JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
"Colour Blindess in Relation to the Homeric Expressions for Colour", from Nature Magazine, volume 18, p. 676, 1878.
"In an article on "The Colour Sense" in the Number of the Nineteenth Century for October last, Mr. Gladstone points out certain peculiarities…in the expressions of colour used by Homer. "Although" he says "this writer has used light in various forms for his purposes with perhaps greater splendor and effect than any other poet, yet the colour adjectives and colour descriptions of the poems are not only imperfect but highly ambiguous and confused". And again-"we find that his sense of colour was not only narrow, but also vague, and wanting in description".
"The article is an expansion of a chapter in the same author's "studies on Homer and the Homeric Age" published in 1858 (vol iii, page 457), from which the proposition is quoted: "That Homer's perception of the prismatic colours, or colours of the rainbow, and a fortiori of their compounds, were, as a general rule, vague and indiscriminate". Mr. Gladstone gives many examples illustrating these opinions, and by powerful and ingenious reasoning, he endeavours to establish from them the general conclusion that "the organ of colour was but partially developed among the Greeks of the heroic age".
"So far as I can follow Mr. Gladstone's investigations, it appears to me that Homer has exactly fulfilled all the conditions mentioned in the previous article. As many references are made to natural objects which have the same colours now as then, I am able, with my colour blind experience, to judge what sensations they would present to his eyes…"