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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Homer Quotes

(c. 800 B.C. - 750 B.C.)

Greek poet who wrote the famous epic poems Iliad (the tale of Achilles and the Trojan War) and the Odyssey (about the travels of Odysseus). Details of Homer's life are a mystery; even his lifespan is known no more precisely than flourished in 8th century B.C.

Science Quotes by Homer (1 quote)

For I am yearning to visit the limits of the all-nurturing Earth, and Oceans, from whom the gods are sprung.
— Homer
Hera to Aphrodite in the Iliad, 14.201. As given in Norman K. Glendenning, Our Place in the Universe (2007), 126.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (638)  |  Limit (126)  |  Ocean (149)  |  Origin (88)  |  Yearning (5)

Quotes by others about Homer (8)

I have destroyed almost the whole race of frogs, which does not happen in that savage Batrachomyomachia of Homer. For in the anatomy of frogs, which, by favour of my very excellent colleague D. Carolo Fracassato, I had set on foot in order to become more certain about the membranous substance of the lungs, it happened to me to see such things that not undeservedly I can better make use of that [saying] of Homer for the present matter—
“I see with my eyes a work trusty and great.”
For in this (frog anatomy) owing to the simplicity of the structure, and the almost complete transparency of the vessels which admits the eye into the interior, things are more clearly shown so that they will bring the light to other more obscure matters.
De Pulmonibus (1661), trans. James Young, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1929-30), 23, 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Anatomy (63)  |  Certainty (131)  |  Destruction (85)  |  Eye (222)  |  Frog (33)  |  Great (534)  |  Interior (19)  |  Lung (19)  |  Membrane (12)  |  Obscurity (27)  |  See (369)  |  Simplicity (147)  |  Structure (225)  |  Transparency (3)  |  Vessel (28)  |  Work (635)

A wise physician, skill’d our wounds to heal, is more than armies to the public weal.
Homer and Alexander Pope (trans.), The Iliad of Homer (1809), Vol. 2, 144.
Science quotes on:  |  Army (25)  |  Heal (6)  |  Medicine (344)  |  Physician (243)  |  Skill (66)  |  Wisdom (182)  |  Wound (11)

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries—not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer. For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conception only as cultural posits. The myth of physical objects is epistemologically superior to most in that it has proved more efficacious than other myths as a device for working a manageable structure into the flux of experience.
From A Logical Point of View (1953), 44. [Note: “qua” means “in the character or role of,” thus “qua lay physicist” means “in the role of lay physicist,” or perhaps even (?) “putting on my lay physicist hat.” —Webmaster]
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (504)  |  Concept (146)  |  Culture (104)  |  Definition (192)  |  Degree (82)  |  Difference (246)  |  Empiricist (3)  |  Entity (31)  |  Epistemology (7)  |  Error (277)  |  Experience (342)  |  Flux (13)  |  Footing (2)  |  Future (287)  |  God (535)  |  Import (5)  |  Intermediary (2)  |  Kind (140)  |  Myth (48)  |  Object (175)  |  Otherwise (24)  |  Physical (134)  |  Posit (2)  |  Prediction (71)  |  Scheme (25)  |  Science (2067)  |  Situation (52)  |  Structure (225)  |  Term (122)  |  Tool (87)

There is an astonishing imagination, even in the science of mathematics. … We repeat, there was far more imagination in the head of Archimedes than in that of Homer.
In A Philosophical Dictionary: from the French (1824), 126.
Science quotes on:  |  Archimedes (55)  |  Astonishing (11)  |  Head (81)  |  Imagination (275)  |  Mathematics (1205)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (80)  |  Science (2067)

