The Cypria

  Davies, Malcolm. 2019. The Cypria. Hellenic Studies Series 83. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

2. The Assembling of the Expedition

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα Ἴρις ἀναγγέλλει τῶι Μενελάωι τὰ γεγονότα κατὰ τὸν οἶκον, ὁ δὲ παραγενόμεvoς περὶ τῆς ἐπ’ Ἴλιον στρατείας βουλεύεται μετὰ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ …

And after this, Iris reports to Menelaus what has happened in his house, and he arrives at his brother Agamemnon’s home and consults with him regarding the planned expedition against Troy.

Iris regularly appears in the Iliad as the messenger of the gods (and of Zeus in particular) and as such she is despatched to both mortals and divinities (see Jacoby 1932:608n1 = 1961:95n90).

In connection with Menelaus’ visit to Agamemnon, T. W. Allen (“Miscellanea-IX,” Classical Quarterly 26 [1932]: 87) supposed he had discovered a new fragment of the Cypria hitherto overlooked lurking in Macrobius Saturnalia 1.7.10 (1.32 Kaster): tum ille ... verum sponte irruere in convivium aliis praeparatum nec Homero sine nota vel in fratre memoratum est, et vide ne nimium arroganter tres tibi velis Menelaos contigisse cum ille tanto regi unus evenerit. From these words Allen excogitated a scene wherein Menelaus gate-crashed or at least burst in upon the feasting Agamemnon to tell him the bad news. Agamemnon (according to Allen) quoted (non sine nota) the gnome αὐτόματοι δ’ ἀγαθοὶ ἀγαθῶν ἐπὶ δαιτὰς ἵενται (Hesiod fr. 264: cf. Merkelbach and West, “The Wedding of Ceyx,” Rheinisches Museum 108 [1965]: 302–303) presupposed by Plato Symposium 174B and other authors listed by the scholars just quoted. “Homerus” will mean in Macrobius the author of the Cypria, and Allen assigns to this region of the poem F15 on the benefits of wine. Timpanaro, in his review of Willis’ edition of Macrobius, Gnomon 36 (1964): 787 rejected Allen’s approach and referred to Iliad II 408 (αὐτόματοι δὲ οἱ [scil. Ἀγαμέμνονι] ἦλθε βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Μενέλαος) in the context of Agamemnon’s invitation of the Greek leaders to a feast during their stay at Aulis. For a likelier resting-place for F15, see page 127 below.

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ πρὸς Νέστορα παραγίνεται Μενέλαος. Νέστωρ δὲ ἐν παρεκβάσει διηγεῖται αὐτῶι ὥς …

Menelaus visits Nestor. And Nestor in a digression relates to him how…

Most scholars have favored the latter alternative (Kullmann [1960:257–258] being, as usual, the main exception), and apart from the customary reasons for so doing, there is an interesting new consideration that will soon lead us to the most problematic region of the issues that now concern us. The Iliadic Nestor, even at his most uninhibitedly garrulous, never remotely attains to the sheer agglomeration of mythological exempla apparently achieved by his counterpart in the Cypria. Many have therefore concluded [2] that this epic took over the motif from the Iliad in a rather clumsy and exaggerated manner that borders on the parodic. But in addition to this almost grotesque accumulation there is a further feature that has encouraged some scholars to reach this conclusion: by no means all of the legends here listed bear an obvious relationship and relevance to Menelaus’ circumstances. What, for instance, is the appropriateness of the grim story of Oedipus to the matter in hand? Are we to imagine hitherto unknown versions of these myths, versions whose bearing on Menelaus’ situation would have been at once clear and obvious to the average intelligence? We must examine the credentials of each legend individually before we can even hope to speculate as to how crudely and chaotically the Cypria is likely to have employed the motif of the Nestorian digression, and how justified Oehler is in concluding (32) “wir dürfen denn auch noch heute glauben, dass die Geschichten von Nestor nicht ohne Zweck nur um der Fabulierlust willen vorgebracht worden.”

