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Headword: Homêros
Adler number: omicron,251
Translated headword: Homer
Vetting Status: high
[A] [Homer] the poet, [son] of Meles the river in Smyrna[1] and of the nymph Kritheis; others say, of Apollo and the Muse Calliope; the historian Charax[2] says of Maion[3] or Metius and Eumetis, his mother; according to others, of Telemachus the son of Odysseus and of Polycaste the daughter of Nestor. The order of his genealogy according to the historian Charax is as follows: Aethuse the Thracian was the mother of Linus,[4] the father of Pierus, the father of Oeagrus,[5] the father of Orpheus,[6] the father of Dres, the father of Euklees, the father of Idmonides, the father of Philoterpes, the father of Euphemus, the father of Epiphrades, the father of Melanopus, the father of Apelles,[7] the father of Maion; he came at the same time as the Amazons to Smyrna, married Eumetis the daughter of Euepes the son of Mnesigenes, and fathered Homer.
In the same way there is also doubt about his homeland, because of the belief to which the greatness of his nature gave rise that he was not wholly mortal. Different people have claimed that he came from Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Ios, Cyme, Troy (from the region of Cenchreae), Lydia, Athens, Egypt, Ithaca, Cyprus, Knossos, Salamis, Mycenae, Thessaly, Italy, Lucania, Gryne, Rome and Rhodes.[8]
His real name was Melesigenes, since his mother gave birth to him beside the river Meles, according to the account of his genealogy given in Smyrna. He was called Homer because when a war broke out between Smyrna and Colophon he was given as a hostage (homeros),[9] or because when the people of Smyrna were deliberating he spoke under divine inspiration and gave advice to their assembly about the war. And he lived 57 years before the institution of the first Olympiad; but Porphyry in the History of Philosophy says 132 years before. This was instituted 407 years after the capture of Troy. Some record that Homer was born only 160 years after the capture of Troy; but the aforesaid Porphyry says 275 years after.[10] In Chios he married Aresiphone the daughter of Gnostor of Cyme, and had two sons and a daughter, who was married to Stasinus of Cyprus.[11] The sons were Eriphon and Theolaus.[12]
His undisputed poems are the Iliad and Odyssey. He did not write the Iliad at one time or consecutively, as it now stands.[13] He himself wrote and performed individual rhapsodies as he travelled round the cities for his livelihood, and left them behind; later they were put together and organised by numerous hands, especially Pisistratus the Athenians' tyrant.[14] Certain other poems are also attributed to him: Amazonia; Little Iliad; Nostoi; Epicichlides; Ethiepactos (or Iambi); Battle of the Frogs; Battle of the Mice and Frogs; Battle of the Spiders; Battle of the Cranes; Cerameis; The Expulsion of Amphiaraus; Paegnia; The Capture of Sicily; epithalamia; Cycle; hymns; Cypria.[15]
He died at an advanced age and was buried in Ios. He was blind from childhood; but the truth is that he was not a slave of desire or ruled by his eyes, and that is how the story of his being blind arose.[16] Inscribed on his tomb was the elegy, composed by the people of Ios some time later: 'Here the earth covers the sacred head, divine Homer, who marshalled heroic men.'
[B] Dioscorides says in Customs in Homer that the poet saw that moderation is the first and most appropriate virtue of the young, and is also fitting, and a chorus-master of what is good; and since too he aimed to implant it from the beginning onwards, so that they would devote their leisure and their efforts to fine deeds and do good to each other and share with one another, he gave to all of them a simple and self-sufficient way of life. He reasoned that desires and pleasures are strongest, first and indeed innate, when they are concerned with eating and drinking; those who abide by a simple regime are well-disciplined and self-controlled in all the rest of their life. So he has attributed a plain lifestyle to them all, the same alike for kings and for commoners; he says: "Then she drew up a polished table for him, and the trusted house-keeper brought bread and put it by him; and the carver lifted platters of meat, and placed them by him."[17] Now this meat, too, was roasted, and was for the most part beef. Except for this he never places before them anything, either at feasts or weddings or any other gathering. And yet he often portrays Agamemnon entertaining the chiefs; and Menelaus celebrates the wedding of Hermione and his son and daughter, with Telemachus present as his guest as well: "He took in his hands and set before them the roasted ox-chine that had been served to him as his portion."[18] And Nestor sacrifices oxen to Poseidon by the sea-shore through the sons who were his nearest and dearest, although he was a king and had many subjects, giving them these instructions: "Come, let one of you go to the plain for a heifer."[19] Alcinous, too, feasting the extremely decadent Phaeacians and entertaining Odysseus, shows him the way his garden and house are furnished, and then sets before him the same kind of meal. Even the suitors, though they were arrogant and devoted to pleasure, are not portrayed eating fish or birds or honey-cakes. Homer makes every effort to eliminate the tricks of haute cuisine.
[C] About the poet Homer:[20]
(i) Homer, being blind,[21] travelled about.
(ii) He came to the shepherd Glaucus, who took him to his own master. The latter, recognising his talent and wide experience, persuaded him to stay there and take charge of his children. Homer did so, and composed Cercopes and the Battle of Mice and Frogs and the Battle of the Starlings and Heptapacion and Epicichlides, and all his other paegnia, in Belissus in Chios.[22]
(iii) Then he went to Samos, and found a woman sacrificing to the Child-Rearer,[23] and he uttered these lines: "Hear my prayer, Child-Rearer, and grant that this woman renounce the love and bed of young men, and let her take pleasure in grey-templed old men whose 'tails'[24] have lost their vigour, but whose spirit[25] is undiminished." When he came to the place where the phratry[26] was feasting they lit a fire, and Homer said: "The crown of a man is his children, of a city its towers; horses are a fine thing[27] on the plain, ships on the sea; money increases a household; majestic kings seated in the market-place are a fine thing for others to see, but when a fire is burning a house is a more majestic sight."
