Part Four: The metonymy of a perfect festive moment

4§01. In Part Three, we saw how the Parthenon Frieze tells the myth of a prototypical Panathenaic Procession. And we also saw how this myth, like the ritual of the recurrent Panathenaic Procession that it aetiologizes, follows the logic of a metonymic sequence. Here in Part Four, we will see in general that the culmination of such a sequence—the most decisive step in a series of consecutive steps—is a perfect festive moment. It is a moment of feeling delight in experiencing the beauty and the pleasure of attending a festival. In the ancient Greek passages that I am about to analyze, the relevant word for ‘feeling delight’ is terpesthai.
4§02. At first sight, there is a problem with the formulation I just offered. The English expression feeling delight seems at first too subjective for describing something that someone actually experiences at a festival: does the Greek word terpesthai, translated as ‘feeling delight’, really say anything objective about an ancient Greek festival?
4§03. In confronting this problem, I will concentrate on one particular aspect of festivals, which is, the singing and the dancing as described in Homeric poetry and beyond. In the course of reading these poetic descriptions, we will have ample opportunity to reconsider our first impressions about the idea of ‘feeling delight’ at a festival. What we will find is that the wording that expresses this idea is in fact not subjective but programmatic.
4§04. The word that I translate as ‘feeling delight’, terpesthai, is present in every one of the first eleven passages that I have selected to analyze here in Part Four: Extracts 4-A, 4-B, 4-C, 4-D, 4-E, 4-F, 4-G, 4-H, 4-I, 4-J, 4-Κ. The last of these eleven passages, Extract 4-K, will reveal the most decisive contextual evidence, and, by the time we reach this passage, we will have seen clearly the programmatic function of the word terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ in referring to festive moments of singing and dancing. At the end of each one of the eleven Extracts, I will add a special note drawing attention to the presence of this word terpesthai.

Introducing the most festive of all moments in the Iliad

4§1. The setting for my first example of festive moments signaled by the word terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ is a passage describing a picture created by the divine artisan Hephaistos in the process of his metalworking the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII. The picture is metalworked into the bronze surface of the shield. The text that describes this picture, which I will quote presently in Extract 4-A, is relevant to the ten texts that will follow it in Extracts 4-B, 4-C, 4-D, 4-E, 4-F, 4-G, 4-H, 4-I, 4-J, 4-K.
4§2. In this picture, we will see a festive moment of singing and dancing, and the key word describing the reaction of all those attending is terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 604 of Iliad XVIII here. Before we can view the text and the context, however, I need to give some background about the Homeric Shield of Achilles as a work of art in its own right.

Pattern-weaving as a metaphor for metalworking

4§3. In Part Three, we saw how the visual art of weaving the Peplos of Athena was a model for the various forms of visual art that adorned the Parthenon. Relevant here is one special detail, which is the fact that the sacred charter myth about a cosmic battle between the Giants and the Olympians was not only pattern-woven into the Peplos but also metalworked into the concave interior surface of the gigantic bronze shield that was positioned next to the commensurately gigantic gold-and-ivory statue of the goddess. As we will now see, this convergence of visual narration as pattern-woven into a fabric and as metalworked into bronze is re-enacted in the picture that I am about to analyze.
4§4. This picture, metalworked into the surface of the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII, is a Homeric masterpiece of ekphrasis. I have in mind here the most basic sense of this technical term ekphrasis, which is, an imitation of visual art by verbal art. In this case, the verbal art of poetry performs a narration that was supposedly performed by the visual art of metalwork in bronze. And the poetry visualizes the performer of this narration as none other than the god of metalwork himself, the divine smith Hephaistos, whose primary medium of metalwork is bronze, as we know from the Homeric description of the god as a khalkeus ‘bronzeworker’ (Iliad XV 309).
4§5. The performance of metalwork by Hephaistos, as we will see, is expressed by way of a powerful metaphor: in the extract that I am about to quote from Iliad XVIII, the god’s act of metalworking his narration into bronze is compared to an act of pattern-weaving that same narration into fabric, as if the divine metalworker were pattern-weaving a peplos. And the word here for pattern-weave is poikillein, which occurs in the very first line of my quoted extract:

Extract 4-A

|590 The renowned one [= Hephaistos], the one with the two strong arms, pattern-wove [poikillein] [1] into it [= the Shield of Achilles] a place for singing-and-dancing [khoros]. [2] |591 It [= the khoros] was just like the one that, once upon a time in far-ruling Knossos, |592 Daedalus made for Ariadne, the one with the beautiful tresses [plokamoi]. |593 There were young men there, [3] and young women who are courted with gifts of cattle, |594 and they all were dancing [orkheîsthai] with each other, holding hands at the wrist. |595 The girls were wearing delicate dresses, while the boys were clothed in tunics [khit ōn plural] |596 well woven, gleaming exquisitely, with a touch of olive oil. |597 The girls had beautiful garlands [stephanai], while the boys had knives |598 made of gold, hanging from knife-belts made of silver. |599 Half the time they moved fast in a circle, with expert steps, |600 showing the greatest ease, as when a wheel, solidly built, is given a spin by the hands |601 of a seated potter, who is testing it whether it will run well. |602 The other half of the time they moved fast in straight lines, alongside each other. |603 A huge crowd stood around the place of the song-and-dance [khoros] that rouses desire, |604 and they were feeling delight [terpesthai]; [4] in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai] a divine singer [aoidos], |605 playing on the special lyre [phorminx]; [5] two special dancers [kubistētēre] among them |606 were swirling as he led [ex-arkhein] [6] the singing-and-dancing [molpē] in their midst.
Iliad XVIII 590–606 [7]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 604.
4§6. In contemplating this picture, the mind’s eye sees the metalwork executed by the god Hephaistos, that ultimate bronzeworker: as I have already noted, that is what Hephaistos is actually called by Homeric poetry, a khalkeus ‘bronzeworker’ (Iliad XV 309). Metaphorically, however, the actual epic narration of the Shield in the Iliad is figured not only as metalwork, specifically as bronzework, but also as pattern-weaving: we have just seen the decisive word, poikillein, in the first line of the extract I just quoted (XVIII 590).

Back to pattern-weaving as a metaphor for Homeric poetry

4§7. The craft of pattern-weaving is especially privileged as a metaphor for the craft of metalworking, since it is also a metaphor for the craft of making Homeric poetry, as we saw in Part Two when we considered the Iliadic passages picturing the web that was pattern-woven by Andromache, quoted in Extract 2-O, and the web that was pattern-woven by Helen, quoted in Extract 2-P. Virgil understood this privileging of the metaphor of pattern-weaving: in the Aeneid, the metalwork of the divine smith Vulcan in producing the Shield of Aeneas is described there as an act of weaving a ‘web’, a textus (Aeneid 8.625). [8]
4§8. So, the ekphrasis of the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII is one step removed from a metaphor for Homeric poetry, since the metaphor that compares the metalworking of this Shield to the pattern-weaving of a web can be seen as an ingenious substitution for the metaphor that compares the making of Homeric poetry itself to this same privileged process of pattern-weaving.

Pattern-weaving Homer himself into his own web

4§9. Having just considered again the centrality of pattern-weaving as a metaphor for the verbal art of Homeric poetry, this time in the context of lines 590–606 in Iliad XVIII, quoted in Extract 4-A, I now take a closer look at lines 603–606 in that same extract. We find in these four lines something we see nowhere else in texts of the Iliad as they have survived into our time. Right in the center of the festive scene that is pattern-woven into the metaphorical web of pictures created by Homeric poetry is a singer who is none other than Homer himself.
4§10. Perhaps this Homer is not the kind of Homer we may have expected to find, but here he is, for all to see. That is what I will now argue.

Homer as a lead singer

4§11. In arguing that the singer we see in lines 603–606 of Iliad XVIII is meant to be Homer himself, I start by focusing on the fact that this singer is shown here in the act of taking the lead in the performance of a khoros. This word khoros means ‘chorus’ in the sense of a singing-and-dancing group. [9] I quickly add here in passing that I have started to use hyphens in saying singing-and-dancing, but I will postpone till a later point my rationale for using such a format.
4§12. To reword my argument in terms of this meaning of khoros ‘chorus’ as a singing-and-dancing group, I am saying that Homer in the present context is imagined as a lead singer who participates in the singing-and-dancing of such a choral group. In making this argument, I will highlight five words that we find in lines 603–606 of Iliad XVIII. I start by quoting again these four lines:

Extract 4-B (four lines re-quoted from 4-A)

|603 A huge crowd stood around the place of the song-and-dance [khoros] that rouses desire, |604 and they were feeling delight [terpesthai]; in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai] a divine singer [aoidos], |605 playing on the special lyre [phorminx]; [10] two special dancers [kubistētēre] among them |606 were swirling as he led [ex-arkhein] [11] the singing-and-dancing [molpē] in their midst.
Iliad XVIII 603–606 [12]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 604.
4§13. I have already indicated, in the special note immediately above, the first of the five words that especially concern me in Extract 4-B here, which is terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 604. But I am not yet ready to explain my reasons for highlighting this word.
4§14. So, without any further explanation for now, I proceed to the second of the five words that I highlight here, which is the noun khoros ‘chorus’ at line 603. In general, as I have already observed with reference to an earlier occurrence of khoros, at line 590 as quoted in Extract 4-A, this word can refer not only to a choral group of singers-and-dancers but also to the place where the singing-and-dancing happens, and the relationship of the place to the group inside that place is a fine example of synecdoche: the place for the grouping is seen as the grouping itself. And, to return to my translation of line 603, the word khoros in this context can refer not only to a singing-and-dancing group but also to the place where the group is performing.
4§15. The third and the fourth words that I highlight here in lines 603–606 of Iliad XVIII are the verb melpesthai at line 604 and the noun molpē at line 606: both of these words, as we know from other contexts, refer to the combined activities of singing and dancing in a khoros or choral group. [13] Because these words melpesthai and molpē combine the idea of singing with the idea of dancing, I will consistently translate them in a hyphenated format, ‘singing-and-dancing’. In fact, I have been using this format from the start in defining the word khoros as a ‘singing-and-dancing group’, in order to highlight the fact that this Greek word khoros, unlike the borrowed English word chorus, includes dance.
4§16. The fifth and last word that I highlight in this passage is the verb ex-arkhein at line 606, which signals an individuated act of performance that interacts with the collective performance of a khoros as a singing-and-dancing group. [14]
4§17. I now offer an overall interpretation of Iliad XVIII 603–606, as just quoted in Extract 4-B, in which these five words occur. I focus on the picturing of an individuated singer who is singing while playing on a phorminx, which is a special kind of lyre. He is flanked by two individuated dancers, kubistētēre. The three of them are surrounded by a choral group of radiant young men and women who are not only dancing but also evidently singing, as we see from the contexts of the words khoros at line 603 and melpesthai/molpē at lines 604/606. The lead singer himself is not only singing but also dancing—or at least he is participating in the overall choral dancing, as we see again from the contexts of the words melpesthai/molpē at lines 604 /606. So, this lead singer too is part of the overall khoros. And all of them—the lead singer together with the choral group—are performing to the delight of a huge crowd. Here I come back to the programmatic word terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 604.
4§18. I said a while ago that Homer, as pattern-woven into the metaphorical web created by Homeric poetry, is here for all to see. But now I must add a major qualification. The fact is, Homer is “here” only in one version of the Homeric textual tradition. We will now consider an alternative version—and this version is the one that actually survives in the medieval manuscripts—where we see no Homer at all. I now show the text of this alternative version:

Extract 4-C (three lines different in meaning from the four lines quoted in 4-B)

|603 A huge crowd stood around the place of the song-and-dance [khoros] that rouses desire, |604 and they were feeling delight [terpesthai]; in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai] a divine singer [aoidos], |605 playing on the special lyre [phorminx]; [15] two special dancers [kubistētēre] among them |606 were swirling as they led [ex-arkhein] [16] the singing-and-dancing [molpē] in their midst.
Iliad XVIII 603–606 [17]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 604.
4§19. A part of the wording here—the part that I indicate with a double strikethrough—is not attested in the medieval manuscript tradition: ‘|604 and they were feeling delight [terpesthai]; in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai] a divine singer [aoidos], |605 playing on the special lyre [phorminx]; two special dancers [kubistētēre] among them |606 …’. [18] This missing part in Iliad XVIII 603–606 was restored by Friedrich August Wolf in his 1804 edition of the Iliad, and the relevant line-numbering 604–605 in current editions of the Iliad reflects that restoration, going back to the edition of Wolf. [19] The restoration, as I call it, is based on what we read in a source that dates back to the late second century CE, Athenaeus (his relevant text can be found at 5.180c–e, 181a–f). [20] From this source, we learn about the treatment of Iliad XVIII 603–606 in the Homeric text edited by Aristarchus, whose editorial work can be dated to the middle of the second century BCE. As we learn from Athenaeus (5.181c), Aristarchus rejected as un-Homeric the part of the wording that I have translated this way: ‘|604 … in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai] a divine singer [aoidos], |605 playing on the special lyre [phorminx] … |606 …’. [21] But, as we also learn from Athenaeus (again 5.181c), Aristarchus did not reject the same wording in another Homeric context, at Odyssey iv 17–18, where we read once again: ‘|17 … in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai] a divine singer [aoidos], |18 playing on the special lyre [phorminx] … |19 …’. [22] And, in fact, this wording is preserved for Odyssey iv 17–18 in the medieval manuscript tradition.
4§20. I quote here the full context of the passage I just cited from the Odyssey:

Extract 4-D

|15 So they feasted throughout the big palace with its high ceilings, |16 both the neighbors and the kinsmen of glorious Menelaos, |17 and they were feeling delight [terpesthai]; in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai] a divine singer [aoidos], |18 playing on the special lyre [phorminx]; two special dancers [kubistētēre] among them |19 were swirling as he led [ex-arkhein] [23] the singing-and-dancing [molpē] in their midst.
Odyssey iv 15–19 [24]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 17.
4§21. I just quoted the reading ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos), indicated by Athenaeus (5.180d, 5.181d) both for this line, at Odyssey iv 19, and for the line at Iliad XVIII 606. [25] With regard to this reading, Athenaeus (5.180d) also indicates that the editor Aristarchus and his followers had accepted an alternative reading ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes) at Odyssey iv 19—as also in Iliad XVIII 606. [26] In fact, it is this alternative reading (ex-arkhontes) that we find preserved in the medieval manuscripts of both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Still, as the wording of Athenaeus indicates further, his own preferred reading ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos) existed in ancient times as a textual variant that had been noted by Aristarchus—even though that editor preferred the alternative textual variant ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes).
4§22. I focus here on the methodology of Aristarchus in making these judgments. Here was a scholar whom the ancient world generally acclaimed as the greatest of all experts in the editing of the Homeric texts. His working procedure was to track variations in the Homeric textual tradition by collating manuscripts that were available to him—and then to publish in his hupomnēmata or ‘commentaries’ his scholarly judgments in choosing which textual variants were authentically Homeric and which ones were supposedly not. [27] In the case of line 606 in Iliad XVIII, I argue, we are dealing with two textual variants that were known to Aristarchus, ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos) and ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes); in his commentaries, he evidently expressed his judgment that the second of these variants was authentically Homeric while the first was supposedly un-Homeric. [28]
4§23. Then, about 350 years later, Athenaeus seized an opportunity to show off his own learning by criticizing this particular judgment of Aristarchus about the two textual variants, arguing that the authentically Homeric version is really the first one, ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos) and not the second one, ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes).
4§24. In the larger context of the passage where line 606 occurs, that is, in lines 603–606 of Iliad XVIII, Aristarchus had evidently found a related textual variation, in the form of a longer four-line version as quoted in Extract 4-B and a shorter three-line version as quoted in Extract 4-C. In the case of these lines 603–606 of Iliad XVIII, Aristarchus judged the shorter three-line textual variant of this passage to be the authentically Homeric one. And the three-line variant requires the reading ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes), since there exists in this version no singular referent to which the alternative reading ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos) could refer. Only in the case of the four-line variant could there be room for allowing either the reading ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes), with the plural referent, or the reading ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos), with the singular referent. In this case, it all depends on whether the leading of the chorus is ascribed respectively to the one singer or to the two dancers.
4§25. And, here again, Aristarchus is criticized for his judgment by Athenaeus, who argues on the basis of comparable contexts that only a singer can lead off a choral performance, not dancers. In terms of this criticism, only the longer four-line version could be authentic, and, even in this case, such a longer version would require the reading ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos), which refers to the singer, since the reading ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes) would be simply wrong.
4§26. In terms of my argument, however, the authenticity of the longer version does not rule out the possibility that the shorter version is also authentic. As we will see, both versions can be authenticated. And what really matters, I argue, is that Aristarchus in the course of his collating Homeric manuscripts could verify here the existence of both a longer and a shorter textual variant, and that he makes note of the variation itself in his commentaries. [29] What Athenaeus is criticizing here is simply the judgment of Aristarchus in preferring one textual variant instead of another. But the fact is, if Aristarchus had not mentioned two variants in this case, Athenaeus would have had nothing to criticize.
4§27. More important for now, both of the textual variants at line 606 of Iliad XVIII, ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos) and ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes), can be shown to be formulaic variants as well. [30] To say it more forcefully, the existence of these forms as textual variants was determined by their pre-existence as formulaic variants.
4§28. Here is what I mean. The form and the meaning of both variants can be explained in terms of variations that existed in the formulaic system of the Homeric language, which stemmed from an oral poetic tradition and thus did not depend on the technology of writing for either the composition or the performance of Homeric poetry. Just as any language is a system, so also the special language of Homeric poetry was a system, albeit a specialized one, and therefore this special language has to be analyzed as a system in its own right. The basic formal components of this system are known as formulas, and that is why I describe Homeric poetry in terms of a formulaic system. In using these terms formulas and formulaic system, I follow the lead of Milman Parry and Albert Lord, who perfected a methodology for analyzing the textual tradition of Homeric poetry in terms of the formulaic system underlying the textualization of this poetry. [31]
4§29. So, applying the approach of Parry and Lord, I am arguing that the variants ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos) and ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes), attested in Odyssey iv 19 and in Iliad XVIII 606, are independent of the Homeric textual tradition and depend instead on pre-existing variations that derive from the formulaic system of Homeric poetry. [32]
4§30. These two variants, I will now go on to argue, stem from two different narrative scenarios corresponding to the longer and the shorter versions of the wording transmitted for lines 603–606 of Iliad XVIII. According to the shorter version as signaled by ‘as they led’ (ex-arkhontes) at line 606, which is the reading I quote in Extract 4-C, it is the two individuated dancers whose performance leads into the choral singing-and-dancing. According to the longer version as signaled by ‘as he led’ (ex-arkhontos), which is the reading I quote in Extract 4-B, the individuated singer combines his performance with the corresponding performance of two individuated dancers who flank him as he leads into the choral singing-and-dancing.
4§31. These two scenarios both resemble, in different ways, what happens in Odyssey viii when Demodokos the blind singer performs the second of his three songs:

Extract 4-E

|250 [Alkinoos is speaking.] “Let’s get started. I want the best of the Phaeacian acrobatic dancers [bētarmones] |251 to perform their sportive dance [paizein], [33] so that the stranger, our guest, will be able to tell his near-and-dear ones, |252 when he gets home, how much better we (Phaeacians) are than anyone else |253 in sailing and in footwork, in dance [orkhēstus] and song [aoidē]. |254 One of you go and get for Demodokos the clear-sounding special lyre [phorminx], |255 bringing it to him. It is in the palace somewhere.” |256 Thus spoke Alkinoos, the one who looks like the gods, and the herald [kērux] got up, |257 ready to bring the well carved phorminx from the palace of the king. |258 And the organizers [aisumnētai], the nine selectmen, all got up |259 —they belonged to the district [dēmos]—and they started arranging everything according to the rules of the competition [agōn]: |260 they made smooth the place of the singing-and-dancing [khoros], and they made a wide space of competition [agōn]. |261 The herald [kērux] came near, bringing the clear-sounding phorminx |262 for Demodokos. He [= Demodokos] moved to the center [es meson] of the space. At his right and at his left were boys [kouroi] |263 in the first stage of adolescence [prōthēboi], standing there, well versed in dancing [orkhēthmos]. |264 They pounded out with their feet a dance [khoros], a thing of wonder, and Odysseus |265 was observing the sparkling footwork. He was amazed in his heart [thūmos]. |266 And he [= Demodokos], playing on the phorminx [phormizein], started [anaballesthai] singing beautifully |267 about [amphi] the bonding [philotēs] of Ares and of Aphrodite, the one with the beautiful garlands [stephanoi], |268 about how they, at the very beginning, [34] mated with each other in the palace of Hephaistos, |269 in secret. [The story that has just started at line 266 now continues, ending at line 366.] |367 These things, then, the singer [aoidos] was singing [aeidein], that very famous singer. As for Odysseus, |368 he felt delight [terpesthai] in his heart as he was listening—and so too did all the others feel, |369 the Phaeacians, those men with their long oars, men famed for their ships.
Odyssey viii 250–269, 367–369 [35]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 368.
4§32. I paraphrase what we have just seen narrated here, in the larger context of Odyssey viii 248–380. [36] To start, a special lyre called the phorminx is brought to Demodokos (lines 254, 257), and then he proceeds es meson ‘to the center’ (262) of the space where the performance is to take place; that space is a khoros ‘chorus’ (260)—and we have already seen that this word can refer both to a singing-and-dancing group and to the place where the group performs. This space has been smoothed over (260), and it is enveloped by a wider overall space that is marked out for accommodating a vast assembly of people attending what is described here as a competitive event. The one word that is used in this context to express two meanings, both ‘assembly of people’ and ‘competitive event’, is agōn (259 and 260). Participating in this competitive event of choral performance are the young men of the Phaeacians, who are described as specially skilled performers at such events (248–253); among the words that we see in this description are khoroi ‘choruses’ (248), orkhēstus ‘dancing’ (253), and aoidē ‘singing’ (253). Also participating in this competitive event is the singer in the center, Demodokos himself. When this singer makes his way es meson ‘to the center’ (again, 262) of the space set aside for the performance, he is surrounded by kouroi ‘boys’ (262) whose nimble feet are already pounding out the rhythm of the song on the surface of the space set aside for singing-and-dancing. And the word for this space here again is khoros (264). Meanwhile the singer starts ‘singing’, aeidein (266), while accompanying himself on the special lyre called the phorminx (266). His song, about the love affair of Ares and Aphrodite, is now retold, and the retelling takes one hundred lines exactly within the framing narrative of the Odyssey: he starts at 266 and ends at 366. So, what is the reaction of the disguised Odysseus, who is the primary character attending this performance of Demodokos? The answer is, as we see in the text as I quoted it here in Extract 4-E, Odysseus terpeto ‘felt delight’ (368), and the same delighted reaction was experienced, it is said, by everyone else attending the performance (368–369). Then the virtuoso song of this individuated singer Demodokos leads into a virtuoso performance by two individuated dancers (370–379). Responding to these dancers in choral performance are the rest of the kouroi ‘boys’ (379–380).
4§33. So, in the formulaic wording that I have just paraphrased from Odyssey viii, we find a wealth of free-standing comparative evidence that I can cite in support of authenticating both the longer and the shorter versions of lines 603–606 in Iliad XVIII, as quoted respectively in Extract 4-B and Extract 4-C. These two different versions, I argue, would have suited two different eras in the evolution of Homeric poetry as a formulaic system. In an earlier era, Homer would have been appreciated as a lead singer who could interact with choral singing-and-dancing; in a later era, by contrast, he would be a solo singer, and so he could no longer fit into a festive scene of choral performance.
4§34. For the moment, I highlight one detail that stands out in the longer and older version of lines 603–606 in Iliad XVIII as quoted in Extract 4-B: there is an individuated lead singer here, flanked by two individuated dancers, and this picture matches closely what we see in Odyssey viii 370–379, which likewise shows an individuated lead singer flanked by two individuated dancers. Conversely, the focus on the two individuated dancers instead of the one individuated singer in this part of the description in Odyssey viii 370–379 is comparable to what we see in the shorter and newer version of lines 603–606 in Iliad XVIII, quoted in Extract 4-C, where the figure of the lead singer is occluded—and thus excluded from any possibility of interacting with the choral performance that is being described.
4§35. Pursuing further my argument that the Iliad, like the Odyssey, shows a lead singer whose performance interacts with choral singing-and-dancing, I now come to a new piece of evidence. We see it in Odyssey xiii, where the singer Demodokos performs one last song before Odysseus leaves the land of the Phaeacians. The occasion is most festive, marking the conclusion of the overall festivities that had started in Odyssey viii—and had continued ever since then. Bringing these festivities to a spectacular close, Alkinoos the king of the Phaeacians slaughters a sacrificial ox to the god Zeus, and this animal sacrifice is the cue for Demodokos to emerge once again as the lead singer in the midst of a festive crowd:

Extract 4-F

|24 On their [= the Phaeacians’] behalf Alkinoos, the one with the holy power, sacrificed an ox |25 to Zeus, the one who brings dark clouds, the son of Kronos, and he rules over all. |26 Then, after burning the thigh-pieces, they feasted, feasting most gloriously, |27 and they were feeling delight [terpesthai]; in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai] the divine singer [aoidos], |28 Demodokos, honored by the people.
Odyssey xiii 24–28 [37]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 27.
4§36. We see here in line 27 of Odyssey xiii exactly the same wording that we saw in line 17 of Odyssey iv, quoted in Extract 4-D. More important, we see the same wording also in line 604 of Iliad XVIII, quoted in Extract 4-B and already in Extract 4-A, that is, in the line that shows a part of the longer version of Iliad XVIII 603–606 as restored by Wolf. In each one of these three lines that I just listed, Odyssey xiii 27 and iv 17 and Iliad XVIII 604, a solo singer is shown, but the individuated soloist is leading into a choral song combined with dance, as signaled by the word melpesthai in all three contexts. This word, as we have seen, combines the idea of singing with the idea of dancing—that is, choral dancing. That is why I have translated melpesthai all along in a hyphenated format, ‘singing-and-dancing’.
4§37. The passage I have just quoted in Extract 4-F from Odyssey xiii 24–28 is a most decisive piece of comparative evidence validating the authenticity of the corresponding passage in the longer version of Iliad XVIII 603–606, quoted earlier in Extract 4-B and even earlier in Extract 4-A. Both of these two passages show an individuated lead singer in the midst of a festive crowd surrounding a choral performance that brings delight to all. Both in Odyssey xiii 27 and in Iliad XVIII 604, the decisive word that shows the interaction of the individuated lead singer with choral performance is melpesthai ‘sing-and-dance’. [38] But the passage in Odyssey xiii 24–28 occludes any direct mention of dancers, thus differing from the corresponding passage in the longer version of Iliad XVIII 603–606, which highlights two individuated dancers as well as a chorus. Conversely, the passage in the shorter version of Iliad XVIII 603–606, quoted earlier in Extract 4-C, occludes any direct mention of a singer, thus differing from the corresponding passage in Odyssey xiii 24–28, quoted just now in Extract 4-F, which highlights Demodokos as an individuated lead singer.
4§38. The decisive evidence of this passage in Odyssey xiii 24–28 is missing from the reportage of Athenaeus (5.181c) about the editorial decisions of Aristarchus concerning Odyssey iv 15–19 and Iliad XVIII 603–606. And it is missing also from the argumentations of those who build theories about various kinds of textual interpolation; according to one such theory, for example, the longer version of Iliad XVIII 604–605 results from some kind of “rhapsodic intervention,” which supposedly happened at some undetermined stage in the history the Homeric textual tradition. [39] The problem with this kind of theorizing is that it fails to account for the formulaic nature of such an “intervention.” [40] As we have seen by now, the evidence of the wording in Iliad XVIII 604–605 indicates that both the shorter and the longer versions result from formulaic variation. [41]

Homer as the lead singer of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo

4§39. So far, I have highlighted three Homeric passages, two of them in the Odyssey and one in the Iliad, where we see a lead singer interacting with the performance of a choral group. Now we turn to the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, where we are about to see once again a lead singer in the act of interacting with a choral performance. And, in this case, we have evidence from the historical period that the lead singer was actually recognized as Homer himself, as we learn from the explicit testimony of the historian Thucydides:

Extract 4-G

|3.104.2 … After the ritual purification [of the sacred island of Delos], the Athenians at that point for the first time turned the festival known as the Delia into a quadrennial [instead of an annual] festival. |3.104.3 Even in the remote past, there had been at Delos a great [annual] coming together of Ionians and neighboring islanders [nēsiōtai], and they were celebrating [ἐθεώρουν ‘were making theōriā’] along with their wives and children, just as the Ionians in our own times come together [= at Ephesus] for [the festival of] the Ephesia. A competition [agōn] was held there [= in Delos], both in athletics and in mousikē (tekhnē), [42] and the cities brought choruses [khoroi]. |3.104.4 Homer makes it most clear that such was the case in the following verses [epos plural], which come from a prooimion [43] of Apollo:
[[beginning of quotation by Thucydides]] |146 But when, O Phoebus [Apollo], in Delos more than anywhere else you feel delight [terpesthai] in your heart [thūmos], |147 there the Ionians, with tunics [khitōn plural] trailing, gather |148 with their children and their wives, along the causeway [aguia], [44] |149 and there with boxing [pugmakhiē] and dancing [orkhēstus] and song [aoidē] |150 they have you in mind and make you feel delight [terpein], whenever they set up a competition [agōn]. [[end of quotation by Thucydides, who now resumes his own comments]]
|3.104.5 That there was also a competition [agōn] in mousikē (tekhnē), [45] in which the Ionians went to engage-in-competition [agōnizesthai], again is made clear by him [= Homer] in the following verses, taken from the same prooimion. [46] After making the subject of his hymn [humnos] the Delian chorus [khoros] of women, he was drawing toward the completion [telos] of his song of praise, drawing toward these verses [epos plural], in which he also makes mention of himself—
[[beginning of further quotation by Thucydides]] |165 But come now, may Apollo be gracious, along with Artemis; |166 and you all also, hail [khairete] and take pleasure, all of you [Maidens of Delos]. Keep me, even in the future, |167 in your mind, whenever someone, out of the whole mass of earthbound humanity, |168 comes here [to Delos], after arduous wandering, someone else, and asks this question: |169 “O Maidens, who is for you the most pleasurable of singers |170 that wanders here? In whom do you take the most delight [terpesthai]?” |171 Then you, all of you [Maidens of Delos], must very properly respond [hupokrinasthai], without naming names [aphēmōs]: [47] |172 “It is a blind man, and he dwells in Chios, a rugged land.” [[end of quotation by Thucydides, who now resumes his own comments]]
|3.104.6 So much for the evidence given by Homer concerning the fact that there was even in the remote past a great coming together and festival [heortē] at Delos; later on, the islanders [nēsiōtai] and the Athenians continued to send choruses [khoroi], along with sacrificial offerings, but various misfortunes evidently caused the discontinuation of the things concerning the competitions [agōnes] and most other things—that is, up to the time in question [= the time of the ritual purification] when the Athenians set up the [quadrennial] competition [agōn], including chariot races [hippodromiai], which had not taken place before then.
Thucydides 3.104.3–6 [48]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the contexts of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at lines 146 and 170 of the Homeric Hymn as quoted here.
4§40. The two sequences of verses here, as quoted by Thucydides and as attributed by him to Homer himself as the speaker of these verses, correspond to the following sequences of verses transmitted by the medieval manuscript traditions of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo:

Extract 4-H

|146 But you, O Phoebus [Apollo], in Delos more than anywhere else feel delight [terpesthai] in your heart [ētor], |147 where the Ionians, with tunics [khitōn plural] trailing, gather |148 with their children and their circumspect wives. |149 And they with boxing and dancing [orkhēthmos] and song [aoidē] |150 have you in mind and make you feel delight [terpein], whenever they set up a competition [agōn].
Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 146–150 [49]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 146.

Extract 4-I

|165 But come now, may Apollo be gracious, along with Artemis; |166 and you all also, hail [khairete] and take pleasure, all of you [Maidens of Delos]. Keep me, even in the future, |167 in your mind, whenever someone, out of the whole mass of earthbound humanity, |168 arrives here [to Delos], after arduous wandering, as a guest entitled to the rules of hosting, and asks this question: |169 “O Maidens, who is for you the most pleasurable of singers |170 that wanders here? In whom do you take the most delight [terpesthai]?” |171 Then you, all of you [Maidens of Delos], must very properly respond [hupokrinasthai] about me [aph’ hēmeōn]: |172 “It is a blind man, and he dwells in Chios, a rugged land.”
Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 165–172 [50]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 170.
4§41. At line 171 of this version as we find it in the medieval manuscript tradition, I show the variant reading aph’ hēmeōn (ἀφ’ ἡμέων). There are other corresponding variant readings also attested in the manuscripts, but I single out this one because it is comparable in its formulaic function to the variant reading aphēmōs (ἀφήμως) that we have already seen in the version quoted by Thucydides. I translate the variant reading aph’ hēmeōn (ἀφ’ ἡμέων) as ‘about me’, to be contrasted with the variant reading aphēmōs (ἀφήμως), which I translated as meaning ‘without naming names’. As I will argue, both aph’ hēmeōn and aphēmōs are authentic formulaic variants, and both of them are relevant to the role of Homer as lead singer. In both versions, as we will see, the context is opaque and riddling.

The riddling of Homer in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo

4§42. In the case of the variant aph’ hēmeōn at line 171 of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo in a version that survives in the medieval manuscript tradition, as we read it in Extract 4-I, my translation ‘about me’ is a cover for the deeper meaning of this expression, which is ‘by me’. As I will argue, the Maidens of Delos are being prompted ‘by me’ to respond dialogically to a question ‘about me’. [51] And the reference to ‘me’ here, as we will see, is a riddling way of referring to Homer himself. The wording of Homer is coming ‘from me’ and is thus worded ‘by me’ to become the wording ‘about me’.
4§43. Similarly in the case of the variant aphēmōs in the version of line 171 quoted by Thucydides, as we read in in Extract 4-G, the meaning ‘without naming names’ signals the fact that the Maidens are being prompted to identify Homer in a riddling way, without naming him directly. [52]
4§44. And who are these Maidens of Delos, so prominently featured here in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo? As I argue in the book Homer the Classic, the Hymn pictures the Maidens as the local Muses of Delos who sing-and-dance as a prototypical chorus, which is parallel to the picturing of Homer as a prototypical lead singer. [53]
4§45. In this context of choral performance, I highlight the fact that the Delian Maidens in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo are described as masters of mimesis or ‘re-enactment’ (verb mīmeîsthai at verse 163). [54] This reference is saying something that is fundamentally true about choral performance in general, which as we know from the surviving textual evidence is highly mimetic. A shining example is the extant body of choral “lyric” songs composed by Pindar in the fifth century BCE. [55]
4§46. At a later point in my argumentation, I will elaborate on the mimetic power of Pindar’s songs. For now, however, I extend the analysis from the medium of choral performance to another medium. What I just said about choral performance applies to the medium of rhapsodic performance as well: this medium too is highly mimetic. A most striking example is the interaction of Homer with the Delian Maidens in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. In this hymn, as we will now see, the rhapsodic medium is making a mimesis of the choral medium.
4§47. When I say rhapsodic here, I am referring to a non-choral medium of performance, which is a medium that is not sung-and-danced and not even sung—but recited. As I already noted in Part One, this medium of recitative performance was practiced by professional performers known as rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’, who both competed and collaborated with each other in the performance of epic at Panhellenic festivals like the Panathenaia in Athens. I have studied this rhapsodic medium extensively in other projects, especially in the 2002 book Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music, and I present here only a brief summary of what is relevant to my ongoing argument. [56]
4§48. Presiding over the rhapsodic competitions at the festival of the Panathenaia, as we know from a fleeting reference in Plato’s Ion (Ion 530d), were the Homēridai, who were a corporation of epic performers stemming from the island of Chios and claiming to be descended from Homer himself. [57] These Homēridai, masters of rhapsodic performance, also performed hymns. Unlike other hymns, which were conventionally performed in a choral mode, the hymns of the Homēridai were composed as well as performed only in a rhapsodic mode, as characterized by a single meter known as the dactylic hexameter. And it is these hymns that have survived down to our time in a collection of hexametric hymns that we now call the Homeric Hymns. As for the choral mode of composing and performing hymns, it too has survived—in the form of choral “lyric” singing, characterized by a vast multiplicity of meters. I have already highlighted the example of choral “lyric” songs composed by Pindar in the fifth century BCE. As we will now see, the Homer of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo performs a mimesis of such a non-rhapsodic choral mode of singing when he interacts with the chorus of the Delian Maidens—though this interaction is composed in the rhapsodic medium of the dactylic hexameter.
4§49. In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, Homer re-enacts the Maidens by quoting what they say, which is said not in their own choral medium but in the rhapsodic medium of the Hymn. [58] So the medium of rhapsodic performance shows that it can make a mimesis of the medium of choral performance as exemplified by the Delian Maidens, who are described as the absolute masters of choral mimesis. This way, Homer demonstrates that he is the absolute master of rhapsodic mimesis. [59]
4§50. The argument can be taken further: the figure of Homer in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo is acting as a lead singer when he prompts the Delian Maidens to perform a response, in choral song-and-dance, to a question. As we will see, the question will be a perennial one, just as the response of the Maidens will be perennial.
4§51. To understand this question that is addressed to the Delian Maidens, we need to consider the entire context of the dialogue that takes place between them and Homer. The complete wording of this dialogue is not quoted by Thucydides, and we find it attested only in the medieval manuscript tradition of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. I now quote here the complete wording as preserved in that textual tradition:

Extract 4-J (including lines 165–172 as quoted already in 4-I)

|165 But come now, may Apollo be gracious, along with Artemis; |166 and you all also, hail [khairete] and take pleasure, all of you [Maidens of Delos]. Keep me, even in the future, |167 in your mind, whenever someone, out of the whole mass of earthbound humanity, |168 arrives here [to Delos], after arduous wandering, as a guest entitled to the rules of hosting, and asks this question: |169 “O Maidens, who is for you the most pleasurable of singers |170 that wanders here? In whom do you take the most delight [terpesthai]?” |171 Then you, all of you [Maidens of Delos], must very properly respond [hupokrinasthai] about me [aph’ hēmeōn]: |172 “It is a blind man, and he dwells in Chios, a rugged land. |173 and all his songs will in the future prevail as the very best.” |174 And I [60] in turn will carry your fame [kleos] as far over the earth |175 as I wander, throughout the cities of men, with their fair populations. |176 And they will all believe—I now see— [61] since it is genuine [etētumon]. |177 As for me, I will not leave off [lēgein] making far-shooting Apollo |178 [the subject of] my hymn [humnos]—the one with the silver quiver, who was borne by Leto of the fair tresses.
Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 165–178 [62]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence of Extracts 4-A through 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ at line 170.
4§52. Our first impression is that the question addressed here to the Delian Maidens, as quoted directly at lines 169–170, is simple and straightforward: "'|169 O Maidens, who is for you the most pleasurable of singers |170 that wanders here? In whom do you take the most delight [terpesthai]?'" [63] And the response of the Maidens at line 172, as also quoted directly, seems likewise simple and straightforward: "'|172 It is a blind man, and he dwells in Chios, a rugged land.'" [64]
4§53. What complicates both the question and the answer, however, is that the person who originally asks the question seems at first to be distinct from Homer. Homer seems at first to be simply quoting the question. The original questioner is described at line 168 as some nameless wanderer who will come to visit Delos in the future. Let us consider again lines 167–168 in the medieval manuscript tradition, where the nameless wanderer who addresses the question to the Delian Maidens is described in this way: "'|167 … whenever someone, out of the whole mass of earthbound humanity, |168 arrives here [to Delos], after arduous wandering, as a guest entitled to the rules of hosting, and asks this question …'" [65] So, it is as if someone other than Homer were asking the question quoted by Homer.
4§54. This complication is what turns both the question and the answer into a riddle, since the nameless questioner is kept distinct here from Homer, even though the description of this nameless person as a wanderer who claims the right to be treated as a guest makes him look as if he were Homer himself. After all, Homer too is a wanderer, just as the nameless questioner is a wanderer. And Homer is a wandering singer who claims the right to be treated as a guest at whatever place he visits, as we see later on at lines 174–175, where he describes in his own words the fame that he will create for the Delian Maidens: "|174 And I in turn will carry your fame [kleos] as far over the earth |175 as I wander, throughout the cities of men, with their fair populations." [66]
4§55. Homer will create fame for the Delian Maidens as an act of reciprocation for the fame that the Maidens will create for Homer when they respond to the question in the words quoted by Homer himself. The difference is, the Maidens create fame for Homer in their role as singers-dancers who are stationary, while Homer creates fame for the Maidens in his role as a lead singer who is mobile, a wanderer. And Homer is the best of all wandering singers, as predicted by the wording of the question directly quoted at lines 169–170, where we read: "'|169 O Maidens, who is for you the most pleasurable of singers |170 that wanders here?…'" [67] This question already presupposes that Homer is that wandering singer. So, now the meaning loops back again to lines 167–168, where the person who addresses the question to the Delian Maidens is described in this way: "'|167 … whenever someone, out of the whole mass of earthbound humanity, |168 arrives here [to Delos], after arduous wandering, as a guest entitled to the rules of hosting, and asks this question …'" [68] By now we see that this nameless wanderer, even though he seemed at first to be distinct from Homer, must be identical with Homer. And he is pictured as returning to Delos year after year to ask a question that requires the same answer year after year, and that answer is ‘Homer’.
4§56. Similarly, as I have argued in the book Homer the Classic, even the alternative wording of line 168 of the Hymn as quoted by Thucydides about the "other someone" who comes to Delos leaves open the option of imagining that the "other someone" who asks the riddling question could still be the same singer returning again and again to Delos, and this singer could still be Homer, not a substitute for Homer. [69] The "other someone" is an "other" only so long as the identification is not yet made, since this "other" is nameless. But Homer does have a name, which is ostentatiously not spoken. If that name were in fact spoken, however, then the identification of the ‘other’ as Homer himself could become clear. But Homer is here being identified without being named. That, I argue, is the force of the riddling expression aphēmōs at verse 171 of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo as quoted by Thucydides: as I already noted, this expression means ‘without naming names’. So, the Maidens are being prompted by Homer to identify Homer in a riddling way, without naming him directly. [70]
4§57. What makes the riddle work is that Homer remains unnamed, just as the wanderer who is quoted as asking the question is not named. But the response of the Maidens, about that blind singer who dwells in Chios, gives away the answer: this wandering singer must be Homer, who is known to be blind and who claims Chios as his residence. As we know from the Life of Homer traditions, which preserve evidence that is independent of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the blind singer who once resided in Chios can in fact be identified as Homer. I refer here to a detailed study of this evidence in the book Homer the Preclassic, where I focus on the evidence we can find in the Herodotean Life of Homer. [71]
4§58. So, the response of the Maidens as quoted at lines 172–173 of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo can be seen as a mimesis of Homer by Homer about Homer; and, to complicate matters further, this mimesis is performed for Homer by the Maidens of Delos, whose existence in the song is a mimesis by Homer because it is Homer who quotes what they say. [72] In a sense, then, the whole performance originates from this lead singer. And that, I argue, is the force of the complex expression aph’ hēmeōn at verse 171 of the Hymn: the Maidens are prompted ‘by me’ to respond dialogically to a question ‘about me’, and the prompt originates ‘from me’. [73]

Homer’s eternal return to Delos in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo

4§59. The riddling dialogic response of the Delian Maidens to Homer is made perennial by their recurrent choral performance in response to the recurrent visit of Homer to Delos in his role as their lead singer. According to the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the performance of Homer in choral interaction with the Maidens of Delos will become a perennial event. In terms of the myth that we see encapsulated in the Hymn, there will be an eternal return of Homer to Delos.
4§60. To back up this formulation, I will show that the Homeric Hymn to Apollo foretells in a riddling way a seasonally recurring re-enactment of the prototypical visit of Homer to Delos. The visit will be re-enacted year after year, in a loop that loops back eternally, so that Homer may forever interact with succeeding generations of young women who will re-enact in song-and-dance the prototypical Maidens of Delos in the act of chorally responding to Homer about Homer for Homer.
4§61. As we will now see, the occasion for Homer’s eternal return to Delos was the annual festival of the Delia, and the word that signals this festival in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo is agōn, which as I already noted means ‘competition’.