Any jubilation over the alleged light thus shed upon the details of the myths cited by Nestor would be decidedly premature as well as very circular. It is precisely these details that we are trying to elicit, and we must not automatically assume as a self-evident truth that Epicaste featured in τὰ περὶ Οἰδίπουν or that Alcmene had any obvious part to play in events περὶ τὴν Ἡρακλέους μανίαν. Of this last detail, indeed, there is no hint in the Odyssey’s brief mention of Heracles’ mother and wife. Even when the general context in which the two epics place their shared heroine is reasonably similar there can be (as Jouan [1966:377n1] observes) a significant divergence in individual detail: Odyssey xi 260 talks of Ἀντιόπην … τὴν Ἀσωποῖο θύγατρα whereas Proclus’ summary of the Cypria refers to τὴν Λύκ(ουργ)oυ θυγάτερα. (See my comments at page 124 below.) It will not do to assert (with Wilamowitz and even F. Blass, Interpolationen in Homer [Berlin 1904] 265, who otherwise disagrees with Wilamowitz’s understanding of the relationship between the two passages) that the numerous correspondences cannot be coincidental. We have no right to begin the debate over the presence or not of coincidence’s controlling hand before establishing whether the correspondences do in fact exist.

Proclus Chrestomathia: ὡς Ἐπωπεὺς φθείρας τὴν Λυκούργου θυγάτερα ἐξεπορθήθη …

… how Epopeus seduced the daughter of Lycurgus and had his city sacked.

The first of Nestor’s exempla from myth is by no means impossible to relate to the particular circumstances of Menelaus, though we cannot hope for a totally clear view as to which of the many variant versions of the legend of Antiope and Epopeus was put by the Cypria into Nestor’s mouth. The mythographers retell Antiope’s story “nicht ohne Verschiedenheiten” as Welcker (2.98n12) puts it with graceful understatement. For recent summaries of the various traditions with particular reference to Euripides’ Antiope see Jouan 1966:375–377, Kannicht TrGF V 1, pp. 274–277.

An interesting specimen of the range of these variants greets us at once in connection with the name that the Cypria gave to Antiope’s father. Ancient writers had various views on this (see, for instance, Ganning in RE 13.2 [1927]s.v. “Lycus [18],” 2396.5–18), but the Lycurgus mentioned in Proclus’ summary nowhere else occupies this position. Heyne in his editio princeps of 1786 (on which see Severyns, Texte et Apparat [Brussells 1962] 33–39) therefore emended Λυκούργου to Λύκου in order to connect Antiope with the character who elsewhere (as we shall shortly see) plays an important role in several versions of the legend. He has been followed by many, e.g. West (2013:99). But if Lycurgus would be unique as Antiope’s father, so would Lycus, who in most accounts (including those shortly to be considered) features as her uncle. Besides, it has been suggested that Lycus is merely a shorter (perhaps hypocoristic) form of the name Lycurgus (so, for instance, Robert, Heldensage 2.115 [with bibliography in n2], Jessen in Roscher s.v. “Lykos” [2184.40], or Jouan 1966:375n1 [on hypocoristic name-forms see Davies and Finglass on Stesichorus fr. 182]).

The authors I shall proceed to quote differ in various ways from each other; they also both diverge from the little we know of the Cypria’s tradition as regards the identity of Antiope’s father. But they are at one in presenting a general picture of guilty passion which brings down punishment upon the erring lovers. I cite first Pausanias II 6.1–2:

