Master of the Game: Competition and Performance in Greek Poetry

  Collins, Derek. 2004. Master of the Game: Competition and Performance in Greek Poetry. Hellenic Studies Series 7. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

20. Ptolemaic Homers

Many experts including Thomas Allen have argued that these variations are specifically due to the performance of rhapsodes. [5] This same conjecture was made in the nineteenth century (in the wake of Friedrich August Wolf’s rhapsodic Liedertheorie of the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey), but at that time scholars like Arthur Ludwich regarded rhapsodes such as Cynaethus as inferior forgers and falsifiers of the Homeric text. [6] Allen adopted this same prejudice when, following Ludwich, he argued that rhapsodes were attempting to “increase and improve” the Master, [7] that is Homer, whence he proceeded to give an allusion to Mozart’s supplements to Handel. More recently, Michael Apthorp has argued along similar lines that the Ptolemaic papyri should be understood as “lapses of memory” or the result of inevitable “alterations and additions to the poems in the process of recitation” by rhapsodes that arise during an oral performance. [8] But such a view flies in the face of the clearly detailed knowledge of Homeric diction and formulae in the variations. To the contrary, it is more likely that these papyri reflect different ground rules for competitive performance. The variations often reflect deliberate rearrangement of formulae and verses to achieve unexpected effects, which would have appeared to an audience unprepared for such changes as refreshing novelties. A similar position is maintained by Aldo di Luzio, whose study of the Ptolemaic papyri shows that the variations are not random but fall into recognizable patterns with poetic and rhetorical functions. [9] Some of the Ptolemaic variations (e.g. Iliad 5.808) actually reflect a pre-Panathenaic repertoire that Aristarchus refrained from including based on the manuscript evidence at his disposal, but which then reappear in post-Aristarchean manuscripts of the “vulgate.” [10] Thus earlier and later phases of Homeric transmission were fair game. At the same time, the Ptolemaic papyri appear during the very period in which other types of innovation in rhapsodic performances in the Greek-speaking world emerge, including the creation of new epic material. So it is more pertinent to ask why some Greek-speakers in Egypt preferred, at least as indicated by the eccentric papyri, to accept a reorganized text of Homer in part reflecting earlier traditions—some predating the Panathenaia—rather than to create entirely new material. Their actions reflect very specific performance demands in addition to, as others have argued, [11] a generalized reintroduction of fluidity into the textual tradition.

Whoever this rhapsode was, he was clever enough to begin his performance by adducing an apt line from Homer, but there is greater subtlety to his recitation than has been noticed. In the vulgate of Homer, this line does not say that Zeus summoned (καλέω) Hera, with its more stately implication, but rather the following (Iliad 18.356):

Ζεὺς δ᾽ Ἥρην προσέειπε κασιγνήτην ἄλοχόν τε
And Zeus addressed Hera, his sister and wife.

In other words, according to the vulgate Zeus merely spoke to or addressed (προσεείπω) Hera at this point, and what follows this line is actually a speech by Zeus. Although we do not know the source of Plutarch’s quotation, it is possible that our rhapsode not only aptly quoted this line of Homer, but also that he improvised the verb—whether it was drawn from scratch or an earlier tradition is not clear—to make the whole line more consonant with the circumstances of Ptolemy’s wedding.

The second example comes from the T scholia to Iliad 21.26. After a description of Achilles’ slaughter of Trojans in the Xanthus river, he wearies of killing and then captures twelve Trojan youths as a recompense for the dead Patroclus. Of Achilles’ fatigue specifically, we read (Iliad 21.26):

… ὁ δ᾽ ἐπεὶ κάμε χεῖρας ἐναίρων
… and when he tired in his hands from killing.

