Chapter 6

Homer as Script

The Athenian Koine or “Vulgate” version of Homer, even if it were to have no claim to be the original Homer any more than the text established by Aristarchus, represents a crucial era in the history of Homeric performance traditions. This is the next argument to be made, added as a qualification to my earlier argument that we cannot simplistically apply the criteria of right or wrong, better or worse, original or altered, in the editorial process of sorting out the Homeric variants transmitted by Aristarchus or by earlier sources. It is indeed justifiable, however, to ask whether a variant is authentic or not—provided we understand “authentic” to mean in conformity with traditional oral epic diction. [1]
Further, it is justifiable to ask whether a given variant can be assigned to a particular period. In the scheme of five periods in the history of Homeric transmission, formulated at the beginning of the previous chapter, I propose that the variants attributed by Didymus and, ultimately, by Aristarchus to the Koine version of Homer tend to converge toward period 3, while the variants often preferred by Aristarchus himself or by other Alexandrian critics are typical of periods 4 and 5. This is not going so far as to say that some variants go all the way back to period 3 while others go only as far back as periods 4 and 5. It is only to say that certain kinds of variants seem to predominate at certain periods within the continuum of Homeric transmission. And it still remains to ask what if any distinguishing features we may find in an Athenian Koine version of period 3—an era defined in the previous chapter {153|154} as extending from the middle of the sixth century BCE to the later part of the fourth.
Let us briefly review the terminology. T. W. Allen’s summary concerning the terms koinḗ (singular) and koinaí (plural) is instructive:
We conclude that the koinḗ or vulgate adduced by Didymus in his commentary—if not by the Alexandrians themselves—consisted of the ordinary or uncorrected copies produced by the book trade, whose general characteristic was an increasing modernity in syntax, vocabulary, and phonetics. In most of these points the vulgate was ‘careless’ and even ‘bad’. The principal aim of the professional critic, Alexandrian and other, was to stay the course of the modernizing process by restoring older forms and words. [2]
Allen’s notion of “modernism” is also instructive: “In an unfenced text the single tendency that is constant is that to modernism, the effect of the ambient: our printed Bibles, Shakespeares, Miltons have long since been adduced.” [3]
There is a problem with this formulation. As we have seen in the previous chapter, the variants in the Koine textual tradition of Homer are in fact frequently more archaic than those found in the edited versions of the Alexandrian scholars. Thus the Koine is by no means the most “modernistic” version of Homer. Some, in fact, would claim just the opposite. For example, Richard Janko and others who agree with the theory of a dictated Homer text interpret the archaisms of the Koine as proof that this particular textual tradition comes closest to a hypothetical archetype, a dictated text stemming from the eighth century BCE. [4] According to this theory, the Koine is a sort of default category, a core text that reflects the Homeric “archetype” more closely and accurately than do the texts of Aristarchus and the other Alexandrian scholars who came before him. [5]
But there is a problem with this formulation as well. As we have also seen in the previous chapter, many Homeric variants {154|155} reported by the Alexandrian scholars as alternatives to the variants in the Koine can be shown to be just as authentic in their own right. So if indeed the Koine textual tradition of Homer is no more “original” than other traditions, then the question is: what if anything makes the Koine distinct?
In terms of my evolutionary model of Homeric text fixation, what stands out about the Koine is precisely the fact that it is not at all some kind of systematically “modernized” version, and to this extent I resist Allen’s quoted description. On the other hand, we can in principle accept Allen’s notion of an unfenced text—provided we restrict the description “unfenced” to Homeric Koine texts as transcripts of performances. The point is, however, that the actual performance traditions as reflected by the posited transcripts seem to be anything but unfenced. A salient example is the principle of a fixed numerus versuum: as suggested in the previous chapter, this principle of Homeric transmission can be explained as a performative as well as textual norm. [6] Patterns of stabilization in length of performance need not presuppose the agency of a written text. [7] Following up on this line of thinking, I raised the possibility that these and other patterns of performance stabilization are connected with patterns of performance regulation by the Athenian State. [8] That possibility will now be explored in depth.
Let us adopt for the moment the standpoint of Homer experts who do not reckon with the dimension of performance in the history of Homeric transmission. For them, the evidence of a fixed numerus versuum argues for the concept of an Athenian Homer text as a historical reality. [9] From this standpoint, the Athenian Homer is in effect a “fenced” text, not an “unfenced” one as it is for Allen. [10] From the standpoint of my argument, however, it is an oversimplification to posit a “fenced” Athenian {155|156} text. The Koine or “Vulgate” version of Homer may be traced back to a “fenced” tradition of performance, located primarily in Athens during “period 3,” which extends from the middle of the sixth century BCE to the later part of the fourth. Granted, we may expect that the concept of such a “fenced” Athenian tradition was indeed moving toward the status of a text, especially toward the end of “period 3,” but it is useful for now to maintain a distinction between this kind of “text” and the ultimate form of Homer. An apt term for the “fenced” Homer tradition at the end of “period 3” is script.
I will introduce several different pieces of evidence to justify the application of this term to the late Koine version of Homer, as also to later versions. The centerpiece will be a passage taken from Athenaeus (14.620b-c), which suggests that Homeric performance traditions were reformed in Athens at the initiative of Demetrius of Phaleron. This is the Demetrius who, as we learn from other sources, came to power at Athens in 317 and ruled until 307 BCE, when he was overthrown. [11] Since our basic attested source concerning Demetrius and his reform of Homeric performance traditions is going to be this single passage from a relatively late author, Athenaeus of Naucratis (who flourished around 200 CE), and since the wording of this passage, as we are about to see, is opaque and difficult to interpret, it is essential for the sake of an overall perspective to begin with a brief outline of the some historical facts, as known from other sources, concerning Demetrius as a reformer of Athenian traditions. [12] It is only from the perspective of this historical background that we may then more fully appreciate the implications of the relevant passage in Athenaeus (14.620b-c), to be quoted and analyzed later on.
For purposes of the present argument, the most important historical fact to keep in mind about Demetrius of Phaleron is that he was the reformer of many Athenian institutions. He is best known for having initiated a major reform of Athenian State {156|157} Theater in the fourth quarter of the fourth century, [13] following the patterns of an earlier reformer, the statesman Lycurgus, in the third quarter. [14] Demetrius took the decisive step of abolishing the khorēgía, that is, the duty imposed on wealthy citizens to finance the choruses of State Theater. [15] From around 309 BCE onward, the Athenian State went beyond the earlier pattern of paying salaries to the actors, hereafter paying salaries also to the chorus and even financing its costumes. [16]
Demetrius is also credited with other reforms, each of which was seemingly intended to insure the prevalence of canonical forms. For example, he was responsible for a collection of a corpus of popular tradition that has come down to us as the Fables of Aesop: in Diogenes Laertius 5.80, we read ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ λόγων Αἰσωπείων συναγωγαί, and, in 5.81, there is a reference to this corpus in the bibliographical listing of his works: Αἰσωπείων α'. [17] Demetrius also had a role in establishing a canonical form for the ongoing lore about the Seven Sages (Stobaeus 3.79 and 43.131). [18] Demetrius is the same man, it should be added, who was author of two volumes entitled “On the Iliad” (Περὶ Ἰλιάδος α' β') and four volumes entitled “On the Odyssey” (Περὶ Ὀδυσσείας α' β' γ' δ'), according to Diogenes Laertius (5.81).
With this historical background, let us now turn to the key passage suggesting that Demetrius had reformed the institution of Homeric performances in Athens: {157|158}
οὐκ ἀπελείποντο δὲ ἡμῶν τῶν συμποσίων οὐδὲ ῥαψῳδοί. ἔχαιρε γὰρ τοῖς Ὁμήρου ὁ Λαρήνσιος ὡς ἄλλος οὐδὲ εἷς, ὡς λῆρον ἀποφαίνειν Κάσανδρον τὸν Μακεδονίας βασιλεύσαντα, περὶ οὗ φησι Καρύστιος ἐν Ἱστορικοῖς ὑπομνήμασιν ὅτι οὕτως ἦν φιλόμηρος ὡς διὰ στόματος ἔχειν τῶν ἐπῶν τὰ πολλά· καὶ Ἰλιὰς ἦν αὐτῷ καὶ Ὀδυσσεία ἰδίως γεγραμμέναι. ὅτι δ᾿ ἐκαλοῦντο οἱ ῥαψῳδοὶ καὶ Ὁμηρισταὶ Ἀριστοκλῆς εἴρηκεν ἐν τῷ περὶ Χορῶν. τοὺς δὲ νῦν Ὁμηριστὰς ὀνομαζομένους πρῶτος εἰς τὰ θέατρα παρήγαγε Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς. Χαμαιλέων δὲ ἐν τῷ περὶ Στησιχόρου καὶ μελῳδηθῆναί φησιν οὐ μόνον τὰ Ὁμήρου, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ Ἡσιόδου καὶ Ἀρχιλόχου, ἔτι δὲ Μιμνέρμου καὶ Φωκυλίδου. Κλέαρχος δὲ ἐν τῷ προτέρῳ περὶ Γρίφων “τὰ Ἀρχιλόχου, φησίν, [ὁ] Σιμωνίδης ὁ Ζακύνθιος ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις ἐπὶ δίφρου καθήμενος ἐραψῴδει.” Λυσανίας δ᾿ ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ περὶ Ἰαμβοποιῶν Μνασίωνα τὸν ῥαψῳδὸν λέγει ἐν ταῖς δείξεσι τῶν Σιμωνίδου τινὰς ἰάμβων ὑποκρίνεσθαι. τοὺς δ᾿ Ἐμπεδοκλέους Καθαρμοὺς ἐραψῴδησεν Ὀλυμπίασι Κλεομένης ὁ ῥαψῳδός, ὥς φησιν Δικαίαρχος ἐν τῷ Ὀλυμπικῷ. Ἰάσων δ᾿ ἐν τρίτῳ περὶ τῶν Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἱερῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ φησὶν ἐν τῷ μεγάλῳ θεάτρῳ ὑποκρίνασθαι Ἡγησίαν τὸν κωμῳδὸν τὰ Ἡσιόδου, [19] Ἑρμόφαντον δὲ τὰ Ὁμήρου.
Nor were rhapsodes [rhapsōidoí] missing from our symposia. For Larensis took delight in the works of Homer as no one else could, so much so that he made even Cassander, the one who was King of Macedonia, look superficial. About whom [Cassander] it is said by Carystius in his Historika hupomnḗmata that he was such a Homer enthusiast [philómēros] that he could orally render much of the epic poetry of Homer. And he [Cassander] made his own private transcript of the Iliad and Odyssey. [20] That the rhapsodes [rhapsōidoí] were also called Homēristaí is reported by Aristocles {158|159} in his work On choruses. Demetrius of Phaleron was the first to introduce those who are nowadays called Homēristaí into the theaters. Chamaeleon, in his work On Stesichorus, says that not only the poetry of Homer was melodically sung but also that of Hesiod and Archilochus, even that of Mimnermus and Phocylides. Clearchus, in the first of the two scrolls of his work entitled On riddles, says: “Simonides of Zacynthus, seated on a stool, used to perform rhapsodically [verb rhapsōideîn] the poetry of Archilochus in the theaters.” [21] Lysanias, in the first scroll of his work On the iambic poets, says that Mnasion the rhapsode [rhapsōidós] used to act [hupokrínesthai] in his performances [deíxis plural] some of the iambs of Simonides. [22] As for the Katharmoi of Empedocles, Kleomenes the rhapsode [rhapsōidós] used to perform them rhapsodically [verb rhapsôideîn] at the Olympics, as Dicaearchus says in his work, The Olympic. Jason says, in the third scroll of his work The sacred institutions of Alexander, that Hegesias the performer of comedies acted [hupokrínesthai] in the Great Theater in Alexandria the poetry of Hesiod, and Hermophantos, the poetry of Homer.