Homer as the lead singer at an agonistic choral event

4§62. In Odyssey viii 250–269, quoted in Extract 4-E, we have seen the figure of Demodokos performing as a lead singer who interacts with a chorus that is singing-and-dancing at a competitive choral event, and the word for this event at lines 259 and 260 is agōn, meaning ‘competition’. Here again is the wording: "|259 … they started arranging everything according to the rules of the competition [agōn]: |260 they made smooth the place of the singing-and-dancing [khoros], and they made a wide space of competition [agōn]." [74] So too in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo we see the figure of Homer himself performing as a lead singer in his own right, and he too is interacting with a chorus that is singing-and-dancing at a competitive choral event called an agōn. That is what I will show here, arguing that the figure of Homer qualifies as a lead singer in the context of such an agōn. Or, to put it in terms of a modern word derived from agōn, Homer is a lead singer at the agonistic choral event of the Delia.
4§63. If we look back at the lengthy passage I quoted from Thucydides (3.104.3–6) in Extract 4-G, we can see that the historian uses this word agōn with reference to both choral and athletic competitions at the festival of the Delia (3.104.3 [choral], 3.104.5 [choral and athletic], 3.104.6 [choral and athletic]). As we can see further in Extract 4-G, Thucydides also quotes from the Homeric Hymn to Apollo a passage that features the same word agōn with reference to both choral and athletic competitions at the festival of the Delia: in one of the lines (149) quoted from the Hymn, the words orkhēstus ‘dancing’ and aoidē ‘singing’ indicate the choral competition, while the word pugmakhiē ‘boxing’ indicates one example of the various athletic competitions. The same three words, with one slight formal variation (orkhēthmos instead of orkhēstus for ‘dancing’), are also attested in the corresponding line (149) of the version found in the medieval manuscripts of the Hymn to Apollo and quoted in Extract Q. From here on, whenever I refer to competitive choral events, I will substitute the term agonistic for competitive in order to evoke the meaning of agōn as this word is used in the contexts we have just considered.
4§64. In the case of Odyssey viii, the agonistic choral event is ostentatiously festive, as we have already seen from my overall paraphrase of the relevant narrative, but it cannot be tied to any specific festival. In the case of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, by contrast, the corresponding agonistic choral event is pictured as taking place on a very specific occasion, at the festival of the Delia in Delos. And the choral aspect of this agonistic event that took place at the seasonally recurrent festival of the Delia is highlighted by Thucydides: he uses the word khoros ‘chorus’ in referring to female singers-and-dancers who performed at this festival (3.104.3, 3.104.5, 3.104.6). It is clear that Thucydides, in analyzing the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, imagined that Homer himself had once interacted with a prototypical khoros of these female singers-and-dancers (3.104.5), and it is also clear that he connected this prototypical khoros with the historical attestations of agonistic choral events that were taking place at the annual festival of the Delia (3.104.3, 3.104.6). This connection made by Thucydides is justified, since the Homeric Hymn in its own wording connects the Maidens of Delos with an agonistic choral event that is celebrated at the festival of the Delia in Delos. Highlighted in the Hymn, as I already noted, are the words orkhēstus/orkhēthmos ‘dancing’ and aoidē ‘singing’ (line 149). And here I return to a comparable highlighting in Odyssey viii, with reference to the skills of the Phaeacian youths in choral as well as athletic competitions (248–253): among the words that we see in this context are khoroi ‘choruses’ (248), orkhēstus ‘dancing’ (253), and aoidē ‘singing’ (253). And we have also seen the word khoros in the specific context of referring to the place of the singing-and-dancing (260).
4§65. In Odyssey viii, the reaction of all those who attend such an agonistic choral event is delight, as expressed by the verb terpesthai, meaning ‘feeling delight’, and such a reaction is best exemplified by the disguised Odysseus as the primary character attending the performance of Demodokos in concert with the choral singers-dancers: it is said that Odysseus, in reacting to this performance, terpeto ‘felt delight’ (368), and the same delighted reaction was experienced, it is also said, by everyone else attending the performance (368–369). Again in Odyssey xiii, where Demodokos is performing as a lead singer for the last time, the entire community is described as terpomenoi ‘feeling delight’ (27), as we saw in the passage I quoted in Extract 4-F.
4§66. And there is a comparable reaction in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo: at lines 146–150, which I have already quoted in Extract 4-G, the Ionian Greeks who celebrate the festival of the Delia, which is called an agōn here (150), are delighting Apollo himself: as Homer says to the god, these celebrants ‘give you delight’, terpousin (again, 150), precisely because they are celebrating the festival by way of both choral and athletic competitions (149). As the principal god who presides over the festival of the Delia, Apollo is told by Homer that ‘you feel delight’, epi-terpeo, at each recurring occasion when the festival is celebrated. Here again is the wording of the relevant lines 146–150 in the Hymn, which I quoted already in Extract 4-G: "|146 But when, O Phoebus [Apollo], in Delos more than anywhere else you feel delight [terpesthai] in your heart [thūmos], |147 there the Ionians, with tunics [khitōn plural] trailing, gather |148 with their children and their wives, along the causeway [aguia], |149 and there with boxing [pugmakhiē] and dancing [orkhēstus] and song [aoidē] |150 they have you in mind and make you feel delight [terpein], whenever they set up a competition [agōn]." [75] The same wording, with minor variations, is attested in the corresponding text of the medieval manuscripts, and I have already quoted that text in Extract 4-H.
4§67. So the god Apollo, as a god, is the perfect model for everyone who attends the festival of the Delia: he reacts to the beauty and the pleasure of the Hymn to Apollo by feeling utter delight. We can see in this reaction another example of the theological principle of do as I do. [76] And the god’s reaction is re-enacted by the Delian Maidens when they identify Homer, without naming him, as the one who surpasses all other singers in making them too feel delight, just as Homer makes everyone feel delight. Already the question asked by the nameless singer makes it clear that the ultimate purpose of Homer is to give that feeling of delight to all: "'|169 O Maidens, who is for you the most pleasurable of singers |170 that wanders here? In whom do you take the most delight [terpesthai]?'" [77] That singer, as the response of the Delian Maidens indicates in its own riddling way, must be identified as Homer.

Homer and Demodokos as masters of hymnic singing

4§68. We have just seen, then, how the Homeric Hymn to Apollo idealizes the sheer delight that must surely be felt by all when they hear Homer himself singing at the agonistic choral event of Apollo’s festival, the Delia. In the Hymn, a clear signal of this idealization is the programmatic use of the word terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ (146, 150, 170) in describing the reaction to Homer’s song. Also in Odyssey viii, we have seen the same programmatic use of this word terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ in describing the reaction of all those who hear the song of Demodokos about Ares and Aphrodite (368–369). And the key word for referring to the form of singing that we see being performed in both these cases is humnos, which I have translated so far simply as ‘hymn’. As the argumentation advances, we will see that both Homer and Demodokos are masters of such hymnic singing.
4§69. Essential for my argument is an extraordinary single line, Odyssey viii 429, referring to the singing of a humnos by Demodokos. Nowhere else in the Odyssey—or in the Iliad, for that matter—is this word humnos attested. For the moment, I translate the line without translating the word humnos itself:

Extract 4-K

… so that he [= Odysseus] may feel delight [terpesthai] at the feast [dais] and in listening to the humnos of the song.
Odyssey viii 429 [78]
Special note: as in the other ten passages in the sequence that comes to an end with this passage, Extract 4-K, I highlight here the context of terpesthai ‘feeling delight’.

An idealization of the delight experienced at a festival

4§70. The context of line 429 in Odyssey viii is this: at lines 424–428, Alkinoos is speaking of his plans for the further hosting of his guest Odysseus, who has not yet identified himself. As a gracious host, Alkinoos says that he wants to arrange for his guest to be bathed in a lustral basin and then to be clothed in luxurious new garments before they all sit down to dine together, at which occasion Odysseus will receive going-away presents. The syntax of the expression ‘so that he may feel delight [terpesthai] ’ at line 429 carries two levels of meaning here, since the host’s wish is both general and specific. Generally, the guest should be gratified by the good hosting. But there is also the specific gratification of dining well while hearing the performance of song. The idea of dining at line 429, as expressed by the word dais, meaning ‘feast’, is closely combined here with the idea of hearing the performance of ‘song’, as expressed by the word aoidē together with humnos, and this combination is viewed as the best of all gratifications. In this same line 429, such sheer gratification is signaled by the programmatic word terpesthai, ‘feeling delight’. As I will now argue, what we see here is an idealization of the experience of ‘feeling delight’ in the context of a dais ‘feast’, which in turn is an idealization of a festival.
4§71. As Odysseus himself says later on in Odyssey ix, when he finally identifies himself, there is in fact no greater gratification in the whole world that the combination of good feasting and good singing, and the model for the general reference to singing here is the singer Demodokos:

Extract 4-L

|3 This is indeed a beautiful thing, to listen to a singer [aoidos] |4 such as this one [= Demodokos], the kind of singer that he is, comparable to the gods with the sound of his voice [audē], |5 for I declare, there is no outcome [telos] that has more pleasurable beauty [kharis] |6 than the moment when the spirit of festivity [euphrosunē] [79] prevails throughout the whole community [dēmos] |7 and the people at the feast [daitumones], throughout the halls, are listening to the singer [aoidos] |8 as they sit there—you can see one after the other—and they are seated at tables that are filled |9 with grain and meat, while wine from the mixing bowl is drawn |10 by the one who pours the wine and takes it around, pouring it into their cups. |11 This kind of thing, as I see it in my way of thinking, is the most beautiful thing in the whole world.
Odyssey ix 3–12 [80]
4§72. The feast that is going on here is a continuation of the feast that is already signaled by the word dais at line 429 of Odyssey viii, quoted in Extract 4-K, which basically means ‘feast’. In that context, dais refers short-range to an occasion of communal dining (dorpon ‘dinner’: 395), which will take place after sunset (417). The intended guest of honor at this feast will be Odysseus. This occasion of communal dining leads into the third song of Demodokos (484–485). But this same word dais at line 429 of Odyssey viii is also making a long-range reference: it refers metonymically to a stylized festival that has been ongoing ever since an earlier occasion of communal dining (71–72), which actually led into the first song of Demodokos (73–83). And let me go even further back in time. Leading up to the communal dining, there had been an animal sacrifice (as expressed by the word hiereuein ‘sacrificially slaughter’: 59). Then, the meat of the sacrificed animals (twelve sheep, eight pigs, and two oxen: 59–60) had been prepared to be cooked at the feast (61). And I stress that the word at line 61 for ‘feast’ is once again dais.
4§73. The noun dais ‘feast’ is derived from the verb daiesthai in the sense of ‘distribute’, which is used in contexts of animal sacrifice in referring to the ‘distribution’ of cooked meat among the members of a community (as in Odyssey xv 140 and xvii 332). Then, by way of synecdoche, the specific idea of distribution extends metonymically to the general idea of feasting and further to the even more general idea of a festival. Following the logic of this sequence of meanings, we see that the animal sacrifice in Odyssey viii (59) had led to the cooking and the distribution of the meat (61), which had led to the communal dining (71–72), which had led to the first song of Demodokos (73–83), and so on. In terms of this logic, the metonymic use of the word dais ‘feast’ marks a whole complex of events that are typical of festivals: animal sacrifice, communal feasting, singing as well as dancing at the feast. [81]
4§74. Besides these events in Odyssey viii, we find another set of events that are likewise typical of festivals. Right after the first song of Demodokos has come to an end (83), the king of the Phaeacians announces that there will now be a pause in the eating and the drinking, to which he refers generally as a dais ‘feast’ (98 and 99), and the pause extends to the singing that has so far accompanied the dais (99). The time has come for athletic contests, that is, aethloi/aethla (100), to be held outside the palace, in the public gathering space of the Phaeacians (100–101, 109). The king refers to boxing, wrestling, jumping, and footracing (103). The first athletic event turns out to be the footrace (120–125), followed by wrestling (126–127), jumping (128), discus throwing (129), and boxing (130). The general term that refers to the occasion of all these events is agōn, meaning ‘competition’ or ‘place of competition’ (200, 238).
4§75. There is a striking parallel to be found in a passage we have already examined in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (146–155), describing a festival of all Ionians gathered on the island of Delos. In this case as well, the occasion of that Delian festival is described as an agōn ‘competition’ (149). The competitive events at that festival include athletics—boxing is the example that is highlighted—as well as dancing and singing (149). Similarly in Odyssey viii, the competition includes singing as well as athletics, as we see from the fact that the three songs performed by Demodokos become a foil for the later performance of Odysseus starting in Odyssey ix. And the occasion for the singing of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, as we have already seen, is the ongoing dais ‘feast’ (429), which is a stylized festival—and which continues to be the occasion for the competitive performance of Odysseus in Odyssey ix. [82]
4§76. For the moment I concentrate not on the singing but on the athletics. As in the case of singing, athletics too can be seen as a source of ‘feeling delight’, terpesthai, to be experienced at a festival. I cite yet again the relevant lines 146–150 in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, as quoted in Extract 4-G, concerning the festival of the Delia: ‘|146 But when, O Phoebus [Apollo], in Delos more than anywhere else you feel delight [terpesthai] in your heart [thūmos], |147 there the Ionians, with tunics [khitōn plural] trailing, gather |148 with their children and their wives, along the causeway [aguia], |149 and there with boxing [pugmakhiē] and dancing [orkhēstus] and song [aoidē] |150 they have you in mind and make you feel delight [terpein], whenever they set up a competition [agōn]’. [83]

The relevant etymology of a Hittite word

4§77. The idea of ‘feeling delight’ on a festive occasion, as expressed by the Greek verb terpesthai, is built into a related form that we find attested in the Hittite language. It is the noun tarpa -, attested in a Hittite text dating from the second millennium BCE. This particular text (Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi XXIII 55 I, 2–27), analyzed by Jaan Puhvel, is describing a festive occasion. There is to be an animal sacrifice (four rams and an unspecified number of bulls), and there are athletic events, which include boxing and wrestling. As Puhvel notes, “a military gathering in the iconic presence of the solar deity seems to be the occasion.” [84] And the word that refers to this occasion is tarpa-. This word, Puhvel suggests, “would then be the ‘pleasure part’ of the event, the distribution, celebration, and enjoyment of winnings, perhaps even etymologically cognate with the Greek terp[esthai], ‘to delight’, which crops up so often in the Homeric vocabulary of sports.” [85]
4§78. In making this argument, Puhvel cites a number of Homeric lines that feature this word terpesthai, and among them is line 131 of Odyssey viii, where the Phaeacians are said to be ‘feeling delight’ in response to the spectacular aethloi/aethla or ‘contests’ that are then taking place. These contests are athletic competitions, which as we have just seen are imagined as part of the ongoing festivities that are narrated in Odyssey viii. At line 131, the word terpesthai ‘feeling delight’ focuses on athletics as one particular aspect of the festivities, whereas later on at line 429, as quoted in Extract 4-K, the same word focuses on another aspect, which is the singing of Demodokos. In both lines, the overall context is a stylized festival.

The festive context of hymnic singing

4§79. I now turn to the humnos that Demodokos is singing at line 429 of Odyssey viii. As we have just seen in the same line, the overall context for this singing is a stylized festival, signaled by the word dais ‘feast’. This festive context, as we will now see, is the key to understanding what the word humnos means here.
4§80. As I showed in the book Homer the Classic, this word humnos fits all the forms of singing performed by Demodokos at the ongoing festival narrated in Odyssey viii, including the song that he finishes performing at line 367, which is a story about Ares and Aphrodite. [86] As I also showed in that book, the morphology of this particular song is cognate with the morphology of the so-called Homeric Hymns, including the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. [87] And, as we will see, many of the Homeric Hymns actually refer to themselves in terms of humnos. This is not to say, however, that the translation of humnos as ‘hymn’ is sufficient for helping us understand the combination of this noun with the genitive of the noun aoidē at line 429 of Odyssey viii, where Alkinoos expresses the wish that Odysseus ‘may feel delight [terpesthai] at the feast [dais] and in listening to the humnos of the song [aoidē]’. We are still left with the problem of translating humnos in the actual context of a ‘humnos of the song [aoidē]’. Here is where I shift from the figure of Demodokos as a master of hymnic singing to the figure of Homer as represented in the Homeric Hymns, especially in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. Homer too, as we will now see, is a master of hymnic singing.

A metonymy of hymning

4§81. The English words hymn/hymnic/hymning derive from the programmatic use of the Greek word humnos in poetry as exemplified by the Homeric Hymns. Each one of these Hymns is addressed to a god or goddess who notionally presides over the performance of the hymn, and this link to divinity is in fact the key to the meaning of humnos. As we will see from attestations of this word in the Hymns, a humnos is seen as a perfect beginning of a perfect song. And the beginning is perfect if the divinity to whom the song is addressed favors the performance of the beginning. But the humnos is not just a perfect beginning. It is also the signal of a perfect transition to the rest of the performance. By metonymy, the humnos includes the rest of the performance, proceeding sequentially all the way to the conclusion of the whole performance. If the performance is sequential, consequential, you know it was started by a humnos and you know it is really a humnos. [88]

The hymnic subject

4§82. To analyze further the programmatic use of the word humnos in the Homeric Hymns, I find it useful to introduce a relevant term, the hymnic subject. In the Homeric Hymns, the invoked divinity who presides over a given festival is the hymnic subject of the hymn. In the language of the Hymns, however, the divinity who figures as the subject of any hymn is normally the grammatical object of the verb of singing the hymn (as at the beginnings of Homeric Hymns 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32). In the logic of the Hymns, the hymnic subject is the divinity that presides over the occasion of performance and becomes continuous with the occasion and thus becomes the occasion. [89]

A theology of perfection in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo

4§83. The occasion of a humnos is notionally perfect because the divinity who is the occasion is perfect. The theological notion of such perfection is expressed by way of the word eu-humnos (εὔυμνος) ‘good for hymning’, as in the sublime aporetic question that is asked twice in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo (verses 19 and 207): [90]

Extract 4-M

For how shall I hymn you, you who are so absolutely [pantōs] good for hymning [eu-humnos]?
Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 19 and 207 [91]
4§84. The theological rationale of this aporetic question can be formulated this way:
Faced with the absoluteness of the god, the performer experiences a rhetorical hesitation: how can I make the subject of my humnos something that is perfect, absolute? The absoluteness of this hymnic subject is signaled by the programmatic adverb pantōs ‘absolutely’, which modifies not only the adjective eu-humnos ‘good for hymning’ but also the entire phrasing about the absoluteness of the subject. The absoluteness of the god Apollo is continuous with the absoluteness of the humnos that makes Apollo its subject. This Homeric Hymn is saying about itself that it is the perfect and absolute humnos. As such, it is not only the beginning of a composition but also the totality of the composition, authorizing everything that follows it, because it was begun so perfectly. And the source of the perfection is the god as the subject of the humnos. [92]
4§85. The naming of the divinity as the subject of the humnos, together with the initial describing of the divinity, is the notionally perfect beginning of the humnos, and this beginning is the prooimion. We have already seen in Extract 4-G that Thucydides refers to the Homeric Hymn to Apollo explicitly as a prooimion (3.104.4, 5).
4§86. Whereas the word prooimion is a term referring only to the start of the continuum that is activated by a hymn, the word humnos retains the full extent of the poetic agenda, referring both to the start of the continuum and to the continuum itself. This connecting of the start to the continuity, as expressed by the word humnos, is a sublime act of metonymy. And the Homeric Hymn to Apollo is a perfect example: it refers to itself in terms of a humnos (verses 158, 161, 178), while Thucydides, as I just noted again, refers to it in a more restrictive way as a prooimion (3.104.4, 5). [93]

The etymologies of prooimion and humnos

4§87. This parallelism of the words prooimion and humnos in referring to the start of a continuum, which I have just described as a sublime act of metonymy, can be explained in terms of a parallelism that we find in their etymologies.
4§88. I will start with prooimion. The conventional meaning of this Greek word is conveyed by the Latin borrowing prooemium, which refers to the beginning of any work of verbal art. The original Greek form pro-oimion is a compound noun, and its etymology derives from a metaphorical reference to pattern-weaving: the word means literally the ‘initial threading’ of a song, parallel to the etymology of Latin ex-ordium, which is a synonym of pro-oemium in poetic and rhetorical contexts and which can likewise be traced back to the basic idea of an ‘initial threading’. To say it more technically in Greek, using the terminology of fabric work, the ‘initial threading’ is the exastis or ‘selvedge’. [94]
4§89. As for the etymology of the simplex noun humnos, I argue that it too derives from a metaphorical reference to pattern-weaving. According to one explanation, humnos is derived from the root of the verb huphainein ‘weave’; according to another, the root of humnos is cognate with the root of humēn ‘membrane’. [95] Either way, the basic idea conveyed by this noun is ‘web’. In terms of my overall argument, then, a humnos is metaphorically the product of weaving in general and of pattern-weaving in particular.

Starting again with Homer and Demodokos as masters of hymnic singing

4§90. These parallel etymologies of words referring to the hymning of Apollo are relevant to the figuring of both Homer and Demodokos as masters of hymnic singing. If in fact such hymnic singing is to be understood in terms of a metaphor for pattern-weaving, then what we see at work here once again is the metaphorization of Homeric poetry as a masterpiece of such pattern-weaving. We have already seen such a metaphorization when we considered the passages in the Iliad describing the web pattern-woven by Andromache, as quoted in Extract 2-O, and the web pattern-woven by Helen, as quoted in Extract 2-P. In those cases, we also saw that such masterpieces of pattern-weaving are likewise masterpieces of metonymy. And now I will develop a parallel argument about the humnos that refers to the ongoing performance of Demodokos in Odyssey viii 429 and about the humnos that refers to the ongoing performance of Homer in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo 178.

The hymnic metabasis and the hymnic consequent

4§91. Here I introduce two relevant terms, the hymnic consequent and the hymnic metabasis. The first, hymnic consequent, refers to a performance that follows the performance of a humnos. The second term, hymnic metabasis, refers to the transition that actually makes it possible for the hymnic consequent to follow the humnos. [96]
4§92. Here are three most telling examples of hymnic metabasis in the Homeric Hymns:

Extract 4-Na

|292 Hail and take pleasure [khaire], goddess, queen of well-founded Cyprus. |293 But, having started off from you, I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos.
Homeric Hymn (5) to Aphrodite 292–293 [97]

Extract 4-Nb

|7 So, with all this said, I say to you [= Artemis] now: hail and take pleasure [khaire], and along with you may all the other goddesses [take pleasure] from my song. |8 As for me, I sing you first of all and from you do I start off [arkhesthai] to sing. |9 And, having started off from you, I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos. [98]
Homeric Hymn (9) to Artemis 7–9 [99]