Ἀντιόπης ἐν Ἕλλησι τῆς Νυκτέως ὄνομα ἦν ἐπὶ κάλλει, καὶ οἱ καὶ φήμη προσὴν Ἀσωποῦ θυγατέρα, … καὶ οὐ Νυκτέως εἶναι. (2) ταύτην οὐκ οἶδα εἶτε γυναῖκα αἰτήσας εἶτε θρασύτερα ἐξ ἀρχὴς βουλευσάμενος Ἐπωπεὺς ἁρπάζει, ὡς δὲ οί Θηβαῖοι σὺν ὅπλοις ἦλθον, ἐνταῦθα τιτρώσκεται μὲν Νυκτεύς· ἐτρώθη δὲ κρατῶν τῆι μάχηι καὶ Ἐπωπεύς. Νυκτέα μὲν δὴ κάμνοντα ὁπίσω κομίζουσιν ἐς Θήβας, καὶ ὡς ἔμελλε τελευτᾶν, Λύκον ἀδελφὸν ὄντα παραδίδωσι Θηβαίων ἐν τῶι παρόντι ἄρχειν … τοῦτον οὖν τὸν Λύκον ἱκέτευσε στρατῶι μείζονι ἐπὶ τὴν Αἰγιάλειαν ἐλάσαντα τιμωρήσασθαι μὲν Ἐπωπέα, κακοῦν δὲ εἰ λάβοι καὶ αὐτὴν Ἀντιόπην … ὕστερον δὲ καὶ Ἐπωπέα κατέλαβεν ἀποθανεῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ τραύματος ἀμεληθέντος κατ’ ἀρχὰς, ὡς μηδὲν ἔτι Λήκωι δεῆσαι πολέμου

A similar narrative in Apollodorus Bibliotheca III 5.5:

Ἀντιόπη θυγάτηρ ἦν Νυκτέως· ταύτηι Ζεὺς συνήλθεν. ἡ δὲ ὡς ἔγκυος ἐγένετο, τοῦ πατρὸς ἀπειλοῦντος εἰς Σικυῶνα ἀποδιδράσκει πρὸς Ἐπωπέα καὶ τούτωι γαμεῖται. Νυκτεὺς δὲ ἀθυμήσας ἑαυτὸν φονεύει, δοὺς ἀντολὰς Λύκωι παρὰ Ἐπωπέως καὶ παρὰ Ἀντιόπης λαβεῖν δίκας. ὁ δὲ στρατευσάμενος Σικυῶνα χειροῦται καὶ τὸν μὲν Ἐπωπέα κτείνει, τὴν δὲ Ἀντιόπην ἤγαγεν αἰχμάλωτον.

A satisfying outcome for a paradigm addressed to Menelaus in his present plight.

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ τὰ περὶ Οἰδίπουν…

… and events concerning Oedipus…

In contrast with the immediately preceding legend, the story of Oedipus seems to have no obvious initial similarities to Menelaus’ predicament. No matter which of the early variant versions of the Oedipus legend Nestor may be thought to have retailed (on these see my TE, chapter 1), it is hard to believe that the link between paradigm and illustrandum was ever as close as in the case of Antiope’s story. Indeed, potential areas of resemblance soon dwindle to two, one general, one specific. In the realm of the specific we may observe that if (as M. Untersteiner, La Fisiologia del Mito 2 [Milan 1946] 228 hazarded) Laius’ abduction of Chrysippus were available to the Cypria as an explanation of Oedipus’ sufferings, Paris’ abduction of Helen would be neatly paralleled. I do not see why Jouan (1966:378n1) should dismiss this possibility out of hand as “highly implausible”: we should be in no great hurry to condemn the rape of Chrysippus as errantly unsuitable for epic treatment (see Davies, TE, 7–8), and the different orientation of the love experienced by Laius and by Paris is irrelevant. Alternatively, the comparison may have been exceedingly general: Oedipus’ union with his mother and Paris’ with Helen were both illicit. The brute fact is, we simply do not know why the myth was cited.

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ περὶ τὴν Ἡρακλέους μανίαν …