Athenaeus 14.620b-c
According to this passage, the contents of which are repeated by Eustathius (4.937.19–24), Demetrius of Phaleron transferred the performances of Homer ‘into the theaters’, as we see from the highlighted wording, and the performers of this reformed performance tradition are ‘nowadays’ called Homēristaí. The wording here allows a variety of interpretations. My own is this: that the Homēristaí eventually replaced the earlier category of rhapsōidoí or rhapsodes. Since Athenaeus is linking performances in theaters by Homēristaí with historically attested performances in theaters by rhapsōidoí, we may infer that he thinks of the Homēristaí as continuing in the traditions of the rhapsodes—this despite the {159|160} likelihood that the performance traditions of the Homēristaí, as we will see below, evolved into something quite different from the traditions of the earlier rhapsodes. As we begin to recognize the differences, however, we should at the same time keep in mind that the performance traditions of fifth- and fourth-century rhapsodes, who apparently declaimed in recitative style, without musical accompaniment, were in turn quite different from those of the even earlier aoidoí ‘singers’ as they are actually portrayed by the Homeric narrative. [23]
I argue, then, for a historical connection between rhapsōidoí and Homēristaí on the basis of the passage just quoted from Athenaeus (14.620b-c). These arguments are in general agreement with conclusions reached by the papyrologist Geneviève Husson, and we will examine presently some of the supporting evidence that she adduces. [24] In earlier work on this Athenaeus passage, I had already posited a continuity between the rhapsōidoí and the Homēristaí, though at the same time I stressed the differences between the two designations of performers, recognizing that the testimony of Athenaeus may well have conflated various different stages in the evolution of performance traditions. [25]
Granting that there are differences, I propose to defend the connection between rhapsōidoí and Homēristaí made by our source here, Athenaeus of Naucratis (around 200 CE), who cites the {160|161} authority of Aristocles (between first century BCE and first century CE). [26] I will also defend the connection that Athenaeus makes between Demetrius of Phaleron and the shifting of performances of Homer ‘into the theaters’, in which context Athenaeus identifies the performers as the Homēristaí. [27] Then, on the basis of morphological parallels about to be adduced, we will consider the possibility that the term goes as far back as Demetrius himself. As we proceed, it is important to keep in mind that, even if the word Homēristaí goes as far back as the era of Demetrius of Phaleron, it does not follow that Homeric performers known by such a name in the late fourth century BCE would have been just like the Homēristaí in the era of Athenaeus, at the beginning of the third century CE, about half a millennium later. [28]
Let us begin by considering a premier example of rhapsode-style performance in theaters, as cited by Athenaeus in the same passage quoted above: he is someone called Hermophantos, who is described, towards the end of our passage, as ‘acting’ the poems of Homer at a performance in the Great Theater of Alexandria. The authority cited by Athenaeus for this information, Jason of Nysa (first century BCE), takes us back to the Ptolemaic era. [29] We may compare another passage that deals with the performance of a rhapsode in the Ptolemaic era of Alexandria:
καὶ ὁ μὲν ῥαψῳδὸς εὐθὺς ἦν διὰ στόματος πᾶσιν, ἐν τοῖς Πτολεμαίου γάμοις ἀγομένου τὴν ἀδελφὴν καὶ πρᾶγμα δρᾶν ἀλλόκοτον <νομιζ>ομένου καὶ ἄθεσμον ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ἐπῶν ἐκείνων·
Ζεὺς δ᾿ Ἥρην ἐκάλεσσε κασιγνήτην ἄλοχόν τε [Iliad XVIII 356] [30] {161|162}
The rhapsode [rhapsōidós] was the talk of everybody—the one who, at the wedding of Ptolemy who, in marrying his own sister was considered to be committing a deed unnatural and unholy, [31] began with the following words: ‘And Zeus summoned Hera his sister, his wife’ [Iliad XVIII 356]
Plutarch Quaestiones convivales 736e
There is also earlier and to that extent even more valuable evidence connecting the performance of Homer with theatrical traditions. Already in Plato’s Ion, we see the figure of Socrates making an explicit equation between the rhapsōidós ‘rhapsode’ and the hupokritḗs ‘actor’ (536a). [32] The rhapsode Ion himself is vividly portrayed as a master of histrionics (535c). [33] Aristotle too in his Poetics notes an overlap between the art of the rhapsode and that of the actor in drama, commenting on what he considers to be overacting on the part of one particular rhapsode, Sosistratos by name, specifically with regard to this man’s use of physical dramatic gestures (1462a6). [34]
We find further evidence for a relatively early theatricalization of rhapsodic traditions when we look beyond the references to a specifically Homeric repertoire on the part of rhapsodes. Let us begin with Plato’s Ion, where we learn that a rhapsode’s repertoire could include not only Homer and Hesiod but also Archilochus (531a, 532a). [35] In light of this information, we may look back at the extended passage in Athenaeus (14.620b-c), where we saw sources from the third century BCE reporting rhapsodic performances of Archilochean poetry in particular (Clearchus) and {162|163} “iambic” poetry in general (Lysanias). [36] We may note in both sets of testimony the strong emphasis on the theatrical aspects of performance: the rhapsodic performance of Archilochean poetry by Simonides of Zacynthus is said to take place in theaters [théatra] (Clearchus), while Mnasion the rhapsode is said to act [hupokrínesthai] in his performances [deíxis plural] of íamboi ‘iambs’ (Athenaeus 14.620c).
In this connection, it is crucial to compare a statement made by Aristotle in his Politics (1336b20–22): τοὺς δὲ νεωτέρους οὔτ᾿ ἰάμβων οὔτε κωμῳδίας θεατὰς θετέον, πρὶν ἢ τὴν ἡλικίαν λάβωσιν ἐν ᾗ καὶ κατακλίσεως ὑπάρξει κοινωνεῖν ἤδη καὶ μέθης, καὶ τῆς ἀπὸ τῶν τοιούτων γιγνομένης βλάβης ἀπαθεῖς ἡ παιδεία ποιήσει πάντως ‘it should be ordained that younger men not be theater-goers [theataí] of íamboi or of comedy until they reach the age where they have the opportunity to participate in lying down together at table and getting intoxicated [that is, to participate in symposia], at which point their education [paideía] will make them altogether immune to the harmful effect of these things’. [37] I infer that Aristotle is contrasting professional performance by rhapsodes or actors in theaters with amateur performance at symposia, and that he has in mind such poets as Archilochus {163|164} when he speaks of the performance of íamboi, presumably by rhapsodes, as parallel to the performance of comedy by actors. [38]
Let us pursue further, now moving considerably ahead in time, the connection made by the third century BCE sources of Athenaeus (14.620b-c) between rhapsode-style performance and the setting of theaters. There is an incidental reference to theatrical performances of Homer in Achilles Tatius (3.20.4): τῶν τὰ Ὁμήρου τῷ στόματι δεικνύντων ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις ‘those who perform [deiknúnai] the poems of Homer orally in theaters’. [39] Let us now consider a related passage, by the same author, where the art of performing Homeric poems is designated by the verb Homērízein. It is this verb, of course, from which Homēristaí is derived. As we examine this passage, we will note various allusions to the theatricality of Homeric performance in what seems to be a parody of the very ideology of paideía ‘education’ in the arts. The context is this: in a legal wrangle, a speaker is attacking his opponent by portraying him as a moral degenerate. The man’s degeneracy is being expressed metaphorically in a humorous narrative about his counterfeit paideía ‘education’ in the arts, as it were, where the idea of practicing the art par excellence seems to be equated mockingly with a theatrical image of ‘playing the Homēristḗs’. The central joke is in the word itself, since the form Homērízein is being used here as a pun to convey a sexual double entendre (mēr in the sense of ‘thigh’):
καί τοι γε νέος ὢν συνεγίνετο πολλοῖς αἰδοίοις ἀνδράσι καὶ τὴν ὥραν ἅπασαν εἰς τοῦτο δεδαπάνηκε. σεμνότητα δ᾿ ἔδρακε καὶ σωφροσύνην ὑπεκρίνατο, παιδείας προσποιούμενος ἐρᾶν καὶ τοῖς εἰς ταύτην αὐτῷ χρωμένοις πάντα ὑποκύπτων καὶ ὑποκατακλινόμενος ἀεί. καταλιπὼν γὰρ τὴν πατρῴαν οἰκίαν, ὀλίγον ἑαυτῷ μισθωσάμενος στενωπεῖον, εἶχεν ἐνταῦθα τὸ οἴκημα, ὁμηρίζων μὲν τὰ πολλά, πάντας δὲ τοὺς χρησίμους πρὸς ἅπερ ἤθελε προσηταιρίζετο δεχόμενος. καὶ οὕτω μὲν ἀσκεῖν τὴν ψυχὴν ἐνομίζετο, ἦν δ᾿ ἄρα τοῦτο κακουργίας ὑπόκρισις. {164|165}
When he was a boy, he would consort with many respectable men, and in fact he prodigiously spent the entire bloom of his youth in this pursuit. He put on the look of solemnity and played the role [hupokrínesthai] of moderation, pretending to be passionately devoted to education [paideía] and behaving consistently in a submissive and abjectly self-abasing way towards those who became involved with him in this pursuit. Leaving his father’s house, he rented a little shack. So he had his ménage there, being the Homēristḗs [40] for the most part, while all along playing host and making friends with anyone who would prove useful for whatever he wanted. And in this way, the thinking was, he was edifying his spirit. Of course, all this was acting [hupókrisis], a thing of perversion.
Achilles Tatius 8.9.2–3
Given that the art of the rhapsode was becoming ever more theatrical and mimetic over time, as we see from the testimony of Plato and Aristotle already in the fourth century BCE, we have reason to expect Athenaeus, near the beginning of the third century CE, to assume that the theatrical tradition of the Homēristaí was ultimately derived from an earlier rhapsodic heritage. Further, on the basis of Aristotle’s remark about stylized physical gestures in the mimesis of Homer—let us say the acting of Homer—we have reason to expect such specific aspects of mimetic performance to become ever more pronounced with the passage of time. Let us consider a case in point, with explicit reference to Homēristaí. In the Interpretation of Dreams by Artemidorus (4.2 p. 205 ed. Hercher), dated to the second century CE, there is an anecdote about a surgeon who once dreamed that he was acting Homer, expressed by the verb Homērízein (ὁμηρίζειν νομίσας), and the reason given for this dream is a mechanical analogy between the motions made by surgeons as they make their incisions and the motions made by Homēristaí as they make their gestures of wounding opponents with weapons and drawing blood: καὶ γὰρ οἱ ὁμηρισταὶ τιτρώσκουσι μὲν καὶ αἱμάσσουσιν, ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ ἀποκτεῖναί γε βούλονται· οὕτω δὲ καὶ ὁ χειρουργός ‘for just {165|166} as the Homēristaí make wounds and draw blood, without any intention of killing, so also does the surgeon’. [41]
There is a comparable reference to Homēristaí in Petronius (Satyricon 59.2–6), where the histrionics of these performers are being ridiculed as an abstruse exercise in art, on display for pretentious but ludicrously ignorant connoisseurs. [42] In this humorous account, the host Trimalchio starts by saying (59.2–3): ...simus ergo, quod melius est, a primitiis hilares et Homeristas spectemus ‘so let us be festive, which is better, right from the start; let us watch the Homēristaí. At that point (59.4–6), intravit factio statim hastisque scuta concrepuit. ipse Trimalchio in pulvino consedit, et cum Homeristae Graecis versibus colloquerentur, ut insolenter solent, ille canora voce Latine legebat librum. mox silentio facto “scitis” inquit “quam fabulam agant? Diomedes et Ganymedes duo fratres fuerunt. horum soror erat Helena. Agamemnon illam rapuit...” ‘there entered right away a troupe [of Homēristaí], beating on their shields with their spears. Trimalchio himself sat down on his cushion and, while the Homēristaí were having their dialogues in Greek verses, in their usual pompous manner, he [Trimalchio], in a sonorous voice, was reading along, in Latin, from a scroll. [43] Then after a moment of silence, he said: “do you know what story they are acting? Well Diomedes and Ganymedes were two brothers. They had a sister, Helen, and Agamemnon abducted her ...”’[this display of Trimalchio’s faulty education continues through section 6]. When Trimalchio finishes (59.6): haec ut dixit Trimalchio, clamorem Homeristae sustulerunt, ... ‘when Trimalchio said these things, the Homēristaí raised a clamor ...’.