(iv) This same Homer, when he was about to sail and the sailors welcomed him, embarked on the boat and spoke these lines: "Hear, mighty Poseidon, earthshaker,... ruler of golden[28] Helicon and its broad dancing-places, grant a fair wind and a homecoming with no grief to the sailors, who are the ship's escorts and rulers; and grant that when I come to the foot of high-cliffed Mimas[29] I may encounter respectful and holy men; and may I be avenged on the man who deceived me and angered Zeus god of guests and the hospitable table."
(v) The same man, meeting some people who were about to sail to Chios, asked them to take him on board; they did not accept him, and he spoke these lines: "Sailors who travel the seas, resembling a hateful fate, like timorous diving-birds, living an unenviable life, respect majesty of Zeus god of guests, who rules on high; for terrible is the wrath of Zeus that follows when one offends." When the same man was resting for the night under a pine-tree, a fruit fell on him (what some people call a top, and others a cone);[30] and he said this: "Another pine shall bear better fruit, on the heights of windy Ida with its many valleys; there shall be the best iron[31] for men upon the earth, when the Cebriones hold the land."
(vi) The same man, dining with Glaucus, with the dogs standing round and barking and eating, said this: "Glaucus, guardian of mortals,[32] I shall set this word in your mind: first give the dogs their dinner at the gate of the courtyard; for that is better. For it is the dog that first hears a man's approach or a wild beast coming to your fence." Glaucus was astonished when he heard that.
(vii) Some potters saw him when they were lighting their kiln to fire a pot; they called out to him, having heard that he was a wise man, and asked him to sing to them, promising to give him the pot. Homer sang them these lines (which are called The Kiln):[33] "If you will give me a reward for my song, o potters, come, good earth, and hold out your hand over the kiln; may the cups dry out well and all the holy things, and be well fired; and let them gain a dream of value, selling in large numbers in the market-place and in the streets, and bring a good profit, to us also, so as to sing them. But if you turn to shamelessness and are liars, then I convoke the destroyers of kilns to shatter them,[34] Smasher and Inextinguishable and Shatterer and Subduer, who brings many ills on this craft. Start on the furnace and houses, and may the whole kiln be shaken as the potters wail loudly. As the horse's jaw grinds so let the kiln grind, turning all the pottery inside it into tiny pieces. Here, too, daughter of the Sun, Circe with many spells, cast cruel spells, and harm them and their works. Here let Chiron bring many Centaurs, those that escaped Heracles' hands and those that perished; let them give these things a terrible beating, let the kiln collapse; and let these people watch the mischief with groans. And I shall rejoice at the sight of their unfortunate craft. And if anyone stoops to peer in, let his whole face be burned, so that all know they should do right."
Spending the winter in Samos, he visited the houses of the most distinguished people and was paid something for singing these lines (which are called Eiresione).[35] Some of the children of the local people acted as his guides and were always with him. "We have reached the house of a man of great power, a man who shouts loudly, a man who roars loudly, always prosperous. Open yourselves up, doors. For great Wealth comes in, and with Wealth flourishing Joy and kind Peace. May all the storage jars be full, may there always be bread with dinner. Now fair-faced barley flavoured with sesame ... Your son's wife will get down from her chair to sing, and swift-footed mules will bring her to this house. May she weave cloth as she treads on beds. With a nod ??? every year; it will be the swallow. It stands at your portals with a light foot. But come, quickly destroy with Apollo's ???. And if you give something; but if not, we will not stay: we have not come here to live with you." This song was sung for a long time by children in Samos.
He went to Ios, and on the way he began to be ill; when he disembarked he rested on the beach for a number of days. Some fisher boys put in and got out of their boat; they came to him and said, "Come, strangers, and listen to us; see if you can understand what we say to you." One of the bystanders told them to speak, and they said: "What we caught, we left behind; what we didn't catch, we have with us." (Others say that they spoke in verse: "Whate'er we caught we left behind; what we caught not, that we have.") The bystanders were not able to understand what had been said, and the boys explained that while they were fishing they had not been able to catch anything, but when they were sitting on the land they looked for lice; and they killed the lice they caught, but the ones they could not catch they were bringing home with them. When Homer heard this, he spoke these lines: "From the blood of fathers like yourselves you are sprung, not from those with rich lands or countless flocks of sheep." It so happened that Homer died of this sickness in Ios -- not, as some have supposed because he did not understand what the children had said, but because of his illness.[36] He was buried in Ios on the shore, and the people of Ios put up this inscription: "Here the earth covers the sacred head, divine Homer, who marshalled heroic men."
His poetry became widely known, and was universally admired.