Extract 4-Nc

|10 So, with all this said, I say to you [= Hermes] now: hail and take pleasure, son of Zeus and Maia. |11 And, having started off from you, I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos. |12 Hail and take pleasure [khaire], Hermes, giver of pleasurable beauty [kharis], you who are conductor [of psūkhai] and giver of good things.
Homeric Hymn (18) to Hermes 10–12 [100]
4§93. The transition in each one of these passages, as marked by metabainein ‘move ahead and shift forward’, is predicated on the idea of a perfect beginning. The idea is, ‘I begin, starting from the god’. This process of transition, to which I refer by way of the prosaic noun metabasis, which is derived from the poetic verb metabainein as we see it used in these three passages, is activated by the hymnic salutation khaire/khairete, which I interpret as ‘hail and take pleasure’. Implicit in these imperative forms of the verb khairein is the meaning of the related noun kharis, which conveys the idea of a ‘favor’ achieved by reciprocating the pleasure of beauty. Making this idea explicit, I have formulated a paraphrase of khaire/khairete in the context of all its occurrences in the Homeric Hymns:
Now, at this precise moment, with all this said, I greet you, god (or gods) presiding over the festive occasion, calling on you to show favor [kharis] in return for the beauty and the pleasure of this, my performance. [101]
4§94. What drives the performative gesture of khaire/khairete is the fundamental idea that the reciprocal favor of kharis is the same beautiful thing as the pleasure that it gives. And to give such pleasure, I argue, is seen as an essential requirement for achieving a successful reception. [102]
4§95. After the signal khaire/khairete in the Homeric Hymns, the actual process of metabasis can be activated. This process is made explicit in the expression we have just seen in the three passages that I quoted, ‘I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos’ (Homeric Hymns 5.292–293, 9.7–9, 18.10–12). [103] The word humnos in the wording ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον in the Homeric Hymns marks the whole performance, so that ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον means not ‘extending into another performance’ but ‘extending into the rest of the performance’. [104]
4§96. Here I summarize my earlier findings about these transitions, which I continue to describe in terms of metabasis:
Metabasis is a device that signals a shift from the subject of the god with whom the song started—what I have been calling the hymnic subject—and then proceeds to a different subject—in what must remain notionally the same song. Ideally, the shift from subject to different subject will be smooth. Ideally, the different subject will be consequential, so that the consequent of what was started in the humnos may remain part of the humnos. This way, the transition will lead seamlessly to what is being called ‘the rest of the song’. In other words, the concept of humnos is the concept of maintaining the song as the notionally same song by way of successfully executing a metabasis from the initial subject to the next subject. The initial subject of the god and the next subject are linked as one song by the humnos in general and by the device of hymnic metabasis in particular. What comes before the metabasis is the prooimion, the beginning of the humnos. What comes after the metabasis is no longer the prooimion—but it can still be considered the humnos. [105]
4§97. In this formulation centering on the hymnic metabasis, I have already anticipated the concept of the hymnic consequent. Following up, I now propose to show examples of the kind of performance that “comes after” the hymnic metabasis. In the book Homer the Preclassic, I have worked up a set of relevant arguments that take up more than twenty-five paragraphs of space, and there is no time for me here to recapture all that argumentation. Instead, I have to content myself here with a brief summary, which I divide into five comments that all relate to the concept of a hymnic consequent. [106]
4§98. Each one of the five comments will refer to the ongoing performance of the blind singer Demodokos in Odyssey viii. The word for this performance, as we have already seen at line 429 as quoted in Extract 4-K, is humnos. And the context for this ongoing humnos, as we have also already seen, is described in the same line 429 as a dais ‘feast’, indicating a stylized festival. This ongoing humnos is envisaged as an alternative to—and a rival of—the future performance of Odysseus when he gets to tell his own story in Odyssey ix x xi xii. And what makes the performing of Demodokos so different from the future performing of Odysseus? As I show in Homer the Preclassic, Demodokos is represented as performing forms of song that resemble (a) the epic form of the so-called epic Cycle, in the case of his first and third songs, which are about the Trojan War, and (b) the hymnic form of the Homeric Hymns, in the case of his second song, which is about the love affair of Ares and Aphrodite. [107] By contrast, Odysseus is represented as performing a form of song that resembles the epic form of the Homeric Odyssey itself.
4§99. With this background in place, I am now ready to make my five comments relating to the concept of a hymnic consequent.
4§99-1. Each one of the three songs of Demodokos in Odyssey viii starts with a new hymnic prooimion, and each one of these three new prooimia is followed by a new hymnic consequent. [108]
4§99-2. In the case of the first and the third songs, the hymnic consequent is epic poetry about the Trojan War (73–83 and 486–520 respectively). In the case of the second song, the hymnic consequent is a choral song-and-dance that narrates the love affair of Ares and Aphrodite (370–380; supplemented by 262–265); in the overall narration, the performance of choral song-and-dance is preceded by an embedded narration of this love affair, performed by Demodokos and quoted by the epic medium of the Homeric Odyssey (266–366). [109]
4§99-3. Just as the Homeric Hymns have hymnic prooimia and allow for metabasis to follow, so also the third song of Demodokos has a hymnic prooimion followed by a metabasis, which is performed by Demodokos after the disguised guest Odysseus challenges the singer to metabainein ‘move ahead and shift forward’ to the story of the Wooden Horse in the epic narration of the Trojan War (492 μετάβηθι). [110]
4§99-4. The god invoked in each one of the three hymnic prooimia performed by Demodokos in Odyssey viii turns out to be one and the same god, but the identity of this god is revealed only in Odyssey xiii, after both Demodokos and Odysseus have finished their rival performances. We are about to see in my next and last comment, the fifth, that this god is Zeus himself. But before we turn to the subject of Zeus, I must emphasize here in this fourth comment that the performance of Odysseus in Odyssey ix x xi xii, just like the performance of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, takes place in the context of one single ongoing festival, which as I am arguing is stylized as a dais ‘feast’ in Odyssey viii (429; also already at 61). [111]
4§99-5. The word agōn ‘competition’ in Odyssey viii (259, 260, 380) points to the festivities that have been ongoing at this festival ever since it started with an animal sacrifice (59–61), which inaugurates the dais ‘feast’ (61). Here I recall the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, where we have seen this same word agōn ‘competition’ used with reference to the recurrent festival of Apollo on the island of Delos (150). The feasting and the competition that start in Odyssey viii continue all the way through the narrative performed by Odysseus in Odyssey ix x xi xii, lasting all night. Then, after dawn finally arrives in Odyssey xiii (23), there is another animal sacrifice (24), and this time the divine recipient of the sacrifice is mentioned by name: he is Zeus himself (25). This god, I argue, is the transcendent hymnic subject of the Homēridai, who as I noted already were a corporation of epic performers claiming to be descended from Homer of Chios. [112] So we see here a signature, as it were, of the Homeric tradition as represented by the Homēridai of Chios. The Homeric way of narrating epic, as exemplified by the performance of Odysseus in Odyssey ix x xi xii, is recognized by way of a concluding sacrifice to Zeus, who is the primary hymnic subject of the Homēridai.
4§100. On the basis of the analysis I have offered in these five comments, I can offer an overall formulation about the device of metabasis as we find it activated at line 492 of Odyssey viii (μετάβηθι): in the ongoing performance of Demodokos, viewed as a humnos at line 429 (ὕμνον ἀοιδῆς), the hymnic consequence of the hymnic metabasis is epic itself.
4§101. But the ongoing performance of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, as signaled by the word humnos at line 429, is more complicated. A distinctive feature of the outer narrative in Odyssey viii is that it separates the three songs of Demodokos from each other: each one of his three songs is represented as having its own separate starting point. And yet, these three separate inner narratives show signs of a narrative continuum connecting the three songs. The connectedness of this continuum will be made evident through the privileged perspective of Odysseus as he listens to the three stories of the inner narrative. The hero will make the mental connections that need to be made by the outer narrative, and his own performance of epic in Odyssey ix x xi xii shows that these connections were successfully made. That is what I argue in the book Homer the Classic. [113] In terms of this argument, the process of making the humnos in Odyssey viii, as signaled at line 429, is the process of making such mental connections. By indicating connections that achieve a narrative continuum in the Homeric Odyssey, the word humnos is self-referential: in referring to the ongoing humnos, Homeric poetry is referring to itself.
4§102. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo, featuring the ongoing performance of the singer who is figured as Homer, is likewise quite complicated. This figure addresses the Delian Maidens with the hymnic salutation khairete ‘hail and take pleasure’ at line 166—just as the figure of Hesiod addresses the Olympian Muses with the same hymnic salutation khairete at line 104 of the Theogony. The parallelism indicates that Homer in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo is in effect hymning not only the divine Apollo but also the Delian Maidens, who can be seen as the local Muses of Delos and who are therefore divine in their own right. [114]
4§103. In fact, the role of the Delian Maidens as divine hymnic counterparts of the god Apollo is what directly authorizes the role of Homer as master of the humnos. These Maidens are figured not only as attendants of Apollo (157) but also as the prototypical singers of a humnos or ‘hymn’ (161: ὕμνον), which is a song that makes Apollo the subject of that song (158: ὑμνήσωσιν). That song, of course, is the prototype of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo as sung by Homer himself, who declares that he in his own right is making Apollo the subject of the humnos that he himself sings (178).
4§104. But Homer is also making the Delian Maidens the subject of this same humnos, since he addresses them in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo as if they were a sacred chorus led by the god Apollo himself as their lead singer. The Delian Maidens must be delighted by Homer’s song just as Apollo is delighted.
4§105. So, what really complicates things here is the fact that the hymnic salutation khairete ‘hail and take pleasure’ that signals a hymnic metabasis at line 166 in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo is addressed not to Apollo but to the Delian Maidens. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo is not yet directing its hymnic salutation at Apollo, who is still to be hymned as the god of Delphi after he is hymned as the god of Delos. And what follows the hymnic salutation to the Delian Maidens at line 166 of the Hymn is not a metabasis or transition to a new subject in the rest of the performance, as in other Homeric Hymns. Instead, the primary subject remains Apollo, and the performance itself continues in a hymnic mode, with a transition from hymning Apollo as worshipped at Delos to Apollo as worshipped at Delphi. In the meantime, however, there is another kind of transition going on. Homer himself will be transitioning out of Delos and taking his performance on the road, as it were, throughout the cities of the Greek world. He will be a wandering singer of epic while the Delian Maidens, as stationary singers-dancers of the Hymn to Apollo, will stay in Delos, awaiting the return of Homer on the occasion of the upcoming year’s festival of the Delia.
4§106. Homer’s hymnic salutation of the Maidens at line 166, khairete ‘hail and take pleasure’, is a wish that is fulfilled every year, and the Maidens affirm this annual wish-fulfillment when they respond to the question "'|169 O Maidens, who is for you the most pleasurable of singers |170 that wanders here? In whom do you take the most delight [terpesthai]?'" [115] Each and every year at the Delia, the answer will be the same: this most pleasurable of all singers will be Homer himself, and Homer’s hymnic salutation to the Maidens, wishing that they take pleasure in his singing, will be his eternal wish-fulfillment.
4§107. Thucydides himself shows that he understands the significance of Homer’s hymnic salutation of the Delian Maidens in the context of his paraphrasing what Homer tells the Maidens at lines 165–172 of the Hymn: in the words of the historian (3.104.5), as quoted in Extract 4-G, Homer in his prooimion praises these prototypical singers of the humnos as the subject of his own humnos, just as he praises the god Apollo himself. The noun used here by Thucydides (3.104.5) with reference to the humnos performed by Homer is not humnos but prooimion, but the corresponding verb that he uses in this same context to express the idea of Homer’s performance is humneîn (ὑμνήσας). This verb here takes as its grammatical object the noun referring to the female singers-dancers who represent the Delian Maidens themselves. So, in the reading of Thucydides, Homer in his prooimion is ‘hymning’ the Delian Maidens, not only the god Apollo.
4§108. It is not a contradiction, however, to maintain that the Delian Maidens are simultaneously envisioned as members of a local khoros ‘chorus’ of girls or women. [116] In terms of my argument, the role of divinity can be appropriated by members of a chorus during choral performance. That is to say, the Delian Maidens as a choral ensemble can re-enact the local Delian Muses. [117]
4§109. By now we have seen a wide variety of complications and subtleties involved in the making of metabasis, which I define overall as a transition from a notionally perfect beginning into a continuum that will ultimately come to a perfect close. Viewing the poetics of transition from this standpoint, I bring this section to a close by citing a relevant formulation by Elroy Bundy: “Beginnings, middles, and ends: the meaning of literature resides in its transitions.” [118]

The festive humnos in the Homeric Odyssey

4§110. Having analyzed the meaning of the word humnos as we see it at work in the Homeric Hymns, I now look back at the unique attestation of this same word at verse 429 of Odyssey viii, quoted in Extract 4-K. By now we can see that humnos here signals an ongoing performance by the singer Demodokos, and the occasion is a correspondingly ongoing festival, as signaled by the word dais ‘feast’ at the same line 429. [119] Part of the ongoing humnos is the second performance of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, where he sings the story of the love affair of Ares and Aphrodite, and I already referred to the occasion of this performance as a festival. I noted, though, that this occasion cannot be tied to any specific festival as in the case of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, where that particular occasion is clearly the festival of the Delia. Still, the performance of Demodokos happens at a festival, even if that festival is only a virtual one. And, as I say, it is an ongoing festival.

Returning to that most festive of all moments in the Iliad

4§111. From our reading of the narrative in Odyssey viii about the ongoing performance of Demodokos at a festival that is stylized as a correspondingly ongoing feast, we can see at least in broad outlines the figuring of an earlier kind of Homer as he existed in an earlier phase of his evolution. In this earlier phase, Homer is pictured as a master of hymnic singing, which would be an older kind of performance. In a later phase, he becomes a master of epic recitation, which would be a newer kind of performance. I have already described the occasion of hymnic singing as an agonistic choral event. As for the occasion of epic recitation, it is likewise an agonistic event, but the competition is in this case no longer choral but rhapsodic. In speaking here of an agonistic rhapsodic event, I have in mind once again the recitative and non-choral medium of performance practiced by professionals called rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’.
4§112. This formulation, as we will now see, is relevant to what I described earlier as that most festive of all moments in the Iliad. It is the moment at lines 603–606 of Iliad XVIII where we either see or do not see Homer himself performing at a festival. In the longer version of this Iliadic passage, as quoted in Extract 4-B, we do see Homer performing, but in the shorter version, as quoted in Extract 4-C, he has been removed from view.
4§113. This dichotomy reflects a differentiation between rhapsodic and choral performance, and I review here the relevant parts of what I said earlier about this differentiation:
  • Rhapsodes both competed and collaborated with each other in the performance of epic at Panhellenic festivals like the Panathenaia in Athens.
  • Presiding over the agonistic rhapsodic events at that particular festival were the Homēridai, epic performers claiming to be descended from Homer of Chios.
  • These Homēridai, masters of epic performance, also performed hymns, but these hymns were composed as well as performed only in a rhapsodic mode, as characterized by a single meter known as the dactylic hexameter. And it is these hymns that have survived down to our time as the Homeric Hymns
  • As for the choral mode of composing and performing hymns, it too has survived—in the form of choral “lyric” song, characterized by a vast multiplicity of meters. [120]
4§114. That said, I confront here a simple historical fact: the rhapsodic recitation of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey in historical times is not a choral mode for performance. Similarly, the figure of Odysseus does not engage in a choral mode of performance when he recites his own epic narrative in Odyssey ix x xi xii. By contrast, Demodokos still needs the old choral mode when he interacts with a stylized chorus of Phaeacians in performing the story of the love affair between Ares and Aphrodite. And even the Homer of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo is at least performing a mimesis of the old choral mode when he interacts with the chorus of the Delian Maidens—though this interaction is performed in the rhapsodic medium of the dactylic hexameter.
4§115. A comparable formulation applies in the case of the variation we see between the longer version of Iliad XVIII 603–606 as quoted in Extract 4-B and the shorter version as quoted in Extract 4-C. In the longer version, we find Homer himself engaging in the earlier choral mode of performance, while the shorter version has no room for him any more, because he has already become a rhapsodic specialist. So, in the shorter version, Homer is elided from the choral scene. We can no longer see him there.
4§116. By contrast, it is the chorus that we can no longer see in Odyssey xiii 24–28 as quoted in Extract 4-F, where Demodokos is shown performing for the last time. Here the choral mode of his performance is shaded over while the rhapsodic mode is highlighted. There is no direct mention of a participating chorus here. Such an elision of the chorus in Odyssey xiii reflects a transition in the narrative—from the generally choral mode of performance by Demodokos in Odyssey viii to the specifically rhapsodic mode of Odysseus as a precursor of a newer non-choral Homer in Odyssey ix x xi xii. And the naming of Zeus as the recipient of the sacrifice that concludes the feast in Odyssey xiii 24–28, as quoted in Extract 4-F, can be seen here as a signature of the Homēridai as the rhapsodic heirs of Homer, since the form of their hymns—specifically, of their prooimia—allowed for Zeus to become the ultimate hymnic subject of any Homeric performance—even if that performance took place at a festival celebrating some other god. No matter which god was the immediate hymnic subject of a Homeric prooimion, the ultimate hymnic subject for the Homēridai was normally Zeus. [121]
4§117. This Homeric signature of the Homēridai in starting any Homeric prooimion with Zeus is most tellingly echoed in the words of Pindar. These words, which I now quote, start off a song that we know as Nemean 2:

Extract 4-O

[Starting] from the point where [hothen] the Homēridai, singers, most of the time [ta polla] begin [arkhesthai] their stitched-together [rhapta] words, from the prooimion of Zeus …
Pindar Nemean 2.1–3 [122]
4§118. To say that Zeus is the song’s point of departure in Pindar’s Nemean 2 is the equivalent of saying that this point of departure is the prooimion of Zeus, in that the prooimion starts with the god and is a continuation from the god. Further, the continuity that is started by the prooimion becomes the continuum that is the humnos. [123]
4§119. With this formulation in place, I can now return to my earlier argument about a basic divergence between the meanings of prooimion and humnos: whereas the word prooimion refers only to the start of the continuum, the word humnos refers to both the start of the continuum and the continuum itself. To put it another way, the naming of the god is a metonymy—of and by itself—from the standpoint of the prooimion that starts off with the naming of the god, and the whole process of starting and then continuing is the essence of humnos. Then, in the logic of the humnos, there is even further metonymy: the god who presides over the occasion of performance becomes continuous with the occasion and thus becomes the occasion. [124]
4§120. At the very end of Pindar’s Nemean 2, the wording of the song most tellingly loops back to the very beginning:

Extract 4-P

Him [= Zeus, presiding over the festival of the Némea] you O citizens of the city must celebrate [kōmazein] for the sake of Timodemos, at the moment of his homecoming marked by genuine fame [kleos], and, in sweet-sounding song, you must lead off [ex-arkhein] with your voice.
Pindar Nemean 2.23–25 [125]
4§121. Here at the end of the song, the chorus of performers is imagined as an assembly of the citizens of the city who are called upon to ‘begin’ or ‘lead off’, ex-arkhein, as if they had become transformed into a lead singer whose song will lead into the collective choral singing-and-dancing. So the chorus here is pictured as making a mimesis of its own lead singer—who could be imagined as Homer himself, the notional ancestor of the Homēridai.
4§122. In terms of my argument, we have already seen such a lead singer. He was pictured at lines 603–606 of Iliad XVIII, as quoted in Extracts 4-A and 4-B. The word ex-arkhein ‘lead off’ at line 606 there, as we saw, signals an individuated performer who interacts with the collective performance of a singing-and-dancing chorus. [126] So also in the mimetic world of Pindar’s Nemean 2, the same word ex-arkhein ‘lead off’ at the last line of this song signals a new beginning for the singing-and-dancing of the chorus—a beginning that is ‘led off’ by an imagined Homer who gives ‘voice’ to the words of song. [127]
4§123. This imagined Homer matches not only the anonymous singer of Iliad XVIII 606 but also another ostentatiously anonymous singer. I have in mind here the Homer who refers to himself without naming himself in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. That other Homer seems at first to be simply a solo singer, but he is not. Rather, that Homer is a solo singer only in the making. The self-portrait of that Homer in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo pictures a singer in the act of taking the lead in the performance of a singing-and-dancing chorus. [128] That Homer in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo is making a mimesis of himself as the lead singer of a chorus, and the model for his emergence as an individual performer is the god Apollo himself. [129]

Homer as a metonym

4§124. In the light of all the internal and comparative evidence I have surveyed up to now, I am ready to conclude that not only Demodokos in Odyssey viii and xiii but also the anonymous singer in the longer version of lines 603–606 in Iliad XVIII are representations of Homer himself as a lead singer. Essential for this conclusion is the idea that a lead singer is connected to a choral group of singers-and-dancers as he leads into the choral singing-and-dancing. Such a connection is metonymic, in the sense that the singer’s meaning is achieved by way of his connecting with the performers in the chorus, who in turn connect with the crowd that surrounds these performers. This way, to the extent that this metonymic lead singer is Homer, Homer himself can be seen as a metonym.

Homeric poetry as a perfect masterpiece of metonymy

4§125. In Part Two, I had argued that the Peplos of Athena could be viewed as a perfect masterpiece of metonymy. Here in Part Four, I am ready to make a comparable argument about Homeric poetry. What justifies the description perfect in this case is the idealized representation of Homer himself by Homeric poetry.
4§126. Here I build on the idea of Homer as a metonym. If, as I said a minute ago, Homer himself is potentially connected to everyone because he had once been idealized as everyone’s lead singer, then it follows that all Homeric poetry could be viewed as a system of connections that leads back to Homer as an absolute model for actually making these connections.
4§127. And the metaphor for the making of connections by Homer is the craft of pattern-weaving. This craft, as I argued in Part Two, was actually driven by a metonymic way of thinking, and we saw already at the very start of Part Four here that Homer himself is metaphorically pattern-woven into a web that is pictured as the work of the divine artisan, Hephaistos himself. So, the pattern-weaving of Homeric poetry would surely have produced a work of art that was thought to be absolutely perfect—a perfect masterpiece of metonymy.

Viewing Homeric poetry through the lens of synecdoche

4§128. I have reached a point here, in the course of collecting masterpieces of metonymy, where the sheer size of a given masterpiece simply overwhelms the framework of my argumentation. Even if I am right in arguing that all of Homeric poetry can be viewed as a perfect masterpiece of metonymy, how can I possibly show, in my collection of extracts, the entirety of this poetry? Obviously, I am faced with an impossibility. What I have done instead is to view the wording of one single line, Odyssey viii 429, quoted in Extract 4-K, as a placeholder for all the thousands of lines of Homeric poetry. In viewing this one line, I first argued that the word humnos as we find it here refers metaphorically to the singing of Demodokos as if this singing were the same thing as the weaving of a web. Anyone who hears this singing is "hearing the web [humnos] of song [aoidē]." Then I argued that there is also an all-pervasive metonymic reference at work here. The unique occurrence here in Odyssey viii 429 of the word humnos, found nowhere else in the Odyssey and the Iliad taken together, signals a metonymic reference to a part of Homeric poetry as if this part were the same thing as the whole, that is, as if one word in Homeric poetry could represent the entire continuum of this poetry. Such a metonymic reference is of course a shining example of synecdoche as I had defined it back in Part One.
4§129. And there is also a second example of synecdoche at work here, since the word dais in this same line 429 of Odyssey viii refers metonymically to a ‘feast’, that is, to a scene of dining, as if this feast could represent the entire continuum of the stylized festival that we see described throughout the length of Odyssey viii. In other words, this word dais makes it possible to view, through the lens of synecdoche, an idealized occasion for hearing "the web of song" that represents Homeric poetry. And the best person to hear this song is the main hero of the epic that represents him here, Odysseus himself:

Extract 4-Q (repeating 4-K)

… so that he [= Odysseus] may feel delight [terpesthai] at the feast [dais] and in listening to the humnos of the song.
Odyssey viii 429 [130]
4§130. So, we have just seen Odysseus as a model for hearing Homeric poetry performed in the older ways exemplified by Demodokos. Later on, in Odyssey ix x xi xii, Odysseus becomes a model for performing this poetry in the newer ways of rhapsodic recitation. And, still later, he becomes a model for performing song in general—not in a rhapsodic way but in an old-fashioned choral way. In the passage we are about to read, we see his words re-enacting the way a lead singer could lead into the singing-and-dancing of a chorus at a festive occasion. After Odysseus arrives in Ithaca, he is hosted at a humble feast arranged for him by the swineherd Eumaios, and, at this festive occasion, the hero expresses his feelings of exuberance by saying, in a singing mode, that he feels the urge to sing-and-dance:

Extract 4-R

|462 Listen to me now, Eumaios and all you other companions! |463 Speaking proudly, I will tell you a wording [epos]. The wine, which sets me loose, is telling me to do so. |465 Wine impels even the thinking man to sing [aeidein] and to laugh softly. And it urges him on to dance [orkheîsthai]. |466 It even prompts a wording [epos] that may be better left unsaid. |467 But now that I have shouted out loud [an-e-kragon], I will not suppress it.
Odyssey xiv 462–467 [131]
4§131. In the poetics of choral lyric song as exemplified by Pindar, we see what I think is an independent attestation of the same convention. Here the voice of the singers-dancers, speaking in an individuated mode, has this to say about the festivities that compensate for the previous toil or ponos ‘pain’ experienced by the victorious athlete in his successful struggle to achieve victory:

Extract 4-S

If it [= the struggle for victory] was a pain [ponos], the feeling of delight [ terpnon] that comes after it is greater. Let me do it. I’m doing it for the sake of bringing pleasure-and-beauty-as-compensation [kharis] for the victor. And if, in doing it, I soared too far upward and shouted out loud [an-e-kragon], I am not unversed in bringing it back down.
Pindar Nemean 7.74–76 [132]
4§132. Up to now, we have been reading passages where the verb terpesthai ‘feel delight’ signals programmatically the singing-and-dancing that takes place at a festival. But now we have found in a song of Pindar the absolutizing of such delight. Instead of the verb, what we see here is a neuter adjective terpnon ‘delightful’, absolutized as an abstract substantive noun tò terpnon meaning something like ‘that delightful thing’. That thing could be the ultimate delight, and everyone attending a festive event could experience it—yes, everyone.

