Creation stories, so central in the religions of the Middle East, play a surprisingly marginal part in Greek myth. The Greeks had nothing to set alongside the resounding ‘In the beginning’ in the book of Genesis, where one eternal God creates the universe out of nothing.
I thought that the chief thing to be done in order to equal boys was to be learned and courageous. So I decided to study Greek and learn to manage a horse.
English has been this vacuum cleaner of a language, because of its history meeting up with the Romans and then the Danes, the Vikings and then the French and then the Renaissance with all the Latin and Greek and Hebrew in the background.
There is something about the way that Greek poets, say Aeschylus, use metaphor that really attracts me. I don’t think I can imitate it, but there’s a density to it that I think I’m always trying to push towards in English.
Poets that lasting marble seek Must come in Latin or in Greek.
Nature’s God really descends from an ancient Greek tradition that was passed along to the early modern philosophers. And these were quite radical thinkers who were really challenging the ways of thinking of their time and the established religion.
Even philosophers will praise war as ennobling mankind, forgetting the Greek who said: ‘War is bad in that it begets more evil than it kills.’
Knowing some Greek helped defuse forbidding words – not that I counted much on using them. You’ll find only trace elements of this language in the poem.
Save for the wild force of Nature, nothing moves in this world that is not Greek in its origin.
I started to learn Greek when I was in high school, the last year of high school, by accident, because my teacher knew Greek and she offered to teach me on the lunch hour, so we did it in an informal way, and then I did it at university, and that was the main thing of my life.