Greek Original:
Homêros ho poiêtês, Melêtos tou en Smurnêi potamou kai Krithêïdos numphês, hôs de alloi Apollônos kai Kalliopês tês Mousês: hôs de Charax ho historikos Maionos ê Mêtiou kai Eumêtidos mêtros: kata de allous Têlemachou tou Odusseôs kai Polukastês tês Nestoros. esti de hê tou genous taxis kata ton historikon Charaka hautê: Aithousês Thraissês Linos, tou de Pieros, tou de Oiagros, tou de Orpheus, tou de Drês, tou de Eukleês, tou de Idmonidês, tou de Philoterpês, tou de Euphêmos, tou d' Epiphradês, tou de Melanôpos, tou de Apellês, tou de Maiôn, hos êlthen hama tais Amazosin en Smurnêi kai gêmas Eumêtin tên Euepous tou Mnêsigenous epoiêsen Homêron. homoiôs de kai tên patrida amphibolos dia to apistêthênai holôs einai thnêton tôi megethei tês phuseôs. hoi men gar ephasan genesthai Smurnaion, hoi de Chion, hoi de Kolophônion, hoi de Iêtên, hoi de Kumaion, hoi de ek Troias apo chôriou Kenchreôn, hoi de Ludon, hoi de Athênaion, hoi de Aiguption, hoi de Ithakêsion, hoi de Kuprion, hoi de Knôssion, hoi de Salaminion, hoi de Mukênaion, hoi de Thettalon, hoi de Italiôtên, hoi de Leukanon, hoi de Grunion, hoi de Rhômaion, hoi de Rhodion. kai prosêgoreueto men kuriôs Melêsigenês: kai gar etechthê para tôi Melêti potamôi kata tous Smurnaion auton genealogountas. eklêthê de Homêros dia to polemou enistamenou Smurnaiois pros Kolophônious homêron dothênai, ê hoti bouleuomenôn Smurnaiôn daimoniai tini energeia phthenxasthai kai sumbouleusai ekklêsiazousi peri tou polemou. kai gegone de pro tou tethênai tên prôtên olumpiada pro eniautôn nz#: Porphurios de en têi Philosophôi historiai pro rlb# phêsin. etethê de hautê meta tên Troias halôsin eniautois husteron uz#. tines de meta rx# eniautous monous tês Iliou halôseôs tetechthai historousin Homêron: ho de rhêtheis Porphurios meta soe#. gêmas d' en Chiôi Arêsiphonên tên Gnôtoros tou Kumaiou thugatera eschen huieis duo kai thugatera, hên egême Stasinos ho Kuprios: hoi de huieis Eriphôn kai Theolaos. poiêmata de autou anamphilekta Ilias kai Odusseia. egrapse de tên Iliada ouch hama oude kata to suneches, kathaper sunkeitai, all' autos men hekastên rhapsôidian grapsas kai epideixamenos tôi perinostein tas poleis trophês heneken apelipen. husteron de sunetethê kai sunetachthê hupo pollôn kai malista hupo Peisistratou tou tôn Athênaiôn turannou. anapheretai de eis auton kai alla tina poiêmata: Amazonia, Ilias mikra, Nostoi, Epikichlides, Êthiepaktos êtoi Iamboi, Batrachomachia, Muobatrachomachia, Arachnomachia, Geranomachia, Kerameis, Amphiaraou exelasis, paignia, Sikelias halôsis, epithalamia, Kuklos, humnoi, Kupria. gêraios de teleutêsas en têi nêsôi têi Iôi tethaptai, tuphlos ek paidôn gegonôs: to de alêthes, hoti ouch hêttêthê epithumias hê dia tôn ophthalmôn archetai, kai para touto historêthê tuphlos. epigegraptai de en tôi taphôi autou tode to elegeion, ho hupo tôn Iêtôn epoiêthê chronôi: enthade tên hieran kephalên kata gaia kaluptei andrôn hêrôôn kosmêtora theion Homêron. hoti Dioskoridês en tois par' Homêrôi nomois phêsin, hôs ho poiêtês horôn tên sôphrosunên oikeiotatên aretên ousan kai prôtên tois neois, eti de harmottousan kai kalôn chorêgon ousan, boulomenos palin emphusai autên ap' archês kai ephexês, hina tên scholên kai ton zêlon en tois kalois ergois analiskôsi kai ôsin euergetikoi kai koinoi pros allêlous, eutelê kateskeuase pasi ton bion kai autarkê, logizomenos tas epithumias kai tas hêdonas ischurotatas ginesthai kai prôtas eti te kai emphutous ousas peri edôdên kai posin, tous de diamemenêkotas en tais euteleiais eutaktous kai peri ton allon bion ginomenous enkrateis. eph' hôi kai haplên apode- dôke tên diaitan pasi kai tên autên homoiôs basileusi te kai idiôtais, legôn: para de xestên etanusse trapezan, siton d' aidoiê tamiê parethêke pherousa, daitros de kreiôn pinakas parethêken aeiras, kai toutôn optôn kai hôs epitopolu boeiôn. para de tauta oute en heortais oute en gamois oute en allêi sunodôi paratithêsin ouden, kaitoi pollakis ton Agamemnona poiêsas deipnizonta tous aristous. Menelaos te tês Hermionês gamous poieitai kai tou huiou kai tês thugatros, kai tou Têlemachou pros auton paragenomenou, nôta boos parethêken aeiras opt', en chersin helôn, ta rha hoi gera parethesan autôi. ou gar thria kai kandulon kai amêtas melipêkta te tois basileusin exaireta paratithêsin Homêros, alla aph' hôn eu hexein emellon to sôma kai tên psuchên. kai Aianta meta tên monomachian nôtoisi gerairen ho Agamemnôn, kai tôi Nestori gêraiôi onti kreas opton boos didôsi, kai Alkinôi de trupheron hêirêmenôi bion, spoudazôn hêmas apostêsai tôn ataktôn epithumiôn. kai Nestora de poiei, para têi thalassêi tôi Poseidôni kecharismenên tina thusian epitelounta kai pollous echonta, tade parakeleuomenon: all' ag', ho men pediond' epi boun itô, kai ta hexês. kai Alkinous de tous trupherôtatous hestiôn Phaiakas kai ton Odussea xenizôn, epideiknumenos autôi