… and events concerning the madness of Heracles …

Of all Nestor’s mythological παραδείγματα this is the most baffling. The sad story of Heracles’ madness (and the infanticide to which it must always have led) [4] has no obvious points of contact with Paris’ abduction of Helen and its effect on Menelaus. So desperate is the inconcinnity that Welcker (2.98) was driven to overemphasize the slight similarity between Lycus’ treatment of Megara and her family in Euripides’ play and Paris’ seduction of Helen during her husband’s absence. But neither this nor any other scholarly speculation (cf. Jouan 1966:381 and n1) which posits the appearance of this Lycus in the Cypria can hope to be taken seriously, since it necessarily denies the undeniable, to suppose that the Lycus of Euripides’ play is from first to last a Euripidean invention (see e.g. Jouan 1966:382 and Bond’s commentary p. xxviii) as, for that matter, is the notion of the occurrence of Heracles’ labors before the infanticide (Bond, pp. xxviii–xxix). Jouan’s hypothesis of a correspondence between the madness which Hera inspires in Heracles and the love which Aphrodite inspires in Paris (1966:381) well underlines the difficulty of discovering any comparison between the two myths. Love and madness were often equated in antiquity, but the consequences of the two passions that afflict Heracles and Paris are so utterly dissimilar and Jouan’s idea that Megara left Heracles because of his infanticide (as, Nestor hopes, Helen will leave Paris!) is the merest speculation.

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ τὰ περὶ Θησέα καὶ Ἀριάδνην.

… and the story of Theseus and Ariadne.

F15 Athenaeus

Athenaeus 2.35c (1.81 Kaibel)

ὁ τῶν Κυπρίων τοῦτό φησι ποιητής, ὅστις ἄν εἴη

οἶνόν τοι, Μενέλαε, θεοὶ ποίησαν ἄριστον
θνητοῖς ἀνθρώποισιν ἀποσκεδάσαι μελεδώνας.

The author of the Cypria, whoever he may be, says:

I tell you, Menelaus, it is wine that the gods have devised as the best means for mortal men to disperse their cares.

ὁ τῶν Κυπρίων τοῦτό φησι ποιητής, ὅστις ἄν εἴη (ὁ – εἴη om. E, add. in margine C) ὁ Κύπριος ποιητής φησιν eadem ap. Suidam s.v. οἶνος (4.624 Adl.) ὁ ποιήσας τὰ Κυπριακά eadem ap. Eust. Od. 1623.44

The fragment was referred to this portion of our epic by Welcker (2.99) following Heyne’s intuition (in his 1786 editio princeps: see Severyns, Texte et apparat: Histoire et critique d’une tradition imprimée [Brussels 1962] 33–39) that the two verses belonged to a speech by Nestor, and Müller’s hypothesis (1829:90) that the “(versus …) quos Suidas narrat a Nestore dictos esse quum Menelaus apud eum commoraretur. videtur igitur Nestor Menelaum adhortatus esse, ut vino curas rerum familiarium repelleret.”

Griffin (1977:47 = 382) finds the present fragment “out of keeping” with the Iliadic attitude to wine:

[T]he heroes are careful with it and we do not see them the worse for drink. Revealingly unHomeric is the extra line quoted by Dioscurides at Iliad IX 119 where Agamemnon says:

119    ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ ἀασάμην φρεσὶ λευγαλέηισι πιθήσας,
119A  ἢ οἴνωι μεθύων, ἢ μ’ ἔβλαψαν θεοὶ αὐτοί,
120    ἄψ ἐθέλω ἀρέσαι …

… In these severe poems only characters like the Cyclops (Odyssey ix) or the Centaur Eurytion (Odyssey xxi 295) can really be drunk.

Cf. his remarks in “ ‘Regalis inter mensas laticemque Lyaeum’: Wine in Virgil and Others,” in In Vino Veritas (ed. O. Murray and M. Tecuşan [London 1995] 283–284). Griffin might have recalled Odyssey iii 139, where the Atreidae call a disorderly assembly after the sack of Troy, οἱ δ’ ἢλθον οἴνωι βεβαρηότες υἷες Ἀχαιῶν, and the use of οἰνοβαρές as a term of abuse at Iliad I 225 (cf. S. Koster, Die Invektive in der griechischen und römischen Literatur [Beiträge zur Klassische Philologie 99 (1980)] 43). Other epic reflections on the utility of wine are assembled by V. J. Matthews in his commentary on Panyassis (pp. 80–81).

1 2 . οἶνον θεοὶ ποίησαν ἄριστον | θνητοῖο ἀνθρώποισιν : cf. Panyassis fr. 14.1 οἶνος <δὲ> θνητοῖσι θεῶν παρὰ δῶρον ἄριστον, which Matthews ad loc. (p. 81) takes to be “modelled on” our lines. θεοὶ ποίησαν – – | : the same phrase in the same sedes at Odyssey xvii 271, xxiii 258.