The idiom in Greek requires that the noun χεῖρας, in the accusative, represent the body part that is fatigued in connection with the verb κάμνω ‘to weary’, while the participle ἐναίρων (from ἐναίρω ‘to slay, kill’) describes the action from which one is fatigued. However, the T scholia report that a rhapsode named Hermodorus (otherwise unknown) placed a different construction on this line. The scholion reads: Ἑρμόδωρος ὁ ῥαψῳδὸς χεῖρας ἐναίρων ἤκουε χειροκοπῶν, κατεχρήσατο δέ. “The rhapsode Hermodorus for χεῖρας ἐναίρων heard ‘hand-cutting’, and used it wrongly.”

In the third quarter of the fourth century, when Demetrius of Phalerum (ruled 317–307 BCE) was at the height of his political and cultural influence in Athens, we are told that he was the first to introduce those who are called homêristai into the theaters:

ὅτι δ᾽ ἐκαλοῦντο οἱ ῥαψῳδοὶ καὶ ῾Ομηρισταὶ ᾽Αριστοκλῆς εἴρηκεν ἐν τῷ περὶ Χορῶν. τοῦς δὲ νῦν ῾Ομηριστὰς ὀνομαζομένους πρῶτος εἰς τὰ θέατρα παρήγαγε Δηυήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς. Χαμαιλέων δὲ ἐν τῷ περὶ Στησιχόρου καὶ μελῳδηθῆναί φησιν οὐ μόνον τὰ ῾Ομήρου, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ ῾Ησιόδου καὶ ᾽Αρχιλόχου, ἔτι δὲ Μίμνέρμου καὶ Φωκυλίδου. Κλέαρχος δ᾽ ἐν τῷ προτέρῳ περὶ Γρίφων τὰ ᾽Αρχιλόχου, φησίν, Σιμωνίδης ὁ Ζακύνθιος ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις ἐπὶ δίφρου καθήμενος ἐρραψῴδει. Λυσανίας δ᾽ ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ περὶ ᾽Ιαμβοποιῶν Μνασίωνα τὸν ῥαψῳδόν λέγει ἐν ταῖς δείξεσι τῶν Σιμωνίδου τινὰς ἰάμβων ὑποκρίνεσθαι. τοὺς δ᾽ Ἐμπεδοκλέους Καθαρμοὺς ἐρραψῴδησεν ᾽Ολυμπίασι Κλεομένης ὁ ῥαψῳδός, ὥς φησιν Δικαίαρχος ἐν τῷ ᾽Ολυμπίκῷ. Ἰάσων δ᾽ ἐν τρίτῳ περὶ τῶν Ἀλεξάνφρου ῾Ιερῶν ἐν ᾽Αλεξανδρείᾳ φησὶν ἐν τῷ μεγάλῳ θεάτρῳ ὑποκρίνασθαι Ἡγησίαν τὸν κωμῳδὸν τὰ Ἡσιόδου, Ἑρμόφαντον δὲ τὰ ῾Ομήρου.

That rhapsodes were called also Homêristai , Aristocles says in his book On Choruses . Demetrius of Phalerum first introduced those now called Homêristai into the theatres. Chamaeleon, in his book On Stesichorus, says that not only the poetry of Homer was sung melodically, but also that of Hesiod and Archilochus, and even that of Mimnermus and Phocylides. Clearchus, in the first of his two books On Riddles says, “Simonides of Zacynthus, seated on a stool, used to perform rhapsodically the poetry of Archilochus in the theatres.” Lysanias, in the first book of his On the Iambic Poets, says that Mnasion the rhapsode used to act in public performances some of the iambic poems of Simonides. And Cleomenes the rhapsode performed rhapsodically the Purifications of Empedocles at Olympia, as Dicaearchus says in his book the Olympic. Jason, in the third book of his work on the Divine Honors to Alexander, says that in the great theatre of Alexandria Hegesias the comedian acted the poetry of Hesiod, and Hermophantos acted that of Homer.