These passages from Artemidorus and Petronius show clear signs of a newer and ever more theatrical stage in the lengthy history of Homeric performance traditions—a stage where these traditions come closest to our own contemporary notion of a “script.” We begin to appreciate from these later sources just {166|167} how far the theatrical conventions in the performance of Homer have evolved from the conventions envisioned by earlier sources. We have just seen in the passage from Artemidorus that the Homēristaí actually act out the wounding of opponents with weapons. Now we see in Petronius that such explicitly mimetic gestures are being reinforced by stage props, as it were, such as spears and shields. [44] Moreover, in the passage from Petronius, it appears that different players take on different roles in enacting a Homeric scene. The players seem to have speaking parts, delivered in Greek verses (to be contrasted with Trimalchio’s Latin), apparently representing the speeches of Homeric heroes engaged in combat with each other. I infer that these dialogues were dramatically excerpted—or let us say “scripted”—from actual combat scenes contained by the overall Homeric narrative. Thus I propose to adjust, ever so slightly, a formulation concerning the Artemidorus and the Petronius passages: according to Louis Robert, the Homēristaí mimed battles. [45] Surely the activity of miming does not exclude the factor of speaking parts, delivered in Greek verse. Still, my use of the expression “speaking parts” shows just how far removed we now are, as we contemplate this particular moment in the history of Homeric performance, from the early traditions of the rhapsodes. The text of Homer has achieved the status of a “script.” [46]
The usage of calling the performers of Homer Homēristaí, as made explicit in the literary passages surveyed so far, is confirmed by the attested references in documentary papyri to live performances of Homer in Hellenized Egypt: [47] {167|168}
  • 1. P.Oxy. 3.519 fr. A 3–4 (Oxyrhynchus; ii CE) ὁμηριστῇ (δραχμαί ͺ+ number 448)
  • 2. P.Oslo 3.189.16 (place?; iii CE) ἀπόδιξις Ὁμηρι[στῶν], [48] ἀγὼν ποιητῶν at line 19
  • 3a. SB 4.7336.26 (Oxyrhynchus iii CE) ὁμηριστῇ
  • 3b. same document, line 29 [ἄλλ]ῳ ὁμηριστῇ [49]
  • 4. P.Oxy. 7.1050.26 (Oxyrhynchus ii/iii CE) ὁμη̣ρ̣ι̣σ̣[τῇ]
  • 5. P.Oxy. 7.1025.8 (Oxyrhynchus; iii CE) καὶ Σαραπᾷ ὁμηριστῇ
Let us start with papyrus 5, which is the text of a contract formalized by the magistrates of the metropolis of Oxyrhynchus for the engagement of a Homēristḗs and a dramatic mime (biológos) who are to travel all the way to the metropolis of Arsinoe in order to perform at a seasonally-recurring festival of Kronos. [50] From the context, Geneviève Husson infers that Oxyrhynchus must have had a special reputation for producing artisans of this kind. [51] Next we look at papyrus 1: here the performance of, again, a Homēristḗs, who is to be paid 448 drachmas, is slated to occur after that of a mime, who is to get 496 drachmas, and before that of a dancer, whose wages can be reconstructed at somewhere between 100 and 200 drachmas. [52] In papyrus 4 as well, a Homēristḗs and a mime are listed alongside each other. [53] As Husson notes, all these occasions of performance by Homēristaí are festivals. [54] Moreover, the dates of all these occasions are not far removed from the era of our main source about Homēristaí, Athenaeus of Naucratis (around 200 CE). It is realistic, no doubt, to be reminded again that we are by now over 500 years removed from {168|169} the glory days of Demetrius of Phaleron, whom Athenaeus credits with the theatricalization of rhapsodes. But it is also realistic to keep in mind the continuity, however transformed, of Hellenic culture even half a millennium later. As Husson points out, for example, the metropolis of Oxyrhynchus had a theater with a seating capacity of over 10,000. [55] Such theaters were to be found throughout the Hellenic cities that dotted the Egyptian hinterland or khṓra, and Husson reminds us that the cultural vitality of urban life in that era can in no way be imagined as a phenomenon restricted to a small handful of “gymnasium élite.” [56] It is clear even from the theatrical events mentioned in our Oxyrhynchus papyri that Hellenic institutions actively coexisted with Egyptian counterparts: in the papyrus mentioning the festival of Kronos, for example, on which occasion there was a Homēristḗs contracted to perform, it appears that the cult of the god Anubis also figures prominently. [57]
For yet another attestation of Homēristḗs, we turn to an inscription, published by Charlotte Roueché, [58] that was found by excavators on the side of a doorway leading into Room 6 behind the stage front of the theater at Aphrodisias in Caria: it reads Δημητρίου ὁμηριστοῦ διασκεύη ‘equipment of Demetrius the Homēristḗs’, [59] and its date cannot be much later than the end of the third century CE. [60] As in the case of the evidence from Oxyrhynchus, the naming of this Homēristḗs occurs in a context associated with mimes: the inscriptions on the sides of other doorways leading into other rooms behind the stage designate mimes (as in the case of Room 1: Παρδαλᾶ μειμολόγου). [61] In this era, however, it must be kept in mind that such an association does {169|170} not reflect negatively on the Homēristaí, since the status (and prestige) of mimes was ascending exponentially throughout the Hellenic areas of the Empire at around the time of the third century. [62] The question, then, is not whether the status of Homēristaí was declining with the passage of time: what needs to be determined, rather, is to what extent their very identity was becoming assimilated to that of mimes. [63] The mimetic connotations of this particular attestation of a Homēristḗs at Aphrodisias in the third century CE bring us to a remarkable additional detail: inscribed above the name of Demetrius the Homēristḗs is the following phrase: ἐγενήσθη Ἀλέξανδρος ‘he became Alexander’. [64] Here is an interpretation, considered by Roueché: ‘he was (acted) Alexander, i.e. Paris’. [65] If this particular interpretation is right, then Demetrius the Homēristḗs is known for his acting—or, let us say, re-enacting—of Paris in the Iliad.
The picture that we see emerging in the second and third centuries CE, that of Homer as an obviously excerpted “script” to be performed by Homēristaí in a stylized mimetic format, can be seen as a terminal or at least near-terminal stage in the history of Homeric performance. [66] This has been my argument so far. {170|171} To be sure, any continuum entails discontinuities as well as continuities—one might say that this is the essence of Hellenism, even of tradition itself—but I maintain that the cumulative evidence of the traces that we have examined up to now does indeed seem to bear out the suggestion made in the passage of Athenaeus that the Homēristaí continued the traditions of the rhapsōidoí.
There are further traces of Homēristaí to be found, in Eustathius. Here we must be even more cautious, given that this scholar of the twelfth century CE often makes spectacular mistakes in his own internalized chronology of the cultural history of Classical and post-Classical Athens, Ptolemaic and post-Ptolemaic Egypt. At the very beginning of his Prolegomena to his Commentary on the Iliad (p. 1 ed. Van der Valk), for example, Eustathius treats Aristarchus as a predecessor of Zenodotus, and he assigns both scholars to the era of Peisistratos. Still, Eustathius had access to information that was often more complete than what we now have, as for example in the case of the Athenaeus text that he used for reference, and thus the actual information that he gives can be valuable even when his own interpretation of that information may not be so. [67] Let us begin with two cases of the noun itself, Homēristaí. In one case (Eustathius 4.937), the information replicates what we have just read in Athenaeus (14.620b-c). [68] In the other case (Eustathius 4.970), the reference is en passant, as if Homēristaí had once been the standard word for ‘performers of Homer’: ταῦτα δὲ πάντα καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα ὑποκρουσάμενος τοῖς Ὁμηρισταῖς ὁ ποιητὴς αὐτὸς αὖθις ἐπελύσατο διά τε θείων προσώπων καὶ διὰ λόγων δεξιότητος... ‘being faulted for all these things [that is, for various narrative inconsistencies] and for however many other such things by the Homēristaí, the poet himself provided explanations’. I find this second reference significant precisely because it is used so casually—not just by Eustathius but also, presumably, by his ancient source. [69] {171|172}
Let us note in this connection a further comment, made at an earlier point by Eustathius (1.9) in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, that performers whom he describes as “those in a later period” had “acted Homeric poetry in a more dramatic fashion,” with performers of the Iliad wearing costumes dyed red and those of the Odyssey, purple (εἰ δὲ καὶ τὴν Ὁμηρικὴν ποίησιν οἱ ὕστερον ὑπεκρίνοντο δραματικώτερον, τὴν μὲν Ὀδύσσειαν ἐν ἁλουργοῖς ἐσθήμασι, τὴν δὲ Ἰλιάδα ἐν ἐρυθροβαφέσιν). [70] Eustathius makes this comment in the context of conceding that Homeric poetry had indeed been acted like tragedy, even though it was not called drama (οὐ μὴν δράματα, ὡς τὰ παρὰ τοῖς τραγικοῖς). Given the explicit association of the Homēristaí with the theatricalization of Homeric performance traditions, as we have seen from the passage in Athenaeus, I infer that Eustathius—or, better, perhaps his source, who may be Athenaeus—is referring to the Homēristaí when he speaks here of “those in a later period” who “acted Homeric poetry in a more dramatic fashion” (to repeat, τὴν Ὁμηρικὴν ποίησιν οἱ ὕστερον ὑπεκρίνοντο δραματικώτερον).
Let us return to the evidence of the extant papyri, all dated to the second or third century CE, concerning the performances of Homēristaí. It is important to note that these attestations come {172|173} from a relatively late era—considerably later than that of the “eccentric” Homer papyri of 300 to 150 BCE or so. I have already argued that a phase of relatively more fluidity in the Homeric performance tradition, as reflected in the “eccentric” papyri, was coming to a halt by around 150 BCE, after which time both the performance tradition and the commercial “books” or scrolls of Homer could revert to reflecting more closely an earlier and more canonical Athenian rhapsodic performance tradition. [71] But we have yet to consider fully whether the very term Homēristaí is related to such an earlier, more canonical, rhapsodic tradition.