2 . ἀποσκεδάσαι μελεδῶνας : for the idiom of scattering cares cf. Odyssey viii 149 σκέδασον δ’ ἀπὸ κήδεα θυμοῦ; Theognidea 1323 σκέδασον δὲ μερίμνας | θυμοβόρους. For the more specific picture of scattering cares with the aid of wine see Theognis 879–883 πῖν’ οἶνον … (883) τοῦ πίνων ἀπὸ μὲν χαλεπὰς σκεδάσεις μελεδώνας; Horace Odes II 11.17–18 dissipat Euhius | curas edaces, with Nisbet and Hubbard ad loc. For the more general idea of wine’s use to remove human cares see Nisbet–Hubbard on Horace Odes I 7.22 and 18.4; G. Giangrande in L’Epigramme grecque (Entretiens Hardt 14 [1968]) 171–172; J. Griffin, “Augustan Poetry and the Life of Luxury,” Journal of Roman Studies 66 (1976): 88; and my note on Ion 744.4 in my (forthcoming) commentary on the lesser and anonymous Greek lyric fragments. Note in particular Panyassis’ conviction (F14.4) that wine drunk in moderation πάσας ἐκ κραδίης ἀνίας ἀνδρῶν ἀλαπάζει.

The idiom of “scattering” or dispelling cares established by the above parallels is so common that I cannot be impressed by Bernabé’s supposed rediscovery (following Welcker) of a further reference to our fragment in the incomplete hexameter quoted in Philodemus’ De pietate 1678–1681 Obbink οὐκ ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ σκεδάσεις ὄχλον (see Obbink’s commentary ad loc. [pp. 546–548]), even if completed from a different source with ταλαπείριε πρέσβυ (supposedly addressed to Nestor: the adjective occurs in the Odyssey, but why should Nestor be called “much suffering” at this stage of his life?). Cf. page 122 above for a different alleged scenario.

Proclus Chrestomathia: ἔπειτα τοὺς ἡγεμόνας ἀθροίζουσιν, ἐπελθόντες τὴν ‘Ελλάδα.

Then they proceed throughout Greece, assembling the leaders.

In Apollodorus Epitome 3.9 we read that Μενέλαος σὺν Ὀδυσσεῖ καὶ Ταλθυβίωι πρὸς <Κινύραν εἰς> Κύπρον ἐλθόντες συμμαχεῖν ἔπειθον. ὁ δὲ Ἀγαμέμνονι, μὲν οὐ παρόντι θώρακας [-ακα Wagner) ἐδωρήσατο, ὀμόσας δὲ πέμψειν πεντήκοντα ναῦς, μίαν πέμψας, ἧς ἦρχεν ὁ Μυγδαλίωνος, καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς ἐκ γῆς πλάσας μεθῆκεν εἰς τὸ πέλαγος (“Menelaus, together with Odysseus and Talthybius, went to visit Cinyras in Cyprus and tried to persuade him to participate as ally. That ruler gave to Agamemnon, though he was not personally present, the gift of breastplates, and swore an oath that he would send fifty ships. In reality he sent just one, under the command of Mygdalionos. The rest he made out of clay and launched them into the sea”). Wagner (1891:181–182) [6] derived this from the Cypria, arguing that the appearance of a king of Cyprus would be appropriate to that poem; that this epic in particular and the cycle in general often expanded and varied a small hint in Homer (in this case Iliad XI 19–20); and that the oddity of the tale guarantees its antiquity. If one regards the story as exemplifying a piece of treacherous deceit and/or cowardice, Wagner may have had a point (see below on Odysseus’ attempt at draft dodging) and there may be something in his first two arguments as well.

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ μαίνεσθαι προσποιησάμενον τὸν Ὀδυσσέα ἐπὶ τῶι μὴ θέλειν συστρατεύεσθαι ἐφώρασαν, Παλαμήδους ὑποτιθεμένου τὸν υἱὸν Τηλέμαχον ἐπὶ κόλασιν [7] ἐξαρπάσαντες.

