We each get 24 of them every day.


I say no wealth is worth my life! Not all they claim

was stored in the depths of Troy, that city built on riches,

in the old days of peace before the sons of Achaea came—

not all the gold held fast in the Archer’s rocky vaults,

in Phoebus Apollo’s house on Pytho’s sheer cliffs!

Cattle and fat sheep can all be had for the raiding,

tripods all for the trading, and tawny-headed stallions.

But a man’s life breath cannot come back again—

no raiders in force, no trading brings it back,

once it slips through a man’s clenched teeth.

-Achilles, Iliad 9.488–497 in Fagles’ translation


We each get 24 of them every day; none of us is any richer or poorer than any other.

Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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