True, the attestations of this term are so relatively late that we cannot be sure, at this point in the argument, whether it is justifiable to date the institution of Homēristaí as far back as the fourth century BCE. For now, at least, the only direct textual evidence we have for this argument is the passage in Athenaeus 14.620b-c, already quoted, which suggests that the Homēristaí are offshoots of Homeric performance traditions as reformed by Demetrius. What follows, however, is additional textual evidence for taking the actual term Homēristaí all the way back to the era of Demetrius. Also, I will present arguments for linking this term with the idea of a fourth-century “State Script.”
We have already noted that Demetrius of Phaleron, apparently credited in Athenaeus (14.620b-c) with a reform of Homeric performance traditions at Athens towards the end of the fourth century, is definitely to be credited with a major reform of Athenian State Theater. By abolishing the khorēgía, he brought about the ultimate professionalization of the chorus, that former bastion of non-professional and “liberal” education. [72] Thanks to the reforms of Demetrius, as we have seen, the Athenian State was hereafter paying salaries not only to the actors, as it had already before, but also to the chorus, even financing its costumes. [73] In other words, Demetrius legitimated the evolution of a relatively more professionalized corps of actors in State Theater. [74] This {173|174} historical fact suggests that a new detail can be added to the argument: extrapolating from Athenaeus (14.620b-c), I now propose that Demetrius legitimated the evolution of a corps of Homeric performers who were relatively more professionalized than earlier performers—and who may have been actually called Homēristaí.
There are in fact historical precedents, beyond the reform of Athenian State Theater instituted by Demetrius himself in the fourth quarter of the fourth century, for this same man’s reform of Homeric performance traditions. A few years earlier, in the third quarter of the fourth century, we find that Lycurgus of Athens had instituted something that seems analogous: this statesman had initiated reforms in the performance traditions of State Theater in Athens, legislating an official “State Script” for the tragedies of three poets and three poets only, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. [75] The crucial piece of evidence comes from a compressed and problematic passage in [“Plutarch”] Lives of the Ten Orators (841f). [76] According to this passage, Lycurgus introduced a law requiring that the Athenians erect bronze statues of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and that the State make official the texts of the tragedies of these three poets in the following way:
...τὰς τραγῳδίας αὐτῶν ἐν κοινῷ γραψαμένους φυλάττειν καὶ τὸν τῆς πόλεως γραμματέα παραναγινώσκειν τοῖς ὑποκρινομένοις· οὐκ ἐξεῖναι γὰρ αὐτὰς ὑποκρίνεσθαι
...that they were to transcribe their tragedies [that is, the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides] and keep {174|175} them under control in common possession, [77] and that the recorder [grammateús] of the city [78] was to read them as a model [paranagignṓskein] [79] to those acting in the tragedies, for otherwise it was not possible to act them [that is, the tragedies]. [80]
“Plutarch” Lives of the Ten Orators 841f
With reference to this passage about Lycurgus, one scholar has suggested the following possible interpretation: “Did the recorder [grammateús] perhaps attend rehearsals ... with the official text in front of him, following the rehearsal in his text and pointing out whenever the actors departed from it, so as to ensure that they got it right in the actual performance?” [81] Another possibility is that the grammateús read out the text in advance, [82] in which case we may interpret paranagignṓskein as ‘read out loud as a model’. [83] Either way, the implication is clear: the actors of tragedy were bound to an Athenian “State Script.” {175|176}
There is further testimony about such an Athenian text: tragoedias primus in lucem Aeschylus protulit, sublimis et gravis et grandilocus saepe usque ad vitium, sed rudis in plerisque et incompositus; propter quod correctas eius fabulas in certamen deferre posterioribus poetis Athenienses permisere; suntque eo modo multi coronati ‘the first to bring out tragedies was Aeschylus—sublime, severe, and often grandiloquent to a fault, but unpolished in many ways and disorganized; on account of which the Athenians allowed later poets to introduce into dramatic competitions the corrected versions of his dramas, and in this way many of these later poets won the garland of victory’ (Quintilian Institutio oratoria 10.1.66). We note with special interest the expression correctas, which seems to me analogous to the concept of diórthōsis, which in turn may be related to the concept of paranagignṓskein.
In this context, as we contemplate further the usage of paranagignṓskein in the sense of ‘read out loud as a model’, we may perhaps find a deeper level of meaning in the sobriquet reportedly applied by Plato to Aristotle, anagnṓstēs ‘the one who reads out loud’ (Vita Marciana, Aristotle Fragments p. 428.2 ed. Rose). [84] It may even be pertinent that the Vita Latina of Aristotle refers to his own edition of Homer as a dictamen (Aristotle Fragments p. 443.5–6 ed. Rose). [85] Given the theatrical context of paranagignṓskein in the passage about Lycurgus’ reform of performance traditions in Athenian tragedy, we may compare anagnṓstēs with the French stage-word souffleur. [86] Such an interpretation of anagnṓstēs {176|177} may help explain this word’s occurrence alongside Homēristḗs in an Oxyrhynchus papyrus dealing with Homeric performance. [87] In other words, the parallelism of Homēristḗs and anagnṓstēs in this papyrus implies that the recitation of Homer, like the acting of drama, depended on a “script.” Moreover, if indeed the actors of drama in Athens were regulated on the basis of a “script” imposed by the State, the same may be said about the Homēristaí.
In continuing the argument for a relationship between the Homēristaí and an Athenian “State Script” of Homer, I posit the following sequence of events:
  • (A) A new state-controlled performance tradition and “script,” associated with the Homēristaí, is founded by Demetrius in Athens sometime between 317 and 307 BCE.
  • (B) Then, with the fall of Demetrius in 307 BCE, the Athenian State loses or at least relaxes control of Homeric performance traditions, with the result that more variations can proliferate in Athens and elsewhere. [88] Such variations are reflected in the so-called “eccentric” Homer papyri. This period of instability in performance traditions lasts until around 150 BCE During this period from 307 BCE to 150 BCE, we can expect the generic designation of Homeric performers to default to the older term rhapsōidoí ‘rhapsodes’. [89]
  • (C) After this burst of variation peters out, around 150 BCE, the performance traditions of the Homēristaí reassert themselves, matching closely the more canonical textual traditions as reconstituted by Aristarchus. [90] {177|178} In terms of this hypothetical scenario, the relatively late attestations of the word Homēristaí in the papyri can be correlated with the relatively most rigid period in the evolution of Homeric transmission.
In arguing for the emergence of the term Homēristaí already in the late fourth century, the era of Demetrius of Phaleron, I find crucial evidence in the parallel formations of other terms used in parallel contexts. One such form that is parallel to Homēristaí features the verb-suffix ízein from which the derivative noun-suffix istḗs / istaí is derived. [91] The word in question is Thamuríddontes (Θαμυριδδόντων), the Boeotian dialectal equivalent of Thamurízontes, attested in an inscription from Boeotia that is dated to the first half of the fourth century BCE (Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 32.503). The inscription records a ritual event, mentioning twenty-two participants, and among them is a hiararkhíōn ‘hierarch’ and two Thamuríddontes, all of whom Paul Roesch connects with a hero-cult of the prototypical poet Thamyris in the Valley of the Muses. [92] Pausanias reports having seen a statue of Thamyris in the Valley of the Muses, where this prototypical poet is represented as already blinded, holding on to his broken lyre (9.30.2): the best-known version of the story of Thamyris and his punishment for insulting the Muses is told in Iliad II (594–600). [93]
There is another early parallel to the formation Homēristaí. The form in question is Puthagoristaí, a designation for followers of {178|179} Pythagoras, which is attested already in a comedy from the fourth century BCE (Aristophon F 9.1, 12.3 Kassel / Austin; the word is attested in a comedy of Aristophon’s bearing the actual title Puthagoristḗs). These Puthagoristaí are to be distinguished from the ostensibly more “legitimate” line of Pythagoreans, called the Puthagóreioi: unlike the Puthagóreioi, the Puthagoristaí are professionalized and therefore ostensibly more lowly, as we are explicitly told by the Iamblichean Life of Pythagoras (18.80). The lowly characterization of the Puthagoristaí is also indicated by the context of the reference to them in Theocritus 14.5 (in Dorian dialect, Puthagoriktaí). [94] We may compare the morphology of the more elevated name Puthagóreioi with that of the name Kreōphúleioi, designating a lineage of rhapsodes from Samos who had been rivals of the Homērídai, the lineage of rhapsodes from Chios. [95] The archaic ethos of the suffix eioi in the forms Puthagóreioi and Kreōphúleioi is to be contrasted with the innovative ethos of the suffix istaí in Puthagoristaí—and Homēristaí. It is worth stressing again that Athenaeus seems to link the reforms of Homeric performance at Athens in the fourth century BCE with the term Homēristaí.
I propose that the term Homēristaí replaced the earlier Homērídai, [96] and we may see in this replacement of terms a pattern of displacement in authority, in that we know of traditions that report of claims to authority and even legitimacy made by the earlier Homērídai. [97] These traditions even report of instances where the Homērídai disclaimed as illegitimate a given performer {179|180} of Homer, as in the case of the sixth-century figure Kynaithos. [98] It seems that the claim of the Homērídai had been that they were the only authorized performers of Homer. [99]
Given the exclusiveness of the Homērídai as distinct from the Homēristaí, we may again compare the distinction made between the ostensibly more “legitimate” line of Pythagoreans, called the Puthagóreioi, and the less-connected and therefore ostensibly more lowly Puthagoristaí. I propose also that an increased inclusiveness in membership, as implied by the displacement of Homērídai by Homēristaí, may be symptomatic of a decreasing flexibility in the inherited repertoire, to be correlated with an increasing professionalism needed to ensure the survival of performance traditions. There is a similar correlation in the history of Athenian State Theater, where Demetrius’ reform of performance traditions goes hand in hand with a trend toward intensified professionalization. [100]
Let us return to the comment, made by Eustathius (1.9) in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, that performers whom he describes as ‘those in a later period’ had ‘acted Homeric poetry in a more dramatic fashion’ (εἰ δὲ καὶ τὴν Ὁμηρικὴν ποίησιν οἱ ὕστερον ὑπεκρίνοντο δραματικώτερον). I have already suggested that Eustathius—or, better, perhaps his source, which may have been a fuller version of Athenaeus than the one we have—is referring to the Homēristaí . This reference of Eustathius to ‘later’ conventions in Homeric performance implies also a contrast with what he describes in the same context (p. 10) as earlier conventions of ‘the ancients’, the majority of whom had referred to the totality of Homeric poetry as rhapsōidía {180|181} ‘rhapsody’ and to those who sing it, as rhapsōidoí ‘rhapsodes’ (οἱ δὲ πλείους τῶν παλαιῶν τήν τε ὅλην Ὁμηρικὴν ποίησιν ῥαψῳδίαν λέγουσι καὶ ῥαψῳδοὺς τοὺς αὐτὴν ᾄδοντας ‘but the majority of the ancients refer to the totality of Homeric poetry as rhapsōidía and to those singing it as rhapsōidoí’). [101] This earlier practice is then contrasted explicitly (Eustathius, top of p. 10) with the later practice of designating as rhapsōidía each of the twenty-four units of the Iliad and Odyssey, with each rhapsōidía corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. I now propose to link this reportedly ‘later’ practice with the era of Demetrius of Phaleron and with the traditions of the Homēristaí.