… and Odysseus puts on a pretense of insanity, since he is unwilling to take part in the campaign; but at Palamedes’ suggestion they snatched up Odysseus’ son Telemachus in order to punish Odysseus .

Apollodorus Epitome 3.6–7: ὄντων δὲ πολλών προθύμων στρατεύεσθαι παρα-γίνονται καὶ πρὸς Ὀδυσσέα εἰς Ἰθάκην. ὁ δὲ οὐ βουλόμενος στρατεύεσθαι προσποιεῖται μανίαν. Παλαμήδης δὲ ὁ Ναυπλίου ἤλεγξε τὴν μανίαν ψευδῆ, καὶ προσποιησαμένωι μεμηνέναι παρηκολούθει· ἁρπάσας δὲ Τηλέμαχον ἐκ τοῦ κόλπου τῆς Πηνελόπης ὡς κτενῶν ἐξιφούλκει. Ὀδυσσεὺς δὲ περὶ τοῦ παιδὸς εὐλαβηθεὶς ὡμολόγησε τὴν προσποίητον μανίαν καὶ στρατεύεται (While many were eager to participate in the war, the leaders arrived also at Odysseus’ kingdom of Ithaca. But he was unwilling to take part in the campaign and feigned madness. Palamedes, son of Nauplius, proved that his madness was put on. He followed after him as he continued his pretence and snatched up Telemachus from Penelope’s bosom and drew his sword as if to kill him. Odysseus, concerned for his son’s safety, confessed that his madness was put on, and took part in the campaign.)

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα συνελθόντες εἰς Αὐλίδα θύουσι. καὶ τὰ περὶ τὸν δράκοντα καὶ τοὺς στρουθοὺς γενόμενα δείκνυται καὶ Κάλχας περὶ τῶν ἀποβησομένων προλέγει αὐτοῖς.

And after this they assemble together at Aulis and make sacrifice; and the portent regarding the snake and sparrows is displayed and Calchas foretells to them the future course of events.

This portent is recalled by Odysseus in Iliad II 303–330, together with Calchas’ reaction. Note especially 311–313 ἔνθα δ᾽ ἔσαν στρουθοῖο νεοσσοί, νήπια τέκνα,  | ὄζωι ἐπ’ ἀκροτάτωι, πετάλοις ὑποπεπτηῶτες, | ὀκτώ, ἀτὰρ μήτηρ ἐνάτη ἦν, ἣ τέκε τέκνα. According to D’Arcy Thompson (A Glossary of Greek Birds [London 1936] 269), “this is an instance when the name is used vaguely, and not specifically, since eight eggs are too many for a sparrow.” This “generic” interpretation of στρουθός has met with some strongly expressed skepticism in the past (see, in particular, Fraenkel on Aeschylus Agamemnon 146 [2.89] and Page on Sappho 1.10 [Sappho and Alcaeus, p. 8]), but is probably allowable (see Arnott, Birds in the Ancient World [London 2007] 226).

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ Κάλχας περὶ τῶν ἀποβησομένων προλέγει.

On the Cypria’s addiction to forecasts of this sort see Kullmann 1960:221–223.

The prophecy that Troy would fall after ten years was transferred to the Delphic Oracle (addressing Achilles, Agamemnon’s envoy) by Σ Lycophron 200 (2.95 Scheer) and Dares the Phrygian. See H. W. Parke and D. E. W. Wormell, The Delphic Oracle, vol. 2: The Oracular Responses (Oxford 1956) 204; J. E. Fontenrose, The Delphic Oracle: Its Responses and Operations (Berkeley 1978) 397. As the latter observes “This is a good example of a well-known prophecy of legend, spoken by an individual seer, that in later times was sometimes said to have been spoken in Delphi.” Originally, “in the legends of the Trojan War, as they appear in the Homeric poems, seers like Calchas made the necessary predictions and revelations” (p. 118).