Viewing the festival of Athena through the lens of synecdoche

4§133. In Odyssey viii 429, we saw that the word dais ‘feast’ refers metonymically to an ongoing festival, viewed as an idealized occasion for hearing Homeric poetry. The metonymy here could be described more specifically as synecdoche, since the feast here is part of the ongoing festival that is being imagined. Now we will see a comparable synecdoche involving another word, thusiā, which is conventionally translated as ‘festival’. This word too can refer to an occasion for hearing Homeric poetry, but in this case the occasion is not idealized but real. In other words, we will see that this word thusiā is used with reference to a historical occasion for hearing the performance of Homeric poetry, and that this occasion is the seasonally recurring festival of the goddess Athena in Athens, the Panathenaia.
4§134. Essential here is the context of the word thusiā in the Timaeus of Plato (26e), where this word refers to the entire complex of events taking place at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens. One of the greatest of these Panathenaic events—although Plato’s text does not explicitly refer to it or to any other event that took place at that festival—was the relay performance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey by rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’ who competed with each other for prizes. [133] The word for such rhapsodic competition is agōn, as attested for example in Plato’s Ion (530a). This word agōn, as we have already seen, can mean literally ‘competition’. Relevant is the wording of Thucydides 3.104.3–6, quoted in Extract 4-G, about the competitive events held at the festival of the Delia on the sacred island of Delos. In that context, we saw that the historian uses this same word agōn ‘competition’ with reference to events not only in athletics but also in mousikē, the ‘craft of the Muses’ (Thucydides 3.104.3 and 3.104.5, as analyzed in 4§63). So also in the case of competitive events held at the festival of the Panathenaia, as we can see from the wording of the Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians (60.1), the same word agōn ‘competition’ applies to Panathenaic contests not only in athletics but also in mousikē, and the events in mousikē include the competitions of rhapsodes performing Homeric poetry. [134] In short, then, it is a historical fact that the Panathenaia, as a premier thusiā or ‘festival’ celebrated in honor of the goddess Athena in Athens, was a prime venue for hearing the performance of Homeric poetry.
4§135. The general meaning of thusiā as a festival needs to be reconsidered, however, in the context of this word’s etymology, which as we will see points to the specific meaning of slaughtering sacrificial animals. In terms of this specific meaning for thusiā, a problem arises: how are we to square the idea of a sacrificial slaughter with the idea of hearing Homeric poetry performed at a festival like the Panathenaia? As I will now argue, there is a long-term solution to this problem if we consider, besides the event of the rhapsodic competitions, two other events that took place at this seasonally recurring festival in Athens.
4§136. In Part Three, we already examined in some detail these two other events. The first of these was the Panathenaic Procession, while the second was the presentation of the Peplos of Athena. Actually, the Panathenaic Procession could better be described as a multiple event—a metonymic sequence that led up to the climactic event of presenting the Peplos. And we have also considered in some detail a most spectacular visualization of this whole sequence, pictured in the relief sculptures of the Parthenon Frieze. But the fact is, the presentation of the Peplos was not the only climactic event of the Panathenaic Procession. Here we come to another big thing that happened at the Panathenaia—a happening that we have not yet considered. This happening was another essential part of the Panathenaic Procession—and of the whole festival of the Panathenaia. I have in mind here the hekatombē or ‘hecatomb’, which was a spectacular sacrificial slaughter of one hundred cattle that took place at the conclusion of the Panathenaic Procession. There is a striking attestation of this word hekatombē in an inscription concerning the quadrennial Panathenaia of 410/9 BCE (IG I3 375 lines 5 … 7: παναθεναια τα μεγαλα … ες τεν εκατομβεν).
4§137. If we keep in mind these spectacular animal sacrifices at the Panathenaia, we can learn to appreciate more fully the basic meaning of thusiā as ‘sacrifice’. I emphasize again that the sacrifice of one hundred cattle at the Panathenaia was a decisively climactic moment in the metonymic sequence of the Panathenaic Procession, just as the presentation of the Peplos was a comparably climactic moment in the same procession. And I emphasize also that this spectacular animal sacrifice at the Panathenaia, as a climactic moment in the ritual sequence of the Panathenaic Procession, seems to be correlated with a climactic moment we saw in the mythological sequence of the Parthenon Frieze. Once again I have in mind here the primal scene that we see sculpted into Block 5 on the east side of the Parthenon Frieze, showing not only a presentation of the Peplos but also, if the argument holds, an act of preparation for a human sacrifice. In other words, the animal sacrifice in the ritual of the hecatomb seems to be correlated with the human sacrifice that is narrated in the myth about the mortal girl known simply as the Parthénos.

Viewing a festival of Hera through the lens of synecdoche

4§138. Having just highlighted (1) the presentation of the Peplos and (2) the sacrifice of one hundred cattle as two climactic ritual events at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens, I will now compare a similar pair of ritual events that took place at a festival in the ancient city of Argos. This Argive festival, sacred to the goddess Hera, was called the Heraia.
4§138.1a. I start with the first of the two ritual events I have in mind. This event, taking place at the festival of Hera in Argos, would have been the presentation of a robe to the goddess. The local Argive word for this robe was patos (Hesychius s.v.). [135] This patos ‘robe’, pattern-woven for Hera, was evidently presented to her on the seasonally recurring occasion of her own festival, the Heraia. There is a reference made to this robe in Callimachus (Aetia F 66.3), where the speaker is addressing a water-nymph who presides over one of the sacred springs of Argos:

Extract 4-T1

For those women whose sacred concern it is to weave [huphainein] the holy robe [patos] of Hera, it is not sanctioned to be stationed at the weaving-bars [kanones] of their looms before having your [= the nymph’s] water poured over their heads as they sit at the sacred rock.
Callimachus Aetia F 66.2–5 [136]
4§138.1b. I juxtapose what we have just seen concerning the robe of Hera with a text I have already quoted before, concerning the robe of Athena that is presented to the goddess at the conclusion of the pompē ‘procession’ that is held in her honor:

Extract 4-T2 (repeating 2-S)

For Athena the city-goddess [Polias] there was a robe [peplos] made. It was completely pattern-woven [pan-poikilos]. And it was ritually carried and presented to her in the procession [pompē] of the Panathenaia.
Scholia for Aristophanes Birds 827 [137]
4§138.2. Having reconstructed the first of two ritual events that took place at the festival of Hera in Argos, namely, the presentation of a robe to the goddess, I now turn to the second event, which was a hecatomb offered to Hera. This second event is related to the first. As we will see from a relevant text that I am about to quote from the scholia for Pindar’s Olympian 7 (152), the pompē ‘procession’ that was held in honor of Hera at her festival in Argos culminated in a hecatomb, that is, in a ritual slaughter of one hundred cattle. In the case of the Athenian counterpart to this Argive procession, namely, the Panathenaic Procession, we already know that this ritual event likewise culminated in a hecatomb—and that this climactic moment of the hecatomb was synchronized with the presentation of the robe of the goddess. And now, in a text that refers to a comparable climactic moment of a hecatomb that takes place at the festival of Hera in Argos, we will be encountering the same word pompē ‘procession’ that we saw just a moment ago in the text I quoted about the festival of Athena in Athens. In the text that I am about to quote, the word pompē is used with reference to a procession that leads up to the ritual slaughtering of one hundred cattle at the festival of Hera. Further, as we will also be seeing in this text that I am about to quote, the word that actually refers to the slaughtering of the hundred cattle at the festival of Hera in Argos is the verb thuein, meaning literally ‘sacrifice’. I highlight this detail in advance because it is relevant to the meaning of the noun thusiā as ‘festival’. We already know, from the wording we have read in the Timaeus of Plato (26e), that this noun thusiā can be used as a general term for referring to the festival of Athena in Athens. And we also already know that this same noun thusiā, meaning ‘festival’, is actually derived from the verb thuein, meaning ‘sacrifice’. So, the use of this word thuein ‘sacrifice’ in the text that I am about to quote is essential for my overall argumentation. That said, I now finally quote the relevant text, divided into four parts (Ua, Ub, Uc, Ud), describing the festival of the goddess Hera in Argos:

Extract 4-Ua

“… and the bronze [khalkos] in Argos” [quotation from Pindar]: [It is the festival called] the Heraia. It is also called the Hekatombaia [derived from hekatombē = a sacrifice of one hundred cattle]. It is called that because of the number of cattle that are sacrificed [thuein]. What is received as prizes there [= at that festival] is bronze [khalkos] not as raw material that has no work done on it [a-ergon] but in the [worked] form of tripods and cauldrons and shields [aspis plural] and mixing bowls.
Scholia for Pindar Olympian 7.152a 1 A [138]

Extract 4-Ub

“… recognized him” [quotation from Pindar]: He [= the victor of the competition] was recognized by way of the bronze [khalkos] that is given as a prize [athlon] to the winner [of the competition] in Argos.
Scholia for Pindar Olympian 7.152 b 1 ABDEQ [139]

Extract 4-Uc

The festival of the Heraia or Hekatombaia at Argos is ritually enacted [teleîsthai] with the sacrifice [thuein] of one hundred cattle to the goddess. And the prize [athlon] to be won in the contest is a bronze shield [aspis khalkē]. According to other sources, the prizes are garlands [stephanoi] made of myrtle.
Scholia for Pindar Olympian 7.152c 1 ABCEQ [140]

Extract 4-Ud

According to an alternative source … In Argos, at the festival-of-competition [agōn] called the Hekatombaia, bronze [khalkos] is awarded as the prize [athlon] (in the competition). That is because Arkhinos, when he became king of the Argives, was the first to establish a festival-of-competition [agōn] and, having been put in charge of the preparation of weapons, he proceeded from there to the establishment of the awarding of these weapons as prizes. This festival-of-competition [agōn] is called Hekatombaia because one hundred cattle are led forth in a grand procession [pompē], and their meat is divided by customary law among all the citizens of the city.
Scholia for Pindar Olympian 7.152d 1 BCEQ [141]

Where it all comes together

4§139. I remember once saying about this four-part text, as I have just quoted it, that it brings together for me the pieces of a big picture. I said it spontaneously, just when I was nearing the end of the fourth of the four “live” Martin Classical Lectures in the spring of 2003 at Oberlin. Back then, I was arguing that this four-part prosaic description of a seasonally recurring festival of Hera as celebrated in the city of Argos contains a sufficient number of elements to make it possible for me to reconstruct a unified poetic description of such an event. And, to use again the words that I used then, I was thinking of such a reconstruction as some kind of big picture.
4§140. Even earlier than that particular occasion at Oberlin, I had quoted the same four-part text just when I was nearing the end of the sixth of my six “live” Sather Classical Lectures in the spring of 2002 at Berkeley. Back then, I was arguing that this same four-part prosaic description of the festival of Hera in the city of Argos contains elements that we see on display in that ultimate big picture created by Homeric poetry, which is the Shield of Achilles. Much later on, in the online (2009) and the printed (2010) versions of the book Homer the Preclassic, I published the specifics of that argument about the Shield. Some of those specifics overlapped with what I had argued more generally in the fourth lecture of the Martin Classical Lectures about the festival of Hera in Argos. Here in the published version of the fourth lecture, I intend to synthesize this general argument centering on the festival of Hera with the specific argument, as already published in Homer the Preclassic, centering on the Shield of Achilles as we see it pictured in the context of the festival of Hera. In what follows, then, I offer such a synthesis.

The general argument centering on the festival of Hera in Argos

4§141. Here I repeat the general argument: the elements we see at work in the four-part text as quoted in Extract 4-U (Ua, Ub, Uc, Ud) can be reconstructed as essential parts of a big picture that visualizes the festival of Hera at Argos, the Heraia. Each part is pointing metonymically toward the entirety of the festival. In other words, we see synecdoche at work here.
4§142. What follows is an inventory showing three events taking place at the festival, all three of which are mentioned in the text of Extract 4-U (Ua, Ub, Uc, Ud).

Event One, the hecatomb

4§142*1. At the festival of Hera at Argos, there was a hecatomb, that is, a sacrifice of one hundred cattle (Ua, Uc, Ud), and the act of sacrifice is expressed by way of the verb thuein ‘sacrifice’ (Uc). The ritual of this mass sacrifice was a culminating event of the festival, and the corresponding ritual that led up to this event was a grand procession that was held in honor of the goddess. The word for this ritual lead-up is pompē ‘procession’ (Ud). I find it most significant that this procession is the actual setting for a celebrated story told by Herodotus (1.31.1–5) about a priestess of Hera and her two boys, Kleobis and Biton. The mother and the two sons are, all three of them, major characters in what turns out to be an aetiological myth about the ritual practice of sacrificially slaughtering one hundred cattle in the precinct of the goddess Hera at the climax of the festival celebrated in her honor at Argos. Also involved as major “characters” in the story are two sacrificial oxen. The two boys, who are described as āthlophoroi ‘prize-winning athletes’, willingly took the place of the two sacrificial oxen, chosen to pull the wagon carrying the priestess across the plain of Argos—over a distance of 45 stadium-lengths—along a sacred way leading up to the precinct of Hera (1.31.2). The oxen had been late in arriving at the starting-point of the procession (again, 1.31.2), and this lateness, in terms of the story, is the aetiological explanation for their replacement by the two athletes. If these two oxen had not been late, they would have been slaughtered along with the other ninety-eight oxen that had been chosen for the mass sacrifice of one hundred cattle at the finishing-point of the procession, inside the precinct of Hera. At the feast that followed the sacrifice inside the precinct, the two boys died a mystical death after having pulled the wagon of the priestess all the way to this finishing-point of the procession (1.31.5). [142] Thus, by way of this death that they shared with each other, the boys became sacrificial substitutes for the two premier victims of the animal sacrifice. [143]

Event Two, the presentation of a bronze shield

4§143*2. A pre-eminent prize to be awarded in the athletic competitions at this festival of Hera was a bronze aspis ‘shield’ (Ua, Ub, Uc, Ud). [144] As we will see, the ritual of awarding the shield—like the ritual of slaughtering one hundred cattle—was another culminating event of the festival, and the corresponding ritual that led up to this event was, once again, the grand procession in honor of Hera. To repeat, the word for this ritual lead-up is pompē ‘procession’ (Ud). I add a related fact: the athletic competitions themselves were metonymically called the Aspis or ‘Shield’, as we see from a variety of inscriptions. [145] By way of synecdoche, then, the competition itself was the Shield. And there is even further synecdoche here. As we see from the wording that describes the athletic competition (Ub), the metallic substance of the bronze that goes into the making of the shield is seen as an extension of the very idea of victory in the competition, since this bronze is to be ‘energized’ (we can see that meaning at work in the Greek word en-ergeia). In other words, the bronze has work (ergon) done on it in the form of the shields—and tripods and cauldrons and mixing bowls—that are awarded as prizes. [146]

Event Three, the presentation of a garland made of myrtle

4§144*3. Another pre-eminent prize to be awarded at this festival was a garland made of myrtle (Uc). As we will see in this case as well, the ritual of awarding the garland took place as a culminating event of the festival, and the corresponding ritual that led up to this event was, in this case as well, the grand procession in honor of Hera. To repeat yet again, the word for this ritual lead-in is pompē ‘procession’ (Ud). Here too I add a related fact: a traditional term for referring to blossoms of myrtle was kharites, which is the plural form of kharis ‘pleasurable beauty’: in other words, the word kharis could refer metonymically to the festive use of myrtle blossoms in the making of garlands:

Extract 4-V

Macedonians and Cypriotes use the word kharites [= plural of kharis] with reference to myrtle blossoms that are compacted and curled [around a garland]. We call them garland-blossoms [stephanitides].
Scholia D (via Scholia A) for Iliad XVII 51 [147]
4§145. We can actually see the same metonymic reference in Argive usage, as reflected in the diction of Pindar. In a song of his that celebrates the winner of a wrestling event at the festival of Hera in Argos, we find the plural of kharis, that is, kharites, personified as the ‘Graces’, and these divine attendants of Hera are invoked at the very beginning of the song (Pindar Nemean 10.1 Χάριτες).
4§146. There is a parallel metonymic reference reported by Pausanias (2.17.3–4): when this traveler enters the temple of Hera in Argos, he sees inside the pronaos, that is, when he gets inside the front third of the temple, a set of archaic statues that are known to the Argives as the Kharites, which is also the word for the ‘Graces’, divine attendants of Hera who personify the pleasurable beauty of kharis; and, remarkably, Pausanias reports seeing next to the Kharites an archaic shield, presumably made of bronze, which once belonged to the hero Euphorbos. [148] In the Homeric Iliad, where the death of this hero is described, the flecks of blood that grace the hair of the dead Euphorbos are actually compared by way of simile to kharites, and the word seems to be referring in this context to red blossoms of myrtles that are red:

Extract 4-W

|51 With blood bedewed were his locks of hair, looking like kharites, |52 with the curls and all.
Iliad XVII 51–52 [149]

The specific argument centering on the Shield of Achilles

4§147. So far, in terms of my general argument centering on the festival of Hera at Argos, we have seen that the ritual event of the pompē ‘procession’ held in honor of the goddess leads into three culminating ritual events: (1) the slaughter of one hundred cattle, (2) the awarding of bronze shields, and (3) the parallel awarding of myrtle garlands. But now I shift to my specific argument centering on the relevance of this same festival to the very idea of the Shield of Achilles. In making this shift, I will now highlight two further events taking place at the festival of the Heraia, which I will call Event Four and Event Five. As we will see, each one of these two events, just like the previous Events One, Two, and Three, is likewise a culmination that comes at the finishing-point of the pompē ‘procession’ honoring the goddess.

Event Four, the choral performance of Argive girls

4§148*4. [The number *4 here follows up on the number *3 of 4§144*3.] The procession in honor of Hera culminated in a choral performance of Argive girls who participated in that procession. This culminating ritual event can be reconstructed on the basis of what we read in the Electra of Euripides.
4§149. The role of the chorus that is singing-and-dancing in this drama is twofold: the performers in the chorus here represent not only the girls of Argos in the mythical past but also the girls of Argos who participated in the rituals of the seasonally recurring festival of Hera in the historical present of the drama. In the Electra of Euripides, the male Athenian chorus of his drama is representing a female Argive chorus participating in a contemporary version of Hera’s festival, and this female Argive chorus is in turn representing their prototypical counterparts in the mythical past. Already back then, in that mythical past, a chorus of Argive girls is participating in the festival of the Heraia. In the Electra of Euripides, there are explicit references to the upcoming choral performance of these mythical girls at Hera’s festival. And the festival itself, as we will now see, is explicitly called a thusiā, meaning literally ‘sacrifice’ (172). Here is the wording, as it is sung-and-danced by the chorus of Argive girls:

Extract 4-Xa

|167 O Electra, daughter of Agamemnon, I [= the chorus, speaking as a singular ‘I’] have arrived |168 at your rustic courtyard. |169 He has come, a milk-drinking man, he has come, |170 a Mycenaean, one whose steps lead over the mountains. |171 He announces that, on the third day from now, |172 a sacrifice [thusiā] is proclaimed |173 by the Argives, and that all |174 girls [parthenikai] to Hera must proceed [steikhein].
Euripides Electra 167–174 [150]
4§150. This word thusiā here (172) is referring to the ritual centerpiece of the festival, the hecatomb, which is a sacrifice of one hundred cattle. But the same word thusiā is also referring, by way of metonymy, to the entire festival. Each and every girl from each and every part of the Argive world must steikhein ‘proceed’ to Hera—that is, to the festival of Hera. Each girl personally must make the mental act of proceeding to the goddess. Each girl collectively must join in, that is, join the grand procession that will lead to the precinct of the goddess, where the hundred cattle will be slaughtered in ritual sacrifice. We see here the religious mentality that shapes the idea of the pompē ‘procession’ as mentioned in Extract 4-Ud. In that text we had already read about this procession of Argive girls that leads to the festival proclaimed by the people of Argos here at line 172 of the Electra. The key word in Extract 4-Ud, to repeat, was pompē for ‘procession’. And now, at line 172 of the Electra, we see the other key word, thusiā, both in the specific sense of ‘sacrifice’ and in the metonymic sense of ‘festival’. After the procession reaches the precinct of Argive Hera, what happens next is the sacrifice of one hundred cattle, followed by festive celebrations. And these festivities will highlight the choral singing and dancing performed by the girls of Argos. So, the pompē ‘procession’ extends into the choral performance, by way of the sacrifice that will take place after the entry of the procession into the precinct. We see here a validation of the formula proposed by Anton Bierl concerning processions as represented in Greek theater: he argues that any procession that leads into a choral performance will thereby become part of the choral performance. [151] There is a metonymy at work here. Further, in the case of the drama composed by Euripides, Electra is potentially the prima donna who will lead the procession that will be transformed into the choral performance of the Argive girls when they reach the precinct of Hera. In fact, the word that Electra herself uses in referring to the upcoming performance of the girls at the precinct is khoros (χορούς 178). For the moment, though, Electra declines the “invitation to the dance” (178–180).
4§151. So, what is the subject of the choral song when the time comes for the Argive girls to sing-and-dance at the festival of Hera? In the Electra of Euripides, where the choral singing-and-dancing of these girls is dramatically anticipated, we find that this song is about the Shield of Achilles and, secondarily, about the rest of the hero’s armor. Here are the choral words as sung-and-danced by the girls of Argos:

Extract 4-Xb

|432 I address you, O ships of glory [kleos], you that once with countless oars went to Troy, taking with you the songs-and-dances [khoreumata] of the Nereids, |435 while the dolphin, loving the reed [that accompanies song-and-dance], was leaping as it circled around your blue prows, making a path for Achilles, the son of Thetis, whose dance-step is light as he leaps, |440 along with Agamemnon, toward the banks of the Trojan river Simoeis. The Nereids, leaving the headlands of Euboea, brought from the anvil of Hephaistos the result of his labor over the shield [aspis], that choice part of the golden armament. They brought it up to Mount Pelion […] where his father, the charioteer, was raising the son of Thetis as a beacon light for Hellas, |450 sea-born, swift-footed for the sons of Atreus. I heard, from someone who had arrived from Ilion at the harbor of Nauplia, O son of Thetis, |455 that on the circle [kuklos] of your shield [aspis] of glory [kleos] were made such signs [sēmata], a terror to the Phrygians: on the base enveloped by the shield’s rim, there was Perseus the throat-cutter, traveling over the sea |460 with winged sandals and holding forth the Gorgon’s head, accompanied by Hermes, the messenger of Zeus and the rustic son of Maia. |464 In the center of the shield [sakos] was shining the radiant |465 circle [kuklos] of the sun, drawn by winged chariot-horses, and also the ethereal song-and-dance ensembles [khoroi] of stars—Pleiades and Hyades—making the eyes of Hector turn away. |470 And on top of his [= Achilles’] gold-forged helmet were sphinxes, bearing in their talons the prey that they had won by way of their singing. On his [= Achilles’] breast-plate a lioness, breathing flame, was bounding ahead, and the talons of her paws were showing, |475 at the very moment when she caught sight of the colt [Pegasus] from Peirene. Pictured on the surface of his [= Achilles’] killer sword were horses prancing on all four hooves with black dust swirling behind them.
Euripides Electra 432–477 [152]
4§152. We see here that the myth of the bronze shield of Achilles is explicitly linked with the choral performance of Argive girls who sing-and-dance the myth on the occasion of Hera’s festival. [153] And this shield is a synecdoche for the entire festival: as I have already noted, the word Aspis, meaning ‘Shield’, was actually the Argive name for this festival of Hera.
4§153. We can find further traces of this link between the myth of the original bronze Shield of Achilles and the ritual complex of the Heraia. I have in mind here two vase paintings that show Thetis, the divine mother of Achilles, in the act of presenting the bronze Shield—along with other pieces of armor—to the hero. In these paintings, the Shield is visually correlated with garlands, which I connect with the garlands of myrtle that we saw mentioned in Extract 4-Uc: [154]

Extract 4-Ya

Nagy MoM Fig7
Attic black-figure column krater: Thetis presenting shield and other pieces of armor to Achilles. Attributed to the Painter of London B76. Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Antikensammlungen, 3763. Line drawing by Valerie Woelfel.