tên tou kêpou kataskeuên kai tês oikias kai ton hautou bion, toiautas paratithetai trapezas. kai tous mnêstêras, hubristas ontas kai pros hêdonas aneimenous, oute ichthuas esthiontas poiei oute ornithas oute melipêkta, perielôn panti sthenei tas mageirikas manganeias. peri Homêrou tou poiêtou. hoti Homêros pêros ôn tas opseis perienostei kai aphiketo eis Glaukon poimena. ho de pros ton idion despotên auton êgagen. ho de idôn auton dexion kai pollôn empeiron peithei auton autothi menein kai tôn paidôn epimeleian poieisthai. ho de eprasse tauta kai tous Kerkôpas kai tên Muobatrachomachian kai Psaromachian kai Heptapaktion kai Epikichlidas kai alla hosa paignia estin Homêrôi epoiêse para tôi Chiôi en Bolissôi. eita aphiketo eis Samon kai heure gunaika Kourotrophôi thuousan kai legei ta epê tade: kluthi moi euchomenôi, Kourotrophe: dos de gunaika tênde neôn men apanênasthai philotêta kai eunên, hê d' epiterpesthô poliokrotaphoisi gerousin, hôn ourai men apêmbluntai, thumos de menoinai. epei de hêken eis tên phrêtran, entha edainunto, pur anekausan. ho de Homêros eipen: andros men paides stephanos, purgoi de polêos, hippoi d' en pediôi kosmos, nêes d' en thalassais: chrêmata auxei oikon, atar geraroi basilêes hêmenoi ein agorêi, kosmos t' alloisin horasthai. aithomenou de puros gerarôteros oikos idesthai. ho autos Homêros mellôn plein kai tôn nautôn dexamenôn auton, embas eis tên naun ephê ta epê tauta: kluthi, Poseidaon megalosthenes, ennosigaie, euruchorou medeôn êde xanthou Helikônos: dos d' ouron kalon kai apêmona noston aresthai nautais, hoi nêos pompoi êd' archoi easi. dos d' es hupôreian hupsikrêmnoio Mimantos aidoiôn metelthonta brotôn hosiôn te kurêsai: phôta te tisaimên, hos emon noon êperopeusas ôdusato Zêna xenion xeniên te trapezan. ho autos epituchôn tisi mellousi plein eis Chion edeito autôn analabein auton. hoi de ouk edexanto auton, kai legei ta epê tade: nautai pontoporoi, stugerêi enalinkioi aisêi, ptôkasin aithuiêisin ion duszêlon echontes, aideisthe xenioio Dios sebas hupsimedontos: deinê gar metopisthen opis [xeniou] Dios, hos k' alitêtai. tôi autôi anapauomenôi tên nukta hupo pitun epipiptei karpos, hon metexeteroi strobilon, hoi de kônon kalousi: kai legei tade: allê tis sou peukê ameinona karpon anêsoi Idês en koruphêisi poluptuchou ênemoessês, entha sidêros aristos epichthonioisi brotoisin essetai, eut' an min Kebrênioi andres echôsin. ho autos deipnôn meta Glaukou, kai tôn kunôn hestôtôn kai hulaktountôn, kai deipnêsantôn, legei tade: Glauke brotôn epiopta, epos ti toi en phresi thêsô: prôton men kusi deipnon ep' auleiêisi thurêisi dounai. tôs gar ameinon: ho gar kai prosthen akouei andros eperchomenou kai es herkea thêros iontos. tauta akousas ho Glaukos ethaumase. ton auton idontes keramees kaminon enkaontes keramou leptou prosekalesanto auton, pepusmenoi hoti sophos eiê, kai ekeleuon sphisin aeisai, phamenoi dôsein autôi tou keramou. ho de Homêros aidei autois ta epê tauta, ha kaleitai Kaminos: ei men dôsete misthon aoidês, ô keramêes, deur', agathê gaiê, kai huperschethe cheira kaminou, eu de marantheien kotuloi kai panta mal' hira, phruchthênai te kalôs kai timês onar helesthai, polla men ein agorêi pôleumena, polla d' aguiais, polla de kerdênai, hêmin de dê hôs sphin aeisai. ên d' ep' anaideiên strephthentes pseudê arêsthe, sunkaleô d' êpeita kaminôn dêlêtêras suntripsai, Smaragon te kai Asbeston êde Sabaktên Ômodamon th', hos têide technêi kaka polla porizei. steilai puraithousan kai dômata: sun de kaminos pasa kukêtheiê, kerameôn mega kôkusantôn. hôs gnathos hippeiê brukei, brukoi de kaminos, panta entosthen autês keramêïa lepta poousa. deuro kai Êelioio thugater, polupharmake Kirkê, agria pharmaka balle, kakou d' autous te kai erga: deuro de kai Cheirôn agetô poleas Kentaurous, hoi th' Hêraklêos cheiras phugon hoi t' apolonto. tuptoien tade erga kakôs, piptoi de kaminos: autoi d' oimôzontes horôiato erga ponêra. gêthêsô d' horoôn autôn kakodaimona technên. hos de ch' huperkupsoi, peri toutou pan to prosôpon phlechthêi, hopôs pantes epistôntai aisima rhezein. ho autos paracheimazôn en têi Samôi kai prosporeuomenos pros tas oikias tôn epiphanestatôn, elambane ti, aeidôn ta epea tauta, ha kaleitai Eiresiônê, hôdêgoun de auton kai sumparêsan aei tôn paidôn tines tôn enchôriôn. dôma prosetrapomestha andros mega dunamenoio, hos mega men autei, mega de bremei, olbios aei. autar anaklinesthe thurai: ploutos gar epeisi polus, sun ploutôi de kai euphrosunê tethaluia eirênê t' agathê: hossa d' angea, mesta men eiê, kurkaiê d' aei kata dorpou herpeo maza. nun men krithaiên euôpida sêsamoessan. tou paidos de gunê kata diphraka bêsetai humnein, hêmionoi d' auxousi krataipodes es tode dôma. autê d' huphain' histon epi lektra bebêkuia, neumati toi eumai eniausios, estai chelidôn. hestêke prothurois psilê podas: alla pher' aipsa persai tôi Apollônos guiatidos. kai: ei men