Athenaeus 620b–d

I cite this passage at length because it provides significant background to the wide variety of poetry that was performed in theatres, such as the hexameters of Hesiod and Empedocles, [
19] and also the iambic poems of Archilochus and Simonides. Most importantly for the present, however, is that the great theatre of Alexandria is singled out as the locale for the acting (ὑποκρίνομαι) of Hesiod and Homer. To follow Athenaeus’ logic of presentation, even the fact that the poetry of Homer and Hesiod was acted by a comedian (κωμῳδός) in Alexandria can be seen as a development of the greater theatricalization of Homeric performance begun by Demetrius.

Another passage from Petronius’ Satyricon is more descriptive, but also gives some indication of the changing venues for homêristai performances. In this passage, Trimalchio, a poorly educated but wealthy freedman who is in the midst of feasting his friends at his home, asks that everyone be festive and watch the homêristai as they make their entrance:

“simus ergo, quod melius est, a primitiis hilares et Homeristas spectemus.” intravit factio statim hastisque scuta concrepuit. ipse Trimalchio in pulvino consedit, et cum Homeristae Graecis versibus colloquerentur, ut insolenter solent, ille canora voce Latine legebat librum.

“Let us be festive, which is better, from the start and watch the Homêristai.” Immediately a troupe entered clanging on their spears and shields. Trimalchio himself sat on a cushion, and while the Homêristai were dialoguing in Greek verses in their usual bombastic manner, he read along in Latin in a loud voice.

Petronius, Satyricon 59.2–3

There is much humor in this scene—of course not only are the homêristai lavishly decked out in military armor but their dialogue is loud and affected. Moreover, Trimalchio obviously knows no Greek and therefore must read along in his Latin translation of Homer to follow the performance. [21] Trimalchio becomes more of a fool in what follows, when he asks the homêristai to stop while he explains the plot to them. He completely confuses the characters by saying that the brothers concerned were Diomedes and Ganymede (instead of Agamemnon and Menelaos); that their sister was Helen, whom Agamemnon rescued and then substituted a deer in her place, as an offering for Diana. He goes on to say that Agamemnon gave his own daughter Iphigeneia as a wife to Achilles, and that on account of this (instead of Achilles’ armor) Ajax went insane (59.4–6). This is all quite absurd, but finally, at the mention of Ajax, Trimalchio’s servants begin to scurry about making preparations for the entry of a boiled calf, which is brought in on a heavy tray with a helmet on its head. Then a man dressed as Ajax, possibly a homêristês, comes in with a sword and begins to mime as if he were the insane Ajax madly cleaving at herds of cattle, all the while collecting bits of meat on the end of his sword and passing it to the guests who look on in amazement (59.6–7). For our purposes, this parodic display does at least support the idea that the homêristai, who not only performed in theatres but as we have just seen could also be hired out for élite dinner parties, both recited Homeric verses and mimed the dramatic action. [22]

To restate the argument briefly: the evidence we have for rhapsodic performance suggests that rhapsodes competitively recited memorized verses, improvised verses or portions of verses on the spot for elaboration or embellishment, and took up and left off Homeric (or other) narrative wherever they chose. Further evidence suggests that rhapsodes modified words within a verse, or modified Greek syntax where plausible to create new meaning from a known verse. To the extent that homêristai performed in a manner comparable to rhapsodes, we may attribute similar skills to them, although it does seem that homêristai were more theatrical. Viewed in this light, the Ptolemaic eccentric papyri may show direct evidence of this kind of manipulation. What we now need to explain are the effects achieved by some of the “plus-verses,” which are the distinguishing feature of these papyri.

The creation of a vivid and memorable image is a case in point. A typical example comes from Iliad 22, line 316, in the scene where Achilles lunges at Hector. This is one of several performable scenes or episodes mentioned by Socrates, in Plato’s Ion (535b). In the Iliad scene, Hector and Achilles have exchanged some boasts and abuse, and then Hector calls upon his brother Deïphobos to give him a spear. Realizing that Deïphobos is not close enough to do this, Hector senses that his fate is near, and so gathers himself together and makes a run for Achilles. At this moment, Achilles charges in return, and we read about his helmet glittering in the sun, with its golden plumes (Iliad 22.316):

