OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
But ἐόν, "being [seiend]," is not only the singular of the participle S6vra, "the being [Seiendes]," but also names the singular as such, which, as one in its singleness, is uniquely the uniquely unifying One that precedes all number.
We might say — in an exaggerated way which nevertheless touches on the truth — that the destiny of the West rests on the translation of the word ἐόν, given that the translation [Übersetzung] is a crossing over [Übersetzung] to the truth of what comes to language in the ἐόν.
What does Homer tell us about this word? We know the situation of the Achaeans before Troy at the beginning of the Iliad. For nine days the plague sent by Apollo has raged in the Greek camp. At the assembly of the warriors Achilles commands Kalchas, the seer, to interpret the wrath of the god:
... τοῖσι δ᾽ ἀνέστη Κάλχας Θεστορίδης οἰωνοπόλων ὄχ᾽ ἄριστος, ὃς ᾔδη τά τ᾽ ἐόντα τά τ᾽ ἐσσόμενα πρό τ᾽ ἐόντα, καὶ νήεσσ᾽ ἡγήσατ᾽ Ἀχαιῶν Ἴλιον εἴσω ἣν διὰ μαντοσύνην, τήν οἱ πόρε Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων
According to Voss' translation:
. . . again stood up Calchas, Thestor's son, the wisest bird-interpreter Who knew what is, what will be or what once was, Who guided here before Troy the ships of the Acheans, Through the prophetic spirit granted him by Phoebus Apollo.
Before Homer allows Kalchas to speak, he designates him the seer. Someone who belongs to the realm of seers is one ὃς ᾔδη ..., "who knew ...". ᾔδη is the pluperfect of the perfect οἶδεν, he has seen. Only he who has seen genuinely sees. To see is to have seen. What is seen has arrived and remains for him in sight. A seer has always seen already. Having seen already he sees in advance. He sees the future tense out of the perfect. When the poet speaks of the seer's seeing as a having-seen he must say what the seer saw in the pluperfect: ᾔδη, he had seen. What is it that has come to the seer's sight in advance? Obviously it can only be that which is present in the light that illuminates his sight. What is seen in such a seeing can only be that which, through unconcealment, comes to presence. But what comes to presence? The poet names something threefold: τά τ᾽ ἐόντα, the being, τά τ᾽ ἐσσόμενα, the being-becoming, πρό τ᾽ ἐόντα, the being that once was.