Proclus Chrestomathia: καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα συνελθόντες εἰς Αὐλίδα …

The arguments against, by contrast, come running not single spies but in battalions, and as such are admirably marshaled by Jacoby. Perhaps he exaggerates the significance of the failure by Proclus to mention any such catalogue. Inferences from Proclus’ silences are seldom free from danger (see pages 52–53 above) as advocates of the theory now under discussion quickly point out. [14] And the present instance may be less of an exception to that rule than some scholars have supposed. Admittedly, Proclus does have time and space to mention a later κατάλογος τοῖς Τρωσὶ συμμαχησάντων, and the absence of any equivalent mention of a catalogue of the Greek forces may seem highly significant at first blush. But we should remember that Proclus’ summary has been altered to eliminate doublets or contradictions with the Iliad. Such a process might explain Proclus’ seeming silence here. There are, however, other objections to hand. According to Gilbert Murray, [15] “it will seem a strained hypothesis to suggest that a Greek bard, reciting to Greeks, would give a catalogue of the enemy and leave out his own people.” But here, perhaps, Jacoby can lead us to the truth: for there are other ways of conveying information about the forces of one’s people than by catalogue. And Proclus’ own phrasing suggests one of them: ἔπειτα τοὺς ἡγεμόνας ἀθροίζουσιν ἐπελθόντες τὴν Ἑλλάδα … The immediate sequel in this summary clearly establishes that some considerable portion of the original epic was devoted to an ultimately successful attempt to ensure that Odysseus fulfilled his obligations as quondam suitor of Helen. As Jacoby points out (1932:576–577n2 = 1961:59n12), it is likely that all the other chieftains of Greece were similarly visited. Now this would be a highly appropriate way to list the Greek forces, and nothing could be more otiose after this than a catalogue of those self-same forces once they had gathered in Aulis.

It is almost as otiose, indeed, to round off the present discussion by drawing attention to the complete uniqueness (not to say grotesqueness) of the notion of four hundred odd lines of the Cypria casually embedded in our texts of the Iliad, or to remind the reader how numerous are the indications that the Cypria was composed later than, and sometimes specifically modeled upon, the greater epic (see page 8 above). If this is so here too, Jacoby 1932:578 = 1961:61) may be right in suggesting that the Cypria contained no catalogue of the Greek forces precisely because its author was acquainted with the Iliad’s (contrast the Cypria’s utilization of a catalogue of Trojan allies [see page 187 below]).

The evidence of Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis need not detain us long. The strongest argument is Murray’s: “the ships are there described at Aulis; Protesilaus is alive and so is Palamedes (195–199); there is a reference to the Judgement of Paris (180); all these points would come straight from the Cypria, they would imply conscious change if the source was” Iliad II. Admirably true: but the details can have “come straight from the Cypria” without having come straight from the Cypria’s catalogue of Greek forces. As for the young Page’s claim that “if there was a Greek catalogue in the Cypria, our passage is just what an adaptation of it would have been like,” we would require all the resources of invective possessed by the mature Page for an adequate exposure of its shortcomings.


[ back ] 1. I can find nothing in favor of Jacoby’s idea (Atthis [Oxford 1949] 394) that the epic was explaining “why Theseus, Heracles, and a representative of Thebes are lacking among the ἡγεμόνες assembling for the expedition.”

[ back ] 2. For bibliography, see Jouan 1966:373n3. For “parodic” see in particular Elton T. E. Barker, “Momus Advises Zeus: Changing Representations of Cypria fr. 1,” in Papers on Ancient Literatures: Greece, Rome, and the Near East (Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità e del Vicino Oriente 4) (Padua 2008) 51–54. Kullmann rather paradoxically argues that Nestor’s stories stand in closer relation to the situation they illustrate here than in the Iliad so that the Cypria’s use of this device must be primary (1960:257–258; cf. 96–97n5). See further Sammons 2017: 54–61.

[ back ] 3. Wilamowitz, Homerische Untersuchungen, 149–150 takes Odyssey xi 321–325 on Ariadne to be an Attic interpolation, though he deduces from the Cypria’s mention of Ariadne that the Nekyia must have always contained some mention of that heroine at this point. Against the thesis of interpolation see Jouan 1966:384n3. The source of this portion of the Νekyia is generally considered to be part of the Hesiodic Καταλόγος γυναικῶν. For a brief bibliography of modern discussions, see Jouan 1966:374n4.