In the era of Demetrius, it appears that the equivalent of rhapsōidía is still a matter of performance—though the emphasis may have shifted from the process of putting together the units of performance to the status of each unit’s being divided from the other. In this matter I agree with the opinion of Stephanie West, who infers that “the use of the term rhapsōidía for what we call each ‘book’ of Homer indicates that the system was based on rhapsodic practice.” [102] It does not necessarily follow, however, that the custom of naming after a letter of the alphabet each one of the twenty-four units of both Homeric poem, each designated as rhapsōidía, goes back to the era of the Peisistratidai. [103] The farther back we go in time, the less textual the {181|182} idea of rhapsōidía becomes: and we may certainly expect patterns of performance-segmentation—as reflected in the very word rhapsōidía—to vary over time. [104] Accordingly, let us pursue the argument that the era of Demetrius of Phaleron, who according to Athenaeus (14.620b-c) introduced Homēristaí into the theaters, is a more likely setting for the canonical division of the Iliad and the Odyssey each into twenty-four units of performance.
It is claimed in an ancient source (“Plutarch” Life of Homer 2.4 p. 25.23–25 ed. Wilamowitz) that the division of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey each into twenty-four scrolls originated with the school of Aristarchus. This claim is rejected by those who reconstruct the division all the way back to the era of the Peisistratidai, [105] while it is tentatively accepted by those who resist such a reconstruction. [106] I propose a middle way, arguing that the school of Aristarchus did not originate the division of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four scrolls each but merely re-established this form of division. [107] Before the era of the Alexandrian critics, in terms of this proposal, the division into twenty-four units was a convention primarily of performance, supervised by the Athenian State. {182|183}
In the era of Aristarchus as distinct from the era of Demetrius, the twenty-four units of the Iliad and Odyssey could have become reconceptualized, shifting their identity from quasi-textual rhapsōidíai, numbered according to the twenty-four letters of the Athenian State Alphabet, to veritable “books” or scrolls of the Iliad and Odyssey. In general, however, Aristarchus’ organization of the Homeric text was perhaps closer to Demetrius’ earlier organization than to what we find attested in the so-called “eccentric” Homer papyri. Conventions of book-production in the early Ptolemaic era, as reflected by the “eccentric” Homer papyri, seem to ignore the canonical division of the Homeric poems into the relatively small units marked off by the twenty-four letters of the alphabet. Following the calculations of Jean Irigoin and others, John Van Sickle argues that the pre-Aristarchean Ptolemaic norm for the size of a papyrus scroll or “book” of Homer could have been the length of, say, one of the four scrolls or “books” of the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes (Scroll 1, 1362 verses; Scroll 2, 1285; Scroll 3, 1407; Scroll 4 1781)—or for that matter the length of an Athenian tragedy or comedy—in any case, within the range of 1000 to 2000 lines. [108] By contrast, the post-Aristarchean norm for the size of a papyrus scroll or “book” of Homer averages around 500 to 650 lines—and these lengths match the book-divisions that have come down to us through the medieval manuscript tradition. [109] Moreover, as Van Sickle shows, the norm of any book in the literary world of the post-Aristarchean era actually became reconceptualized to approximate the size of the Homeric book. [110] The two prime examples are Virgil’s Aeneid, the “books” or scrolls of which average 850 verses, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where the average is 800. [111]
To repeat, the so-called “eccentric” Homeric papyri of the pre-Aristarchean period tend to fall within the range of 1000 / 2000 lines, without regard for divisions into twenty-four units: “these early Ptolemaic papyri of Homer ... show no explicit signs of the division into ‘books’ designated by letters of the alphabet.” [112] {183|184} This preference for 1000 / 2000 line-groupings, Van Sickle suggests, “must represent the custom and convenience of an earlier period, stemming not as yet from Alexandria but from more distant centers, including Athens itself.” [113] It is possible, however, that already in Athens there were stricter customs coming to the fore toward the end of the fourth century, at which point my hypothesis calls for the development of something that approximates an Athenian “State Script” of Homer, formalized by Demetrius of Phaleron. The post-Aristarchean era, with its Homeric texts divided into twenty-four scrolls, represents in my opinion not an innovation but a reversion to something like a “State Script”—if not to the actual norms of Homeric performance in late fourth-century Athens.
In support of the notion that the Homer text as formalized by Aristarchus was much closer to such an Athenian “State Script,” as I have called it, than to the intermediate texts represented by the “eccentric” Homer papyri, there is an analogy in the textual history of the Rule of Saint Benedict. [114] The Rule was written down in the sixth century, and Benedict’s manuscript was preserved at Monte Cassino by the Benedictine Order until 896, when it was destroyed in a fire. An “improved” version of the Rule, known as the traditio moderna, was evolving ever since the inception of the text in the sixth century till the end of the eighth century. At that point, Charlemagne himself visited Monte Cassino and acquired a manuscript copied from the original manuscript of the Rule. This copy of the original Rule, which was much closer to the text as it originally existed in the sixth century, then became “the basis for the diffusion of the text throughout the reformed monasteries of the Carolingian kingdom.” [115] Ironically, however, “the concern for the establishment of an accurate text led copyists to insert into the margins readings from the traditio moderna, thus recorrupting the text away from Benedict’s original.” [116]
To restate the analogy, we could say that the evolution of the Rule in the traditio moderna matches the evolution of the Homeric tradition in the era of the “eccentric” Homer papyri, and that the return to the earliest layer of the Rule at the initiative of {184|185} Charlemagne matches the return to an earlier layer of the Koine tradition, at the initiative of Aristarchus. The “recorruption” of the Benedictine Rule matches the eventual “recorruption” of the Aristarchean version of Homer in the post-Aristarchean manuscript traditions. [117] A major difference that offsets the analogy, however, is that the earlier layer of the Koine text, as restored by Aristarchus, does not match the archetypal quality of the earliest layer of the Benedictine Rule. Moreover, for reasons that we will examine in the next chapter, the history of the Athenian text as restored by Aristarchus covers its tracks, as it were.
For now, however, the argument runs as follows: that the performance traditions of fifth-century tragedy and even those of Homer were concurrently reaching a relatively rigid stage in the era of the Athenian reforms starting in the third quarter of the fourth century. It will be important to keep this era in mind as we consider the succeeding era of Alexandrian scholarship, with all its intense editorial activity—which is the central topic of the next chapter. The present argument is that the medieval text traditions of Homer stem, at least in part, not from the Alexandrian era but rather from this earlier Athenian era. [118] In terms of the {185|186} scheme of periodization as outlined in the previous chapter, the Homeric textual tradition that we know today by the vague designation of the Koine or “Vulgate” is typical of period 3, while period 4 begins with the emergence of a “State Script” of Homeric performance traditions as reformed under the régime of Demetrius of Phaleron.
There may indeed have been a textual prototype, in the loosest sense of the word, for the kind of “State Script” that reflects the performance reforms instituted under this régime. Such a prototype could have been influenced by, or even derived from, a copy of Homer that Aristotle and his school had used for their own research, which would surely have included his diórthōsis as marginalia. [119] Be that as it may, we could expect the “State Script” that inaugurates period 4 to be based on the Koine performance traditions of the earlier period 3. As a text, however, such a script would have been considered superior, from the standpoint of its editors, to any earlier commercial transcript of Koine performance traditions. Whether or not such a script stemmed directly from Aristotle’s own diórthōsis of the Koine, we will see in the next chapter that it reflected an ultimate diórthōsis that had been promoted and perhaps even executed by Demetrius of Phaleron, student of Theophrastus, who in turn was student and direct successor of Aristotle. [120] {187|188}


[ back ] 1. The criteria of any “traditional oral epic diction,” it is important to repeat, are hardly universal: they have to be studied within the different historical contexts of different cultures.
[ back ] 2. Allen 1924:282.
[ back ] 3. Allen 1924:281.
[ back ] 4. Janko 1992:22, 26.
[ back ] 5. Janko 1992:22, 26.
[ back ] 6. See p. 143.
[ back ] 7. See p. 144 Also HQ 76.
[ back ] 8. Again, p. 144.
[ back ] 9. Bolling 1925, followed by Apthorp 1980.
[ back ] 10. Those who envisage an Athenian version of Homer purely in textual terms can disagree radically about the reliability of the Alexandrian critics in transmitting such a version: see Rengakos 1993:15–16, who lists various experts representing what he sees as the two opposing sides (it may be noted here that many other radical disagreements separate those who are supposedly members of each side). See further below at n118.
[ back ] 11. Basic works on Demetrius of Phaleron: Bayer 1942, Dow and Travis 1943, Wehrli 1968.
[ back ] 12. On the cultural reforms of Demetrius in Athens, and on his connections with the school of Aristotle, see in general Williams 1987 (who also surveys the bibliography, which is vast).
[ back ] 13. Blum 1991:24.
[ back ] 14. On Lycurgus as a cultural forerunner of Demetrius, see Mossé 1989. In the discussion that follows, I propose to compare briefly the reforms of Athenian State Theater undertaken by Lycurgus and Demetrius.
[ back ] 15. Blum 1991:24.
[ back ] 16. Blum 1991:24.
[ back ] 17. Cf. FGH no. 228 p. 957. Cf. Adrados 1983. Jacoby (FGH no. 228 Notes p. 644) points out that the bibliography of Demetrius’ works as listed in Diogenes Laertius 5.80-81 tends to prove Demetrius’ connection with the Library of Alexandria (T 6b, e), in that ordinarily there are no such lists for “modern” authors. The total list, as given in Diogenes Laertius 5.80–81, is staggering. This cumulative bibliography of Demetrius, which is supplemented in Wehrli 1968:518–522, is reproduced in the Appendix.
[ back ] 18. Χρειῶν α' in the bibliography of Demetrius as given in Diogenes Laertius 5.81 has been identified with this lore about the Seven Sages: Jacoby FGH no. 228 (Notes p. 644). In Diogenes Laertius 1.22, we read about Thales of Miletus: καὶ πρῶτος σοφὸς ὠνομάσθη ἄρχοντος Ἀθήνησι Δαμασίου, καθ' ὃν καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ σοφοὶ ἐκλήθησαν, ὥς φησι Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεὺς ἐν τῇ τῶν Ἀρχόντων ἀναγραφῇ (Demetrius of Phaleron FGH 228 F 1).
[ back ] 19. Valckenaer emends, maybe unnecessarily, from Ἡροδότου.
[ back ] 20. J. D. Morgan comments (per litteras 6 June 1994): “This is certainly evidence for Cassander’s high level of interest in Homer and possibly even for his concern for the proper constitution of the text of Homer.” For Cassander to write out the Iliad and Odyssey by hand is effectively to produce his own private edition. I suspect that Aristotle himself did so, and that he may in fact be the model for what Cassander is reported to have done. Cassander, son of Alexander’s regent Antipater, was the ruler of Macedon from 317 to 297. He was on close terms with Aristotle’s successor, Theophrastus, who composed a book entitled Πρὸς Κάσανδρον περὶ βασιλείας ‘To Cassander, on Kingship’ (Diogenes Laertius 5.47, Athenaeus 4.144e). In the discussion that follows, I will take note of Cassander’s relationship with Demetrius of Phaleron.
[ back ] 21. On the dating of Clearchus, who flourished between 300 and 250 BCE, see Bartol 1992:67, with further references.
[ back ] 22. Lysanias was reportedly the teacher of Eratosthenes (Suda s.v. Eratosthenes); the latter flourished in the third century BCE, so that Lysanias is roughly contemporaneous with Clearchus. I draw attention to the dates of Clearchus (previous note) and Lysanias because both these relatively early sources seem to associate the art of the rhapsodes with theatrics. Such an association is important for later stages of my argumentation.
[ back ] 23. For an extensive discussion of the recitative format of rhapsodic performance traditions: PH 19–28.