ti dôseis: ei de mê, ouch hestêxomen: ou gar sunoikêsontes enthad' êlthomen. êideto tauta epi polun chronon para tôn paidôn en têi Samôi. apêrcheto de eis Ion kai kata tên hodon êrxato malakôs echein kai exelthôn ek tou ploiou anepaueto epi tês kumatôgês epi pleious hêmeras. kateplôsan de paides halieis kai ekbantes ek tou akatiou, proselthontes pros auton eipon: age, ô xenoi, epakousate hêmeôn, an ara dunêsthe anagnônai, hass' an humin eipômen. kai tis tôn pareontôn ekeleue legein. hoi de eipan: hêmeis, hass' an heilomen, katelipomen: ha de mê heilomen, pheromen. hoi de phasi metrôi eipein autous: hass' helomen, leipomestha: ha d' ouch helomen, pheromestha. ou dunamenôn de tôn parontôn gnônai ta lechthenta, diêgêsanto hoi paides, hoti halieuontes ouden edunanto helein, kathêmenoi de en têi gêi ephtheirizonto: kai hosous men elabon tôn phtheirôn anêiroun, hosous de mê edunanto, eis oikon apepheronto. ho de Homêros akousas tauta elege ta epê tade: toiôn gar paterôn ex haimatos ekgegaasthe, oute bathuklêrôn oute aspeta mêla nemontôn. ek de tês astheneias tautês sunebê ton Homêron teleutêsai en têi Iôi, ou para to mê gnônai to para tôn paidôn lechthen, kathaper oiontai tines, alla têi malakiai. kai etaphê en têi Iôi ep' aktês, kai epegrapsan hoi Iêtai epigramma: enthade tên hierên kephalên kata gaia kaluptei andrôn hêrôôn kosmêtora theion Homêron. hê de poiêsis ekpeptôke kai ethaumazeto hupo pantôn.
This enormous entry is made up of three sections:
(A) a "life" of Homer, found only here and attributed to Hesychius of Miletus (eta 611), thus known as the Vita Hesychii (Wilamowitz 32-34). Like the Life of Homer falsely attributed to Plutarch (Vita Pseudoplutarchea = Vit. Ps-Plut., Wilamowitz 21-25) and the other lives, it is full of invention and assertions from local histories, probably fictional, but may contain germs of genuine tradition. See Lefkowitz and Schadewaldt.
(B) an extract on moderation in pleasures such as dining, from Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, apparently using the original of a section known to us only from its epitome (8E-9C). See Heath (2000). The source and implications of the false attribution to Dioscurides are discussed by Heath pp. 576-77, notes 11, 12.
(C) a selection of "Homeric" epigrams (see Evelyn-White 466-77 and Markwald), apparently loosely drawn from sections 17-23 and 29-36 of the "Life" known as Vita Herodotea (Wilamowitz 3-21; translated by Lefkowitz 139-155) because of a (false) attribution to Herodotus (see under omicron 252), but probably written towards the end of the Hellenistic age. Markwald (281) shows that the epigrams themselves, in archaic language and references, belong to Homer's century and the following. The text is inferior to the mss of ps.-Herodotus and is therefore usually restored from the latter (see Wilamowitz 3). This section is here divided in translation, for comparison, into sections corresponding to the §§ in its source, with significant omissions marked "…." (The epigrams in the text are given Evelyn-White's numbers, with those of Markwald, who omits 9, 16, 17, marked M when different.)
(i) a sentence based on §§14-15, the expulsion of Homer from Cyme;
(ii) based on §§ 21, 24;
(iii) based on §§29-31, with Epp. 12 (=11M), 13 (=12M);
(iv) §17 with Ep. 6;
(v) §§18-19 with Epp. 8, 10 (=9M);
(vi) §§22, with Ep. 11 (=10M);
(vii) §§32-36 with Epp. 14 (=13M), 15 (=14M), 16, 17.
[1] [mu 487] Meles (RE 'Meles[2]' 15.492-94, and Supp. 9.4 with bibl.). The more usual story is given a few sentences later, that his mother Kritheis named him Melesigenes from the river. Meles also figures in the list of kings of Phrygia.
[2] Charax FGrH 103 F62.
[3] [mu 337] Maionidas. In normal Greek the name Maion means "Maeonian" and refers to that people who, after the fall of Troy, occupied the regions of Anatolia south-east of Troy later controlled by the Phrygians and Lydians. References to the Amazons (interpreted in Greek myth to mean 'women with one breast', to shoot the bow more conveniently) as masters of Cyme may refer to the invasions of the Hittites or other such Anatolian peoples. In the "third book" of Aristotle's Poetics (fr. 76 Rose), Maion is described as a king of the Lydians ruling Smyrna at the time, who married Kritheis and adopted Homer before being expelled by the Aeolians (Vita ps.-Plut. 3). Maion is, however, also a Greek name attested in the Iliad and elsewhere. Ephorus' Life gives Homer's father Maion a Greek ancestry and brothers (cf. n. 7). [R.D.]
[4] [lambda 568] Linus.
[5] [omicroniota 6] Oeagrus.
[6] [omicron 654] Orpheus.
[7] Melanopus and Apelles also appear in the genealogy given for [eta 583] Hesiod, making Homer and Hesiod cousins, cf. Vita ps.-Plut. 2.
[8] On ancient discussions of Homer's native land see Allen (1924) 11-41; Heath (1998). For the biographical tradition see also Lefkowitz 12-24.