Extract 4-Yb

Attic black-figure hydria: Thetis presenting shield and garland to Achilles. Attributed to the Tyrrhenian Group. Paris, Musée du Louvre, E869. Line drawing by Valerie Woelfel.    

Event Five, the presentation of the robe of Hera

4§154*5. [The number *5 here follows up on the number *4 of 4§148*4.] Here I return to my starting point. At the very beginning, when we first considered the festival of Hera, I had reconstructed a ritual event featuring the presentation of a robe that was pattern-woven for the goddess by the women of Argos; the word for this sacred robe, as we saw, was patos (Hesychius s.v., Callimachus F 66.3). This ritual event of presenting the robe, as I argued, was a culmination of the procession that led to the place where the festival was held, that is, to the sacred precinct of Hera. From the start, I viewed this presentation of a robe to the goddess Hera, which would have taken place at the finishing-point of the procession held in her honor, as a ritual event that matches the presentation of the Peplos to the goddess Athena, which took place at the finishing-point of the Panathenaic Procession.
4§155. Similarly, the presentation of the Shield to Achilles, as we see it represented in the paintings we have just viewed in Extracts 4-Ya and 4-Yb, is happening in the context of a procession. The mother of Achilles, together with her nymph sisters, the Nereids, are pictured at a moment that can best be described as the culmination of a procession of their own, marking the climactic moment when Achilles is presented with his Shield—just as the victors in the athletic events of the festival of Hera are presented with their own shields at the finishing-point of the procession held in honor of the goddess.
4§156. I see a most remarkable correlation here at the finishing point of the procession honoring Hera. One culminating ritual event is the presentation of the Shield, a masterpiece of metalwork, while another culminating ritual event—if my reconstruction holds—is the presentation of the robe of the goddess, which would be a masterpiece of pattern-weaving. Such a correlation of metalwork and pattern-weaving is strikingly similar to what we saw already at the very beginning of Part Four, in the very first line of Extract 4-A. In that line, Iliad XVIII 590, the performance of metalwork by the divine smith Hephaistos is expressed by way of a most powerful metaphor: the god’s act of metalworking his narration into bronze is compared there to an act of pattern-weaving that same narration into fabric, as if the divine metalworker were pattern-weaving a peplos. And the word for pattern-weaving in that line, as we saw, is poikillein.
4§157. This metaphorical correlation between the metalworking that produces the Shield and the pattern-weaving that produces a peplos makes me think of the picture that must have been pattern-woven into the sacred web of Hera. This picture, I propose, was notionally the same picture that was metalworked into the Shield of Achilles. And such a picture, which could be represented in the paired visual arts of metalworking and pattern-weaving, could also be represented in the verbal art of singing-and-dancing the song that was sung-and-danced by the girls of Argos as they celebrated the festival of Hera. We have already read in Extract 4-Xb this song of these Argive girls, which is quoted, as it were, in the Electra of Euripides. In the drama, as I already noted, the singing-and-dancing is performed by a male Athenian chorus who are representing a contemporary Argive female chorus who are in turn representing the original Argive female chorus in the act of describing the bronze Shield of Achilles. As we read the words sung-and-danced by the Argive girls in Extract 4-Xb, we can visualize what was metalworked into the bronze of the Shield of Achilles—and also, if I am right, what was pattern-woven into the fabric of Hera’s robe.

The big picture of the two Shields of Achilles

4§158. By way of synecdoche, then, the Shield of Achilles as sung-and-danced by the girls of Argos is a verbalization of the big picture that comes together in the ritual complex we know as the festival of Hera. Clearly, this Argive Shield is not the same thing as the Homeric Shield of Achilles as verbalized in Iliad XVIII. Rather, what we see being verbalized in the singing-and-dancing of the chorus in the Electra of Euripides is a local Argive version of the Shield as visualized in the rituals and myths of the city of Argos. But this Argive Shield, as a synecdoche for the festival of Hera, is nevertheless comparable to the Homeric Shield, since it is pointing metonymically to an old world of ritual and myth that could be seen as a prototype—or, to say it more accurately, as one of many possible prototypes—for the brave new world that we see emerging in the big picture of the Homeric Shield.
4§159. The newness of the Homeric Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII is ostentatiously foregrounded by the epic narrative, since this centerpiece of the hero’s armor is in fact new to the Iliad: after all, Hephaistos has to make a new Shield for Achilles after the original, as it were, had been captured by Hector when he killed Patroklos, the ritual substitute of Achilles who was wearing that hero’s armor, including the old Shield. And the new narrative that is metaphorically pattern-woven into the bronze of the hero’s new Shield recapitulates, in a stylized way, the festival of Hera, which had been the setting for the original shield. Just as the old shield, by way of synecdoche, stands for the entire festival of the Heraia, in that the very name of the festival is Aspis, meaning ‘Shield’, so also the new Shield in Iliad XVIII begins its own narrative by pattern-weaving a vision of a generic festival. At this festival as well, there is choral singing-and-dancing to be enjoyed by all, and that is why all the participants attending such a beautiful spectacle are terpomenoi ‘feeling delight’, as we saw at line 604 of Iliad XVIII, quoted already in Extract 4-A.
4§160. The festive merriment of the crowd attending the choral singing-and-dancing in Iliad XVIII is comparable to the happy mood of the chorus of Argive girls as represented in the Electra of Euripides:
The sadness of Electra as an Argive Cinderella stands in sharp contrast with the happiness of young women celebrating the Feast of Hera and having the best time of their lives. As these Argive girls sing-and-dance the song of the bronze Shield of Achilles, we can just see them catching the attention of dashing young Argive warriors and perhaps even falling in love, fully sharing in the charisma of the pattern-woven fabric they offer to Hera. A metonymy for this charisma is the blossom of the myrtle, which as we saw is the flower of choice for making stephanoi ‘garlands’ to wear at the festival of the Heraia in Argos. [155]
4§161. In this formulation, I am drawing attention to what I had just said about young people falling in love on the occasion of such a festival. This is no speculation, as we will see when we read the Epilogue that follows Part Four, where I quote passages from an ancient erotic novel describing how a young girl and a young boy fall in love at a festival of the goddess Artemis. In this connection, I also draw attention to the word charisma that I had just used with reference to the garlands worn by the celebrants at the festival. I recall here the linguistic evidence we have already seen showing a metonymic link between the word kharis ‘pleasurable beauty’ and the plaiting of myrtle blossoms for the making of festive garlands. In the Epilogue, we will return to this image of a garland of blossoms gracing the hair of joyous celebrants at a festival.

Another synecdoche for the idea of a festival

4§162. We have seen, then, that the word Aspis, meaning ‘Shield’, is a synecdoche that expresses the idea of the entire festival of Hera in Argos. Now I highlight another such example of synecdoche that we have seen. In the Electra of Euripides, at line 172 as quoted in Extract 4-Xa, the word thusiā likewise refers to the entire festival of Hera in Argos. But this word means literally ‘sacrifice’. The noun thusiā, as I noted earlier, derives from the verb thuein, meaning ‘sacrifice’, which is actually used with reference to the ritual slaughter of one hundred cattle at the festival of Hera, as we had read in Extract 4-Ua. Earlier, I had also noted that this same noun thusiā is used in Plato’s Timaeus (26e) with reference to the festival of the Panathenaia, and that this festival of Athena, like the festival of Hera, featured the culminating ritual event of slaughtering one hundred cattle. In that context, I referred to another example of such a spectacular ritual event: it was the Athenian hekatombē or ‘hecatomb’ that took place at the conclusion of the Panathenaic Procession, and I cited an attestation of this word hekatombē in an Athenian inscription concerning the quadrennial Panathenaia of 410/9 BCE (IG I3 375 lines 5 … 7: παναθεναια τα μεγαλα … ες τεν εκατομβεν).
4§163. So, the use of this word thusiā in the general sense of ‘festival’ is another shining example of synecdoche. It is a metonymic visualization that extends from the slaughtering of the sacrificial animal to the cooking and distribution of the meat and to the consequent eating, drinking, and feasting in general. And here is where the parallelism of the word thusiā with the basic meaning of the Homeric word dais in the sense of a ‘distribution’ of sacrificial meat proves to be decisive.
4§164. I see the emergence of a remarkable parallelism here. Just as the dais ‘feast’ in Odyssey viii 429 is a stylized festival that becomes a prime venue for hearing the humnos or ‘web’ of song that is signaled in this Homeric line, so also the thusiā or ‘festival’ of the Panathenaia as mentioned in Plato’s Timaeus (26e) becomes a prime venue for hearing what is called metaphorically a humnos or ‘hymn’ that is sung to honor the goddess Athena as the patroness of the Panathenaia. I will now describe here, within the shortest possible compass, the context of such a metaphorical humnos.
4§165. The dramatized occasion of Plato’s Timaeus is the eve of the Panathenaia, and the wording refers to this grand festival as ‘the thusiā of the goddess’ (26e). [156] The story of Atlantis and Athens, about to be narrated by Critias, is described by him metaphorically as a humnos or ‘hymn’ to be sung as an encomium of the goddess Athena in celebration of her festival: to recall the story, Critias says, would be a fitting way both to please Socrates ‘and at the same time to praise the goddess, on the occasion of her festival, in a righteous and truthful way, just as if we were making her the subject of a humnos’ (21a2–3). [157]
4§166. The neo-Platonic philosopher Proclus, that passionate devotee of the goddess Athena, offers a most pertinent insight in his allegorizing commentary on the Timaeus of Plato. [158] Essentially, Proclus interprets the notional humnos of Plato’s discourse, which is being dedicated to the goddess Athena, as a Peplos in its own right, [159] more real even than the cult object presented to the goddess every four years by the ancient Athenians. [160]
4§167. I find that this insight of Proclus meshes perfectly with the ancient ritual mentality of celebrating the festivals of goddesses like Athena and Hera. For example, in the Iphigeneia in Tauris of Euripides, the words of the chorus refer to choral singing-and-dancing at the festival of Hera in Argos (the choral medium is signaled by the word melpein ‘sing-and-dance’ at line 221) [161] as a ritual that is parallel to the ritual of pattern-weaving the Peplos of Athena at the festival of the Panathenaia (the making of the Peplos is signaled by the word poikillein ‘pattern-weave’ at line 224). [162]
4§168. For Proclus, the ultimate Peplos is the web that is pattern-woven by that essence of intelligence, the luminous intellect of Athena. [163] Experts who study the Timaeus in our own time have suggested that Plato himself must have intended this masterpiece of his, this stylized humnos, as his very own Peplos for the goddess. [164] I suggest that the metaphor applies also to Homeric poetry, in that the ongoing humnos performed at the dais or ‘feast’ in Odyssey viii 429 can be viewed by Athenians as a Panathenaic humnos destined for eternal re-weaving in the eternally self-renewing context of Athena’s festival. [165]

A double synecdoche for a festival of Artemis

4§169. As I near the end of Part Four, I will conclude by studying a set of passages taken from one last text, which is an inscription concerning a festival of the goddess Artemis in the city of Eretria on the island of Euboea. The text of this inscription, dated to the year 341/340 BCE, is especially “good to think with” because it concerns what was going on not only at the main events at the festival but also in the procession that led up to these events. As we will see, the word thusiā is used in a double sense in this inscription. More generally, it refers to the entire festival, but, more specifically, it refers also to the animal sacrifice that takes place as a culminating ritual event at the festival. And, as we will also see, the use of the word pompē in this inscription is essential for understanding the very idea of what I have all along been calling a culminating ritual event. Here is what I mean. The pompē or ‘procession’ is a metonymic sequence that leads up to a thusiā or ‘sacrifice’, which would not and could not be a culminating ritual event if it were not for the fact that there exists a sequence of meanings that lead up, metonymically, to a culmination of meanings. In other words, there cannot really be a thusiā in the sense of a ‘festival’ if there is no pompē ‘procession’ that leads up to it. What I am arguing, then, is that the correlation of these two words, pompē in the sense of ‘procession’ and thusiā in the sense of ‘sacrifice’, is a double synecdoche that points metonymically to the entire experience of a festival.
4§170. I start by quoting the first eight lines of the inscription:

Extract 4-Za

|1 Theoi [= an invocation addressed to the gods]. |2 Exekestos son of Diodoros spoke: in order that the |3 Artemisia [= Festival of Artemis] be conducted by us in the most beautiful way [kallista] possible and in order that people should make sacrifice [= thuein] |4 —as many of them as possible, it was decided by the Council [Boule] and the People [Demos] |5 that the city is to organize a competition [agōn] of mousikē, at the expense of 1000 |6 drachmas, on the days Metaxu and Phulakē, [166] and that [the city] is to provide |7 lambs [= arnes] on the day that is five days before the Artemisia, and, |8 of these [lambs], two are to be enkritoi [specially selected (for sacrifice)]. [167]
IG XII ix 189.1–8 [168]
4§171. In the wording here, we see references to not one but two culminating ritual events. Besides an animal sacrifice, as indicated by the verb thuein ‘sacrifice’ at line 3, there is also a competition in what is called mousikē. The word for ‘competition’ here at line 3 is agōn. As for the word mousikē, I am not yet ready to translate this word—beyond saying that it means literally the ‘art’ or tekhnē of the Muses.
4§172. I have already highlighted a comparable use of this word mousikē in the Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians (60.1), with reference to the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens. That festival was the traditional venue for seasonally recurring performances of Homeric poetry in the context of competitions in mousikē, and the word for ‘competition’ in that context was likewise agōn (again, Constitution 60.1). Here in the inscription from Eretria, an analogous venue is being described by way of these same words, mousikē and agōn.
4§173. The inscription does not specify the content of the mousikē to be performed at this seasonally recurring festival of Artemis, but it is remarkably precise in its wording concerning the actual forms of mousikē. I quote here the relevant part of the text:

Extract 4-Zb

|10 … and that [the city] is to organize the mousikē for rhapsodes [rhapsōidoi], |11 aulodes [aulōidoi = aulos-singers], kitharā-players [kitharistai], citharodes [kitharōidoi = kitharā-singers], and parody-singers [parōidoi]; |12 further, that those who compete [agōnizesthai] in the mousikē |13 should all compete [agōnizesthai] in the prosodion [= processional song] for the sacrifice [thusiā] in the courtyard [aulē], |14 having the same costume that they have in the competition [agōn] proper.
IG XII ix 189.10–14 [169]
4§174. I draw attention to the use of the word thusiā here at line 13. I interpret this word not only as ‘festival’ in general but also as ‘sacrifice’ in particular. The meaning of ‘sacrifice’ is most relevant to the wording that we read later on, where it is specified that all the agōnistai ‘competitors’ in the mousikē are required to join in the procession that leads up to the sacrifice:

Extract 4-Zc

|38 … and may the competitors [agōnistai] who participate in the mousikē also join in the procession [sun-pompeuein], |38 all of them.
IG XII ix 189.38–40 [170]
The verb used here for the idea of ‘join in the procession’ is sun-pompeuein, which is of course derived from the noun pompē, meaning ‘procession’. Then, in the very next sentence, we see the explicit reason for this required participation in the procession:

Extract 4-Zd

… in order that the procession [pompē] and the sacrifice [thusiā] become the most beautiful [kallistē] possible
IG XII ix 189.39 [171]
4§175. Here, then, is what I have been calling the double synecdoche. The competitors in mousikē join in and become part of the entire religious program of this festival, which is a continuum extending from the beginning of the procession all the way to the culminating event of the sacrifice. And a dominant feature of this continuum is the idea of absolute beauty as expressed by the word kallistē ‘most beautiful’, applied here to both the pompē ‘procession’ and the thusiā ‘sacrifice’. This idea was already in effect at the beginning of the inscription, where we had read:

Extract 4-Ze (repeated from 4-Za)

… in order that the |3 Artemisia [= Festival of Artemis] be conducted by us in the most beautiful way [kallista] possible and in order that people should make sacrifice [= thuein] |4 —as many of them as possible.
IG XII ix 189.2–4 [172]
This theme of absolute beauty is surely connected with the cult-epithet of Artemis, kallistē ‘most beautiful’ (as interpreted by Pausanias 1.29.2, 8.35.8 in other contexts involving the worship of the goddess). [173]
4§176. The homology of procession and sacrifice, as it plays out at the festival of Artemis in Eretria, reflects a religious mentality of metonymic sequencing, where the ritual event of the procession culminates in the ritual event of a sacrifice—and where every element connects in proper sequence with every other element. We see a comparable homology at work at the grand festival of Athena in Athens, the Panathenaia. On that seasonally-recurring occasion as well, though of course on a vastly larger scale, we see a procession that culminates in a sacrifice. The Panathenaic Procession, which is actually called a pompē in the Aristotelian Constitution of Athens (60.1), starts from the Kerameikos and passes through the Agora and ends up on the heights of the Acropolis, reaching its climax in a grand sacrifice of one hundred cattle within the sacred space of Athena on high. [174]

Homer’s music

4§177. Let us consider again the actual forms of mousikē as they are listed in the inscription from Eretria. As we see from the relevant wording that I quoted in Extract 4-Zb (lines 10–11), there are contests in mousikē for rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’, for aulōidoi ‘aulodes’ or ‘aulos-singers’, for kitharistaikitharā-players’, for kitharōidoi ‘citharodes’ or ‘kitharā-singers’, and for parōidoi ‘parody-singers’. So, these forms of mousikē include poetic recitation by competing rhapsodes as well as monodic song performed by competing singers and instrumentalists. And, although the inscription does not indicate what poetry the rhapsodes performed at the festival in Eretria, we can in fact be sure that, in most such situations, the content of poetic recitation by rhapsodes was Homeric poetry. To put it another way, the mousikē of the rhapsodes was primarily the music of Homer. This formulation, as we will see, applies especially in the case of the premier festival of Athena in Athens, the Panathenaia.
4§178. At the festival of the Panathenaia, there were contests in mousikē for rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’, for kitharōidoi ‘citharodes’ or ‘kitharā-singers’, for aulōidoi ‘aulodes’ or ‘aulos-singers’, for kitharistaikitharā-players’, and for aulētaiaulos-players’. A precious piece of evidence about these contests comes from an Athenian inscription dated at around 380 BCE, IG II2 2311, which records the winners of Panathenaic prizes. In this fragmentary inscription, we find references to kitharōidoi (line 5), aulōidoi (line 12), kitharistai (line 15), and aulētai (line 20), but the expected reference to rhapsōidoi has broken off. Looking elsewhere, however, we find a most pertinent reference in Plato’s Ion. This work is named after a rhapsode from Ephesus who comes to Athens in order to compete for first prize in rhapsodic performance at the festival of the Panathenaia (Ion 530b2), and Plato’s wording makes it explicit that this festival featured a ‘competition’ among rhapsodes, an agōn (ἀγῶνα at Ion 530a5, picked up by ἠγωνίζου and ἠγωνίσω at a8). It is also made explicit that the agonistic art of the rhapsodes falls under the general category of mousikē (μουσικῆς at a7).
4§179. The reference in the wording I just cited from Plato (Ion 530a7) to an agōn ‘competition’ in mousikē supplements the reference in the Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians (60.1) to an agōn ‘competition’ in mousikē (τὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς μουσικῆς) at the Panathenaia. In that elliptic reference, we do not get to see the correlation of rhapsodic contests with citharodic, aulodic, and other such contests, and this gap in information has led to some confusion about the so-called ‘musical contests’ of the Panathenaia. Needless to say, the conventional but anachronistic translation ‘musical’ confuses the matter even further, since the modern words ‘music’ and ‘musical’ suggest, misleadingly, an exclusion of rhapsodes and the inclusion only of citharodes, aulodes, and so on. [175] That is why I highlight what the passage I just cited from Plato (Ion 530a7) shows so clearly: that the art of mousikē includes the art of the rhapsode. [176]
4§180. That said, I return to my formulation: the mousikē of the rhapsode was the music of Homer. In the case of the mousikē performed by rhapsodes competing at the festival of the Panathenaia in the classical period of Athens, it appears from the wording of Plato’s Ion that their repertoire was exclusively Homeric poetry. The rhapsode Ion is portrayed as a virtuoso performer who is potentially a grand master in performing Hesiod and even Archilochus, not just Homer (531a), but he admits that he specializes in Homer only, and the rationale for this specialization is one simple but big idea, that Homer is the best poet (531a–532c). The wording here implies that Homer is the only poet worth performing for rhapsodes because it is his poetry and no one else’s that gets to be performed by rhapsodes competing at the Panathenaia. [177] Another telling piece of evidence is a reference in the Panegyricus of Isocrates (159), who speaks of the ‘contests [athloi] of mousikē’ in Athens as the primary venue used by the State for showcasing the performance of Homeric poetry. [178]
4§181. In speaking here of Homer’s music, I have in mind the title of my 2002 book Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music. This title represents the only place in all my publications where I have ever used—before now—the word ‘music’, without quotation marks, in referring to the art of the rhapsodes. By saying ‘Homer’s music’ in the title of the book, I was making the same point I am making now, but I never said music explicitly in the actual argumentation I developed in that book. Now I am saying it here, at the end of the Martin Classical Lectures, and I do so because I find that the text of the inscription I am now studying, which is the last text here in Part Four, comes so close to the modern idea of music. I am thinking here of the way we use this word in contexts that idealize music as some kind of a universal force of nature. And I say it this way because the religious sentiment that drives the text of the inscription from Eretria is elevating the meaning of the Greek word mousikē to comparable levels of exaltation.

The eternal delight of music without end

4§182. The text of the Eretrian inscription comes to an end by reporting arrangements that had been made for the words of this text to be inscribed on a stele, which was to be placed inside the precinct of the goddess Artemis (40–41). And now, at the end of the text, the wording makes clear the express purpose of all these arrangements:

Extract 4-Zf

|42 … so that, according to these arrangements, |43 the sacrifice [thusiā] and the music [mousikē] for Artemis may last |44 forever.
IG XII ix 189.42–44 [179]
4§183. According to the solemn words that are spoken here, the music of this mousikē is eternal, since it will recur on each seasonally recurring occasion of a festive sacrifice at the festival of the goddess Artemis. So also, I say, the ongoing humnos performed at the dais or ‘feast’ in Odyssey viii 429 is eternal, since it will recur on each seasonally recurring occasion when Homer’s music is heard once again at some festival in the future. The greatest of all these festivals, for the Athenians who heard Homer’s music, was of course the Panathenaia, the Feast of the goddess Athena. But there were other festivals celebrated by others who heard this music. And, at all these festivals, the experience of hearing the music was utter delight.