[ back ] 24. Husson 1993. She stresses the pertinence of Athenaeus 14.620b-c to the history of Homeric performance traditions. She argues also that the comments by Robert 1936=1969:673n4 and 1983:182-184 on Homēristaí need to be modified, if ever so slightly, on the basis of this passage. Further discussion below.
[ back ] 25. PH 26–27 (cf. West 1970:919), where I offer a detailed diachronic explanation of such concepts as represented by the word melōidēthênai ‘to be sung melodically’ (in the passage quoted from Athenaeus 14.620c), arguing that it is anachronistic to translate this word as ‘to be set to music’. Although the fifth and especially the fourth centuries mark an innovative phase in songmaking traditions where even poetic forms with reduced melody, such as hexameters and iambic trimeters, can indeed be “set to music” (again, PH 26–27), there is a more basic principle to be kept in mind: that even recitative poetic forms like the hexameter stem ultimately from traditions of singing (PH 24–26). Thus we may expect the modified survival of traditional patterns of melody even in poetic forms with ultimately reduced melody, like the hexameter. We may also expect the performance traditions of rhapsodes to reflect such patterns, which in turn would promote the preservation of archaic patterns of pitch accent (PH 29). More below on the subject of accent-patterns preserved in performance.
[ back ] 26. Cf. Husson 1993:94–95. On this point, I disagree with Boyd 1994, who argues that the connection between rhapsōidoí and Homēristaí is unjustifiable.
[ back ] 27. Cf. Husson 1993:95. She notes that the usage of the term Homēristaí seems to be linked with the era of Athenaeus.
[ back ] 28. Timothy Boyd draws my attention to Diomedes Ars Grammatica 3.484.12–16 (fourth-century CE), where the word rhapsōidía is associated with performance, in theatrical contexts, by Homēristaí.
[ back ] 29. Husson 1993:95.
[ back ] 30. It is crucial to note the use of δέ at the beginning of a rhapsodic performance. The fact that correlative μέν and δέ can be found separated by Homeric book-divisions, as at Odyssey ii 434 (μέν) and iii 1 (δέ), has been used along with other facts to argue that the division of the Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four books each is “not original but most likely a product of the Hellenistic age”: see S. Douglas Olson, in a paper presented 28 December 1993 at the annual convention of the American Philological Association (APA 1993 Abstracts p. 41). On the basis of the anecdote that we have just seen, however, I would argue that such separations of correlative μέν and δέ are traditional rhapsodic practice: the δέ of Iliad XVIII 356, beginning a performance at the wedding of Ptolemy II, is syntactically correlated with a μέν in an earlier Iliadic verse, XVIII 354. More below on the possibility that Homeric book-divisions were based on rhapsodic practices.
[ back ] 31. The historical occasion is the marriage, in the first quarter of the third century before our era, of Ptolemy II Philadelphus to his sister, Arsinoe, in accordance with the practice of Egyptian pharaohs—and in violation of Hellenic practices.
[ back ] 32. See also Plato Ion 535b; cf. Husson 1993:95.
[ back ] 33. Cf. Boyd 1994.
[ back ] 34. See Dupont-Roc and Lallot 1980:407.
[ back ] 35. PH 25.
[ back ] 36. See p. 159 above.
[ back ] 37. Cf. Bartol 1992:66. My interpretation of this Aristotle passage depends on whether the paideía here refers to whatever the boy learns—by way of songs and the erotic sensibilities conveyed in the songs—as preparation for participation in the symposium. See Calame 1989, with reference to a red-figure painting by Douris on a drinking-cup produced between 490 and 480 BCE (ARV2 431, 48 and 1653; CVA II pp. 29–30, with plates 77 and 78): the painting illustrates in rich detail two scenes, “A” and “B,” where boys are being educated in the learning and the performance of song and musical accompaniment. On the left in both scenes A and B, a seated ephebe (B) or adult (A) is playing the reed (B) or the lyre (A). On the right in both scenes, a seated pedagogue, with a cane, looks on. In the middle is a young boy standing and facing a seated ephebe who holds a tablet, on which he is writing (B) and a young boy standing and facing a seated adult who holds a scroll of papyrus, which he is reading (A). Another young boy is standing and facing the seated reed-playing ephebe on the left (B), and a seated lyre-playing ephebe faces the seated lyre-playing adult on the left (A). In scene A, there are musical instruments—both lyres and reeds—represented as levitating above the action, and they are framed on either side by representations of drinking-cups shaped just like the one painted by Douris. As Calame argues (p. 53), the songmaking apprenticeship of the boys, with distinct implications of homoerotic undertones (on both sides, there is an erotic inscription designed to touch the lips of whoever drinks from the cup), is being represented as a prerequisite for the integration of adolescents into the symposia of adult citizens, which is the context for which the drinking-cup of Douris is destined.
[ back ] 38. Further discussion in ch. 8, p. 218.
[ back ] 39. On this passage, see Jones 1991:189, especially with reference to the use of weapons as props, as it were, for Homeric performance. See also p. 167 below.
[ back ] 40. In LSJ s.v. Homēristḗs, it is pointed out that the word conveys a sexual double entendre in this context. For another such sexual pun involving mēr in the sense of ‘thigh’, see Crates, Greek Anthology 11.218.
[ back ] 41. Cf. Jones 1991:189. For a related passage, Achilles Tatius 3.20.4, see p. 164 above.
[ back ] 42. Cf. also Jones 1991:189.
[ back ] 43. The humorous effect that is intended here may be this: one would expect an educated person to read along from a libretto written in the original Greek, as it were, but Trimalchio has to resort to a Latin translation. The implications of this detail, where someone is described as reading along while the Homeric performers recite their lines, may be pertinent to a custom dating back to fourth-century Athens, as discussed below.
[ back ] 44. In some contemporary epic performance traditions of India, various characters of epic are re-enacted by performers who dance wielding specific weapons: for example, Arjuna with a bow and arrow, Draupadī with a scythe, and so forth. These weapons, once used in performance, are venerated as sacred objects. See Sax 1991.
[ back ] 45. Robert 1936=1969:673n4 and 1983:182–184. In the Corpus Glossariorum Latinorum, the Homēristaí are mentioned s.v. atellani; see Husson 1993:94n6, who cites e.g. CGL II p. 22 lines 40–42 and VI p. 108 (we note the verbal association of atellani with skēnikoí and biológoi as well as Homēristaí).
[ back ] 46. I should add: what is already “scripture” for Aristarchus may continue to be a “script” for the Homēristaí. More on the notion of “scripture” in ch. 7.
[ back ] 47. I had first discussed these papyri in a paper presented 28 December 1992 at the annual convention of the American Philological Association (“Prosodic Anomalies in Homer: Evidence for Rhapsodic Performance Traditions?” APA 1992 Abstracts p. 89). The perceptive analysis of these same papyri by Husson 1993 has added valuable new information about these texts, which I now list in the order that she prefers. C. P. Jones points out to me that an inscription published by Marek 1993:144 (no. 28; cf. also p. 109) seems to refer to a Homēristḗs (though the actual term is not used in this case).
[ back ] 48. Of great interest to me is the collocation here of Homēristaí with the word apódeixis in the sense of ‘performance’; I discuss the concept of apódeixis at length in PH, especially pp. 222–224, 320, 344, 364, 411. We have already noted at p. 164 above the collocation of Homēristaí and the verb of apódeixis in Achilles Tatius 3.20.4.
[ back ] 49. In the case of examples 3a and 3b, which come from the same document, Homēristḗs is in collocation with anagnṓstēs.
[ back ] 50. For the term biológos, cf. cross-ref. n45 above.
[ back ] 51. Husson 1993:96–97.
[ back ] 52. Husson 1993:98.
[ back ] 53. Husson 1993:98.
[ back ] 54. Husson 1993:97.
[ back ] 55. Husson 1993:99.
[ back ] 56. Husson 1993:99.
[ back ] 57. Husson 1993:98–99, along with other striking illustrations of Greek-Egyptian cultural coexistence in the context of the festivals noted in these Oxyrhynchus papyri.
[ back ] 58. Roueché 1993:18; this evidence was kindly brought to my attention by Geneviève Husson, per litteras (29 November 1994).
[ back ] 59. Roueché 1993:22: “In Room 6 it is clear that more than one text had been inscribed and erased. [The Room 6 inscription] seems to have read Δημητρίου ὁμηριστοῦ διασκεύη; the description ὁμηριστοῦ, after Demetrius’ name, is in a different hand, and was presumably either added to the inscription, or possibly, left over from a previous inscription which Demetrius replaced with his own.” On diaskeûos in the sense of ‘theatrical equipment’ (perhaps ‘costume’), see Roueché p. 20.
[ back ] 60. Roueché 1993:24.
[ back ] 61. Roueché 1993:16.
[ back ] 62. Roueché 1993:24, who also points out that two of the mimes mentioned in the Aphrodisias inscriptions, Philologos (Room 4) and Autolykos (Room 3), were “almost certainly mimes who were competitors at ‘sacred’ contests at some time in the third century.” See also p. 25: “It does seem to be the case ... that the two types of performance which had been increasing in popularity in the Roman period—the pantomime and the mime—dominated the late Roman period.” The evidence of ancient testimony surveyed by Roueché pp. 26–27 makes it clear that the performances of pantomimes and mimes involved singing as well as dancing; cf. p. 26: “While the dancer himself did not speak, he was normally accompanied by a choir who would sing the story; ... the songs themselves might be picked up and sung at home by the spectators [with reference to Libanius, iv CE, On Dancing 93]).” Cf. also Lucian On Dance 68. {In Bonario II p. 57 test. no. 535, we read concerning Homeric conventions: γνῶμας ἐμμέτρους ἀλλήλοις ἀντιτιθέναι: this is from Choricius, as ed. by Stephanes.In Bonario II p. 57 test. no. 535, we read concerning Homeric conventions: γνῶμας ἐμμέτρους ἀλλήλοις ἀντιτιθέναι: this is from Choricius, as ed. by Stephanes.}
[ back ] 63. The passage about the Homēristaí in Petronius Satyricon 59.4–6, as discussed above, is instructive in this regard: intravit factio statim hastisque scuta concrepuit. ipse Trimalchio in pulvino consedit, et cum Homeristae Graecis versibus colloquerentur , ut insolenter solent, ille canora voce Latine legebat librum. mox silentio facto “scitis” inquit “quam fabulam agant? Diomedes et Ganymedes duo fratres fuerunt. horum soror erat Helena. Agamemnon illam rapuit...” ‘there entered right away a troupe [of Homēristaí], beating on their shields with their spears. Trimalchio himself sat down on his cushion and, while the Homēristaí were having their dialogues in Greek verses, in their usual pompous manner, he [Trimalchio], in a sonorous voice, was reading along, in Latin, from a book. Then after a moment of silence, he said: “do you know what story they are acting? Well Diomedes and Ganymedes were two brothers. They had a sister, Helen, and Agamemnon abducted her ...”’.
[ back ] 64. Roueché 1993:18.
[ back ] 65. Roueché 1993:22.
[ back ] 66. To repeat an ongoing point: what is already “scripture” for Aristarchus may continue to be a script for the Homēristaí.
[ back ] 67. For example, Eustathius used an epitome of Athenaeus that was in several respects fuller in detail than the C and E versions that have come down to us; see Van der Valk 1971:lxxxv.{From Lohse 1965.290n85, I learn of Klara Aldick, De Athenaei Dipnosophistarum Epitomae codicibus Erbac. laurent. Parisino. Diss. Münster 1928.From Lohse 1965.290n85, I learn of Klara Aldick, De Athenaei Dipnosophistarum Epitomae codicibus Erbac. laurent. Parisino. Diss. Münster 1928.}
[ back ] 68. For a general discussion of the possibilities of recovering, by way of Eustathius, fuller versions of the Athenaeus text tradition, see Van der Valk 1971:lxxix–lxxxv.