χρύσεαι, ἃς Ἥφαιστος ἵει λόφον ἀμφὶ θαμειάς
golden, which Hephaistos had set thick around the crest [of the helmet]

I think we can provide an answer, but in order to do so we have also to supply a little imagination. We have to suppose that our audience knows book 22 well enough to know the narrative context of lines 133–35, and that the performance venue for these verses is a rhapsodic or homeristic contest. Before the lines occur, King Priam and Queen Hecabe have unsuccessfully attempted to keep Hector from battling Achilles. Hector then reflects on the tight position that he is in: if he retreats he will be ridiculed, but since he has by his own recklessness endangered the Trojans, he feels compelled to continue fighting. He then debates with himself about refusing to fight, giving up Helen, and even laying down his armor and propitiating Achilles. This does not seem satisfactory either, and so he resolves to let Zeus decide the victor. It is at this moment that we see Achilles closing in on Hector, shaking his dangerous Pelian ash spear by his right shoulder with his helmet blazing in the sun. So run verses 22.133–35. Now when Hector sees this, he can no longer stand his ground and so flees, frightened, toward the base of the Trojan wall. Clearly the appearance and description of Achilles is decisive for Hector at this moment, yet it is not until Achilles’ next lunge for Hector, at lines 312 and following, with our plus verses in the papyrus, that he will make the fatal spearthrust through Hector’s throat.

Therefore I am suggesting that, given our hypothetical performance context, lines 316a–c could be an “improvisation” on the part of one rhapsode or homêristês who is simply embellishing and intensifying the description of Achilles at the fatal moment for Hector. I use “improvisation” in quotes because these verses might have been composed beforehand and then presented in performance, only to seem freshly improvised from the audience’s point of view. They are not necessarily an actual improvisation that was later recorded. In any event, for an audience who knows their Homer, the verses add more vividness to the description of Achilles’ final lunge at verse 312 and following. Of course we cannot say whether a rhapsode embellished line 316 as a virtuoso flourish, or whether a homêristês employed the lines parodically to accentuate the presentation of a costumed mime, impersonating Achilles, as he stood there brandishing a spear in defiance. Both scenarios are equally plausible.

After these lines in P30 occur two more lines, which Ι reproduce without brackets and sublinear dots because the attestation is certain (5.232α–β):

α        κρηδέμνωι δ᾽ ἐφύπερθε καλύψατο δῖα θεάων
β        καλῶι νηγατέωι, τό ῥά οἱ τεθυωμένον ἦεν.

          And the goddess covered herself up above with a beautiful,
          newly-made headdress, which was fragrant for her.

These additional lines have caused much consternation, beginning with whether the καλύπτρη ‘veil’ was to be identified with the κρήδεμνον ‘headdress’ or whether these terms ought to remain distinct. [
32] Because the lines describe a second veiling of Calypso, they have been viewed more recently by some commentators as “incoherent.” [33] But to take such a position is to assume a narrative standard that does not reflect the performance demands of Alexandrian rhapsodes, homêristai, or whoever performed these texts. As di Luzio has cautioned, we simply cannot apply modern standards to the Ptolemaic papyri, especially those derived from the study of written literature; [34] the variations reflect different performance objectives. Line 232α and the first hemistich of 232β are found in Iliad 14.184–5, in the context of Hera’s toilette in anticipation of her deceptive tryst with Zeus. The only difference is that the second hemistich of Iliad 14.185 reads λευκὸν δ᾽ ἦν ἡέλιος ὥς “it was as bright as the sun,” while the phrase in the papyrus, τό ῥά οἱ τεθυωμένον ἦεν “which was fragrant for her,” occurs several lines earlier at 14.172 and refers to the sweet smell of the olive oil with which Hera anoints herself. We have, then, formulaic lines transposed from a similar situation and added on through enjambement, which is a typical mark of rhapsodic manipulation. [35]

