτω η ακροθαλασσιά πάλι με τις πιο γνώριμες κραξιές των γλάρων
Όπου κι αν βάλω πλώρη εδώ αράζω, το σκοτάδι με χρωστάει στο φως
Η γη στη θάλασσα, η φουρτούνα στη γαλήνη
Κρεμασμένος απ’ τα κρόσσια μιας αυγής που εξάγνισε τα νύχτια παρελθόντα
Γεύομαι τους καινούριους ήχους, άθλους της δροσιάς που επίστεψαν στα δέντρα
Μια χλωρή παρουσία προχωράει στις ρίζες της κι αποκτάει τη μέρα
Σαν καρδιά που μπαίνει πια στη θέση της
Σαν γυναίκα που νιώθει πια τα νιάτα της
Και χαρίζει ανοίγοντας τους κόσμους των ματιών της ηδονή ανεξάντλητη
Μέρα ξανθή, του ήλιου ανταμοιβή και του Έρωτα.
~ Από τη συλλογή Προσανατολισμοί (1940) του Οδυσσέα Ελύτη (εκδ. Ίκαρος 2002)

ILIAD, by HOMER—-ΟΜΗΡΟΥ ΙΛΙΑΔΑ

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Achilles tending the wounded Patroclus

ILIAD

The Iliad in Classical Attic; sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege; the earlier events, such as the gathering of warriors for the siege, the cause of the war, and related concerns tend to appear near the beginning. Then the epic narrative takes up events prophesied for the future, such as Achilles’ looming death and the sack of Troy, prefigured and alluded to more and more vividly, so that when it reaches an end, the poem has told a more or less complete tale of the Trojan War. The Iliad is paired with something of a sequel, the Odyssey, also attributed to Homer. Along with the Odyssey, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC.[2] Recent statistical modelling based on language evolution has found it to date to 760–710 BC.[3] In the modern vulgate (the standard accepted version), the Iliad contains 15,693 lines; it is written in Homeric Greek, a literary amalgam of Ionic Greek and other dialects

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The Wrath of Achilles (1819), by Michel Drolling

ΙΛΙΑΔΑ

Η Ιλιάδα (Ιλιάς) είναι ένα από τα ομηρικά έπη, μαζί με την Οδύσσεια και σώζεται ολόκληρη στις μέρες μας. Η σύνθεσή της, που κατά την παράδοση έγινε από τον Όμηρο, τοποθετείται στον 8ο αιώνα π.Χ. και βασίζεται στην παράδοση προφορικής σύνθεσης και απαγγελίας ηρωικών ποιημάτων που είχε αναπτυχθεί τους προηγούμενους αιώνες. Το ποίημα, που περιγράφει κάποια γεγονότα του δέκατου και τελευταίου χρόνου της πολιορκίας της Τροίας (Ιλίου) από τους Έλληνες (Αχαιοί ή Αργείοι ή Δαναοί στο έπος), είναι γραμμένο σε δακτυλικό (ή ηρωικό) εξάμετρο σε μια έντεχνη ποιητική γλώσσα και έχει 15.693 στίχους

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Achilles Slays Hector, by Peter Paul Rubens (1630–35).

Ψάλε μου, θεά την οργή του Αχιλλέα, του γιου του Πηλέα, αυτή την καταραμένη οργή, που προξένεσε στους Αχαιούς αμέτρητες συμφορές κι έστειλε τις ατρόμητες ψυχές πολλών ηρώων στον Άδη, αφήνοντας τα σώματά τους βορά (τροφή) στα σκυλιά και στα όρνεα· αυτό ήταν το θέλημα του Δία από τότε που έπεσε μίσος για πρώτη φορά ανάμεσα στο βασιλιά γιο του Ατρέα και το θεόμορφο Αχιλλέα. Αρχή του ποιήματος είναι η μῆνις, η οργή του Αχιλλέα, μετά από διαφωνία με τον Αγαμέμνονα για τη διανομή των λαφύρων από τις μάχες, που οδηγεί στην αποχώρηση του Αχιλλέα από τις πολεμικές επιχειρήσεις. Στην Ιλιάδα περιλαμβάνονται τα γεγονότα που ακολουθούν την αποχώρηση του Αχιλλέα και οι επιτυχίες των Τρώων, η είσοδος του Πάτροκλου στον πόλεμο με τον οπλισμό του Αχιλλέα, ο θάνατος του Πάτροκλου, η επιστροφή του Αχιλλέα στη μάχη για εκδίκηση, ο θάνατος του Έκτορα και η βεβήλωσή του από τον Αχιλλέα. Τέλος, η παράδοση του νεκρού Έκτορα στους Τρώες για την ταφή του. Τα επεισόδια που έχουν προηγηθεί στα δέκα χρόνια του πολέμου, καθώς και η προϊστορία του πολέμου, περιλαμβάνονται στα Κύπρια έπη, ενώ τα γεγονότα μετά την ταφή του Έκτορα μέχρι και την άλωση της Τροίας περιέχονται στα επόμενα έργα του τρωικού κύκλου, Αιθιοπίς, Μικρά Ιλιάς, Ιλίου πέρσις. Από τα κύρια χαρακτηριστικά της Ιλιάδας πρέπει ν΄αναφερθεί η μεγάλη συμμετοχή των θεών στα δρώμενα με αποτέλεσμα το έπος να αποπνέει μεγάλη θρησκευτικότητα, αφού οι θεοί παρεμβαίνουν στις διαφωνίες των ισχυρών προσώπων. Ο Απόλλωνας υπακούοντας στον αδικημένο Χρύση και ο Δίας στον Αχιλλέα στέλουν λοιμό στους Αχαιούς. Πρέπει και οι δυο να ικανοποιηθούν. Οι ήρωες του έπους είναι αληθινοί άνθρωποι, αγαπούν την πατρίδα τους, είναι γενναίοι, έχουν υψηλό φρόνημα, είναι ευσεβείς, πολλές φορές είναι ορμητικοί και κάποτε ιδιοτελείς και στο έπακρο φιλόδοι. Αγαπούν τους οικείου τους, αγαπούν επίσης τις τιμές και τον πλούτο και δεν αρνούνται τις τέρψεις και τις απολαύσεις της ζωής. Καθένας απ΄ αυτούς έχει τη δική του προσωπικότητα και κάποιοι ιδιαίτερο γνώρισμα, όπως συμβαίνει με τον Αχιλλέα, τον Οδυσσεά, τον Αγαμέμνονα ή Νέστωρα. Σαφώς επίσης διαγράφονται από τον ποιητή και οι γυναικείες μορφές, όπως η Ελένη, η Εκάβη, η Ανδρομάχη κλπ.

~Wikipedia