October 4, 2008
Re "Give me liberty and give me death," Opinion, Sept. 28 P.J. O'Rourke wonders, "Why can't death ... be always glorious, as in 'The Iliad' "? If it is any consolation, dying was not so glorious in "The Iliad" either. Only killing and winning were. Death in battle was always gross and usually shameful. Here, in Ian Johnstone's translation, is Pedaeus, a relative nobody, meeting a typical end. Like plenty of others, including great Hector himself, Pedaeus died fleeing: Then Meges killed Pedaeus, Antenor's bastard son. Theano had raised him with all care, loving him as one of her own children, to please her husband.