[9] It is more probable that Homer owed his name to being sent (or volunteering) to be a hostage for Smyrna or Cyme to Colophon, perhaps already an ally or subject state of Lydia (Xenophanes fr. 3 Lesher [1992] p. 61). Few details are known of the wars between Colophon, its exiles in Smyrna and the Aeolian cities, or between the Greek cities and inland nations such as the Lydians, seeking ports on the Aegean, although Mimnermus (mu 1077) wrote of them. Curiously the same word meant 'blind' in the Aeolian cities associated with Homer. This ambiguity would be resolved if it was applied there to hostages returned to their homes after being blinded in retribution for a violation of the hostage agreement. Ctesias (FGrH IIIC, 688 F9: p.456.10-14), as reported by Photius (Bibl. 72.36b, cf. 63.22a), reports such a blinding. The Persians took the Lydian king Croesus' son as a hostage and blinded him in retribution for Croesus' violation of the agreement with them. The word phro/s, used of blind Homer, usually (but not always) means 'maimed, blinded' (see note 21). See Vita Romana 31.22-32.6 Wilamowitz for legends of how he was blinded by a vision of either Achilles or Helen. Claros near Colophon was the site of an oracle of Apollo (H.W. Parke, The Oracles of Apollo in Asia Minor, 1989, 112ff.), that at least in post-classical times issued its oracles in hexameter verse. Diodorus Siculus 4.66 wrote that Homer 'took many verses from Manto (the legendary founder of this oracle)…. to ornament his poems.' Some scholars argue that Homer learned his metrical craft here. According to Ephorus, the verb related to the noun means 'to guide the blind' (but see omicron 244, omicron 245, omicron 246).[R.D.]
[10] Porphyry fr. 201 Smith. Eratosthenes' date for the fall of Troy was 1184; the first Olympiad was traditionally dated to 776. Hence Porphyry's dating places Homer's floruit c. 908/9 BC; the other datings mentioned place him c. 1024 or c. 833. On ancient datings of Homer see Mosshammer 193-7, 211-3.
[11] On the relationship of Stasinus to the Cypria see G.L. Huxley, Greek Epic Poetry (1969) 123ff., esp. 129, and OCD(4) 511-12 (cf. Davies 27-29, T1-4, 7, 8, 9, 11). Homer's daughter is also given the name Aresiphone (or Arsiphone in Tzetzes, Chil. 13. 636, who names Homer's wife as Eurydice).
[12] Little is known of these sons. Theolaus is rejected as a name by Wilamowitz 33-34 note. The other son is named Seriphon by Tzetzes, and Euryphon at tau 354, where we learn that Terpander was sometimes called Homer's great-grandson. Tzetzes mentions the possibility of a second Homer, the son of Euryphon (Vit. Hes. p. 49. 19-20 Wilamowitz). A certain Parthenius of Chios [pi 665] is also said to have been a descendant, but see note there. [R.D.]
[13] The idea that the Iliad and Odyssey were composed of different oral "lays" by one or more rhapsodes (interpreted as 'stitchers of lays') of various levels of originality has a long history ("The Homeric Question"). It is discussed in any work on Homer, e.g. Wade-Gery. Although few would deny that there is at least one episode (the "lay" of Dolon, Book 10) stitched into the Iliad without much alteration, the general view today is that Homer existed and composed the Iliad and most or all of the Odyssey, incorporating phrases, characters and whole episodes from an oral tradition into his own compositions (see, for example, Edwards). Scholars search for the creative hand and originality of a single poet called Homer, in much the same way as they study the sources and originality, say, of Shakespeare. [R.D.]
[14] On the legend of the 'Pisistratean recension' see Ritook.
[15] Probably none of these works (or those listed further on, see note 22) is by Homer. See Huxley. A number of "Homeric" Hymns survive, originating over a long period of time; they are often edited and translated (e.g.Evelyn-White [1914] 285-463, M. Crudden [2001], A.N. Athanassakis [1976]). The earliest is Hymn 3, to Delian Apollo (web address 1), probably contemporary with Homer, to whom it may contain a reference at line 170 (web address 2; cf. Dyer). The fragments of the other writings mentioned here and known from elsewhere are collected in Davies, and, with translation, in Evelyn-White (see Table of Contents).
[16] The tone of this rejection of Homer's blindness is similar to that of the rejection of the legend of his death (see note 36). The comment ignores the idea, already voiced, that Homer was blinded, or went blind (notes 9, 21), as a hostage in Colophon. So also Proclus' crusty rejection (Vit. Procli p.27.8-10 Wilamowitz), "Those who showed him as blind seem blinded in their wits, for he saw so many things as no man ever." For the opposite point of view see P. Bergounioux, La Cécité d'Homère (1998), who uses the blinded writer as a metaphor for the internalization of remembered experience and reading necessary for all creative writing. [R.D.]
[17] Odyssey 7.174-5, with 1.141.
[18] Odyssey 4.65-6.
[19] Odyssey 3.421.
[20] For the subdivisions (i, ii, etc.) see introduction to notes, above. They are designed to help those who wish to compare this entry with the ps.-Herodotean "Life" (translated by Lefkowitz), on which it is based, but with which it disagrees in chronology and wording.
[21] The phrase here on its own, phro\s w)\n, implies blindness (so at pi 1538, epsilon 2209, delta 340 on the self-blinding of Oedipus, scholia to Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 510). The word, however, may refer to any physical or mental handicap, and, when used of blindness, usually specifies the eyes (alpha 4610, epsilon 544, epsilon 545, kappa 1921). It is often used of maiming in war or by torture (alpha 1842 and epsilon 78, alpha 2015 = Theophylact Simocatta, Histories 5.5.6-9, alpha 4610), but equally of natural handicaps or in a sense where the cause of the handicap is unclear (pi 1537, iota 348, epsilon 1610, kappa 2670, omicron 1008). [R.D.]
