Chapter Two. Homer the Classic in the Age of Callimachus

2ⓢ1. An esthetics of fluidity

2§1 Homeric poetry imagines itself as rigid – that is, unchanging like the petrified serpent in Iliad II. That is what I was arguing in Chapter 1. But there is more to it. As I will now argue in Chapter 2, this three-dimensional vision of arrested motion is being expressed by something ever changing and – paradoxically – fluid. That something is performance. More specifically, that something is Homeric narration, which shows its oral poetic heritage of changeability in performance. Homeric poetry deploys a metaphor that forcefully expresses this changeability. It originates from the idea of fluidity, the opposite of rigidity. We are about to see a variety of poetic examples emanating from the summit of Hellenistic poetry, the age of Callimachus, around the third century BCE. From these examples, we will learn how Homeric poetry can also picture itself as fluid instead of rigid in its powers of narration.

2§2 In the age of Callimachus, even the textual tradition of Homer is fluid by comparison with the textual tradition of Homer in the later age of Aristarchus. The Homer of Aristarchus, who flourished in the second century BCE, about a hundred years after Callimachus, stands in sharp contrast: it represents the most rigid editorial criteria for judging what is or is not genuinely Homeric, and those criteria were rigorously applied by later Aristarchean scholars like Didymus, who flourished in the age of Virgil.

2§3 Not only does Homeric poetry seem to be fluid in the age of Callimachus. It was actually pictured as fluid by poets of that age, and such pictures of fluidity complement the antithetical pictures of Homeric rigidity. In order to see more clearly the interaction of fluidity and rigidity as complementary {187|188} metaphors for the making of Homeric poetry, I propose here to take one more look at a picture created by the poetry of Virgil. In Chapter 1, I touched on Virgil’s uncanny vision of Athena’s two serpents turning into statues in Aeneid 2. Once they kill Laocoön and his two sons, the serpents become visual effects complementing the visual effect of Athena’s own statue. Virgil’s poetry has shaped a sculptural ensemble that pictures Athena attended by her twin serpents, residing together inside her temple situated on the heights of the acropolis of Troy.

2§4 Virgil’s picture evokes one of the most exquisite sights anywhere to be seen in the classical world. This sight, a vision to be imagined in its broadest classical outlines, was a most celebrated sculptural ensemble, created by Pheidias of Athens. Its permanent place was meant to be Athens. Pausanias (1.24.7) saw it there and described it. It was a sculptural ensemble that pictured Athena Parthenos, the ‘virgin goddess’, attended by a single serpent; the Parthenos and her serpent attendant resided together inside her newest temple situated on the heights of the acropolis of Athens, that is, inside the Parthenon or ‘place of the virgin’. This vision of Athena as Parthenos or ‘virgin goddess’ inside her temple on the acropolis of Athens was complemented, as we saw in Chapter 1, by the vision of Athena as Polias or ‘city goddess’ inside another temple of hers on the same acropolis; in this complementary setting, an old and most venerable wooden statue of the goddess was attended by the simulacra of two serpents, not one (Phylarchus FGrH 81 F 72, by way of Photius Lexicon s.v. οἰκουρὸν ὄφιν, and Hesychius s.v. οἰκουρὸν ὄφιν). These two complementary aspects of the goddess Athena on the acropolis of Athens, one of which was most old and interiorized while the other was forever new and exteriorized, could merge as a composite sculptural vision in Virgil’s composite poetic evocation. Virgil’s poetic vision could be further enhanced by a variety of mediated versions of the statue of Athena Parthenos; in Virgil’s day, the most presigious of these mediated versions was the statue of Athena Parthenos inside her temple situated on the heights of the acropolis of Pergamon, which was evidently modeled on the Parthenos in the Parthenon of Athens.

2§5 Virgil’s poetic vision of the statue of Athena evokes more than a sculptural classic. It evokes also a classic of poetry, Homer. Virgil’s vision has a distinctly Homeric touch to it. As we saw in Chapter 1, the Roman poet’s picturing of the twin serpents that turned into statues in Aeneid 2 rivals the Homeric picturing of the serpent that turned into stone in Iliad II.

2§6 As I look for a unifying idea behind these two rival pictures, what I see is motion suddenly followed by stop-motion. I see something that lives {188|189} and moves in one moment, and then, the very next moment, something that suddenly stops moving. Does this something stop living as well? No, the vitality of its motion has not at all stopped. Only the motion has stopped. The single petrified serpent and the twin sculpted serpents retain their vitality in the art that made them. They keep on living in the art that stopped their motion. They are stop-motion pictures of vitality, of motion itself. The verbal art of poetry is saying here something essential about the visual art of making statues. The rigidity of statues, or of stylized statues like Homer’s petrified serpent, is not really rigor mortis after all. The statue retains signs of life in motion. The rigidity of the statue retains the vitality of narration in progress, in motion.

2§7 The idea of such vitality, the vitality of narration, is what I see being shared by Homeric metaphors of fluidity and rigidity. We can see the interaction of fluidity and rigidity when we think in terms of a sequence of go followed by stop, or of flow followed by freeze. And the idea of a stop-motion picture presupposes the idea of a motion picture. The rigid presupposes the fluid. More than that, the idea of a motion picture presupposes another idea, that the motion itself must have an origin, a beginning. The flow needs to have a source.

2ⓢ2. Homeric humnos

2§8 How, then, is fluidity a metaphor for Homeric narration? This question presupposes another question, which must override the first: how does the poet begin a narration in the first place? To say it metaphorically, what is the source for the flow of narration? For answers, I look to a word that captures perfectly the idea of a perfect beginning for narration. It is humnos / ὕμνος ‘hymn’.

2§9 I will examine how this word is used in Hellenistic poetry, especially in the Hymns of Callimachus, and in Homeric poetry. This usage of humnos is relevant to the word’s Homeric usage, which will be essential for understanding Homer as a classic in the age of Callimachus of Cyrene. I will also examine the relevant usage of two other eminent poets of that age, Apollonius of Rhodes and Theocritus of Syracuse.

2§10 In order to understand the usage of humnos in Callimachus, it is important to notice that Homeric poetry actually refers to itself, in its own usage, as humnos. I am thinking here not about the use of this word humnos in the Homeric Hymns. Granted, that usage is important as well for my argument, since Homer in the age of Callimachus was conventionally understood to be {189|190} the author of the Homeric Hymns as well as the author of the Iliad and Odyssey. [1] Still, the question is: where in the Iliad or the Odyssey does Homeric poetry actually refer to itself as a humnos? The answer is not necessarily self-evident, even for experts in Homeric poetry. I will leave this question unanswered until we finish looking at other relevant contexts of humnos.

2§11 I start with contexts of humnos in Callimachus. First and most important, Callimachus begins the collection of his own humnoi with a humnos addressed to Zeus in his Hymn 1. Then, in Hymn 2, he proceeds to Apollo. Here is a most revealing passage from Callimachus’ Hymn 2, his Hymn to Apollo:

2ⓣ1 Callimachus Hymn to Apollo 28-31

τὸν χορὸν ὡπόλλων, ὅ τι οἱ κατὰ θυμὸν ἀείδει,
τιμήσει· δύναται γάρ, ἐπεὶ Διὶ δεξιὸς ἧσται.
οὐδ’ ὁ χορὸς τὸν Φοῖβον ἐφ’ ἓν μόνον ἦμαρ ἀείσει,
ἔστι γὰρ εὔυμνος· τίς ἂν οὐ ῥέα Φοῖβον ἀείδοι;

The chorus [khoros] will be honored by Apollo because it sings [aeidein] in a way that suits his heart.
Yes, he will honor the chorus, for he has the power. After all, he is seated at the right hand of Zeus.
Nor will the chorus [khoros] sing Phoebus [= Apollo] for one day only,
since he is good for hymning [eu-humnos]. Who would not fluently [rhea] sing Phoebus?

2§12 In this humnos, which is Hymn 2 in the canonical order of humnoi composed by Callimachus, Apollo is positioned immediately next to Zeus, just as the Hymn to Apollo of Callimachus – that is, Hymn 2 – is positioned immediately next to the Hymn to Zeus – that is, next to Hymn 1. Such sequencing is basic to the poetics of humnos, as we can see by concentrating on two essential words that I highlighted in what I just quoted, both having to do with the word humnos:

1. Callimachus Hymn to Apollo 31: Apollo is to be hymned rhea (ῥέα) ‘fluently’. {190|191}
2. Callimachus Hymn to Apollo 31: Apollo is eu-humnos (εὔυμνος) ‘good for hymning’.
In what follows, I will analyze these two words one at a time.

2ⓢ3. The fluidity of the humnos

2§13 In verse 31 of Callimachus’ Hymn to Apollo, we have seen that the god Apollo is to be hymned rhea ‘fluently’. This metaphor of fluency is driven by the basic idea of starting from a perfect beginning. The image derives naturally from the process of flowing, as when water flows from its source. With the right beginning, the words of a humnos are fluent, flowing, fluid. The relevant forms are these:

rheîn / ῥεῖν ‘flow’ (verb)
rhoos / ῥόος ‘flow’ (noun)
rhea / ῥέα ‘easily, fluently, fluidly’ (adverb)
Also, by way of “folk etymology,” the goddess Rhea (or Rheiē or Rheē), mother of Zeus, is ‘fluidity’. [2]

2§14 The Hymns of Callimachus abound in these metaphors: ‘fluency’ is the mark of the humnos, especially in the Hymn to Apollo and in the humnos that precedes it, the Hymn to Zeus. [3] The first and inaugural humnos of Callimachus, the Hymn to Zeus, actually metaphorizes itself as ‘fluidity’ by “folk-etymologizing” the name of Zeus’ mother, Rhea, as the cosmic force that initiates the ‘flow’ of rivers and springs (rhoos at verse 15, rheîn at verse 17) – a force that is realized at the precise moment when the goddess gives birth to Zeus (Rheiē / Rheē at verses 10 / 20). [4] {191|192}

2§15 The association of the word humnos with the idea of fluidity is made explicit in the Hesiodic Theogony. In fact, the idea of fluidity is the ultimate source of self-definition for this poetic composition. As I am about to argue, the Hesiodic Theogony defines itself as one single continuous gigantic humnos that ‘flows’ perfectly. In order to make this argument, I offer here a brief analysis of the relevant wording, starting from the beginning of the Theogony and proceeding all the way to verse 104, where the persona of Hesiod offers a formal salutation to the Muses of Mount Olympus. We have already considered the first 104 verses of the Hesiodic Theogony in Chapter 1, where I analyzed the function of Hesiodic poetry as an authorization of royal power. Now, as we take a closer look at the wording of these first 104 verses, we are about to see that this validation takes the form of a humnos.

2§16 The singing of the Hesiodic Theogony begins with the naming of the Muses local to Mount Helicon (verses 1-2), who are pictured as dancing (3-4 πόσσ’ ἁπαλοῖσιν | ὀρχεῦνται) around the source of a sacred spring (3), next to which is an altar of Zeus (3-4). More specifically, these local Muses of Mount Helicon are pictured as a choral ensemble (7-8 ἀκροτάτῳ Ἑλικῶνι χοροὺς ἐνεποιήσαντο, | καλοὺς ἱμερόεντας) who are both dancing (8 ἐπερρώσαντο δὲ ποσσίν) and singing with a beautiful voice (10 περικαλλέα ὄσσαν ἱεῖσαι) – and who are thereby performing a humnos (11 ὑμνεῦσαι). The subject of their humnos is Zeus (11), followed by the other gods (11-21), including Apollo and his sister Artemis (14). The Muses proceed to teach Hesiod their song (22), enjoining him to perform it (33). Just as the Muses were performing a humnos (11 ὑμνεῦσαι), Hesiod must now perform a humnos in his own right (33 ὑμνεῖν), and the subject of this humnos is to be ‘the genesis [genos] of the gods’, that is, a theogony (33 ὑμνεῖν μακάρων γένος αἰὲν ἐόντων). In order to get this humnos started, the poet is told that he must begin with the Muses and end with the Muses (34), and we have already heard at the beginning of the song that Hesiod has already begun with the Muses (1-2). Before he starts all over again with the Muses, there is a rhetorical moment of hesitation, where the performer, signaling that he is about to make a decision in the midst of performance, asks himself at verse 35 how he should proceed. [5] Such a rhetorical moment of hesitation can be described as an aporetic crisis. At a later point, we will encounter two other such moments in another example of a humnos, which is the HomericHymn (3) to Apollo. For now, however, I concentrate on the moment of hesitation in the Hesiodic Theogony. The aporetic crisis at verse 35 {192|193} of the Theogony marks the point where the master of the humnos decides to start all over again with the Muses, and it is precisely at this point that the idea of fluidity becomes explicit. I quote the relevant verses, starting with the verse declaring the aporetic crisis:

2ⓣ2 Hesiod Theogony 35-45

35   ἀλλὰ τίη μοι ταῦτα περὶ δρῦν ἢ περὶ πέτρην;
τύνη, Μουσάων ἀρχώμεθα, ταὶ Διὶ πατρὶ
ὑμνεῦσαι τέρπουσι μέγαν νόον ἐντὸς Ὀλύμπου,
εἴρουσαι τά τ’ ἐόντα τά τ’ ἐσσόμενα πρό τ’ ἐόντα,
φωνῇ ὁμηρεῦσαι, τῶν δ’ ἀκάματος ῥέει αὐδὴ
40   ἐκ στομάτων ἡδεῖα· γελᾷ δέ τε δώματα πατρὸς
Ζηνὸς ἐριγδούποιο θεᾶν ὀπὶ λειριοέσσῃ
σκιδναμένῃ, ἠχεῖ δὲ κάρη νιφόεντος Ὀλύμπου
δώματά τ’ ἀθανάτων· αἱ δ’ ἄμβροτον ὄσσαν ἱεῖσαι
θεῶν γένος αἰδοῖον πρῶτον κλείουσιν ἀοιδῇ
45   ἐξ ἀρχῆς,

35   But why should I care about these things that keep on going around an oak or a rock? [6]
Come, let me begin [arkhesthai] with the Muses, who please Zeus the father
as they sing their humnos [humneîn], pleasing his great mind [noos] as he abides in Olympus.
They tell of things that are, that will be, and that were before,
making things fit together [homēreuein] with their sound. And their voice [audē] flows [rheîn] without ever wearing out,
40   coming sweetly from their mouths. [7] Glad is the palace of father {193|194}
Zeus the loud-thunderer over the delicate voice of the goddesses
as it spreads far and wide. It echoes off the peaks of snowy Olympus
and the dwellings of the immortals. And they [= the Muses], sending forth [hienai] an immortal voice [ossa],
give fame [kleos] with their song first to the genesis [genos] of the gods, a matter of reverence,
45   starting from the beginning [arkhē]…

2§17 We see here that the Muses of Mount Helicon, as they perform their humnos (37 ὑμνεῦσαι), are heard by Zeus himself in the heights of Mount Olympus (37). There is an emphasis on the ‘voicing’ of the Muses’ song (39 φωνῇ and αὐδή, 41 ὀπὶ, 43 ὄσσαν) and on the ‘sweetness’ of this voice that literally ‘flows’ from their mouths, as if from a spring (39-40). Then it is repeated that the subject of the Muses’ song is to be ‘the genesis [genos] of the gods’, that is, a theogony (44 θεῶν γένος αἰδοῖον πρῶτον κλείουσιν ἀοιδῇ), but this time the Muses sing the sequence in terms of a chronological rather than a hierarchical priority, starting ‘from the beginning’, from the children of Gaia and Ouranos (45 ἐξ ἀρχῆς, οὓς Γαῖα καὶ Οὐρανὸς εὐρὺς ἔτικτεν), not from Zeus, who is now mentioned as second in chronological sequence, coming after earth and sky and the rest (47 δεύτερον αὖτε Ζῆνα). This time, there is also a further detail: after the Muses sing the gods as their first subject, they sing as their next subject ‘the genesis [genos] of men and of giants’ (50 αὖτις δ’ ἀνθρώπων τε γένος κρατερῶν τε Γιγάντων). [8] And this song that they perform is explicitly a humnos (51 ὑμνεῦσαι). From here on, the Muses of the Hesiodic Theogony are invoked not as the local goddesses of Mount Helicon but as the Panhellenic goddesses of Mount Olympus, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (52-62). [9] As the Muses ascend Mount Olympus (68), assuming Panhellenic status, they are both singing and dancing (69 μολπῇ). [10] We see in this context a highlighting of their singing per se (68 ὀπὶ καλῇ) and of their dancing per se (70 ἐρατὸς δὲ ποδῶν ὕπο δοῦπος ὀρώρει). Such singing and dancing, as we saw already at the beginning of the Theogony (8-10), is tantamount to a performance by a khoros ‘choral ensemble’ (7 χοροὺς ἐνεποιήσαντο), and such a {194|195} performance is pictured there as a humnos (11 ὑμνεῦσαι), at that early moment when the Muses are still Heliconian and not yet Olympian. So also at the later moment of the Theogony that we are now considering, the performance by the choral ensemble of singing and dancing Olympian Muses is pictured as a humnos (70 ὑμνεύσαις).

2§18 The ultimate source of this Olympian humnos, equated with the Theogony in the course of its being performed, is the authority of Zeus as king of the immortals (71-74), and it emanates from there to the Olympian Muses (75-79), especially to the Muse Kalliope (79-80). [11] Further, the authority emanates from the Muses to kings (75-93). Literally, the authority flows from them. The metaphor of fluidity becomes explicit in the following description of the ideal king who is favored by the Muses:

2ⓣ3 Hesiod Theogony 83-84

τῷ μὲν ἐπὶ γλώσσῃ γλυκερὴν χείουσιν ἐέρσην,
τοῦ δ’ ἔπε’ ἐκ στόματος ῥεῖ μείλιχα

For this man [= for this ideal king] they [= the Muses] pour [kheîn] sweet dew,
and from his [= the king’s] mouth flow [rheîn] sweet words.

2§19 The wording goes on to specifiy that the authority of kings flows from Zeus, while the authority of poets flows from the authority of the Muses, and of Apollo as their choral leader:

2ⓣ4 Hesiod Theogony 94-97

ἐκ γάρ τοι Μουσέων καὶ ἑκηβόλου Ἀπόλλωνος
ἄνδρες ἀοιδοὶ ἔασιν ἐπὶ χθόνα καὶ κιθαρισταί,
ἐκ δὲ Διὸς βασιλῆες· ὁ δ’ ὄλβιος, ὅντινα Μοῦσαι
φίλωνται· γλυκερή οἱ ἀπὸ στόματος ῥέει αὐδή.

The Muses and far-shooting Apollo are the sources
for the existence of singers [aoidoi] and players of the lyre [kitharis] on this earth. {195|196}
And Zeus is the source for the existence of kings. Blessed [olbios] is he whom the Muses
love. And a sweet voice [audē] flows [rheîn] from his mouth.

2§20 As in what I quoted earlier from the Hesiodic Theogony (35-45), we see here once again the metaphor of fluidity: the voice of the Muses, sweet as it is, literally ‘flows’ from their mouths (97). Once again, the theme of fluidity expresses the idea that the humnos must have a perfect beginning. The humnos flows from a perfect source, and so it becomes the perfect performance. In this context as well, the actual performance is equated with the making of the humnos (101 ὑμνήσει).

2§21 Finally, as I anticipated at the beginning, we come to verse 104 of the Theogony. It is at this point that the persona of Hesiod gets to offer his formal salutation to the Muses of Mount Olympus. [12]

2ⓢ4. Perfecting the humnos

2§22 I hold off till later an examination of the precise wording of the poet’s salutation to the Muses in the Theogony (104). For the moment, I proceed instead to the second of the two words I had highlighted in Callimachus’ Hymn to Apollo (31): Apollo is eu-humnos (εὔυμνος) ‘good for hymning’. What this means, I argue, is that the god is pictured as the perfect subject for the humnos or ‘hymn’. And, as the perfect subject, the god makes the hymn itself notionally perfect.

2§23 To make this argument about the concept of a god as a perfect hymnic subject, I begin by comparing the two occurrences of the same word eu-humnos (εὔυμνος) ‘good for hymning’ in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo. Both occurrences involve a verse that declares an aporetic crisis in the form of an aporetic question: [13]

2ⓣ5 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo verses 19 and 207

πῶς γάρ [14] σ᾿ ὑμνήσω πάντως εὔυμνον ἐόντα {196|197}

For how shall I hymn you, you who are so absolutely [pantōs] good for hymning [eu-humnos]? [15]

2§24 Faced with the absoluteness of the god, the performer experiences a rhetorical hesitation: how can I make the subject of my humnos something that is perfect, absolute? The absoluteness of this hymnic subject is signaled by the programmatic adverb pantōs ‘absolutely’, which modifies not only the adjective eu-humnos ‘good for hymning’ but also the entire phrasing about the absoluteness of the subject. [16] The absoluteness of the god Apollo is continuous with the absoluteness of the humnos that makes Apollo its subject. This Homeric Hymn is saying about itself that it is the perfect and absolute humnos. As such, it is not only the beginning of a composition but also the totality of the composition, authorizing everything that follows it, because it was begun so perfectly. And the source of the perfection is the god as the subject of the humnos. As we will see from here on, this idea of the hymnic subject as the source of poetic perfection is all-pervasive in the history and prehistory of the humnos. Such is the theology, as it were, of the humnos.

2§25 The need for a perfect beginning in a humnos is precisely what motivates the aporetic questions of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, at verses 19 and 207. So also at verse 35 in the Hesiodic Theogony, as we saw earlier, there is an aporetic question, motivated by a need for a perfect beginning. I repeat here only the essentials. The Theogony begins when the persona of Hesiod says, at the beginning, ἀρχώμεθ’ ἀείδειν ‘let me begin [arkhesthai] to sing’ (verse 1). He begins by singing the hymnic subject of the Muses of Mount Helicon (verses 1-2), who are performing a humnos (11 ὑμνεῦσαι). The Muses proceed to teach Hesiod their song (22), enjoining him to perform it (33). Just as they were performing a humnos (11 ὑμνεῦσαι), Hesiod must now perform a humnos in his own right (33 ὑμνεῖν), and the subject of this humnos is to be ‘the genesis [genos] of the gods’, that is, a theogony (33 ὑμνεῖν μακάρων γένος αἰὲν ἐόντων). In order to get this humnos started, the poet is told that that he must {197|198} begin with the Muses and end with the Muses (34), and, as we have already seen at the beginning of the song, he has indeed already begun with the Muses (1-2). Before Hesiod starts all over again with the Muses, there is a moment of rhetorical hesitation: signaling that he is about to make a decision in the midst of performance, he asks himself how to proceed, declaring an aporetic crisis (35). At this moment of hesitation, he is in effect asking himself: why am I going around in circles, looking for the origins (35)? Then, in the very next verse, he begins all over again by telling himself: Μουσάων ἀρχώμεθα ‘let me begin [arkhesthai] with the Muses’ (36). We now see that the figure of Hesiod has decided, after the moment of hesitation that leads to his aporetic question (35), to start all over again with the Muses (36), but now the Muses are no longer who they were when the poet had started, by invoking them as they sang and danced at the heights of Mount Helicon: rather, the Muses are now headed for the heights of Mount Olympus (52-62).

2§26 There are similar shifts taking place after the two aporetic questions in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo. Before the first such question (19), we hear that Apollo is recognized as god of Delos, his birthplace (16-18). But then, right after this question, we hear that Apollo is recognized as god in every conceivable place (20 and following). Although the god is now said to be worshipped everywhere, the main place of Apollo’s worship is pictured as Delos even after the first aporetic question – that is, until we come to a moment of hesitation expressed in the second aporetic question (207). After that question, the main place of Apollo’s worship shifts to Delphi. Now the Muses of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo are the Panhellenic Muses of Mount Olympus. Before the shift, as we are about to see, the Muses of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo are not yet the Olympian Muses. Rather, they are the local Muses of Delos, the Delian Maidens.

2ⓢ5. Homer’s hymnic encounter with the Delian Maidens

2§27 The main speaker of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, who is not named in the Hymn, was understood to be Homer. Thucydides, who quotes extensively from the Hymn as it was known in his time, says explicitly that the author of the HomericHymnto Apollo is Homēros (Ὅμηρος) ‘Homer’ (3.104.4). In this Hymn, a choral ensemble of Delian Maidens is described as encountering the main speaker, Homer himself, who calls on the ensemble to ‘respond’, hupokrinesthai, to anyone who asks about him: {198|199}

2ⓣ6 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 156-178

πρὸς δὲ τόδε μέγα θαῦμα, ὅου κλέος οὔποτ’ ὀλεῖται,
κοῦραι Δηλιάδες Ἑκατηβελέταο θεράπναι·
αἵ τ’ ἐπεὶ ἂρ πρῶτον μὲν Ἀπόλλων’ ὑμνήσωσιν,
αὖτις δ’ αὖ Λητώ τε καὶ Ἄρτεμιν ἰοχέαιραν,
160  μνησάμεναι ἀνδρῶν τε παλαιῶν ἠδὲ γυναικῶν
ὕμνον ἀείδουσιν, θέλγουσι δὲ φῦλ’ ἀνθρώπων.
πάντων δ’ ἀνθρώπων φωνὰς καὶ κρεμβαλιαστὺν
μιμεῖσθ’ ἴσασιν· φαίη δέ κεν αὐτὸς ἕκαστος
φθέγγεσθ’· οὕτω σφιν καλὴ συνάρηρεν ἀοιδή.
165  ἀλλ’ ἄγεθ’ ἱλήκοι μὲν Ἀπόλλων Ἀρτέμιδι ξύν,
χαίρετε δ’ ὑμεῖς πᾶσαι· ἐμεῖο δὲ καὶ μετόπισθε
μνήσασθ’, ὁππότε κέν τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων
ἐνθάδ’ ἀνείρηται ξεῖνος ταλαπείριος ἐλθών·
ὦ κοῦραι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν
170  ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέῳ τέρπεσθε μάλιστα;
ὑμεῖς δ’ εὖ μάλα πᾶσαι ὑποκρίνασθαι ἀφ’ ἡμέων· [17]
τυφλὸς ἀνήρ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίῳ ἔνι παιπαλοέσσῃ,
τοῦ πᾶσαι μετόπισθεν ἀριστεύουσιν ἀοιδαί.
ἡμεῖς δ’ ὑμέτερον κλέος οἴσομεν ὅσσον ἐπ’ αἶαν
175  ἀνθρώπων στρεφόμεσθα πόλεις εὖ ναιεταώσας·
οἱ δ’ ἐπὶ δὴ πείσονται, ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐτήτυμόν ἐστιν.
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν οὐ λήξω ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα
ὑμνέων ἀργυρότοξον ὃν ἠΰκομος τέκε Λητώ. {199|200}

And on top of that, there is this great thing of wonder [thauma], [18] the fame [kleos] of which will never perish:
the Delian Maidens, attendants [therapnai] of the one who shoots from afar.
So [19] when they make Apollo their humnos [20] first and foremost,
and then Leto and Artemis, shooter of arrows,
160  they keep in mind men of the past and women too,
as they sing the humnos, and they enchant all different kinds of humanity.
All humans’ voices and rhythms [21]
they know how to re-enact [mimeîsthai]. [22] And each single person would say that his own voice
was their voice. That is how their beautiful song has each of its parts fitting together [sun-arariskein] in place.
165  But come now, may Apollo be gracious, along with Artemis; {200|201}
and you all also, hail and take pleasure [khairete], [23] all of you [Maidens of Delos]. Keep me, even in the future,
in your mind, whenever someone, out of the whole mass of earthbound humanity,
comes here [to Delos], after arduous wandering, as a guest entitled to the rules of hosting, and asks this question:
“O Maidens, who is for you the most pleasurable of singers
170  that wanders here? In whom do you take the most delight [terpesthai]?”
Then you, all of you [Maidens of Delos], must very properly respond [hupokrinesthai] [24] about me: [25]
“It is a blind man, and he dwells [oikeîn] in Chios, a rugged land,
and all his songs will in the future prevail as the very best.”
And I [26] in turn will carry your fame [kleos] as far over the earth
175  as I roam, throughout the cities of men, with their fair populations.
And they will all believe – I now see – since it is genuine [etētumon].
As for me, I will not leave off [lēgein] making far-shooting Apollo {201|202}
my humnos, [27] the one with the silver quiver, who was born of Leto with the beautiful hair.

2§28 The context of the word hupokrinesthai ‘respond’ here at verse 171 of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo needs to be compared to the contexts of the same word in the Iliad and Odyssey. From the analysis I presented in Chapter 1, we can see that this word has mantic and even riddling connotations. Also, it conveys the idea of fixity, rigidity, as we saw in the case of an inscription recording the fixed response made by a statue to any questions addressed to it (CEG 286). It is with this background in mind that I analyze the ‘response’ of the Delian Maidens as spoken first by the main speaker of the Hymn, who quotes what the Maidens will respond. As I will argue, the same quoted response is imagined as radiating from the same speaker – let us for the moment continue to call him ‘Homer’ – as if from some statue, over and over again for eternity.

2ⓢ6. Homer as theatrical spectacle

2§29 There is an element of theatrical spectacle in the quoted Homeric response of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, and this element is implicit in the use of hupokrinesthai ‘respond’ at verse 171. As I have already argued in Chapter 1, the ‘responsion’ conveyed by this verb hupokrinesthai is performative, not just interpersonal. Further, we have already seen there the usages of hupokrinesthai and hupokritēs in the sense of ‘act’ and ‘actor’ in the context of the theatron ‘theater’. Now we see that the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo makes the theatricality explicit, at verse 163, by way of the word mimeîsthai ‘re-enact’. [28] In earlier work, I have argued that the Delian Maidens of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo are in effect offering to make a mimēsis of Homer, that is, to ‘re-enact’ him, and Homer responds by making a mimēsis of them. [29] Here I hope to expand on my earlier argumentation.

2§30 To begin, I must take a moment to review the relationship between poets and Muses. In archaic Greek poetry, formulaic descriptions of the Muses are closely related to formulaic descriptions of the generic poet or aoidos {202|203} ‘singer’. [30] The characteristics of the Muses, as defined in formulas describing them, reflect the characteristics of the aoidos in a variety of performative contexts. [31]

2§31 These performative contexts include situations where the aoidos is interacting with a khoros ‘chorus’, that is, with a singing and dancing ensemble. The partheneia of Alcman are a case in point: here we see a variety of ritual situations where the aoidos is interacting with a chorus composed of elite local girls of Sparta who, at the moment of singing and dancing, are notionally re-enacting the singing and dancing of local goddesses (as in Alcman PMG 1). [32]

2§32 As we saw earlier, the Muses themselves can be idealized as a khoros ‘chorus’ of local goddesses who perform their choral song and dance in a locale that is sacred to them. [33] When the Muses in the Hesiodic Theogony are imagined as starting the performance of their song, which is a “theogony” in its own right and thus a model for Hesiod the aoidos, they perform in the mode of a khoros of local goddesses singing and dancing in a locale sacred to them, Mount Helicon (Theogony 3-4, 70).

2§33 The relationship between the aoidos of the Hesiodic Theogony and the chorus of Heliconian Muses is matched by the relationship between the aoidos of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo and the Delian Maidens, as we see it dramatized in the passage I just quoted and translated from the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo. These Maidens, described as the therapnai ‘attendants’ of the god Apollo (157), are addressed by the poet of this Homeric Hymn with the hymnic salutation khairete (166), in conjunction with the god Apollo (165). [34] I translate this salutation as ‘hail and take pleasure’, and I have already given my reasons in my note on the verse containing the salutation (166): the verb khairein is related to the noun kharis, which conveys the idea of ‘favor’ or ‘graciousness’ in the sense of reciprocated beauty and pleasure. [35] With his salutation of khairete (166), the {203|204} aoidos is asking the Delian Maidens to accept the kharis ‘favor’ of his song and to give him their ‘favor’, their kharis, in return. The hymnic salutation khaire / khairete is used in the Homeric Hymns to address the given god / gods presiding over the performance of each given hymn. Similarly in the Hesiodic Theogony, the figure of Hesiod addresses the Muses with the hymnic salutation khairete (104) in the context of naming them, in conjunction with Apollo, as the divine sources of poetic power (94-95). In the HomericHymn to Apollo, the aoidos who addresses the Delian Maidens with the hymnic salutation khairete is imagined as Homer himself. To repeat, Thucydides (3.104.4) says explicitly that the author of the HomericHymn to Apollo is Homer.

2§34 I focus on the fact that the figure of Homer addresses the Delian Maidens with the hymnic salutation khairete in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo (166) just as the figure of Hesiod addresses the Olympian Muses with the hymnic salutation khairete in the Theogony (104). The parallelism indicates that Homer is in effect addressing the local Muses of Delos, who are divine in their own right. It is not a contradiction, however, to maintain that the Delian Maidens are simultaneously envisioned as members of a local khoros ‘chorus’ of girls or women. [36] As I argued a moment ago, the role of divinity can be appropriated by members of a chorus during choral performance. That is to say, the Delian Maidens as a choral ensemble can re-enact the local Delian Muses. [37]

2§35 Homer’s dramatized encounter with the Delian Maidens is comparable to Hesiod’s dramatized encounter with the local Muses of Mount Helicon (Theogony 22-34), which leads to the transformation of their local theogony into the Panhellenic Theogony sung by Hesiod – and to their own transformation {204|205} into the Panhellenic Muses of Mount Olympus (verses 52 and thereafter). [38] The Panhellenization of the Heliconian Muses is a matter of reciprocation: they are transformed into Olympian Muses because they transform Hesiod, who is implicitly a generic aoidos ‘singer’ and master of kleos ‘fame’ (Theogony 99-101). [39] They transform Hesiod into a Panhellenic figure in his own right, who articulates a single Theogony that notionally supersedes all other potential theogonies in its truth value (22-34). [40] Further, the local humnos of the Heliconian Muses has been transformed into the Panhellenic humnos of the Olympian Muses. As I have already argued earlier, the Hesiodic Theogony ultimately defines itself as one single continuous gigantic humnos.

2§36 Similarly in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, the dramatized encounter of the aoidos with the local Delian Maidens leads to the transformation of their local humnos ‘hymn’ to Apollo (ὑμνήσωσιν at 158, ὕμνον at 161) into the Panhellenic Hymn to Apollo sung by a man described as ‘the most pleasing of all singers [aoidoi]’ (169). This aoidos ‘singer’ is further described, in the words of the Delian Maidens, as a blind man whose home is on the island of Chios (172). His aoidai ‘songs’, as the words of the Delian Maidens prophesy, will be supreme, performed throughout the cities of humankind (173-175).

2§37 This aoidos of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, like Hesiod, is a master of kleos ‘fame’: he speaks about the kleos of the hymn performed by the Delian Maidens (Hymn to Apollo 156), and he promises that he will spread that kleos (174) throughout all the cities he visits (173-175). The Panhellenization of the Delian Maidens, like the Panhellenization of the Heliconian Muses, is a matter of reciprocated kleos. The description of the blind aoidos from Chios who will spread the kleos of the Delian Maidens throughout the cities of humankind (172-175) starts with a quotation spoken by the Delian Maidens (172-173) in response to an unnamed wanderer, ‘someone’ (tis) who arrives in Delos and asks the Delian Maidens this question: who is the best aoidos of all? (169-170). When the Delian Maidens ‘respond’ (ὑποκρίνασθαι 171) to the question of this unnamed wanderer, of this ‘someone’, it is the quotation of their performed words that reciprocates the kleos: the quoted response of the Maidens (173-175) identifies the best aoidos with the aoidos who quotes their response about {205|206} him, who will confer kleos on the Delian Maidens as he wanders throughout the cities of humankind.

2§38 In the riddling language of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, the unnamed wanderer to Delos, this ‘someone’ whose question to the Delian Maidens is quoted in the Hymn (169-170), can be the same persona as the unnamed aoidos ‘singer’ of the Hymn who quotes the response of the Delian Maidens (172-173), who is the same persona as the unnamed aoidos who will now wander from Delos to all the cities of humankind, a bearer of the kleos ‘fame’ that is reciprocated between him and the Maidens (174-175). This composite unnamed persona is the figure of Homer himself.

2§39 The identity of Homer in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo is expressed by way of riddling and even mantic speech. The description of the ‘someone’ who has reached Delos after arduous wanderings (167-168) anticipates the response (174-175) to the question ‘who?’ (169-170). That response (174-175) pictures the master singer who wanders throughout the cities of humankind. But this master singer is not explicitly named as Homer. Instead, his identity is implicit in the riddle posed by the question: he is the answer to the question ‘who?’ – but he is also the ‘someone’ that asks the question ‘who?’ The response of the Delian Maidens is Homer’s own response, since their response is quoted by him. The singer who leaves Delos with an answer loops back to the singer who arrives at Delos with a question. [41] This looping effect has its own significance: each time this wandering singer arrives at Delos, he becomes a regeneration of Homer as he sings in Delos. Each time the figure of Homer is pictured as singing in Delos, the Delian Maidens authorize him all over again. The eternal return of Homer is made possible by the notionally eternal recycling of his songs.

2§40 Here I come back full circle to what I said earlier, that the Delian Maidens of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo are in effect offering to make a mimēsis ‘re-enactment’ of Homer, and that Homer responds by making a mimēsis ‘re-enactment’ of them. In the mythical world of the HomericHymnto Apollo, epic performance is being assimilated to a theatrical performance by an idealized chorus of local Muses, the Delian Maidens.

2ⓢ7. The naming of Homer

2§41 The interaction of the Delian Maidens with Homer is expressed in this description of these singing local Muses: {206|207}

2ⓣ7 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 164

οὕτω σφιν καλὴ συνάρηρεν ἀοιδή

That is how their beautiful song has each of its parts fitting together [sun-arariskein] in place.

2§42 The collocation here of sun- ‘together’ and arariskein ‘fit’ is parallel, I submit, to the collocation of homo- ‘together’ and arariskein ‘fit’ in this other description of singing Muses:

2ⓣ8 Hesiod Theogony 39

φωνῇ ὁμηρεῦσαι

making things fit together [homēreuein] with their sound

There is a similar usage of arariskein ‘fit’ in this further description of the singing Muses:

2ⓣ9 Hesiod Theogony 29

ἀρτιέπειαι

having words [epos plural] fitted [arariskein] together

2§43 The theme of Hesiod’s interaction with these singing Muses is embedded in his poetic name, which is Hēsiodos (Ἡσίοδος Theogony 22). I interpret the etymology of this name as *hēsi-wodos, meaning ‘he who emits the voice’. The first part of this compound formation *hēsi-wodos comes from the root of the verb hienai (ἱέναι) ‘emit’, while the second part comes from the root of the noun audē (αὐδή) ‘voice’. [42] There is a semantic correspondence between this etymology and the description of the singing Muses as ὄσσαν ἱεῖσαι ‘emitting the voice’ (Theogony 10, 43, 65, 67), which applies to them in a choral context (7-8, 63). An analogous point can be made about the etymology of the poetic name of Homer, Homēros (Ὅμηρος, Thucydides 3.104.4). I argue that the morphology of this name can be explained as a compound formation *hom-āros meaning ‘he who fits [the song] together’, composed of the prefix homo- (ὁμο-) ‘together’ and the root of the verb arariskein (ἀραρίσκειν). [43] There is a semantic correspondence between this etymology and the description of the singing Muses as φωνῇ ὁμηρεῦσαι ‘fitting things together [homēreuein] {207|208} with their sound’ (Theogony 39) and ἀρτιέπειαι ‘having words [epea] fitted [arariskein] together’ (Theogony 29), again in an analogous choral context. [44]

2§44 This etymology of Homēros comes to life in the words describing Homer interacting with the singing Delian Maidens, whom I have compared earlier with the singing Heliconian Muses of Hesiod:

2ⓣ10 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 164

οὕτω σφιν καλὴ συνάρηρεν ἀοιδή

That is how their beautiful song has each of its parts fitting together [sun-arariskein] in place.

2§45 I see in this theatrical moment of interaction the signature, as it were, of Homer himself – that is, of Homēros (Ὅμηρος) as a nomen loquens designating the one ‘who fits the song together’. [45]

2ⓢ8. Homer’s perfect humnos

2§46 With this background in place, I am ready to consider the mimēsis of Homer by the Delian Maidens. The HomericHymn to Apollo, conceived as a perfect and absolute humnos, becomes a perfect and absolute mimēsis of Homer. Here I concentrate on three passages that signal this mimēsis. In the first passage, we see the Delian Maidens beginning their performance of the humnos by making the god Apollo continuous with the humnos:

2ⓣ11 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 158

αἵ τ’ ἐπεὶ ἂρ πρῶτον μὲν Ἀπόλλων’ ὑμνήσωσιν

So when they make Apollo their humnos first and foremost

In the second passage, we see the Delian Maidens continuing their performance of the humnos by making the subject of their song not only the god Apollo (158) and his divine sister and mother, Artemis and Leto (158-159), but also the ‘men and women of the past’: {208|209}

2ⓣ12 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 160-161

μνησάμεναι ἀνδρῶν τε παλαιῶν ἠδὲ γυναικῶν
ὕμνον ἀείδουσιν

they keep in mind men of the past and women too,
as they sing the humnos

In the third passage, we now see ‘Homer’ himself performing the humnos, making the god Apollo continuous with his humnos:

2ⓣ13 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 177-178

αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν οὐ λήξω ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα
ὑμνέων

As for me, I will not leave off [lēgein] making the far-shooting Apollo my humnos.

2§47 Of course, ‘Homer’ has been the ex post facto performer of the humnos to Apollo from the very start, by way of interacting with the Delian Maidens as they perform their humnos. The interaction is signaled when Homer tells the Delian Maidens: ὑποκρίνασθαι ἀφ’ ἡμέων ‘make response [hupokrinesthai] from me’ (Homeric Hymn to Apollo 171). The first time I translated this phrase, I rendered the meaning of apo- in the expression ἀφ’ ἡμέων as ‘about me’ – literally, ‘from us’. [46] Τhe ‘response’ of the Delian Maidens comes from Homer, but it is also about Homer, since Homer is identified by his audience through the voice of the Delian Maidens. Now, if we could hear what the Delian Maidens are pictured as singing when they sing their humnos at verse 161, what would be their ‘response’, their hupokrisis, to the question asked by Homer? That ‘response’, signaled by the word hupokrinesthai at verse 171, is to be found in the two verses, 172-173, where the Delian Maidens answer the singer’s question by saying these words:

2ⓣ14 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 172-173

τυφλὸς ἀνήρ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίῳ ἔνι παιπαλοέσσῃ,
τοῦ πᾶσαι μετόπισθεν ἀριστεύουσιν ἀοιδαί.

“It is a blind man, and he dwells in Chios, a rugged land,
and all his songs will in the future prevail as the very best.” {209|210}

2§48 I translate not ‘will in the future be best’ but ‘will in the future prevail as the very best’. This response is a prophecy – as expressed by metopisthen ‘in the future’. In the logic of the prophecy, a reference is being made to the songs of Homer himself in the future. These songs are prefigured as absolutely fixed in their ultimate permanence. That is, the songs of Homer are imagined as becoming a fixed text in the fullness of time. The figure of Homer himself can now be viewed as the sum total of his notionally perfect songs. He can now become static, no longer fluid. As I argue in the twin book Homer the Preclassic, this Homer is imagined to be the author of the Iliad and Odyssey as possessed by the ‘descendants of Homer’, the Homēridai. [47]

2§49 Once the collective voice of the Delian Maidens has been quoted about Homer, the solo voice of the figure of Homer himself can take over. Homer proceeds to speak by continuing the humnos that the collective voice of the Delian Maidens had started together with him. I quote again the third passage:

2ⓣ15 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 177-178

αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν οὐ λήξω ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα
ὑμνέων

As for me, I will not leave off [lēgein] making the far-shooting Apollo
my humnos.

2§50 The exchange that we have just seen dramatized here between Homer the soloist and the choral ensemble of Delian Maidens is technically a choral exchange. The humnos that had started off as a collective expression of the choral ensemble is now being continued as the individual expression of Homer himself. As I have already argued, this exchange between Homer and the choral ensemble of the Delian Maidens is parallel to the exchange in the Hesiodic Theogony between Hesiod and the choral ensemble of Heliconian Muses. An individuated member of an ensemble speaks to the ensemble and quotes them, so that the collective quotation of the ensemble may now validate his individuality. [48]

2§51 After the exchange of Homer with the choral ensemble of Delian Maidens, whom I have described as the local Muses of Delos, and after the {210|211} declaration of Homer that he will not leave off making Apollo the subject of his humnos (as we have just seen in Hymn to Apollo 177-178), Apollo himself takes leave of the island of Delos and ascends to Olympus (186 ἔνθεν δὲ πρὸς Ὄλυμπον …), where he begins his interaction with the choral ensemble of Panhellenic Muses, who are described as singing with a beautiful voice (189 πᾶσαι ἀμειβόμεναι ὀπὶ καλῇ). What the Muses sing is a humnos (190 ὑμνεῦσιν), which involves not just singing but also dancing (196 ὀρχεῦντ’): the description focuses on the dancing performed by goddesses accompanying the Muses, specifically, by the Kharites or ‘Graces’ and the Hōrai or ‘Seasons’ (194 ἐϋπλόκαμοι Χάριτες καὶ ἐΰφρονες Ὧραι), [49] along with the goddesses Harmonia, Hebe, and Aphrodite (195); joining in the song and dance is Artemis herself (197-199; the use of μεταμέλπεται at 197 indicates that the goddess is imagined as singing as well as dancing). [50] The god Apollo himself is pictured as the leader of this Olympian choral performance as he plays the kithara (201) and dances (202-203 καλὰ καὶ ὕψι βιβάς, αἴγλη δέ μιν ἀμφιφαείνει | μαρμαρυγαί τε ποδῶν). Thus the humnos of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, which started as the performance of what I have been calling the local Muses of Delos, has been transformed into the performance of the Olympian Muses led by the god Apollo himself. [51] We saw a comparable transformation in the Hesiodic Theogony, where the humnos of the Heliconian Muses becomes the humnos of the Olympian Muses.

2§52 At this point in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, where the subject of the humnos is being transformed from the Apollo of Delos to the Apollo of Delphi, the second of the two aporetic questions in the Hymn is activated. After the first aporetic question, as we already saw, the perspective shifts from Apollo as god of Delos to Apollo as god of all Hellenes, though the hymnic subject remains Apollo at Delos. After the second aporetic question, the perspective shifts from Apollo at Delos to Apollo at Delphi:

2ⓣ16 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 207

πῶς τ᾿ἄρ [52] σ᾿ ὑμνήσω πάντως εὔυμνον ἐόντα {211|212}

For how shall I hymn you, you who are so absolutely [pantōs] good for hymning?

2§53 Not only is there a shift from Apollo at Delos to Apollo at Delphi as the point of concentration for the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo. The ongoing humnos has by now become an Olympian performance. We see the god Apollo himself emerging as the leader of a choral ensemble of Olympian Muses, joined by all the other Olympian gods, and this joint Olympian choral performance becomes the essence of the perfect humnos. At this moment, Apollo emerges as the absolutely perfect model of the humnos. His performance makes him the perfect maker of the humnos, not only the perfect subject of this humnos. As the perfect maker of what must be the perfect humnos, he becomes the model for the eternal remaking of his humnos, season after season. [53] This humnos must not stop. It must keep looping back to its perfect beginning. It is as the continuator of this humnos that Homer experiences his two aporetic crises in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo. Just as Apollo takes the lead in the performance of a humnos by a choral ensemble of Olympian Muses, we have seen Homer already taking the lead in the performance of that same humnos by a choral ensemble of Delian Maidens.

2ⓢ9. A prototype of humnos in the Poetics of Aristotle

2§54 In the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, we see a self-representation of a performer in the act of taking the lead in the performance of a humnos by a choral ensemble and thereby becoming a soloist. The performer is Homer, and the divine model for his individuation out of a khoros ‘chorus’ is Apollo himself. What the poetry represents as a single act on the part of the performer can also be viewed as a complex process of evolution, where the figure of the soloist takes shape only by virtue of evolving out of the ensemble. Such a view is compatible with the theorizing of Aristotle about the humnos as a choral prototype of epic and tragedy.