But similarity of narrative context cannot be the only reason for the transposition. A closer consideration of the additional lines suggests that their author intended to evoke the sexual atmosphere of Hera’s toilette in the aftermath of Calypso’s encounter with Odysseus. In a few lines preceding the description of Calypso’s dressing, we are told at Odyssey 5.227 that on the previous evening Calypso and Odysseus had slept together. It is reasonable to suppose that after the lines describing Calypso’s veiling, the author of P30 chose subtly to transform the description of the veil by adding details drawn from an explicitly sexually charged situation in the Iliad. A further nuance is achieved by P30’s transposition of the hemistich, τό ῥά οἱ τεθυωμένον ἦεν, which adds fragrance to the κρήδεμνον. If this is the intended effect of 232α–β, it is then beside the point to speculate about whether the καλύπτρη is identical with the κρήδεμνον, or in which order the two have to be put on to retain “coherence.” [36] The more important point is that the author of P30 intends for Calypso’s veil to be sexually attractive to Odysseus, and possibly further to suggest that Calypso intends to deceive him along the lines of Hera’s deception of Zeus in Iliad 14. What this example shows is that an intimate knowledge of epic formulae as well as of contextual details figured in the choice of variations. Lines were manipulated in performance but not incoherently. We cannot say for certain how attentive to the details of these effects a Ptolemaic audience might have been. But if we only apply modern standards of coherence, we run the risk of obscuring the sophisticated ways in which the variations create narrative effects.

In all this I am not insisting that we always assume a one-to-one correspondence between a given papyrus and a given performance, or that these texts are necessarily scripts or memory-aides for performance. This hypothesis goes back to Kirchoff in the nineteenth century and, while it remains attractive, we still do not know the true origin of these papyri. [37] However, the advantage of the approach outlined here is that it offers an alternative to attributing such plus-verses and variations to pedantic scribes or misinformed copyists, or to dismissing them as uncreative interpolations of inferior performers. The question of the authenticity of these variations is also misleading to the extent that it presupposes an “original” text against which the variations ought to be judged. Instead, it makes more sense to view the variations as stemming from or produced for live performances during which variations were expected—which also means that to this extent they must all be regarded as “authentic.” [38] The variations suggest that knowledge of Homeric texts and an ability to manipulate passages were of primary importance to the authors and performers of these papyri, because the innovation here involved the novel deployment of traditional material within and between the Iliad and Odyssey. But the motivation for the variations is best explained by the competitive context of rhapsodic performances or, possibly, the parodic context of homeristic performances, although the “stitching” nature of the variations in the papyri inclines me toward a rhapsodic performance scenario. Competition produced the demand for “new” narrative effects, striking images, and unusual juxtapositions, by performers intimately familiar with the Homeric text and its history. What we can probably exclude is the possibility that the variations were due to poets, [39] because as we saw earlier in the discussion of Hellenistic performances from the fourth to the first centuries BCE, the so-called poets of epic (ποιητὴς ἐπῶν, ἐποποιός) typically were rewarded for the creation of new epic material largely treating historical and mythological subjects. [40] We may conclude that these papyri reflect the interests of a delimited group of performers/authors who specialized in Homer, because we do not find the same extent of verse manipulation in Homeric papyri after 150 BCE, even though rhapsodic (and homeristic) performances continued until the third century CE. For this reason, I regard it as more than probable that these papyri issued from the Ptolemaic equivalent of the Homeridae of Chios or the Creophylei of Samos.

The problems with the last sentence, as with the passage as a whole, have a long scholarly history. [44] Arguing from classical period usage, Bollack suggests that παραναγινώσκειν means that the secretary of the polis ‘collates and checks’ available manuscripts for the actors, rather than ‘reads alongside’ them so as to regulate their performance. [45] Further, he argues that the decree itself offers no hint that the texts of the tragedians had undergone any deterioration, as if through unauthorized actors’ interpolations or scribal errors. [46] Rather, it is more likely that actors’ scripts with theatrical annotations as well as textual editions for private reading provided the disparate material from which the polis secretary was to produce a more “original” version. [47] The advantage of this perspective is that it allows for textual variations due to performance to have become by Lycurgus’ time an acknowledged part of the performance tradition. In turn Lycurgus’ decrees can be understood as a form of public commemoration and cultural restoration for the tragedians rather than as an editorial condemnation of actors. Indeed for Bollack, who does not accept Wyttenbach’s textual addition of παρ᾽, the phrase οὐκ ἐξεῖναι γὰρ αὐτὰς ὑποκρίνεσθαι means that ‘it was not possible to act’ texts of the tragedians prepared only for reading, and that the polis secretary’s job was to help actors prepare theatrical scripts by collating both types of texts.