[ back ] 69. Besides the two cases of the noun Homēristaí in Eustathius, we find also the verb Homērízein. In Eustathius (1.553), the expression κατά τε Ὅμηρον καὶ τοὺς ὁμηρίζοντας, may imply that the Homērízontes (from Homērízein) are the equivalent of Homēristaí. Eustathius (1.1), in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, says that no poet would miss the opportunity to imitate Homer, πάντα ποιῶν δι᾿ ὧν ὁμηρίζειν δυνήσεται ‘doing everything that enables him to be a Homērízōn’. It seems as if the idea of a poet’s imitating Homer is being implicitly equated with the idea of performing Homer.
[ back ] 70. Eustathius (1.9), in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, may perhaps be guessing when he attributes to ‘the ancients’ this rationale for the distinct color-schemes: that red stands for the blood shed in war, and purple, for the sea, as the setting of Odysseus’ wanderings. Still, his report about the actual color dichotomy seems to be grounded in tradition. In Homeric diction, we find a parallel dichotomy of red and purple in descriptions of colors painted on ships: nêes miltopárēioi in Iliad II 637 and Odyssey ix 125 vs. néas phoinikoparḗious in Odyssey xi 124 and xxiii 271. Moreover, the inventories of chariots in the Linear B tablets show yet another parallel dichotomy of red and purple in descriptions of colors painted on chariots: the noun i-qi-ja ‘chariot’ is described as either mi-to-we-sa = miltówessa ‘red’ as in Knossos tablet Sd 4407 (Ventris and Chadwick 1973:562 compare nêes miltopárēioi in Iliad II 637) or po-ni-ki-ja = phoinikíā ‘purple’ as in Knossos tablet Sd 4402 (Ventris and Chadwick p. 573 compare néas phoinikoparḗious in Odyssey xi 124). For the translation ‘purple’ in the latter case, I note φοινικόβαπτα ἐσθήματα in Aeschylus Eumenides 1028. In Iliad XXIII 717, the same notion of purple may even fit σμώδιγγες ... αἵματι φοινοκόεσσαι, if the reference is to a special kind of discoloration associated with welts.
[ back ] 71. See pp. 141, 144 above.
[ back ] 72. Blum 1991:24.
[ back ] 73. Blum 1991:24. Perhaps it is pertinent to recall the remark of Eustathius (1.9), in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, about the red and the purple costumes worn by performers of the Iliad and Odyssey respectively. {See Pickard-Cambridge [1988]:290 on purple robes worn by priests of the Dionúsou tekhnîtai in Athens around 125 BCE. The inscription is cited at p. 291n1.See Pickard-Cambridge [1988]:290 on purple robes worn by priests of the Dionúsou tekhnîtai in Athens around 125 BCE. The inscription is cited at p. 291n1.}
[ back ] 74. I hasten to add that any increased inclusiveness of membership in an actors’ corps, as implied by the professionalization of the chorus in Athenian State Theater, seems symptomatic of a decreasing flexibility in the inherited repertoire. By the time of Demetrius, the ancestral choral traditions in Athens seem to have grown so obsolete as to require revitalization by professionals. The trend of professionalism in the fourth century BCE is made clear by Pickard-Cambridge [1988]:279–280, who traces this trend forward in time into the norms of professionalism that prevail in the early third century BCE and thereafter, under the general heading of Dionúsou tekhnîtai ‘Artists of Dionysus’: see his illuminating chapter “The Artists of Dionysus,” pp. 279–321. He also points out that this category of Dionúsou tekhnîtai included “professional reciters of epic” (p. 92n4). Cf. Stephanes 1988, especially pp. 573–574 (index of rhapsōidoí). More on this subject at n89 below. {It is relevant to mention here the role of Demetrius as the patron of Menander, on which see Handley’s ed. of the Dyscolus.It is relevant to mention here the role of Demetrius as the patron of Menander, on which see Handley’s ed. of the Dyscolus.}
[ back ] 75. Cf. Wilamowitz 1895:132 and 148, followed by Blum 1991:42, on Lycurgus’ “theater reform.” As the discussion that follows makes clear, I do not agree with the opinion of Wilamowitz that the texts of the Athenian tragedians came into being as books intended for a reading public.
[ back ] 76. See Bollack 1994.
[ back ] 77. I interpret ἐν κοινῷ γραψαμένους φυλάττειν to mean ‘that they were to transcribe them [that is, the tragedies] and keep them under control in common possession’, with ἐν κοινῷ linked directly with φυλάττειν and not with γραψαμένους (thus I disagree with the interpretation ‘that they were to transcribe them [that is, the tragedies] all together [that is, as an ensemble] and keep them under control’—if I understand Blum 1991:83n155 correctly). On ἐν κοινῷ ‘in common possession’ as opposed to ἰδίᾳ ‘in private possession’, cf. Demosthenes In Leptinem 24: εἰ ἐν κοινῷ μὲν μηδ' ὁτιοῦν ὑπάρχει τῇ πόλει, ἰδίᾳ δέ τινες πλουτήσουσ' ἀτελείας ἐπειλημμένοι.
[ back ] 78. Cf. grammateús as ‘recorder of memory’ (so LSJ) in Plato Philebus 39a. Bollack 1994 compares another mention of ‘the recorder [grammateús] of the city’ in Thucydides 7.10.
[ back ] 79. In LSJ s.v., we may note the translation of paranagignṓskein as ‘read beside, compare, collate one document with another.’ One of the most interesting attestations of paranagignṓskein is Aeschines De falsa legatione 135 (the orator asks his audience to listen to a reading ἐκ τῶν δημοσίων γραμμάτων). {Among other attestations of paranagignṓskein: Isocrates 12.17 and many others listed in LSJ; Bollack cites Isocrates Panegyricus 120 and Aeschines Against Ctesiphon 201. Plus the following: Isocrates, Panathenaicus (orat. 12), Section 17, line 2; Galen, De placitis Hippocratis et Platonis, Book 2, chapter 5, section 24, line 2; Galen, De compositione medicamentorum secundum locos libri x, Volume 12, page 865, line 4.Among other attestations of paranagignṓskein: Isocrates 12.17 and many others listed in LSJ; Bollack cites Isocrates Panegyricus 120 and Aeschines Against Ctesiphon 201. Plus the following: Isocrates, Panathenaicus (orat. 12), Section 17, line 2; Galen, De placitis Hippocratis et Platonis, Book 2, chapter 5, section 24, line 2; Galen, De compositione medicamentorum secundum locos libri x, Volume 12, page 865, line 4.}
[ back ] 80. Editors have usually adopted the reading οὐκ ἐξεῖναι γὰρ <παρ᾿> αὐτὰς ὑποκρίνεσθαι ‘for it was not possible to be acting in contradiction of them’ (e.g. the Teubner text of J. Mau, Leipzig 1971). Even without the conjectured <παρ᾿>, however, the text as it is makes sense: ‘for otherwise it was not permitted to act them [that is, the tragedies]’. For the usage of γάρ in the sense of ‘for otherwise’, see Denniston 1954:62–63.
[ back ] 81. P. G. McC. Brown, per litteras (14 July 1993).
[ back ] 82. Cf. Cameron 1990:124, with an inventory of important parallels. See also Bollack 1994.
[ back ] 83. I compare the formula ἐκδόσεως παραναγνωσθείσης (plus dative), as in the explicit to the commentary of Eutocius of Ascalon (sixth century CE) to his commentary on Book I of Archimedes, De sphaera et cylindro (see Cameron 1990:103–107 for this and other examples of the formula). I interpret this formula to mean ‘and the edition [ékdosis] was read out loud (by reader X) for (editor) Y’. The ékdosis ‘edition’ in question is the text of the work about which the commentary is written, not the commentary itself, and this text is ‘corrected’ by the one who ‘has it read out loud’ (this editor is sometimes but not always the same person as the commentator), with variant readings placed at the margins of the ‘edited’ text (Cameron pp. 116–117). I suggest that the idea of ‘reading out loud’ is a way of expressing the process of establishing a definitive text as if it were a speech-act. The interpretation I give here in this footnote is different from the one I had given in the corresponding footnote of the printed version of Poetry as Performance. In that version, I interpreted the formula ἐκδόσεως παραναγνωσθείσης (plus dative) to mean ‘and the edition [ékdosis] was read out loud, as a model, by (editor) X’. In terms of that interpretation, the text is being corrected by the one who reads it out loud as a model.
[ back ] 84. See p. 149.
[ back ] 85. See n74.
[ back ] 86. My suggestion, in a lecture given on 13 January 1993, entitled “Démétrius et les rhapsodes,” in the seminar of Françoise Létoublon at the Centre d’Etudes Anciennes, Ecole Normale Supérieure. It may be pertinent that in Aristophanes Frogs 52–53, Dionysus, is represented as anagignṓskōn ‘reading’ to himself (ἀναγιγνώσκοντί μοι ... πρὸς ἐμαυτόν), on a ship, the Andromeda of Euripides. Given the self-referential jokes, throughout the Frogs, about Dionysus as god of State Theater, the self-representation of Dionysus as reading to himself may be interpreted not so much an act of “silent reading” (for bibliography on which see Dover 1993:196) but rather as a comic reference to a script reading, as it were, performed out loud by the god of the script himself.
[ back ] 87. See n49 above. I owe this observation to Geneviève Husson, per litteras (20 February 1994).
[ back ] 88. For possible references in New Comedy to the fall of Demetrius of Phaleron and to a subsequent relaxation of governmental control over the conventions of Athenian State Theater, see MacKendrick 1954; cf. Wiles 1984.
[ back ] 89. To cite an example: at the Amphictyonic festival of the Soteria at Delphi, as reflected in third-century inscriptions, the professionalized guild of performers known as the Dionúsou tekhnîtai ‘Artists of Dionysus’ includes, besides such categories as tragōidoí ‘tragic actors’ and khoreutaí ‘chorus-performers’ (both boys’ and men’s choruses), the category of rhapsōidoí ‘rhapsodes’ (e.g. SIG3 424, where two rhapsodes are mentioned); see Pickard-Cambridge [1988]:283–284. On the Dionúsou tekhnîtai in Alexandria, there is a reference in Athenaeus 5.198c, in the context of a report describing a spectacular procession during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (282–246 BCE); see Pickard-Cambridge p. 287, who adduces the corroborating evidence of two decrees dated around 240 BCE
[ back ] 90. This is not to say that we should still expect to see patterns of “fenced” performance traditions, which I have posited in general for the earlier “period 3,” dating from the era of the Peisistratidai in the sixth century all the way to the era of Demetrius toward the end of the fourth. From the middle of the second century BCE onward, the performance traditions of Homer would have been a far cry from those of earlier periods, as we may infer from the anecdotes about Homēristaí, reviewed above. My point is simply that the performance traditions of the Homēristaí were bound, by default, to a more canonical textual tradition of Homer. Though I cannot rule out the possibility that the Homēristaí may have taken liberties with the Homeric text, any such textual excerptings or even adjustments would be a far cry from the dynamics of variation within an oral performance tradition. As for P.Oxy. 3001 (second century CE; see Parsons 1974:8–12), I doubt that these fragments can be viewed as some sort of an adaptation of epic passages taken from the Iliad (especially from Scroll XXIII), let alone that such a creation could be attributed to the ad hoc activities of Homēristaí (tentative suggestion of M. L. West, as reported by Parsons p. 9). It is more likely, I think, that these fragments represent a poetic creation that has its own literary history.