2§55 In the Poetics, Aristotle reconstructs a prehistoric dichotomy between the ethics of proto-poets who are semnoteroi or ‘more stately’ and the ethics of would-be proto-poets who are by comparison eutelesteroi, that is, ‘of less value’. According to this construct, poets who are semnoteroi are those {212|213} engaged in the mimēsis or ‘re-enactment’ of actions that are kala ‘noble’ and that are performed by those who are kaloi ‘noble’, while poets who are eutelesteroi ‘of less value’ are characterized by actions that are phaula ‘base’ and are performed by those who are phauloi ‘base’. Here is the wording of Aristotle:

2ⓣ17 Aristotle Poetics 1448b25-27

οἱ μὲν γὰρ σεμνότεροι τὰς καλὰς ἐμιμοῦντο πράξεις καὶ τὰς τῶν τοιούτων, οἱ δὲ εὐτελέστεροι τὰς τῶν φαύλων, πρῶτον ψόγους ποιοῦντες, ὥσπερ ἕτεροι ὕμνους καὶ ἐγκώμια.

The more stately ones [= semnoteroi] made mimēsis [1] of noble deeds and [2] of the deeds of [other] such stately ones, while the ones who were of less value [made mimēsis] of the deeds of the base. In the beginning, the latter made invectives [psogoi], while the former made humnoi and enkōmia.

2§56 I highlight two points that Aristotle is making here in the Poetics (1448b27): first, humnoi ‘hymns’ and enkōmia ‘encomia, celebrations, songs of praise’ are the undifferentiated prototypes of epic and tragedy, and, second, both these prototypes involve mimēsis ‘re-enactment’. [54] Of special relevance is a third point that Aristotle makes elsewhere in the Poetics: it is not only the prototypical humnoi and enkōmia but also epic and tragedy that involve the mimēsis ‘re-enactment’ of the noble by the noble, as we see in several passages (1448a1-2, 26-27; 1448b34-36; 1449b9-10, 17-20, 24-28). In these passages, the word for ‘noble’ is spoudaioi, meaning literally ‘the serious ones’.

2§57 The idea that the spoudaioi ‘serious ones’ and the semnoteroi ‘more stately ones’ are engaging in mimēsis ‘re-enactment’ of what is noble is relevant to the use of the word mimeîsthai ‘re-enact’ in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo (verse 163). Here the performers of mimēsis are none other than the Delian Maidens, whose ‘seriousness’ or ‘stateliness’ is a given. And the mimēsis is taking place in the context of a humnos. For Aristotle, mimēsis takes place in prototypical humnoi that have not yet become differentiated into epic and tragedy. Here in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, we see an approximation of such a model, to the extent that it resembles both epic and tragedy: this Hymn is like epic because it has the same meter as epic and because its diction is closely related to epic diction, while it is like tragedy because it is theatrical, as I have already argued with regard to the usage of the term hupokrinesthai ‘respond’, which refers to the quoted words of the Maidens in the Hymn (verse 171). As {213|214} for the usage of the term mimeîsthai ‘re-enact’ in the Hymn (verse 163), it is in fact explicitly theatrical. [55]

2§58 In my previous work, I have argued that the use of a theatrical word like mimeîsthai in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo (verse 171) reveals an early phase of an ongoing symbiosis of two elements: one is the Homeric tradition as it evolved at the Athenian festival of the Panathenaia and the other is the theatrical tradition of drama as it evolved at the Athenian festival of the City Dionysia. [56] Now I will argue that such symbiosis was facilitated by the medium of the humnos ‘hymn’ / enkōmion ‘encomium, celebration, song of praise’ – whether or not Aristotle is right in thinking of this medium as an undifferentiated prototype of epic and tragedy. [57]

2§59 From Aristotle’s point of view, the prototypical medium of the humnos / enkōmion was a choral medium. This medium’s eventual differentiation into epic and tragedy involved the individuation of its leading performers. That is, the performances of soloists emerged out of an ensemble of choral performers. Further, there was a differentiation of roles: a speaker of words was singled out from among an ensemble of singers and dancers. Such differentiation, as we are also about to see, is conveyed by Aristotle’s use of the technical term ex-arkhein, in the sense of ‘leading’ a chorus. For Aristotle, the ex-arkhōn or ‘leader’ of a chorus was a prototypical actor in drama, whose lexis or ‘speech’ was differentiated from the rest of the singing and the dancing by the chorus.

2§60 In the Poetics, Aristotle develops this theory of differentiation in the broader context of reconstructing the prehistory of the four dramatic genres of the City Dionysia in Athens: tragedy, comedy, dithyramb, and satyr drama. In terms of Aristotle’s reconstruction, all four of these dramatic genres resulted from progressive differentiations of earlier and less differentiated {214|215} forms of choral performances. [58] By choral performances I mean the singing and dancing of choral ensembles on festive occasions.

2§61 The case of the dithurambos ‘dithyramb’ is particularly telling. We see an earlier and less differentiated form of the dithyramb attested in the historical context of archaic Corinth, where this dramatic genre was aetiologized as an invention of Arion, a singer hailing from the city of Methymna in Lesbos, who was renowned for his virtuosity in singing while accompanying himself on the kithara; this aetiology of the dithyramb, linked with the celebrated myth of Arion’s ride on a dolphin, is familiar to Classicists from the retelling of Herodotus (1.23-24). [59]

2§62 The archaic Corinthian form of the dithyramb was evidently related to an ostentatiously grotesque and wanton form of singing and dancing performed by “padded dancers” represented in archaic Corinthian vase-paintings, which feature not only “padded dancers” in the company of dolphins but even “padded dolphins.” [60] A comparable theme in Athenian vase-paintings is the image of choral performers riding on dolphins. [61] In its earlier and less differentiated phases, then, the dithyramb shows a continuum rather than a break between “low art” and “high art,” between grotesquerie and gracefulness, between wantonness and stateliness. [62] Only in the case of later and more differentiated phases of the dithyramb was there a need felt for expressing the seriousness of choral compositions attributed to Arion as opposed to the ostentatious frivolity of choral performances by masqueraders. That is the point of a remark preserved in the Suda about Arion (s.v.): this poet is credited with making the dithyramb ‘more tragic’. [63]

2§63 In the scholia for Pindar’s Olympian 13 (with reference to lines 18-19) we find a related remark about Arion as the inventor of the dithyramb in Corinth:

2ⓣ18 Scholia for Pindar Olympian 13.26b

αἱ τοῦ Διονύσου διθυράμβων ἐν Κορίνθῳ ἐφάνησαν χάριτες, τουτέστι τὸ σπουδαιότατον τῶν Διονύσου διθυράμβων ἐν Κορίνθῳ πρῶτον ἐφάνη· ἐκεῖ γὰρ ὡράθη ὁ χορὸς ὀρχούμενος· ἔστησε δὲ αὐτὸν πρῶτος Ἀρίων ὁ Μηθυμναῖος, εἶτα Λάσος ὁ Ἑρμιονεύς. {215|216}

“The kharites [graces] of the dithyrambs of Dionysus appeared in Corinth.” [64] That is, the most serious [spoudaion] aspect of the dithyrambs of Dionysus appeared first in Corinth. For that is where the dancing chorus [of dithyrambs] was first seen. And the first person to set it up [= set up such a chorus] was Arion of Methymna; the second to have done it was Lasus of Hermione.

2§64 There is a connection being made here in the scholia between the ‘gracefulness’ of the dithyramb, as expressed by the plural of kharis in the sense of ‘pleasurable beauty’, and its ‘seriousness’, as expressed by spoudaion. A similar connection is already being made in the original words of Pindar as paraphrased by the scholia. [65] The description of Arion’s dithyramb as something that is spoudaion ‘serious’ is strikingly similar to what we have already seen in Aristotle’s Poetics: he describes epic and tragedy as a mimēsis ‘re-enactment’ of actions that are spoudaia ‘serious’ by those who are spoudaioi ‘serious’ (again, 1448a1-2, 26-27; 1448b34-36; 1449b9-10, 17-20, 24-28).

2§65 The idea that the dithyrambs of Arion are more ‘serious’ than the less differentiated choral forms of this dramatic genre is relevant to the point made by Aristotle in the Poetics concerning the development of (1) tragedy and (2) comedy out of forms that he links with choral singing and dancing led by two kinds of performers:

(1) performers of dithyrambs (1449a10-11): ἡ μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν ἐξαρχόντων τὸν διθύραμβον ‘one of the forms [derives] from those who lead [ex-arkhein] the dithyramb’
(2) performers wearing costumes outfitted with phallic appendages (1449a12-14): ἡ δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν τὰ φαλλικὰ ἃ ἔτι καὶ νῦν ἐν πολλαῖς τῶν πόλεων διαμένει νομιζόμενα ‘the other of the forms [derives] from those who wear phallic appendages – and this is a custom that persists in many of the city states’.

2§66 Aristotle is positing here an early phase of drama where proto-tragedy and proto-comedy are already differentiated, but these prototypes are seen as forms that have not yet reached the ultimate forms of tragedy and comedy, since tragedy has not yet been differentiated from the dithyramb while the satyr drama has not yet been differentiated from comedy. By implication, there is a still earlier phase where tragedy / dithyramb are not yet {216|217} differentiated from satyr drama / comedy. Such an earlier phase is reflected in a follow-up remark in the Poetics of Aristotle concerning the evolution of tragedy from (1) an undifferentiated medium that is both grand and serious as well as non-grand and non-serious into (2) a differentiated medium that is exclusively grand and serious:

2ⓣ19 Aristotle Poetics 1449a19-21

ἐκ μικρῶν μύθων καὶ λέξεως γελοίας διὰ τὸ ἐκ σατυρικοῦ μεταβαλεῖν ὀψὲ ἀπεσεμνύνθη

[Tragedy,] developing out of slight plots and laugh-provoking diction on account of its derivation from a form having to do with satyrs, became, in the fullness of time, stately [aposemnunesthai = become semnē].

2§67 Aristotle’s idea that tragedy evolves into something that is semnon ‘stately’ is tied to his thinking of epic and tragedy as the mimēsis ‘re-enactment’ of the noble by the noble, to be contrasted with comedy, which is the re-enactment of the base by the base. In one particular context, as we have seen, he uses the word semnoteroi ‘more stately’ with reference to proto-poets who make mimēsis of noble deeds, and, in this context, he links the forms of epic and tragedy to a proto-form of humnoi ‘hymns’ and enkōmia ‘encomia, celebrations, songs of praise’; in that same context, he contrasts epic and tragedy with the existing form of comedy, linking that form with a proto-form of psogoi ‘invectives’ (Poetics 1448b25-27).

2§68 I highlight the wording used by Aristotle in referring to those who ‘lead’ the singing and dancing of the dithyramb in the Poetics (1449a10-11): ἡ μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν ἐξαρχόντων τὸν διθύραμβον ‘one of the forms [derives] from those who lead [ex-arkhein] the dithyramb’. This term ex-arkhein ‘lead’ signals an individuated act of performance that leads into a distinctly collective or choral act of performance. Relevant is this striking attestation of the term in a fragment of Archilochus:

2ⓣ20 Archilochus F 120 ed. West

ὡς Διωνύσου ἄνακτος καλὸν ἐξάρξαι μέλος
οἶδα διθύραμβον οἴνῳ συγκεραυνωθεὶς φρένας

To lead [ex-arkhein] the beautiful song [melos] of the lord Dionysus, {217|218}
the dithyramb, I know how to do it, thunderstruck as I am with wine.

2§69 These verses of Archilochus are composed in a meter known as the trochaic tetrameter catalectic, which Aristotle in the Poetics describes as a medium associated with the speaking parts, as it were, of early choral drama: he says that this meter later became displaced by another meter as a medium for the speaking parts, the iambic trimeter, which became dissociated from the choral aspects of drama, especially from the dancing (Poetics 1449a22-24, Rhetoric 3.1404a31-33). In other words, the medium of the trochaic tetrameter catalectic is undifferentiated in its combining of speaking parts and dancing parts, whereas the medium of the iambic trimeter is differentiated in its restriction to speaking parts. Aristotle’s linking of the trochaic tetrameter catalectic with dance may well be extrapolated from such self-references as we find in the fragment I have just quoted from Archilochus (F 120), where the figure of Archilochus exhibits a distinctly choral personality: his individuated singing as the choral leader or ex-arkhōn of the dithyramb leads into the collective singing and dancing of the dithyramb by the chorus. The wording here corresponds to Aristotle’s model of the ex-arkhontes of dithyramb who figure as prototypes of actors in tragedy. [66]

2§70 Archilochus figures as the choral leader or ex-arkhōn not only of the dithyramb but also of other media. We are about to see another striking attestation of the choral term ex-arkhein ‘lead’ in another fragment of Archilochus. Here again, the meter is trochaic tetrameter catalectic, but this time the choral medium is not the dithyramb but the paean. Once again we see an act of individuated singing that leads into the collective singing and dancing of the chorus:

2ⓣ21 Archilochus F 121 ed. West

αὐτὸς ἐξάρχων πρὸς αὐλὸν Λέσβιον παιήονα

I myself, leading [ex-arkhein] the paean from Lesbos, to the sound of the aulos.

In this case, the individuated singing is accompanied by a musical instrument, the aulos.

2§71 The ultimate model for the choral leader of the paean is the god Apollo himself, as we are about to see in a passage taken from the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo. The prototypical chorus that is chosen for Apollo’s prototypical {218|219} performance as choral leader of the paean is a group of Cretan sailors whom the god has just coopted as his future attendants at Delphi. The choral performance of the paean is introduced with a narrative of the preliminaries (Hymn to Apollo 502-513): when the Cretans land at the harbor of Delphi, they immediately build on the beach an altar (bōmos at verse 508) for the god, and at this altar they proceed to make sacrifice (thuein at 509) and to dine at the sacrificial feast. After they are finished with their dining and general feasting, they proceed to the heights of Mount Parnassus, where Apollo’s sanctuary awaits them, and their procession takes the form of a choral paean led by the god himself:

2ⓣ22 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 514-523

βάν ῥ’ ἴμεν· ἦρχε δ’ ἄρα σφιν ἄναξ Διὸς υἱὸς Ἀπόλλων
515  φόρμιγγ’ ἐν χείρεσσιν ἔχων ἐρατὸν κιθαρίζων
καλὰ καὶ ὕψι βιβάς· οἱ δὲ ῥήσσοντες ἕποντο
Κρῆτες πρὸς Πυθὼ καὶ ἰηπαιήονἄειδον,
οἷοί τε Κρητῶν παιήονες οἷσί τε Μοῦσα
ἐν στήθεσσιν ἔθηκε θεὰ μελίγηρυν ἀοιδήν.
520  ἄκμητοι δὲ λόφον προσέβαν ποσίν, αἶψα δ’ ἵκοντο
Παρνησὸν καὶ χῶρον ἐπήρατον ἔνθ’ ἄρ’ ἔμελλεν
οἰκήσειν πολλοῖσι τετιμένος ἀνθρώποισι·
δεῖξε δ’ ἄγων ἄδυτον ζάθεον καὶ πίονα νηόν.

They [= the Cretans] went ahead. And leading them was the lord, son of Zeus, Apollo.
515  having a phorminx in his hands and playing on it a lovely tune
while gracefully taking high steps. They followed him in rhythm,
the Cretans, in the direction of Delphi, and they sang the paean song
- the kinds of paean songs the Cretans have. For them the Muse
places in their hearts, goddess that she is, a sweet-sounding song. {219|220}
520  Without getting tired, they approached on foot the peak and, the next thing you know, they reached
Parnassus and the lovely place where he [= Apollo] was to
make his home, receiving honor from a multitude of mortals.
He took them [= the Cretans] and showed them his inner sanctum, most holy, as well as his well-endowed temple.

2§72 As we see from this description, the individuated performance of the choral leader or ex-arkhōn is not only the act of singing, which is only implied in this case, but also the act of dancing, along with instrumental accompaniment, all of which leads into a collective performance by the singing as well as dancing chorus. It is made explicit here that the chorus as led by Apollo is singing as well as dancing the paean that they perform. We see a similar emphasis on singing as well as dancing in Pindar’s Nemean 2, at the moment when the chorus of performers, imagined as the citizens of the city in assembly, is called upon to ‘begin’ or ‘lead off’, ex-arkhein, by singing an individuated song that leads into collective singing and dancing:

2ⓣ23 Pindar Nemean 2.23-25

τόν, ὦ πολῖ|ται, κωμάξατε Τιμοδήμῳ σὺν εὐκλέϊ νόστῳ·| ἁδυμελεῖ δ᾿ ἐξάρχετε φωνᾷ

Him [= Zeus, presiding over the festival of the Némea] you O citizens of the city must celebrate [kōmazein] for the sake of Timodemos, at the moment of his homecoming marked by genuine fame [kleos], and, in sweet-sounding song, you must lead off [ex-arkhein] with your voice.

2§73 I highlight here the collocation of ex-arkhein ‘begin, lead off’ with phōnē ‘voice’: the choral singing and dancing is ‘begun’ by way of a kind of singing that gives ‘voice’ to the words of song. I note also in passing the idea of a group engaged in festive celebration as conveyed by the noun kōmos, from which the parallel concepts of kōmazein ‘celebrate’ and enkōmion ‘celebration, song of praise’ are derived.

2§74 The use of the word ex-arkhein to mark an individuated performance that leads into the collective performance of a khoros ‘chorus’ is found also in this idealized representation adorning the Shield of Achilles: {220|221}

2ⓣ24 Iliad XVIII 590-604

590  Ἐν δὲ χορὸν ποίκιλλε [67] περικλυτὸς ἀμφιγυήεις,
τῷ ἴκελον οἷόν ποτ’ ἐνὶ Κνωσῷ εὐρείῃ
Δαίδαλος ἤσκησεν καλλιπλοκάμῳ Ἀριάδνῃ.
ἔνθα μὲν ἠΐθεοι καὶ παρθένοι ἀλφεσίβοιαι
ὀρχεῦντ’ ἀλλήλων ἐπὶ καρπῷ χεῖρας ἔχοντες.
595  τῶν δ’ αἳ μὲν λεπτὰς ὀθόνας ἔχον, οἳ δὲ χιτῶνας
εἵατ’ ἐϋννήτους, ἦκα στίλβοντας ἐλαίῳ·
καί ῥ’ αἳ μὲν καλὰς στεφάνας ἔχον, οἳ δὲ μαχαίρας
εἶχον χρυσείας ἐξ ἀργυρέων τελαμώνων.
οἳ δ’ ὁτὲ μὲν θρέξασκον ἐπισταμένοισι πόδεσσι
600  ῥεῖα μάλ’, ὡς ὅτε τις τροχὸν ἄρμενον ἐν παλάμῃσιν
ἑζόμενος κεραμεὺς πειρήσεται, αἴ κε θέῃσιν·
ἄλλοτε δ’ αὖ θρέξασκον ἐπὶ στίχας ἀλλήλοισι.
πολλὸς δ’ ἱμερόεντα χορὸν περιίσταθ’ ὅμιλος
τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς
605  φορμίζων· [68] δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς
μολπῆς ἐξάρχοντoς [69] ἐδίνευον κατὰ μέσσους. {221|222}

590  The renowned one [= Hephaistos], the one with the two strong arms, pattern-wove [poikillein] in it [= the Shield] a khoros. [70]
It [= the khoros] was just like the one that, once upon a time in far-ruling Knossos,
Daedalus made for Ariadne, the one with the beautiful tresses [plokamoi].
There were young men there, [71] and girls who are courted with gifts of cattle,
and they all were dancing with each other, holding hands at the wrist.
595  The girls were wearing delicate dresses, while the boys were clothed in khitons
well-woven, gleaming exquisitely, with a touch of olive oil.
The girls had beautiful garlands [stephanai], while the boys had knives
made of gold, hanging from knife-belts made of silver.
Half the time they moved fast in a circle, with expert steps,
600  showing the greatest ease, as when a wheel, solidly built, is given a spin by the hands
of a seated potter, who is testing it whether it will run well.
The other half of the time they moved fast in straight lines, alongside each other.
A huge assembly stood around the place of the khoros, which evokes desire,
and they were all delighted. In their midst sang and danced [melpesthai] [72] a divine singer [aoidos], {222|223}
605  playing on the phorminx. [73] Two special dancers among them
were swirling as he led [ex-arkhein] [74] the singing and dancing [molpē] in their midst. {223|224}

2§75 The verb melpesthai and the noun molpē in this context, as we know from other contexts, refers to both singing and dancing. [75] Similarly in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, we saw a self-representation of a performer in the act of taking the lead in the performance of a choral ensemble and thereby becoming a soloist. In that case, the performer is Homer, and the divine model for his individuation out of a khoros ‘chorus’ is Apollo himself.

2§76 The use of the word ex-arkhein to mark the beginning of singing and dancing in a khoros ‘chorus’ is also evident in this description of Artemis as a model for the choral performance of a humnos:

2ⓣ25 Homeric Hymn (27) to Artemis 11-20

αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν τερφθῇ θηροσκόπος ἰοχέαιρα
εὐφρήνῃ δὲ νόον, χαλάσασ’ εὐκαμπέα τόξα
ἔρχεται ἐς μέγα δῶμα κασιγνήτοιο φίλοιο
Φοίβου Ἀπόλλωνος Δελφῶν ἐς πίονα δῆμον
15   Μουσῶν καὶ Χαρίτων καλὸν χορὸν ἀρτυνέουσα.
ἔνθα κατακρεμάσασα παλίντονα τόξα καὶ ἰοὺς
ἡγεῖται χαρίεντα περὶ χροῒ κόσμον ἔχουσα,
ἐξάρχουσα χορούς· αἱ δ’ ἀμβροσίην ὄπ’ ἰεῖσαι
ὑμνεῦσιν Λητὼ καλλίσφυρον ὡς τέκε παῖδας
20   ἀθανάτων βουλῇ τε καὶ ἔργμασιν ἔξοχ’ ἀρίστους.

But when she has taken her pleasure [of hunting], that stalker of wild animals, that shooter of arrows,
and has cheered her mind, she loosens the string of her well-curved bow
and goes into the great palace of her dear brother
Phoebus Apollo, in the well-endowed district of Delphi,
15   and she gets set to arrange the beautiful choral ensemble [khoros] of the Muses and Kharites.
And there, after she hangs up [on a peg] her curved bow and her quiver of arrows, {224|225}
she begins to lead [hēgeîsthai] [the choral ensemble], and the adornment [kosmos] she wears enveloping her flesh is delightfully graceful [kharieis]
as she leads off [ex-arkhein] the songs and dances of the choral ensemble [khoros]. [76] And they [= the Muses and the Kharites], sending forth [hienai] a voice that is immortal,
make Leto their humnos [humneîn], the one with the beautiful ankles, [as they sing] how once upon a time she gave birth to children
20   who were by far the best of the immortals in both the things they planned and the things they did.

2§77 Here the khoros, that is, the choral ensemble composed of the Muses and the ‘Graces’ or Kharites (15 Μουσῶν καὶ Χαρίτων καλὸν χορόν), is not just dancing: the wording makes it explicit that they are ‘emitting an immortal voice’ (18 ἀμβροσίην ὄπ’ ἰεῖσαι) when they perform the humnos (19 ὑμνεῦσιν). Enveloped in a kosmos ‘adornment’ that is kharieis ‘graceful’ (17 χαρίεντα περὶ χροῒ κόσμον ἔχουσα), Artemis is ‘leading’ (17 ἡγεῖται) the choral ensemble. The goddess begins by ‘leading off’, an action expressed by the choral verb ex-arkhein, with the noun khoroi as the object (18 ἐξάρχουσα χορούς). Artemis here stands out as a choral model for performing a humnos focusing on her and her family. As a choral model, she resembles her divine brother Apollo, who as we saw figures as the ultimate maker as well as recipient of humnoi that honor him.

2§78 As the recipient of humnoi that honor her, the goddess can be pictured as the object of the verb of singing, as we see in this verse from another Homeric Hymn to Artemis:

2ⓣ26 Homeric Hymn (9) to Artemis 8

αὐτὰρ ἐγώ σε πρῶτα καὶ ἐκ σέθεν ἄρχομ’ ἀείδειν

As for me, I sing you first of all and from [ex-] you do I start off [arkhesthai] to sing. {225|226}

2§79 The accusative se ‘you’ referring to Artemis here matches the accusative ton ‘him’ referring to Zeus in what I quoted earlier from an athletic victory song composed by Pindar:

2ⓣ27 Pindar Nemean 2.23-25

τόν, ὦ πολῖ|ται, κωμάξατε Τιμοδήμῳ σὺν εὐκλέϊ νόστῳ·| ἁδυμελεῖ δ᾿ ἐξάρχετε φωνᾷ

Him [= Zeus, presiding over the festival of the Némea] you O citizens of the city must celebrate [kōmazein] for the sake of Timodemos, at the moment of his homecoming marked by genuine fame [kleos], and, in sweet-sounding song, you must lead off [ex-arkhein] with your voice.

2§80 Moreover, the expression ek sethen ‘[starting] from you’ depending on arkhom’ aeidein ‘I begin to sing’ in the Homeric Hymn to Artemis is parallel to the expression hothen ‘[starting] from the point where’ depending on aoidoi arkhontai ‘singers begin’ at the beginning of the same victory song composed by Pindar:

2ⓣ28 Pindar Nemean 2.1-3

῞Οθεν περ καὶ Ὁμηρίδαι | ῥαπτῶν ἐπέων τὰ πόλλ᾿ ἀοιδοί | ἄρχονται, Διὸς ἐκ προοιμίου.

[starting] from the point where [hothen] the Homēridai, singers, most of the time begin [arkhesthai] their stitched-together words, from the prooimion of Zeus

2§81 This Pindaric passage imitates the beginning of a Homeric Hymn to Zeus. I will have more to say in a moment about Pindar’s imitation, and about the meaning of the word prooimion, which I have left untranslated, but for now I simply emphasize the parallelism of the wording here with the wording of the Hymn to Artemis. The parallelism with ek sethen ‘[starting] from you’, with reference to Artemis, indicates that the referent of hothen ‘[starting] from the point where’ is Zeus himself. The performance starts with the god and is a continuation from the god. Such continuity, as we will now see, is the essence of humnos. {226|227}

2ⓢ10. Convergences and divergences in the meanings of humnos and prooimion

2§82 The idea that Zeus is the point of departure marked by the expression hothen ‘[starting] from the point where’ in Pindar’s Nemean 2 is conveyed by the expression Διὸς ἐκ προοιμίου ‘[starting] from the prooimion of Zeus’. In order to show the logic behind this expression, I will need to produce a working definition of prooimion, but I can do that only after I highlight the divergences as well as the convergences in meaning between this word and the word humnos.

2§83 To say that Zeus is the song’s point of departure in Pindar’s Nemean 2 is equivalent to saying that the point of departure is the prooimion of Zeus, in that the prooimion starts with the god and is a continuation from the god. Further, the continuity that is started by the prooimion becomes the continuum that is the humnos. [77] In this formulation, I am highlighting a basic divergence between the meanings of prooimion and humnos: whereas the word prooimion refers only to the start of the continuum, the word humnos refers to both the start of the continuum and the continuum itself. To put it another way, the naming of the god is a metonymy – of and by itself – from the standpoint of the prooimion that starts off with the naming of the god, and the whole process of starting and then continuing is the essence of humnos. In the logic of the humnos, there is further metonymy: the god who presides over the occasion of performance becomes continuous with the occasion and thus becomes the occasion.

2§84 A moment ago, I said that the beginning of Pindar’s Nemean 2 amounts to an imitation of a Homeric Hymn to Zeus. To back up this assertion, I will now focus on the word Homēridai ‘descendants of Homer’ at the beginning of Pindar’s victory song. I repeat here the relevant wording, which shows that the Homēridai conventionally begin their singing with what is called a prooimion of Zeus:

2ⓣ29 Pindar Nemean 2.1-3

῞Οθεν περ καὶ ῾Ομηρίδαι | ῥαπτῶν ἐπέων τὰ πόλλ᾿ ἀοιδοί | ἄρχονται, Διὸς ἐκ προοιμίου). {227|228}

[starting] from the point where [hothen] the Homēridai, singers, most of the time begin [arkhesthai] their stitched-together words, from the prooimion of Zeus

2§85 In this Pindaric passage, we find precious indications of conventions characteristic of Homēridai or ‘descendants of Homer’ as performers of Homer. In earlier work, I have analyzed these conventions in some detail, and here I merely highlight the relevant aspects of that analysis. [78]

2§86 First I focus on the word hothen ‘[starting] from the point where’, which signals the sequence of agenda in the performance once the performance has begun. As we see from the wording I have just quoted, hothen ‘from the point where’ unexpectedly takes first place in this song, and the name of the god who is signaled as the actual beginning unexpectedly takes second place. As we also see from what I have just quoted, it is only in the middle of the initial wording that we find the actual word for this beginning, arkhesthai ‘begin’. Then, toward the ending of the whole song, we find for the second time a word for ‘begin’:

2ⓣ30 Pindar Nemean 2.23-25

τόν, ὦ πολῖ|ται, κωμάξατε Τιμοδήμῳ σὺν εὐκλέϊ νόστῳ·| ἁδυμελεῖ δ᾿ ἐξάρχετε φωνᾷ

Him [= Zeus, presiding over the festival of the Némea] you O citizens of the city must celebrate [kōmazein] for the sake of Timodemos, at the moment of his homecoming marked by genuine fame [kleos], and, in sweet-sounding song, you must lead off [ex-arkhein] with your voice.

2§87 This word ex-arkhein ‘begin’ – here in the sense of ‘lead off’ – presupposes that a word like hothen ‘from the point where’ will follow as a signal for continuing the poetic agenda of the song, but here, at the end of the song, the hothen is missing because the wording has come to an end. Or is it really missing? The word hothen is in fact not missing if the wording of the song does not come to an end here but instead loops back to the beginning, that is, to the beginning of the song, where the hothen is actually located. [79] In other words, the prooimion in Pindar’s imitation expresses a beginning that cycles back into {228|229} itself instead of allowing for a continuation of the poetic agenda introduced by the prooimion.

2§88 By contrast, a prooimion of Zeus performed by the Homēridai would be expected to begin not with a word like hothen ‘from the point where’ but with arkhomai ‘I begin’ or its equivalent. Such a beginning is typical of the Homeric Hymns. As just one of many possible examples, I cite the beginning of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter:

2ⓣ31 Homeric Hymn (2) to Demeter 1

Δήμητρ’ ἠΰκομον σεμνὴν θεὰν ἄρχομ’ ἀείδειν

I begin [arkhesthai] to sing Demeter with the beautiful hair, stately goddess.

2§89 This example shows why I said earlier that Pindar in his Nemean 2 imitates a virtual Homeric Hymn to Zeus. As we can now see, a prooimion of Zeus is the equivalent of a humnos ‘hymn’ to Zeus. The Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo is in fact a perfect parallel: it refers to itself in terms of a humnos (verses 158, 161, 178), while Thucydides refers to it explicitly as a prooimion (3.104.4). Similarly, when Socrates is said to compose a Hymn to Apollo in prison while awaiting his execution, his composition is called a prooimion (Plato Phaedo 60d). [80]

2§90 The convergence in meanings between humnos and prooimion as poetic terms extends to the metaphorical world that generated the poetic terminology. As I have argued in earlier work, both humnos and prooimion are derived from roots referring to the making of fabric.

2§91 In the case of the noun humnos / ὕμνος, conventionally translated as ‘hymn’, the most convincing explanation is that it derives from the verb root of huphainein / ὑφαίνειν, meaning ‘weave’. [81] Alternatively, it may derive from {229|230} a different verb root, referring to the stitching together of distinct pieces of cloth to make a unified article of clothing’. [82]

2§92 In the case of the compound noun prooimion / προοίμιον, conventionally translated as ‘proemium’, the element -oim- / -οιμ- is derived from a root that we find also attested in two simple nouns, oimos / οἶμος and oimē / οἰμή. The Attic by-form of prooimion / προοίμιον, which is phroimion / φροίμιον, elucidates the prehistory of the root: we must reconstruct it not as *oim- but as *hoim-, from *soim-. This reconstruction helps elucidate the surviving contexts of both oimos / οἶμος and oimē / οἰμή, which do not always give a clear picture of the basic meaning of either form. [83] In some contexts, the meaning seems to be ‘song’, [84] while in others it seems to be ‘way, pathway’. [85] With the help of comparative evidence, however, the primary meaning of oimos and oimē can be reconstructed as ‘thread, threading’, and the meanings ‘song’ or ‘way, pathway’ can be explained as secondary: that is, ‘song’ and ‘way, pathway’ are metaphorical generalizations derived from the meaning ‘thread, threading’. [86] And it is such a primary meaning ‘thread, threading’ that we find in comparable forms attested in other Indo-European languages: for example, the form *soimos that we reconstruct from Greek oimos is attested as Old Icelandic seimr, meaning ‘thread’. [87] In terms of such a primary meaning, the etymology of the compound noun prooimion ‘prooemium’ can be interpreted as a metaphor referring to the ‘initial threading’ of a song. A close semantic parallel to the etymology of Greek prooimion ‘proemium’ as an ‘initial threading’ of a song is the etymology of Latin exordium, which likewise means ‘proemium’ in poetic and rhetorical contexts: the meaning of this noun as well {230|231} can be traced back to the basic idea of an ‘initial threading’. [88] The poetic and rhetorical concepts of both Greek prooimion and Latin exordium in the sense of ‘proemium’ have a common Indo-European ancestry.

2§93 Pursuing the argument that oimos / oimē / prooimion and humnos are all derived from roots referring to the making of fabric, I note that the word oimos is formulaically interchangeable with the word humnos at verse 451 of the Homeric Hymn (4) to Hermes, where we see the attestation of both οἶμος ἀοιδῆς and ὕμνος ἀοιδῆς in the manuscript tradition; at a later point, we will also consider the cognate expression ἀοιδῆς ὕμνον at verse 429 of Odyssey viii. I interpret the combinations of humnos and oimos with aoidē ‘song’ to mean respectively the ‘weaving’ of song and the ‘threading’ of song. Relevant to this interpretation is the context of oimē at verse 74 of Odyssey viii: as we will see later when we examine this context, there is a metaphorical reference here to the intial part of performing a song, that is to the ‘initial threading’ of a song. To sum up, the meaning of oimos or oimē as ‘song’ results from a metaphorical extension: the idea of making song is being expressed metaphorically through the idea of making fabric. As for contexts where oimos and oimē seem to mean ‘way, pathway’, I argue that such a meaning is likewise a result of metaphorical extension: here the general idea of moving ahead from one point to another is being expressed metaphorically by applying the specific idea of threading one’s way from one point to another. [89]

2§94 Such etymological connections with the metaphorical world of making fabric are parallel to the poetic connection of the prooimion of Zeus with the overt metaphor of rhapta epea ‘stitched-together words’ in Pindar’s Nemean 2, which in turn is connected with a latent metaphor embedded in the etymology of the word rhapsōidos ‘rhapsode’, a compound formation composed of the morphological elements rhaptein ‘stitch together’ and aoidē ‘song’. [90]

2§95 I round out my observations on Pindar’s imitation of the prooimion of Zeus by highlighting two points that will be relevant to the argumentation that follows. The first point is simple: Pindar’s wording shows that the performance of the Homēridai is linked with the performance of rhapsōidoi {231|232} ‘rhapsodes’. [91] The second point, which will concern the word prooimion, is more complex: in contexts where we see this word prooimion applied as an equivalent of humnos, it refers to a notionally perfect beginning of a rhapsodic performance, which is envisioned as the stitching together of distinct pieces of cloth to make a unified article of clothing. [92]

2§96 I have more to say in Chapter 3 about the Homēridai and about rhapsodic performances of Homer. And I have more to say about the Homēridai in the twin book Homer the Preclassic, where I argue that this lineage, claiming to be the ‘descendants of Homer’, was central to the definition of Homer in Athens – in the late sixth century BCE and thereafter. [93] For now I simply concentrate on the idea of a prooimion of Zeus as performed rhapsodically by Homēridai, which is the equivalent of a virtual Homeric Hymn to Zeus.

2ⓢ11. The poetics of metabasis in the Homeric Hymns

2§97 As we have seen from examining the form of song designated by the words humnos and prooimion, the act of creating such a song is not just a matter of artistic composition. It is also a matter of artistic performance. As we have also seen, such performance is perceived as a notionally perfect ‘beginning’, expressed by the word arkhein / arkhesthai, which signals the invocation of the god or goddess who presides over the occasion of performance. But now the question is, what does such a perfect beginning introduce? To ask the question in another way, what is the consequence of a perfect beginning, especially as conveyed by the word humnos? For an answer, I turn to the Homeric Hymns, which show how the humnos can make reference to its own hymnic consequent. It is done by way of a performative device that I call metabasis.

2§98 As we will see from the attestations of this device in the Homeric Hymns, a humnos is not just the perfect beginning of a performance. It is also the signal of a perfect transition to the rest of the performance. By metonymy, the humnos includes the rest of the performance, proceeding sequentially all the way to the conclusion of the whole performance. If the performance is sequential, consequential, you know it was started by a humnos and you know {232|233} it is really a humnos. Such consequentiality is indicated by the verb metabainein, which I translate as ‘move ahead and shift forward’ and to which I will refer short-hand by way of the term metabasis. As we are about to see, the metabasis is a formal feature of the humnos. Here are three most telling examples from the Homeric Hymns:

2ⓣ32 HomericHymn (5) to Aphrodite 292-293

χαῖρε θεὰ Κύπροιο ἐϋκτιμένης μεδέουσα·
σεῦ δ’ ἐγὼ ἀρξάμενος μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον.

Hail and take pleasure [khaire], goddess, queen of well-founded Cyprus.
But, having started off from you, I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos.

2ⓣ33 Homeric Hymn (9) to Artemis 7-9

καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε θεαί θ’ ἅμα πᾶσαι ἀοιδῇ·
αὐτὰρ ἐγώ σε πρῶτα καὶ ἐκ σέθεν ἄρχομ’ ἀείδειν,
σεῦ δ’ ἐγὼ ἀρξάμενος μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον.

So, with all this said, I say to you [= Artemis] now: hail and take pleasure [khaire], and along with you may all the other goddesses [take pleasure] from my song.
As for me, I sing you first of all and from you do I start off [arkhesthai] to sing.
And, having started off from you, I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos. [94]

2ⓣ34 Homeric Hymn (18) to Hermes 10-12

καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε Διὸς καὶ Μαιάδος υἱέ·
σεῦ δ’ ἐγὼ ἀρξάμενος μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον.
χαῖρ’ Ἑρμῆ χαριδῶτα διάκτορε, δῶτορ ἐάων. {233|234}

So, with all this said, I say to you [= Hermes] now: hail and take pleasure, son of Zeus and Maia.
And, having started off from you, I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos.
Hail and take pleasure [khaire], Hermes, giver of pleasurable beauty [kharis], you who are conductor [of psukhai] and giver of good things.

2§99 The transition in each of these passages, as marked by metabainein ‘move ahead and shift forward’, is predicated on the idea of a perfect beginning, as marked by arkhesthai ‘begin’, linked with the genitive case of the noun referring to the god who presides over the festive occasion of performance. The idea is, ‘I begin, starting from the god’. The process of transition or metabasis, signaled by the verb metabainein, is activated by the hymnic salutation khaire / khairete, which I interpret as ‘hail and take pleasure’. Implicit in these imperative forms of the verb khairein is the meaning of the related noun kharis, which conveys the idea of a ‘favor’ achieved by reciprocating the pleasure of beauty. Making this idea explicit, I now offer this paraphrase of khaire / khairete in the context of all its occurrences in the Homeric Hymns:

Now, at this precise moment, with all this said, I greet you, god (or gods) presiding over the festive occasion, calling on you to show favor [ kharis ] in return for the beauty and the pleasure of this, my performance.

What drives the performative gesture of khaire / khairete is the fundamental idea that the reciprocal favor of kharis is the same beautiful thing as the pleasure that it gives.

2§100 This idea of kharis, implicit in the attested contexts of khaire / khairete in the Homeric Hymns, is made explicit in the last verse (5) of the Homeric Hymn (24) to Hermes, where the performer does not say khaire to the presiding god Hermes but instead asks him to confer kharis upon the singing (χάριν δ’ ἅμ’ ὄπασσον ἀοιδῇ). In the last verse (12) of another Homeric Hymn (18) to Hermes, which we just saw quoted above, the performer says khaire to Hermes in the context of addressing him as ‘giver of kharis’ (χαῖρ’ Ἑρμῆ χαριδῶτα). [95] {234|235} In Homeric Hymn (26) to Dionysus, the singer follows up his performative gesture khaire at verse 11 by asking the god, at verses 12-13, to grant that the singer may return to the same performative occasion over and over again, that is, season after season, hōra after hōra, for a multitude of years; proleptically, presuming that his request will be granted, the singer in the first person plural describes himself at verse 12 as khairontes, that is, taking pleasure reciprocally, just as he calls on the god to take pleasure.

2§101 After the signal khaire / khairete in the Homeric Hymns, the actual process of metabasis can be activated. This process is made explicit in the expression we have just seen in the three passages that I quoted, μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον ‘I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos’ (Homeric Hymns 5.292-293, 9.7-9, 18.10-12). The word humnos in the wording ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον in the Homeric Hymns marks the whole performance, so that ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον means not ‘extending into another performance’ but ‘extending into the rest of the performance’. [96] So also the expression ἄλλης … ἀοιδῆς in other Homeric Hymns means not ‘another song’ but ‘the rest of the song’:

2ⓣ35 Homeric Hymn (2) to Demeter 494-495

πρόφρονες ἀντ’ ᾠδῆς βίοτον θυμήρε’ ὀπάζειν.
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς.

You [= Demeter and Persephone] be favorably disposed, granting me a livelihood that fits my heart’s desire, in return for my song.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ36 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 545-546

Καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε Διὸς καὶ Λητοῦς υἱέ·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς

So, with all this said, I say to you [= Apollo] now: hail and take pleasure [khaire], son of Zeus and Leto.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song. {235|236}

2ⓣ37 Homeric Hymn (4) to Hermes 579-580

Καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε Διὸς καὶ Μαιάδος υἱέ·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς

So, with all this said, I say to you [= Hermes] now: hail and take pleasure [khaire], son of Zeus and Maia.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ38 Homeric Hymn (6) to Aphrodite 19-21

Χαῖρ’ ἑλικοβλέφαρε γλυκυμείλιχε, δὸς δ’ ἐν ἀγῶνι
νίκην τῷδε φέρεσθαι, ἐμὴν δ’ ἔντυνον ἀοιδήν.
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς

Hail and take pleasure [khaire], you [= Aphrodite] with the spiral glances, you the honey-sweet. Grant that in the competition [agōn]
that is at hand I may win victory. Arrange my song.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ39 Homeric Hymn (10) to Aphrodite 4-6

Χαῖρε θεὰ Σαλαμῖνος ἐϋκτιμένης μεδέουσα
εἰναλίης τε Κύπρου· δὸς δ’ ἱμερόεσσαν ἀοιδήν.
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς.

Hail and take pleasure [khaire], goddess, ruling over Salamis with its good foundation,
and over all Cyprus, island in the sea. Grant me a song that is full of charm.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ40 Homeric Hymn (19) to Pan 48-49

Καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε ἄναξ, ἵλαμαι δέ σ’ ἀοιδῇ· {236|237}
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς.

So, with all this said, I say to you [= Pan] now: hail and take pleasure [khaire], and I beseech you with my song.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ41 Homeric Hymn (25) to the Muses and Apollo 6-7

Χαίρετε τέκνα Διὸς καὶ ἐμὴν τιμήσατ’ ἀοιδήν·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν ὑμέων τε καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς.

Hail and take pleasure [khairete], children of Zeus. Give honor [timē] to my song.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ42 Homeric Hymn (27) to Artemis 21-22

Χαίρετε τέκνα Διὸς καὶ Λητοῦς ἠϋκόμοιο·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν ὑμέων καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς

Hail and take pleasure [khairete], children of Zeus and of Leto with the beautiful hair.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ43 Homeric Hymn (28) to Athena 17-18

Καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε Διὸς τέκος αἰγιόχοιο·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς.

So, with all this said, I say to you [= Athena] now: hail and take pleasure [khaire], daughter of Zeus who has the aegis.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ44 Homeric Hymn (29) to Hestia 13-14

Χαῖρε Κρόνου θύγατερ, σύ τε καὶ χρυσόρραπις Ἑρμῆς.
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν ὑμέων τε καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς. {237|238}

Hail and take pleasure [khaire], daughter of Kronos. Both you and Hermes as well, the one with the golden wand.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ45 Homeric Hymn (30) to Gaia 17-19

Χαῖρε θεῶν μήτηρ, ἄλοχ’ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος,
πρόφρων δ’ ἀντ’ ᾠδῆς βίοτον θυμήρε’ ὄπαζε·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς.

Hail and take pleasure [khaire], mother of the gods, wife of Ouranos of the stars.
Be favorably disposed, and grant me a livelihood that fits my heart’s desire, in return for my song.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2ⓣ46 Homeric Hymn (33) 18-19 to the Dioskouroi:

Χαίρετε Τυνδαρίδαι ταχέων ἐπιβήτορες ἵππων·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν ὑμέων καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς.

Hail and take pleasure [khairete], Tundaridai, mounters of swift horses.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2§102 In this inventory of hymnic moments of metabasis, two details need to be highlighted, both of which will be relevant to later stages of the argumentation. First, I note that each of these moments of metabasis begins with the wording αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ ‘As for me, I …’. Second, each verse that begins with this wording is preceded and activated by the performative gesture of khaire / khairete or by a periphrasis of that gesture. [97] {238|239}

2§103 In all the cases of the hymnic salutation khaire / khairete that we have seen so far, this wording – or a periphrasis of this wording – has been followed by a metabasis. In other cases, however, the verse containing the wording khaire / khairete is not followed by any explicit metabasis (Homeric Hymn 7.58, 11.5, 13.3, 14.6, 15.9, 16.5, 17.5, 21.5, 22.7, 26.11). [98] The question is, are we to assume that the humnos in these other cases comes to a stop, or is there some other form of continuation?

2§104 In two cases of khaire / khairete, what follows is not a metabasis but a formula that serves as a substitute for metabasis. [99] Both cases occur in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, verses 14 and 166, where the word khaire / khairete ‘hail and take pleasure’ is used to salute respectively the goddess Leto and the Delian Maidens. [100] After the salutations at verses 14 and 166, the speaker goes on to say:

2ⓣ47 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo verses 19 and 207:

πῶς γάρ [101] σ᾿ ὑμνήσω πάντως εὔυμνον ἐόντα

For how shall I hymn you, you who are so absolutely [pantōs] good for hymning?

2§105 Earlier, I described the wording framed in this verse as an aporetic question. [102] What this question achieves is a shift in perspective about the god as a hymnic subject. After the first aporetic question, as we already saw, the perspective shifts from Apollo as god of Delos to Apollo as god of all Hellenes, though the hymnic subject remains Apollo at Delos. After the second aporetic question, the perspective shifts from Apollo at Delos to Apollo at Delphi. Although there is a shift in perspective about the place where Apollo is worshipped, the hymnic subject still remains Apollo. These shifts that take place after the two separate moments of aporetic crisis are not a matter of shifting the subject, because the subject of the god remains the same. [103] That {239|240} is, the Apollo of Delos is notionally the same god as the Apollo of Delphi. [104] To sum up, when the hymnic salutation khaire / khairete is followed by an aporetic question, there is a shift in perspective but not in subject.

2§106 Following up on this formulation, let us consider once again the hymnic salutations khaire and khairete at verses 14 and 166 in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo. These salutations, as we have seen, are addressed to the goddess Leto as mother of Apollo and to the Delian Maidens respectively, and they are followed by declarations of aporetic crisis, addressed to Apollo at verses 19 and 207. Both Leto and the Delian Maidens are centrally linked to the main subject, the god Apollo, and the Hymn continues to concentrate on the main subject of Apollo by way of the two declarations of aporetic crisis. These declarations expand as well as extend the hymnic subject of Apollo, so that the god may reciprocate the augmented pleasure experienced from what continues to be said about him.