[ back ] 1. The papyri published before 1966 are presented by Stephanie West 1967, although more have appeared since. The discussion of Haslam 1997:63–69 is indispensable.

[ back ] 2. Haslam 1997:64–65.

[ back ] 3. S. West 1967:11.

[ back ] 4. Allen 1924:267. Foley 1990:22–26, esp. 26, presents a forceful argument for this view and emphasizes the contribution of rhapsodes.

[ back ] 5. Stephanie West is another: see S. West 1967:13, and her essay “The Transmission of the Text” in Heubeck-West-Hainsworth 1988:33–48, esp. 35, although I emphatically disagree with her notion that rhapsodes thought of themselves as “improving” the text.

[ back ] 6. See Ludwich 1989:159–64, esp. 160n1, where he specifically attacks the earlier arguments of Kirchoff 1893:903, who thought that the variations derived from “Memorirexemplare der Rhapsoden” who used the variations in performance, along the lines of what we are told about Cynaethus (see above). Although it is not clear that rhapsodes created their own texts as memory-aides for performance, Kirchoff’s (ibid.) point about a rhapsode’s freedom to manipulate Homer in performance is very close to my own. Ludwich 1898:160–61, however, refused to regard rhapsodes like Cynaethus as anything but forgers, and certainly not poets. We should distinguish, however, between what the variations tell us about improvisation in live performances from their relationship to the origin of the vulgate text of Homer.

[ back ] 7. Allen 1924:326.

[ back ] 8. Apthorp 1980:67–8.

[ back ] 9. di Luzio 1969. A summary of di Luzio’s overall view of the variations is on his pp. 13–14.

[ back ] 10. See Apthorp 2000, esp. 2–7 on the plus-verses at Iliad 5.808, along with Nagy 2001:117–18. Haslam 1997:97n127 regards the case of Iliad 5.808 as “rather unusual.”

[ back ] 11. Nagy 1996:144.

[ back ] 12. Cf. the discussion of this passage in Nagy 1996:161–62.

[ back ] 13. Cf. the rhapsode Alexis of Tarentum hired by Alexander to perform at the mass wedding he organized after his defeat of Darius (Chares of Mytilene FGH 125 F 4 = Athenaeus 538e).

[ back ] 14. Aristophanes, Frogs 302–4, Sannyrion fr. 8, scholia Euripides Orestes ad 279, with Henderson 1990:295. Cf. Plato, Charmides 162d on poets who get angry with actors that mishandle (κακῶς διατίθημι) their verses.

[ back ] 15. There is more to this discussion in recent scholarship than I can indicate here. Haslam 1997:69–74 and Nagy 1996 offer the most pertinent summaries of the issues.

[ back ] 16. Hillgruber 2000 is essential. Cf. Nagy 1996:156–74.

[ back ] 17. For the verb homêrizein in Achilles Tatius 8.9.2–3, see Nagy 1996:164–5.

[ back ] 18. Nagy 1996:167 contra (e.g.) Robert 1936:237.

[ back ] 19. Since the notice of the performance of Empedocles’ Purifications comes by way of Dicaearchus (fr. 87 Wehrli), Obbink 1993:77 places the earliest possible date Cleomenes’ recitation in the late fourth or early fifth century.

[ back ] 20. Hillgruber 2000:66.