[ back ] 4. See Bond, Euripides Herakles, p. xxviii.

[ back ] 5. Jouan’s discussion of this problem (1966:384–388) is cumbrous and confused because he has failed to see the importance of Epimenides as cited, and because he insists on introducing as evidence Pherecydes FGrHist 3 F 148, and even suggests its ultimate derivation from this portion of the Cypria, in spite of the warnings from Jacoby ad loc. (p. 426) as to the “contaminated” nature of its contents.

[ back ] 6. Approved by Frazer, Loeb Apollodorus 2.179n3 and Kullmann 1960:264n2.

[ back ] 7. Welcker’s ἐπὶ κόλουσιν (“cutting short”: 2.508) is unnecessary: cf. LSJ s.v. κόλασις 2 (“chastisement, correction”).

[ back ] 8. “Der Grund wird darin liegen, dass die Menschen des Mythos zu gross und zu bedeutend sind, als dass sie geistig schwach sein kӧnnen” (Mattes, Wahnsinn im griechischen Mythos, 72–73).

[ back ] 9. For treatments of the numerous issues raised by Homer’s Catalogue of Ships that have appeared since Kirk’s Cambridge commentary (1985) see, apart from H. van Thiel, Iliaden und Ilias (Basel 1982) 159–181, E. Visser, Homers Katalog der Schiffe (Stuttgard 1997), Latacz’s commentary on Iliad II (2007), J. Marks, “Ἀρχοὺς αὖ νεῶν ἐρέω: A Programmatic Function of the Iliadic Catalogue of Ships,” in Homeric Contexts: Neoanalysis and the Interpretation of Oral Poetry (ed. F. Montanari, A. Rengakos, and C. Tsagalis [Berlin 2012]) 91–102; and Sammons 2017: “general index” s.v.

[ back ] 10. For a brief bibliography see Jacoby 1932:576n1 = 1961:58n11. Add, for instance, Murray, Rise of the Greek Epic 4 (Oxford 1934) 179–180 (with n1) and Page, Interpolations in Greek Tragedy (Oxford 1934) 146 (he later changed his mind under the influence of Jacoby: see next note). Further bibliography in Kullmann 1960:164–167, whose own discussion concludes (166–167) that the Cypria could be the source for Iliad II’s catalogue; and Sammons 2017: “general index” s.v. “Cypria, catalogues in.”

[ back ] 11. Page, History and the Homeric Iliad (Berkeley 1959) 168n48.

[ back ] 12. An alternative explanation for this feature is the popular idea that Iliad II’s catalogue derives from Boeotian poets (see especially Page, History and the Homeric Iliad, pp. 125 and 152 [with 176n93]). Against this theory note e.g. R. Hope Simpson and J. F. Lazenby, The Catalogue of the Ships in Homer’s Iliad (Oxford 1970) 168 (with 175n106); also against (and with an original and convincing observation to account for the Boeotian prominence in Iliad II’s catalogue) M. L. West, “Greek Poetry, 2000–700 B.C.,” Classical Quarterly 23 (1973): 191–192 = Hellenica 1.19–20 (cf. his commentary on Hesiod’s Works and Days p. 53 and n. 1).

[ back ] 13. Cf. Hope Simpson and Lazenby, Catalogue of the Ships, 84.

[ back ] 14. Apart from W. Schmid, “Der Homerische Schiffskatalog und seine Bedeutung für die Datierung des Ilias,” Philologus 80 (1925): 74 and in GGL 1.97, cited by Jacoby (1932:576n2 = 1961:58n11) see e.g. Page, History and the Homeric Iliad, p. 146; Kullmann 1960:139n2.

[ back ] 15. Rise of the Greek Epic, p. 179. Similarly Schmid, “Der Homerische Schiffskatalog”; T. W. Allen, The Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Oxford 1921) 23, etc.