2§107 The continuation of the hymnic subject of Apollo, as signaled by the two declarations of aporetic crisis at verses 19 and 207, indicates a deferral of metabasis. This deferral is made explicit after the second hymnic salutation, khairete at Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 166, which is followed by autar egōn ‘as for me, I …’ at verse 177. [105] We expect a metabasis here at 177, as signaled by autar egōn, but the potential metabasis is deferred by way of an explicit declaration that cancels any metabasis at the moment. The speaker declares his intention, which is, ‘I will not leave off [lēgein]’:

2ⓣ48 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 177-178

αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν οὐ λήξω ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα
ὑμνέων

As for me, I will not leave off [lēgein] making the far-shooting Apollo
my humnos.

2§108 The phrasing autar egōn ‘As for me, I…’ at verse 177 could have induced a metabasis, [106] but the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo was not yet ready for {240|241} it. [107] Instead of a metabasis at 177, there is a prolongation of the first subject, which thus remains the only subject. That subject is Apollo. Only when we reach the end of the Hymn, at verse 546, do we finally get to see a metabasis, introduced by a final autar egō ‘As for me, I…’, following a final khaire addressed to Apollo at 545:

2ⓣ49 Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 545-546

Καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε Διὸς καὶ Λητοῦς υἱέ·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς

So, with all this said, I say to you [= Apollo] now: hail and take pleasure [khaire], son of Zeus and Leto.
As for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song.

2§109 Once the hymnic salutation khaire / khairete is actually followed by a metabasis, what happens after the metabasis? As we are now about to see, the metabasis signals a shift in subject, not only in perspective. Metabasis is a device that signals a shift from the subject of the god with whom the song started – what I have been calling the hymnic subject – and then proceeds to a different subject – in what must remain notionally the same song. Ideally, the shift from subject to different subject will be smooth. Ideally, the different subject will be consequential, so that the consequent of what was started in the humnos may remain part of the humnos. This way, the transition will lead seamlessly to what is being called ‘the rest of the song’. In other words, the concept of humnos is the concept of maintaining the song as the notionally same song by way of successfully executing a metabasis from the initial subject to the next subject. The initial subject of the god and the next subject are linked as one song by the humnos in general and by the device of hymnic metabasis in particular. What comes before the metabasis is the prooimion, the beginning of the humnos. What comes after the metabasis is no longer the prooimion – but it can still be considered the humnos.

2§110 We are ready to observe what kinds of different subjects can follow a metabasis that follows a hymnic salutation khaire / khairete that finally takes leave of a god initially invoked by a humnos. In two of the HomericHymns, the subject of the narration that follows the metabasis is made explicit: {241|242}

2ⓣ50 Homeric Hymn (31) to Helios 17-19

χαῖρε ἄναξ, πρόφρων δὲ βίον θυμήρε’ ὄπαζε·
ἐκ σέο δ’ ἀρξάμενος κλῄσω μερόπων γένος ἀνδρῶν
ἡμιθέων ὧν ἔργα θεοὶ θνητοῖσιν ἔδειξαν.

Hail and take pleasure [khaire], lord, and be favorably disposed, granting me a livelihood that suits my heart.
Taking my start from you I will give fame to the lineage [genos] of men,
heroes [hēmitheoi] that they are, [108] whose deeds [erga] have been shown by gods to mortals. [109]

2ⓣ51 Homeric Hymn (32) to Selene 17-20

χαῖρε ἄνασσα θεὰ λευκώλενε δῖα Σελήνη
πρόφρον ἐϋπλόκαμος· σέο δ’ ἀρχόμενος κλέα φωτῶν
ᾄσομαι ἡμιθέων ὧν κλείουσ’ ἔργματ’ ἀοιδοὶ
Μουσάων θεράποντες ἀπὸ στομάτων ἐροέντων.

Hail and take pleasure [khaire], queen goddess, you with the white arms, shining Selene.
Be favorably disposed, you with the beautiful tresses [plokamoi]. Taking my start from you I will sing the glories [klea] [110] of men,
singing of heroes [hēmitheoi] [111] whose deeds [ergmata] singers celebrate with fame [kleos]. {242|243}
They [= the singers] are attendants [therapōn plural] of the Muses, [112] and the sounds that come from their mouths evoke desire. [113]

2§111 These verses, taken from Homeric Hymns 31 and 32, are the most explicit examples of a central theme that tends to be less explicit in other Homeric Hymns. This theme concerns the power of the humnos to set in motion, by way of metabasis, a perfect narration about heroes, about the erga / ergmata ‘deeds’ of heroes (31.19 / 32.19). To sing these deeds is to confer kleos ‘fame’ (κλῄσω 31.18 / κλέα 32.18). As I am about to argue, such a narration is the narrative of epic. In other words, the humnos may introduce an entire epic narrative.

2§112 The narrating of the epic deeds of heroes is mentioned even in the Hesiodic Theogony, which as we have already seen defines itself as one single continuous gigantic humnos. Toward the conclusion of its self-definition, the Theogony makes it explicit that the potential subjects of a poet’s humnos are not only gods but also heroes and their famous deeds:

2ⓣ52 Hesiod Theogony 99-101

αὐτὰρ ἀοιδὸς
Μουσάων θεράπων κλεῖα προτέρων ἀνθρώπων
ὑμνήσει μάκαράς τε θεοὺς οἳ Ὄλυμπον ἔχουσιν

As for the singer [aoidos],
attendant [therapōn] of the Muses, he will sing the glories [klea] of mortals of previous times,
making them [= the klea of mortals] the subject of his humnos, [114] as well as the blessed gods who hold the stronghold of Olympus.

2§113 The narratives represented by the klea ‘glories’ of such heroes correspond to the catalogue-style narratives of heroic genealogies that follow {243|244} the Theogony as we know it, starting with verses 965 and following. Likewise, the narratives represented by what is called the genos of heroes in Homeric Hymn 31.18 correspond to the same kind of catalogue-style heroic genealogies. A further point of comparison is the fact that the narrating of the genos ‘genesis’ of the gods in Theogony 33 and 44 is equivalent to the narrating of the ‘genealogies’ of the gods, which is the essence of theogony. But there is more to it. As we see from Homeric Hymn 31.19, the genos ‘genesis’ of heroes is actually equated with the erga ‘deeds’ of heroes, and the latter term is evidently appropriate to the epics of heroes, not only to their heroic genealogies. The general reference to the ergmata ‘deeds’ of heroes in Homeric Hymn 32.19, without any specific reference to their genos or ‘genealogies’, shows that epic is the general category of the klea ‘glories’ of heroes, and that the catalogue-style narratives of heroic genealogies that we find in Theogony verses 965 and following is only a subcategory. In view of this comparative evidence, the reference in Theogony 100 to the klea ‘glories’ of mortals can be taken to be a general reference to epic. In sum, the relevant wording in Homeric Hymns 31 and 32 shows that the humnos has the power to ‘move ahead and shift forward’, by way of metabasis, to an epic narration as its hymnic consequent.

2§114 Even the Theogony, as a humnos in its own right, has the potential to ‘move ahead and shift forward’ to a form of heroic narrative as its own hymnic consequent. In the version of the Theogony as we have it, that hymnic consequent takes on the specific form of heroic genealogies that begin where the divine genealogies leave off. In theory, however, the Theogony could also ‘move ahead and shift forward’ to a hymnic consequent that takes on the general form of epic. I say “in theory” because it seems at first impossible to imagine any consequent that could match, in its amplitude, a humnos as ample – as gigantic – as the Hesiodic Theogony. On second thought, however, there is one possible match: the gigantic dimensions of the Hesiodic Theogony as a humnos match the gigantic dimensions of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey as epics. [115] But then the question is: can we imagine a historical context where the Hesiodic Theogony could possibly have served as a humnos that ‘moves ahead and shifts forward’ to, say, the Homeric Iliad? What prevents an answer is the historical fact that the performance traditions of the Iliad are linked to Homer as the originator, whereas the performance traditions of the Theogony as we know it are linked to Hesiod. It would be another matter, however, if we asked the question in another way: can we imagine a historical context where {244|245} a theogony could possibly have served as a humnos that ‘moves ahead and shifts forward’ to an epic about Troy, even to a Homeric Iliad?

2§115 For an answer to this revised question, it is essential to recall the primary subject of the Hesiodic Theogony, that is, Zeus himself. In effect, the Theogony as we have it is a gigantic Hesiodic Hymn to Zeus. [116] Accordingly, what we should be looking for as the humnos that ‘moves ahead and shifts forward’ to a Homeric Iliad is a gigantic Homeric Hymn to Zeus. In fact, we have already seen indications of such a humnos. Here I return to the concept of a “virtual” HomericHymn to Zeus as narrated by the Homēridai and as imitated by Pindar. As we saw earlier from the wording of Pindar’s imitation, the beginning of such a humnos is technically a prooimion:

2ⓣ53 Pindar Nemean 2.1-3

῞Οθεν περ καὶ ῾Ομηρίδαι | ῥαπτῶν ἐπέων τὰ πόλλ᾿ ἀοιδοί | ἄρχονται, Διὸς ἐκ προοιμίου).

[starting] from the point where [hothen] the Homēridai, singers, most of the time begin [arkhesthai] their stitched-together words, from the prooimion of Zeus

2§116 Technically, such a prooimion for a Homeric Hymn to Zeus, performed by the Homēridai as descendants of Homer, introduces as its hymnic consequent an epic that is performed by Homer himself as the ancestor of the Homēridai. [117] Such an epic is still a part of the humnos, though it is distinct from the prooimion that introduced it. Further, just as the epic is only the ‘next’ part of the humnos, the prooimion is only its ‘first’ part. In this sense, a Homeric Hymn to Zeus – or any Homeric Hymn – is only the first part of a humnos. Any Homeric Hymn is a prooimion - but without being a complete humnos. For a humnos to be complete, the prooimion must lead to a metabasis which must lead to a hymnic consequent.

2§117 Besides Pindar’s imitation, there is an actual attestation of a Homeric Hymn to Zeus. It is highly compressed, consisting of only four verses:

2ⓣ54 Homeric Hymn (23) to Zeus

Ζῆνα θεῶν τὸν ἄριστον ἀείσομαι ἠδὲ μέγιστον
εὐρύοπα κρείοντα τελεσφόρον, ὅς τε Θέμιστι {245|246}
ἐγκλιδὸν ἑζομένῃ πυκινοὺς ὀάρους ὀαρίζει.
Ἵληθ’ εὐρύοπα Κρονίδη κύδιστε μέγιστε.

I will sing Zeus as my subject, best of the gods, and most great,
whose sound reaches far and wide, the ruler, the one who brings things to their outcome [telos], the one who has Themis
attentively seated at his side, and he keeps her company with regular frequency.
Be propitious, you whose sound reaches far and wide, son of Kronos, you who are most resplendent and most great.

I describe this composition as “a Hymn to Zeus” not “the Hymn to Zeus” because there is no reason to assume the existence of only one such humnos. In the extant corpus of Homeric Hymns, we find multiple versions of humnoi addressed to divine addressees: there are for example three Hymns to Dionysus (Homeric Hymn 1, with an undetermined number of verses; Hymn 7, with 59 verses; Hymn 26, with 13 verses), three Hymns to Aphrodite (Homeric Hymn 5, with 293 verses; Hymn 6, with 21 verses; Hymn 10, with six verses), two Hymns to Artemis (Homeric Hymn 9, with 9 verses; Hymn 27, with 22 verses).

2ⓢ12. An eternal deferral of epic in a humnos by Callimachus

2§118 To be contrasted with the Homeric Hymn (23) to Zeus is a virtual Homeric Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus: it is his Hymn (1) to Zeus, consisting of 94 verses. I qualify my description “Homeric” by adding “virtual,” since we find a striking feature in this Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus that stands in sharp contrast to the Homeric Hymns. This Hymn by Callimachus not only lacks a metabasis to another subject. It also defers the possibility of such a metabasis, and the deferral is eternal:

2ⓣ55 Callimachus Hymn (1) to Zeus 91-94

χαῖρε μέγα, Κρονίδη πανυπέρτατε, δῶτορ ἐάων,
δῶτορ ἀπημονίης. τεὰ δ’ ἔργματα τίς κεν ἀείδοι;
οὐ γένετ’, οὐκ ἔσται· τίς κεν Διὸς ἔργματ’ ἀείσει; {246|247}
χαῖρε, πάτερ, χαῖρ’ αὖθι· δίδου δ’ ἀρετήν τ’ ἄφενός τε.

Hail and take great pleasure [khaire] mightily, son of Kronos, the highest of them all, giver of good things,
giver of freedom from pain. Who could sing your deeds [ergmata]?
No one like that ever was or ever will be. Who could sing the deeds [ergmata] of Zeus?
Hail and take pleasure [khaire], Father. Once again, hail [khaire]! And give me excellence and wealth.

2§119 This deferral must be contrasted with the two deferrals of metabasis in the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo. As we have seen, the hymnic salutations khaire and khairete at verses 14 and 166 of this Hymn, which are addressed respectively to the goddess Leto as mother of Apollo and to the Delian Maidens, are followed by aporetic questions addressed to Apollo at verses 19 and 207. As we have also seen, these questions have the effect of prolonging the first subject, which thus remains the only subject. That subject is Apollo. Only when we reach the end of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, at verse 546, do we finally get to see a metabasis, introduced by a final autar egō ‘as for me, I….’, following a final khaire addressed to Apollo at verse 545. The contrast here with Callimachus’ Hymn to Zeus is striking: there, the metabasis never comes. In that Hymn by Callimachus, the first subject remains the only subject, and that is Zeus. The metabasis that is potentially activated by khaire ‘hail and take pleasure’ at verse 91 of Callimachus’ Hymn to Zeus never takes place, and instead the humnos proceeds to another khaire at verse 94, and then to yet another khaire at verse 94. After the first of the three occurrences of khaire at verse 91 comes an aporetic question at verse 92: who could possibly sing the ergmata ‘deeds’ of Zeus? But the only decision that follows the aporetic question at verse 92 is the decision to proceed to another aporetic question at verse 93, where the question is repeated: who could possibly sing the ergmata ‘deeds’ of Zeus? And the only decision that follows the repeated aporetic question is the decision to make a repetition of khaire at verse 94, to be followed by yet another repetition of khaire at verse 94.

2§120 By deferring a metabasis from the subject of Zeus in a would-be “Homeric” Hymn to Zeus, the Callimachean Hymn to Zeus defers for all time to come the hymnic consequent of a “Homeric” epic. Not only does this Callimachean Hymn lack a metabasis. In point of fact, all six of the Hymns of {247|248} Callimachus lack a metabasis. Like the Hymn (1) to Zeus, the five other Hymns of Callimachus also feature the hymnic salutation khaire toward the end, anticipating a metabasis, but the metabasis never comes. The absence of metabasis in the Callimachean Hymns 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 is not remarkable in and of itself, since we have seen that a number of attested Homeric Hymns likewise lack an overt metabasis. What is remarkable, however, is the ostentatious negation of metabasis in Callimachus’ Hymn to Zeus. As I have been arguing about Pindar’s imitation of a virtual Homeric Hymn to Zeus, what makes such a humnos “Homeric” is that a Hymn to Zeus – as supreme god among all other gods – is the prooimion of choice for the descendants of Homer, the Homēridai. Zeus as the supreme god is evidently the preferred subject for a humnos that ‘moves ahead and shifts forward’ to the supreme epic as its hymnic consequent. From the standpoint of the poetics of such a humnos, that supreme epic would be an epic by Homer himself, ancestor of the Homēridai.

2§121 From the standpoint of Callimachean poetics, however, the making of a perfect new Hymn to Zeus does not imply a need to make a perfect new epic to follow it. As we saw, the infinite deferral of metabasis in the Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus has the effect of deferring infinitely the making of such a perfect new epic. Still, as I will now argue, the notional perfection of the Hymn implies a need for another kind of perfection. There is a necessity to perfect the text of the old epic, that is, the epic of Homer.

2§122 In the age of Callimachus, the perfect text of Homer is imagined as virtual, not real. The reality of a perfect text has not yet happened. Such a reality is to be deferred until some future moment when a perfect text is finally achieved. And such an achievement can only be realized through an ongoing and never-ending process of diorthōsis or ‘corrective editing’. In the age of Callimachus, the text of Homer is perceived as still imperfect. Its eventual perfection is the implied promise of the Homeric Hymns as reinterpreted in the Hymns of Callimachus.

2ⓢ13. The fluidity of the Homeric tradition in the age of Callimachus

2§123 What was so imperfect about the old text of Homer? That perceived imperfection, I submit, had to do with the fluidity of the Homeric textual tradition in the age of Callimachus. A sign of that fluidity was the scholarly notion, current in this period, that the Homeric text accommodated non-Homeric elements. These notionally non-Homeric elements can be described as Cyclic, Hesiodic, and Orphic. {248|249}

2§124 The order in which I list these elements here is meant to indicate a chronological sequence in the evolution of Homeric poetry, and the list proceeds from later to earlier phases. I present at length the rationale for positing this sequence in the twin book, Homer the Preclassic. Here I simply offer a working definition for all three.

2§125 By Cyclic I mean the poetry of the epic Cycle as understood by Aristotle, for whom the Cycle was categorically non-Homeric and even post-Homeric. I reserve for Chapter 3 my discussion of Aristotle’s explicit comments concerning the distinctions he sees between Homer and the epic Cycle. And I reserve for the twin book Homer the Preclassic my discussion of a preclassical era – what I call there the Dark Age – when the Cycle was considered Homeric: in that era, Homer was viewed as the notional author of all epic, as represented by the concept of the epic Cycle before it became historically differentiated from the Iliad and Odyssey. [118]

2§126 By Hesiodic I mean the poetry of the Theogony and the Works and Days, ascribed to Hesiod. But the term Hesiodic also includes, beyond the Theogony and the Works and Days, such “pseudo-Hesiodic” suites as the Catalogue of Women. [119] As the discussion proceeds, we will see that there was relatively less overlap of Homeric traditions with the Hesiodic than there was with the Cyclic and the Orphic.

2§127 By Orphic I mean the poetry attributed to the mystical figure of Orpheus. I note from the start that this poetry was not as clearly defined in the ancient world as the poetry of the Cyclic and Hesiodic traditions, and there are traces of overlap with those traditions. [120]

2§128 Seeking a more precise definition of Orphic, I find it useful to start with Plato. I will wait till Chapter 3 before I consider in detail what Plato himself thought of Orpheus and Orphic poetry, restricting here my field of vision to Plato’s general reportage of conventional views about this poetry.

2§129 From Plato’s works, we will see that poetry ascribed to Orpheus was conventionally associated with humnos – both the word and the concept. Such poetry, as we will also see, is fundamentally mystical in nature. The idea of Orpheus as a prototypical master of mystical humnoi highlights various dissimilarities between Homeric and Orphic poetry – insofar as these two {249|250} categories of poetry are described by Plato. In terms of these descriptions, what was Orphic was non-Homeric, just as Cyclic and Hesiodic poetry were non-Homeric.

2§130 At first sight, Orphic poetry seems to be post-Homeric as well as non-Homeric. In the twin book Homer the Preclassic, however, I show that the poetry associated with Orpheus stems from a pre-Homeric tradition – that is, if we define pre-Homeric in terms of earlier periods when Orphic poetry was not yet differentiated from what later became Homeric poetry. And what applies to the relative dating of Orphic poetry applies to Cyclic and Hesiodic poetry as well: all three traditions seem to be post-Homeric at first sight, but various aspects turn out to be pre-Homeric. In Homer the Preclassic, I develop further the rationale for what I just said about all three traditions. For now, however, I confine myself to the Orphic traditions.

2§131 In searching for pre-Homeric aspects of Orphic traditions, I start with various convergences between Orphic and Homeric poetry, which tend to be shaded over by Plato. A premier example of such a convergence is the mystical cosmic stream named Ōkeanos. In introducing the concept of such a stream, I choose a most conventional description, as captured by these words of Plato:

2ⓣ56 Plato Phaedo 112e

τὰ μὲν οὖν δὴ ἄλλα πολλά τε καὶ μεγάλα καὶ παντοδαπὰ ῥεύματά ἐστι· τυγχάνει δ’ ἄρα ὄντα ἐν τούτοις τοῖς πολλοῖς τέτταρ’ ἄττα ῥεύματα, ὧν τὸ μὲν μέγιστον καὶ ἐξωτάτω ῥέον περὶ κύκλῳ ὁ καλούμενος ᾿Ωκεανός ἐστιν.

There are many and various great streams [rheumata] of all kinds in the world, but among these there happen to be four streams [rheumata] to be noted in particular, and among these four the greatest is the one that flows [rheîn] around the world at the outermost periphery in a circle [kuklos], and that stream is called the Ōkeanos.

2§132 In the next Platonic passage to be quoted, we are about to see that this stream Ōkeanos is explicitly connected with the idea of cosmic fluidity, which converges with the theory of Heraclitus about a universe that is perpetually in flux (Heraclitus A 5 DK, by way of Plato Cratylus 402a). We are also about to see the same poetic word-play we had seen earlier in the Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus, whose words connected the metaphorical fluidity of the humnos with the name of the mother of Zeus, Rhea. Moreover, our upcoming {250|251} Platonic passage shows that the Homeric Ōkeanos is explicitly associated with an Orphic Ōkeanos:

2ⓣ57 Plato Cratylus 402a-d

ΣΩ. Γελοῖον μὲν πάνυ εἰπεῖν, οἶμαι μέντοι τινὰ πιθανότητα ἔχον.

ΕΡΜ. Τίνα ταύτην;

ΣΩ. Τὸν Ἡράκλειτόν μοι δοκῶ καθορᾶν παλαί’ ἄττα σοφὰ λέγοντα, ἀτεχνῶς τὰ ἐπὶ Κρόνου καὶ ῾Ρέας, ἃ καὶ Ὅμηρος ἔλεγεν.

ΕΡΜ. Πῶς τοῦτο λέγεις;

ΣΩ. Λέγει που Ἡράκλειτος ὅτι ‘πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει’, καὶ ποταμοῦ ῥοῇ ἀπεικάζων τὰ ὄντα λέγει ὡς ‘δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης’.

ΕΡΜ. Ἔστι ταῦτα. {b}

ΣΩ. Τί οὖν; δοκεῖ σοι ἀλλοιότερον ῾Ηρακλείτου νοεῖν ὁ τιθέμενος τοῖς τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν προγόνοις “῾Ρέαν” τε καὶ “Κρόνον”; ἆρα οἴει ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐτομάτου αὐτὸν ἀμφοτέροις ῥευμάτων ὀνόματα θέσθαι; ὥσπερ αὖ ῞Ομηρος

Ὠκεανόν τε θεῶν γένεσίν” φησιν “καὶ μητέρα Τηθύν·

Iliad XIV 201 and 302

οἶμαι δὲ καὶ ῾Ησίοδος. λέγει δέ που καὶ ᾿Ορφεὺς ὅτι

᾿Ωκεανὸς πρῶτος καλλίρροος ἦρξε γάμοιο, {c}
ὅς ῥα κασιγνήτην ὁμομήτορα Τηθὺν ὄπυιεν.

ταῦτ’ οὖν σκόπει ὅτι καὶ ἀλλήλοις συμφωνεῖ καὶ πρὸς τὰ τοῦ Ἡρακλείτου πάντα τείνει.

ΕΡΜ. Φαίνῃ τί μοι λέγειν, ὦ Σώκρατες· τὸ μέντοι τῆς Τηθύος οὐκ ἐννοῶ ὄνομα τί βούλεται.

ΣΩ. Ἀλλὰ μὴν τοῦτό γε ὀλίγου αὐτὸ λέγει ὅτι πηγῆς ὄνομα ἐπικεκρυμμένον ἐστίν. τὸ γὰρ διαττώμενον καὶ {d} τὸ ἠθούμενον πηγῆς ἀπείκασμά ἐστιν· ἐκ δὲ τούτων ἀμφοτέρων τῶν ὀνομάτων ἡ Τηθὺς τὸ ὄνομα σύγκειται.

ΕΡΜ. Τοῦτο μέν, ὦ Σώκρατες, κομψόν. {251|252}

SOCRATES: I have something ridiculous to say, though it is plausible.

HERMOGENES: What is that?

SOCRATES: I think I can picture Heraclitus speaking [legein] some ancient [palaia] wise [sopha] things that go back to the time of Kronos and Rheathings that Homer also was speaking [legein].

HERMOGENES: What do you mean when you are saying [legein] this?

SOCRATES: Heraclitus says [legein], if I have it right, that “all things are in motion and nothing is stationary.” He compares the universe to the stream [rhoē] of a river and says [legein] that “you cannot go into the same river twice.” [121]

HERMOGENES: Yes, this is the way he says it.

SOCRATES: Well, then, do you think that he was thinking [noeîn] differently from Heraclitus – (when I say ‘he’) I mean the one who established [tithesthai] the names of Rhea and Kronos for the ancestors of the gods? So do you think it was purely automatic that he established [tithesthai] the names of streams [rheumata] for both of them? Consider where Homer says

Ōkeanos, the genesis [genesis] of gods, and mother Tethys [122]

Iliad XIV 201 and 302

And I think that Hesiod says the same thing. [123] And, if I have it right, Orpheus says that

Ōkeanos, with his beautiful streams [kalli-rrhoos], was the first to start a marriage, [124]
and he married his sister Tethys, who was his mother’s daughter. [125]

Orphic Fragment 22 ed. Bernabé {252|253}

So when you look at these wordings you see that they are in agreement with one another and that they are all heading in the direction of Heraclitus.

HERMOGENES: I think that there is something in what you say [legein], Socrates, but I do not register in my mind [en-noeîn] what the name of Tethys means.

SOCRATES: Well, this name comes very close to saying what it is. It is a mystical name of a spring, [126] since that which is strained [διαττώμενον] and filtered [ἠθούμενον] sounds like a spring, and the name Tethys is composed of these two words.

HERMOGENES: The explanation is quite elegant, Socrates.

2§133 Here we see an explicit reference to the Orphic affinities of Homeric poetry. And the poetry of Orpheus is linked here with whatever is generative, as symbolized by the generative – and fluid – power of the Ōkeanos that surrounds the earth.

2§134 Later on, I will take a closer look at the Homeric verse embedded in this Platonic passage, Iliad XIV 201 / 302 (᾿Ωκεανόν τε θεῶν γένεσιν καὶ μητέρα Τηθύν). For now, however, I simply view the passage as a whole, highlighting two facts. First, the passage deals with two subjects: cosmogony and initiation into mysteries. Second, there are verses being quoted from ‘Homer’, ‘Orpheus’, and Heraclitus in an overall mystical context.

2§135 These two facts are relevant to what we find in the Derveni Papyrus, which has been dated around 340 to 320 BCE. [127] This text, which is a commentary on poetry attributed to Orpheus, centers on two subjects: cosmogony and initiation into mysteries. [128] Moreover, the anonymous commentator of the Derveni Papyrus quotes from ‘Homer’, [129] ‘Orpheus’, [130] and Heraclitus. [131] It is clear that the commentator understands his main poetic source to be Orpheus {253|254} (δηλοῖ, column 26 lines 2 and 5). [132] Moreover, in one of his quotations from Orphic poetry, he says specifically that he is quoting from ‘what has been said in the humnoi’ (ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ῞Υμνοις εἰρ[η]μένον, column 22 line 11). So the mystical medium of Orphic poetry is specified as humnos. One expert has raised the possibility “that the theogonic poem treated by the commentator was at the time of his writing still primarily an oral poem: it must have existed solely in an oral, rhapsodically transmitted state not more than a generation or so before the writing of the papyrus.” [133] At one point, the anonymous commentator of the Derveni Papyrus insists on the importance of interpreting correctly the huponoia ‘meaning’ of the poet. [134] This mentality resembles that of a rhapsode, such as the figure of Ion in Plato’s Ion, who claims expertise in interpreting correctly the dianoia ‘meaning’ of Homer himself (530b-c). [135]

2§136 As we saw from Plato’s wording in the Cratylus (402a-d), quoted a moment ago, the idea of initiation into the mysteries is expressed by the theme of a secret name given to the mystical pēgē ‘source’ of initiation. The etymologizing of the name of Tethys is unscientific from the standpoint of modern historical linguistics, but the actual idea conveyed by the false etymology, pēgē as ‘source’, reveals a conventional mentality deriving from traditions of initiation.

2§137 The same theme of a secret name given to a source of initiation recurs in yet another relevant Platonic passage:

2ⓣ58 Plato Theaetetus 179e-180d

ΘΕΟ. παντάπασι μὲν οὖν. καὶ γάρ, ὦ Σώκρατες, περὶ τούτων τῶν Ἡρακλειτείων ἤ, ὥσπερ σὺ λέγεις, ῾Ομηρείων καὶ ἔτι παλαιοτέρων, αὐτοῖς μὲν τοῖς περὶ τὴν Ἔφεσον, ὅσοι προσποιοῦνται ἔμπειροι, οὐδὲν μᾶλλον οἷόν τε διαλεχθῆναι ἢ τοῖς οἰστρῶσιν. ἀτεχνῶς γὰρ κατὰ τὰ συγγράμματα φέρονται, τὸ δ’ ἐπιμεῖναι ἐπὶ λόγῳ καὶ ἐρωτήματι καὶ ἡσυχίως {180a} ἐν μέρει ἀποκρίνασθαι καὶ ἐρέσθαι ἧττον αὐτοῖς ἔνι ἢ τὸ μηδέν· μᾶλλον δὲ ὑπερβάλλει τὸ οὐδ’ οὐδὲν πρὸς τὸ μηδὲ σμικρὸν ἐνεῖναι τοῖς ἀνδράσιν ἡσυχίας. ἀλλ’ ἄν τινά τι ἔρῃ, ὥσπερ ἐκ φαρέτρας ῥηματίσκια αἰνιγματώδη ἀνασπῶντες ἀποτοξεύουσι, κἂν τούτου ζητῇς λόγον λαβεῖν τί εἴρηκεν, ἑτέρῳ {254|255} πεπλήξῃ καινῶς μετωνομασμένῳ. περανεῖς δὲ οὐδέποτε οὐδὲν πρὸς οὐδένα αὐτῶν· οὐδέ γε ἐκεῖνοι αὐτοὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους, ἀλλ’ εὖ πάνυ φυλάττουσι τὸ μηδὲν βέβαιον ἐᾶν εἶναι {b} μήτ’ ἐν λόγῳ μήτ’ ἐν ταῖς αὑτῶν ψυχαῖς, ἡγούμενοι, ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ, αὐτὸ στάσιμον εἶναι· τούτῳ δὲ πάνυ πολεμοῦσιν, καὶ καθ’ ὅσον δύνανται πανταχόθεν ἐκβάλλουσιν.

ΣΩ. Ἴσως, ὦ Θεόδωρε, τοὺς ἄνδρας μαχομένους ἑώρακας, εἰρηνεύουσιν δὲ οὐ συγγέγονας· οὐ γὰρ σοὶ ἑταῖροί εἰσιν. ἀλλ’ οἶμαι τὰ τοιαῦτα τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἐπὶ σχολῆς φράζουσιν, οὓς ἂν βούλωνται ὁμοίους αὑτοῖς ποιῆσαι.

ΘΕΟ. Ποίοις μαθηταῖς, ὦ δαιμόνιε; οὐδὲ γίγνεται τῶν {c} τοιούτων ἕτερος ἑτέρου μαθητής, ἀλλ’ αὐτόματοι ἀναφύονται ὁπόθεν ἂν τύχῃ ἕκαστος αὐτῶν ἐνθουσιάσας, καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ὁ ἕτερος οὐδὲν ἡγεῖται εἰδέναι. παρὰ μὲν οὖν τούτων, ὅπερ ᾖα ἐρῶν, οὐκ ἄν ποτε λάβοις λόγον οὔτε ἑκόντων οὔτε ἀκόντων· αὐτοὺς δὲ δεῖ παραλαβόντας ὥσπερ πρόβλημα ἐπισκοπεῖσθαι.

ΣΩ. Καὶ μετρίως γε λέγεις. τὸ δὲ δὴ πρόβλημα ἄλλο τι παρειλήφαμεν παρὰ μὲν τῶν ἀρχαίων μετὰ ποιήσεως {d} ἐπικρυπτομένων τοὺς πολλούς, ὡς ἡ γένεσις τῶν ἄλλων πάντων ᾿Ωκεανός τε καὶ Τηθὺς ῥεύματα <ὄντα> τυγχάνει καὶ οὐδὲν ἕστηκε, παρὰ δὲ τῶν ὑστέρων ἅτε σοφωτέρων ἀναφανδὸν ἀποδεικνυμένων, ἵνα καὶ οἱ σκυτοτόμοι αὐτῶν τὴν σοφίαν μάθωσιν ἀκούσαντες καὶ παύσωνται ἠλιθίως οἰόμενοι τὰ μὲν ἑστάναι, τὰ δὲ κινεῖσθαι τῶν ὄντων, μαθόντες δὲ ὅτι πάντα κινεῖται τιμῶσιν αὐτούς;

THEODORUS: By all means, I agree, since the idea of having a dialogue with the people in Ephesus themselves who profess to be knowledgeable about these followers of Heraclitus – or, as you say, of Homer or of still more ancient [palaioi] men – is like having a dialogue with people who are under the influence of a gadfly’s sting. [136] In synchronization with their own writings they are literally in motion, and their capacity for staying still in order to pay attention to a piece of discourse [logos] or to a question or to a serene interchange of question and answer amounts to less than {255|256} nothing, or rather even a minus quantity is too strong an expression for the absence of the least modicum of serenity in these men. When you ask a question, they draw from their quiver initiatory formulas [rhēmatiskia] that are full of riddles [ainigmatōdē] to shoot at you, and if you try to obtain some account [logos] of what these things mean to say, you will be instantly shot by another little formula, newly rephrased for the occasion. You will never get through to any of them, nor, for that matter, do they ever get through to each other, but they take very good care to leave nothing solid either in discourse [logos] or in their own life of the spirit [psukhē]. I suppose they think that would be something stationary [stasimon] – a thing they will fight against to the last and do their utmost to banish from the universe.

SOCRATES: Perhaps, Theodorus, you have seen these men in the act of making war and never met them in their peaceful moments. I say this because it is obvious to me that they are no friends of yours. But I would think that they must take time out to explain such matters to those disciples whom they want to look just the way they are.

THEODORUS: Disciples? What disciples? What on earth has possessed you? Why, for such people there is no such thing as being a disciple of anyone else. They are self-generated, and each one of them gets his divine inspiration from wherever he happens to be, and not one of them thinks that the other one understands anything. So, as I was going to say, you can never get an accounting [logos] from them, either with or without their consent. We must ourselves take the tradition [paralambanein] as a given and try to solve it like a problem.

SOCRATES: What you say is quite reasonable. As for the problem, isn’t it that we have on the one hand a tradition [paralambanein] that derives from the ancient ones [arkhaioi], who hid their meaning [epi-kruptesthai] [137] from the hoi polloi by way of poetry [poiēsis] – a tradition that says that the genesis [genesis] of all things, Ōkeanos and Tethys, happen to be flowing streams [rheumata] and that nothing is static [hestanai]? [138] And that we have, on the other hand, a tradition that derives from the ones who came after [the ancient {256|257} ones], that is, from the later ones [husteroi], who are more wise [sophoi] [than the ancient ones] and who make their explanations quite openly, in order that even leatherworkers [skutotomoi] may hear and understand their wisdom [sophia] [139] and, abandoning their simple understanding that some things are static [hestanai] while other things are in motion [kineîsthai], may hold in respect those who teach them that all things are in motion [kineîsthai]?

2§138 In this passage, the idea that everything is fluid – or, more generally, that there is no hard and fast dichotomy between rigidity and fluidity – is being treated as a mystical tradition originating from both Orphic and Homeric poetry. This mystical idea is a ‘tradition’ (as expressed by the wording παρειλήφαμεν at 180c) derived from the arkhaioi ‘ancient ones’, who communicate by way of poetry to the initiated few (180c-d παρὰ μὲν τῶν ἀρχαίων μετὰ ποιήσεως ἐπικρυπτομένων τοὺς πολλούς). The arkhaioi ‘ancient ones’ are contrasted with the husteroi ‘later ones’, who express their ideas about fluidity and rigidity for all to hear, without any mystery (180d). The contrast here is between earlier thinkers who depend on mystical sources and later thinkers who depend on non-mystical sources. Plato’s wording leaves it ambiguous whether Homer himself belongs to the earlier mystical sources or to the later non-mystical sources. As I will argue, Homer is mystical only if he is left undifferentiated from Orpheus. If that is the case, Homer’s followers belong to the arkhaioi ‘ancient ones’. If, however, he is differentiated from Orpheus, then Homer’s followers become the husteroi ‘later ones’. It is made explicit that there are thinkers who are palaioteroi ‘more ancient’ than the thinkers who specialize in Homer (179e Ὁμηρείων καὶ ἔτι παλαιοτέρων). The primary source of such relatively ‘more ancient’ thinkers, as we can see from all the relevant Platonic contexts taken together, was Orpheus, whose poetry was conventionally thought to be older than the poetry of Homer.

2§139 There is no need to infer that Plato himself thought of Orpheus as genuinely more ancient than Homer. Still, Plato’s wording regularly features Orpheus as a predecessor of Homer in conventional references to the ancient poets. Further, Plato’s wording consistently characterizes Orpheus as a mystical figure, whereas the figure of Homer is mystical only in contexts where he is not being differentiated from the ‘more ancient’ Orpheus.

2§140 Pursuing the idea of Orpheus as a master of mysteries, I draw attention to the use of the adjective ainigmatōdē ‘full of riddles’ applied to {257|258} rhēmatiskia ‘initiatory formulas’ in this passage that I just quoted from Plato’s Theaetetus. We may compare the word ainigmatōdēs ‘riddling’ applied to the ‘Orphic’ poem that is being interpreted by the anonymous commentator of the Derveni Papyrus (column 7 line 5). [140] In the passage from the Theaetetus, we see not only the theme of initiation but also the content of the mystery of this initiation: it concerns a contrast between kineîsthai ‘to be in motion’ and hestanai ‘to be static’, which is comparable to a contrast between the metaphors of fluidity and rigidity – metaphors I have been tracing since the beginning of Chapter 1. Elsewhere in the Theaetetus of Plato, the idea of kineîsthai ‘to be in motion’ is explicitly correlated with the idea of fluidity, and an undifferentiated Homer is specified as the source for such a correlation. In fact, the Homeric verse that is cited as the specific context is the same verse about the Ōkeanos that we have already seen quoted elsewhere by Plato, that is, Iliad XIV 201 / 302:

2ⓣ59 Plato Theaetetus 152e

ἔστι μὲν γὰρ οὐδέποτ’ οὐδέν, ἀεὶ δὲ γίγνεται. καὶ περὶ τούτου πάντες ἑξῆς οἱ σοφοὶ πλὴν Παρμενίδου συμφερέσθων, Πρωταγόρας τε καὶ Ἡράκλειτος καὶ Ἐμπεδοκλῆς, καὶ τῶν ποιητῶν οἱ ἄκροι τῆς ποιήσεως ἑκατέρας, κωμῳδίας μὲν Ἐπίχαρμος, τραγῳδίας δὲ ῞Ομηρος, <ὃς> εἰπών –

Ὠκεανόν τε θεῶν γένεσιν καὶ μητέρα Τηθύν

Iliad XIV 201 / 302

- πάντα εἴρηκεν ἔκγονα ῥοῆς τε καὶ κινήσεως· ἢ οὐ δοκεῖ τοῦτο λέγειν;

For nothing ever is, and things are always becoming. In this matter let us take it for granted that, with the exception of Parmenides, the whole series of wise men [sophoi] agree – Protagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles – and among the poets the ones that are first and foremost in each of the two kinds of poetry [poiēsis], Epicharmus in comedy, and Homer in tragedy. When Homer says [legein / eipeîn] …

Ōkeanos, genesis of the gods, and mother Tethys {258|259}

Iliad XIV 201 / 302

he has just said [eirēkenai] that all things are the offspring of a flowing stream [rhoē] and of motion [kinēsis]. Or don’t you think that is what he is saying [legein]?

2§141 I will save the details for Chapter 3, where I focus on the divergences between Orpheus and Homer in Plato, not on the convergences. For now, it is enough to say that Plato’s choices in emphasizing either the divergences or the convergences between Orpheus and Homer need to be understood as a function of his own philosophical agenda. In terms of such agenda, the point remains that Orpheus is being viewed as older than Homer, and that his poetry is differentiated as mystical.

2§142 The association of Ōkeanos with the mysticism of Orphic poetry is highlighted by this Orphic hymn to Ōkeanos: [141]

2ⓣ60 Orphic Hymn 83 ed. Kern

Ὠκεανὸν καλέω, πατέρ’ ἄφθιτον, αἰὲν ἐόντα,
ἀθανάτων τε θεῶν γένεσιν θνητῶν τ’ ἀνθρώπων,
ὃς περικυμαίνει γαίης περιτέρμονα κύκλον·
ἐξ οὗπερ πάντες ποταμοὶ καὶ πᾶσα θάλασσα
5καὶ χθόνιοι γαίης πηγόρρυτοι ἰκμάδες ἁγναί.
κλῦθι, μάκαρ, πολύολβε, θεῶν ἅγνισμα μέγιστον,
τέρμα φίλον γαίης, ἀρχὴ πόλου, ὑγροκέλευθε,
ἔλθοις εὐμενέων μύσταις κεχαρημένος αἰεί.

I invoke Ōkeanos, the imperishable [aphthitos] Father, the one who always is,
the genesis [genesis] of immortal gods and mortal humans,
the one who makes water flow as a circle [kuklos] [142] that sets a limit all the way around the Earth, {259|260}
and the one from whom originate all rivers and the entire sea, [143]
5as well as the sacred liquids that flow out of the Earth from springs.
Hear me, blessed one, beneficent is so many ways, the most holy thing to contemplate that comes from the gods,
you who are the near and dear setting of the limit of Earth, the beginning of the Vault of the Sky [polos], the one whose pathways are fluid,
come with a mind that is benign toward your initiates [mustai], showing favor [kharizesthai] to them always.

2§143 Plato himself evidently taps into the conventional idea that such Orphic discourse is an older source of mystical knowledge about the genesis of the cosmos. We see an elaboration of this idea in Plato’s Timaeus, in the context of an extended narrative about the work of the cosmic Demiurge:

2ⓣ61 Plato Timaeus 40d-41a

περὶ δὲ τῶν ἄλλων δαιμόνων εἰπεῖν καὶ γνῶναι τὴν γένεσιν μεῖζον ἢ καθ’ ἡμᾶς, πειστέον δὲ τοῖς εἰρηκόσιν ἔμπροσθεν, ἐκγόνοις μὲν θεῶν οὖσιν, ὡς ἔφασαν, σαφῶς δέ που τούς γε αὑτῶν προγόνους εἰδόσιν· ἀδύνατον οὖν θεῶν {e} παισὶν ἀπιστεῖν, καίπερ ἄνευ τε εἰκότων καὶ ἀναγκαίων ἀποδείξεων λέγουσιν, ἀλλ’ ὡς οἰκεῖα φασκόντων ἀπαγγέλλειν ἑπομένους τῷ νόμῳ πιστευτέον. οὕτως οὖν κατ’ ἐκείνους ἡμῖνγένεσις περὶ τούτων τῶν θεῶν ἐχέτω καὶ λεγέσθω. Γῆς τε καὶ Οὐρανοῦ παῖδες ᾿Ωκεανός τε καὶ Τηθὺς ἐγενέσθην, τούτων δὲ Φόρκυς Κρόνος τε καὶ ῾Ρέα καὶ ὅσοι μετὰ {41a} τούτων, ἐκ δὲ Κρόνου καὶ ῾Ρέας Ζεὺς Ἥρα τε καὶ πάντες ὅσους ἴσμεν ἀδελφοὺς λεγομένους αὐτῶν, ἔτι τε τούτων ἄλλους ἐκγόνους· ἐπεὶ δ’ οὖν πάντες ὅσοι τε περιπολοῦσιν φανερῶς καὶ ὅσοι φαίνονται καθ’ ὅσον ἂν ἐθέλωσιν θεοὶ γένεσιν ἔσχον, λέγει πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὁ τόδε τὸ πᾶν γεννήσας τάδε· “θεοὶ θεῶν, ὧν ἐγὼ δημιουργὸς πατήρ τε ἔργων, δι’ ἐμοῦ γενόμενα ἄλυτα ἐμοῦ γε μὴ ἐθέλοντος… [the speech of the Demiurge continues]. {260|261}

To speak [legein / eipeîn] and to know the genesis [genesis] of the other divinities [daimones] [144] is something so great as to go beyond our competence, but we must believe those who have spoken [legein / eirēkenai] before us, since they are descendants of the gods [theoi] – that is what they say – and they must surely have known their own ancestors. So it is not possible to disbelieve the children of the gods [theoi], even if they speak [legein] without giving probable or certain proofs [apodeixis plural], and, since they declare that the messages they perform [apangellein] are internal to their lineage [oikeia], we must follow their tradition [nomos] and believe them. So then, according to them, the genesis [genesis] of these gods [theoi] is to be this way and is to be told [legein] by us as follows. The children generated from Earth and Ouranos were Ōkeanos and Tethys, and their children were Phorkys and Kronos and Rhea and all that generation, and the children of Kronos and Rhea were Zeus and Hera and all those who are said [legesthai] to be their siblings, and others who were the descendants of these. Now when all of them, both those who visibly appear in their trajectories and those other gods who appear only when they want to, had their genesis [genesis], the one who generated all this in its entirety [= the Demiurge] spoke [legein] to them as follows: “Gods and gods who are generated from gods, I speak to you who are the work [ergon plural] generated by me as your Artificer [Demiurge] and as your Father, and I tell you that all the things generated by me cannot be undone, if I do not want them to be undone.” [145]

2§144 In Plato’s recasting of Orphic traditions about the genesis of the cosmos, we can see that the world-encircling stream of Ōkeanos has a vital role. It – or he – is imagined as the genesis of all. Here I highlight an essential point of confluence between the Orphic and the Homeric traditions. [146] The same theme of the Ōkeanos as the genesis of all is well attested in Homeric {261|262} poetry – even in the rigid Homer adopted by Aristarchus as his base text. For example, let us consider this Homeric verse:

2ⓣ62 Iliad XIV 246

Ὠκεανός, ὅσπερ γένεσις πάντεσσι τέτυκται

… Ōkeanos, who has been fashioned as genesis for all …

2§145 In this Homeric verse, the mysticism inherent in the idea of Ōkeanos is implicit, not explicit, because the immediate context concerns mainly the idea that Ōkeanos is an ancestor of all the gods, Zeus and Hera included. [147] But even this immediate context is cognate with Orphic traditions. In the passage from Plato’s Cratylus (402a-c) that I quoted earlier, there are two embedded Orphic verses that make it explicit that Ōkeanos and Tethys are the parents of all the gods:

2ⓣ63 Orphic Fragment 22 ed. Bernabé

᾿Ωκεανὸς πρῶτος καλλίρροος ἦρξε γάμοιο,
ὅς ῥα κασιγνήτην ὁμομήτορα Τηθὺν ὄπυιεν.