[ back ] 21. Hillgruber 2000:64n5 doubts whether Trimalchio’s book is actually a Latin translation of Homer (Homerübersetzung), since he finds it hard to believe that a Latin verse transcription (note the change of terms, Versübertragung) would agree with the improvised performances of the homêristai, but this argument seems strained.

[ back ] 22. Robert 1936:237 argued that homêristai only mimed Homeric battle scenes. For more on rhapsodic entertainment at dinner parties, see Lucian, On Salaried Posts 35, who gives satirical portrait of a wealthy Roman insufferably rhapsodizing his own poetry (τὰ αὐτοῦ ῥαψῳδῶν) for his guests.

[ back ] 23. Husson’s 1993:97n18 third text, SB 7336, mentions payment to a reader (ἀναγνώστης) who might have read aloud while the homêristai mimed the scenes. The question remains: what exactly was read?

[ back ] 24. Hillgruber 2000:68–9.

[ back ] 25. Bowman 1986:144.

[ back ] 26. Ludwich 1898:163. Homêristai do not appear to be mentioned at all.

[ back ] 27. Plutarch, Alcibiades 7.1 and Alexander 8.2 (Aristotle’s corrected text).

[ back ] 28. Hillgruber 2000:71, although I do not agree with his rigid view that rhapsodic performances were altogether “serious” in contrast with those of homêristai.

[ back ] 29. The history of the debate over the genuineness of these verses is discussed by di Luzio 1969:106–7.

[ back ] 30. This papyrus is most recently discussed by Haslam 1997:66–9.

[ back ] 31. Aristarchus preferred ἐφύπερθε ‘above’ here, which is adopted by Allen ad loc.

[ back ] 32. The varying scholarly views are recorded by di Luzio 1969:98–100.

[ back ] 33. Haslam 1997:68.

[ back ] 34. di Luzio 1969:14.

[ back ] 35. On these lines, cf. di Luzio 1969:98, “Questo tipo di variazione e trasformazionc nell’uso delle formule d’imprestito sembra però più opera di un poeta o di un rapsodo che non di un interpolatore.” “This type of variation and transformation in the use of borrowed formulae seems, however, more the work of a poet or rhapsode than of an interpolator.

[ back ] 36. Cf. Haslam 1997:68n27.

[ back ] 37. Kirchoff 1893:903.

[ back ] 38. Nagy 1997:110–11.

[ back ] 39. Unless, as is occasionally attested, a given poet competes as both poet and rhapsode, on which see Pallone 1984:162.

[ back ] 40. Pallone 1984:162–66.

[ back ] 41. Besides rebuilding the theatre of Dionysus, Lycurgus is also said ([Plutarch], Lives of the Ten Orators 842a) to have ensured that the (dithyrambic?) contest of Poseidon in Peiraeus had no fewer than three cyclical choruses, and to have guaranteed a minimum award in minas for the first (10), second (8), and third (6) place winners.

[ back ] 42. Page 1934:2, whose text of Plutarch differs slightly from Mau’s 1971, which I use above. In this connection we may also note the remarks of Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 10.1.66, that the Athenians allowed Aeschylus’ tragedies, unpolished and disorganized as they were, to be corrected by later poets, on which see Nagy 1996:176.

[ back ] 43. Supplemented by Wyttenbach, on which see Bollack 1994:18.

[ back ] 44. See Bollack 1994:14–20.

[ back ] 45. Bollack 1994:20–1, following LSJ s.v. I do not agree with Thomas 1992:91 that παραναγινώσκειν means that the secretary merely read the texts aloud to the actors.

[ back ] 46. Bollack 1994:21–2: “Ce qu’on a pris comme une source de détérioration est au contraire le complément nécessaire, en vue de la représentation des pièces.” “What one has considered a source of deterioration is on the contrary the necessary complement in light of the performance of the plays.”

[ back ] 47. Bollack 1994:21–2.

[ back ] 48. See Foley 1991:6–9 and esp. his ch. 2 on the performance of Homeric poetry as a reenactment against a body of known material. Further pertinent observations can be found in Bakker 1993:10–12.