“The Master of Truth in Archaic Greece traces the odyssey of ‘truth,’ Alētheia, from mythoreligious to philosophical thought in archaic Greece. Marcel Detienne’s starting point is a simple observation: In archaic Greece, three figures — the diviner, the bard, and the king — all share the privilege of dispensing truth by virtue of the religious power of divine memory which provides them with knowledge, both oracular and inspired, of the present, past, and future. Beginning with this definition of the prerational meaning of truth, Detienne proceeds to elaborate the complex conceptual and historical contexts from which emerges the philosophical notion of truth still influencing Western philosophy today.” — back cover
“I am the king: you know it, friend! We wed.
That is the tale of how my wooing sped.
And oh! the quest: half won—incredible?
I am so brave, and pure—folk love me well.
But oh! my life, my being! That is dead,
And my whole soul—a whirlwind out of hell!” [via]
“‘King, you are touched!’ ‘Fight on, Earl Lecherer!’
I cursed him to his face—the added spur
Sticks venom in my lunge—a sudden thrust!
No cry, no gasp; but he is in the dust,
Stark dead. The queen—I hate the name of her!
So grew the mustard-seed, one moment’s lust.” [via]
“He gladdened then. I would not slip again,
And baulk the death of half its shame and pain.
I, his best sword, must fall, in earnest fight.
The old despair was coward—he was right.
Now, king, I pay your debt. A purple stain
Hides his laced throat—I sober at the sight.” [via]
“Here, she is willing. Stands the Absolute
Reaching its arms toward me. I am mute,
I draw toward. Oh, suddenly I see
The treason-pledge, the royal prostitute.
One moment, and I should have passed beyond
Linked unto spirit by the fourfold bond.
Not dead to earth, but living as divine,
A priest, a king, an oracle, a shrine,
A saviour! Yet my misty spirit conned
The secret murmur: ‘Gereth, I am thine!'” [via]
“The king did start,
Gripped my strong hands, and held me to his heart,
And could not speak a moment. Then he set
A curb of sorrow and subdued its dart.
‘Go! and the blessing of high God attend
Thy path, and lead thee to the doubtful end.
No tongue that secret ever may reveal.
Thy soul is god-like and thy frame is steel;
Thou mayst win the quest—the king, thy friend,
Gives thee his sword to keep thee—Gereth, kneel!
‘I dub thee Earl; arise!’ And then there rings
The queen’s voice: ‘Shall my love not match the king’s?
Here, from my finger drawn, this gem of power
Shall guard thee in some unimagined hour.
It hath strange virtue over mortal things.
I freely give it for thy stirrup’s dower.’
I left the presence. Now the buffeting wind
Gladdens my face—I leave the court behind.
Am I Stark mad? My face grows grim and grave;
I see—O Mary Mother, speak and save!
I stare and stare until mine eyes are blind—
There was no jewel in the ring she gave!” [via]