Ōkeanos, with his beautiful streams [kalli-rrhoos], was the first to start a marriage, [148]
and he married his sister Tethys, who was his mother’s daughter. [149]

2§ These consecutive Orphic verses, as quoted in Plato’s Cratylus (402a-c), are evidently cognate with the Homeric verse quoted by Plato in the very same context:

2ⓣ64 Iliad XIV 201 / 302

Ὠκεανόν τε θεῶν γένεσίν καὶ μητέρα Τηθύν· {262|263}

Ōkeanos, the genesis [genesis] of gods, and mother Tethys

2§ The ultimate context, in any case, concerns the idea that Ōkeanos is the generative force behind – or under – everything that exists on the face of the earth. [150]

2ⓢ14. Variations on a theme of Ōkeanos in the Homeric text of Crates

2§148 In order to understand the cosmological traditions that shaped the primal idea of Ōkeanos, it is important to consider the base text of Homer as edited by Crates of Mallos, which differed significantly from the base text of Homer as edited by Aristarchus, director of the library of Alexandria. Crates, like Aristarchus, flourished in the second century BCE, and he was director of the rival library of Pergamon. The era of Crates is also the era of the Great Altar of Zeus at Pergamon, featuring the relief sculpture depicting the primal battle of the gods and giants. [151] Of all the ancient editors of Homer, I think of Crates as representing a most fluid Homer, just as surely as Aristarchus represents a most rigid Homer. In the ancient world, the many real differences between these two rival editors of Homer were conventionally reduced to a single overarching contrast between Crates the Pergamene as ‘anomalist’ and Aristarchus the Alexandrian as ‘analogist’. [152] The two men also differed – sometimes radically so – in their interpretations of Homer as reflected in their commentaries. Unlike Aristarchus, Crates was given to allegorizing Homer, and his allegoresis of cosmological themes in Homer turns out to be strikingly similar to the allegoresis of cosmological themes in poetry attributed to Orpheus as analyzed by the anonymous commentator of the Derveni Papyrus. [153]

2§149 The following passage illustrates, in microcosm, the differences between Aristarchus and Crates as editors and interpreters of Homer: {263|264}

2ⓣ65 Plutarch On the face in the moon 938d

ἀλλὰ σύ, τὸν Ἀρίσταρχον ἀγαπῶν ἀεὶ καὶ θαυμάζων, οὐκ ἀκούεις Κράτητος ἀναγινώσκοντος

Ὠκεανός, ὅσπερ γένεσις πάντεσσι τέτυκται (Iliad XIV 246)
ἀνδράσιν ἠδὲ θεοῖς, πλείστην <τ᾿> ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἵησιν. (Iliad XIV 246a)

But you are always so enamored of Aristarchus and so impressed with him that you do not hear [akouein] [154] Crates as he reads out loud [anagignōskein]: [155]

… Ōkeanos, who has been fashioned [156] as genesis [157] for all (Iliad XIV 246)
men and gods, and he flows over the Earth in all her fullness. [158] (Iliad XIV 246a)

2§150 The first of these two verses as quoted by Plutarch corresponds to Iliad XIV 246 – with verse-initial Ὠκεανοῦ, continuing the syntax of verse 245 as we have it – while the second, “XIV 246a,” has been omitted from the text proper of modern editions of the Iliad. [159] Evidently, the base text of Homer as established by Aristarchus excluded this plus verse, while the base text as established by Crates included it. {264|265}

2§151 For the first time since the Prolegomena to these chapters, I have used the term plus verse. As we will now see, the concept of the plus verse actually depends on the concept of the base text, as I outlined it in the Prolegomena, and this dependency turns out to be essential for undertanding the history and prehistory of the Homeric tradition.

2§152 For Crates (F 20), what I am calling the plus verse of Iliad XIV 246a provided evidence for a cosmic theory – that the Ōkeanos was the salt-water ocean covering the earth, which was supposedly spherical. [160] According to the theory of Crates, the earth was spherical, at the center of a universe that was likewise spherical. [161] Crates evidently interpreted in a modernizing sense the expression πλείστην … ἐπὶ γαῖαν at Iliad XIV 246a: ‘[which flows] over most of the earth’. In other words, the salt-water ocean covers most of the spherical earth. [162] This theory was opposed by Aristarchus, who viewed the Homeric Ōkeanos as a fresh-water river surrounding an Earth that is circular and flat. [163]

2§153 This dispute between Crates and Aristarchus over definitions of the Ōkeanos was linked to their disagreement concerning the double-verse variant XIV 246-246a adopted by Crates and the single-verse variant XIV 246 adopted by Aristarchus in their respective base texts of Homer. What was at stake, in this dispute between Crates and Aristarchus, was no trivial matter. In this case, in fact, the stakes were of cosmic proportions. Both sides of the dispute were attempting to establish their theories of the cosmos by way of deciding the rightness or wrongness of different variants in the text of Homer. [164] I find it ironic that I am describing this ancient state of affairs in an era when it appears fashionable to dismiss Homeric textual variations as “trivial,” “banal,” and even “boring.” [165] There are further ironies in the fact that today’s editions {265|266} of Homer tend to slight such textual variations as signaled – and interpreted – by Crates. Today’s scholarship may well have singled out Crates for his scientific foresight in envisioning a spherical earth instead of a circular one – had he not based his reasoning on the text of Homer. We today find it most difficult to envision an era of intellectual history when the prestige of all higher learning centered on the study of Homer. The fact that Crates today is associated mostly with Homeric textual criticism has even diminished his potential status as a literary critic. And yet there is enough evidence from what little survives of Crates’ Homeric criticism to acclaim him as a most perceptive and sensitive literary critic, one whose interpretations equal, and perhaps even surpass, those of “Longinus,” author of the essay On the Sublime. [166]

2§154 Even from the standpoint of Homeric criticism, the editorial decisions of Crates reflect a solid grounding in the textual evidence. We may often wish to disagree with his specific points of interpretation, but the textual variants that he adduces cannot be dismissed as mere inventions. From an analysis of the formulaic composition of Iliad XIV 246a, for example, we can see that there is nothing non-Homeric per se about the form of this verse as adduced by Crates. [167] Nor is there anything non-Homeric per se about the contents. [168] Moreover, from a formulaic point of view, the verse does not even necessarily convey a vision of a salt-water ocean – let alone a spherical earth, as argued by Crates.

2§155 From the standpoint of Homeric poetry as a formulaic system, the mythological essence of Ōkeanos is self-evident: he is a cosmic fresh-water river-god who encircles Earth, pervading her with fresh-water springs that he sends up mysteriously from below. [169] Restating this essence in a depersonalized way, we can say that the earth is irrigated all over its surface by an upward flow that emanates ultimately from this cosmic earth-encircling river Ōkeanos. [170] From the standpoint of Homeric poetry, then, the phrase πλείστην {266|267} … ἐπὶ γαῖαν at Iliad XIV 246a can be interpreted as ‘[who flows] throughout the Earth in all her fullness’.

2§156 The meaning of Iliad XIV 246-246a needs to be situated within the context of the ongoing Homeric narrative. In XIV 246, the immediate point is this: Ōkeanos is a primal ancestor of the gods Zeus and Hera. In XIV 246a, this theme is developed further: Ōkeanos is a primal force that ultimately generated humans as well as gods, and it pervades the earth. This theme is actually implicit already in XIV 246, even without the explicit amplification of XIV 246a: the adjective πάντεσσι ‘all’ in XIV 246 implies that Ōkeanos is the father of not only ‘all’ gods but also, by extension, ‘all’ men. There is a parallel idea in Homeric references to Zeus himself as the ‘father’ of gods and men, patēr andrōn te theōn te (Iliad I 544, etc.). Further, the noun γένεσις in the same verse XIV 246, which I translated above by using the English borrowing ‘genesis’, implies a depersonalized cosmic power that generates not only all gods and all men but also all things. The idea that Ōkeanos is the ‘genesis’ of all is ultimately not so much the expression of an interpersonal relationship, such as parenthood in the immediate narrative context, but of a depersonalized cosmic creation, a cosmogony. Thus the adjective πάντεσσι is in fact all-inclusive, even without XIV 246a. [171] I should add that there is nothing non-Homeric about picturing the Ōkeanos simultaneously as an anthropomorphic father of gods and as a cosmic source for everything on earth. [172] The cosmogonic themes of Iliad XIV 246-246a, less explicit as read by Aristarchus (without 246a) and more explicit as read by Crates (with 246a), are deeply rooted in the Homeric tradition. [173]

2§157 The more explicit Homeric readings of Crates reflect, more clearly than the corresponding readings of Aristarchus, an Orphic phase in the evolution of the Homeric tradition. I propose that Crates derived such verses from a Homerus Auctus. {267|268}

2ⓢ15. Homerus Auctus

2§158 I coin this term Homerus Auctus as a way of referring to a Homeric tradition that is seemingly augmented by other traditions. These other traditions, as I will now argue, were primarily Orphic, Hesiodic, and Cyclic.

2§159 Up to now, I have been using the term Orphic primarily in a descriptive sense, with reference to the poetic and hermeneutic traditions ascribed by the ancient world to Orpheus. [174] The same goes for my use of the term Hesiodic. As for the term Cyclic, I used it to indicate traditions associated with what I have been calling the epic Cycle. From here on, however, I will use Orphic, Hesiodic, and Cyclic primarily in an evolutionary sense. And I will argue that Orphic or Hesiodic or Cyclic elements in Homer are intrinsic, not extrinsic, to the evolution of Homeric poetry. That is, the seemingly augmented elements of what I am calling the Homerus Auctus are Homeric in their own right. They need to be differentiated as Orphic or Hesiodic or Cyclic elements only with reference to the rigid Homer of Aristarchus, as distinct from the more fluid Homer of Crates.

2§160 For the moment, I will continue to concentrate exclusively on the Orphic elements of what I am calling the Homerus Auctus. So I return to Iliad XIV 246a, which I described as a plus verse included by Crates and excluded by Aristarchus. This verse shows the expansiveness of the tradition represented by the Orphic elements of the Homerus Auctus. We see that Ōkeanos is not only a primordial ancestor of Zeus and Hera: he is also the ultimate source of all things on earth. Taken together, the two verses of Iliad XIV 246 and 246a about the Ōkeanos convey an integral Orphic cosmos, which I have already been reconstructing from the references to Ōkeanos in Plato. The picture of Ōkeanos that emerges from a combination of the verses 246 and 246a in Iliad XIV is a unified vision of a world-encircling and ever-flowing cosmic stream, the generative powers of which are simultaneously personalized and depersonalized.

2§161 In terms of Plato’s own Homeric quotations about the Ōkeanos, the unified Orphic vision of this cosmic stream originates from Homer as well as from Orpheus, that mysterious poet who is ostensibly earlier than Homer. Here I return to the first passage in my earlier survey of passages concerning the circularity and fluidity of Ōkeanos: {268|269}

2ⓣ66 Plato Phaedo 112e

τὰ μὲν οὖν δὴ ἄλλα πολλά τε καὶ μεγάλα καὶ παντοδαπὰ ῥεύματά ἐστι· τυγχάνει δ' ἄρα ὄντα ἐν τούτοις τοῖς πολλοῖς τέτταρ’ ἄττα ῥεύματα, ὧν τὸ μὲν μέγιστον καὶ ἐξωτάτω ῥέον περὶ κύκλῳ ὁ καλούμενος ᾿Ωκεανός ἐστιν

There are many and various great streams [rheumata] of all kinds in the world, but among these there happen to be four streams [rheumata] to be noted in particular, and among these four the greatest is the one that flows [rheîn] around the world at the outermost periphery in a circle [kuklos], and that stream is called the Ōkeanos.

2§162 This visualization brings us back full-circle to where we started. The Ōkeanos is seen here as the circular frame for an integral Orphic cosmos.

2§163 An integral Orphic cosmos, as I have been reconstructing it from the references to Ōkeanos in Plato, is visible in other Homeric verses besides Iliad XIV 246-246a. A most telling example is the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII. In Chapter 1, I described the Shield as a verbal picture that aims to show a perfect world of visual art, the metalwork of the Olympian god Hephaistos himself. Here I extend the description, showing its Orphic dimensions.

2§164 The Shield of Achilles pictures the cosmos, as seen through the narrative of the Homeric Iliad, and this cosmos is defined by an outermost limit, which is the cosmic circular stream of Ōkeanos:

2ⓣ67 Close-up from Iliad XVIII 478-609, the Shield of Achilles:

478   ποίει δὲ πρώτιστα σάκος μέγα τε στιβαρόν τε
479   πάντοσε δαιδάλλων, περὶ δ’ ἄντυγα βάλλε φαεινὴν
480   τρίπλακα μαρμαρέην, ἐκ δ’ ἀργύρεον τελαμῶνα.

482   ποίει δαίδαλα πολλὰ ἰδυίῃσι πραπίδεσσιν.
483   Ἐν μὲν γαῖαν ἔτευξ’, ἐν δ’ οὐρανόν, ἐν δὲ θάλασσαν,
484   ἠέλιόν τ’ ἀκάμαντα σελήνην τε πλήθουσαν,
485   ἐν δὲ τὰ τείρεα πάντα …

607   Ἐν δ’ ἐτίθει ποταμοῖο μέγα σθένος ᾿Ωκεανοῖο
608   ἄντυγα πὰρ πυμάτην σάκεος πύκα ποιητοῖο. {269|270}
609   Αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δὴ τεῦξε σάκος μέγα τε στιβαρόν τε, …

478   First of all he [= Hephaistos] was making the Shield, huge and massive,
479   fashioning it from inside out in every direction, and around it he was putting a rim that is radiant,
480   having three folds [triplax] and radiant. And he [made] a silver sling that was hanging from …

482   And he was making many variegated things with his knowledgeable thinking.
483   In it he fashioned the earth, in it the sky, in it the sea,
484   And the sun that does not wear out, and the moon in her fullness,
485   And in it he [fashioned] all the celestial signs.

607   And he was putting in it the mighty power of the river Ōkeanos
608   along the last rim of the Shield compactly made.
609   And when he had fashioned the huge and massive Shield …

2§165 From this selection of ten verses from the Shield of Achilles, we can see that the narrative of the Shield, as a verbal artifact, centers on the whole world – the cosmos. The cosmos is of central concern in the divine metalworker’s artistic creation: Hephaistos begins his metalwork by figuring earth, sky, sea, sun, moon, and stars (XVIII 482-485), and it is out of this thematic centralization of the cosmos that all other themes radiate. I say radiate because the divine metalworker begins his work of art from the center, continuing outward toward the periphery, ‘in every direction’ (479 πάντοσε δαιδάλλων). The periphery frames not only the cosmos but also the narrative of the Shield: at the very beginning, the same verse that describes the radiant diffusion of the artwork ‘in every direction’ (479) describes also the periphery or antux ‘rim’ (479) that frames this artwork. This antux ‘rim’, which marks the beginning of the narrative of the Shield (479), marks also its end (608). The same word, antux, is used at both the beginning and the end. This signaling of both the beginning and the end with the same wording for the periphery, antux, follows the narrative rules of ring composition. According to these rules, which are {270|271} typical of Homeric poetry, the linear movement of narration in the dimension of time, from beginning to end, corresponds to a circular movement of narration in the dimension of space – a timeless coming-full-circle. The outermost circle of the rim, this antux that encircles the cosmos, is the Ōkeanos (607-608), envisioned as a fresh-water cosmic stream described elsewhere as flowing in a circle, that is, flowing ‘back on itself’ (ἀψορρόου Ὠκεανοῖο XVIII 399, XX 65).

2§166 In Hesiodic poetry, the river Ōkeanos is implicitly compared to a cosmic serpent that encircles the world: in Theogony 791, Ōkeanos is imagined as εἱλιγμένος ‘coiling’ around the earth nine times. [175] I translate the verb helissein of εἱλιγμένος as ‘coiling’ here in the light of a Hesiodic passage where the river Kephisos is explicitly described as εἱλιγμένος ‘coiling’ like a drakōn ‘serpent’ as it winds its way through Orkhomenos (Hesiod F 70.23 καί τε δι’ Ἐρχομενοῦ εἱλιγμένος εἶσι δράκων ὥς). [176]

2§167 In Orphic poetry, the comparison of the river Ōkeanos to a cosmic serpent is explicit: just before the mystical description of Ōkeanos that I already quoted from Plato’s Phaedo (112e), we find this generalized mystical reference to cosmic rivers:

2ⓣ68 Plato Phaedo 112d

ἔστι δὲ ἃ παντάπασιν κύκλῳπεριελθόντα, ἢ ἅπαξ ἢ καὶ πλεονάκις περιελιχθέντα περὶ τὴν γῆν ὥσπερ οἱ ὄφεις.

There are some cosmic rivers that come around in a complete circle [kuklos], coiling around [peri-helissein] [177] the Earth, like serpents [ophis plural], either one time or many times over.

The use of the word ophis ‘serpent’ here is relevant to the derivative form Ophiōn (Ὀφίων), which is the name of the primal ruler of the cosmos in the cosmogonic song of Orpheus as represented in the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes (1.496-511). In the beginning of beginnings, according to the song of Orpheus, the ruler of Olympus was this Ophiōn, along with Ophiōn’s consort, Eurynome the Ōkeanis (Ὠκεανίς) ‘daughter of Ōkeanos’ (1.503-504); when this primal couple were overthrown by Kronos and Rhea, they were cast into the streams of the river Ōkeanos (1.505-506). As one commentator remarks, {271|272} “Ophion is in a sense a suitable substitute for Oceanus.” [178] The fusion of Ophiōn and Ōkeanos is evident in the confluence implied by the fall of the cosmic serpent into the cosmic river:

2ⓣ69 Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica 1.503-506

ἤειδεν δ’ ὡς πρῶτον ᾿Οφίων Εὐρυνόμη τε
᾿Ωκεανὶς νιφόεντος ἔχον κράτος Οὐλύμποιο·
ὥς τε βίῃ καὶ χερσὶν ὁ μὲν Κρόνῳ εἴκαθε τιμῆς,
ἡ δὲ ῾Ρέῃ, ἔπεσον δ’ ἐνὶ κύμασιν ᾿Ωκεανοῖο·

And he [= Orpheus] sang how, in the beginning, Ophiōn and Eurynome,
she who is daughter of Ōkeanos, had power over snow-capped Olympus,
and how, with violent hands, Kronos forced him [= Ophiōn] to give up his privilege [timē],
and Rhea forced her [= Eurynome] to give up hers. And they [= Ōkeanos and Eurynome] were then cast down into the waters of the Ōkeanos.

In non-Greek traditions, there is a wide variety of comparable imagery concerning cosmic serpents that encircle the world. [179] A most striking example is a Phoenician bowl found at Praeneste: cosmic themes pervade this bowl, “whose circular decoration strikingly resembles that of [Achilles’] shield,” and which features “a snake encircling the whole.” [180]

2§168 The river Ōkeanos, encircling the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII 607-608, signals that the world of this Shield, as a work of art, is at the same time rigid and fluid. The rigidity of the Shield is of course conveyed by its three-dimensional metallic essence, consisting primarily of bronze. [181] Its fluidity is conveyed by the waters of the river Ōkeanos, which encircles it and thereby defines it. We see a parallel confluence of metallic rigidity and encircling fluidity in the Hesiodic tradition, as in this description of the Shield of Herakles: {272|273}

2ⓣ70 Hesiodic Shield of Herakles 314-315

ἀμφὶ δ’ ἴτυν ῥέεν Ὠκεανὸς πλήθοντι ἐοικώς,
πᾶν δὲ συνεῖχε σάκος πολυδαίδαλον·

And the Ōkeanos flowed [rheîn] around the rim, looking just like a river in full flow, [182]
and it kept together the entire shield, in all its many complexities.

2§169 Such a confluence of opposites, where the rigidity of metalwork is being defined ultimately by the fluidity that ‘keeps it all together’, or ‘contains it all’, is evidently a mystical idea. We have in fact just seen such an idea expressed in the Orphic tradition, as recovered from the wording of Plato. In terms of this wording, the idea of a distinction between hestanai ‘to be static’ and kineîsthai ‘to be in motion’ is overridden by the idea of a non-distinction or mystical fusion, where everything is ever in motion. According to this overriding idea, everything becomes fluid because there is ultimately no hard and fast distinction between rigidity and fluidity. To put it another way: if indeed fluidity ultimately defines rigidity, then, in the end, ‘everything is fluid’. As we have already seen, this mystical formula amounts to a secret of initiation into Orphic mysteries. But by now we can see that there is more to it: this formula was not only Orphic, it was also Homeric and Hesiodic. Or, to put it diachronically, this formula must have been Homeric and Hesiodic as far back as the time when the theme of the Ōkeanos became part of what ultimately became the Homeric and Hesiodic traditions. Such a remote time predates the ages of Homer we have considered so far, and it even predates the still earlier ages to be considered in the next two chapters. As I argue in the twin book, Homer the Preclassic, such a time dates back to what I call in that book the Dark Age.

2§170 The mysticism of the Homeric Ōkeanos is evident not only in the idea of fusing the rigidity of metalwork in the Shield of Achilles with the fluidity of a cosmic stream that encircles and ultimately defines both the Shield and the whole world. It is evident also in the overall idea of identifying this cosmic stream with a cosmic serpent that encircles the whole world. The very idea of such a serpent is in and of itself a fusion of rigidity and fluidity. The fluidity is explicit in the picturing of the fresh-water stream Ōkeanos as a serpent, while the rigidity is implicit in the picturing of this same stream as the {273|274} rim of an artifact made of metal – an artifact that tells the whole story of Troy in microcosm. We have in fact already seen another artifact that likewise tells this whole story. That was the petrified serpent of the Iliad, described as arizēlos ‘radiant’ once the serpent was petrified (Iliad II 318). In Chapter 1, I compared the Homeric context of arizēlos, epithet of the petrified serpent, with another Homeric context: it was a detail in the Shield of Achilles, showing the gods Athena and Ares presiding over war itself in the City of War, where the two war gods are said to be arizēlō ‘radiant’ in their metallic perfection (Iliad XVIII 519). In Homer the Preclassic, I show how this combination of Athena and Ares stems from traditions that are traceable all the way back to the Bronze Age. [183]

2§171 As I noted in Chapter 1, the context of the epithet arizēlō ‘radiant’ in the Shield of Achilles (XVIII 519) can be seen as an ideal point of entry into the entire world of images radiating from the Shield. It is essential that the same epithet arizēlos ‘radiant’ applies to the petrified serpent precisely because Zeus had sent it as an epiphany, ephēne (II 318), conveying the whole story of Troy’s capture. In both these instances of arizēlos, the epithet marks an everlasting vision, pictured by Homeric poetry as a perfect and permanent work of art.

2§172 We have already seen how the rigidity of the petrified serpent in Iliad II foretells the eventual rigidity of the Iliad as a whole, which is still fluid – a narrative in the making – at the moment of the serpent’s petrifaction. The Iliad remains fluid and does not become rigid until the telos ‘outcome’ of the entire narrative has been reached. The metaphor of rigidity applies in a similar way to the Shield of Achilles, where we see an interplay with the metaphor of fluidity as signaled by the Ōkeanos, that ever-flowing periphery that frames the cosmos as expressed by the Shield of Achilles.

2§173 The mystical interplay between rigidity and fluidity in the Shield of Achilles is not only cosmological but also narratological. Immediately after the beginning of the narrative of the Shield, which begins by figuring the natural cosmos of earth, sky, sea, sun, moon, and stars (XVIII 482-489), the continuity is sustained by the figuring of the human cosmos – that is, of society – organized here along the lines of two modes of existence equated with two cities (XVIII 490). [184] The first is the City of Peace (XVIII 491-508) and the second is the City of War (XVIII 509-540). There follows an extended general narrative about the human cosmos (XVIII 541-606). Then comes the conclusion of the whole narrative, marked explicitly by the periphery of the narrative, the Ōkeanos {274|275} (XVIII 607), which is equated with the outermost rim or antux of the Shield as an artifact (XVIII 608). Taking the narrative about the human cosmos as a whole, I focus on the way in which this narrative continues where the narrative about the natural cosmos leaves off. Here is the wording that introduces the continuity of narration.

2ⓣ71 Iliad XVIII 490-491

Ἐν δὲ δύω ποίησε πόλεις μερόπων ἀνθρώπων
καλάς. ἐν τῇ μέν …

There in the inside he made two cities of radiant humans,
beautiful cities. In the first one, …

2§174 The narrative about the first of the two cities, the City of Peace, begins with a picture of a wedding (XVIII 491-496), to be followed by a picture of a litigation (XVIII 497-508). In the passage I am about to quote, I highlight only a part of the narrative, about the litigation, but my observations apply to the entire narrative about the human cosmos on the Shield of Achilles.

2ⓣ72 Iliad XVIII 497-501

λαοὶ δ’ εἰν ἀγορῇ ἔσαν ἀθρόοι· ἔνθα δὲ νεῖκος
ὠρώρει, δύο δ’ ἄνδρες ἐνείκεον εἵνεκα ποινῆς
ἀνδρὸς ἀποφθιμένου· ὃ μὲν εὔχετο πάντ’ ἀποδοῦναι
500δήμῳ πιφαύσκων, ὃ δ’ ἀναίνετο μηδὲν ἑλέσθαι·
ἄμφω δ’ ἱέσθην ἐπὶ ἴστορι πεῖραρ ἑλέσθαι.

The people were gathered together in the assembly place, and there a dispute [neikos]
had arisen, and two men were disputing [neikeîn] about the blood-price
for a man who had died [apo-phthinesthai]. The one made a claim [eukhesthai] to pay back in full,
500making a public declaration to the district, but the other was refusing [anainesthai] to accept anything.
Both were eagerly heading for [hiesthai] an arbitrator, to get a limit [peirar]. [185] {275|276}

2§175 What is perhaps most striking about this passage, and about the entire narrative continuum of the Shield, is the mystical fluidity of its metallic action. The action is shown in progress, as expressed by the dominantly imperfective aspect of the verbs (ἐνείκεον, εὔχετο, ἀναίνετο, ἱέσθην). Also, the referential world is generalized, not specific. For example, the two litigants and the onlookers who participate in the litigation are all unidentified, unbound by any single time and place. The generality is universalizing. If the referents were to become identified, the universality would be lost: the fluidity of the ongoing action would become arrested, crystallized into rigidity. Once the story was told, its action would become rigid, frozen forever in the final retelling. In particular, the two unidentified litigants would be frozen forever in their respective stances, once they became identified as the Achilles and the Agamemnon of the Iliad all told. In modern representations, the litigants of the Shield can indeed be explicitly identified as Achilles and Agamemnon (Figures 11a and 11b).

09-10Fellows
Figure 11a. Monumental bronze doors, with relief panels depicting the evolution of Western justice. Designed by Cass Gilbert and John Donnelly, Sr.; sculpted by John Donnelly, Jr. Installed 1935. Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, DC.

09-10Fellows
Figure 11b. Bronze doors of the Supreme Court: detail, Achilles and Agamemnon.

2§176 Keeping in mind the idea that the story of the Iliad, once told, is destined to solidify to the point of inflexibility, rigidity, let us recall one more time the frame of this story, as pictured in the Shield of Achilles. That frame is the river Ōkeanos, surrounding the rim of the Shield. Here, by way of contrast, is the idea of a story forever in flux.

2§177 The Ōkeanos has no source of its own: it is self-sustaining, self-perpetuating. It is the source of all other sources, that is, of all fresh-water springs in the cosmos that it encompasses. Just as the Ōkeanos has no beginning, it has no ending, that is, no telos in the linear sense of ‘end’. It conveys, instead, the circular sense of telos, that is, ‘coming full circle’. Because it always comes full circle, flowing back upon itself at whatever point it restarts, it is ever-flowing. The Shield of Achilles, a study in the ultimate rigidity of metalwork, is framed by the ultimate fluidity that is the Ōkeanos.

2§178 Such coexistence of fluidity and rigidity, which I have described as Orphic in its mysticism, is also Homeric. All along, I have been arguing that a verse like Iliad XIV 246 cannot be differentiated as Homeric or Orphic, even if Aristarchus might have set aside as distinctly Orphic a verse like Iliad XIV 246a. Moreover, even a verse like Iliad XIV 246a, stemming from a Homerus Auctus as edited by Crates in Pergamon, need not be dismissed as an interpolation from Homeric editions that had been contaminated, as it were, by Orphic traditions. The Homerus Auctus need not be viewed as an editorial conflation of incompatible texts but as a preedited corpus of undifferentiated oral traditions that later became differentiated into distinct textual traditions that we recognize as Orphic, Hesiodic, Cyclic, and even Homeric. {276|277}

2ⓢ16. Principles of anomaly and analogy in editing Homer

2§179 In taking stock of the intellectual legacy of Crates as a textual critic of Homer, it is important to consider the distinction made by Varro (De lingua latina 8.23 and 9.1) concerning the principles of anomaly and analogy as respectively espoused by Crates and Aristarchus. This distinction has led to assumptions that reinforce a negative opinion about Crates – that he is the kind of editor who will apply the principle of anomaly to admit into his edition of Homer practically any reading that suits his allegorizing theories. [186] A careful reexamination of the variants attributed to him, as in the case of the Iliadic passage on the Ōkeanos, leads to a more positive opinion. [187] Similarly, the principle of analogy as practiced by Aristarchus has led to the assumption that Aristarchus will level out anomalous variants in the name of regularity. [188] And yet, it can be shown that Aristarchus was scrupulous in avoiding regularization of variants at the expense of the manuscript evidence. [189]

2§180 In the long run, it is more important to appreciate the convergences rather than the divergences between the approaches of Crates and Aristarchus to Homeric textual criticism. In fact, the intellectual histories of the Aristarchean / Alexandrian and Cratetean / Pergamene “schools” reveal their own tendencies of eventual convergence. An ideal case in point is the Stoic Panaetius, who considered himself a disciple of Crates (Strabo 14.5.16 C676) and who at the same time praised Aristarchus as a mantis ‘seer’ who knew the dianoia ‘meaning’ of Homer (Athenaeus 14.634c). [190] Dionysius Thrax, on the other hand, even though he may have been a disciple of Aristarchus, was strongly influenced by the Cratetean approach to “the variety of forms in the spoken language, the sunētheia [‘habituation’].” [191] The excellence of Crates in his approach to linguistic “irregularity” was generally acknowledged in the ancient world. [192] His holistic approach to the Homeric corpus in all its potential “irregularities” can be viewed, I suggest, in the same light.

2§181 The approach of Crates is compatible with the Homerus Auctus – a more expansive and therefore more unwieldy and anomalous corpus. But we {277|278} should not assume that his approach is what caused the existence of a more anomalous Homer. Rather, I think it is better to say that the approach of his rival Aristarchus made Homer a less expansive and therefore less unwieldy corpus.

2§182 We must keep in mind that Crates, like Aristarchus, athetizes, and in some instances we may even be shocked by his daring, as when he athetizes the prooimia of both the Theogony and the Works and Days of Hesiod. [193] But athetesis does not of and by itself make a difference in the expansiveness of the Homeric text, since both Crates and Aristarchus leave in rather than leave out whatever they athetize. The difference is in the plus verses, which Aristarchus leaves out but Crates leaves in. Again, we must keep in mind that Crates simply leaves things in: it is not that he puts things in. Conversely, we may say that Aristarchus does not leave things out passively by ignoring them: he takes things out actively by calling attention to them. That is what we see in Iliad XIV 246 minus 246a, as read by Aristarchus, and in Iliad XIV 246 plus 246a, as read by Crates.

2§183 I have already noted that the traditional orientation of Iliad XIV 246-246a as read out loud by Crates is decidedly Orphic, reflecting the poetic and hermeneutic traditions ascribed by the ancient world to Orpheus. [194] My {279|280} thesis is that Crates derived such verses from a Homerus Auctus, a Homeric tradition augmented by Orphic traditions; moreover, I argue for the preexistence of plus verses emanating from Homeric editions that had been contaminated, as it were, by these Orphic traditions.

2§184 As far as scholars like Crates of Pergamon were concerned, such Orphic plus-verses in the Homeric textual tradition were not “contaminations” at all, if he – unlike Aristarchus and Aristotle – accepted the view that Orpheus as well as Musaeus lived before Homer. [195] It seems clear to me that Pergamene editorial practice included Orphic plus verses in the Homeric text, as contrasted with the Alexandrian (at least, Aristarchean) practice of excluding them – that is, omitting them altogether from the text, instead of merely athetizing them. Such conflicting editorial practices are reflected, I think, in the following ancient witticism:

2ⓣ73 Seneca Epistle 88.39 [196]

annales evolvam omnium gentium et quis primus carmina scripserit quaeram? Quantum temporis inter Orphea intersit et Homerum, cum fastos non habeam, computabo? Et Aristarchi ineptias, quibus aliena carmina conpunxit, recognoscam et aetatem in syllabis conteram?

Shall I unroll the annals of the world’s history and try to find out who first wrote poetry? Shall I make an estimate of the number of years that separate Orpheus and Homer, although I do not have the records [fasti]? And shall I investigate the absurd writings of Aristarchus, where he ‘skewered’ [conpunxit] [197] other men’s verses, and wear my life away on syllables?

2§185 Before I conclude this section, I need to stress once again that I have been using the term Orphic in an evolutionary sense. Using the term Orphic is not at all the same thing as accepting the idea of a poet named Orpheus who preceded Homer. Still, it is relevant to note the prevalence of a received opinion about the priority of Orpheus over Homer. In terms of this opinion, certain poetic traditions, considered peripheral and posterior to Homer by the {280|281} likes of Aristarchus, originated from a mythical singer named Orpheus. Such Orphic poetry, as I have been arguing, was in some ways undifferentiated from Homeric poetry. From an evolutionary point of view, the Orphic poetry that we find included in the Homerus Auctus was in some ways really older, not newer, than the poetry ascribed exclusively to Homer by Aristarchus.

2ⓢ17. Homer and the neoterics

2§186 The opposing idea of Aristarchus, that Orphic poetry was something newer than Homeric poetry, can be linked to the term neōteroi, meaning ‘newer’ or ‘neoteric’. This term neoteric was applied by Aristarchus to poets who were judged to be ‘newer’ than Homer. [198] For Aristarchus, non-Homeric meant post-Homeric. From here on, I will use the term neoteric in this sense, without prejudging whether the neoteric poets were really ‘newer’ than Homer.

2§187 A particularly noteworthy follower of Aristarchus in applying the criterion of neōteroi was Apollodorus of Athens. [199] A striking example of such an application is a Cologne papyrus (P.Col. inv. 5604) that shows Apollodorus commenting on a manuscript he found: this manuscript, he says, contained an otherwise unknown epic called the Meropis (SH 903A), and he describes the anonymous author as neōteros tis ‘someone newer’ on the basis of the idiōma ‘idiom’ of this poet’s interests in chosing poetic topics (ἐδόκει δέ μοι τὰ ποήμα|[τα] νεωτέρου τινὸς εἶναι … τὸ ἰδίωμα τῆς ἱστορίας). [200]

2§188 Here it is relevant to consider a basic editorial principle attributed to Aristarchus, Homēron ex Homērou saphēnizein ‘clarify Homer on the basis of Homer’. [201] This principle was founded on the premise that the real Homer must be systematically isolated from the supposedly non-Homeric accretions represented by the neōteroi or ‘newer’ poets – the neoterics. Aristarchus’ system, especially as reported by the Aristarchean scholar Didymus in the first century BCE, remains our main source for the working distinction between the {281|282} neōteroi or ‘neoteric’ poets and the supposedly oldest poet of them all, Homer as the original poet. [202]

2§189 These newer poets were imagined as authors of post-Homeric wordings - words or groups of words or even verses - that somehow found their way into the Homeric texts. In the hupomnēmata ‘commentaries’ of Aristarchus, these supposedly post-Homeric wordings were traced back to such ‘newer’ sources as Hesiod and the poets of the epic Cycle. [203]

2§190 As we just saw in the case of Iliad XIV 246a, Aristarchus occasionally excluded overtly ‘Orphic’ verses from his edition. Thus Orpheus too, like Hesiod and the poets of the Cycle, was evidently a ‘newer’ poet in the age of Aristarchus, though the question of Orphic accretions was evidently not a major concern for this editor. [204]

2ⓢ18. Variations on a theme of Ōkeanos in the Homeric text of Zenodotus

2§191 The question of Orphic accretions was a major concern, however, for Zenodotus of Ephesus, the first official director of the Library of Alexandria, who flourished in the age of Callimachus. As we are about to see, the edition of Homer by Zenodotus tended to screen out Homeric verses he suspected of being Orphic in origin. One of these verses contains a most important mention of the Ōkeanos, and the excluding of this verse by Zenodotus illustrates a major difference between his Homeric edition and that of Aristarchus.

2§192 The anti-Orphic editorial stance of Zenodotus can best be understood in the light of the generally anti-neoteric stance of Aristarchus a century later. In the case of Aristarchus, the category of poets he judged to be neōteroi ‘newer’ than Homer extended well beyond the archaic era of shadowy figures like Orpheus, all the way into the Hellenistic era. Even poets like Callimachus and his Alexandrian contemporaries were considered neōteroi, that is, ‘newer’ {282|283} or ‘neoteric’, in their own right. [205] A most notable exponent of such neoteric poets in the Hellenistic era, besides Callimachus himself, was Apollonius of Rhodes, who succeeded Zenodotus of Ephesus as director of the Library of Alexandria: though Apollonius, unlike Zenodotus, did not produce an edition of Homer, he was most influential in reshaping the idea of Homer. Another notable exponent of such neoteric poets was Theocritus of Syracuse, likewise a contemporary of Callimachus and Apollonius. Later on, I will illustrate an aspect of Theocritus’ neoterism by examining the poetics of Idyll 1.

2§193 As we have just seen, the term neōteroi in the sense of ‘neoterics’ was actually being applied to these scholar-poets who flourished in the age of Callimachus. [206] And the term is implicit in the reference made by Cicero (Tusculan Disputations 3.19.45) to the poetae novi ‘new poets’, whom he further describes as cantores Euphorionis ‘singers of Euphorion’; Euphorion of Chalkis, a scholar-poet who was made director of the Library of Antioch around 220 BCE, specialized in imitating Callimachus. [207]

2§194 Callimachus and other such poets of his era were ‘newer’ or ‘neoteric’ not only because they cultivated those aspects of Homeric poetry that were later rejected as post-Homeric in the age of Aristarchus. Already in the age of Callimachus himself, such neoteric aspects of Homer were being rejected by Zenodotus in his own edition of Homer. For example, Zenodotus made a point of keeping Homer free from what he evidently considered to be Orphic interpolations. Paradoxically, this was happening in the age of Callimachus, when neoteric poets were actually cultivating the poetry of Orpheus: a prime example is the cosmogony sung by Orpheus in the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes (1.503-506). Another example, as we will see later on, is the humnos sung by Thyrsis in Idyll 1 of Theocritus.

2§195 A fitting monument to the editorial anti-neoterism of Zenodotus is his radical move of athetizing – that is, marking as non-Homeric – the entire sequence of verses that narrated the images displayed on the Shield of Achilles (XVIII 483-608). [208] By ‘athetized’, I mean that Zenodotus made markings in the {283|284} left margin next to the suspected verses in his text of Homer to indicate that he considered these verses to be non-Homeric; his mark of athetesis, as we have seen, was the obelos (–). By dissociating the world of the Shield from the world of Homer, Zenodotus also dissociated the Ōkeanos, the cosmic river that ever encircles and defines the Shield in Iliad XVIII 607-608.

2§196 The fact that Zenodotus dissociated the Ōkeanos from the world of Homer was evidently part of an overall editorial plan. Zenodotus in his edition of Homer systematically athetized those aspects of the Iliad that he judged to be Orphic. An explicit example is a sequence of verses at Iliad XXI 194-197. At verse 196, we see a relative clause describing Ōkeanos as the source of all fresh-water springs and rivers. Zenodotus rejected as non-Homeric the preceding verse, 195, where Ōkeanos is named as the referent of the relative clause. [209] This way, the referent shifts from the river Ōkeanos to the river Akhelōios, which is named at verse 194. Zenodotus’ rejection of verse 195 was not the result of some arbitrary editorial decision: there is external evidence for an alternative textual tradition of the Iliad where this verse 195 was in fact missing, and there is also external evidence for an alternative poetic tradition where Akhelōios rather than Ōkeanos figures as the primal stream that generates all other streams. [210]

2§ It is important to keep in mind that Zenodotus did not actually leave out of his text of Homer the verses concerning the images on the Shield in Iliad XVIII, even if he judged the whole passage to be Orphic and therefore non-Homeric. Throughout the Shield passage, Zenodotus actually attests variations within the sequence of the verses that he athetizes. [211] The fact that Zenodotus only athetized the world of the Shield, instead of leaving it out altogether, is a most straightforward indication that all these verses of the Shield were conventionally thought to belong to the Homeric textual tradition – at least, in the age of Zenodotus and Callimachus.

2§198 Unlike Zenodotus, Aristarchus refrained from actually athetizing the verses describing the images on the Shield in Iliad XVIII 483-608. So he did not athetize the verses about the Ōkeanos at XVIII 607-608; nor did he athetize {284|285} the verse about Ōkeanos in Iliad XXI 195. [212] Here we have the clearest indication that all these verses were conventionally thought to belong to the Homeric tradition – even in the age of Aristarchus. [213]

2§199 Viewing the differences between Zenodotus and Aristarchus in their editorial treatment of Homeric passages involving the Ōkeanos, we can see that Zenodotus was more extreme than Aristarchus in his efforts to distinguish Orphic from Homeric elements. At the other extreme was Crates of Pergamon. As we saw earlier, his text of Homer seems to have kept the supposedly Orphic elements indistinguishable from the Homeric.

2§200 There is more to be said about the specific differences between the Homeric texts of Zenodotus and Aristarchus with reference to the Ōkeanos. I start by reviewing the general differences between Zenodotus and Aristarchus as editors of Homer.

2§201 In the scrolls of his Homeric hupomnēmata ‘commentaries’, Aristarchus analyzed extensively the textual problems underneath the surface of his text of Homer – which was a base text produced in the scrolls of his Homeric edition. [214] Keyed into the text of his Homeric commentaries was a system of critical signs written into the left margins of his Homeric base text. The signs in the base text were placed to the left of each Homeric verse to be analyzed in the commentaries, with different signs indicating different problems to be discussed. An Aristarchean contemporary of Didymus, Aristonicus, specialized in studying the system of critical signs used by Aristarchus in his base text, and we find in the Homeric scholia numerous references to the testimony of Aristonicus. I am about to focus on a case where Aristonicus provides crucial information about differences between the Homeric editions of Zenodotus and Aristarchus with reference to the Ōkeanos.

2§202 In the scrolls of his Homeric hupomnēmata, Aristarchus debated extensively with Zenodotus, and in the scrolls of his Homeric base text he placed a special sign to the left of any given Homeric verse where he explicitly disagreed with the editorial judgment of Zenodotus about the contents of that verse. That critical sign was the diplēperiestigmenē (>:). [215] This usage of the {285|286} diplēperiestigmenē (>:) is preserved in the tenth-century Venetus A codex of the Iliad. A case in point is the fifth verse of the very beginning of the Iliad, as we see it transmitted by the Venetus A (Figure 12).

10-Fleming-fig1
Figure 12. Detail from the so-called “Venetus A” manuscript of the Iliad: diplē periestigmenē (>:) at the left margin, next to Iliad I 5. Venice, Biblioteca Marciana, Codex Marcianus Graecus 454.

2§203 Where Aristarchus happened to disagree with editors other than Zenodotus, another kind of marginal sign was placed to the left of the given Homeric verse. That marginal sign was the simple diplē (>). Like the diplēperiestigmenē (>:), the simple diplē (>) served as an indication that Aristarchus adduced in his commentaries a variant reading, provided by someone other than Zenodotus, which differed from the reading he preferred to keep in his own text of Homer.

2§204 In his Homeric commentaries, Aristarchus debated extensively with his near-contemporary and rival, Crates of Mallos, who as we saw was director of the Library of Pergamon. [216] Unlike the disagreements of Aristarchus with Zenodotus, which were marked by the diplēperiestigmenē (>:), his disagreements with Crates and others were marked by the simple diplē (>). [217] The distinction between this less specific diplē (>) and the more specific diplē periestigmenē (>:) implies that the disagreements Aristarchus had with Crates and others were less important than those he had with Zenodotus, who {286|287} flourished a century earlier than Aristarchus and Crates. [218] Or, I would prefer to say, the disagreements of Aristarchus with Zenodotus were more important for the Aristarcheans than his disagreements with the likes of Crates. For my own argumentation, however, the disagreements of Aristarchus with Crates are just as important as his disagreements with Zenodotus.

2§205 What is more important for now is not the obvious fact that the Homer edition of Aristarchus was dissimilar from the Homer editions of both Zenodotus and Crates. Far more important, the ‘corrected’ Homer texts of Zenodotus and Crates were dissimilar from each other as well, not only from the ‘corrected’ Homer text of Aristarchus. Such dissimilarities, however, can only be reconstructed by way of observing the actual disagreements of Aristarchus with these two other editors, Zenodotus and Crates.

2§206 With this background in place, I am ready to focus on the disagreement between Aristarchus with Zenodotus over the attestation of Ōkeanos in a verse I have already noted, Iliad XXI 195. The disagreement was articulated in the Homeric hupomnēmata ‘commentaries’ of Aristarchus, as paraphrased later on in the Homeric scholia. Ancient readers of Homer would have been alerted to this disagreement, as marked in the margin of Aristarchus’ base text of the Iliad, which featured the critical signs referring to specific points in the editor’s commentaries. I repeat, these Aristarchean commentaries were published in scrolls separate from the scrolls featuring the base text of the Iliad. The marginal sign of the diplēperiestigmenē (>:) to the left of the verse in question, Iliad XXI 195, would have sent the reader to the corresponding lēmma or ‘extract’ featuring the key wording of that verse; that key wording served as the heading for the corresponding commentary on that verse, as found {287|288} in the separate scroll containing the commentaries of Aristarchus. [219] In the discussion headed by the lēmma, the reader would find that the commentator disagreed with the editorial rationale of Zenodotus – not necessarily with the Homer text of Zenodotus. The ad hoc discussion by Aristarchus in his commentary on Iliad XXI 195, as signaled by the marginal sign (>:) in his text of Homer and by the lēmma οὐδὲ βαθυρρείταο in his corresponding commentary on this verse of Homer, is in this case preserved by Aristonicus.

2§207 The relevant testimony of Aristonicus, Aristarchus, and Zenodotus concerning this matter has survived in both the Venetus A scholia and the Geneva (Ge) scholia for the Iliad. According to the Venetus A scholia, Aristonicus explained that Aristarchus marked the verse that we know as Iliad XXI 195 with a diplē periestigmenē (>:) because Aristarchus had disagreed with Zenodotus. The point of Aristarchus’ disagreement, as marked by this sign, is ‘because Zenodotus did not write it [out]’, ὅτι Ζηνόδοτος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγραφεν. In the Venetus A scholia, the wording leaves it unclear whether Zenodotus omitted the line or simply athetized it. In the Geneva scholia, the reason given by Aristonicus for the disagreement of Aristarchus with Zenodotus is worded this way: ὅτι Ζηνόδοτος τοῦτον ἠθέτηκεν ἄρας ‘[Aristarchus disagreed] because Zenodotus athetized the line, taking it out’. The Geneva scholia go on to say: τοῦτον οὐ γράφει Μεγακλείδης ‘Megaclides does not write out this line’. Megaclides was an expert in Homer who flourished in the fourth centuy BCE, and he is described as a ‘Peripatetic’ by Tatian (To the Greeks 31.2). In the case of Megaclides, it seems that his text of Homer simply did not contain the verse XXI 195, and it is possible that he was not aware that the verse existed. [220] In the case of Zenodotus, however, I will argue that he was very much aware of the verse and kept it in the text of his edition, but he marked it with a sign indicating his opinion that the verse should be rejected.

2§208 As a counterweight to the stance of Zenodotus, the Geneva scholia for Iliad XXI 195 adduce direct quotations from Crates of Pergamon – more precisely, from his Homērika (Crates F 29). From these quotations, it is clear that Crates defended XXI 195 as well as other Homeric verses that could be used to prove, as far as he was concerned, that the Ōkeanos and not the Akhelōios is the primal cosmic body of water – because it is the same thing as the salt sea we know as the ocean. As we learn from the Geneva scholia, Crates adduced the fifth-century thinker Hippon (38 B 1 DK) to back up his own argument that {288|289} this salt sea, this ocean, had at its extremities not salt water but fresh water – explicitly ‘drinkable’ (poton), which somehow still supplied all the fresh-water sources of the earth. This way, even Crates’ modernizing image of the Ōkeanos as the ocean could be said to match the archaizing image of the Ōkeanos as a fresh-water earth-encircling cosmic river. [221]

2§209 The explanation of Aristonicus, as we saw it reported in the Homeric scholia, implies that Zenodotus had made an annotation in his text of Homer in order to indicate his reasons for rejecting Iliad XXI 195. Zenodotus’ reasoning was evidently paraphrased and then disputed in the commentary of Aristarchus as reported by Aristonicus, and Aristarchus seems to have given his own counterargument for retaining the verse. Here is the wording that goes back to Aristonicus in the Geneva scholia for Iliad XXI 195: ὅτι Ζηνόδοτος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγραφεν· γίνεται γὰρ ὁ Ἀχελῷος πηγὴ τῶν ἄλλων πάντων ‘[Aristarchus disagreed] because Zenodotus did not write it out [= the suspected verse], on the grounds that the Akhelōios is the source [pēgē] of all the others [= rivers]’.

