The Shield of Achilles

Powerful Essays
The reflection of the uncreated in the created necessarily presents itself under diverse aspects, and even under an indefinite variety of aspects, each of which has about it something whole and total, so that there are a multiplicity of visions of the cosmos, all equally possible and legitimate in so far as they spring from the universal and immutable principles.
Titus Burkhardt.

To every shield, there is another side, hidden.
A. N. Whitehead.

In the Hesiodic account of the world-ages, preserved in the ancient writing known to us as the Works and Days, the poet briefly describes the age of the heroes. He tells us that the heroes were “nobler far” than their immediate predecessors and in this they reversed for a time the downward drift of history to degeneration that he has been describing. The heroes reflected in their natures something of the integral wholeness of men in the Golden Age. It was as though for a moment the river of time flowed back on itself in brief eddies, caught up in memories of its source. And this act of remembrance wrought, as all such acts of remembrance do, happier destinies for many men than had been the common lot of those born into the age that had just passed away. For these earlier men of bronze, men insatiate of war and violence, had destroyed each other and gone down into Hades—“terrible though they were, black death seized them: they passed from the light of the sun and left no name.”

Then:

The Son of Cronos made yet another race of men to live on the bounteous earth, and these were godlike men —a race of heroes. Many died in grim battle fighting for the flocks of Oedipus around seven-gated Thebe... yet others, sailing over the great gulf of the sea to Troy, perished for fair-haired Helen’s sake. There death hid them. But to the rest Zeus, the Father of gods and men, gave a dwelling at the ends of the earth, where free from all care they live on the Islands of the Blessed in the deep-eddying Ocean... there

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