The Iliad Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Richmond Lattimore's translation.
She spoke, and from her breasts unbound the elaborate, pattern-pierced
zone, and on it are figured all beguilements, and loveliness
is figured upon it, and passion of sex is there, and the whispered
endearment that steals the heart away even from the thoughtful.
She put this in Hera's hands, and called her by name and spoke to her:
'Take this zone, and hide it away in the fold of your bosom.
It is elaborate, all things are figured therein. And I think
whatever is your heart's desire shall not go unaccomplished.' (14.214-221)
When she removes her beautiful zone (or "girdle") and gives it to Hera, Aphrodite seems to be agreeing with the famous words of the Irish poet W. B. Yeats, "Wine comes in at the mouth, / And love comes in at the eye." (The original poem may be found here.) Do you think that her belief is justified?
''Hera, there will be a time afterwards when you can go there
as well. But now let us go to bed and turn to love-making.
For never before has love for any goddess or woman
so melted about the heart inside me, broken it to submission,
as now […].' (14.313-317)
Alright, it's true that this is probably more in the "sex" category than "love" as such, but let's just take Zeus at his word. What is significant about this moment is that it shows the power of emotions – whether they be anger, pride, love – to completely take possession of a person. Can you think of other moments in the Iliad where this theme appears?
'Ah me, that it is destined that the dearest of men, Sarpedon,
must go down under the hands of Menoitios' son Patroklos.
The heart in my breast is balanced between two ways as I ponder,
whether I should snatch him out of the sorrowful battle
and set him down still alive in the rich country of Lykia,
or beat him under at the hands of the son of Menoitios.' (16.433-438)
Many of the gods have children fighting for either the Achaians or the Trojans. In this case, Zeus's love for his son Sarpedon is so strong that he considers acting against fate to save him.