[22] Homer is said to have established a 'school' here, from which his pupils, the Homeridae (omicron 248), carried his work (and their own) to festivals throughout the Greek world. See Dyer. For the list of 'works' composed on Chios see note 15.
[23] This epigram is also cited by Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 13.592A [13.61 Kaibel]. As the Herodotean Life makes clear (§§29-30), Homer arrives on Samos during the Ionian festival Apaturia (alpha 2940, OCD(4) 114-15), celebrated by phratries (note 26), and encounters women sacrificing to the Kourotrophos at the triple crossroad or fork. The day of admission to the phratry at the festival was known as *kourew=tis. When the priestess tells him to leave, he composes the epigram. Kourotrophos, as nourisher of children in their growing years (kappa 2192, kappa 2193), is probably not here Hecate (cf. Hesiod, Theogony 450, with West's note ad loc.; scholia to Aristophanes, Wasps 824), although she is the goddess of the triple crossroad (then as now a symbol of woman's power), or Hera (LfgrE fasc.14.1512-13; T.H. Price, Kourotrophos (1978) pp.152f., 192), although her temple the Heraion was the major one on Samos. J.V. O'Brien has shown that Hera is seldom identified as a protector of children (The Transformation of Hera, 1993, 66ff.). Markwald argues that the name refers to Aphrodite, cf. Venus Apaturia , and compares Plato Comicus fr. 174.7 Kock (now 188.7 Kassel-Austin), Lucian, DMeretr. 5.1, and Greek Anthology 6.318. If he is correct, Aphrodite is hardly the protector of four-year-old boys, but the generator of puberty as sexual maturity, using kou=ros in what was perhaps its original sense. In this case, as Markwald shows, she would also be capable of restoring to old men their sexual vigor and give the epigram its wit as prayer. [R.D.]
[24] It is almost certain that ou)rai/ is the correct reading, for it implies a witty etymological pun on the name of the festival as apat-ouria, 'seducing the penis', appropriate either to Aphrodite, or, more probably, Hera as seducer of Zeus (Iliad 14. 153-360, cf. O'Brien 175-79; see note 23 above). But on this disputed reading and meaning see Markwald, pp. 197, 201-3.; LfgrE fasc. 18.876 under ou)rh/ D(ubia). The sexual meaning is found in Sophocles fr. 1078 TGF vol.4, Eupolis fr. 471 PCG vol.5; and nw/qouros, *)apo)mu/zouris, a)pouri/a (if not *)apatouri/a). [R.D.]
[25] In ancient Greek speculations about the inner mechanisms of desire, emotion and thought, qu/mos (thymos, 'spirit') usually represents the producer of "hot" desires that lead to action (B. Snell, The Discovery of the Mind, 1946 and reprints, is the simplest introduction, although many of his examples are outdated). Its eager activity is here opposed to the old men's unresponsive bodies. [R.D.]
[26] A brotherhood, the unit of the four ancient Ionian tribes in which men celebrated the Apaturia (note 23) [phi 693, phi 694, cf. gamma 146, gamma 147]. With the reformation by Cleisthenes of the structure of Athenian citizenship into 10 (later more) tribes, made up of demes, the phratry remained the point where men registered their sons as citizens either at four years or at puberty.
[27] The word ko/smos is used twice here (and implied once) and translated 'a fine thing'. It not only refers to order and organization (see kappa 2146, where a fleeing army lacks it, and omicron 860) but is applied to the ornaments and coverings that give a woman, a house, etc., a schema or organized appearance. Thus, in the epigram, horses being cared for on a plain, ships on the sea, and stately kings seated in the marketplace provide their environment with its sense of civilized order established by man, and, in that sense, its beauty. See article and bibliography in LfgrE fasc. 14.1500-02; cf. LSJ. In the Suda the word is used both of the ordered cosmos (kappa 2147, kappa 2148, pi 149, gamma 134) and in definitions of pieces of jewellery (e.g. delta 252 necklace, epsilon 1419 ear-rings, tau 257 tiara). [R.D.]
[28] The unintelligible epithet "golden" applied to Helicon, the sacred hill and spring beside the temples of Delphi, has been corrected to "very holy" (za/qeon, literally 'infused with the power of a god', cf. ps.-Theocritus, Idylls 25.209) by Ruhnken. Wilamowitz, arguing that Apollo, not Poseidon, was ruler of Helicon and its dancing-places, posits a missing line of verse before "ruler of very holy Helicon." [R.D.]
[29] Mimas is the mountain range on the mainland, north of Erythrae (nowadays Boz Dag, not to be confused with other higher mountains of the same name in western Turkey), across the Straits of Chios from the NE coast of the island. It comes into view for travellers from Samos to Chios as they come through the Straits and near their destination. The writer, if he imagines that Chios lies at "the foot of the mountain", betrays ignorance of the region. Markwald (181) assumes, however, that the poet intends, oddly enough, to land on the mainland under the mountain (presumably at Erythrae) before crossing the Straits to Chios. [R.D.]
[30] The famous pine forests of Mount Ida behind Troy were sacred to Cybele (kappa 2586) and, in Vergil's Aeneid, provide Aeneas' ships that Cybele transforms into nymphs (9.80-122, 10.219-55). Attalus I of Pergamum saw a giant pine 67m. high and 7m. in circumference on a crest of Ida (Strabo 13.1.44). Markwald (173ff.) has an excellent discussion of this pine and of the ancient terms used here to distinguish the pine cones of Pinus pinea, which contain edible fruit, i.e. pine nuts used in cakes, from the inedible cones of other species. [R.D.]