Footnotes

[ back ] 1. The Homeric textual tradition shows a textual variation here: besides ποίκιλλε (poikillein) in the specific sense of ‘pattern-weave’ we find also the variant ποίησε (poieîn) in the general sense of ‘make’.
[ back ] 2. As we will see, this word khoros can designate either the place where singing-and-dancing takes place or the group of singers-and-dancers who perform at that place.
[ back ] 3. The ‘there’ is both the place for song-and-dance and the place in the picture that is the Shield.
[ back ] 4. The form of the participle here, terpomeno- ‘feeling delight’, is plural (τερπόμενοι) in the majority of the medieval manuscripts, but singular (τερπόμενος) in a small minority. My translation is not affected by this textual variation. In the Greek text as I quote it in the corresponding note below, I show τερπόμενοι.
[ back ] 5. My translation here follows the Greek text as I quote it in the corresponding note below.
[ back ] 6. Again, my translation here follows the Greek text as I quote it in the corresponding note below.
[ back ] 7. |590 Ἐν δὲ χορὸν ποίκιλλε περικλυτὸς ἀμφιγυήεις, |591 τῷ ἴκελον οἷόν ποτ’ ἐνὶ Κνωσῷ εὐρείῃ |592 Δαίδαλος ἤσκησεν καλλιπλοκάμῳ Ἀριάδνῃ. |593 ἔνθα μὲν ἠΐθεοι καὶ παρθένοι ἀλφεσίβοιαι |594 ὀρχεῦντ’ ἀλλήλων ἐπὶ καρπῷ χεῖρας ἔχοντες. |595 τῶν δ’ αἳ μὲν λεπτὰς ὀθόνας ἔχον, οἳ δὲ χιτῶνας |596 εἵατ’ ἐϋννήτους, ἦκα στίλβοντας ἐλαίῳ· |597 καί ῥ’ αἳ μὲν καλὰς στεφάνας ἔχον, οἳ δὲ μαχαίρας |598 εἶχον χρυσείας ἐξ ἀργυρέων τελαμώνων. |599 οἳ δ’ ὁτὲ μὲν θρέξασκον ἐπισταμένοισι πόδεσσι |600 ῥεῖα μάλ’, ὡς ὅτε τις τροχὸν ἄρμενον ἐν παλάμῃσιν |601 ἑζόμενος κεραμεὺς πειρήσεται, αἴ κε θέῃσιν· |602 ἄλλοτε δ’ αὖ θρέξασκον ἐπὶ στίχας ἀλλήλοισι. |603 πολλὸς δ’ ἱμερόεντα χορὸν περιίσταθ’ ὅμιλος |604 τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς |605 φορμίζων· δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς 
|606 μολπῆς ἐξάρχοντoς ἐδίνευον κατὰ μέσσους. The Greek text that I quote in lines 605–606 here follows the reading given in the edition of the Iliad by Wolf 1804. In the analysis that follows, I will defend the validity of this reading. I also note here, in passing, the textual variation between τερπόμενοι and τερπόμενος at line 604 in the medieval manuscript tradition. We find the plural form τερπόμενοι in a majority of the manuscripts, while the singular τερπόμενος is attested in a small minority. My translation of line 604, as I indicate in my corresponding note on this line, is not affected by this textual variation. In the text of Athenaeus (5.181b and 5.181d) where he quotes this same line 604 of Iliad XVIII and the corresponding line 17 of Odyssey iv, which I will quote in Extract 4-D, we read τερπόμενος in the case of the Odyssey and τερπόμενοι in the case of the Iliad.
[ back ] 8. HPC II§413 p. 291.
[ back ] 9. For me the ideal introduction to the subject of ancient Greek choruses is Calame 2001.
[ back ] 10. My translation here follows the Greek text as I quote it in the corresponding note below.
[ back ] 11. Again, my translation here follows the Greek text as I quote it in the corresponding note below.
[ back ] 12. |603 πολλὸς δ’ ἱμερόεντα χορὸν περιίσταθ’ ὅμιλος |604 τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς 
|605 φορμίζων· δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς 
|606 μολπῆς ἐξάρχοντoς ἐδίνευον κατὰ μέσσους.
[ back ] 13. PH 12§29 p. 350 and p. 351n64. Also HC 2§75.
[ back ] 14. HC 2§74. See also HC 2§§65–82, with reference to the formulation of Aristotle Poetics 1449a10–11, which is relevant to a wide variety of poetic contexts involving the verb ex-arkhein (also arkhein) in the sense of ‘lead a performance of singers-dancers’.
[ back ] 15. The deletion here is in line with the Greek text as I quote it in the corresponding note below, where we see an omission of the wording μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς 
|605 φορμίζων.
[ back ] 16. My translation here follows the Greek text as I quote it in the corresponding note below, where we read ἐξάρχοντες and not ἐξάρχοντος.
[ back ] 17. |603 πολλὸς δ’ ἱμερόεντα χορὸν περιίσταθ’ ὅμιλος |604 τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς 
|605 φορμίζων· δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς 
|606 μολπῆς ἐξάρχοντες ἐδίνευον κατὰ μέσσους. The Greek text that I quote here in lines 604 and 606 follows the reading given in the medieval manuscript tradition of the Iliad, omitting the words μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς 
|605 φορμίζων· as printed in the edition of Wolf 1804.
[ back ] 18. |604 τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς |605 φορμίζων· δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς |606 … .
[ back ] 19. Wolf in his Prolegomena ad Homerum (1795 §49n49) already comments on his restoration. Revermann 1998 tracks the vast array of published opinions on Iliad XVIII 603–606 since Wolf’s Prolegomena.
[ back ] 20. The relevant testimony of this ancient source is dismissed by Revermann 1998. I strongly disagree with this move.
[ back ] 21. |604 … μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς |605 φορμίζων· … |606 … .
[ back ] 22. |17 … μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς |18 φορμίζων· … |19 … .
[ back ] 23. Μy translation here follows the Greek text as I quote it in the corresponding note below.
[ back ] 24. |15 ὣς οἱ μὲν δαίνυντο καθ’ ὑψερεφὲς μέγα δῶμα |16 γείτονες ἠδὲ ἔται Μενελάου κυδαλίμοιο, |17 τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς |18 φορμίζων· δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς |19 μολπῆς ἐξάρχοντος ἐδίνευον κατὰ μέσσους.
[ back ] 25. |19 … ἐξάρχοντoς and |606 … ἐξάρχοντoς.
[ back ] 26. |19 … ἐξάρχοντες and |606 … ἐξάρχοντες.
[ back ] 27. More in HTL 48–54, 63–64, 70–71 on the editorial methodology of Aristarchus in analyzing textual variants that he collected on the basis of collating Homeric texts.
[ back ] 28. HC 2§74.
[ back ] 29. I agree with Revermann 1998:36 when he says in passing that the editorial work of Aristarchus included the collating of Homeric manuscripts.
[ back ] 30. Once again, HC 2§74; HPC II§435 pp. 300–301n88.
[ back ] 31. I offer an overview of this methodology in HQ 13–27, focusing on the primary publications of Parry [1971] and Lord 1960.
[ back ] 32. See HC 2§74, where I criticize the approach of Revermann 1998 in dealing with variants that he finds in Homeric references to singing and dancing and lyre-playing. In his study of these references, with a focus on Iliad XVIII 603–606, he persistently misreads the relevant formulaic variants as if they were exclusively textual variants, ignoring the methodology of Parry and Lord.
[ back ] 33. On paizein as ‘perform a sportive dance’, see especially Odyssey xxiii 147. See also the Hesiodic Shield 277. For more on this word, see Bierl 2009:67–75.
[ back ] 34. The syntax of the indirect question here, appropriate to the introduction of the main subject of the performance, includes the concept of ta prōta ‘in the beginning’—which has cosmogonic implications.
[ back ] 35. |250 “ἀλλ’ ἄγε, Φαιήκων βητάρμονες ὅσσοι ἄριστοι, |251 παίσατε, ὥς χ’ ὁ ξεῖνος ἐνίσπῃ οἷσι φίλοισιν, |252 οἴκαδε νοστήσας, ὅσσον περιγινόμεθ’ ἄλλων |253 ναυτιλίῃ καὶ ποσσὶ καὶ ὀρχηστυῖ καὶ ἀοιδῇ. |254 Δημοδόκῳ δέ τις αἶψα κιὼν φόρμιγγα λίγειαν |255 οἰσέτω, ἥ που κεῖται ἐν ἡμετέροισι δόμοισιν.” |256 ὣς ἔφατ’ Ἀλκίνοος θεοείκελος, ὦρτο δὲ κῆρυξ |257 οἴσων φόρμιγγα γλαφυρὴν δόμου ἐκ βασιλῆος. |258 αἰσυμνῆται δὲ κριτοὶ ἐννέα πάντες ἀνέσταν, |259 δήμιοι, οἳ κατ’ ἀγῶνα ἐῢ πρήσσεσκον ἕκαστα, |260 λείηναν δὲ χορόν, καλὸν δ’ εὔρυναν ἀγῶνα. |261 κῆρυξ δ’ ἐγγύθεν ἦλθε φέρων φόρμιγγα λίγειαν |262 Δημοδόκῳ· ὁ δ’ ἔπειτα κί’ ἐς μέσον· ἀμφὶ δὲ κοῦροι |263 πρωθῆβαι ἵσταντο, δαήμονες ὀρχηθμοῖο, |264 πέπληγον δὲ χορὸν θεῖον ποσίν. αὐτὰρ ᾿Οδυσσεὺς |265 μαρμαρυγὰς θηεῖτο ποδῶν, θαύμαζε δὲ θυμῷ. |266 αὐτὰρ ὁ φορμίζων ἀνεβάλλετο καλὸν ἀείδειν |267 ἀμφ’ Ἄρεος φιλότητος ἐϋστεφάνου τ’ Ἀφροδίτης, |268 ὡς τὰ πρῶτ’ ἐμίγησαν ἐν Ἡφαίστοιο δόμοισι |269 λάθρῃ. [The story that has just started at line 266 now continues, ending at line 366.] |367 ταῦτ’ ἄρ’ ἀοιδὸς ἄειδε περικλυτός· αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς |368 τέρπετ’ ἐνὶ φρεσὶν ᾗσιν ἀκούων ἠδὲ καὶ ἄλλοι |369 Φαίηκες δολιχήρετμοι, ναυσικλυτοὶ ἄνδρες. At line 267, there is a variant reading attested: φιλότητα in the accusative, instead of φιλότητος in the genitive.
[ back ] 36. In HPC I§§206–209 pp. 86–88, I offer a fuller commentary on Odyssey viii 248–249 and 250–269.
[ back ] 37. |24 τοῖσι δὲ βοῦν ἱέρευσ’ ἱερὸν μένος Ἀλκινόοιο |25 Ζηνὶ κελαινεφέϊ Κρονίδῃ, ὃς πᾶσιν ἀνάσσει. |26 μῆρα δὲ κήαντες δαίνυντ’ ἐρικυδέα δαῖτα |27 τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδός |28 Δημόδοκος, λαοῖσι τετιμένος.
[ back ] 38. The verb melpesthai ‘sing-and-dance’ at line 604 of Iliad XVIII is picked up by the corresponding noun molpē ‘singing-and-dancing’ at line 606. This noun here at line 606 continues to convey the idea of singing as started by the lead singer at line 604. The singing at line 606 is now choral, combined with the choral dancing that is being highlighted in the description. Despite this highlighting of choral dance, however, the aspect of choral song in the meaning of molpē as ‘singing-and-dancing’ is maintained. Revermann 1998:29 recognizes that molpē at line 606 refers to choral singing as well as dancing. In this context, he describes molpē as “this blunt and colourless noun.” I can agree only with the first part of this description.
[ back ] 39. Revermann 1998:37.
[ back ] 40. This criticism meshes with what I said in my earlier note about the ignoring of formulaic variants.
[ back ] 41. There is an abbreviated version of this argument in HC 2§74.
[ back ] 42. Comparable to the agōn ‘competition’ mentioned here by Thucydides (3.104.3) is the agōn ‘competition’ in mousikē ‘craft of the Muses’ at the festival of the Panathenaia, where the word mousikē includes the tekhnē ‘craft’ of rhapsōdoi ‘rhapsodes’. As my argumentation proceeds, I will have more to say about this Athenian agōn.
[ back ] 43. I leave this word prooimion untranslated for now. It can be used with reference to the beginning of a humnos or ‘hymn’, as in the case of the Homeric Hymns. At a later point, I will analyze the technical meaning of this word and its etymology.
[ back ] 44. On this aguia as the via sacra of Delos, see Aloni 1989:117–118.
[ back ] 45. The word agōn ‘competition’ as used here by Thucydides (3.104.5) needs to be correlated with his use of the same word earlier on in the passage that I am quoting here (3.104.3).
[ back ] 46. See my earlier note on this word.
[ back ] 47. In HC 2§27n25, I make an argument for interpreting this word aphēmōs (ἀφήμως) to mean ‘without naming names’. The adjective ἄφημος was understood to be a synonym of ἀπευθής (as we see in the scholia to Aratus 1.270.2 ed. J. Martin 1974). This word ἀπευθής is used in the sense ‘without information’, as in Odyssey iii 88 and 184. When the Delian Maidens are asked to respond to the question ‘Who is the singer?’, they respond without naming names, that is, without giving information about the singer’s name. See also De Martino 1982:92–94. For a similar explanation, see also Burkert 1979:61.
[ back ] 48. |3.104.2 … καὶ τὴν πεντετηρίδα τότε πρῶτον μετὰ τὴν κάθαρσιν ἐποίησαν οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι τὰ Δήλια. |3.104.3 ἦν δέ ποτε καὶ τὸ πάλαι μεγάλη ξύνοδος ἐς τὴν Δῆλον τῶν Ἰώνων τε καὶ περικτιόνων νησιωτῶν· ξύν τε γὰρ γυναιξὶ καὶ παισὶν ἐθεώρουν, ὥσπερ νῦν ἐς τὰ ᾿Εφέσια Ἴωνες, καὶ ἀγὼν ἐποιεῖτο αὐτόθι καὶ γυμνικὸς καὶ μουσικός, χορούς τε ἀνῆγον αἱ πόλεις. |3.104.4 δηλοῖ δὲ μάλιστα Ὅμηρος ὅτι τοιαῦτα ἦν ἐν τοῖς ἔπεσι τοῖσδε, ἅ ἐστιν ἐκ προοιμίου Ἀπόλλωνος· [[beginning of quotation by Thucydides]] |146 ἀλλ’ ὅτε Δήλῳ, Φοῖβε, μάλιστά γε θυμὸν ἐτέρφθης, |147 ἔνθα τοι ἑλκεχίτωνες Ἰάονες ἠγερέθονται |148 σὺν σφοῖσιν τεκέεσσι γυναιξί τε σὴν ἐς ἀγυιάν· |149 ἔνθα σε πυγμαχίῃ τε καὶ ὀρχηστυῖ καὶ ἀοιδῇ |150 μνησάμενοι τέρπουσιν, ὅταν καθέσωσιν ἀγῶνα. [[end of quotation by Thucydides]] |3.104.5 ὅτι δὲ καὶ μουσικῆς ἀγὼν ἦν καὶ ἀγωνιούμενοι ἐφοίτων ἐν τοῖσδε αὖ δηλοῖ, ἅ ἐστιν ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ προοιμίου· τὸν γὰρ Δηλιακὸν χορὸν τῶν γυναικῶν ὑμνήσας ἐτελεύτα τοῦ ἐπαίνου ἐς τάδε τὰ ἔπη, ἐν οἷς καὶ ἑαυτοῦ ἐπεμνήσθη· [[beginning of further quotation by Thucydides]] |165 ἀλλ’ ἄγεθ’, ἱλήκοι μὲν Ἀπόλλων Ἀρτέμιδι ξύν, |166 χαίρετε δ’ ὑμεῖς πᾶσαι. ἐμεῖο δὲ καὶ μετόπισθε |167 μνήσασθ’, ὁππότε κέν τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων |168 ἐνθάδ’ ἀνείρηται ταλαπείριος ἄλλος ἐπελθών· |169 ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν |170 ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα; |171 ὑμεῖς δ’ εὖ μάλα πᾶσαι ὑποκρίνασθαι ἀφήμως· |172 τυφλὸς ἀνήρ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίῳ ἔνι παιπαλοέσσῃ.” [[end of quotation by Thucydides]] |3.104.6 τοσαῦτα μὲν Ὅμηρος ἐτεκμηρίωσεν ὅτι ἦν καὶ τὸ πάλαι μεγάλη ξύνοδος καὶ ἑορτὴ ἐν τῇ Δήλῳ· ὕστερον δὲ τοὺς μὲν χοροὺς οἱ νησιῶται καὶ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι μεθ’ ἱερῶν ἔπεμπον, τὰ δὲ περὶ τοὺς ἀγῶνας καὶ τὰ πλεῖστα κατελύθη ὑπὸ ξυμφορῶν, ὡς εἰκός, πρὶν δὴ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι τότε τὸν ἀγῶνα ἐποίησαν καὶ ἱπποδρομίας, ὃ πρότερον οὐκ ἦν.
[ back ] 49. |146 ἀλλὰ σὺ Δήλῳ, Φοῖβε, μάλιστ’ ἐπιτέρπεαι ἦτορ, |147 ἔνθα τοι ἑλκεχίτωνες Ἰάονες ἠγερέθονται |148 αὐτοῖς σὺν παίδεσσι καὶ αἰδοίῃς ἀλόχοισιν. |149 οἱ δέ σε πυγμαχίῃ τε καὶ ὀρχηθμῷ καὶ ἀοιδῇ |150 μνησάμενοι τέρπουσιν, ὅταν στήσωνται ἀγῶνα.
[ back ] 50. |165 ἀλλ’ ἄγεθ’, ἱλήκοι μὲν Ἀπόλλων Ἀρτέμιδι ξύν, |166 χαίρετε δ’ ὑμεῖς πᾶσαι· ἐμεῖο δὲ καὶ μετόπισθε |167 μνήσασθ’, ὁππότε κέν τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων |168 ἐνθάδ’ ἀνείρηται ξεῖνος ταλαπείριος ἐλθών· |169 ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν |170 ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα; |171 ὑμεῖς δ’ εὖ μάλα πᾶσαι ὑποκρίνασθαι ἀφ’ ἡμέων· |172 τυφλὸς ἀνήρ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίῳ ἔνι παιπαλοέσσῃ.
[ back ] 51. There is an earlier version of my argument in HPC I§26 p. 17n27.
[ back ] 52. Again, there is an earlier version of my argument in HPC I§26 p. 17n25.
[ back ] 53. HC 2§§27–40.
[ back ] 54. Commentary in HC 2§27n22.
[ back ] 55. In the case of Pindar’s victory odes, for example, the speaking "I" can make a mimesis of everyone and anyone who may be relevant to the act of praising the victor: the laudator, the laudandus, the kōmos, an optional khoros embedded within the kōmos, the ancestor, the athlete, the hero, and so on. Pindar’s odes also make mimesis of a wide variety of poetic functions, including what Bundy 1972 describes as a “hymnal” function (pp. 55–57). As Bundy shows, Pindar’s odes can even make mimesis of “the actual process of thought in arriving at its goal” (p. 59n59; see also pp. 61–62).
[ back ] 56. In PR 9–35, I offer a more extensive summary.
[ back ] 57. More on the Homēridai in HPC I§§52–54, 138–167 pp. 28, 57–69.
[ back ] 58. HC 2§40.
[ back ] 59. Nagy 2011d:305–306.
[ back ] 60. Literally, ‘we’.
[ back ] 61. The particle δή here has an “evidentiary” force, indicating that the speaker has just seen something, in other words, that the speaker has achieved an insight just a moment ago ("Aha, now I see that …" ). See Bakker 1997:74–80 and 2005:146.
[ back ] 62. |165 ἀλλ’ ἄγεθ’, ἱλήκοι μὲν Ἀπόλλων Ἀρτέμιδι ξύν, |166 χαίρετε δ’ ὑμεῖς πᾶσαι· ἐμεῖο δὲ καὶ μετόπισθε |167 μνήσασθ’, ὁππότε κέν τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων |168 ἐνθάδ’ ἀνείρηται ξεῖνος ταλαπείριος ἐλθών· |169 ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν |170 ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα; |171 ὑμεῖς δ’ εὖ μάλα πᾶσαι ὑποκρίνασθαι ἀφ’ ἡμέων· |172 τυφλὸς ἀνήρ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίῳ ἔνι παιπαλοέσσῃ. |173 τοῦ πᾶσαι μετόπισθεν ἀριστεύουσιν ἀοιδαί. |174 ἡμεῖς δ’ ὑμέτερον κλέος οἴσομεν ὅσσον ἐπ’ αἶαν |175 ἀνθρώπων στρεφόμεσθα πόλεις εὖ ναιεταώσας· |176 οἱ δ’ ἐπὶ δὴ πείσονται, ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐτήτυμόν ἐστιν. |177 αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν οὐ λήξω ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα |178 ὑμνέων ἀργυρότοξον ὃν ἠΰκομος τέκε Λητώ.
[ back ] 63. |169 ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν |170 ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα;
[ back ] 64. |172 τυφλὸς ἀνήρ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίῳ ἔνι παιπαλοέσσῃ.