He that knows the secrets of nature with Albertus Magnus, or the motions of the heavens with Galileo, or the cosmography of the moon with Hevelius, or the body of man with Galen, or the nature of diseases with Hippocrates, or the harmonies in melody with Orpheus, or of poesy with Homer, or of grammar with Lilly, or of whatever else with the greatest artist; he is nothing if he knows them merely for talk or idle speculation, or transient and external use. But he that knows them for value, and knows them his own, shall profit infinitely.
In Bertram Doben (ed.), Centuries of Meditations (1908), The Third Century, No. 41, 189-190.
Science quotes on:  |  Artist (69)  |  Body (247)  |  Cosmography (4)  |  Disease (275)  |  External (57)  |  Galen (19)  |  Galileo Galilei (122)  |  Grammar (14)  |  Greatest (63)  |  Harmony (72)  |  Heaven (153)  |  Hippocrates (49)  |  Idle (15)  |  Infinite (130)  |  Knowledge (1306)  |  Moon (199)  |  Motion (160)  |  Nature (1223)  |  Poesy (2)  |  Profit (39)  |  Secret (131)  |  Speculation (104)  |  Talk (100)  |  Transient (6)  |  Value (242)

I wish I had the voice of Homer
To sing of rectal carcinoma,
Which kills a lot more chaps, in fact,
Than were bumped off when Troy was sacked.
From poem, 'Cancer’s a Funny Thing', New Statesman (21 Feb 1964). He is describing experience with his own colostomy.
Science quotes on:  |  Cancer (49)  |  Carcinoma (3)  |  Kill (52)  |  Seige (2)  |  Troy (3)

Turn from heroin to Herick, Henley and Homer.
As quoted in 'In Memoriam—Jack J. Leedy (1921–2004)', Journal of Poetry Therapy (2004), 17, No. 4, 231.
Science quotes on:  |  Heroin (2)  |  Poetry Therapy (10)  |  Psychiatry (26)  |  Turn (118)

Of all the sciences that pertain to reason, Metaphysics and Geometry are those in which imagination plays the greatest part. … Imagination acts no less in a geometer who creates than in a poet who invents. It is true that they operate differently on their object. The first shears it down and analyzes it, the second puts it together and embellishes it. … Of all the great men of antiquity, Archimedes is perhaps the one who most deserves to be placed beside Homer.
From the original French: “La Métaphysique & la Géométrie sont de toutes les Sciences qui appartiennent à la raison, celles où l’imagination à le plus de part. … L’imagination dans un Géometre qui crée, n’agit pas moins que dans un Poëte qui invente. Il est vrai qu’ils operent différemment sur leur objet; le premier le dépouille & l’analyse, le second le compose & l’embellit. … De tous les grands hommes de l’antiquité, Archimede est peut-être celui qui mérite le plus d’être placé à côté d’Homere.” In Discours Preliminaire de L'Encyclopedie (1751), xvi. As translated by Richard N. Schwab and Walter E. Rex, Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot (1963, 1995), xxxvi. A footnote states “Note that ‘geometer’ in d’Alembert’s definition is a term that includes all mathematicians and is not strictly limited to practitioners of geometry alone.” Also seen in a variant extract and translation: “Thus metaphysics and mathematics are, among all the sciences that belong to reason, those in which imagination has the greatest role. I beg pardon of those delicate spirits who are detractors of mathematics for saying this …. The imagination in a mathematician who creates makes no less difference than in a poet who invents…. Of all the great men of antiquity, Archimedes may be the one who most deserves to be placed beside Homer.” This latter translation may be from The Plan of the French Encyclopædia: Or Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Trades and Manufactures (1751). Webmaster has not yet been able to check for a verified citation for this translation. Can you help?
Science quotes on:  |  Antiquity (18)  |  Archimedes (55)  |  Create (153)  |  Delicate (21)  |  Deserve (28)  |  Difference (246)  |  Great (534)  |  Imagination (275)  |  Invent (51)  |  Mathematician (384)  |  Mathematics (1205)  |  Metaphysics (36)  |  Place (175)  |  Poet (83)  |  Reason (471)  |  Role (49)  |  Science (2067)  |  Spirit (154)

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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