[31] The reading a)/ristos 'best' is supplied in the minor mss of the Suda to supply the gap in A. It is better to take the reading in Vit. Her., *)/arhos 'of Ares'. This epigram and two lines on Marmor Parium §11 (OCD4 p.901; F. Jacoby, Marmor Parium (1904) 6, 56-61; cf. FGrH 239 Comm. 675f.) are our only written sources for the iron mines discovered by archaeologists near Cyme's colony Cebrene on the river of that name (RE 11. 105-06, cf. 7A. 571 [no. 65], 556, 553 [map no. 65]), in the region of Mt. Ida of Troy. Traces of ironworks have been found in Smyrna (R.M. Cook, JHS 67, 1947, 42). See further R.J. Forbes, Bergbau, Steinbruchtaetigkeit und Huettenwesen (=Archaeologia Homerica K, 1967, 29-33) and Markwald 182 and note 11. [R.D.]
[32] Or 'flocks' (reading botw=n for brotw=n).
[33] This epigram is credited to Hesiod in the edition of his fragments by R. Merkelbach and M.L. West (fr. 302).
[34] These are mock-heroic names for invented lubber fiends. With a different reading the Vita Her. adds at the beginning of the list *Su/ntriy, 'Crusher'.
[35] [epsiloniota 184, pi 1304, alpha 217, delta 589] Eiresione. For the difficult questions raised by this ancient folk 'Bettellied', begging song, see Markwald's chapter, 245-75, For the evidence for this ritual see Wilamowitz 56-57.
[36] The Herodotean life here, in the same tone as it adopts to dismiss Homer's blindness (note 16), sets aside the legend that Homer died in frustration when he could not answer the boys' riddle. Not coincidentally, the Greek name for a riddle as a type of allegory in rhetoric is gri=fos, 'a fisherman's net' [gamma 457, gamma 458]. [R.D.]
T.W. Allen, Homer: the Origins and the Transmission (Oxford 1924)
Mario Baier, Neun Leben des Homer (Hamburg 2013); German translation, with commentary, of these Lives
Davies = Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. M. Davies (1988)
R.R. Dyer "The blind bard of Chios" Classical Philology 70 (1975) 119-121
M.W. Edwards Homer, poet of the Iliad (1987)
H.G. Evelyn-White Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica (Loeb Classical Library 1914)
M. Heath "Was Homer a Roman?" PLLS 10 (1998) 23-56
M. Heath "Do heroes eat fish? Athenaeus on the Homeric lifestyle" in Athenaeus and his World: Reading Greek Culture in the Roman Empire, ed. D. Brand and J. Wilkins (Exeter, 2000) 342-352
M. Lefkowitz The Lives of the Greek Poets (London 1981) 12-24, 139-155
LfgrE = Lexikon des frühgriechischen Epos (Goettingen, in fascicules since 1955, ongoing)
G. Markwald Die Homerischen Epigramme, sprachliche und inhaltliche Untersuchungen (1986), with a list of earlier editions, 302-04
A.A. Mosshammer The Chronicles of Eusebius and Greek Chronographic Tradition (Lewisburg 1979)
Poetarum epicorum Graecorum testimonia et fragmenta, ed. A. Bernabé (1996)
Z. Ritook "The Pisistratus tradition and the canonization of Homer" Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 34 (1993) 39-53
W. Schadewaldt, Legende von Homer dem fahrenden Sänger (1959, written in 1940)
H.T. Wade-Gery The poet of the Iliad (1952)
R. Weber "De Dioscuridis *Peri\ tw=n par' *(Omh/rw| no/mwn libello" Leipziger Studien zur classischen Philologie 11 (1888) 87-197
Wilamowitz = Vitae Homeri et Hesiodi, ed. U. de Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (Berlin, 1929)
Keywords: biography; botany; children; chronology; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; ethics; food; geography; history; imagery; mythology; poetry; women; zoology
Translated by: Malcolm Heath on 9 November 1998@19:54:09.
Vetted by:
Robert Dyer (Some small cosmetics to translation and notes, additions to bibliography) on 23 October 2001@07:50:24.
Robert Dyer (Cosmetic organization of translation into its three sections, with subsections of (c) for ready comparison with Lefkowitz and a synopsis. Addition of a number of notes, several signed by editor, to avoid attributing any speculation to the writer, and minor corrections to omissions, etc., in the translation. Additions to bibliography and keywords. Further notes, not yet posted, are under discussion between the editor and the writer.) on 23 January 2002@07:24:58.
Robert Dyer (Completed this morning's vetting. The Notes still not provided are: 9, 21-27) on 23 January 2002@09:10:43.
David Whitehead (restorative cosmetics at end of tr) on 18 July 2003@03:57:19.
Robert Dyer (added notes 9, 21-27, altered intro to notes at translator's request, many minor corrections) on 24 March 2006@09:45:40.
Catharine Roth (italics and other cosmetics) on 5 June 2011@22:38:26.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics; raised status) on 25 June 2013@06:48:31.
David Whitehead (added an item of bibliography) on 13 September 2013@06:39:01.
David Whitehead (updated some refs; tweaks and cosmetics) on 2 August 2014@10:06:32.
Catharine Roth (coding and other cosmetics) on 4 November 2014@22:54:53.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 5 November 2014@09:36:18.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 15 December 2014@16:21:47.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 2 January 2015@04:40:10.
David Whitehead (expanded a ref) on 16 January 2015@03:41:02.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 24 January 2015@00:34:33.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 21 March 2015@00:06:44.
Ronald Allen (typo in translation) on 16 October 2020@13:55:39.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticules) on 12 January 2021@01:08:44.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 12 January 2021@01:14:51.
Catharine Roth (coding, typo) on 13 January 2021@01:03:19.


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