2§210 I need to stress that Zenodotus himself had two different ways of rejecting a suspected verse in his text of Homer. Evidence shows that he was systematic in choosing between either athetizing a suspected verse, by way of an obelos, or deleting it altogether, by way of various deletion signs and brief annotations that accompanied these signs in his text. [222] Such a distinction, however, tended to get blurred in later reportage of Zenodotus’ editorial decisions, as we see in this case when we look at the differences between the reports of the Venetus A and the Geneva scholia.

2§211 I need to stress also, once again, that the alternative version of Iliad XXI 194-197 as defended by Zenodotus was based on alternative traditions attested independently of what we know as Homeric poetry. According to those independent traditions, Akhelōios, like Ōkeanos, was pictured as a cosmic river that supplies all fresh-water sources on earth. [223] In other words, Akhelōios and Ōkeanos are variant mythological constructs. As we will now see, these two cosmic rivers could even coexist as respectively older and newer generations of cosmic river-gods in poetic traditions attributed to Orpheus.

2§212 In the Venetus A scholia for Iliad XXI 195, we see that Aristarchus, after giving a reason for Zenodotus’ rejection of that verse, proceeds to justify his own retention of the verse. Here is the reasoning offered by Aristarchus: {289|290} ἔστι δὲ καθ’ Ὅμηρον ὁ Ὠκεανὸς ὁ ἐπιδιδοὺς πᾶσι τὰ ῥεύματα· διὸ καὶ κατὰ τιμήν φησιν· “οὔτε τις οὖν ποταμῶν ἀπέην νόσφ’ Ὠκεανοῖο” [Iliad XX 7] ‘but according to Homer [= in terms of Homeric diction] it is the Ōkeanos who supplies the flow to all [= the rivers]; so, it is in terms of a ranking system that he [= Homer] says …’. At this point Aristarchus adduces the internal evidence of a verse that he quotes from the Iliad (XX 7), the wording of which implies that Ōkeanos is the one and only primal cosmic river.

2§213 From what we have seen so far, it appears that Zenodotus accepted the idea that the primal cosmic river was exclusively the Akhelōios for Homer, while Aristarchus argued that it was exclusively the Ōkeanos. But there is reason to think that Homeric poetry accommodated both names. I have been arguing that Iliad XXI 195, which privileges Ōkeanos, was indeed part of the textual tradition of Homer both before and after Zenodotus, despite that editor’s rejection of the verse as probably Orphic and therefore supposedly non-Homeric. Also, the internal evidence of Homeric poetry shows that Akhelōios was accommodated by this poetry as an alternative to the Ōkeanos, although it ultimately became subordinated to it.

2§214 The fact that Aristarchus defended Iliad XXI 195, despite its Orphic and therefore supposedly non-Homeric characteristics – and despite his general editorial stance of rejecting supposedly non-Homeric verses – is linked to another aspect of Aristarchean editorial method: Homeric verses suspected of neoterism could not be omitted merely on the grounds of neoteric content. If any verse suspected of neoterism was strongly attested, Aristarchus preferred to defend such a verse and to make a case for the possibility that it was not neoteric after all. Only weakly attested neoteric verses were omitted by Aristarchus, as in the case of the supposedly Orphic verse at Iliad XIV 246a, which was privileged by Crates but omitted by Aristarchus. Neoteric verses that were strongly attested – even if Zenodotus had been inclined to reject them as probably Orphic – could still be defended by Aristarchus, who was evidently ready to infer that such strongly attested verses could still turn out to be genuinely Homeric after all.

2§215 Before I proceed, I must stress that I consistently use the term neoteric from the standpoint of Aristarchus, not from my own standpoint. I do not prejudge whether poets judged to be neoteric by Aristarchus were really ‘newer’ than Homer, or whether the poetic forms judged to be neoteric by Aristarchus were really ‘newer’ than the poetic forms judged to be Homeric. The same goes for poets and poetic forms judged to be neoteric by Zenodotus.

2§216 While Zenodotus was preoccupied with isolating those verses that he judged to be Orphic accretions in the Homeric text, the contemporary {290|291} neoteric poets – among them, Apollonius – were preoccupied with privileging in their own poetry those same supposedly Orphic accretions. A prime example is a passage we have already seen in Apollonius Argonautica 1.503-506. Here I retell briefly the Orphic themes that we find in this passage. Orpheus sings his cosmogony and starts the theogonic sequence of his narrative by singing about Eurynome, the daughter of Ōkeanos and the wife of a distinctly Orphic figure, Ophiōn the cosmic serpent; after Ophiōn and the daughter of Ōkeanos are overthrown respectively by Kronos and Rhea the old gods are cast into the streams of Ōkeanos. There is more about Ophiōn in the poetry of another eminent neoteric, Callimachus himself (F 177.7-8).

2§217 After the age of Callimachus, in the age of Aristarchus, the Alexandrian editorial preoccupation with Orpheus and Orphic accretions had evidently waned, and Aristarchus was more preoccupied with isolating verses he judged to be Cyclic accretions in the Homeric text. For Aristarchus, it was the poets of the epic Cycle who became primary exponents of the category known to him as the neōteroi. [224] Occasionally, Aristarchus even criticized his predecessor Zenodotus for not being vigilant enough in isolating the neoterisms of the epic Cycle. [225] And just as Zenodotus seemed to be less preoccupied with the alleged neoterisms of the Cycle, so also the contemporary neoteric poets – among them, Callimachus – were less preoccupied with cultivating in their own poetry those aspects of Homeric poetry that seemed to be Cyclic. A salient example is the celebrated wording of Callimachus: ἐχθαίρω τὸ ποίημα τὸ κυκλικόν ‘I detest the Cyclic poem’ (Epigram 28.1).

2§218 A moment ago, I stated that Aristarchus seemed to be less preoccupied with Orphic than with Cyclic elements in Homer. Looking at Homeric poetry from an evolutionary point of view, however, I would prefer to reformulate this statement. On the basis of both the textual and the contextual evidence available to him, Aristarchus must have found the supposedly Orphic elements in Homer to be far more difficult to isolate as neoterisms than the Cyclic elements. I infer that Orphic elements were in some ways contextually more embedded – and therefore older – than Cyclic elements in the evolution of Homer the Classic. Conversely, Cyclic elements were more easily separable – and therefore newer – than Orphic elements.

2§219 In Homer the Preclassic, I treat the differences in degrees of embeddedness between Orphic and Cyclic elements in Homer. Here my aim is simply to stress that the ‘Homeric’ elements of Homeric poetry do not necessarily {291|292} represent the oldest layers of this poetry. Whatever elements in Homeric poetry seem to be Orphic and Cyclic may turn out to be genuine traces of still older layers of that poetry. Of these two older layers, the Cyclic elements were differentiated from ‘Homeric’ poetry more systematically than the Orphic elements. Whatever Cyclic elements Aristarchus may have found embedded in the Homeric textual tradition would have been more easy for him to isolate, whereas most of the Orphic elements had already been isolated by Zenodotus. For Aristarchus, the methods used by Zenodotus to isolate Orphic elements in the Homeric text must have seemed too radical, whereas the same editor’s methods in isolating Cyclic elements seemed too superficial.

2§220 In short, Zenodotus and Aristarchus were dissimilar in their emphasis on what to isolate as neoteric. For the earlier editor, it was mainly the Orphic aspects of Homer that were targeted. For the later editor, it was mainly the Cyclic aspects.

2§221 Here I need to stress once again a fundamental difference between Zenodotus and the neoteric poets of the Hellenistic era who imitated the neoterisms isolated by Zenodotus. Although these poets may have followed Zenodotus in treating accretive elements in Homer as examples of non-Homeric poetry, they were antithetical to Zenodotus in their cultivation of this poetry for its own sake. For them this kind of poetry was worth cultivating precisely because it was judged to be non-Homeric. For the likes of Callimachus and Apollonius, Homer was not the only Classic as an exponent of epic. The ‘newer’ poets – as represented by Cyclic and Hesiodic and Orphic poetry – were also Classics in their own right.

2§222 The earlier Alexandrians in the age of Callimachus appreciated Homeric poetry in broader terms than the later Alexandrians in the age of Aristarchus. In the eyes of the earlier Alexandrians, the Homeric text included non-Homeric – that is, neoteric – elements. For them the Homeric text was a neoteric Homer, transcending the classic Homer. This neoteric Homer of Callimachus, Apollonius, and Theocritus was closer to the edition of Crates than to the edition of Aristarchus. And, as we have seen, this Homer in the age of Callimachus was textually far more fluid than the Homer of the Aristarcheans.

2§223 Despite the anti-neoteric editorial stance of Zenodotus, the actual text of his Homeric edition must have seemed neoteric, retrospectively, by comparison with the corresponding text of Aristarchus. Despite the marginal marks and annotations devised by Zenodotus for the purpose of prescribing the rejection of neoteric elements – whether by athetesis or by outright deletion – his text of Homer included all these elements. In its inclusiveness, the Homeric text of Zenodotus could serve as an all-encompassing bible, as it were, for neoterics and anti-neoterics alike. {292|293}

2§224 By contrast, the Homeric edition of Aristarchus shaded over the neoteric elements, thereby highlighting what he considered to be the core text of Homer. These neoteric elements, like other variant readings, could not be studied in the scrolls containing the Homeric base text as presented by Aristarchus; instead, such study was relegated to his hupomnēmata ‘commentaries’, written in separate scrolls.

2§225 As I noted earlier, the base text of Homer as edited by Aristarchus was adorned with critical signs that cross-referred to the hupomnēmata of the editor. It was in these hupomnēmata that the reader could find out about textual variants in general. Among these variants, the neoteric elements figured most prominently. In these hupomnēmata, Aristarchus offered a critical analysis of what he judged to be the rightness or wrongness of the core version as juxtaposed with all available textual variants found in other versions – and as juxtaposed also with any conjectures made by critics, including himself. Unfortunately, the corpus of variant readings assembled by Aristarchus has not survived as a corpus, since the Homeric hupomnēmata of Aristarchus have not been preserved in their textual integrity. [226] What survives from these commentaries is an unwieldy mass of excerpts and reports made by Aristonicus, Didymus, and other Aristarchean scholars, whose own works in turn survive only in the form of sporadic excerpts and reports made by scholiasts in the Homeric scholia. [227] The unfortunate outcome is that Aristarchus’ collection of neoteric elements, a most important component of the variant readings reported by him, has been for the most part irretrievably lost. [228] The Aristarchean editorial policy of shading over the supposedly peripheral neoteric elements in order to highlight the core text of Homer resulted ultimately – and unintentionally – in the relegation of this periphery into a permanent outer darkness. Against this background of darkness, the non-neoteric core text of Homer continued to shine forth to the public at large.

2§226 This Homeric core text, surrounded by a periphery of neoteric elements that Aristarchus relegated to his hupomnēmata ‘commentaries’, was the Koine. The Homeric Koine, as approximated by the base text of Aristarchus in the second century BCE, stands in stark contrast with the Homerus Auctus, as approximated by the base text of Zenodotus in the age of Callimachus in the third century BCE. By contrast with the base text of Aristarchus, the base text {293|294} of Zenodotus was more inclusive – and encumbered – even though the editorial criteria of Zenodotus himself were in some ways more exclusive than those of Aristarchus. When it came to discriminating between ostensibly Homeric and non-Homeric verses, Zenodotus was more exclusive in that he tended to athetize more verses than did Aristarchus, at least when it came to verses judged to be Orphic accretions. An extreme example, as we saw, is the fact that Zenodotus athetized the entire narrative of the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII. Conversely, Aristarchus tended to athetize more verses than did Zenodotus when it came to passages judged to be Cyclic accretions. Overall, the number of verses athetized by Aristarchus on the grounds that they are Cyclic accretions tends to be exceeded, as I argued, by the number of verses athetized by Zenodotus on the grounds that they are Orphic accretions. In any case, both editors retained in their base texts the verses they athetized.

2§227 The notionally genuine Homer, as ‘corrected’ by the system of athetesis developed by Zenodotus, may have been more exclusive than the notionally genuine Homer of Aristarchus, but the point remains that the base text of Zenodotus was more inclusive, since it included not only the athetized verses marked with an obelos but also the plus verses marked with deletion signs and featuring brief comments written into the margins. In other words, the base text of Zenodotus must have encompassed the same kinds of augmentation encompassed by the base text of Crates, which was the equivalent of what I have been calling the Homerus Auctus. [229] By contrast, the base text of Aristarchus included only the verses he athetized, not the plus verses.

2ⓢ19. Variations in the consequences of hymnic metabasis

2§228 The fluctuation between the Homerus Auctus and the ‘corrected’ Homer of editors like Zenodotus in the age of Callimachus can be viewed as a poetic challenge as well as a scholarly problem for poet-scholars like Callimachus. Here I return to Hymn 1 of Callimachus, which I have described as his virtual Homeric Hymn to Zeus. As we saw, the infinite deferral of metabasis in this Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus implies that the poet defers the poetic challenge of making a perfect new Homeric text. On the other hand, scholars like Zenodotus in the age of Callimachus accepted the scholarly challenge of perfecting the old Homeric text. Such an ongoing process of perfecting the text is the essence of diorthōsis or ‘corrective editing’. As I will now argue, such diorthōsis is viewed by Callimachus as a non-poetic or meta-poetic variation on the theme of {294|295} imagining the consequences of hymnic metabasis. Proceeding from there, I will also consider other variations we can find in the consequences of hymnic metabasis - variations that are decidedly poetic.

2§229 So far, we have seen that Callimachus defers the making of a metabasis in his Hymns. This is not to say, however, that he never successfully executed a hymnic metabasis. We find a splendid poetic execution in the ending of Callimachus’ Aetia, in the last three verses of the conclusion of Book 4, the last of four scrolls:

2ⓣ74 Callimachus Aetia Book 4 F 112.7-9

χαῖρε, σὺν εὐεστοῖ δ’ ἔρχÚεο λωϊτέρῃ.
χαῖρε, Ζεῦ, μέγα καὶ σύ, σάω δ’ [ὅλο]ν οἶκον ἀνάκτων·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ Μουσέων πεζὸνÚ [ἔ]πειμι νομόν.

Hail and take pleasure [khaire], and return the next time, bringing even better well-being. [230]
And you too, Zeus, hail and take pleasure [khaire], in a big way. Keep in safety the entire royal household.
As for me, I [autar egō] will enter the pasture of the Muses where one walks on foot. [231]

2§230 As we saw in the Homeric Hymns, the expression autar egō ‘As for me, I …’ signals an upcoming metabasis after the hymnic salutation khaire ‘hail and take pleasure’. The hymnic metabasis, then, is quite clear here. The hymnic consequent of the metabasis, however, is opaque and riddling. On one hand, the word nomos evidently means ‘pasture’ – a meaning reinforced by the textual transmission of the oxytone accentuation nomós. [232] On the other hand, an alternative word nómos, with an alternative non-oxytone (“barytone”) accentuation, is implied by the immediate context of the metabasis here, in that nómos is a poetic term for a lyric genre, the prosaic term for which is kitharōidikos nomos ‘citharodic nome’. [233] I refer to my earlier work for details about this lyric genre, where I emphasize the essential fact that the {295|296} kitharōidikos nomos was conventionally introduced by a hymnic metabasis. [234] That is to say, a hymnic metabasis could introduce as its hymnic consequent not only epic, as we have seen so far, but also a variety of other genres, among which the kitharōidikos nomos ‘citharodic nome’ figures as the most salient example. I emphasize here the lyrical essence of this genre, because it stands in sharp contrast to the description of the nomos that is being introduced by the metabasis of Callimachus at the conclusion of his Aetia. The nomos projected as the hymnic consequent of this Callimachean metabasis is the opposite of the lyrical. It is non-lyrical, non-musical: it is pezos ‘pedestrian’. The metabasis of Callimachus projects as its consequent not lyric poetry, not even poetry, but ‘pedestrian’ prose. That ‘pedestrian’ prose, I submit, is the prose of Alexandrian scholarship, which enables the Alexandrian scholar to range all over the ‘pasture of the Muses’.

2§231 There are scholarly as well as poetic implications in this poetic pronouncement by Callimachus. For now, however, I confine myself to the poetics, concentrating on a single point: that the hymnic metabasis is capable of projecting, as its hymnic consequent, genres other than epic. A salient example, as we have just seen, is the kitharōidikos nomos ‘citharodic nome’. I now proceed to examine two other examples, involving other genres.

2§232 The first example is a fragment from a song of Simonides (F 11 ed. 2 West) celebrating the victory of the Hellenes who fought the Persians at the battle of Plataea in 479 BCE. This song (for the moment, I use “song” in the broadest possible sense of the word) shows the characteristics of a humnos: after glorifying the deeds of the Achaean heroes at Troy in verses 11-18, the speaker of the song turns to Achilles and addresses him in the second person as a cult hero, greeting him with the hymnic salutation khaire ‘hail and take pleasure’ at verse 19, which is followed by a metabasis signaled by the expression autar egō ‘as for me, I …’ at verse 20, which activates as its hymnic consequent a narration of the glorious deeds of the Hellenes who fought at Plataea, starting with the Spartans at verse 25. [235]

2§233 The second example is a fragment from Empedocles:

2ⓣ75 Empedocles B 35 DK (= F 201 ed. Bollack)

αὐτὰρ ἐγὼπαλίνορσος ἐλεύσομαι ἐς πόρονὕμνων,
τὸν πρότερον κατέλεξα, λόγου λόγονἐξοχετεύων, {296|297}
20 κεῖνον· ἐπεὶ Νεῖκος μὲν ἐνέρτατον ἵκετο βένθος
δίνης, ἐν δὲ μέσηι Φιλότης στροφάλιγγι γένηται,
ἐν τῆι δὴ τάδε πάντα συνέρχεται ἓν μόνον εἶναι,
οὐκ ἄφαρ, ἀλλὰ θελημὰ συνιστάμεν’ ἄλλοθεν ἄλλα.
τῶν δέ τε μισγομένων χεῖτ’ ἔθνεα μυρία θνητῶν·
25πολλὰ δ’ ἄμεικτ’ ἔστηκε κεραιομένοισιν ἐναλλάξ,
ὅσσ’ ἔτι Νεῖκος ἔρυκε μετάρσιον· οὐ γὰρ ἀμεμφέως
τῶν πᾶν ἐξέστηκεν ἐπ’ ἔσχατατέρματακύκλου,
ἀλλὰ τὰ μέν τ’ ἐνέμιμνε μελέων τὰ δέ τ’ ἐξεβεβήκει.
ὅσσον δ’ αἰὲν ὑπεκπροθέοι, τόσον αἰὲν ἐπήιει
30ἠπιόφρων Φιλότητος ἀμεμφέος ἄμβροτος ὁρμή·
αἶψα δὲ θνήτ’ ἐφύοντο, τὰ πρὶν μάθον ἀθάνατ’ εἶναι,
ζωρά τε τὰ πρὶν ἄκρητα διαλλάξαντα κελεύθους.
τῶν δέ τε μισγομένων χεῖτ’ ἔθνεα μυρία θνητῶν,
παντοίαις ἰδέηισιν ἀρηρότα, θαῦμα ἰδέσθαι.

As for me, I [autar egō], starting again [palin-orsos], will now come back to the watercourse [poros] [236] of my humnoi,
the one [= the poros] that I had pronounced in due order before, [237] as I stream-channeled [okheteuein] one set of words from another. [238]
20That is the one [= the poros]. When Strife [Neikos] came to the lowest depth
of the swirling stream [dinē], and Bonding [Philotēs] was generated in the middle of the swirl,
and it is in her, now I see, that all these things came together to become a single thing, {297|298}
not all at once, but different things coming together willingly from different directions.
And from the things that were being mixed together there poured [kheîn] forth countless groupings of things mortal.
25But many other things stayed as they were, unmixed, in alternation with the things that were being mixed together,
I mean, all the things that Strife [Neikos] was still holding back, keeping them in suspension. For it did not happen that, without taking exception,
the entirety of them stood outside toward the outermost limits of the circle [kuklos],
but some of the members were staying on the inside while others had gone out to the outside.
As much as they kept on running away toward the outside all the time, so much did it keep on coming toward them all the time,
30I mean, the immortal onrush, with a disposition that is kind and gentle, of Bonding [Philotēs] herself, the one who does not take exception.
Then, all of a sudden, things were becoming mortal that had previously learned to be immortal,
and things that had been pure and unmixed before had now changed their ways.
And from the things that were being mixed together there poured [kheîn] forth countless groupings of things mortal.
They were fashioned in all manner of shapes, a wonder to behold.

2§234 This passage from Empedocles makes it explicit at verse 18 that the speaker’s discourse is a matter of singing songs that are humnoi. Moreover, the wording autar egō ‘as for me, I …’ in the same verse signals a metabasis, which as we saw is characteristic of humnoi.

2§235 There are also other passages to be found in Empedocles that reveal characteristics of humnoi. A case in point is the following: [239] {298|299}

2ⓣ76 Empedocles B 131 DK

εἰ γὰρ ἐφημερίων ἕνεκέν τινος, ἄμβροτε Μοῦσα,
ἡμετέρας μελέτας <ἅδε τοι> διὰ φροντίδος ἐλθεῖν,
εὐχομένωι νῦν αὖτε παρίστασο, Καλλιόπεια,
ἀμφὶ θεῶν μακάρων ἀγαθὸν λόγονἐμφαίνοντι.

If for the sake of any ephemeral being, immortal Muse,
it you to care about what concerned me,
then, I pray to you, come now once again and stand by me, Kalliope,
as I make visible [en-phainein] the genuine wording [logos] about [amphi] the blessed gods. [240]

2§236 In this passage, Empedocles B 131 DK, I draw attention to the invocation of Kalliope as the speaker’s primary Muse of inspiration. This detail is characteristic of Orphic traditions. As I show in the twin book Homer the Preclassic, the Muse Kalliope is particularly associated with Orphic humnoi, and it is relevant that Kalliope is claimed as the mother of Orpheus, as in the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes (verses 23-25). [241]

2§237 Also in the passage quoted earlier, Empedocles B 35 DK, we find characteristics of Orphic traditions. Overall, the mysticism of this passage is Orphic, as we see from the form of the humnoi to which the speaker is referring at verse 18. Most telling is the hymnic metabasis that we see in the same verse. This metabasis signals not a change of subject but a return to the same subject as before. The speaker is saying at verses 19-20 that he will start over again, and the restarting is described in metaphorical terms as the channelling of a continuous flow of water. Further, the flow of water is metaphorically equated with the flow of the speaker’s humnoi. As we are about to see, the idea of a hymnic subject that returns to itself after the metabasis is characteristic of Orphic humnoi in particular. This idea will bring us back to our starting point, {299|300} that is, the metaphor of the humnos as an eternally recycled rhoos ‘flow’ in the Callimachean Hymn to Zeus.

2ⓢ20. Theocritus and the mystical circularity of the song of Thyrsis

2§238 The mystical theme of an eternally recycled rhoos ‘flow’ recurs in a poem composed by another Alexandrian poet-scholar in the age of Callimachus. The poet is Theocritus of Syracuse, and the poem is his Idyll 1. Here the idea of an eternal flow of fresh spring water is once again being equated with the making of a humnos. We start with a verse that is notionally the final verse in a humnos:

2ⓣ77 Theocritus 1.145

χαίρετ’· ἐγὼ δ’ ὔμμιν καὶ ἐς ὕστερον ἅδιον ᾀσῶ.

Hail and take pleasure [khairete]. As for me, I [egō de] will sing for you even more sweetly in times to come.

2§239 The hymnic salutation khairete ‘hail and take pleasure’ is being addressed here to the Muses. The wording egō de ‘as for me, I …’ is the equivalent of autar egō ‘as for me, I …’, which as we saw signals a metabasis in the making of a humnos.

2§240 I draw attention to my translation of ἅδιον here in verse 145 of Theocritus 1 as an adverb, ‘more sweetly’, not as a substantival adjective, ‘a more sweet thing [= song]’. In what follows, I will justify this translation as I proceed to analyze this verse as a poetic act of metabasis.

2§241 Verse 145 in Idyll 1 of Theocritus marks the end of a song within a song. It is the last verse of a song about Daphnis, extending from verse 64 all the way through verse 145. This song within a song is notionally being performed by a figure called Thyrsis. [242] The inner song, just like the outer song that frames it, is a poem that pretends to be a song in its own right – though both the inner song and the outer song that frames it are composed in the non-singing recitative medium of the meter generalized by Homeric poetry, dactylic hexameter.

2§242 Earlier, at verse 61 of Idyll 1, the song of Thyrsis explicitly refers to itself as a humnos. [243] As we have already seen, this equation is borne out by formal features of the song, such as the hymnic salutation khairete ‘hail and {300|301} take pleasure’, addressed to the Muses at verse 145, which is the last verse of the song about Daphnis. From what we already know about the usage of khairete in humnoi, we would expect this hymnic salutation to signal here that the song about Daphnis has been a humnos all along. As we saw earlier in the Homeric Hymns, the hymnic salutation khairete activates a potential transition to the rest of the performance. What we expect to follow the hymnic khairete is a hymnic metabasis, and, after the metabasis, a hymnic consequent that continues as part of the humnos. And, true to form, a metabasis does in fact follow the salutation khairete: as we saw in the passage I just quoted, the hymnic salutation and the hymnic metabasis coexist in verse 145. But then the question is: what has happened to the hymnic consequent that we are expecting after the hymnic metabasis? We see no such consequent, since verse 145 marks the very end of the staged performance.

2§243 Relevant to the structure of the song of Thyrsis as a humnos are three different kinds of “refrains” in the song:

A) ἄρχετε βουκολικᾶς, Μοῖσαι φίλαι, ἄρχετ’ ἀοιδᾶς
Begin [arkhein], dear Muses, starting [arkhein] from the Cowherd’s Song.

(Theocritus 1 verses 64, 70, 73, 76, 79, 84, 89)

B) ἄρχετε βουκολικᾶς, Μοῖσαι, πάλινἄρχετ’ ἀοιδᾶς
Begin, Muses, startingonce again from the Cowherd’s Song.

(Theocritus 1 verses 94, 99, 104, 108, 111, 114, 119, 122)

C) λήγετε βουκολικᾶς, Μοῖσαι, ἴτε λήγετ’ ἀοιδᾶς
End [lēgein] Muses, go and leave off [lēgein] from the Cowherd’s Song.

(Theocritus 1 verses 127, 131, 137, 142)

2§244 The term refrain in this context has been explained as follows:

Thyrsis’s masterpiece, which he now sings at the goatherd’s invitation, is divided by refrains or intercalary sections, of which the longest are of five, the shortest of two lines. … The [manuscripts] show a remarkable unanimity as to their [= the refrains’] position and the tradition on this point appears to be quite firm. [244] {301|302}

2§245 In terms of this explanation, the “sections” marked off by these refrains cannot be seen as “strophic responsions,” since the hexameter is a spoken verse and, consequently, “the ‘songs’ which T[heocritus] puts in the mouth of his characters can do no more than suggest in another medium the verses which they sang”; in short, “anything in the nature of strophic responsion is not to be looked for.” [245]

2§ I agree that the A/B/C “refrains” of the song of Thyrsis are not markers of “strophes” in “strophic responsion.” What, then, do they mark? I propose that these A/B/C “refrains” mark various transitions in the narrative. The most essential of these transitions is the verse I quoted earlier, Theocritus 1.145, which comes at the very end of the song. This transition is signaled by an earlier verse, Theocritus 1.142, which is the last occurrence of the “refrains.” That “refrain” is of type “C”:

2ⓣ78 Theocritus 1.142

λήγετε βουκολικᾶς, Μοῖσαι, ἴτε λήγετ’ ἀοιδᾶς.

End [lēgein] Muses, go and leave off [lēgein] from the Cowherd’s Song.

2§247 The same expert whom I quoted earlier has this to say about type “C”:

[The scholia] comment on C at 127, and the [manuscripts] agree in introducing it [= C] at that point and using it [= C] from there on. At 123 Daphnis, who has taken leave of his native haunts, turns to address Pan, and 127 follows the first section of his address. It might seem therefore that if this position for C is correct, T[heocritus] thought of his refrains as belonging to the section which precedes them, not to that which follows, and that the additional refrain thrown in to frame the whole composition is not the last at 142 but the first at 64. [246]

2§248 As I hope to show in what follows, there is no “additional refrain” here, either at the beginning or at the “end.” Rather, these “refrains” are introductory formulas that mark the beginning, then the consequent, and then the ending of a humnos.

2§249 The word lēgein at Theocritus 1.142 and elsewhere, which I translate in two ways within one verse – as both ‘end’ and ‘leave off’ – is indicative {302|303} of two ways of ending a performance. The first and obvious way, of course, is simply to end. The second way, however, is less obvious to us: a performer can end a given performance only to restart it later.

2§250 As the humnos of Thyrsis reaches its conclusion, the wording implies that a restarting is anticipated:

2ⓣ79 Theocritus 1.137-145

λήγετεβουκολικᾶς, Μοῖσαι, ἴτε λήγετ' ἀοιδᾶς.
χὢ μὲν τόσσ’ εἰπὼν ἀπεπαύσατο· τὸν δ’ Ἀφροδίτα
ἤθελ’ ἀνορθῶσαι· τά γε μὰν λίνα πάντα λελοίπει
140 ἐκ Μοιρᾶν, χὠ Δάφνις ἔβα ῥόον. ἔκλυσε δίνα
τὸν Μοίσαις φίλον ἄνδρα, τὸν οὐ Νύμφαισιν ἀπεχθῆ.
λήγετεβουκολικᾶς, Μοῖσαι, ἴτε λήγετ’ ἀοιδᾶς.
καὶ τὺ δίδου τὰν αἶγα τό τε σκύφος, ὥς κεν ἀμέλξας
σπείσω ταῖς Μοίσαις. ὦ χαίρετε πολλάκι, Μοῖσαι,
145 χαίρετ’· ἐγὼ δ’ ὔμμιν καὶ ἐς ὕστερον ἅδιον ᾀσῶ.

End [lēgein], Muses, go and leave off [lēgein] from the Cowherd’s Song.
Saying this much, he stopped. [247] But him did Aphrodite
wish to make stand up straight [an-orthoûn]. [248] Meanwhile, all the thread had run out
140 from the Moirai. And Daphnis went the way of theflow [rhoos]. A swirling stream [dinē] washed over
the man who was near-and-dear [philos] to the Muses, the one who was no enemy to the Nymphs.
End [lēgein], Muses, go and leave off [lēgein] from theCowherd’s Song. {303|304}
But you, give me the she-goat and the cup [skuphos], [249] so that I may milk [250] her
and that I may pour libation [from the cup] to the Muses. O Muses, hail and take pleasure [khairete] again and again.
145 Hail and take pleasure [khairete]. As for me, I will sing for you even more sweetly in times to come.

2§251 In the end, there is no immediate restarting after Thyrsis ‘leaves off’ at verse 142 and pronounces the metabasis at verse 145. Nor is there any counter-starting by the other singer in this poem, a goatherd, once Thyrsis ‘leaves off’. Instead, at verses 146-152, which are not quoted here, the other singer responds to the song of Thyrsis by awarding him a prize for the song. That prize, which as we have just seen is anticipated by Thyrsis in his song at verses 143-144, is a wondrous cup described by the goatherd at an earlier point (verses 27-61, which are not quoted here). Are we to conclude, then, that the humnos of Thyrsis has simply ended after all and will not be restarted?

2§252 For an answer, I need to reconsider verse 145 in Idyll 1 of Theocritus, which signals the metabasis in the humnos of Thyrsis. This time, I consider the verse in the context of the wording that leads up to it. In the quotation that I have just given, the wording starts with an earlier “refrain,” at verse 137, and proceeds to the last “refrain,” at verse 142, and then ends, as it were, with the metabasis at verse 145.

2§253 Verse 137 signals that the performance is heading toward an end, a stopping point, and that the figure of Daphnis is heading toward his own end. The very next verse, 138, makes it explicit that Daphnis stops speaking with a human voice. But will he stop living as well? Yes, he will die, as an earlier verse foretells (135, not quoted here). The death of Daphnis comes to pass at verse 140, when the dinē ‘swirling stream’ washes him away, ἔκλυσε δίνα. But the question remains: will Daphnis stop living after his death? The response is worded in the form of a mystery. The mysticism is signaled already at verses 138-139, where we hear that Aphrodite wished to ‘resurrect’ Daphnis (verb {304|305} anorthoûn). [251] Such opaque references to resurrection (and erection) are typical of wording that signals the process of initiation into a mystery.

2§254 As I noted earlier, the mystical moment of truth comes to pass at verse 140, when Daphnis ἔβα ῥόον ‘went the way of the flow [rhoos]’ as the dinē ‘swirling stream’ washed him away. [252] The context here is comparable with the mystical context of dinē ‘swirling stream’ at verse 21 of Empedocles B 35 DK, which I quoted earlier. The question arises, however, whether the death of Daphnis is truly a mystical theme. According to one view, “the manner of his death remains mysterious, but he may merely have ‘wasted away’.” [253] The word that is rendered as ‘waste away’ here in Idyll 1 is tēkesthai (verse 66 ἐτάκετο), with reference to the mysterious death of Daphnis in the song of Thyrsis. Literally, tēkesthai means ‘dissolve’.

2§255 In support of the view that Daphnis may merely have ‘wasted away’, another passage from Theocritus has been cited. In Idyll 7 verses 73-77, we find that Daphnis ‘dissolved [tēkesthai] like snow’ (76 εὖτε χιὼν ὥς τις κατετάκετο ). The word tēkesthai, which I translate here as ‘dissolved’, has to do basically with liquefaction, as we see most clearly in Odyssey xix 205 and 206, where the word is used two times with reference to the melting of snow. In that same Homeric context, the same word tēkesthai is also used three more times with reference to the weeping Penelope, who is pictured as physically ‘dissolving’ in sadness (xix 204, 207, 208). [254] The ‘dissolving’ of Penelope in her sadness is being metaphorically compared to the dissolving of snow on a mountaintop into the waters of a cold mountain stream. [255]

2§256 With reference to the lovesick Daphnis as pictured in Idyll 1 of Theocritus, verse 66 (ἐτάκετο), the application of tēkesthai seems to imply the {305|306} idea of ‘wasting away’ in sadness [256] or in illness. [257] But the basic idea of tēkesthai remains ‘dissolve’ and not merely ‘waste away’. [258] And this idea is pertinent to the death of Daphnis. Yes, “the manner of his death remains mysterious,” but the ultimate mystery, after all, is not in the way Daphnis died but in the way he may yet come back to life after death. Daphnis lives on by ‘going the way of the flow’: this expression ἔβα ῥόον at verse 140 evokes the idea of an unfailing ‘fluency’ emanating from the Muses, as manifested in the Hesiodic expression I quoted earlier from Theogony 39-40: τῶν δ’ ἀκάματος ῥέει αὐδὴ | ἐκ στομάτων ἡδεῖα ‘inexhaustable is the sweet voice that flows from their mouths’. Such ‘fluency’ is the mark of the humnos, as we saw in the usage of the word rhoos ‘flow’ in the Hymns of Callimachus, particularly in the Hymn to Zeus and in the Hymn to Apollo.

2§257 Here I return to an important detail: the song about Daphnis, in verses 64-152 of Theocritus 1, is notionally being performed by a figure called Thyrsis. The song of Thyrsis, as his very name suggests, is driven by the idea of initiation into a mystery. The name Thyrsis is derived from thursos / θύρσος, which is a ritual wand of initiation into the mysteries of the god Dionysus, whose ritual name is Bakkhos, that is, Bacchus. This Bacchic wand, the thursos / θύρσος, is also known by its metonymic variant narthēx / νάρθηξ, which designates the stalk of the wand. Together these words are used to describe the mystical experience of tapping into mysterious sources of wondrous streams: {306|307}

2ⓣ80 Euripides Bacchae 704-711

θύρσον δέ τις λαβοῦσ’ ἔπαισεν ἐς πέτραν, | ὅθεν δροσώδης ὕδατος ἐκπηδᾶι νοτίς· | ἄλλη δὲ νάρθηκ’ ἐς πέδον καθῆκε γῆς | καὶ τῆιδε κρήνην ἐξανῆκ’ οἴνου θεός· | ὅσαις δὲ λευκοῦ πώματος πόθος παρῆν, | ἄκροισι δακτύλοισι διαμῶσαι χθόνα | γάλακτος ἑσμοὺς εἶχον· ἐκ δὲ κισσίνων | θύρσωνγλυκεῖαιμέλιτος ἔσταζον ῥοαί.

One of the them [= women possessed by Bacchus] took a thursos and struck it against a rock. | From it sprang forth the moisture of water, looking like dew. | Another one of them lowered her narthēx to touch the surface of the earth, and at that spot did the god send up a fountain of wine. | Those women who had a desire for the white drink | pressed the earth with the tips of their fingers | and received jets of milk. Out of the thursoi, draped with ivy, emanated sweetstreams [rhoai] of honey.

2§258 When I say “mystery” in such contexts, I have in mind traditions I describe as Orphic as well as Bacchic. When I say Orphic and Bacchic together, I am following the usage of Herodotus:

2ⓣ81 Herodotus 2.81.1-2

οὐ μέντοι ἔς γε τὰ ἱρὰ ἐσφέρεται εἰρίνεα οὐδὲ συγκαταθάπτεταί σφι· οὐ γὰρ ὅσιον. ὁμολογέουσι δὲ ταῦτα τοῖσι ᾿Ορφικοῖσι καλεομένοισι καὶ Βακχικοῖσι, ἐοῦσι δὲ Αἰγυπτίοισι, καὶ <τοῖσι> Πυθαγορείοισι· οὐδὲ γὰρ τούτων τῶν ὀργίων μετέχοντα ὅσιόν ἐστι ἐν εἰρινέοισι εἵμασι θαφθῆναι. Ἔστι δὲ περὶ αὐτῶν ἱρὸς λόγοςλεγόμενος.

It is not customary for them [= the Egyptians], however, to wear woolen fabrics for the occasion of sacred rituals or to be buried wearing wool. For it is unholy for them. This is in accordance with rituals that are called Orphic [Orphika] and Bacchic [Bakkhika], though they are really Egyptian and, by extension, Pythagorean [Puthagoreia]. [259] I say this because it is unholy for someone who takes part in these [Pythagorean] rituals [orgia] to be buried wearing woolen fabrics. And there is a sacred [hieros] discourse [logos] that is told [legesthai] about that. {307|308}

2§259 In Homer the Preclassic, I analyze the collocation of Orphic and Bacchic elements in such a context. [260] I argue there that the collocation goes back to Athenian traditions dating from the era of the Peisistratidai. Here I simply need to highlight the word used by Herodotus to indicate the Orphic and Bacchic rituals: it is orgia, translated in the dictionary of Liddell and Scott as ‘secret rites, mysteries’.

2§260 From what I have just quoted, we have seen that Herodotus (2.81.2) links this word orgia ‘secret rites, mysteries’ with hieros logos ‘sacred discourse’, with reference to the wording that accompanies the secret rites. Such wording is attested in the words of Plato’s Socrates, where he makes this striking distinction between successful and unsuccessful initiation:

2ⓣ82 Plato Phaedo 69c-d

καὶ κινδυνεύουσι καὶ οἱ τὰς τελετὰς ἡμῖν οὗτοι καταστήσαντες οὐ φαῦλοί τινες εἶναι, ἀλλὰ τῷ ὄντι πάλαιαἰνίττεσθαι ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀμύητος καὶ ἀτέλεστος εἰς ᾍδου ἀφίκηται ἐν βορβόρῳ κείσεται, ὁ δὲ κεκαθαρμένος τε καὶ τετελεσμένος ἐκεῖσε ἀφικόμενος μετὰ θεῶν οἰκήσει. εἰσὶν γὰρ δή, [ὥς] φασιν οἱ περὶ τὰς τελετάς, “ναρθηκοφόροι μὲν πολλοί, βάκχοι δέ τε παῦροι·”

And there is a chance that even these persons who founded the mysteries [teletai] for us, [261] whoever they might have been, were not insignificant but were in a real sense saying in enigmatic utterances [ainittesthai], back then in those remote times [palai], that whoever arrives in the realm of Hades [262] without having been initiated [amuētos, from verb muein] and without having been ritually inducted [atelestos, from the verb of telos] will be lodged in the mud, [263] but that he who arrives there after having been purified [= verb of katharsis] and having been inducted [= teleîn, the verb of {308|309} telos] will dwell [= verb of oikos] with the gods. [264] “Many,” as is said by those concerned with the mysteries [teletai], “are the bearers of the narthēx, but few are the bakkhoi [= devotees of Bacchus].” [265]

2§261 Here we see another dimension of the meaning of telos: it is not just the ‘outcome’ of a process: it is also the successful outcome of a mystical process. In other words, telos is a successful ‘initiation’ into the ‘mysteries’, that is, into the teletai. One such mystery is the ‘coming-full-circle’ of the Ōkeanos.

2§262 Applying to the song of Thyrsis what we have just learned about Orphic and Bacchic mysteries, I suggest that the dissolving or liquefaction of Daphnis in Theocritus 1 is not only a metaphor for the death of Daphnis: it is also a response to the question posed by the mystery of this death. Daphnis lives on after all, even after his death as a mortal, because he ‘went the way of the flow [rhoos]’, ἔβα ῥόον. This expression ἔβα ῥόον in verse 140 of Idyll 1 of Theocritus evokes the metaphor that equates poetry with unfailing ‘fluidity’, which we saw deployed in the expression (ἀκάματος) ῥέει αὐδὴ ‘ (unfailing) the voice [audē] flows [rheîn]’ in Hesiod Theogony 39. Such ‘fluidity’, as we saw from the poetry of Hesiod, and of Callimachus as well, is a sign of the humnos.

2§263 It is relevant that the singing of Thyrsis is compared at the beginning of Idyll 1 of Theocritus, not quoted here, to a stream that ‘is poured down [kataleibesthai] from the rocks above’, in verse 8. So the song of Thyrsis about Daphnis is itself a stream, and Daphnis fuses not only with the stream but also with the song.

2§264 Here is one way of interpreting the closing lines of the song of Thyrsis, in Theocritus 1.143-145: “These lines (143-145) stand outside the song proper, but the promise and hymnic farewell to the Muses which link 144 to 141, the echo of 65 [not quoted here] in 145 (ἐγώ – Θύρσις ὅδ’, ἅδιον – ἁδέα), and the fact that the expectation has been created that the refrain of 142 will introduce a new stanza all blur the boundary between the two” (emphasis mine). [266] In terms of this interpretation, “The promise to ‘sing a sweeter song in the future’ takes the place of the standard αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς with which the Homeric Hymns close.” [267] I offer a different way {309|310} of interpreting the closing lines of the song of Thyrsis in Theocritus 1.143-145. Though I agree that the phrasing αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ’ ἀοιδῆς in the Homeric Hymns is comparable, I have already argued for a different interpretation of that phrasing: ‘as for me, I will keep you in mind along with the rest of the song’ – instead of ‘another song’. Further, the expression khairete in the song of Thyrsis at verses 144 and 145 is more than a mark of ‘farewell’. If I am right about this hymnic salutation khairete, which I have been translating as ‘hail and take pleasure’, it activates the onset of a metabasis, which offers an option to continue the performance. As for the wording of the metabasis in the song of Thyrsis, ἐγὼ δ’ ὔμμιν καὶ ἐς ὕστερον ἅδιον ᾀσῶ at verse 145, I have been translating it this way: ‘as for me, I will sing for you ever more sweetly in times to come’. The wording of the original Greek does not point to a different subject for the song to be sung in the future. As my translation indicates, the wording ἅδιον is most naturally to be taken here as an adverb, ‘more sweetly’, not as a substantival adjective, ‘a more sweet thing [= song]’. The singing that is promised for the future does not point to a different song. Rather, it points to a continuation of the same song with which Thyrsis had begun. The emphasis is placed on the continuum of the song, on its continuity.

2§265 A moment ago, I described the final line of the song of Thyrsis in Theocritus 1.145 as an act of metabasis, activated by the hymnic salutation khairete. This same line can also be described as a ritual act of transition, as an initiation into a mystery that tells of a passage from one life into another. Daphnis lives on, transformed into a stream. The song of Thyrsis about Daphnis lives on, transformed into that stream. The A/B/C “refrains” of the song of Thyrsis trace the flow of this song, from beginning (ἄρχετε) to beginning again (πάλιν ἄρχετ’) to ending (λήγετε), but the ending can be seem as a circling back to the beginning:

2ⓣ83 Theocritus 1.92-94

τὼς δ’ οὐδὲν ποτελέξαθ’ ὁ βουκόλος, ἀλλὰ τὸν αὑτῶ
ἄνυε πικρὸν ἔρωτα, καὶ ἐς τέλος ἄνυε μοίρας.
ἄρχετε βουκολικᾶς, Μοῖσαι, πάλιν ἄρχετ’ ἀοιδᾶς.

To them no answer made the cowherd, but, as for his own
bitter eros, he continued [= anuein] it to the completion [telos] of his share in life [moira].
Begin, Muses, starting again from the Cowherd’s Song. {310|311}

2§266 Up to this point in the song of Thyrsis, Daphnis refuses to respond to those who question him; instead, he ‘saw his bitter love through to the end [telos] appointed by fate [moira]’. [268] I have just quoted a leading commentator’s translation of τὸν αὑτῶ | ἄνυε πικρὸν ἔρωτα, καὶ ἐς τέλος ἄνυε μοίρας at verses 92-93. My own translation indicates a slightly different interpretation: ‘as for his own bitter love, he continued it to the completion [telos] of his share in life [moira]’. The idea of continuing to the telos conveys the idea of continuing to the ‘completion’ of the continuum that is the narrative (in effect, this completion is the moira). [269] In terms of a straight line, the ‘completion’ of the continuum is telos in the sense of ‘end’; in terms of a circle, however, the ‘completion’ is a telos in the sense of ‘coming full circle’, which is a further continuum. Thus the ‘completion’ or fulfillment of the unrequited love (πικρὸν ἔρωτα at verse 93) becomes a transformation of that love. The completion of the life of Daphnis becomes a transformation of that life. [270] The “refrain” (verse 94) says it over and over again: the start is a restarting (ἄρχετε … πάλιν ἄρχετ’ ἀοιδᾶς).

2§267 In this image of the ongoing flow we see the basic idea of the humnos. I return to the point I made when we began to look at the song of Thyrsis in Theocritus 1. That song, as we saw at verse 61, calls itself a humnos. What makes it a humnos is its continuity. And that continuity is in this case circular, not linear.

2§268 To sum up, the hymnic salutation khairete of verses 144 and 145 in Theocritus 1 activates the onset of metabasis, which offers an option to continue the performance of song. The song that is promised at the metabasis is not a different song, however, but a continuation – and recycling – of the same song with which Thyrsis had begun:

2ⓣ84 Theocritus 1.144-145

χαίρετε πολλάκι, Μοῖσαι,
χαίρετ’· ἐγὼ δ’ ὔμμιν καὶ ἐς ὕστερον ἅδιον ᾀσῶ

O Muses, hail and take pleasure [khairete] again and again. {311|312}
Hail and take pleasure [khairete]. As for me, I will sing for you even more sweetly in times to come.

2ⓢ21. Redefining the humnos

2§269 In the Homeric Hymns, I conclude, the continuity that is signaled by metabasis extends beyond the initial subject of the humnos. The rest of the performance leads to subjects that extend beyond the subject of the god initially invoked by the performer. Among these subjects is the world of epic, as we saw most clearly in Homeric Hymn (32) to Selene (verses 17-20). In other words, the metabasis can signal a shift from hymnic subject to epic subject. The entire sequence of subjects, however, remains technically a humnos.

2§270 In view of its epic connections, the poetic idea of humnos needs to be redefined. The word’s technical sense, which as we saw is most evident in the Homeric Hymns, is obscured when we translate humnos by way of its modern derivative, ‘hymn’. From the standpoint of the poetics we see still at work in the Homeric Hymns, the humnos is not just a ‘hymn’ – that is, a song sung in praise of gods or heroes – but a song that functions as a connector, a continuator. In this sense, the meaning of the word diverges from the poetic idea of the prooimion. Technically, both humnos and prooimion convey the poetic idea of an authoritative beginning that makes continuity possible. But the word humnos, unlike prooimion, refers not only to the start of the continuum but also to the continuum itself.