[ back ] 65. |167 … ὁππότε κέν τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων |168 ἐνθάδ’ ἀνείρηται ξεῖνος ταλαπείριος ἐλθών·
[ back ] 66. |174 ἡμεῖς δ’ ὑμέτερον κλέος οἴσομεν ὅσσον ἐπ’ αἶαν |175 ἀνθρώπων στρεφόμεσθα πόλεις εὖ ναιεταώσας.
[ back ] 67. |169 ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν |170 ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα;
[ back ] 68. |167 … ὁππότε κέν τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων |168 ἐνθάδ’ ἀνείρηται ξεῖνος ταλαπείριος ἐλθών.
[ back ] 69. HC 2§39. On the formulaic integrity of both versions of lines 166–168 of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, see Aloni 1989:111–112.
[ back ] 70. HPC I§26 p. 17n25.
[ back ] 71. HPC I§126 pp. 51–52.
[ back ] 72. HPC I§26 p. 17n27.
[ back ] 73. Again, HPC I§26 p. 17n27. There I note the relevance of the formulation of Bakker 2002:21 about the preverb apo: “In the case of verbs denoting speech, the addition of apo- turns the sensibility to context into an immediately dialogic sense: apo-logeomai ‘speak in return’, ‘defend oneself against’, apo-krinomai ‘reason in return’, ‘answer’.”
[ back ] 74. |259 … οἳ κατ’ ἀγῶνα ἐῢ πρήσσεσκον ἕκαστα, |260 λείηναν δὲ χορόν, καλὸν δ’ εὔρυναν ἀγῶνα.
[ back ] 75. |146 ἀλλ’ ὅτε Δήλῳ, Φοῖβε, μάλιστά γε θυμὸν ἐτέρφθης, |147 ἔνθα τοι ἑλκεχίτωνες Ἰάονες ἠγερέθονται |148 σὺν σφοῖσιν τεκέεσσι γυναιξί τε σὴν ἐς ἀγυιάν· |149 ἔνθα σε πυγμαχίῃ τε καὶ ὀρχηστυῖ καὶ ἀοιδῇ |150 μνησάμενοι τέρπουσιν, ὅταν καθέσωσιν ἀγῶνα.
[ back ] 76. For a general examination of this theological principle, I cite again Patton 2009.
[ back ] 77. |169 ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν |170 ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα;
[ back ] 78. δαιτί τε τέρπηται καὶ ἀοιδῆς ὕμνον ἀκούων.
[ back ] 79. On the programmatic implications of euphrosunē ‘mirth’ as the atmosphere, as it were, of the poetic occasion, see BA 5§39 p. 91, 12§15 p. 235, and PH 6§92 = p. 198, following Bundy 1986:2.
[ back ] 80. |3 ἦ τοι μὲν τόδε καλὸν ἀκουέμεν ἐστὶν ἀοιδοῦ |4 τοιοῦδ’, οἷος ὅδ’ ἐστί, θεοῖσ’ ἐναλίγκιος αὐδήν. |5 οὐ γὰρ ἐγώ γέ τί φημι τέλος χαριέστερον εἶναι |6 ἢ ὅτ’ ἐϋφροσύνη μὲν ἔχῃ κάτα δῆμον ἅπαντα, |7 δαιτυμόνες δ’ ἀνὰ δώματ’ ἀκουάζωνται ἀοιδοῦ |8 ἥμενοι ἑξείης, παρὰ δὲ πλήθωσι τράπεζαι |9 σίτου καὶ κρειῶν, μέθυ δ’ ἐκ κρητῆρος ἀφύσσων |10οἰνοχόος φορέῃσι καὶ ἐγχείῃ δεπάεσσι· |11 τοῦτό τί μοι κάλλιστον ἐνὶ φρεσὶν εἴδεται εἶναι.
[ back ] 81. HPC I§192 p. 81.
[ back ] 82. HPC I§§190–191 pp. 80–81.
[ back ] 83. |146 ἀλλ’ ὅτε Δήλῳ, Φοῖβε, μάλιστά γε θυμὸν ἐτέρφθης, |147 ἔνθα τοι ἑλκεχίτωνες Ἰάονες ἠγερέθονται |148 σὺν σφοῖσιν τεκέεσσι γυναιξί τε σὴν ἐς ἀγυιάν· |149 ἔνθα σε πυγμαχίῃ τε καὶ ὀρχηστυῖ καὶ ἀοιδῇ |150 μνησάμενοι τέρπουσιν, ὅταν καθέσωσιν ἀγῶνα.
[ back ] 84. Puhvel 1988:29.
[ back ] 85. Again, Puhvel 1988:29.
[ back ] 86. HC 2§321.
[ back ] 87. Again, HC 2§321.
[ back ] 88. HC 2§98
[ back ] 89. HC 2§83.
[ back ] 90. On the term aporetic question, see Bundy 1972:47. On “apologetic” and “aporetic” rhetorical strategies, see Bundy p. 59n59; also pp. 60–61 and 65.
[ back ] 91. πῶς γάρ σ᾿ ὑμνήσω πάντως εὔυμνον ἐόντα. At verse 19 of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the manuscript reading is γάρ, while at 207, it is τ’ἄρ.
[ back ] 92. HC 2§24. On the syntax of pantōs ‘absolutely’ as an overall modifier of absolute phraseology, see for example Solon F 4.16 West and the commentary in Nagy 1985:59–60, PH 9§7 p. 256n38.
[ back ] 93. HC 2§89. See also Petrović 2013.
[ back ] 94. HC 2§92. See also PP 63n20 and PR 72, 81,with reference to Latin exordium as a semantic equivalent of Greek prooimion.
[ back ] 95. HC 2§91, with bibliography on alternative etymological solutions. On a possible Avestan parallel, see Skjærvø 2005:274.
[ back ] 96. HC 2§§97, 109, 113–114, 116.
[ back ] 97. |292 χαῖρε θεὰ Κύπροιο ἐϋκτιμένης μεδέουσα· |293σεῦ δ’ ἐγὼ ἀρξάμενος μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον.
[ back ] 98. Note the wording in the beginning of this hymn, in verse 1: Ἄρτεμιν ὕμνει Μοῦσα ‘make Artemis, O Muse, the subject of my humnos’.
[ back ] 99. |7 καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε θεαί θ’ ἅμα πᾶσαι ἀοιδῇ· |8 αὐτὰρ ἐγώ σε πρῶτα καὶ ἐκ σέθεν ἄρχομ’ ἀείδειν, |9 σεῦ δ’ ἐγὼ ἀρξάμενος μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον.
[ back ] 100. |10 καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε Διὸς καὶ Μαιάδος υἱέ· |11 σεῦ δ’ ἐγὼ ἀρξάμενος μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον. |12 χαῖρ’ Ἑρμῆ χαριδῶτα διάκτορε, δῶτορ ἐάων.
[ back ] 101. HC 2§99. See also Bundy 1972:44, 49. For more on the rhetoric of seeking the pleasure of the gods, see his p. 62n65.
[ back ] 102. With reference to the use of kharis in the Homeric Hymn (24) to Hestia (5), Bundy 1972:83 speaks of a “concern for the pleasure of a critical audience as well as for that of the god.”
[ back ] 103. μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον.
[ back ] 104. PH 12§33 pp. 353–354, following Koller 1956:174–182; see also Bakker 2005:144, disagreeing with Clay 1997:493. Further discussion in Petrović 2012. So also the expression ἄλλης … ἀοιδῆς in other Homeric Hymns means not ‘another song’ but ‘the rest of the song’, as in the case of Homeric Hymn (2) to Demeter 494–495. Other examples of this type include Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 545–546, Homeric Hymn (4) to Hermes 579–580, Homeric Hymn (6) to Aphrodite 19–21, Homeric Hymn (10) to Aphrodite 4–6, Homeric Hymn (19) to Pan 48–49, Homeric Hymn (25) to the Muses and Apollo 6–7, Homeric Hymn (27) to Artemis 21–22, Homeric Hymn (28) to Athena 17–18, Homeric Hymn (29) to Hestia 13–14, Homeric Hymn (30) to Gaia 17–19, Homeric Hymn (33) 18–19 to the Dioskouroi. Further analysis in Nagy 2011d:328–329, where I note that these and other such examples of the expression ἄλλης … ἀοιδῆς have been described in terms of a “break-off formula” by Bundy 1972:52–53, even though he recognizes the “transitional” function of this formula (pp. 52 ). I find the term “break-off” misleading because it blunts the idea of “transitional” (for more on Bundy’s use of the term “transitional,” see his p. 87).
[ back ] 105. HC 2§109.
[ back ] 106. There is a longer summary, featuring ten comments, in Nagy 2011d:330–332.
[ back ] 107. HPC I§§188–23 pp. 203–214.
[ back ] 108. HPC I§§242 p. 222.
[ back ] 109. HPC I§§207–208 pp. 207–208.
[ back ] 110. HPC I§§225–226 pp. 214–216.
[ back ] 111. Again, HPC I§298 p. 240.
[ back ] 112. Again, HPC I§298 p. 240.
[ back ] 113. HC 2§278.
[ back ] 114. HC 2§34.
[ back ] 115. |169 ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν |170 ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα;
[ back ] 116. HC 2§34. See also Peponi 2009:54–55, 66n71 and Calame 2001:30, 104, 110. Thucydides 3.104.5 refers to this chorus as gunaikes ‘women’, but I think that this description does not exclude young women.
[ back ] 117. See my note for Homeric Hymn to Apollo verse 163 at 2§27. The designation of the Delian Maidens as therapnai ‘attendants’ of the god Apollo in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (157) is comparable to the designation of the generic aoidos ‘singer’ as therapōn ‘attendant’ of the Muses (Μουσάων θεράπων), as in the Hesiodic Theogony (100). Since the feminine form therapnē is related to the masculine therapōn, I suggest that the Delian Maidens as choral performers are surrogates of Apollo and, by extension, of his choral ensemble of Muses, just as the generic aoidos ‘singer’ in the Theogony is a surrogate of the Muses, and by extension, of their choral leader Apollo. On Apollo as a metonym for Apollo and the Muses in choral contexts, see PH 12§29 pp. 350–351 and §58 p. 370. On therapōn ‘attendant’ in the earlier sense of ‘ritual substitute’, I refer again to BA 18§1–9 pp. 301–307, with special reference to the use of the epithet Μουσάων θεράπων ‘therapōn of the Muses’ in the Life of Archilochus and Life of Aesop traditions. On the Hesiodic model of Μουσάων θεράπων ‘therapōn of the Muses’ (Theogony 100), I refer again to GM 47–51. With reference to the word therapnai ‘attendants’, consider also the Laconian place-name Therapna (Serapna), which I interpret as a metonym like Mukēnē, Thēbē, and so on (on these place names, see HTL 163).
[ back ] 118. Bundy 1972:59n58.
[ back ] 119. HPC I§223 p. 94.
[ back ] 120. Especially relevant is what Bundy 1972:55–57 says about the “hymnal” function.
[ back ] 121. HC 2§72, HPC I§§199–201 pp. 84–85; I§§248–259 pp. 105–109.
[ back ] 122. |1 ῞Οθεν περ καὶ Ὁμηρίδαι |2 ῥαπτῶν ἐπέων τὰ πόλλ᾿ ἀοιδοί |3 ἄρχονται, Διὸς ἐκ προοιμίου.
[ back ] 123. PH 12§§33–43 pp. 353–360.
[ back ] 124. HC 2§83.
[ back ] 125. τόν, ὦ πολῖ|ται, κωμάξατε Τιμοδήμῳ σὺν εὐκλέϊ νόστῳ·| ἁδυμελεῖ δ᾿ ἐξάρχετε φωνᾷ.
[ back ] 126. See again HC 2§74; also HC 2§§65–82, with reference to the formulation of Aristotle Poetics 1449a10–11 involving the verb ex-arkhein (also arkhein) in the sense of ‘lead a performance of singers-dancers’.
[ back ] 127. HC 2§73.
[ back ] 128. HC 2§75.
[ back ] 129. Again, HC 2§75.
[ back ] 130. δαιτί τε τέρπηται καὶ ἀοιδῆς ὕμνον ἀκούων.
[ back ] 131. |462 κέκλυθι νῦν, Εὔμαιε καὶ ἄλλοι πάντες ἑταῖροι, |463 εὐξάμενός τι ἔπος ἐρέω· οἶνος γὰρ ἀνώγει, |464 ἠλεός, ὅς τ’ ἐφέηκε πολύφρονά περ μάλ’ ἀεῖσαι |465 καί θ’ ἁπαλὸν γελάσαι καί τ’ ὀρχήσασθαι ἀνῆκε, |466 καί τι ἔπος προέηκεν, ὅ πέρ τ’ ἄρρητον ἄμεινον. |467 ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ οὖν τὸ πρῶτον ἀνέκραγον, οὐκ ἐπικεύσω.
[ back ] 132. |7.74 εἰ πόνος ἦν, τὸ τερπνὸν πλέον πεδέρχεται. |7.75 ἔα με· νικῶντί γε χάριν, εἴ τι πέραν ἀερθείς |7.76 ἀνέκραγον, οὐ τραχύς εἰμι καταθέμεν. Commentary in BA 12§15 p. 236; also Nagy 1994:24.
[ back ] 133. PR 53, 83.
[ back ] 134. Further references in HPC I§26 p. 15n20.
[ back ] 135. πάτος· … ἔνδυμα τῆς Ἥρας.
[ back ] 136. |66.2 … οὐδὲ μὲν Ἥρης |66.3 ἁγνὸν ὑ⌊φ⌋αινέμενα⌊ι⌋ τῇσι μέμη⌊λε⌋ πάτος |66.4 στῆναι [πὰ]ρ κανόνεσσι πάρος θέμις ἢ τεὸν ὕδω[ρ] |66.5 κὰκ κεφ[α]λῆς ἱρὸν πέτρον ἐφεζομένας χεύασθαι.
[ back ] 137. Τῇ Ἀθηνᾷ πολιάδι οὔσῃ πέπλος ἐγίνετο παμποίκιλος, ὃν ἀνέφερον ἐν τῇ
πομπῇ τῶν Παναθηναίων.
[ back ] 138. “ὅ τ’ ἐν Ἄργει χαλκός”: τὰ Ἥραια, <ἃ> καὶ Ἑκατόμβαια λέγεται διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν θυομένων βοῶν. λαμβάνουσι δὲ ἐντεῦθεν οὐκ ἀργὸν χαλκὸν, ἀλλὰ τρίποδας καὶ λέβητας καὶ ἀσπίδας καὶ κρατῆρας.
[ back ] 139. “ἔγνω νιν”: ἐγνώρισε δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ ὁ ἐν τῷ Ἄργει διδόμενος χαλκὸς ἆθλον τῷ νικήσαντι.
[ back ] 140. τελεῖται δὲ κατὰ τὸ Ἄργος τὰ Ἥραια ἢ τὰ Ἑκατόμβαια διὰ τὸ ἑκατὸν βοῦς θύεσθαι τῇ θεῷ. τὸ δὲ ἆθλον, ἀσπὶς χαλκῆ· οἱ δὲ στέφανοι ἐκ μυρσίνης.
[ back ] 141. ἄλλως· ἐν Ἄργει, ἐν τῷ Ἑκατομβαίων ἀγῶνι, χαλκὸς τὸ ἆθλον δίδοται, ὅτι Ἀρχῖνος Ἀργείων γενόμενος βασιλεύς, ὃς καὶ ἀγῶνα πρῶτος συνεστήσατο, ταχθεὶς ἐπὶ τῆς τῶν ὅπλων κατασκευῆς, ἀπὸ τούτων καὶ τὴν τῶν ὅπλων δόσιν ἐποιήσατο. Ἑκατόμβαια δὲ BC(D)EQ ὁ ἀγὼν λέγεται ὅτι πομπῆς μεγάλης προηγοῦνται ἑκατὸν βόες, οὓς νόμος κρεανομεῖσθαι πᾶσι τοῖς πολίταις.
[ back ] 142. Commentary in H24H 13§§11–21.
[ back ] 143. For documentation on the ritual practice of choosing two premier animal victims out of a mass of animals destined for slaughter at a sacrifice, see PR 51–52.
[ back ] 144. See also Hesychius s.v. agōn khalkeios.
[ back ] 145. HPC II§417 p. 293. There are several attestations of the expression τὴν ἐξ Ἄργους ἀσπίδα ‘shield [aspis] of Argos’, as in IG IV 591.6–7.
[ back ] 146. See also Hesychius s.v. agōn khalkeios.
[ back ] 147. Μακεδόνες δὲ καὶ Κύπριοι χάριτας λέγουσι τὰς συνεστραμμένας καὶ οὔλας μυρσίνας, 
ἃς φαμὲν στεφανίτιδας. Commentary in HPC II§424 pp. 295–296.
[ back ] 148. Commentary in HPC II§427 p. 296.
[ back ] 149. |51 αἵματί οἱ δεύοντο κόμαι χαρίτεσσιν ὁμοῖαι |52 πλοχμοί θ’. Commentary in HPC II§425 p. 296n80, where I analyze a modulation from red to white coloring in the complex simile of Iliad XVII 51–59. The simile extends from lines 51–52, focusing on the red color of myrtle blossoms, to lines 53–59, focusing on the white color of olive blossoms.
[ back ] 150. |167 Ἀγαμέμνονος ὦ κόρα, ἤλυθον, Ἠλέκτρα, |168 ποτὶ σὰν ἀγρότειραν αὐλάν. |169 ἔμολέ τις ἔμολεν γαλακτοπότας ἀνὴρ |170 Μυκηναῖος οὐριβάτας· |171 ἀγγέλλει δ’ ὅτι νῦν τριταί|172αν καρύσσουσιν θυσίαν |173 Ἀργεῖοι, πᾶσαι δὲ παρ’ Ἥ|174ραν μέλλουσιν παρθενικαὶ στείχειν.
[ back ] 151. Bierl 2009:57n152, 107, 272–273, 284, 294–295, 318–319. See also Bierl 2011.
[ back ] 152. |432 κλειναὶ νᾶες, αἵ ποτ’ ἔβατε Τροίαν τοῖς ἀμετρήτοις ἐρετμοῖς πέμπουσαι χορεύματα Νηρῄδων, |435 ἵν’ ὁ φίλαυλος ἔπαλλε δελφὶς πρῴραις κυανεμβόλοισιν εἱλισσόμενος, πορεύων τὸν τᾶς Θέτιδος κοῦφον ἅλμα ποδῶν Ἀχιλῆ |440 σὺν Ἀγαμέμνονι Τρωίας ἐπὶ Σιμουντίδας ἀκτάς. Νηρῇδες δ’ Εὐβοῖδας ἄκρας λιποῦσαι μόχθους ἀσπιστὰς ἀκμόνων Ἡφαίστου χρυσέων ἔφερον τευχέων, |445 ἀνά τε Πήλιον […] ἔνθα πατὴρ ἱππότας τρέφεν Ἑλλάδι φῶς |450 Θέτιδος εἰνάλιον γόνον ταχύπορον πόδ’ Ἀτρείδαις. Ἰλιόθεν δ’ ἔκλυόν τινος ἐν λιμέσιν Ναυπλίοις βεβῶτος τᾶς σᾶς, ὦ Θέτιδος παῖ, |455 κλεινᾶς ἀσπίδος ἐν κύκλῳ τοιάδε σήματα δείματα Φρύγια τετύχθαι· περιδρόμῳ μὲν ἴτυος ἕδρᾳ Περσέα λαιμοτόμαν ὑπὲρ ἁλὸς |460 ποτανοῖσι πεδίλοις κορυφὰν Γοργόνος ἴσχειν, Διὸς ἀγγέλῳ σὺν Ἑρμᾷ, τῷ Μαίας ἀγροτῆρι κούρῳ |464 ἐν δὲ μέσῳ κατέλαμπε σάκει φαέθων |465 κύκλος ἁλίοιο ἵπποις ἂμ πτεροέσσαις ἄστρων τ’ αἰθέριοι χοροί, Πλειάδες Ὑάδες, Ἕκτορος ὄμμασι τροπαῖοι· |470 ἐπὶ δὲ χρυσοτύπῳ κράνει Σφίγγες ὄνυξιν ἀοίδιμον ἄγραν φέρουσαι· περιπλεύρῳ δὲ κύτει πύρπνοος ἔσπευδε δρόμῳ λέαινα χαλαῖς |475 Πειρηναῖον ὁρῶσα πῶλον. ἄορι δ’ ἐν φονίῳ τετραβάμονες ἵπποι ἔπαλλον, κελαινὰ δ’ ἀμφὶ νῶθ’ ἵετο κόνις.
[ back ] 153. I recommend the relevant analysis of Zeitlin 1970.
[ back ] 154. HPC II§419 pp. 293–294.
[ back ] 155. HPC II§§423–454 p. 295.
[ back ] 156. τῇ … τῆς θεοῦ θυσίᾳ.
[ back ] 157. καὶ τὴν θεὸν ἅμα ἐν τῇ πανηγύρει δικαίως τε καὶ ἀληθῶς οἷόνπερ ὑμνοῦντας ἐγκωμιάζειν. Commentary in PR 53.
[ back ] 158. What follows is a recasting of what I argued in PR 97–98.
[ back ] 159. Proclus commentary ed. Festugière 1966 vol. I p. 122.
[ back ] 160. Proclus commentary ed. Festugière 1966 vol. I pp. 182–183.
[ back ] 161. τὰν Ἄργει μέλπουσ’ Ἥραν ‘singing-and-dancing [melpein] as the subject of my song the goddess Hera at Argos’.
[ back ] 162. Here is the overall context, at lines 222–224: ἱστοῖς ἐν καλλιφθόγγοις | κερκίδι Παλλάδος Ἀτθίδος εἰκὼ | <καὶ> Τιτάνων ποικίλλουσ’, which I translate as ‘pattern-weaving, with my shuttle, on looms that have beautiful voices of their own, a picture of Athenian Pallas (Athena), and of the Titans’. In the stylized Panhellenic wording of Euripides, the ‘Titans’ are of course the ‘Giants’ of the Gigantomachy. See also Extract 2-V as quoted in 2§140. I translate kerkis here as ‘shuttle’, but a more accurate trasnlation would be ‘pin-beater’ (Edmunds 2012).
[ back ] 163. Proclus commentary ed. Festugière 1966 vol. I p. 183; cf. Hadot 1983:129.
[ back ] 164. Hadot 1983:117.
[ back ] 165. PR 98.
[ back ] 166. My interpretation here is not certain.
[ back ] 167. On the semantics of en-krisis in the sense of a “choice selection” in a competitive context, see LSJ pp. 473–474. In Herodotus 1.31.1–5, as I indicated earlier, we see a reference to the choice selection of two oxen in the sacrifice of one hundred oxen at the festival of Hera at Argos.
[ back ] 168. |1 [θ]εο[ί].|2 Ἐξήκεστος Διοδώρου εἶπεν· ὅπωρ ἂν τὰ Ἀρ|3τεμίρια ὡς κάλλιστα ἄγωμεν καὶ θύω[ριν ὡς π|4λε]ῖστοι, ἔδοξεν τεῖ βουλεῖ καὶ τοῖ δήμοι|5 ⟦ ̣⟧ τιθεῖν τὴμ πόλιν ἀγῶνα μουσικῆς ἀπὸ χιλίων |6 δραχμῶν τεῖ Μεταξὺ καὶ τεῖ Φυλακεῖ καὶ παρέχει|7ν ἄρνας τεῖ πρὸ τῶν Ἀρτεμιρίων πέντε ἡμέρας, τ|8ούτων δὲ δύο ἐγκρίτους εἶναι.
[ back ] 169. |10 … τὴν δὲ μουσικὴν τιθεῖν ῥαψωιδοῖς, |11 αὐλωιδοῖς, κιθαρισταῖς, κιθαρωιδοῖς, παρωιδοῖς, |12 τοὺς δὲ τὴν μουσικὴν ἀγωνιζομένους πάντα[ς] |13 ἀγωνίζεσθαι προσόδιον τεῖ θυσίει ἐν τεῖ αὐλεῖ ἔ|14[χο]ντας τὴν σκευὴν ἥμπερ ἐν τοῖ ἀγῶνι ἔχουρ[ι]
[ back ] 170. |38 … συμπο|39μπευόντων δὲ καὶ οἱ τῆς μουσικῆς ἀγωνισταὶ πάντ|40ες…
[ back ] 171. |40 …ὅπως ἂν ὡς καλλίσστη ἡ πομπὴ καὶ ἡ θυσίη γένηται.
[ back ] 172. |2 … ὅπωρ ἂν τὰ Ἀρ|3τεμίρια ὡς κάλλιστα ἄγωμεν καὶ θύω[ριν ὡς π|4λε]ῖστοι.
[ back ] 173. PR 50.
[ back ] 174. PR 50.
[ back ] 175. PR 41–42.
[ back ] 176. Conversely, as I argue in PR 41–48, the art of mousikē does not technically include the overall art of the dramatist of tragedy or comedy.
[ back ] 177. See HC 3§48.
[ back ] 178. ἐν … τοῖς τῆς μουσικῆς ἄθλοις. See PP 111n24.
[ back ] 179. |42 … ὅπως ἂν κατὰ τοῦτα γί |43νηται ἡ θυσίη καὶ ἡ μουσικὴ τεῖ Ἀρτέμιδι εἰς τὸν ἀεὶ χ|44[ρό]νον.