[ back ] 91. On Homēristaí as derivative of Homērízein, see pp. 164, 171–172n69.
[ back ] 92. On which see Roesch 1982:138–142. I am grateful to Albert Schachter, who alerted me to this inscription and to the observations of Roesch.
[ back ] 93. On the poetic implications of the name Thámuris as a parallel to Hómēros: BA 311 par. 2n6.
[ back ] 94. Cf. again Aristophanes F 160.1. See also the scholia (vetera) to Theocritus (Prolegomena anecdote 14, section 5b, lines 4-10: τῶν Πυθαγόρου οἱ μὲν ἦσαν περὶ θεωρίαν καταγινόμενοι, οἵπερ ἐκαλοῦντο σεβαστικοί· οἱ δὲ περὶ τὰ ἀνθρώπινα, οἵπερ ἐκαλοῦντο πολιτικοί· οἱ δὲ περὶ τὰ μαθήματα τὰ γεωμετρικὰ καὶ ἀστρονομικά, οἵπερ ἐκαλοῦντο μαθηματικοί. τούτων οὖν οἱ μὲν αὐτῷ συγγινόμενοι τῷ Πυθαγόρᾳ ἐκαλοῦντο Πυθαγορικοί, οἱ δὲ τούτων μαθηταὶ Πυθαγόρειοι, οἱ δὲ ἄλλως ἔξωθεν ζηλωταὶ Πυθαγορισταί ‘Some of the followers of Pythagoras were concerned with theōría, and they were called sebastikoí; others were concerned with human affairs, and they were called politikoí; others were concerned with mathematics and geometry and astronomy, and they were called mathēmatikoí. And of all these followers, those who were companions of Pythagoras himself were called Puthagorikoí. And the disciples of these were the Puthagoreîoi, while those who were outsiders—but otherwise zealous followers—were the Puthagoristaí’.
[ back ] 95. Detailed discussion, with bibliography, in PH 23, 74, relying especially on Burkert 1972. More on the Kreōphúleioi in the Appendix.
[ back ] 96. Further arguments in PH 26.
[ back ] 97. PH 22–23. I note in this context the report of Eustathius (1.6) in his commentary on the Iliad concerning the Contest of Homer and Hesiod: εἰ δὲ καὶ ἤρισεν Ὅμηρος Ἡσιόδῳ τῷ Ἀσκραίῳ καὶ ἡττήθη, ὅπερ ὄκνος τοῖς Ὁμηρίδαις καὶ λέγειν ‘if indeed Homer had a contest with Hesiod of Ascra and was defeated—which was taboo for the Homērídai even to talk about’. Cf. GM 78–79.
[ back ] 98. PH 22–23, 73–75.
[ back ] 99. I infer from Plato Ion 530d that the Homērídai may have served as official judges in the competition of rhapsodes at the Feast of the Panathenaia at Athens.
[ back ] 100. See pp. 173–174. Perhaps the very name of Demetrius the Homēristḗs, in the inscription on the wall of Room 6 in the Theater at Aphrodisias (Roueché 1993:18) is significant; there is a possibility that the mime Philistion (named in the inscription of Room 1) was a namesake of one of the reputed founders of the art of the mime (Roueché p. 21, citing Bonaria 1955 II fasti nos. 516–540; on Philistion as a contemporary of Menander, cf. nos. 536, 537, 540). I raise the possibility that the namesake of Demetrius the Homēristḗs might be Demetrius of Phaleron, if indeed he was the founder of the Homēristaí.
[ back ] 101. I repeat the claim of Eustathius (1.10) that the process of sewing together, as implicit in the traditional concept of rhapsōidós, is what confers upon the Homeric poems their unity: ῥάπτειν δὲ ἢ ἁπλῶς, ὡς εἴρηται, τὸ συντιθέναι ἢ τὸ κατὰ εἱρμόν τινα ῥαφῇ ὁμοίως εἰς ἓν ἄγειν τὰ διεστῶτα. σποράδην γάρ, φασί, κειμένης καὶ κατὰ μέρος διῃρημένης τῆς Ὁμηρικῆς ποιήσεως, οἱ ᾄδοντες αὐτὴν συνέρραπτον οἷον τὰ εἰς ἓν ὕφος ᾀδόμενα ‘sewing together [rháptein] either in the simple sense, as just mentioned, of putting together or, alternatively, in the sense of bringing different things, in accordance with some kind of sequence [heirmós] in sewing, uniformly into one thing; for they say that Homeric poetry, after it had been scattered about and divided into separate parts, was sewn together by those who sang it, like songs sung into a single fabric [húphos]’.
[ back ] 102. [S.] West 1988:40. When we consider the rareness of the word rhapsōidós in the Homeric scholia, the frequency of rhapsōidía as a designation of a given “book” of the Iliad or Odyssey stands out all the more.
[ back ] 103. [S.] West pp. 39–40. I note the story, in the T scholia for Iliad X 1, reporting that the rhapsōidía that we know as Book X had been composed by Homer separately, not as part of the Iliad, and that it was later arranged, tetákhthai, by Peisistratos to fit into the Iliad. In terms of this story, I suppose that such an insertion is imagined to happen at a time when there was as yet no ongoing convention of dividing the Iliad into twenty-four units—from either a performative or even a textual point of view. On the apparent appropriateness of the contents of Iliad X to the ideology of the Peisistratidai, see Catenacci 1993:18n34.
[ back ] 104. Further discussion in HQ ch. 3; see also HQ 88, where I consider the theory of a three-night performance division of the Iliad, as formulated by Taplin 1992.
[ back ] 105. For example: [S.] West 1988:39–40.
[ back ] 106. For example: Janko 1992:31n47. He is tentative to the extent that he allows for a slightly earlier date for the division, though not earlier than the era of Apollonius of Rhodes. A similar stance is taken by Olson, whose arguments are summarized above (n30). In the context of that summary (n30) I noted the rhapsodic practice of beginning a Homeric performance by starting with a δέ that picks up, midstream, a narrative that had contained a preceding μέν. In the same context, I compared this phenomenon with the splitting of a μέν / δέ construction by way of a Homeric scroll-division.
[ back ] 107. If it had been Aristarchus—or at least the school of Aristarchus—that really originated the division of the Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four scrolls each, it is difficult to explain the claim of the scholia to Odyssey xxiii 296, according to which Aristarchus as well as Aristophanes of Byzantium thought that this line marks the end of the authentic Odyssey (Ἀριστοφάνης καὶ Ἀρίσταρχος πέρας τῆς Ὀδυσσείας ποιοῦνται and τοῦτο τέλος τῆς Ὀδυσσείας φησὶν Ἀρίσταρχος καὶ Ἀριστοφάνης). That this claim of the scholia means what it says, the end of the Odyssey, is argued by Rossi 1968; cf. Garbrah 1977 and Catenacci 1993:14. It would be typical of Aristarchus’ editorial practice to adhere to an earlier convention—in this case, let us say, a division into twenty-four scrolls—even when such a convention was not “original” to Homer according to his own scholarly assessment. Further, even if Aristarchus thought that the “original” Odyssey ended at xxiii 296, such an opinion did not seem to stop him from making further distinctions between what he thought were more or less authentic portions of the Odyssey beyond xxiii 296. For example, the Odyssey scholia report that Aristarchus athetized xxiii 310–343, where Odysseus retells to Penelope the story that he had told Alkinoos about his adventures. The scholia (QV) speak of thirty-three lines. I find it striking that Aristotle Rhetoric 3.1417a13, in referring to the same Odyssey passage, speaks of sixty lines, not thirty-three. I infer that Aristotle’s version of the Odyssey did not stop at xxiii 296. {On the dating of a division into 24 rhapsodies, Janko 1992.31n47 cites Fowler, Materiali e discussioni 22 [1989] 104n111.On the dating of a division into 24 rhapsodies, Janko 1992.31n47 cites Fowler, Materiali e discussioni 22 [1989] 104n111.}
[ back ] 108. Van Sickle 1980:8, following Irigoin 1952:41.
[ back ] 109. Van Sickle 1980:9.
[ back ] 110. Van Sickle 1980:9 and following.
[ back ] 111. Van Sickle 1980:12. It seems to me that the average size of the books in Virgil’s Aeneid comes closer to 825 verses.
[ back ] 112. Van Sickle 1980:9. Cf. Rengakos 1993:93–94.
[ back ] 113. Van Sickle 1980:9.
[ back ] 114. On Benedict’s Rule, see Zetzel 1993:103–104, following Traube 1910.
[ back ] 115. Zetzel 1993:103.
[ back ] 116. Zetzel 1993:103.
[ back ] 117. The term “corruption” is of course valid only from the standpoint of Benedict’s original. Similarly, it is valid only from the standpoint of what we understand to be Aristarchus’ editorial principles.
[ back ] 118. There are also other theories of a pre-Alexandrian Homer text, founded on arguments different from mine. I note in particular the position taken by Ludwich 1898 (defended by Allen 1924:327), according to whom the Homeric text is pre-Alexandrian, to be traced back to Athenian copies and continuing as the basis of the medieval manuscript tradition. At least on this point, the views of van der Valk 1964:609 are similar: he argues that a pre-Aristarchean “vulgate” had “preserved the authentic text,” and that this text “was also transmitted by the vulgate of the medieval manuscript.” Van der Valk and Ludwich agree also in positing that this textual transmission bypassed the editions of the Alexandrian critics, especially that of Aristarchus. For van der Valk, what are thus bypassed are “conjectures,” whereas Ludwich affirms that Aristarchus did not make conjectures. For Ludwich, what are bypassed by the “vulgate” are for the most part better readings. For van der Valk, the “vulgate” version is superior to the Aristarchean version; for Ludwich, it is the reverse. [S.] West 1988:46 argues that “we should certainly reject the theory that an official Athenian copy, never mentioned because everywhere taken for granted, provided the basis for Aristarchus’ text.” At an earlier point, West (p. 39) posits a sixth-century Athenian “recension” of Homer, which “must be regarded as the archetype of all our Homeric manuscripts and of the indirect tradition represented by ancient quotations and allusions.” On the implications of Ludwich’s attempt to discredit the authenticity of the “eccentric” early Ptolemaic papyri, see Nickau 1977:31–32n3. My main problem with all these theories is that they concentrate almost exclusively on questions of textual traditions, without sufficient regard for questions of performance traditions. {Nickau 1977.32n5 refers to Pasquali 1952.220–221.Nickau 1977.32n5 refers to Pasquali 1952.220-221.}
[ back ] 119. Blum 1991:21–22 and 69-70n45 argues, despite the skepticism of a host of predecessors, for the existence of a diórthōsis of Homer by Aristotle. The key passage is Plutarch Life of Alexander 8.2, concerning a copy of the Iliad known as ἐκ τοῦ νάρθηκος ‘from the casket [nárthēx]’, a copy that Alexander kept under his proskephálaion, ‘headrest’ and that had been “corrected by Aristotle,” Ἀριστοτέλους διορθώσαντος (8.2). In the next chapter, there are further arguments for the existence of such a diórthōsis of Homer.
[ back ] 120. On Demetrius, Diogenes Laertius 5.75 says: οὗτος ἤκουσε μὲν Θεοφράστου ‘he attended the lectures of Theophrastus’.