2§271 When the humnos leads to epic, as we are about to see from the evidence of Homeric poetry, it is not just a prooimion that introduces epic. The humnos is also the sequencing principle that connects with epic, then extends into epic, and then finally becomes the same thing as epic itself.

2§272 The humnoi of Hellenistic poet-scholars like Callimachus and Theocritus can be seen as alternatives to the Homeric Hymns, which are notionally perfect beginnings for epic performance. For example, a Hellenistic humnos like the one we find embedded in Idyll 1 of Theocritus avoids epic as its hymnic consequent: in fact, in this case, the humnos avoids any consequent other than itself – a consequent that thus becomes eternally recycled in performance. Another example is the Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus, which as we saw is a notionally perfect beginning not for Homeric performance but for the ever-ongoing process of Homeric scholarship.

2§273 Despite the substitution of alternatives to epic performance as the hymnic consequent of the Hellenistic humnos, the idea of poetic authority {312|313} remains a constant in the Hellenistic usage of the word itself. In all the passages we have considered so far, Hellenistic as well as archaic, this word humnos is what signals the perfect beginning, the perfect arkhē, of performance. Without the perfect beginning, there can be no perfect sequence leading to the perfect telos – whether this telos is a linear ‘ending’ of a narrative or a cyclic ‘coming full circle’, recycling or looping back to the initial subject. Much more needs to be said about these two senses of telos, but here I am simply laying the groundwork for arguing that even the epic of Homeric poetry operates on the principle of starting with a perfect beginning, continuing with the perfect sequence, and finishing off with the perfect telos. And the most perfect expression of this perfection is the word humnos.

2ⓢ22. The poetics of the humnos in Homeric poetry

2§274 At this point, I am at long last ready to show the verse where Homeric poetry refers to itself as humnos:

2ⓣ85 Odyssey viii 429

δαιτί τε τέρπηται καὶ ἀοιδῆς ὕμνον ἀκούων

… so that he [= Odysseus] might take delight [terpesthai] in the feast [dais] and in listening to the humnos of the song.

2§275 Alkinoos, king of the Phaeacians, is the speaker here. He is speaking of an upcoming occasion. The blind singer Demodokos will be performing on this occasion, to which the king refers here as a dais ‘feast’. The guest of honor at this feast is the yet-unidentified Odysseus. The song that Demodokos will be singing on this occasion is the third of three songs the singer performs in Odyssey viii, and the king refers here to this singing as ‘the humnos of the song’. Each one of the three separate occasions of performance is a part of the dais or ‘feasting’ of the Phaeacians, which has in fact been ongoing throughout the narrative of Odyssey viii. This word dais in Odyssey viii and beyond refers not to any single occasion of feasting: rather, dais refers to an ongoing series of occasions for feasting, that is, to a festival. [271] Such a stylized festival is the context for performing an ongoing series of songs, the word for which is humnos.

2§276 At verse 429 of Odyssey viii, the reference to ‘the humnos of the singing [aoidē]’ on the occasion of a dais ‘feast’ involves not only the upcoming {313|314} third song but also the first and the second songs that preceded it. The word humnos is a formal indication that the first, second, and third songs of Demodokos are in the process of becoming connected to each other in the ongoing outer narrative of the Odyssey. [272]

2§277 To support the formulation I just made, I start by stating the essentials of my upcoming argumentation. All along, the narrative in Odyssey viii makes it implicit that the three songs of Demodokos are intended primarily for Odysseus. But then, as we saw from the wording I just quoted at verse 429, this intentionality is at long last made explicit. As a participant in the audience that is listening to the songs of Demodokos, the hero himself can now become the ultimate point of reference for the audience’s reception of these songs, and the hero’s perspective will turn out to be the Homeric perspective. For the hero of the Odyssey, the poetics of the inner narrative will become the poetics of the outer narrative, since he is the main actor in both narratives. The ongoing outer narrative of the Odyssey will put to the test the audience’s reception of the inner narrative consisting of the three songs sung by Demodokos. At stake is not only the reception of the singer’s three songs but also the reception of Homer. [273]

2§278 A distinctive feature of the outer narrative in Odyssey viii is that it separates the three songs of Demodokos from each other: each one of his three songs is represented as having its own separate starting point. And yet, these three separate inner narratives show signs of a narrative continuum connecting the three songs. The connectedness of this continuum will be made evident through the privileged perspective of Odysseus as he listens to the three stories of the inner narrative. The hero will make the mental connections that need to be made by the outer narrative. As we will see, the process of making the humnos is the process of making such mental connections. By indicating connections that achieve a narrative continuum in the Homeric Odyssey, the word humnos is self-referential: in referring to the ongoing humnos, Homeric poetry is referring to itself.

2§279 This argument, that humnos at verse 429 of Odyssey viii expresses the connectedness of a narrative continuum, is consistent with my ongoing argument that the noun humnos derives from a verb root that refers to the weaving of a web. In terms of these two arguments combined, the wording {314|315} that I translate as ‘the humnos of the singing [aoidē]’ at verse 429 expresses a metaphor: just as the weaving of a web is a process of making connections, so too is the making of songs. As the argumentation proceeds, the relevance of this metaphor to the context of humnos at verse 429 will I hope become ever more evident.

2§280 The use of humnos at verse 429 of Odyssey viii is parallel to the use of this same word in the Homeric Hymns. In both the Hymns and the Odyssey, humnos conveys the idea of making connections to maintain a narrative continuum. Here I turn to a most striking example of parallelism in usage. As in the Hymns, the word humnos in the Odyssey is associated with a technical word that expresses the idea of actually furthering the continuity of the narrative. That word is metabainein ‘move ahead and shift forward’, as used by the still-unidentified Odysseus with reference to what Alkinoos at verse 429 had called the humnos to be performed by Demodokos:

2ⓣ86 Odyssey viii 485-498

485  αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ πόσιος καὶ ἐδητύος ἐξ ἔρον ἕντο,
δὴ τότε Δημόδοκον προσέφη πολύμητις Ὀδυσσεύς·
“Δημόδοκ’, ἔξοχα δή σε βροτῶν αἰνίζομ’ ἁπάντων·
ἢ σέ γε Μοῦσ’ ἐδίδαξε, Διὸς πάϊς, ἢ σέ γ’ Ἀπόλλων·
λίην γὰρ κατὰ κόσμον Ἀχαιῶν οἶτον ἀείδεις,
490  ὅσσ’ ἕρξαν τ’ ἔπαθόν τε καὶ ὅσσ’ ἐμόγησαν Ἀχαιοί,
ὥς τέ που ἢ αὐτὸς παρεὼν ἢ ἄλλου ἀκούσας.
ἀλλ’ ἄγε δὴ μετάβηθι καὶ ἵππουκόσμον ἄεισον
δουρατέου, τὸν ᾿Επειὸς ἐποίησεν σὺν Ἀθήνῃ,
ὅν ποτ’ ἐς ἀκρόπολιν δόλον ἤγαγε δῖος Ὀδυσσεὺς
495  ἀνδρῶν ἐμπλήσας, οἳ Ἴλιον ἐξαλάπαξαν.
αἴ κεν δή μοι ταῦτα κατὰ μοῖρανκαταλέξῃς,
αὐτίκα καὶ πᾶσιν μυθήσομαι ἀνθρώποισιν,
ὡς ἄρα τοι πρόφρων θεὸς ὤπασε θέσπιν ἀοιδήν.”

485  When they had satisfied their desire for drinking and eating,
then Odysseus, the one with many a stratagem, addressed Demodokos: {315|316}
Demodokos, I admire and pointedly praise you, more than any other human.
Either the Muse, child of Zeus, taught you, or Apollo.
All too well, in accord with its kosmos, do you sing the fate of the Achaeans
490  - all the things the Achaeans did and all the things that were done to them, and they suffered for it -
you sing it as if you yourself had been present or had heard it from someone else.
But come now, move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] and sing the kosmos of the horse,
the wooden horse thatEpeios made with the help of Athena,
the one that Odysseus, the radiant one, once upon a time took to the acropolis as a stratagem,
495  having filled it with men, who ransacked Ilion.
If you can tell me in due order [katalegein], in accord with proper apportioning [moira], [274]
then right away I will say the authoritative word [muthos] to all mortals:
I will say, and I see it as I say it, that the god, favorably disposed toward you, granted you a divinely sounding song.

2§281 Odysseus here is challenging Demodokos to sing about the Wooden Horse. More specifically, as we see from the use of the technical poetic term metabainein ‘move ahead and shift forward’ at verse 492, he is challenging the poet to perform a hymnic shifting forward or metabasis.

2§282 As we saw in the Homeric Hymns, metabasis is a device that activates a hymnic consequent. One such consequent, as we also saw in the Hymns, is epic itself. Here in the Homeric Odyssey, the hymnic metabasis to be executed by Demodokos will activate as its hymnic consequent the epic narrative about the Wooden Horse. The challenge is formulated in the precise technical language of a poet in the act of performing a humnos that leads to the performance of an epic. First, at verse 492, the subject of the consequent {316|317} epic is announced in the accusative: the subject of this epic is to be the Horse. By metonymy, the beginning of the epic subject is to be the cosmic order or kosmos inherent in the craft that went into the making of the Horse. The metonymy is inherent in the naming, at verse 493, of the master of this craft: the craftsman, this master joiner of the wooden pieces of the overall construct that is the Wooden Horse, is named Epeios. This Epeios is a craftsman of epos in name as well as a craftsman of woodwork in deed. [275] The etymology of the name of Homer himself is ultimately relevant: as I argued earlier, *hom-āros is a compound formation meaning ‘he who fits [the song] together’, composed of the prefix homo- (ὁμο-) ‘together’ and the root ar- of the verb arariskein (ἀραρίσκειν). As we see from a survey of the oldest attested formations involving the root ar-, this form expresses primarily the idea of woodwork and secondarily the idea of other handicrafts that involve the fitting together of distinct pieces into a unified whole. [276] Moreover, this form extends metaphorically to the art of songmaking. As I we have seen, the name Homēros in its traditional contexts is linked to all these meanings. The name means literally ‘joiner’ or ‘carpenter’. So, etymologically, Homēros is a master joiner of woodwork; and, metaphorically, Homer is a master joiner of song. [277]

2§283 The theme of the Wooden Horse, as Odysseus describes it here, is to be articulated in wording that follows the poetic rules for the beginning of an epic. At verse 493 of Odyssey viii, the epithet dourateos ‘wooden’ refers back to the subject of the epic as announced in the previous verse, hippos ‘horse’ at 492. The enjambed position of this epithet is analogous to the wording we find at the beginning of the Homeric Iliad as we have it: there the enjambed epithet oulomenē ‘baneful’ at verse 2 of Iliad I describes the subject of the epic as announced in the previous verse, mēnis ‘anger’ of Achilles at Iliad I 1. [278]

2§284 From what we have seen so far, the technical rules for performing a humnos are at work here in Odyssey viii. The third song of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, to which the word humnos refers in advance at verse 429, is about {317|318} to be introduced by a hymnic metabasis, a shifting forward, and this metabasis will have as its hymnic consequent an epic performance. It remains to be seen, however, what kind of epic will be taking shape.

2§285 Demodokos responds to the poetic challenge of Odysseus, to ‘move ahead and shift forward’ to epic performance. The beginning of the epic performance of Demodokos turns out to be essential for understanding the content of the epic that he will perform:

2ⓣ87 Odyssey viii 499-500

ὣς φάθ’, ὁ δ’ ὁρμηθεὶςθεοῦἤρχετο, φαῖνε δ’ ἀοιδήν,
ἔνθεν ἑλών, ὡς

Thus he [= Odysseus] spoke. And he [= Demodokos], setting his point of departure [hormētheis], started [arkhesthai] from the god. And he made visible the song,
taking it from the point where

2§286 What does it mean, to ‘make visible’ the song, as expressed by the verb phainein ‘make visible’? The poet is revealing here a vision of his epic narrative. This vision comes from the blind poet’s own inner vision of his starting point, that is, of the divinity who authorizes the humnos in its entirety. An absolutized hymnic beginning, which comes from the divinity, leads to a perfect visualization of that divinity, which in turn leads to a perfect visualization of whatever follows the hymnic metabasis. Such is the theology of the humnos as it extends into epic. This theology helps explain why it is that Herodotus defines Homer and Hesiod as the first poets who ‘revealed’ (sēmainein) the ‘visible forms’ (eidē) of the gods to mortals (2.53.2).

2§287 The starting of the epic narration in the third song of Demodokos in Odyssey viii is expressed through the technical language of performing a prooimion for the projected humnos that was mentioned already at verse 429. The performance of that prooimion is conveyed by the expression θεοῦ ἤρχετο ‘started [arkhesthai] from the god’ at verse 499. And the technical procedure of performing a prooimion to start the projected humnos is being equated here metaphorically with the technical procedure of starting the weaving of a web, as marked by the wording hormētheis ‘setting his point of departure’ at verse 499: in effect, the wording predicts the finished web that will have been woven. [279] The root *or- of the Greek expression hormētheis is the same root {318|319} *or- that we see in Latin exordium ‘proemium’; that root, as I pointed out earlier, conveys the idea of an ‘initial threading’. [280]

2§288 Once the hymnic prooimion is in place, the epic that is part of the projected humnos can now start. Demodokos proceeds to perform the equivalent of an Iliou Persis, the epic story of Troy’s destruction, at verses 500-520 of Odyssey viii.

2§289 Just now, I referred to the starting of the epic narration, once the hymnic prooimion is in place. It is more accurate, however, to speak of a restarting in this case. The epic about the end of the Trojan War, about to be performed in the third song of Demodokos, is actually a restarting of what had been started already in the first song, which is a story about the beginning of the Trojan War. The starting of that first performance, like the restarting of the third, is expressed through the metaphor of making fabric:

2ⓣ88 Odyssey viii 62-94

κῆρυξ δ’ ἐγγύθεν ἦλθεν ἄγων ἐρίηρον ἀοιδόν,
τὸν περὶ Μοῦσ’ ἐφίλησε, δίδου δ’ ἀγαθόν τε κακόν τε·
ὀφθαλμῶν μὲν ἄμερσε, δίδου δ’ ἡδεῖαν ἀοιδήν.
65   τῷ δ’ ἄρα Ποντόνοος θῆκε θρόνον ἀργυρόηλον
μέσσῳ δαιτυμόνων, πρὸς κίονα μακρὸν ἐρείσας·
κὰδ δ’ ἐκ πασσαλόφι κρέμασεν φόρμιγγα λίγειαν
αὐτοῦ ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς καὶ ἐπέφραδε χερσὶν ἑλέσθαι
κῆρυξ· πὰρ δ’ ἐτίθει κάνεον καλήν τε τράπεζαν,
70   πὰρ δὲ δέπας οἴνοιο, πιεῖν ὅτε θυμὸς ἀνώγοι.
οἱ δ’ ἐπ’ ὀνείαθ’ ἑτοῖμα προκείμενα χεῖρας ἴαλλον.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ πόσιος καὶ ἐδητύος ἐξ ἔρον ἕντο,
Μοῦσ’ ἄρ’ ἀοιδὸν ἀνῆκεν ἀειδέμεναι κλέα ἀνδρῶν,
οἴμης, τῆς τότ’ ἄρα κλέος οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἵκανε,
75   νεῖκος Ὀδυσσῆος καὶ Πηλεΐδεω Ἀχιλῆος,
ὥς ποτε δηρίσαντο θεῶν ἐν δαιτὶ θαλείῃ
ἐκπάγλοισ’ ἐπέεσσιν, ἄναξ δ’ ἀνδρῶν Ἀγαμέμνων
χαῖρε νόῳ, ὅ τ’ ἄριστοι Ἀχαιῶν δηριόωντο.
ὣς γάρ οἱ χρείων μυθήσατο Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων {319|320}
80   Πυθοῖ ἐν ἠγαθέῃ, ὅθ’ ὑπέρβη λάϊνον οὐδὸν
χρησόμενος. τότε γάρ ῥα κυλίνδετο πήματοςἀρχὴ
Τρωσί τε καὶ Δαναοῖσι Διὸς μεγάλου διὰ βουλάς.
ταῦτ’ ἄρ’ ἀοιδὸς ἄειδε περικλυτός· αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς
πορφύρεον μέγα φᾶρος ἑλὼν χερσὶ στιβαρῇσι
85   κὰκ κεφαλῆς εἴρυσσε, κάλυψε δὲ καλὰ πρόσωπα·
αἴδετο γὰρ Φαίηκας ὑπ’ ὀφρύσι δάκρυα λείβων.
ἦ τοι ὅτε λήξειεν ἀείδων θεῖος ἀοιδός,
δάκρυ’ ὀμορξάμενος κεφαλῆς ἄπο φᾶρος ἕλεσκε
καὶ δέπας ἀμφικύπελλον ἑλὼν σπείσασκε θεοῖσιν·
90   αὐτὰρ ὅτ’ ἂψἄρχοιτο καὶ ὀτρύνειαν ἀείδειν
Φαιήκων οἱ ἄριστοι, ἐπεὶ τέρποντ’ ἐπέεσσιν,
ἂψ Ὀδυσεὺς κατὰ κρᾶτα καλυψάμενος γοάασκεν.
ἔνθ’ ἄλλους μὲν πάντας ἐλάνθανε δάκρυα λείβων,
Ἀλκίνοος δέ μιν οἶος ἐπεφράσατ’ ἠδ’ ἐνόησεν

The herald came near, bringing with him a singer, very trusted,
whom the Muse loved exceedingly. She gave him both a good thing and a bad thing.
For she took away from him his eyes but gave him the sweetness of song [aoidē].
65   For him did Pontonoos place a chair, silver studded,
right in the midst of the people who were feasting, propping the chair against a tall column,
and the herald took from a peg the clear-sounding phorminx that was hanging there
above his head, and he presented it to him so he could take it in his hands.
The herald did this. And next to him he [= the herald] put a beautiful basket and a table.
70   He put next to him also a cup of wine to drink from whenever he [= Demodokos] felt in his heart the need to do so. {320|321}
And, with hands reaching out swiftly, they made for the good things that were prepared and waiting.
When they had satisfied their desire for drinking and eating,
the Muse impelled the singer to sing the glories [klea] of men,
starting from a thread [oimē] [of a song] [281] that had at that time a fame [kleos] reaching all the way up to the vast sky.
75   It was the quarrel of Odysseus and Achilles, son of Peleus,
how they fought once upon a time at a sumptuous feast [dais] of the gods
with terrible words, and the king of men, Agamemnon,
was happy in his mind [noos] at the fact that the best of the Achaeans were fighting.
For this is the way he [= Agamemnon] was told it would happen by Phoebus Apollo, who uttered an oracle,
80   in holy Delphi, when he [= Agamemnon] crossed the stone threshold,
to consult the oracle. For then it was that the beginning [arkhē] of pain [pēma] started rolling down [kulindesthai]
upon Trojans and Danaans – all on account of the plans of great Zeus.
So these were the things that the singer [aoidos] most famed was singing. As for Odysseus,
taking his great purple cloak in his strong hands,
85   he pulled it over his head and covered his beautiful looks.
For he felt ashamed in front of the Phaeacians, as he was pouring out tears [dakrua] from beneath his eyebrows.
Whenever the godlike singer [aoidos] would leave off [lēgein] singing,
he [= Odysseus] would wipe away his tears [dakrua] and take off from his head the cloak {321|322}
and, taking hold of a cup that had two handles he would pour libations to the gods.
90   But whenever he [= the singer] started [arkhesthai] again [aps] as he was urged to sing on
by the best of the Phaeacians – for they were delighted by his words -
Odysseus would start weeping [goân] all over again [aps], covering his head with the cloak.
So there he was, escaping the notice of all while he kept pouring out his tears [dakrua].
But Alkinoos was the only one of all of them who was aware, and he took note [noeîn].

2§290 The word oimē here at Odyssey viii 74 means the ‘thread’ or ‘threading’ of what is pictured metaphorically as the ‘weft’ or ‘plot’ of the song – for the semantics, we may compare the French word trame, which means both ‘weft’ and ‘plot’. [282] That is, oimē is the ‘thread’ of a story. More important for now, the genitive case of oimē here means that the singer starts ‘from’ a given thread of a given story: in other words, we see the starting thread of the story about to be told. Most important, the syntax of this expression about the oimē corresponds to the meaning of a word that is directly linked to the word oimē. That word is prooimion, which as I have argued is actually derived from oimos / oimē and means, metaphorically, the ‘initial threading’. [283] What the syntax indicates, then, is that the singer is starting his epic performances by performing a prooimion. Or, to put it metaphorically, the singer starts from the initial threading of the web to be woven. In this light, we can appreciate more fully the metaphor inherent in the etymology of humnos: as I have been arguing all along, this noun derives from a verb root that refers to the weaving of a web. As I have also been arguing, that metaphor is latent in the context of the expression ἀοιδῆς ὕμνον ‘the humnos of the singing [aoidē]’ at verse 429: just as the weaving of a web is a process of making connections, so too is the making of songs. The metaphor is also latent in the context of the expression οἶμος ἀοιδῆς at verse 451 of the Homeric Hymn (4) to Hermes: as I noted earlier, we see here the attestation of both οἶμος ἀοιδῆς and ὕμνος ἀοιδῆς in the manuscript tradition. [284] Both textual variants can be considered formulaic {322|323} expressions, and the second of the two, ὕμνος ἀοιδῆς, is evidently cognate with the formulaic expression ἀοιδῆς ὕμνον as attested at verse 429 of Odyssey viii. In terms of metaphors comparing the making of song with the making of fabric, I interpret the combinations of humnos and oimos with aoidē ‘song’ to mean respectively the ‘weaving’ of song and the ‘threading’ of song.

2§291 Looking backward from the attestation of humnos at verse 429 of Odyssey viii, where the speaker looks forward to the singing that will be started in the third song of Demodokos, we have seen that this starting is really a restarting. We can see from the wording and syntax referring to the first song (at verse 74) that the singing in the third song, described as a humnos (at verse 429), was already started in the first song.

2§292 The epic singing of the first song of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, once it gets started by the prooimion as indicated by the syntax at verse 74, keeps getting restarted. Whenever the performer ‘leaves off’, as indicated by the word lēgein at verse 87, he keeps on ‘restarting’ the epic, as indicated by the wording aps arkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90. The continual restarting creates the effect of an endless narrative: the epic performance of the first song of Demodokos seems to have no end in sight.

2§293 The use of the word lēgein ‘leave off’ at verse 87 of Odyssey viii is relevant to the use of the same word in Idyll 1 of Theocritus at verses 127, 131, 137, 142, where it refers to the impending end of an ongoing performance of a stylized humnos. At an earlier point in my argumentation, when we were examining a double occurrence of lēgein at verse 142 of Idyll 1, I translated the word in two ways – both ‘to end’ and ‘to leave off’. As I said before, these two different translations are indicative of two different ways of ending a performance. The obvious way is simply to end, while the alternative way, less obvious to us, is to end the performance only to restart it later.

2§294 When it comes to leaving off and then restarting a song, there is a major difference in the contexts of lēgein ‘leave off’ in Idyll 1 of Theocritus and in Odyssey viii. In the poem of Theocritus, lēgein refers to ‘leaving off’ while performing a humnos that has no epic as a hymnic consequent. To repeat what I said earlier, the humnos in Idyll 1 of Theocritus has no consequent at all – other than itself. The humnos there ‘leaves off’ only to start itself all over again at the same point where it had started in the first place. There the movement of the humnos is circular. In the Odyssey, by contrast, the movement of the humnos is linear. Here lēgein refers to ‘leaving off’ while performing an epic, which is the hymnic consequent of a prooimion. In Homeric terms, the epic is part of the ongoing humnos. Each time the performer restarts the epic in the first song of Demodokos, the restarting has moved ahead in the epic, in the ongoing {323|324} humnos, to the point where the performer has last left off. In terms of my argument, the entire sequence of epic performances by Demodokos proceeds within the framework of such an ongoing humnos. The prooimion of the first song of Demodokos is only the beginning of a humnos, and the epic that follows the prooimion as its hymnic consequent is technically a continuation of the same ongoing humnos. So the act of continually restarting the performance in the first song of Demodokos is not simply a matter of restarting the prooimion in and of itself. It is a matter of continually restarting the humnos, which in Homeric terms includes the epic that follows the prooimion.

2§295 The context of the word lēgein at verse 87 of Odyssey viii indicates a recurrent ‘leaving off’ from the performance, followed by a recurrent starting up at the point where the performance had last left off: every time Demodokos leaves off performing his epic, he comes right back to ‘restarting’ it where he last left off, as we see from the context of the expression aps arkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90.

2§296 Once again, the metaphorical world of fabric making is relevant. Comparable to what we have just seen is the meaning of Latin contexere, derivative of texere ‘weave’: essentially, contexere means ‘restart the weaving’ – that is, ‘restart’ it at the point where the weaver had previously left off weaving. Here is a striking example involving the verbs ordīrī ‘start the weaving’ and contexere ‘restart the weaving’:

2ⓣ89 Cicero Laws 1.3.9

cum semel quid orsus, [si] traducor alio, neque tam facile interrupta contexo quam absolvo instituta

Once I have started weaving [ordīrī] something, if I get distracted by something else, it is not as easy for me to take up weaving where I left off [contexere] than to finish off what I have started. [285]

A weaver may finish a sequence of weaving only to restart it later in a new sequence – at exactly the point where he or she had last left off. [286] There are parallels to be found in other Indo-European languages: in one of the hymns of the Rig-Veda (1.110), for example, the singer starts the hymn by saying, at the very beginning of the song (1.110.1a), that this song is like a web stretched on a loom and that the song is getting restarted just as the work of weaving the web {324|325} gets restarted: tatám me ápas tád u tāyate púnar ‘the work that is stretched [on a loom] by me – here it is being stretched again’. [287]

2§297 In the case of performing a song, the performer who restarts a song may be the same performer as the one who started it in the first place, or, alternatively, it may be the next performer who is restarting the song of the previous performer. This alternative kind of restarting is a phenomenon I call relay performance. I have studied this phenomenon in some detail elsewhere, and here I offer only the briefest formulation of the essentials: basically, one performer has to ‘leave off’ (lēgein) singing for another performer to ‘start’ (arkhesthai) again. [288] A prime example is the following passage, describing what I will call the PanathenaicRegulation, which concerns the performing of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey at the Athenian feast of the Panathenaia:

2ⓣ90 Dieuchidas of Megara FGH 485 F 6 via Diogenes Laertius 1.57

τά τε Ὁμήρου ἐξ ὑποβολῆς γέγραφε ῥαψῳδεῖσθαι, οἷον ὅπου ὁ πρῶτος ἔληξεν, ἐκεῖθεν ἄρχεσθαι τὸν ἐχόμενον

He [= Solon the Lawgiver of the Athenians] has written a law that the words of Homer are to be performed rhapsodically [rhapsōideîn], by relay [hupobolē], so that wherever the first person left off [lēgein], from that point the next person should start [arkhesthai].

2§298 I will have more to say in Chapter 3 about rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’ and their relay performances of Homeric poetry at the Athenian festival of the Panathenaia. For now I focus simply on the use of lēgein ‘leave off’ combined with arkhesthai ‘start’ in conveying the idea of relay performance.

2§299 The restartings of the epic of Demodokos, as conveyed by the expression aps arkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90 of Odyssey viii, are linked to the unexpected reaction of Odysseus as the primary audience of the epic – unexpected, that is, in view of the festive occasion. At the start of the epic performance, the hero dissolves into tears: he literally experiences an ‘outpouring of tears’ (viii 86 dakrua leibein), though he tries to hide his reaction from the rest of the audience (83-85). And each time Demodokos restarts his performance of the epic, Odysseus experiences a restarting of his initial reaction: he weeps again and again, and his continually restarted outpouring of tears is expressed by the wording aps goân ‘lament again and again’ (92), {325|326} which parallels the wording that expresses the continually restarted epic performance, aps arkhesthai ‘start again and again’ (90).

2§300 The continual restarting of the epic in this first song of Demodokos creates the effect of an endless recycling: although the narration keeps moving ahead with each recycling, there seems to be no end in sight. So far, any ending for the epic seems to be deferred.

2§301 Only Alkinoos, king of the Phaeacians, notices the unexpected reaction of Odysseus to the epic performance in the first song of Demodokos (viii 93-95). The king’s own reaction is to defer even further any kind of epic ending. Postponing any more restartings of the ongoing epic performance by Demodokos, Alkinoos announces that the time for dining and drinking and ‘the phorminx’ – a metonym for the singing of Demodokos, who accompanies himself on the string instrument called the phorminx – is to be stopped for the moment (98-99).

2§302 What happens after the stopping of the first song of Demodokos is a complex subject. In the twin book Homer the Preclassic, I examine in some detail how the Homeric narrative connects the first song with the second song, and the second with the third. [289] I argue there that the second song of Demodokos, although it appears significantly different in form and content from both the first and the third songs, is technically part of an ongoing humnos that starts in the first song, continues into the second, and continues from there into the third. In Homer the Preclassic, I also argue that the word humnos at verse 429 of Odyssey viii refers to all three of the songs of Demodokos – as if they constituted a single ongoing narrative. Here, in the next section of Chapter 2, I confine myself to examining two aspects of this ongoing narrative: (1) the transition from the first to the third song and (2) the transition from the second to the third. Both transitions are achieved through the poetics of metabasis.

2ⓢ23. The poetics of metabasis in the making of epic

2§303 In the short term, the word humnos at verse 429 in Odyssey viii refers to the upcoming third song of Demodokos. In the long term, however, the singing that goes into this third song is an ongoing humnos, driven forward by the device of hymnic metabasis. The notion of such an ongoing humnos is signaled at verse 492, when the yet-unnamed Odysseus challenges the singer to perform a metabasis, that is, a shift in the current subject. This shift will lead to an epic performance. {326|327}

2§304 Demodokos responds to the poetic challenge. He performs a metabasis, which will shift forward to a point where the epic that was stopped by Alkinoos can at long last continue. In other words, the forward movement of the metabasis connects the first song of Demodokos with the third, as if the third were a direct continuation of the first. In terms of this continuation, it is as if the second song did not exist. And yet, the continuation from the first to the third song is hardly direct. In terms of the upcoming metabasis, the point where this continuation starts cannot be expected to match the point where it had stopped when the first song of Demodokos was prevented by Alkinoos from restarting any further. The objective of the metabasis is to move ahead and shift forward to a new starting point, and this new starting point is to be situated further ahead than the previous stopping point. Metabasis moves forward the point of restarting the epic narration. In other words, metabasis moves forward the recycling of the epic. As we will see, such use of metabasis is typical of a poetic form that we know as the epic Cycle. Moreover, metabasis is antithetical to the principle of the PanathenaicRegulation, which as we saw requires each successive performer to continue the epic performance at exactly the point where the prior performance left off.

2§305 Odysseus calls for the metabasis at viii 492 (μετάβηθι), in response to the wish expressed by Alkinoos, at viii 429, that Odysseus should ‘take delight’ – terpesthai – in hearing ‘the humnos of the singing’ on the occasion of the feasting (δαιτί τε τέρπηται καὶ ἀοιδῆς ὕμνον ἀκούων). The feasting will continue and the humnos will move forward. And what will make the humnos move forward is the metabasis. But the singing that follows the metabasis, which is the singing of the third song of Demodokos, will not delight Odysseus: this third song, like the first song that was sung by that singer, causes pain for the hero, not delight. During the singing of the third song, only the king notices the hero’s pain (532-533), just as he had been the only one in the audience to notice it during the singing of the first song (94-95). Just as Alkinoos had stopped the singing of the first song (98-99) he now stops the singing of the third (537). And the reason he gives for stopping the third song is that the kharis of the singing, that is, the pleasurable beauty it offers, has not pleased his guest: the idea is conveyed by the verb derived from kharis, that is, kharizesthai (538). It is imperative, the king continues, that everyone at the ongoing feast – especially the yet-unnamed guest of honor – should ‘take delight’, and the word that is used here to express the delight is once again terpesthai (542). It was this same programmatic word that was used earlier to describe the expected response of the audience to the third song of Demodokos: Odysseus as the guest of honor must ‘take delight’, terpesthai, {327|328} when he listens to the humnos at the feast (429). Moreover, the same word terpesthai was used even earlier to describe the response of the general audience to the first song of Demodokos: as they listen to the singing, they ‘take delight’ (91), and they keep on urging the singer to ‘restart’ his singing, aps arkhesthai (90), every time Demodokos ‘leaves off’ singing, lēgein (87). So the ongoing performances of Demodokos are being driven by the imperative of pleasing the audience: the listeners must continue to ‘take delight’, terpesthai.

2§306 But the third song of Demodokos is now causing pain for Odysseus, even though it was he who had called on the singer to start at the point where the singer had started the third song in the first place. The third song is making Odysseus dissolve into tears all over again, just as he dissolved into tears when he heard the first song. When he hears the epic of the third song of Demodokos, Odysseus is described as feeling akhos ‘sorrow’ – indirectly (530) as well as directly (541). As I hope to show, this description signals the form of the epic that is being performed by Demodokos in the third song and, retrospectively, in the first song as well.

2§307 The first and the third songs of Demodokos represent the general epic form that we know as the Cycle, which becomes a foil for the special epic form that will be narrated thereafter by Odysseus – a form represented by what we know as Homeric poetry. In the twin book Homer the Preclassic, I focus on the Homeric form of the narration by Odysseus. [290] Here I focus on the form of the epic Cycle.

2§308 The first song of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, as we have already seen, keeps on restarting, and, each time it restarts, Odysseus sheds tears all over again: the continually restarted outpouring of tears is expressed by the wording aps goân ‘lament again and again’ at verse 92, which parallels the wording that expresses the continual restarting of the first song of Demodokos, aps arkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90. Then, in the third song, a connection is established with the first song, as if the third directly followed the first. By way of this connection, the third song will now appear to be a new restarting of the first, which was continually being restarted until Alkinoos stopped it (98-99). The sorrowful themes in the first song are now being recycled in the third song, by way of ring composition. When Odysseus hears the third song, he literally ‘dissolves’ into tears (522 tēkesthai). The hero pours forth ‘a tear’ (dakru / dakruon at 522 / 531) all over again. The wording ἐλεεινὸν … δάκρυον εἶβεν ‘he poured forth a piteous [eleeinon] tear’ (531), with reference to the third song, recycles by way of ring composition the earlier {328|329} wording δάκρυα λείβων ‘pouring forth tears’, with reference to the first song (86). The third song of Demodokos has thus shifted from the ‘delight’ of the second song – as expressed by the word terpesthai (368) – back to the pain of the first song. The ring composition of epic themes centering on pain connects the first and the third songs, creating the effect of a cycle.

2§309 What is it about the first song of Demodokos that keeps on making Odysseus dissolve into tears? The answer is to be found in the formal parallelism that links the hero’s continually restarted outpouring of tears, as expressed by the wording aps goân ‘lament again and again’ at verse 92, with the poet’s continually restarted epic, as expressed by the wording aps arkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90. The restartings point back to the starting point of the first song, the beginning of the epic, as retold in Odyssey viii 73-83: that beginning is said to be the pēmatos arkhē ‘beginning of the pain’ at viii 81, and that primal pain is equated with the story of the Trojan War. That ‘beginning’, which leads inexorably to the Trojan War, is equated with what is prophesied by Apollo at viii 79-81 – and with what is planned by Zeus at viii 81. As I argue in the twin book Homer the Preclassic, the plot of the epic is being equated here with the prophecy of Apollo and the plan of Zeus. [291]

2§310 This way of starting the epic plot of the first song of Demodokos is relevant to the way the third song is started, and I quote the passage again:

2ⓣ91 Odyssey viii 499-500

ὣς φάθ’, ὁ δ’ ὁρμηθεὶς θεοῦ ἤρχετο, φαῖνε δ’ ἀοιδήν,
ἔνθεν ἑλών, ὡς

Thus he [= Odysseus] spoke. And he [= Demodokos], setting his point of departure [hormētheis], started [arkhesthai] from the god. And he made visible the song,
taking it from the point where

2§311 When Demodokos started ‘from the god’ at verse 499 of Odyssey viii, he performed a prooimion that restarted the ongoing humnos to which Alkinoos refers at verse 429 in anticipation of the upcoming third song of Demodokos. The ongoing humnos, when it does get restarted in the third song of Demodokos, will shift forward, as prescribed by the hymnic term metabainein ‘move ahead and shift forward’ at verse 492. The metabasis achieves the {329|330} effect of continuing the third song from the first song because Demodokos has ostensibly moved ahead to a new starting point.

Excursus at 2§311

Here I stop for a moment, to reflect on the basic meaning of the verb metabainein, which means literally ‘move ahead and shift forward’, as if on a pathway. In the light of the associations we have seen between this word and the word humnos, I suggest that the meaning of metabainein is relevant to the meaning of humnos in the metaphorical sense of making fabric. In combination with humnos, this technical term metabainein can be understood as a specialization of a general idea. The general idea of moving ahead has been specialized by virtue of being applied to the specific idea of threading a song. The specific idea already has a metaphor built into it: singing is like threading. The application of the general idea of moving ahead to the specific idea of threading a song makes that idea even more specific. Now the specific idea has two metaphors built into it: singing is like threading is like moving from one place to another. Such a metaphorical application of the general idea of moving ahead to the specific idea of threading a song helps account for those contexts of oimos and oimē that suggest the general meaning of ‘way, pathway’ for these words. [292] In these contexts, what we see is the metaphorical application of the specific idea of threading a song to the general idea of moving ahead. Conversely, the association of metabainein with humnos illustrates the metaphorical application of the general idea of moving ahead to the specific idea of threading one’s way from one point to another.

2§312 The continuity achieved by the restarting of the third song of Demodokos is not a simple matter. The continuation of the first song by the third leaves a narrative gap between the two. The epic singing about the Trojan War in the third song of Demodokos starts at a point that comes somewhere after the point where the first song of Demodokos last left off when Alkinoos stopped it at verses 96-99. This displacement of the starting point is ostensibly due to metabasis. As we saw, the objective of metabasis is to move the point of restarting further ahead. Such a shifting forward may seem arbitrary from the standpoint of the first song, which was also about the Trojan War. But it is not at all arbitrary from the standpoint of the third song, the epic plot of which is outlined in advance for Demodokos by Odysseus at verses 492-495. I quote again the passage that contains these verses: {330|331}

2ⓣ92 Odyssey viii 485-498

485  αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ πόσιος καὶ ἐδητύος ἐξ ἔρον ἕντο,
δὴ τότε Δημόδοκον προσέφη πολύμητις Ὀδυσσεύς·
Δημόδοκ’, ἔξοχα δή σε βροτῶν αἰνίζομ’ ἁπάντων·
ἢ σέ γε Μοῦσ’ ἐδίδαξε, Διὸς πάϊς, ἢ σέ γ’ Ἀπόλλων·
λίην γὰρ κατὰ κόσμον Ἀχαιῶν οἶτον ἀείδεις,
490  ὅσσ’ ἕρξαν τ’ ἔπαθόν τε καὶ ὅσσ’ ἐμόγησαν Ἀχαιοί,
ὥς τέ που ἢ αὐτὸς παρεὼν ἢ ἄλλου ἀκούσας.
ἀλλ’ ἄγε δὴ μετάβηθι καὶ ἵππουκόσμον ἄεισον
δουρατέου, τὸν ᾿Επειὸς ἐποίησεν σὺν Ἀθήνῃ,
ὅν ποτ’ ἐς ἀκρόπολιν δόλον ἤγαγε δῖος Ὀδυσσεὺς
495  ἀνδρῶν ἐμπλήσας, οἳ Ἴλιον ἐξαλάπαξαν.
αἴ κεν δή μοι ταῦτα κατὰ μοῖρανκαταλέξῃς,
αὐτίκα καὶ πᾶσιν μυθήσομαι ἀνθρώποισιν,
ὡς ἄρα τοι πρόφρων θεὸς ὤπασε θέσπιν ἀοιδήν.

485  When they had satisfied their desire for drinking and eating,
then Odysseus, the one with many a stratagem, addressed Demodokos:
Demodokos, I admire and pointedly praise you, more than any other human.
Either the Muse, child of Zeus, taught you, or Apollo.
All too well, in accord with its kosmos, do you sing the fate of the Achaeans
490  – all the things the Achaeans did and all the things that were done to them, and they suffered for it –
you sing it as if you yourself had been present or had heard it from someone else.
But come now, move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] and sing the kosmos of the horse,
the wooden horse that Epeios made with the help of Athena,
the one that Odysseus, the radiant one, took to the acropolis as a stratagem, {331|332}
495  having filled it in with men, who ransacked Ilion.
If you can tell me in due order [katalegein], in accord with proper apportioning [moira],
then right away I will say the authoritative word [muthos] to all mortals:
I will say, and I see it as I say it, that the god, favorably disposed toward you, granted you a divinely sounding song.

2§313 The epic of the third song, as we see from the plot outline at verses 492-495, is about the end of the Trojan War, the story of Troy’s destruction. To be contrasted is the epic of the first song, which as we saw earlier was about the beginning of this war. The epic in the third song is defined not only by the plot outline given by Odysseus but also by the actual metabasis as signaled at verse 492 (μετάβηθι). The metabasis sets up a distinct starting point for this epic about the Trojan War, which in turn sets up a distinct plot – distinct, that is, from the plot of the epic in the first song. And there is a new prooimion that sets up the metabasis that sets up the starting point that sets up the epic. I quote again the relevant verses:

2ⓣ93 Odyssey viii 499-500

ὣς φάθ’, ὁ δ’ ὁρμηθεὶςθεοῦἤρχετο, φαῖνε δ’ ἀοιδήν,
ἔνθεν ἑλών, ὡς

Thus he [= Odysseus] spoke. And he [= Demodokos], setting his point of departure [hormētheis], started [arkhesthai] from the god. And he made visible the song,
taking it from the point where

2§314 Without this new prooimion there can be no metabasis, and without the metabasis there can be no new performance of epic. The epic of the third song about the end of the Trojan War cannot simply follow the epic of the first song about the beginning of the war.

2§315 So far, I have considered the distinctions between the first and the third songs of Demodokos in Odyssey viii. As we have just seen, the epic of the third song is morphologically distinct from the epic of the first, since it has its own prooimion and its own plot. Moreover, as we saw earlier, the metabasis of the third song indicates a narrative gap between the epics of the first and the third songs. Now I turn to considering these same distinctions in terms {332|333} of all three songs put together in sequence. What we find is that the existing distinctions are blurred in the overall sequencing, and the key to this blurring is the device of metabasis.

2§316 The metabasis in the third song of Demodokos creates the effect of an ongoing story of Troy that jumps ahead from an epic that starts with the beginning of the whole story – to an epic that ostensibly ends the story. But the effect is even more complex. Since the first and the third songs of Demodokos are physically separated from each other by his intervening second song, the jump from the first to the third song is more visible. Less visible is a shorter jump from the second to the third, which I propose to consider here briefly.

2§317 In terms of an overall epic sequence that tells about the Trojan War from beginning to end, the second song of Demodokos occupies a narrative space that could have been filled with an intervening epic sequence that ostensibly tells about everything that happened between the point where the first song stopped and the third song started again. Such an intervening epic sequence is not needed, however, because the metabasis of the third song makes it possible to jump over the intervening space that would have been occupied by the missing epic sequence.

2§318 Though the poetic content of the second song of Demodokos seems at first sight irrelevant to the narratives of the first and the third songs, it is in fact relevant, as I explain in the twin book Homer the Preclassic. [293] Here in Chapter 2, however, I consider the second song only in terms of its poetic form.

2§319 The poetic form of the second song of Demodokos in Odyssey viii is hymnic, not epic. What I mean by hymnic here is that the second song is typical of what we have seen so far in the Homeric Hymns. That is, the narrative of the second song is typical of an extended hymnic prooimion that leads to a hymnic consequent. As we saw earlier, the concept of humnos in a Homeric Hymn includes both the hymnic prooimion and the hymnic consequent that extends from the prooimion. The second song of Demodokos is like a Homeric Hymn that features a hymnic prooimion followed by a hymnic consequent. As we will see in a moment, however, this song is unlike the Hymns in having a hymnic consequent that is not epic.

2§320 When the singer, in beginning the third song, ‘started from the god’ at verse 499 of Odyssey viii, the Homeric narrative about the narrative did not name the god who is the hymnic subject of the prooimion there, that is, the god who is the starting point of a prooimion that features as its hymnic {333|334} consequent an epic about the end of the Trojan War. Who, then, is that unnamed god? I offer an answer in the twin book Homer the Preclassic. [294] Here I confine myself to saying that the name of that divine hymnic subject in the third song of Demodokos is deliberately being withheld in Odyssey viii, since the consequent epic is still in the making. That epic is yet to be linked to its hymnic subject.

2§321 There is no withholding of names, however, when it comes to the hymnic subject of the second song of Demodokos, which names the god Ares and the goddess Aphrodite in its hymnic prooimion (viii 267). In the twin book Homer the Preclassic I focus on the significance of naming Ares and Aphrodite as the hymnic subject in the second song, and I show how this subject fits into the ongoing humnos in Odyssey viii. [295] Here I focus not on the hymnic subject itself but simply on the fact that this subject is distinct from the hymnic subject of the prooimion in the third song. The distinctness of hymnic subjects in the second and the third songs of Demodokos is made clear by the distinctness of the hymnic prooimia that lead into these subjects. The second song features a hymnic prooimion that leads into virtuoso dancing as its consequent after the actual singing is finished (viii 370-380). [296] The third song, by contrast, features a hymnic prooimion that leads into virtuoso singing rather than dancing. That singing is an epic song about the end of the Trojan War.

2§322 As I near the end of this section, I offer a brief summary of the two narrative transitions that are made possible by the metabasis that leads to the third song of Demodokos in Odyssey viii. In one transition, the hymnic subject of the second song shifts forward to the hymnic subject of the third. In the other transition, the epic of the first song shifts forward to the epic of the third. In both these transitions, metabasis serves the practical purpose of jumping over the existing gaps in the narrative continuum. One of the two gaps is the space between the stories of the two epics in the first and in the third song, about the beginning and the end of the Trojan War, while the other is the space between the story of the second song, which is about the affair of Ares and Aphrodite, and the story of the third, which as I said is about the end of the Trojan War.

2§323 I close this section by offering a working definition of metabasis as a narrative device. Metabasis is a shifting forward that makes invisible an existing narrative sequence that would otherwise be visible. Potentially, it can {334|335} also pretend to make invisible a sequence that never existed. From a practical point of view, the device of metabasis can bridge any logical gap between two given points in a narrative by pretending to shift forward from one point to the next and thus bridging the gap between those two points. The spaces to be bridged can be widened at will, and the bridgings can be multiplied.

2ⓢ24. The third song of Demodokos

2§324 With this working definition of metabasis in place, I come to the problem of defining the form of epic in the third song of Demodokos, and, retroactively, in the first song. As we have seen so far, the epic of the third song is defined by metabasis, as indicated by the word metabainein ‘move ahead and shift forward’ at verse 492 of Odyssey viii. It is also defined prospectively as a humnos, at verse 429 in Odyssey viii. These two words, metabainein and humnos, mark the epic of the third song of Demodokos as unique within the epic of Homeric poetry, in that neither word is attested anywhere else in the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. The epic of the third song of Demodokos is an exception to the rules of the overall epic of Homeric poetry, even though it is embedded in Homeric poetry.

2§325 The epic of the third song of Demodokos – and, retroactively, of the first song – is not only exceptional but even antithetical to Homeric poetry. When Demodokos restarts his epic in the third song, the device of metabasis frees him to start at a point that is not determined by the point where he had left off in his first song. Such a restarting is antithetical to the poetics of relay performance that typifies Homeric poetry. As I already noted, the performance tradition of Homeric poetry follows the principle of what I called the PanathenaicRegulation, which requires each successive performer to continue the epic performance of Homeric poetry at exactly the point where the prior performance left off. In terms of the Panathenaic Regulation of Homeric poetry, metabasis cannot be allowed. Metabasis frees the performer to start where he sees fit – or where the audience sees fit. There is a danger of inequity in a contest that does not equalize the chances of the contestants. [297]

2§326 What kind of epic, then, is the third song of Demodokos, as restarted from the first song? It is implied that this song is an older kind of epic than the epic of Homeric poetry within which it is embedded. And what kind of epic is the first song of Demodokos? In this case, it is not only {335|336} implied but made explicit that this song too is an older kind of epic. At verse 74 of Odyssey viii, the kleos ‘fame’ of the oimē ‘initial threading’ that starts the epic of Demodokos is explicitly a thing of the past: the fame of that epic was spreading far and wide tote ‘at that time’ – that is, at the time when it was being narrated, not at the time when the narrator of the Odyssey is narrating the Odyssey, which would be ‘now’. The reference to the past here marks the form of an older story, which was told in the heroic past, as opposed to the form of the newer story that frames the older story. This framing form, which is the Homeric Odyssey, belongs to the present time of the telling of Homeric poetry, that is, to the notional present time of Homer, not to the past time that is being narrated by Homeric poetry.

2§327 This older form of epic, as embedded in Odyssey viii, is analogous to the kind of epic that would have been introduced by the Homeric Hymns. These Hymns, as we saw, allow for metabasis, which in turn allows for an epic consequent that starts without regard to any prior epic starts or restarts. As we will now see, such an older form of epic is typical of the epic Cycle. And, in fact, the form of the epic performed by Demodokos in his third song, as we find it represented within the epic of Homeric poetry, is actually attested in the plot summary of an epic that belongs to the epic Cycle.

2§328 To put it more precisely, the plot of the epic narrative in the third song of Demodokos, marked by the word humnos at viii 429, corresponds to the plot of the epic narrative of the Iliou Persis, attributed to Arctinus of Miletus, which is part of the epic Cycle - and the plot of which is still attested in the summary of Proclus. [298] In Chapter 1, I already quoted the text of this summary in the context of considering a part of the narrative. Now I will quote it again, taking into consideration the narrative in its entirety. Immediately after this quotation, I will also quote the corresponding narrative of the epic of Demodokos as retold in the epic of Homeric poetry. The degree of correspondence between the plot summary of the Iliou Persis and the Homeric retelling of the epic of Demodokos is striking:

2ⓣ94 Arctinus of Miletus Iliou Persis plot summary by Proclus pp. 107-108 ed. Allen

16   Ἕπεται δὲ τούτοις Ἰλίου πέρσιδος βιβλία δύο Ἀρκτίνου
Μιλησίου περιέχοντα τάδε. ὡς τὰ περὶ τὸν ἵππον οἱ {336|337}
Τρῶες ὑπόπτως ἔχοντες περιστάντες βουλεύονται ὅ τι χρὴ
ποιεῖν· καὶ τοῖς μὲν δοκεῖ κατακρημνίσαι αὐτόν, τοῖς δὲ
20   καταφλέγειν, οἱ δὲ ἱερὸν αὐτὸν ἔφασαν δεῖν τῇ Ἀθηνᾷ
ἀνατεθῆναι· καὶ τέλος νικᾷ ἡ τούτων γνώμη. τραπέντες
δὲ εἰς εὐφροσύνην εὐωχοῦνται ὡς ἀπηλλαγμένοι τοῦ πολέ-
μου. ἐν αὐτῷ δὲ τούτῳ δύο δράκοντες ἐπιφανέντες τόν τε
Λαοκόωντα καὶ τὸν ἕτερον τῶν παίδων διαφθείρουσιν. ἐπὶ
25   δὲ τῷ τέρατι δυσφορήσαντες οἱ περὶ τὸν Αἰνείαν ὑπεξῆλθον
εἰς τὴν Ἴδην. καὶ Σίνων τοὺς πυρσοὺς ἀνίσχει τοῖς Ἀχαιοῖς,
πρότερον εἰσεληλυθὼς προσποίητος. οἱ δὲ ἐκ Τενέδου
προσπλεύσαντες καὶ οἱ ἐκ τοῦ δουρείου ἵππου ἐπιπίπτουσι
τοῖς πολεμίοις καὶ πολλοὺς ἀνελόντες τὴν πόλιν κατὰ
30   κράτος λαμβάνουσι. καὶ Νεοπτόλεμος μὲν ἀποκτείνει
Πρίαμον ἐπὶ τὸν τοῦ Διὸς τοῦ ἑρκείου βωμὸν καταφυγόντα.
p. 108 Μενέλαος δὲ ἀνευρὼν Ἑλένην ἐπὶ τὰς ναῦς κατάγει, Δηΐ-
φοβον φονεύσας. Κασσάνδραν δὲ Αἴας ὁ Ἰλέως πρὸς
βίαν ἀποσπῶν συνεφέλκεται τὸ τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς ξόανον. ἐφ’
ᾧ παροξυνθέντες οἱ Ἕλληνες καταλεῦσαι βουλεύονται τὸν
5    Αἴαντα. ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὸν τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς βωμὸν καταφεύγει καὶ
διασῴζεται ἐκ τοῦ ἐπικειμένου κινδύνου. ἔπειτα ἐμπρή-
σαντες τὴν πόλιν Πολυξένην σφαγιάζουσιν ἐπὶ τὸν τοῦ
Ἀχιλλέως τάφον. καὶ Ὀδυσσέως Ἀστυάνακτα ἀνελόντος,
Νεοπτόλεμος Ἀνδρομάχην γέρας λαμβάνει. καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ
10   λάφυρα διανέμονται. Δημοφῶν δὲ καὶ Ἀκάμας Αἴθραν
εὑρόντες ἄγουσι μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν. ἔπειτα ἀποπλέουσιν οἱ
Ἕλληνες, καὶ φθορὰν αὐτοῖς ἡ Ἀθηνᾶ κατὰ τὸ πέλαγος
μηχανᾶται.

16   After the preceding [= four scrolls of the Little Iliad, by Lesches of Lesbos] there follow two scrolls of the Iliou Persis, by Arctinus {337|338}
of Miletus, containing the following. With regard to the things concerning the Horse, the
Trojans, suspicious about the horse, stand around wondering what they should
do. Some think it should be pushed off a cliff, while others
20   think it should be burned down, and still others say that it should be dedicated as sacred [hieros] to Athena.
In the end, the opinion of the third group wins out. They turn
to merriment, feasting as if they had been freed from the war.
At this point two serpents appear and
destroy Laocoön and one of his sons. At the sight of
25   this marvel, Aeneas and his followers get upset and withdraw
to Mount Ida. Sinon lights signal fires for the Achaeans.
He had previously entered the city, using a pretext. And they [= the Achaeans], some of them sailing from Tenedos
[toward Troy] and others of them emerging from the Wooden Horse, fall upon
their enemies. They kill many, and the city
is taken by force. Neoptolemos kills
Priam, who has taken refuge at the altar of Zeus Herkeios.
p. 108 Menelaos finds Helen and takes her back down to the ships, after
slaughtering Deiphobos. Ajax son of Oileus takes Kassandra by
force, dragging her away from the wooden statue [xoanon] of Athena. At the sight
of this, the Achaeans get angry and decide to stone
5    Ajax to death, but he takes refuge at the altar of Athena, and so
is preserved from his impending destruction. Then {338|339}
the Achaeans put the city to the torch. They slaughter Polyxena on the
tomb of Achilles. Odysseus kills Astyanax,
and Neoptolemos takes Andromache as his prize. The rest
10   of the spoils are distributed. Demophon and Akamas find Aithra
and take her with them. Then the Greeks sail off [from Troy],
and Athena begins to plan destruction for them at sea.

2§329 Now I quote the plot of the “Iliou Persis” as performed by Demodokos and as retold in the epic of Homeric poetry:

2ⓣ95 Odyssey viii 499-533

ὣς φάθ’, ὁ δ’ ὁρμηθεὶς θεοῦ ἤρχετο, φαῖνε δ’ ἀοιδήν,
500  ἔνθεν ἑλών, ὡς οἱ μὲν ἐϋσσέλμων ἐπὶ νηῶν
βάντες ἀπέπλειον, πῦρ ἐν κλισίῃσι βαλόντες,
Ἀργεῖοι, τοὶ δ’ ἤδη ἀγακλυτὸν ἀμφ’ ᾿Οδυσῆα
εἵατ’ ἐνὶ Τρώων ἀγορῇ κεκαλυμμένοι ἵππῳ·
αὐτοὶ γάρ μιν Τρῶες ἐς ἀκρόπολιν ἐρύσαντο.
505  ὣς ὁ μὲν ἑστήκει, τοὶ δ’ ἄκριτα πόλλ’ ἀγόρευον
ἥμενοι ἀμφ’ αὐτόν· τρίχα δέ σφισιν ἥνδανε βουλή,
ἠὲ διατμῆξαι κοῖλον δόρυ νηλέϊ χαλκῷ,
ἢ κατὰ πετράων βαλέειν ἐρύσαντας ἐπ’ ἄκρης,
ἢ ἐάαν μέγ’ ἄγαλμα θεῶν θελκτήριον εἶναι,
510  τῇ περ δὴ καὶ ἔπειτα τελευτήσεσθαι ἔμελλεν·
αἶσα γὰρ ἦν ἀπολέσθαι, ἐπὴν πόλις ἀμφικαλύψῃ
δουράτεον μέγαν ἵππον, ὅθ’ εἵατο πάντες ἄριστοι
Ἀργεῖοι Τρώεσσι φόνον καὶ κῆρα φέροντες.
ἤειδεν δ’ ὡς ἄστυ διέπραθον υἷες Ἀχαιῶν
515  ἱππόθεν ἐκχύμενοι, κοῖλον λόχον ἐκπρολιπόντες.
ἄλλον δ’ ἄλλῃ ἄειδε πόλιν κεραϊζέμεν αἰπήν,
αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσῆα προτὶ δώματα Δηϊφόβοιο {339|340}
βήμεναι, ἠΰτ’ Ἄρηα, σὺν ἀντιθέῳ Μενελάῳ.
κεῖθι δὴ αἰνότατον πόλεμον φάτο τολμήσαντα
520  νικῆσαι καὶ ἔπειτα διὰ μεγάθυμον Ἀθήνην.
ταῦτ’ ἄρ’ ἀοιδὸς ἄειδε περικλυτός· αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς
τήκετο, δάκρυ δ’ ἔδευεν ὑπὸ βλεφάροισι παρειάς.
ὡς δὲ γυνὴ κλαίῃσι φίλον πόσιν ἀμφιπεσοῦσα,
ὅς τε ἑῆς πρόσθεν πόλιος λαῶν τε πέσῃσιν,
525  ἄστεϊ καὶ τεκέεσσιν ἀμύνων νηλεὲς ἦμαρ·
ἡ μὲν τὸν θνῄσκοντα καὶ ἀσπαίροντα ἰδοῦσα
ἀμφ’ αὐτῷ χυμένη λίγα κωκύει· οἱ δέ τ’ ὄπισθε
κόπτοντες δούρεσσι μετάφρενον ἠδὲ καὶ ὤμους
εἴρερον εἰσανάγουσι, πόνον τ’ ἐχέμεν καὶ ὀϊζύν·
530  τῆς δ’ ἐλεεινοτάτῳ ἄχεϊ φθινύθουσι παρειαί·
ὣς Ὀδυσεὺς ἐλεεινὸν ὑπ’ ὀφρύσι δάκρυον εἶβεν.
ἔνθ’ ἄλλους μὲν πάντας ἐλάνθανε δάκρυα λείβων,
Ἀλκίνοος δέ μιν οἶος ἐπεφράσατ’ ἠδ’ ἐνόησεν

Thus he [= Odysseus] spoke. And he [= Demodokos], setting his point of departure [hormētheis], started [arkhesthai] from the god. And he made visible the song,
500  taking it from the point where they [= the Achaeans], boarding their ships with the strong benches,
sailed away, setting their tents on fire.
That is what some of the Argives [= Achaeans] were doing. But others of them were in the company of Odysseus most famed, and they were already
sitting hidden inside the Horse, which was now in the meeting place of the Trojans.
The Trojans themselves had pulled the Horse into the acropolis.
505  So there it was, standing there, and they talked a great deal about it, in doubt about what to do,
sitting around it. There were three different plans: {340|341}
to split the hollow wood with pitiless bronze, or to drag it to the heights and push it down from the rocks,
or to leave it, great artifact that it was, a charm [thelktērion] of the gods
510  - which, I now see it, was exactly the way it was going to end [teleutân],
because it was fate [aisa] that the place would be destroyed, once the city had enfolded in itself
the great Wooden Horse, when all the best men were sitting inside it,
the Argives [= Achaeans], that is, bringing slaughter and destruction upon the Trojans.
He sang how the sons of the Achaeans destroyed the city,
515  pouring out of the Horse, leaving behind the hollow place of ambush.
He sang how the steep citadel was destroyed by different men in different places.
- how Odysseus went to the palace of Deiphobos,
how he was looking like Ares, and godlike Menelaos went with him,
and how in that place, I now see it, he [= Demodokos] said that he [= Odysseus] dared to go through the worst part of the war,
520  and how he emerged victorious after that, with the help of Athena, the one with the mighty spirit.
So these were the things that the singer [aoidos] most famed was singing. As for Odysseus,
he dissolved [tēkesthai] [299] into tears. He made wet his cheeks with the tears flowing from his eyelids,
just as a woman cries, falling down and embracing her dear husband,
who fell in front of the city and people he was defending, {341|342}
525  trying to ward off the pitiless day of doom that is hanging over the city and its children.
She sees him dying, gasping for his last breath,
and she pours herself all over him as she wails with a piercing cry. But there are men behind her,
prodding her with their spears, hurting her back and shoulders,
and they bring for her a life of bondage, which will give her pain and sorrow.
530 Her cheeks are wasting away with a sorrow [akhos] that is most pitiful [eleeinon].
So also did Odysseus pour out a piteous tear [dakruon] from beneath his brows; there he was, escaping the notice of all while he kept pouring out his tears [dakrua].
But Alkinoos was the only one of all of them who was aware, and he took note [noeîn].

2§330 On the basis of the correspondences we see between these passages I have just quoted, I am ready to argue that the poetic form of the epic of Demodokos is cognate with the poetic form of the epic Cycle as exemplified by the Iliou Persis attributed to Arctinus of Miletus. This poetic form is pre-Homeric, in the sense that it preserves not only epic themes but also epic conventions that are no longer current in the overall poetics of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. These conventions, as we saw, are revealed in the special usage of the word humnos with reference to the performance of Demodokos in Odyssey viii. This special usage, as we also saw, is marked by the poetic concept of metabasis.

2§331 I used the term pre-Homeric here because Homeric poetry refers to the poetry of Demodokos as an antiquated medium. I have already highlighted the moment when the master narrator begins to narrate how Demodokos begins to narrate his first song: the kleos ‘fame’ of this embedded narration was something that existed tote ‘at that time’ (viii 74). So the master narration is pointedly set apart from the embedded narration, the reception of which is dated to an earlier time. The embedded narration represents an older form of epic.

2§332 I have more to say in the twin book Homer the Preclassic about this older form of epic. [300] Here I concentrate on two of its characteristics, {342|343} as represented by the terms humnos and metabasis. We have seen that the evidence of the Homeric Hymns is relevant to these epic characteristics, and that Callimachus understood this relevance in composing his own Hymns, even though he thought that these characteristics represented newer rather than older forms of epic. I suspect that Callimachus experimented with the poetic device of metabasis in his Hymns precisely because Homer, as the supposedly oldest of poets, makes no metabasis. For Callimachus, this poetic device of metabasis was typical of the supposedly newer poets, as represented by the Homeric Hymns.

2§333 It remains to ask: was Callimachus aware of metabasis as a poetic device that was used in the epic Cycle as well? I think so. After all, the Cycle was attributed to newer poets, just like the Homeric Hymns. Still, the question may be irrelevant, if it is true that Callimachus was not particularly interested in the Cycle. I recall again the passage where Callimachus declares: ἐχθαίρω τὸ ποίημα τὸ κυκλικόν ‘I detest the Cyclic poem’ (Epigram 28.1).

2ⓢ25. The sorrows of Andromache

2§334 As we have seen so far, the sequencing of the narrative in the third performance by Demodokos is the consequence of a perfectly executed humnos. The effects of this perfect execution are demonstrated by the reaction of the audience of Demodokos – in particular, by the tears of Odysseus. As we have also seen, what transforms the third performance into something Cyclic is the correspondence of its story with the story of the Iliou Persis. Now, what will transform this same performance into something Homeric is its application to the plot as it is taking shape in the master narrative. The result, which I analyze in the twin book Homer the Preclassic, is an actual competition of Homeric form with Cyclic form. [301] In the present book, on the other hand, I analyze the interweaving between the epic of Homer and the epic of Demodokos. And the thread of thought for this interweaving is the story of the sorrows of Andromache.

2§335 Relevant is the fact that the totality of narration in the third performance of Demodokos is achieved not directly but indirectly. It is achieved by way of the outer narrative that frames the third song. In the outer narrative, the reaction of Odysseus to the inner narrative fills out that inner narrative. At the precise moment when Odysseus starts to weep in response to the narration of Demodokos, the weeping of this hero as the foremost participant {343|344} in the audience is compared by way of a simile to the weeping of an unidentified woman who has just been captured by the enemy. The simile takes up the narration at exactly the point where it was left off by the narrative of Demodokos – and by the outer narrative of the Odyssey. That point in the epic Cycle, as we just saw in the Proclus summary of the Iliou Persis (p. 108.8-10), is the moment when Odysseus is about to kill Astynanax, son of Andromache and Hector, and Neoptolemos is about to capture Andromache herself as his prize. [302]

2§336 This moment in the Cycle is foreshadowed in the Iliad. I quote here the most telling verses, where Hector reveals to Andromache his forebodings about his own death and about its dire consequences for his wife and child:

2ⓣ96 Iliad VI 448-464

εὖ γὰρ ἐγὼ τόδε οἶδα κατὰ φρένα καὶ κατὰ θυμόν·
ἔσσεται ἦμαρ ὅτ’ ἄν ποτ’ ὀλώλῃ Ἴλιος ἱρὴ
450καὶ Πρίαμος καὶ λαὸς ἐϋμμελίω Πριάμοιο.
ἀλλ’ οὔ μοι Τρώων τόσσον μέλει ἄλγος ὀπίσσω,
οὔτ’ αὐτῆς Ἑκάβης οὔτε Πριάμοιο ἄνακτος
οὔτε κασιγνήτων, οἵ κεν πολέες τε καὶ ἐσθλοὶ
ἐν κονίῃσι πέσοιεν ὑπ’ ἀνδράσι δυσμενέεσσιν,
ὅσσον σεῦ, ὅτε κέν τις Ἀχαιῶν χαλκοχιτώνων
455  δακρυόεσσαν ἄγηται ἐλεύθερον ἦμαρ ἀπούρας·
καί κεν ἐν Ἄργει ἐοῦσα πρὸς ἄλλης ἱστὸν ὑφαίνοις,
καί κεν ὕδωρ φορέοις Μεσσηΐδος ἢ Ὑπερείης
πόλλ’ ἀεκαζομένη, κρατερὴ δ’ ἐπικείσετ’ ἀνάγκη·
καί ποτέ τις εἴπῃσιν ἰδὼν κατὰ δάκρυ χέουσαν·
460  Ἕκτορος ἥδε γυνὴ ὃς ἀριστεύεσκε μάχεσθαι
Τρώων ἱπποδάμων ὅτε Ἴλιον ἀμφεμάχοντο.
ὥς ποτέ τις ἐρέει· σοὶ δ’ αὖ νέον ἔσσεται ἄλγος
χήτεϊ τοιοῦδ’ ἀνδρὸς ἀμύνειν δούλιον ἦμαρ.
ἀλλά με τεθνηῶτα χυτὴ κατὰ γαῖα καλύπτοι {344|345}

For I know well in my thinking, in my heart, that
there will come a day when, once it comes, the sacred city of Ilios [= Ilion = Troy] will be destroyed
450  – and Priam, too, and along with him [will be destroyed] the people of that man with the fine ash spear, that Priam.
But the pain I have on my mind is not as great for the Trojans and for what will happen to them in the future,
or for Hecuba or for Priam the king,
or for my brothers if, many in number and noble as they are,
they will fall in the dust at the hands of men who are their enemies
– no, [the pain I have on my mind is not as great for them] as it is for you when I think of a moment when some Achaean man, one of those men who wear khitons of bronze,
455  takes hold of you as you weep and leads you away as his prize, depriving you of your days of freedom from slavery.
And you would be going to Argos, where you would be weaving [huphainein] at the loom of some other woman [and no longer at your own loom at home]
– and you would be carrying water for her, drawing from the spring called Messēís or the one called Hypereia.
Again and again you will be forced to do things against your will, and the bondage holding you down will be harsh.
And someone some day will look at you as you pour out your tears and will say:
460  “Hector is the man whose wife this woman used to be. He used to be the best in battle
– the best of all the Trojans, those horse-tamers, back in those days when they fought to defend Ilion [= Troy].”
That is what someone some day will say. And just hearing it will give you a new sorrow
as the widow of this kind of man, the kind that is able to prevent those days of slavery. {345|346}
But, once I am dead, may earth be scattered over me and cover me.

2§337 When the scene of Andromache’s capture is about to be retold in the third song of Demodokos, something happens in the overall narrative of the Homeric Odyssey. At the point where the retelling is about to happen, it is is blocked. Unlike the Iliou Persis of Arctinus, where a high point of the narrative of Troy’s destruction is the killing of Astyanax and the capture of Andromache, that high point is missing in the Odyssey: instead, the narrator’s act of identifying Andromache as a captive woman is screened by a simile about an unidentified captive woman:

2ⓣ97 Odyssey viii 521-530

ταῦτ’ ἄρ’ ἀοιδὸς ἄειδε περικλυτός· αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς
τήκετο, δάκρυ δ’ ἔδευεν ὑπὸ βλεφάροισι παρειάς.
ὡς δὲ γυνὴ κλαίῃσι φίλον πόσιν ἀμφιπεσοῦσα,
ὅς τε ἑῆς πρόσθεν πόλιος λαῶν τε πέσῃσιν,
525  ἄστεϊ καὶ τεκέεσσιν ἀμύνων νηλεὲς ἦμαρ·
ἡ μὲν τὸν θνῄσκοντα καὶ ἀσπαίροντα ἰδοῦσα
ἀμφ’ αὐτῷ χυμένη λίγα κωκύει· οἱ δέ τ’ ὄπισθε
κόπτοντες δούρεσσι μετάφρενον ἠδὲ καὶ ὤμους
εἴρερον εἰσανάγουσι, πόνον τ’ ἐχέμεν καὶ ὀϊζύν·
530  τῆς δ’ ἐλεεινοτάτῳ ἄχεϊ φθινύθουσι παρειαί·

So these were the things that the singer [aoidos] most famed was singing. As for Odysseus,
he dissolved [tēkesthai] into tears. He made wet his cheeks with the tears flowing from his eyelids,
just as a woman cries, falling down and embracing her dear husband,
who fell in front of the city and people he was defending,
525  trying to ward off the pitiless day of doom that is hanging over the city and its children.
She sees him dying, gasping for his last breath,
and she pours herself all over him as she wails with a piercing cry. But there are men behind her, {346|347}
prodding her with their spears, hurting her back and shoulders,
and they bring for her a life of bondage, which will give her pain and sorrow.
530  Her cheeks are wasting away with a sorrow [akhos] that is most pitiful [eleeinon].

2§338 This sequence of narration in the Odyssey achieves an effect of screen memory. An essential phase in the sequence is being screened out by the memory of that narrative. The audience, as foregrounded by Odysseus, is expected to know the sequence, and the sequence is already a reality because the audience already knows where the singer had started. As I have already argued, the beginning of the narration already determines the plot of the narration. So the audience and the singer, in a combined effort, can now all project the image together, projecting it as a flashback on the screen of the mind’s eye. But the climax of the action, that is, the capturing of the woman who is yet to be identified as Andromache, has been screened out by a simile about the capturing of a woman who will never be identified.

2§339 I have used here two distinct metaphors involving the concept of screen. The first is the screening or projecting of an image on the screen that is the mind’s eye. The second is the screening-out of that image in the overall narrative of the Odyssey. It is pertinent that Odysseus is not only the foregrounded audience of the third song of Demodokos: he is also an agent of the plot that is being narrated by the song, since he is the direct cause of Andromache’s sorrows. [303]

2§340 The narrative of Demodokos was reaching an outcome that features the capture of Andromache, but such an outcome has been taken over by the outer narrative of the Odyssey – once the simile of the captive woman takes over from the inner narrative about the capture of Andromache – an inner narrative that Demodokos would still be performing. But the outer narrative now takes over from the inner narrative. From the standpoint of the outer narrative, the inner narrative remains the same. From the standpoint of the inner narrative, however, its outcome has been preempted.

2§341 As we saw earlier, the sequence of the narrative of the third song of Demodokos in Odyssey viii matches the sequence of the narrative we know as the Iliou Persis in the epic Cycle, which represents an older form of epic. A distinctive feature of this older form is the poetic device of the metabasis, {347|348} which links a humnos to its hymnic consequent. As we also saw, there is an actual reference to this device in Odyssey viii 492, marking the transition that leads into the third song. So the third song of Demodokos, as an older form of epic, is part of a humnos by virtue of being a hymnic consequent.

2§342 In the twin book Homer the Preclassic, I focus on all three songs of Demodokos as parts of an ongoing humnos. [304] In the present book I focus only on the third song. As part of a humnos, this song attracts a metaphor traditionally associated with the word humnos. It is the metaphor of fluidity, which has been all along the centerpoint of interest in this chapter.

2§343 This metaphor is already signaled in the physical reaction of Odysseus to the first and the third songs of Demodokos, which is linked with his reaction to the third song. I need to repeat here what I said before about these reactions. The first song, as we saw, keeps on restarting, and, each time it restarts, Odysseus sheds tears all over again: the continually restarted outpouring of tears is expressed by the wording aps goân ‘lament again and again’ at verse 92, which parallels the wording that expresses the continual restarting of this first song, aps arkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90. Then, in the third song, a connection is established with the first song, as if the third directly followed the first. By way of this connection, the third song will now appear to be a new restarting of the first, which was continually being restarted until Alkinoos stopped it (98-99). The sorrowful themes in the first song are now being recycled into the third song, by way of ring composition. When Odysseus hears the third song, he literally ‘dissolves’ into tears (522 tēkesthai). The hero pours forth ‘a tear’ (dakru / dakruon at 522 / 531) all over again. The wording ἐλεεινὸν … δάκρυον εἶβεν ‘he poured forth a piteous [eleeinon] tear’ (531), with reference to the third song, recycles by way of ring composition the earlier wording δάκρυα λείβων ‘pouring forth tears’, with reference to the first song (86).

2§344 As Odysseus weeps, he is compared to an unnamed captive woman who is weeping (Odyssey viii 523 klaiein) over the dead body of her warrior husband. This woman, within the framework of the third song, would be Andromache. [305] Within the overall framework of the Odyssey, however, this woman is not to be identified. As the unidentified captive woman weeps, she is ‘poured all around’ her dead husband (527 amphi khumenē): in effect, she {348|349} dissolves into tears. [306] Directly comparable is the primary listener in the audience, Odysseus, who reacts by ‘dissolving’ (522 tēkesthai) into tears.

2§345 Whenever Andromache dissolves into tears and speaks in the mode of lament, it is not only sad for an audience: it is simultaneously erotic. [307] The emotional effect achieved in the staging of a grieving Andromache in the Iliad is comparable to the emotional effect achieved in the staging of a prima donna singing her song of sorrow in the world of opera.

2§346 There is also an exquisite example of such staging in ancient Greek tragedy. It is an aria of lamentation composed in elegiac couplets and sung as a monody by the actor who plays Andromache in a tragedy of Euripides called the Andromache. I quote here the relevant verses, drawing special attention to the association of the word tēkesthai ‘dissolve’, referring to Andromache’s tears of lament, with the word terpsis ‘delight’:

2ⓣ98 Euripides Andromache 91-117

Αν. ἡμεῖς δ’ οἷσπερ ἐγκείμεσθ’ ἀεὶ
θρήνοισι καὶ γόοισι καὶ δακρύμασιν
πρὸς αἰθέρ’ ἐκτενοῦμεν· ἐμπέφυκε γὰρ
γυναιξὶ τέρψις τῶν παρεστώτων κακῶν
95   ἀνὰ στόμ’ αἰεὶ καὶ διὰ γλώσσης ἔχειν.
πάρεστι δ’ οὐχ ἓν ἀλλὰ πολλά μοι στένειν,
πόλιν πατρώιαν τὸν θανόντα θ’ Ἕκτορα
στερρόν τε τὸν ἐμὸν δαίμον’ ὧι συνεζύγην
δούλειον ἦμαρ ἐσπεσοῦσ’ ἀναξίως.
100  χρὴ δ’ οὔποτ’ εἰπεῖν οὐδέν’ ὄλβιον βροτῶν,
πρὶν ἂν θανόντος τὴν τελευταίαν ἴδηις
ὅπως περάσας ἡμέραν ἥξει κάτω.
᾿Ιλίωι αἰπεινᾶι Πάρις οὐ γάμον ἀλλά τιν’ ἄταν
ἀγάγετ’ εὐναίαν ἐς θαλάμους Ἑλέναν. {349|350}
105  ς ἕνεκ’, ὦ Τροία, δορὶ καὶ πυρὶ δηϊάλωτον
εἷλέ σ’ ὁ χιλιόναυς Ἑλλάδος ὠκὺς Ἄρης
καὶ τὸν ἐμὸν μελέας πόσιν Ἕκτορα, τὸν περὶ τείχη
εἵλκυσε διφρεύων παῖς ἁλίας Θέτιδος·
αὐτὰ δ’ ἐκ θαλάμων ἀγόμαν ἐπὶ θῖνα θαλάσσας,
110  δουλοσύναν στυγερὰν ἀμφιβαλοῦσα κάραι.
πολλὰ δὲ δάκρυά μοι κατέβα χροός, ἁνίκ’ ἔλειπον
ἄστυ τε καὶ θαλάμους καὶ πόσιν ἐν κονίαις.
ὤμοι ἐγὼ μελέα, τί μ’ ἐχρῆν ἔτι φέγγος ὁρᾶσθαι
Ἑρμιόνας δούλαν;
ς ὕπο τειρομένα
115  πρὸς τόδ’ ἄγαλμα θεᾶς ἱκέτις περὶ χεῖρε βαλοῦσα
τάκομαι ὡς πετρίνα πιδακόεσσα λιβάς.
ΧΟΡ.ὦ γύναι, ἃ Θέτιδος δάπεδον καὶ ἀνάκτορα θάσσεις
δαρὸνοὐδὲ λείπεις,
Φθιὰς ὅμως ἔμολον ποτὶ σὰν Ἀσιήτιδα γένναν, …

ANDROMACHE
But I, involved as I am all the time in laments [thrēnoi] and wailings [gooi] and outbursts of tears,
will make them reach far away, as far as the aether. For it is natural
for women, when misfortunes attend them, to take pleasure [terpsis]
90   in giving voice to it all, voicing it again and again, maintaining the voice from one mouth to the next, from one tongue to the next.
I have here not one but many things to mourn:
I mourn the city of my fathers. I mourn Hector, dead.
And I mourn the rigid fate allotted to me by an unnamed force [daimōn], a fate to which I am yoked,
having fallen captive to a life of slavery – so undeserved!
100  You must never call any mortal blessed [olbios] {350|351}
before he dies and you see him on his last day alive,
and you see how he lives through that day before he finally goes down below.
To Ilios [= Troy] with its steep walls [308] did Paris bring not a wedding to be celebrated but some kind of aberration [atē]
when he brought to the wedding chamber, as his partner in bed, Helen herself.
105  Because of her, O Troy, by spear and fire were you captured by the enemy.
Seized you were by the thousand ships of Hellas sent by swift Ares,
and so also was my husband Hector taken from me, wretched that I am. Around the walls [of Troy]
was he dragged from the chariot driven by the son of the sea-dwelling Thetis.
And then I myself was taken out of my chamber and brought to the shore of the sea.
110  Hateful slavery did I place as headwear upon my head.
And many a tear came falling, all over the complexion of my face as I left behind
my city and my chamber and my husband lying in the dust.
I cry O for me, wretched that I am! Why did I have to see the light of day
as a slave of Hermione? Worn down by her domination,
115  to this statue of the goddess do I come as a suppliant, embracing it with both hands,
and I dissolve [tēkesthai] [into tears] like a stream that flows from a spring in the rocky heights. {351|352}
CHORUS
My lady, you who have been sitting there on the sacred ground and precinct of Thetis [309]
for some time now, unwilling to leave,
I, a woman from Phthia, have come, approaching you, a woman born in Asia …

2§347 This lament sung by Andromache is comparable in its eroticism to the lament sung by the unnamed captive woman in the simile applied to Odysseus when he weeps in reaction to the third song of Demodokos in Odyssey viii. That lament is pointedly left unquoted in the simile about the unidentified captive woman in Odyssey viii.

2§348 The lament of Andromache is also comparable to what we saw in Idyll 1 of Theocritus, where tēkesthai refers to the ‘dissolving’ (66 ἐτάκετο) of Daphnis in response to his own sad love story. First Daphnis dissolves metaphorically, and then he dissolves literally: in his tears, Daphnis is ultimately absorbed into the waters of the stream (140-141 ἔβα ῥόον. ἔκλυσε δίνα | τὸν Μοίσαις φίλον ἄνδρα).

2§349 So also Odysseus dissolves in response to the sad love story of the lamenting captive woman. As this unnamed woman dissolves into tears in the narrative of the simile, her weeping extends to Odysseus in the outer narrative: he too dissolves into the same world of tears. And, by dissolving into tears, the figure of Odysseus becomes reconfigured as the lamenting woman of the simile. Through the metaphor of fluidity as song, the particles of the picture that is the old song are dissolved and then reassembled in high resolution, thus becoming the newest song.

2§350 The fluidity of performing the third song of Demodokos anticipates the ultimate rigidity of the composition in the end, at the telos, once the story is fully told. In Homer the Preclassic, I have more to say about this telos. [310] In the present book I focus only on the fact that the lamenting woman in the third song of Demodokos is not identified. Relevant is my earlier argument {352|353} about the all-encompassing narration of the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII. In the Shield, as in the third song of Demodokos, we see a cross-reference to the totality of an all-encompassing narration. In the third song of Demodokos, the referent is the past that is the Troy story. In the Shield, the referent is the future outcome of a Troy story still in the making. In the third song of Demodokos, the climax of the action is the capturing of Andromache, who is about to be identified by Demodokos. But this climax is screened out by a simile referring to the capture of a woman who will never be identified. The non-identification of the unnamed captive woman in the third song of Demodokos is comparable to the non-identification of the unnamed litigants in the Shield of Achilles. Once the story of the Iliad reaches its conclusion, its telos, the litigants can be identified as Agamemnon and Achilles. Once the third song of Demodokos reaches its conclusion, the captive woman can be identified as Andromache. The identification of these characters matches the inflexibility and rigidity of the finished composition, while their non-identification matches the flexibility and fluidity of the composition still in progress, still in performance. {353|354}

Footnotes

[ back ] 1. I have made this argument about the authorship of Homer more than once, for example in PP 62, where I explicitly use the word ‘author’.

[ back ] 2. What I mean by folk etymology is explained in HTL ch. 6.

[ back ] 3. As we will see at a later point, some traditional features of Zeus are predicated on traditional features of his divine son, Apollo, but the predication can be mythologized in reverse order, as if the features of Apollo were modeled on his divine father, Zeus. Such a pattern of reversal applies also to the divine daughter of Zeus, Athena. In “Orphic” traditions, for example, Zeus himself is figured as a weaver (Pherecydes of Syros B 2 DK).

[ back ] 4. In the Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus, where Rhea gives birth to Zeus in concert with Earth, the words that refer to the birth are kheîn ‘pour’ and kheuma ‘pouring’ (32). On the “Orphic” connotations of such words designating the ‘flowing’ or ‘pouring’ of fresh water, I will have more to say at a later point. The word rhoos is also prominently featured in Callimachus Hymn to Apollo 108, referring to the diluted ‘Assyrian stream’ as a foil for the undiluted source of water for bees that make honey for Demeter. I hope to pursue elsewhere the interweaving of “Orphic” and “Cretan” traditions in the Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus.

[ back ] 5. I have analyzed Hesiod Theogony 35 in some detail in GM 181-201. In a forthcoming project, I hope to update my analysis.

[ back ] 6. From the standpoint of local creation myths, humankind was generated out of oak trees (another variant: ash trees) or out of rocks: see GM ch. 7.

[ back ] 7. The metonymy that comes to life in associating the stomata ‘mouths’ of the Muses with their voices is part of an extended metonymy centering on an eroticized sense of desire as evoked by the voice of the singer.

[ back ] 8. At a later point, I will have more to say about Athenian agenda implicit in this reference to giants.

[ back ] 9. GM 57-59.

[ back ] 10. The verb melpesthai and the noun molpē convey the combination of singing and dancing: PH 12§29n62 (= p. 350) and n64 (= p. 351).

[ back ] 11. As I noted earlier, the idea that the Olympian Muse Kalliope authorizes kings is related to another idea: that Kalliope is the mother of Orpheus (as in Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica 23-25). I analyze the relationship between these ideas in HPC E§109.

[ back ] 12. For a most helpful commentary that covers the first 115 verses of the Hesiodic Theogony, see Pucci 2007.

[ back ] 13. PR 82, with reference to the term aporetic question used by Race 1990:104. See also Bundy 1972:47.

[ back ] 14. At verse 19 of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the manuscript reading is γάρ, while at 207, it is τ’ἄρ.

[ back ] 15. PR 82-83. Koller 1956:197 argues that the rhetorical strategy of this aporetic question at HomericHymnto Apollo 19 / 207 is a substitute for another strategy, which is the gesture of a metabasis or ‘switch’ to the consequent, that is, to the rest of the song. At a later point, I will have more to say about metabasis. Koller (p. 197) notes that the aporetic question of Homeric Hymn to Apollo 19 / 207 comes after khaire / khairete ‘hail and take pleasure’ at 14 /166, which is a performative gesture that calls on Leto and on the Delian Maidens respectively to reciprocate the pleasure that they have experienced from what has been said so far. At a later point, I will have more to say about khaire / khairete. I suggest that the aporetic question is intended to lead to a new beginning – as an alternative to a smooth transition to the consequent.

[ back ] 16. On the syntax of pantōs ‘absolutely’ as an overall modifier of absolute phraseology, see for example Solon F 4.16 ed. West and the commentary in Nagy 1985:59-60, PH 9§7n38 (= p. 256).

[ back ] 17. I read here ὑποκρίνασθαι (infinitive used as imperative) not ὑποκρίνασθε (imperative). And I read ἀφ’ ἡμέων not ἀμφ’ ἡμέων (both textual variants are attested in the medieval manuscript tradition).

[ back ] 18. This word thauma ‘thing of wonder’ conveys a spectacular visual experience. Comparable is the thauma of the serpent as analyzed in ch. 1. In the Lives of Homer, as I show in HPC I§§120-123, the same word thauma marks the universal response to Homer’s poetry.

[ back ] 19. Τhe particle ἄρα / ῥα / ἄρ ‘so, then’ has an “evidentiary” force, indicating that the speaker notionally sees what is simultaneously being spoken. See Bakker 2005: 80, 84, 97-100, 104, 146, 172n33.

[ back ] 20. On the occasion of singing a humnos, the god who is being sung in the humnos – who is the subject of the humnos – is metonymically equated with the humnos itself: by metonymy, the god is the song.

[ back ] 21. A variant reading here is bambaliastus. See PH 1§48n130 (= p. 43). The noun krembaliastus indicates the creation of rhythm by way of musical instruments of percussion, such as krotala, and this rhythm is distinctly choral: see the argumentation of Peponi 2009, who also adduces iconographical evidence showing the Muses themselves in the act of singing and dancing while playing on krotala.

[ back ] 22. Here in Homeric Hymn to Apollo 163, I take special note of the verb mimeîsthai ‘re-enact, imitate’, derived from mimos ‘mime’; the derivative noun mimēsis and its relatives have distinctly choral and even theatrical associations. See PP 80-81. On the psychology of “empathy” in such re-enactment by way of choral song and dance, see Peponi 2009:60-68.

[ back ] 23. I translate khaire / khairete here at Homeric Hymn to Apollo 166 as ‘hail and take pleasure’. The verb khairein is related to the noun kharis, which is analogous to the Latin noun gratia in combining the ideas of pleasure (‘gratification’) and beauty (‘gracefulness’) by way of reciprocity (‘graciousness’), as I argued in ch. 1. The imperative khaire / khairete is used in contexts of marking the beginning or ending of a personal encounter, which I render by way of ‘hail!’. In the Homeric Hymns, khaire / khairete marks a transition from focusing on a god or on an aspect of a god to focusing on the rest of the song. See also Calame 2005:26-28.

[ back ] 24. The infinitive ὑποκρίνασθαι, as I noted above, is used here as an imperative.

[ back ] 25. In a quotation made by Thucydides (3.104.5) from the HomericHymnto Apollo, we find in the corresponding verse not ἀφ’ ἡμέων ‘about me’ but ἀφήμως. This variant reading ἀφήμως is not corrupt, as we see from the entry in the lexicographical tradition represented by Hesychius: ἀφήμως· ἐν κόσμῳ, ἡσυχῇ. The interpretation ἐν κόσμῳ, ἡσυχῇ ‘in an orderly or serene way’ seems to be a guess, however, based on the context of verse 171. A more likely interpretation is ‘without naming names’, since the adjective ἄφημος was understood to be a synonym of ἀπευθής (as we see in the scholia to Aratus 1.270.2 ed. Martin 1974). This word ἀπευθής is used in the sense of ‘without information’, as in Odyssey iii 88 and 184. When the Delian Maidens are asked to respond to the question ‘who is the singer?’ they respond without naming names, that is, without giving information about the singer’s name. I propose that the textual variants ἀφ’ ἡμέων and ἀφήμως are authentic formulaic variants.

[ back ] 26. Literally, ‘we’.

[ back ] 27. Once again, the god who is being sung in the humnos – who is the subject of the humnos – is metonymically equated with the humnos itself: by metonymy, the god is the song.

[ back ] 28. See the note above on HomericHymn to Apollo verse 163.

[ back ] 29. PH 12§71 (= pp. 375-376); PP 82. My arguments there can be used to complement the arguments of Peponi 2009:60-68 about the psychology of “empathy” in the choral performance of the Delian Maidens.

[ back ] 30. BA 17§9 (= pp. 296-297).

[ back ] 31. The ritual identification of the aoidos ‘singer’ with the Muses is made explicit in the designation of the generic aoidos as Μουσάων θεράπων ‘therapōn of the Muses’. On therapōn ‘attendant’ in the earlier sense of ‘ritual substitute’, see BA 18§1-9 (= pp. 301-307), with special reference to the use of the epithet Μουσάων θεράπων ‘therapōn of the Muses’ in the Life of Archilochus and Life of Aesop traditions. On the Hesiodic model of Μουσάων θεράπων ‘therapōn of the Muses’ (Theogony 100), see GM 47-51.

[ back ] 32. PH 12§20 (= pp. 346-347); PP 53-54, 57, 89-90, 92, 96.

[ back ] 33. See also GM 57-58.

[ back ] 34. See also GM 58.

[ back ] 35. See also PR 82n37.

[ back ] 36. See Peponi 2009:54-55, 66n71. Also Calame 2001:30, 104, 110. Thucydides 3.104.5 refers to this chorus as gunaikes ‘women’; accordingly, it may be too restrictive to say ‘Delian Maidens’, if the categories of choral groupings included women as well as unmarried ‘maidens’; in that case, it may be preferable to use a more inclusive translation, ‘Deliades’.

[ back ] 37. See my note for Homeric Hymn to Apollo verse 163 at 2§27. The designation of the Delian Maidens as therapnai ‘attendants’ of the god Apollo in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (157) is comparable to the designation of the generic aoidos ‘singer’ as therapōn ‘attendant’ of the Muses (Μουσάων θεράπων), as in the Hesiodic Theogony (100). Since the feminine form therapnē is related to the masculine therapōn, I suggest that the Delian Maidens as choral performers are surrogates of Apollo and, by extension, of his choral ensemble of Muses, just as the generic aoidos ‘singer’ in the Theogony is a surrogate of the Muses, and by extension, of their choral leader Apollo. On Apollo as a metonym for Apollo and the Muses in choral contexts, see PH 12§§29 (= pp. 350-351) and 58 (= p. 370). On therapōn ‘attendant’ in the earlier sense of ‘ritual substitute’, I refer again to BA 18§1-9 (= pp. 301-307), with special reference to the use of the epithet Μουσάων θεράπων ‘therapōn of the Muses’ in the Life of Archilochus and Life of Aesop traditions. On the Hesiodic model of Μουσάων θεράπων ‘therapōn of the Muses’ (Theogony 100), I refer again to GM 47-51. With reference to the word therapnai ‘attendants’, consider also the Laconian place-name Therapna (Serapna), which I interpret as a metonym like Mukēnē, Thēbē, and so on (on these place names, see HTL 163).

[ back ] 38. See GM 58.

[ back ] 39. I quote Theogony 99-101 at a later point. In this context, Hesiod as generic aoidos ‘singer’ is called ‘therapōn of the Muses’.

[ back ] 40. HQ 124-128.

[ back ] 41. In the HomericHymnto Apollo (168), according to the version quoted by Thucydides 3.104.5, the wanderer who arrives at Delos is described as allos – seemingly some person ‘other’ than the speaker. Even in terms of this variant, my formulation holds: this seemingly ‘other’ person becomes the same person as the speaker – once the response of the Delian Maidens to that ‘other’ person is actually quoted by the speaker.

[ back ] 42. GM 47n32.

[ back ] 43. BA 17§§9-13 (= pp. 296 -300). The meaning ‘fitting together’ is linked with the metaphorical world of the craft of woodworking.

[ back ] 44. PH 12§66 (= pp. 372-373).

[ back ] 45. BA 17§§9-13 (= pp. 296-300), including a discussion of an alternative explanation by Durante 1976:194-197. See also West 1999, who argues that the name of Homer, Homēros, is merely a back-formation derived from Homēridai, and that Homer is a “fictitious person” (p. 372). I offer a different argument in HPC I§142.

[ back ] 46. 2§27.

[ back ] 47. HPC I§§141-156.

[ back ] 48. As Marco Fantuzzi points out to me, there is a comparable theme to be found in Hymn 5 of Callimachus, The Bath of Pallas.

[ back ] 49. The epithet of the Kharites ‘Graces’ here, eu-plokamoi ‘with their tresses beautifully plaited’, is relevant the description of Euphorbos as a beau mort in the Iliad. I analyze that description in HPC II§425.

[ back ] 50. PH 12§29n62 (= p. 350) and n64 (= p. 351).

[ back ] 51. As Marco Fantuzzi points out to me, there is a comparable theme to be found in Hymn 2 of Callimachus, the Hymn to Apollo.

[ back ] 52. At verse 19, the location of the first aporetic question, the manuscript reading is γάρ, while at 207, the location of the second, it is τ᾿ἄρ.

[ back ] 53. In ch. 4, I will examine a parallel sacred model: the goddess Athena is the perfect maker of her own robe or peplos, and she thus becomes the model for the eternal remaking of her peplos, season after season. And the seasonally recurring occasion of this remaking is the festival of the Panathenaia.

[ back ] 54. PH 6§91 (= pp. 197-198).

[ back ] 55. PP 80-81.

[ back ] 56. PP 81. The symmetry of the Panathenaia and the City Dionysia as the two most important festivals of the Athenians is evident in a formulation by Demosthenes in the First Philippic (4.35).

[ back ] 57. Aristotle’s use of the terms humnos ‘hymn’ / enkōmion ‘encomium, celebration, song of praise’ is comparable to Plato’s use of the terms humnos and enkōmiazein in the Timaeus (21a): τὴν θεὸν … ἐν τῇ πανηγύρει δικαίως τε καὶ ἀληθῶς … ὑμνοῦνταςἐγκωμιάζειν ‘rightly and truthfully celebrating [enkōmiazein] the goddess on this the occasion of her festival [panēguris], … making her the subject of a humnos’. I draw attention to the use of the verb enkōmiazein ‘celebrate’ with the accusative case of the divinity who presides over the festival and who is the subject of the humnos that inaugurates the festival. In this case, the divinity is Athena, presiding over the festival of the Panathenaia. There is a mythological parallelism between the humnos as a notionally prototypical song and the peplos of Athena as a notionally prototypical fabric. Analysis in HPC I§201.

[ back ] 58. PH 13§§6-21 (= pp. 384-392).

[ back ] 59. PH 3§§9-10 (= pp. 87-88), 12§7 (= p. 341). On the term aetiology: PH 1§50 (= p. 44).

[ back ] 60. Steinhart 2007:202-203.

[ back ] 61. Nagy 2007a:123.

[ back ] 62. Nagy 2007a:123-124.

[ back ] 63. Steinhart 2007:210-211.

[ back ] 64. The wording here is the scholiast’s paraphrase of lines 18-19 of Pindar’s Olympian 13.

[ back ] 65. PH 3§9 (= p. 87), 13§17 (= p. 389).

[ back ] 66. PH 12§49 (= pp. 363-364).

[ back ] 67. Variant reading: ποίησε.

[ back ] 68. Here at verses 604-605, I follow the reading τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς | φορμίζων, which is not attested in the medieval manuscript tradition but was restored by F. A. Wolf in his 1804 edition of the Iliad. The relevant verse-numbering of 604-605 in current editions of the Iliad goes back to the Wolf edition. The restoration is based on what we read in Athenaeus 5.181c about the treatment of this passage in the edition of Aristarchus: reportedly, that editor accepted the reading τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς | φορμίζων at Odyssey iv 17-18, where it is still attested in the medieval manuscript tradition, while rejecting the same reading in the corresponding passage at Iliad XVIII 604-605. I will have more to say about this reading in my footnote for my translation of verses 604-605.

[ back ] 69. Here at verse 606, I follow the reading ἐξάρχοντoς reported by Athenaeus 5.180d, who notes that Aristarchus argued for the reading ἐξάρχοντες, which is what we find in the medieval manuscripts both here at Iliad XVIII 606 and at Odyssey iv 18. Athenaeus defends ἐξάρχοντoς, and his wording indicates that this reading was attested as a textual variant. I will have more to say about these alternative readings in my footnote for my translation of verse 606.

[ back ] 70. This word khoros can designate either the place where singing and dancing takes place or the group of singers and dancers who perform at that place. The relationship of the place with the group that is the khoros is metonymic.

[ back ] 71. The ‘there’ is both the place of dance and the place in the picture that is the Shield.

[ back ] 72. The verb melpesthai and the noun molpē convey the combination of singing and dancing: PH 12§29n62 (= p. 350) and n64 (= p. 351).

[ back ] 73. As I said in my footnote for the original Greek of verse 605, Aristarchus rejected the reading τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς | φορμίζων ‘… and they were all delighted. In their midst sang and danced a divine singer, playing on the phorminx …’ at Iliad XVIII 604-605 (the verse-numbering goes back to the Wolf edition) but accepted it at Odyssey iv 17-18, where it is still attested in the medieval manuscript tradition. Instead of the two verses that take up the space of 604-605, τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς | φορμίζων, δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς ‘… and they were all delighted. In their midst sang and danced a divine singer, | playing on the phorminx. Two special dancers among them …’ , Aristarchus preferred to read simply one verse, τερπόμενοι· δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς ‘… and they were all delighted. Two special dancers among them …’, with one verse instead of two verses taking up the same narrative space. I note that the wording τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς | φορμίζων ‘… and they were all delighted. In their midst sang and danced a divine singer, | playing on the phorminx …’, which is the wording attested at Odyssey iv 17-18 and restored at Iliad XVIII 604-605, can be independently authenticated on the basis of the wording attested at Odyssey xiii 27-28, where we read τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς | Δημόδοκος ‘… and they were all delighted. In their midst sang and danced the divine singer, | Demodokos’. The evidence of this passage from Odyssey xiii is missing in the reportage of Athenaeus about the editorial decisions of Aristarchus. And it is missing also from the argumentation of Revermann 1998, who reasons that the wording μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς | φορμίζων ‘In their midst sang and danced a divine singer, | playing on the phorminx’ at Iliad XVIII 604-605 results from what he calls “rhapsodic intervention” (p. 37). The problem with this kind of reasoning is that it fails to account for the formulaic nature of such an “intervention.” The evidence of the wording in the relevant passages here indicates that both the shorter and the longer versions of Iliad XVIII 604-605 result from formulaic composition. Both the shorter and the longer versions are formulaic variants.

[ back ] 74. As I said in the footnote for the Greek text of this verse, I follow here the alternative reading ἐξάρχοντoς reported by Athenaeus 5.180d, who notes that Aristarchus argued for the reading ἐξάρχοντες, which is what we find in the medieval manuscripts both here at Iliad XVIII 606 and at Odyssey iv 18. As I also said in that footnote, the wording of Athenaeus indicates that we are dealing here with two textual variants, ἐξάρχοντoς and ἐξάρχοντες. And both of these forms can be shown to be formulaic as well as textual variants. As we saw from the contexts of ex-arkhein in other passages that I quoted earlier, this word marks an individuated performance that leads into the collective performance of the chorus. The variants ἐξάρχοντoς and ἐξάρχοντες indicate two different scenarios corresponding to the longer and the shorter versions of the wording. According to the shorter version as signaled by ἐξάρχοντες, it is the two specialized dancers whose performance leads into the choral singing and dancing. According to the longer version as signaled by ἐξάρχοντoς, which is the reading I adopt here, it is the lyre-singer joined by the two specialized dancers whose combined performance leads into the choral singing and dancing. The second of these two scenarios resembles what happens when Demodokos the lyre-singer is joined by specialized dancers in their combined performance at Odyssey viii 256-266. I repeat the wording attested at Odyssey xiii 27-28, where we read τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς | Δημόδοκος ‘they were all delighted, and in their midst sang and danced the divine singer, | Demodokos’.

[ back ] 75. PH 12§29n62 (= p. 350) and n64 (= p. 351).

[ back ] 76. I interpret the plural of khoros here as a metonymic way of concretizing the performance by the chorus: whereas the singular of khoros would have indicated singing and dancing in general, the plural indicates specific instances of singing and dancing. Hence the translation ‘songs and dances of the chorus’.

[ back ] 77. PH 12§§33-43 (= pp. 353-360), following Koller 1956, who argues that the prooimion is particularly suited to lead into the performative genre of the nomos. See also Obbink 2001:73.

[ back ] 78. PH 12§39 (= pp. 356-357), especially n95; PP 62-63 (where I revise my earlier interpretation of Διὸς ἐκ προοιμίου: not ‘from Zeus Prooimios’ but ‘from the prooimion of Zeus’).

[ back ] 79. PP 63 on Pindar Nemean 2.1, following Kurke 1991:43; see also PH 12§39n95 (= p. 357), with further citations of other interpretations. {There is an indirect reference to the Homēridai in Callimachus’ Hymn to Zeus. Relevant too is a reference to the ‘Cretan liars’ (verse 8). I have more to say about ‘Cretan liars’ in another project, where I will argue that the idea of a humnos beginning with ‘Cretan lies’ is relevant to early traditions about Cretan Zeus that are traceable to the second millennium BCE.}

[ back ] 80. The act of composing this Hymn to Apollo is expressed by way of the word poieîn ‘make’, not graphein ‘write’ (Plato Phaedo 60de); in this context, the art of poetic composition and performance is called mousikē (60e and 61a-b), on which see PH 3§1n1 (= p. 82). I will have more to say later about mousikē. (On Plato’s consistent use of poieîn and not graphein in such contexts, I refer to my analysis in HPC I§61.) In the same passage (Phaedo 60d-61b), it is said that Socrates composed not only a Hymn to Apollo but also Aesopic fables in verse; on formal connections between Apollonian and Aesopic discourse, see PH 11§§19-21 (= pp. 323-325).

[ back ] 81. On humnos / ὕμνος as derived from the verb root *webh- / *ubh-, as in huphainein / ὑφαίνειν ‘weave’, see Schmitt 1967:300. In Bacchylides Epinicians 5.9-10, humnos / ὕμνος ‘hymn’ is attested as the object of huphainein / ὑφαίνειν ‘weave’, as if it meant ‘the thing woven’.

[ back ] 82. In terms of this explanation, the verb root of humnos / ὕμνος would be *syu-, the derivatives of which mean ‘sew’ in some Indo-European languages (for references, see PR 70-72). From the standpoint of Indo-European linguistics, still other explanations are possible (for an overview, see Vine 1999:575-576, who also offers his own explanation). Whichever explanation ultimately proves to be right from the standpoint of Indo-European linguistics, it is worth noting that the association of the noun humnos with the verb huphainein in archaic Greek poetry (see the previous note) was probably in effect already in prehistoric phases of the Greek poetic language. I continue to think that this association does in fact point to the right etymology.

[ back ] 83. For a survey of contexts, see Chantraine DELG s.vv. οἶμος and οἴμη.

[ back ] 84. For example, oimē can be translated as ‘song’ in Odyssey viii 74 and xxii 347.

[ back ] 85. For example, oimos can be translated as ‘way’ in Hesiod Works and Days 290. In the case of the form δύσοιμος in Aeschylus Libation-Bearers 945, it is explained in Hesychius (s.v.) as δύσοδος.

[ back ] 86. PR 72, 81. See also PP 63n20, with reference to Durante 1976:176-177, who disagrees with Chantraine DELG s.vv. οἶμος and οἴμη. Chantraine concludes that the basic meanings of oimos and oimē are distinct, but the contexts that he adduces point to an opposite conclusion, as noticed already by Pagliaro 1953:34-40.

[ back ] 87. For this and other examples, see Durante 1976:176.

[ back ] 88. See PP 63n20,with reference to Durante 1976:177 on Latin ex-ordium as a semantic equivalent of Greek pro-oimion. Also PR 72, 81.

[ back ] 89. Whereas the metaphorical extension here goes from the specific (threading) to the general (going, moving ahead), we can also find examples of a reverse metaphorical extension, from the general to the specific, as in the case of metabainein ‘moving ahead’. A point of comparison is the Turkish musical term makam, in the sense of ‘step’. I offer further observations in the excursus at 2§311 further below.

[ back ] 90. PP 61-79.

[ back ] 91. Relevant is the link between the Homēridai and rhapsodes performing at the Panathenia in Athens, as signaled in Plato Ion 530d.

[ back ] 92. PR 80-81

[ back ] 93. HPC I§§141 and following. As I argue there, the Homēridai were an ultimate source for the Lives of Homer tradition. From the standpoint of the Homēridai in the late sixth century BCE, Homer was both the author of the Iliad and Odyssey as performed at the Panathenaia and the author of what we know as the HomericHymnto Apollo.

[ back ] 94. Note the wording in the beginning of this hymn, in verse 1: Ἄρτεμιν ὕμνει Μοῦσα ‘make Artemis, O Muse, the subject of my humnos’.

[ back ] 95. The salutation khaire in this verse 12 in the Homeric Hymn (18) to Hermes is a reapplication of the salutation khaire in verse 10. Between these two verses is verse 11, where we see the formula for metabasis: σεῦ δ’ ἐγὼ ἀρξάμενος μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον ‘and, having started off from you, I will move ahead and shift forward [metabainein] to the rest of the humnos’. The last verse, containing the reapplication of khaire, has the effect of deferring the metabasis, as we will see later.

[ back ] 96. PH 12§33 (= pp. 353-354), following Koller 1956:174-182; see also Bakker 2005:144 (in disagreement with Clay 1997:493).

[ back ] 97. Here I offer an inventory of cases where we find a periphrasis for khaire / khairete. The metabasis at Homeric Hymn 2.495 is preceded at 2.494 not by khaire but by an elaborate periphrasis. As for 30.17-18, we find both khaire and a similar periphrasis. At 10.4-5, we find both khaire and a different periphrasis. At 6.19-20, we find both khaire and yet another different periphrasis, which features a reference to the winning of a prize at an agōn ‘competition’, making explicit the actual occasion of performance.

[ back ] 98. At Homeric Hymn 20.8, 23.4, and 24.5, we see periphrases for khaire, and no metabasis follows. At Hymn 13.3, the expression ἄρχε δ᾿ ἀοιδήν ‘start the singing’ may conceivably refer to the starting of a subject different from the one that was started at 13.1, but it could also refer to the restarting of the same subject that was started at 13.1. At Hymn 18.12, the verse containing the khaire may have the effect of canceling the metabasis expressed in the previous verse, 18.11.

[ back ] 99. Koller 1957:197. See also PR 82n37.

[ back ] 100. The verse containing the salutation to the Delian Maidens at Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo 166 has already been quoted at 2§27, with commentary on the meaning of khairete in the context of that salutation.

[ back ] 101. At verse 19, the manuscript reading is γάρ, while at 207, it is τ’ἄρ.

[ back ] 102. 2§§23 and following.

[ back ] 103. 2§§52 and following.

[ back ] 104. In terms of politics, however, as I note in HPC I§27, the Apollo of Delos was in fact worlds apart from the Apollo of Delphi.

[ back ] 105. Verses 166 and 177 of the Homeric Hymn (3) to Apollo, containing respectively the wording khairete ‘hail and take pleasure’ and the wording autar egōn ‘as for me, I …’, have already been quoted at 2§27.

[ back ] 106. Martin 2000b:407n20.

[ back ] 107. As I have already noted, the deferral of metabasis at verse 177 in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo is also signaled by the aporetic question that follows, at verse 207.

[ back ] 108. On the special poetics of the word hēmitheoi ‘demigods’ in the sense of ‘heroes’, see EH §§66-73.

[ back ] 109. The first of two kinds of narration here in Hymn 31.18-19, which is the narration of the erga ‘deeds’ of hēmitheoi ‘heroes’ (19), is linked with a second kind, which is the narration of their genos ‘genesis, genealogy’ (18). The second kind of narration corresponds to the meaning of the name Melēsigenēs ‘he who is concerned with genealogy [genos]’ – which is actually the name of Homer before he is renamed as Homer in the Life of Homer traditions. Analysis in HPC II§§13 and following.

[ back ] 110. The word kleos is abstract in the singular, meaning ‘fame’, but it becomes concrete in the plural, klea, meaning ‘things that are famed’, which I will render hereafter as ‘glories’.

[ back ] 111. On the special poetics of the word hēmitheoi ‘demigods’ in the sense of ‘heroes’, I refer again to EH §§66-73.

[ back ] 112. On the significance of the expression ‘therapōn of the Muses’, see BA 17§6 (= p. 295).

[ back ] 113. The metonymy that comes to life in associating the stomata ‘mouths’ of poets – and of Muses – with their voices is part of an extended metonymy centering on an eroticized sense of desire as evoked by the voice of the singer. The eroticized theme of longing or pothos for heroes of the past is part of this extended metonymy: Nagy 2001e xxvii n20.

[ back ] 114. I highlight the collocation of humneîn with klea here in Hesiod Theogony 100-101. The verb humneîn ‘make X the subject of a humnos’ takes as its direct object the subject of the song, and that subject is the klea ‘glories’ of heroes.

[ back ] 115. BA 2 Preface §19n1 (= p. xiii), following Slatkin 1987 and Muellner 1996:45 (also 94-132).

[ back ] 116. As for the first ten verses of the Hesiodic Works and Days, they amount to a miniature Hesiodic Hymn to Zeus. See GM 63.

[ back ] 117. The idea of Homer as ancestor of the Homēridai is examined in HPC I§§138 and following.

[ back ] 118. HPC I§§169-170.

[ back ] 119. GM 56.

[ back ] 120. For example, we may consider the “Cyclic” Theogony as reflected in “Apollodorus”: see West 1983:121-126, especially p. 125, where he infers that “this Cyclic theogony itself went under the name of Orpheus.”

[ back ] 121. Here we see the main testimony for Heraclitus A 6 DK. See also West 1983:118, who thinks that Plato is “playfully” arguing here “that more than one of the older poets anticipated the Heraclitean doctrine of flux.”

[ back ] 122. See Iliad XIV 201 and 302.

[ back ] 123. Hesiod Theogony 337.

[ back ] 124. The depersonalized becomes personalized, as if for the first time.

[ back ] 125. On these two Orphic verses, see Janko 1992:181.

[ back ] 126. Note the mystical language implied by ἐπικεκρυμμένον: epi-kruptesthai is to ‘hide the meaning’.

[ back ] 127. Kouremenos, Parássoglou, and Tsantsanoglou 2006. On the dating, see Tsantsanoglou and Parássoglou 1988; see also Funghi 1997:26.

[ back ] 128. Obbink 1997. See especially his p. 54, where he justifies the opinion, expressed by Pfeiffer 1968:139n1, that the Derveni Papyrus is a pre-Alexandrian hupomnēma ‘commentary’ on Orphic poetry.

[ back ] 129. Derveni Papyrus column 26 adduces verses that match Odyssey viii 335 and Iliad XXIV 527-528. See Obbink 1997:41n4, who argues persuasively that the commentator considered these verses not Homeric but Orphic: “no doubt he [= the commentator] held that Homer had borrowed these lines from Orpheus’ poem.” See also Böhme 1988 and 1989.

[ back ] 130. Derveni Papyrus column 22 adduces a number of verses from the Orphic Hymns. See in general Obbink 1997.

[ back ] 131. Derveni Papyrus column 4 adduces Heraclitus B 3 and B 94 DK.

[ back ] 132. Obbink 1997:41n4.

[ back ] 133. Obbink 1997:41n2.

[ back ] 134. Funghi 1997:29, where she also remarks that the surviving fragments of Orphic literature reveal “an inclination not to crystallize the written discourse but rather to perpetuate an ‘open’ text.”

[ back ] 135. PR 29-30.

[ back ] 136. The speaker here is agreeing with Socrates that the two of them must follow through in tracing back to their source the principles that are being garbled by the followers of Heraclitus who are based ‘in Ionia’, especially in Ephesus (Plato Theaetetus 179d).

[ back ] 137. Note the mystical language: epi-kruptesthai is to ‘hide the meaning’.

[ back ] 138. What is fluid is not rigid or ‘static’.

[ back ] 139. For the moment, I translate sophia simply as ‘wisdom’. As the argumentation develops, I will modify this translation in accordance with earlier meanings of the word.

[ back ] 140. I find it significant that the Derveni Papyrus column 20 line 1 refers to initiations that take place [en] polesin ‘in cities’, to be contrasted with privatized initiations (column 20 line 3 and following).

[ back ] 141. See also Broggiato 2001:179-180, with reference to the earlier work of Helck 1905; defending Helck’s position, Broggiato also adduces the newer evidence of OrphicFragment 49 ed. Kern (= P.Berol. 13044; 383 T etc., ed. Bernabé), which features lines that are cognate with corresponding lines in the HomericHymnto Demeter.

[ back ] 142. The equation of Ōkeanos with an earth-encircling kuklos is relevant to the usage of Latin orbis with reference to cosmological contexts.

[ back ] 143. On the notion of the Ōkeanos as the source of all fresh-water streams and the salt-water ocean, I will have more to say at a later point.

[ back ] 144. The context is this: first to be spoken of were divinities who are visible; next to be spoken of are these ‘other’ divinities or daimones who are visible only when they wish to make themselves visible.

[ back ] 145. Translation after Jowett 1895. For more on this Platonic passage, see Janko 1992:181.

[ back ] 146. Janko 1992:181 argues that the references in Iliad XIV 201 and 246 to Ōkeanos and Tethys derive “from a theogony, one, moreover, wherein Ōkeanos and [Tethys] are the primeval parents ([XIV 201, 246]), not merely the parents of all waters (as at [Hesiod Theogony 337-370; see also Iliad XXI 196-197]).”

[ back ] 147. Janko 1992:180 comments on Iliad XIV 200-207: Hera’s announced intention, to reconcile Ōkeanos and Tethys, “parodies her real intent and alludes to a threat to the cosmic order of the sort that she herself now poses.” I agree with Janko (here and at pp. 168-172) that these verses may “recall” traditions about the sacred wedding of Zeus and Hera near the streams of Ōkeanos (Janko p. 171, with references to Pherecydes FGH 3 F16 and Euripides Hippolytus 742-751, with notes by Barrett 1964:303; see also Crane 1988:144-147). I also agree with Janko (p. 179) when he says that Hera’s story is an ad hoc invention only in the short term. That is, from the standpoint of the framing narrative, Hera is making up the story; in the long term, however, this story is based on traditions that are already established.

[ back ] 148. The depersonalized becomes personalized, as if for the first time.

[ back ] 149. On these two Orphic verses, I cite again Janko 1992:181.

[ back ] 150. I agree with Janko 1992:181 about the Orphic theogony (he surveys the available testimony, including that of the Derveni Papyrus ): it was not, as some argue, merely an extrapolation from Homer. Rather, “it is simpler to suppose that the Iliadic and Orphic theogonies both adapt a myth which made the primeval waters, perhaps with Night as their parent, the origin of the world.” (In his parenthetical comment about Night, Janko is following West 1983:116-121; I disagree, however, with their opinion that Night is the parent.)

[ back ] 151. The terminus post quem for the Altar has been dated at 165 BCE. See Hardie 1985:23n79.

[ back ] 152. Such an antithesis between Crates as ‘anomalist’ and Aristarchus as ‘analogist’ is of course an exaggeration: HTL 47-48.

[ back ] 153. Pfeiffer 1968:292; see also Funghi 1997:30.

[ back ] 154. For akouein ‘hear’ in the sense of ‘have a piece of writing read out loud’, see PP 33n94, with reference to Aelian De natura animalium 5.38.

[ back ] 155. For anagignōskein ‘read out loud’ in the technical sense of an editorial speech-act, see PP 149-150, 174-177, especially pp. 175-176n83.

[ back ] 156. The wording τέτυκται ‘has been fashioned’ implies that Ōkeanos is a work of art.

[ back ] 157. The wording γένεσις ‘genesis’ implies that Ōkeanos is a primal generating force – an idea that seems at first to contradict the other idea that Ōkeanos is itself generated as a work of art. There is no contradiction here, however, from the standpoint of a mentality that imagines the activity of primal figures as a model for any activity directed toward them, as in the case of the “sacrificing god”: for references to important new work on the subject, see PP 57.

[ back ] 158. I will save for another project a justification of my translation of πλείστην <τ᾿> ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἵησιν as ‘and he flows over the Earth in all her fullness’.

[ back ] 159. For example, Iliad XIV 246a is relegated to the apparatus criticus of the Oxford Classical Text of Allen and Monro (ed. 3, 1920) as also of West (2000a). It is missing altogether from the Iliad edition of van Thiel (1996).

[ back ] 160. Here and elsewhere, my numbering of the fragments of Crates follows the edition of Broggiato 2001.

[ back ] 161. Broggiato 2001:lii.

[ back ] 162. See also the Orphic fragment quoted above.

[ back ] 163. See Broggiato 2001:179 and Wachsmuth 1860:44; also Porter 1992:88-103, especially p. 92 on Crates’ interpretation of the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII 481-489 as an imago mundi. In terms of Crates’ theory (F 29, via the Geneva [Ge] scholia for Iliad XXI 195), the outermost realms of the salt-water ocean were not salt water but fresh water. More on this point later. To that extent, Crates’ theory was still in accord with the earlier idea of the Ōkeanos as a fresh-water river encircling the universe.

[ back ] 164. Most of what follows here in this paragraph and in the next was initially presented in LP (Nagy 1998) 221.

[ back ] 165. Pelliccia 1997: “trivial” (p. 45) and “banal” (p. 46). Citing as his authority S. West 1988:40, Pelliccia asserts (p. 46): “the variant recordings that we know of from the papyri and the indirect sources … are for the most part too boring and insignificant to imply that they derived from a truly creative performance tradition.” Counterarguments in Nagy 2001a.

[ back ] 166. An effective argument for such an assessment is made by Porter 1992:95-107.

[ back ] 167. Broggiato 2001:179n151, with reference to Iliad XIII 632 and Odyssey xi 239 and Iliad XXI 158.

[ back ] 168. LP (Nagy 1998) 220.

[ back ] 169. See especially Iliad XXI 195-197. For an overview of Homeric contexts, see GM 99n61. For Near Eastern parallels, see Janko 1992:182, especially on the Babylonian god Apsū, the god of fresh waters, who is the consort and son of Tiāmat, goddess of the salt sea. See also West 1983:120-121.

[ back ] 170. In Euripides Hippolytus 121-130, a fresh-water spring that flows from a rock is pictured as emanating ultimately from the Ōkeanos. Barrett (1964:184-185) argues convincingly that Euripides took this detail from the local lore of Trozen: Pausanias (2.31.10) speaks of a spring there that is known for not drying up even in periods of drought when all other local springs fail.

[ back ] 171. As Charles Murgia points out to me, when plural adjectives meaning ‘all’ are being used substantively in ancient Greek (that is, without an accompanying noun), they can be expected to refer – by default – to all relevant persons, not to all things. So also, I would add, in English: for example, ‘of all’ is by default ‘of all persons’, not ‘of all things’. Nevertheless, if I say in English ‘genesis of all’, the depersonalized implications of ‘genesis’ extend to ‘all’ as well. So also with γένεσις πάντεσσι τέτυκται at Iliad XIV 246: the depersonalization of γένεσις … τέτυκται ‘has been fashioned as a genesis’ extends to what is the result of the genesis: the Ōkeanos is pictured as the ultimate source of everything, not only of all gods or even of all gods and all humans.

[ back ] 172. Compare the oscillation, in Iliad XXI, between the heroic theme of Achilles fighting the river god and the cosmic theme of fire fighting water, as discussed in HQ 145.

[ back ] 173. Janko 1992:190 describes Iliad XIV 246a as “a very suspect plus-verse,” but he gives no reasons for rejecting this verse.

[ back ] 174. Helck 1905:30-31. On the Orphic traditions in their ultimate textual form, see West 1983.

[ back ] 175. Janko 1992:190, in disagreement with West 1966:374.

[ back ] 176. See also OrphicHymn 11.15 ed. Kern: Ὠκεανός τε πέριξ † ἐν ὕδασι † γαῖαν ἑλίσσων.

[ back ] 177. The usage of peri-helissein ‘coil around’ (περιελιχθέντα) here in Plato’s Phaedo (112d) supports my interpretation of helissein as ‘coil’ with reference to the participle εἱλιγμένος describing the river Ōkeanos in Hesiod Theogony 791.

[ back ] 178. West 1983:127

[ back ] 179. For references, see Janko 1992:190. For further references, see Onians 1951:315-317.

[ back ] 180. Janko 1992:190. {He is referring to no. E2 in Markoe 1985.}

[ back ] 181. The symbolism of the bronze essence of the Shield is analyzed in HPC II§§54 and following.

[ back ] 182. On the participle plēthōn (from plēthein ‘be full’) as an epithet of rivers in full flow, see Iliad V 87, XI 492.

[ back ] 183. HPC II§409.

[ back ] 184. On kosmos as a marker of human society – what I call here the ‘human cosmos’ – see PH 5§17n45 (= p. 145), especially with reference to the usage of kosmos in Pindar F 194 ed. Snell / Maehler.

[ back ] 185. Commentary in HR ch. 4.

[ back ] 186. For example, see West 1966:208.

[ back ] 187. See in general Porter 1992:85-103.

[ back ] 188. For a survey of such assumptions, see PP 128-129.

[ back ] 189. See Ludwich 1884/1885:92, 97, 109, 114; also PP 129n99.

[ back ] 190. Porter 1992:70; Pfeiffer 1968:232, 245, 270. See also Fraser 1972 I 471 and IIb 682n225 on the converging Alexandrian / Attalid connections of Apollodorus of Athens, originally a disciple of Aristarchus.

[ back ] 191. Pfeiffer 1968:245.

[ back ] 192. Pfeiffer 1968:245.

[ back ] 193. On the athetizing by Crates of the prooimia of the Hesiodic Theogony and Works and Days, see LP (Nagy 1998) 218.

[ back ] 194. See also Helck 1905:30-31.

[ back ] 195. PH 8§2n10 (= p. 216).

[ back ] 196. Thanks to Jed Wyrick, who writes (2 15 1998): “I think that there is a clear contrast here between two different kinds of ‘absurd’ approaches to learning – the one involving Orpheus, and the other, Aristarchus.”

[ back ] 197. We see here a playful reference to Aristarchus’ editorial practice of marking athetesis by way of the sign known as the obelos or ‘skewer’ (–).

[ back ] 198. The term neōteroi reflects the usage of Aristarchus himself, not only of the Aristarcheans who came after him – or of the scholiasts who report on the opinions of the Aristarcheans. See Severyns 1928:33-34n4.

[ back ] 199. On Apollodorus as a disciple of Aristarchus, see Apollodorus FGH 244 T 1; see also the comments of Pfeiffer 1968:261 and Rusten 1982:32n10.

[ back ] 200. Henrichs 1993:188-189; see also Rusten1982:32.

[ back ] 201. The wording comes from Porphyry, Homeric Questions [Iliad] 297.16 ed. Schrader 1890; see also scholia D for Iliad V 385. On the Aristarchean provenience of the wording, see Porter 1992:70-74 (who effectively addresses the skepticism of Pfeiffer 1968:225-227).

[ back ] 202. Severyns 1928:81 shows that Aristarchus relied on the poets of the Cycle as a main source for attestations of neoteric usage, and that the precision of his work on the Cycle and on other poetic sources is often blurred by the reportage of later Aristarcheans like Didymus.

[ back ] 203. On Hesiod as neōteros according to the Aristarcheans, see Severyns 1928:39, 89; on the poets of the Cycle as neōteroi, see especially Severyns p. 63, who argues that Aristarchus considered the Cycle to be a major component of this neoteric category.

[ back ] 204. In Severyns 1928, where we have an exhaustive survey of mentions of neōteroi in the Homeric scholia, I find no mention of Orpheus or Orphica.

[ back ] 205. Rengakos 2000.

[ back ] 206. For a survey of references dating back to the Hellenistic era, I cite again Rengakos 2000, especially p. 333 on the criticism leveled at Callimachus Aetia Book 1 F 13 by Apollodorus of Athens FGH 244 F 157 ed. Jacoby II B p. 1089 line 34; via Strabo 1.2.37 C44: among the neoterisms of Callimachus mentioned here by Apollodorus is the poet’s equation of Corcyra with the island of the Phaeacians. More on this equation in the Conclusion, C§§4-7 below.

[ back ] 207. Pfeiffer 1968:150.

[ back ] 208. Aristonicus reports (via scholia A for Iliad XVIII 483a): ὅτι Ζηνόδοτος ἠθέτηκεν ἀπὸ τούτου τοῦ στίχου τὰ λοιπά ‘[Aristarchus marks with the sign >:] because Zenodotus has athetized the rest of this passage, starting with this verse’.

[ back ] 209. According to the scholia Ge (Geneva), Zenodotus athetized Iliad XXI 195. That is, he did not actually omit this verse.

[ back ] 210. Pausanias 8.38.10 follows a version of Iliad XXI 194-197 that does not include the verse we know as XXI 195, where the Ōkeanos is privileged over the Akhelōios as the primal river. For more on the Akhelōios, see D’Alessio 2004.

[ back ] 211. I await the publication of a work by Alex Beecroft on the variants adduced by Zenodotus in athetized verses.

[ back ] 212. According to the Homer commentary preserved in Oxyrhynchus Papyri 221 column ix = Papyrus XII ed. Erbse, Aristarchus considered the verse at Iliad XXI 195 to be genuine, while Seleucus athetized it. See also Broggiato 2001:192.

[ back ] 213. For a general discussion, see Pasquali 1962:225-227.

[ back ] 214. I am reviewing here what I presented in the Prolegomena, P§§98-108.

[ back ] 215. In the prolegomena of the D scholia of Codex Z (p. 55, ed. Montanari 1979), the use of the diplē periestigmenē (>:) is described as follows: τῇ δὲ περιεστιγμένῃ πρὸς Ζηνόδοτον τὸν διορθωτήν ‘[Aristarchus] used the periestigmenē with reference to [corrections made by] Zenodotus as corrector [diorthōtēs]’.

[ back ] 216. Broggiato 1998:41 and 2001:134-135. For a seminal discussion, see Helck 1905:50, arguing that Aristarchus was in general disputing the editorial decisions of Crates, not the other way around.

[ back ] 217. Wachsmuth 1860:30. Helck 1905:66 focuses on an instance of a diplē marking an Aristarchean disagreement with Crates (this one is not discussed by Wachsmuth), at Iliad XXI 323, where the argumentation of Crates seems more persuasive than that of Aristarchus. See also the summation by Helck at p. 76, where he argues in general that Aristarchus tended to go on record as disagreeing with Crates, and that instances of counterarguments generally involve Crates’ disciples, not Crates himself. See also Aristonicus, by way of the A scholia, concerning the diplē attached to Iliad XX 7.

[ back ] 218. In the prolegomena of the D scholia of Codex Z (p. 54, ed. Montanari 1979) we read this fuller description of the diplē periestigmenē: ἡ δὲ περιεστιγμένη πρὸς τὰς γραφὰς τὰς Ζηνοδοτείους καὶ Κράτητος καὶ αὐτοῦ Ἀριστάρχου καὶ τὰς διορθώσεις αὐτοῦ ‘the periestigmenē was used with reference to the texts of Zenodotus and Crates – as also of Aristarchus himself and his own corrections [diorthōseis]’. See West 2001:54n22. This longer description needs to be compared to the shorter description, which I have already quoted (p. 55, ed. Montanari 1979). I think there may be a way to reconcile the two quoted descriptions of the diplē periestigmenē, both the shorter and the longer versions (on the problem, see in general Pfeiffer 1968:240). According to the shorter description, the diplē periestigmenē marked disagreements with Zenototus in particular. Moreover, as we saw in the immediately preceding note, the simple diplē was used in contexts where Aristarchus was reported to disagree with Crates, not with Zenodotus. Perhaps the diplēperiestigmenē was used to signal the disagreements of Aristarchus with Crates only in contexts where Aristarchus was already disagreeing with Zenodotus and where the reading of Crates happened to match the reading of Zenodotus (I say happened to match because there is some debate over whether or not Crates systematically referred to Zenodotus: see Broggiato 1998:141-142; see also Broggiato 2001:134-135).

[ back ] 219. Montanari 2002a:125.

[ back ] 220. Broggiato 2001:193 accepts the opinion of Janko 1992:28 that Megaclides “ignored” Iliad XXI 195. I agree that this is possible, but it does not necessarily follow that Zenodotus also “ignored” it.

[ back ] 221. See Broggiato 2001:192.

[ back ] 222. Montanari 2002a:120-125

[ back ] 223. On this subject, see D’Alessio 2004.

[ back ] 224. Severyns 1928:63.

[ back ] 225. See especially Severyns 1928:44, 46, 98-99.

[ back ] 226. For an overall assessment of Aristarchus’ methods in collecting Homeric textual variants, see HTL ch. 5.

[ back ] 227. I offer an overall survey in HTL ch. 1.

[ back ] 228. For a tracing of the broad outlines of this Aristarchean collection of neoteric variants, as indirectly reflected in the usage of the Hellenistic poets, see Rengakos 2000.

[ back ] 229. In displaying the Homerus Auctus, the base text of Zenodotus was different from the base text of Crates in one important way: Zenodotus followed an editorial policy of marking for deletion the plus verses that Crates later chose to leave undeleted.

[ back ] 230. Because of the fragmentary nature of the text, the poetic moment of naming the god or hero being saluted here has been lost.

[ back ] 231. On the textual basis for reading nomós ‘pasture’ and not the expected nómos ‘nome’ (more on which later on), see Obbink 2001:73n29.

[ back ] 232. See the note immediately above.

[ back ] 233. Obbink 2001:73.

[ back ] 234. PH 12§§40-42 (= pp. 357-359).

[ back ] 235. For a brief commentary on the relevant themes in Simonides F 11 ed. 2 West, see Obbink 2001:72-73. {Cf. also Fantuzzi in the OUP Simonides book.}

[ back ] 236. On the meaning of poros (in such contexts) as ‘watercourse’, not ‘path’, see Bollack 1969:194; also Obbink 2001:73n28.

[ back ] 237. What was said ‘before’ corresponds to the wording we see in Empedocles B 17. The verbal correspondences are studied by Bollack 1969:195.

[ back ] 238. I translate okheteuein as ‘stream-channeling’: the metaphor derives from techniques of irrigating the land. The sequence of consonants and vowels here in line 19 imitates the flow of elements in what is said …έλεξα λόγου λόγον ἐξ… […elexalogōlegonex…]. See Bollack 1969:195.

[ back ] 239. For more on this passage, see Obbink 2001:70-71.

[ back ] 240. In HPC I§208 I analyze other attestations, in a hymnic context, of the preposition amphi ‘about’ in combination with the genitive case of gods named as the subject of a humnos. On amphi plus genitive in the sense of ‘about’ (a given subject), see also Homeric Hymn (4) to Hermes 172. As for the use of en-phainein ‘make visible’ here in Empedocles B 131.4 DK, it is comparable to the use of phainein ‘make visible’ with reference to the visualization of Demodokos in narrating his version of the epic Iliou Persis in Odyssey viii 499 – after performing a hymnic metabasis signaled at viii 492 by metabainein and at viii 499 by theou arkheto.

[ back ] 241. HPC I§280.

[ back ] 242. In Theocritus 1, the song of Thyrsis about Daphnis seems to be modeled on the poetry of Stesichorus about Daphnis: see Hunter 1999:65.

[ back ] 243. This humnos is described at verse 61 of Theocritus 1 as ‘evoking desire’ (ephimeros).

[ back ] 244. Gow 1952 II 15-16. The highlighting is mine.

[ back ] 245. Gow 1952 II 16.

[ back ] 246. Gow 1952 II 16. The highlighting is mine.

[ back ] 247. At this point in Theocritus 1, the narrative makes it explicit that Daphnis stops speaking with a human voice. But will he cease being alive? I attempt to address this question in what follows.

[ back ] 248. The idea of resurrection is intended here, as we will see in what follows.

[ back ] 249. Earlier, at verse 27 of Theocritus 1, this ‘bowl’ is called a kissubion. At verse 55, it is called a depas. Inside this ‘bowl’, as we learn at verse 32, is the picture of a gunē ‘woman’ who is a daidalma ‘handiwork’ of the gods, and, at verse 33, she is wearing a peplos and an ampux. At verses 33-34, we see that this woman is flanked on each side by two men who are etheirazontes ‘wearing long hair’ and who are engaged in a neikos ‘quarrel’ over her.

[ back ] 250. Earlier, at verse 25 of Theocritus 1, we learn that this she-goat is the mother of twin eriphoi ‘baby-goats’.

[ back ] 251. Hunter 1999:104 explains the verb anorthoûn: ‘‘set him on his feet’ …; the verb also suggests ‘raise him [from death]’.”

[ back ] 252. The scholia for Theocritus 1.140 offer the interpretation: ‘went the way of Acheron’.

[ back ] 253. Hunter 1999:63.

[ back ] 254. The ‘melting’ affects the khrōs ‘complexion’ and the pareiai ‘cheeks’ of Penelope: Odyssey xix 204 and 208.

[ back ] 255. I will avoid using the word melt to translate Greek tēkesthai because this English word generally implies a transition from cold to warm in metaphors concerning emotions, whereas the Greek word does not necessarily convey that implication. A case in point is the image of cold snow turning into an ice cold mountain stream, as we see it applied here to the ‘melting’ of Penelope. In this regard, I find most instructive the discussion of Dué 2006:125n18.

[ back ] 256. Examples of tēkesthai in contexts of sadness: besides the passage just cited from the Odyssey, see also Iliad III 176 (Helen weeps over her fate in the Iliad); Odyssey viii 522 (Odysseus weeps in reaction to the third song of Demodokos; at verse 523, he is compared to a woman who is weeping – the verb is klaiein – over the dead body of her warrior husband; at verse 527, as she weeps, she is literally amphi … khumenē ‘poured all around’ the body; her cheeks ‘waste away’ – the verb is phthinesthai – from all the sorrow); xix 136 (Penelope describes her grief over the absence of Odysseus: the ‘dissolving’ affects her ētor ‘heart’); xix 264 (Odysseus describes the grief of Penelope as a ‘dissolving’ that affects her thumos). The wording amphi … khumenē ‘poured all around’ (Odyssey viii 527) is comparable to other expressions that I will examine at a later point.

[ back ] 257. Examples of tēkesthai in contexts of illness: Odyssey v 396 (the suffering here is described as algea ‘pains’ inflicted by a daimōn; the sufferer is ultimately ‘released’ – the verb is luein – by the gods), xi 201 (Antikleia says that she died of grief, not of illness, and she describes the hypothetical illness as a tēkedōn ‘melting away’ that depletes the thumos).

[ back ] 258. It is relevant to note that the cognates of tēkesthai in other Indo-European languages point to the basic idea of liquefaction: see Chantraine DELG s.v. τήκω. For more on the poetic contexts of tēkesthai, see Dué 2006:124, especially with reference to Euripides Hecuba 433 and 434.

[ back ] 259. Herodotus thinks that the Pythagoreans were responsible for importing Egyptian customs. I agree with Asheri, Lloyd, and Corcella 2007:296 when they say about the section that reads Βακχικοῖσι … καί: “this section is omitted in all the Florentine mss [as opposed to other mss], but the arguments for postulating an omission in this group are considerably stronger than those for interpolation.”

[ back ] 260. HPC E§105.

[ back ] 261. The wording ἡμῖν ‘for us’ implies that the reference to these unnamed persons who founded the mysteries involves various culture heroes – from the standpoint of the speaker and of his immediate audience. As we will see from the discussion that follows, the most obvious example of such culture heroes is Orpheus.

[ back ] 262. In the overall logic of this restatement of the mysteries, the realm of Hades figures as a transitional phase, not as an eschatological outcome, not as a final destiny.

[ back ] 263. I suggest that the wording here evokes the image of frogs lodged in mud; I find it relevant that the chorus of frogs in Aristophanes’ Frogs is transformed into mustai ‘initiates’.

[ back ] 264. In other words, the successful initiates experience a transition beyond the realm of Hades into the realm of the gods, whereas the unsuccessful initiates find themselves in a “holding pattern,” stuck in the mud.

[ back ] 265. Compare the Christian aphorism in Matthew 22:14: πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοὶ ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί ‘many are called but few are chosen’.

[ back ] 266. See Hunter 1999:105, who adduces the discussion of Goldhill 1991:245.

[ back ] 267. Hunter 1999:105.

[ back ] 268. Translation by Hunter 1999:63.

[ back ] 269. On the meaning of moira as the ‘plot’ of the narration, also as ‘fate’ and even as ‘share of sacrificial meat’, see BA 7§21n2 (= p. 134); also 2§17 (= p. 40), 5§25n2 (= p. 81), 15§3n9 (= p. 268).

[ back ] 270. To compare the words of T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets (1943): “The end of our exploring takes us back to where we started, and we see it for the first time.”

[ back ] 271. HPC I§§192 and following.

[ back ] 272. For background, I refer to my earlier formulation in PH 12§33n77 (= pp. 353-354), following Koller 1956:177. See also Burgess 2001:199n34, with reference to Cook 1999:15n29.

[ back ] 273. This paragraph has been a summary of my argumentation in BA 1§§1-13 (= pp. 15-25); see also the updating at BA 2 Preface §§29-33 (= pp. xvii- xviii).

[ back ] 274. Just as the dais as a division of the sacrificial body is organically composed of moirai ‘portions’, so also the humnos of the dais is an organic or organized sequence.

[ back ] 275. On metaphors of poetry as woodwork, see BA 17§§9-13 (= pp. 296-300), especially 17§11 (= pp. 298-299) with reference to a hero called Phereklos, son of a tektōn ‘carpenter’ called Harmonidēs at Iliad V 59-60: this carpenter made the ships for the abduction of Helen by Paris, and these ships are described as arkhekakoi ‘beginning the bad events’ at Iliad V 63. Just as Epeios conveys the poetic concept of epos, so also Phereklos conveys the poetic concept of kleos ‘fame’: the name means ‘he who wins kleos as a prize’. On pherein in the sense of ‘win as a prize’, see PH 6§87n204 (= p. 194), 7§5n16 (= p. 202). For more on the figure of Epeios, see Louden 1996.

[ back ] 276. PP 74-76.

[ back ] 277. See 2§43.

[ back ] 278. We may compare the enjambed position of the epithet at Iliad V 63 describing the ships made by the carpenter for the abduction of Helen by Paris.

[ back ] 279. On the expression hormētheis, see PR 25-26, 72.

[ back ] 280. 2§92.

[ back ] 281. The metaphorical world of the oimē ‘initial threading’ here is essential for the argumentation that follows.

[ back ] 282. PR 79.

[ back ] 283. 2§92.

[ back ] 284. 2§93.

[ back ] 285. PR 81.

[ back ] 286. In the case of Penelope, the restarting is more radical: it is an undoing of everything that has been done up to a point and then doing it all over again. See PR 98n88.

[ back ] 287. See also Durante 1976:175.

[ back ] 288. PR 16-17, 60-61.

[ back ] 289. HPC I§§189-231.

[ back ] 290. HPC I§§232-241.

[ back ] 291. HPC I§236.

[ back ] 292. See 2§92 above.

[ back ] 293. HPC I§§208-218.

[ back ] 294. HPC I§§238-240.

[ back ] 295. HPC I§208.

[ back ] 296. HPC I§§217 and following.

[ back ] 297. On the principle of equalized weighting in the performance traditions of Homeric poetry, see HQ 77-80, 82, 88.

[ back ] 298. On the overall plot of the narratives of Demodokos in Odyssey viii, matching the overall plot of the Cyclic Iliou Persis, see again PH 12§33n77 (= pp. 353-354), following Koller 1956:177; also Burgess 2001:199n34, with reference to Cook 1999:15n29.

[ back ] 299. This image, I argue, is relevant to a theme that is typical of poetry attributed to Orpheus.

[ back ] 300. HPC I§§211 and following.

[ back ] 301. HPC I§§232-241.

[ back ] 302. BA 6§§8-9 (= pp. 100-101), Dué 2006:2. An alternative epic version, according to which Astyanax is killed by Neoptolemos, is analyzed in HPC II§193.

[ back ] 303. BA 6§9 (= p. 101).

[ back ] 304. HPC I§§232-241.

[ back ] 305. Again, BA 6§9 (= p. 101). Aristotle in the Rhetoric (3.1417a14) notes the terror and the pity evoked by the story told by Odysseus to Alkinoos (cf. Poetics 1455a2); I suggest that the third song of Demodokos sets the tone, as it were.

[ back ] 306. We may compare the wording amphikhumenē ‘poured all around [her husband]’ here in the Odyssey (viii 527) with the wording amphikhutheis ‘poured all around [his father]’ elsewhere in the Odyssey (xvi 214 ἀμφιχυθεὶς πατέρα): there the wording applies to Telemachus, who is dakrua leibōn ‘pouring tears’ as he embraces his father (xxii 498 and 501).

[ back ] 307. On ethnographic investigations of the interchangeability of laments and love songs, see Nagy 1994a/1995:51 and Dué 2006:20n50.

[ back ] 308. The rhythm of the wording here marks an abrupt switch (as marked by the absence of an expected word of syntactical connection) from speaking in iambic trimeter to singing in elegiac couplets. The verse here is a dactylic hexameter, starting a series of elegiac couplets combining dactylic hexameter and pentameter.

[ back ] 309. Here at line 117, the dactylic hexameter of what is expected to be the next elegiac couplet is being picked up as the first line of a choral song that is sung and danced by the chorus. So, line 117 is the first line of the first stanza, strophe α, of this choral song. And, from here on, there will be no more elegiac couplets, since this hexameter at line 117 will not be followed by a pentameter. Instead, the rhythm of elegiac couplets will now be abandoned as the choral song modulates into its own rhythms. There will be no pentameter following the hexameter at line 117, which is the beginning of strophe α, or after lines 126, 135, and 141, which are respectively the beginnings of antistrophe α, strophe β, and antistrophe β.

[ back ] 310. HPC I§§294 and following.