Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond

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Chapter 6

Homer as Script

The Athenian Koine or “Vulgate” version of Homer, even if it were to have no claim to be the original Homer any more than the text established by Aristarchus, represents a crucial era in the history of Homeric performance traditions. This is the next argument to be made, added as a qualification to my earlier argument that we cannot simplistically apply the criteria of right or wrong, better or worse, original or altered, in the editorial process of sorting out the Homeric variants transmitted by Aristarchus or by earlier sources. It is indeed justifiable, however, to ask whether a variant is authentic or not—provided we understand “authentic” to mean in conformity with traditional oral epic diction. [1]

Further, it is justifiable to ask whether a given variant can be assigned to a particular period. In the scheme of five periods in the history of Homeric transmission, formulated at the beginning of the previous chapter, I propose that the variants attributed by Didymus and, ultimately, by Aristarchus to the Koine version of Homer tend to converge toward period 3, while the variants often preferred by Aristarchus himself or by other Alexandrian critics are typical of periods 4 and 5. This is not going so far as to say that some variants go all the way back to period 3 while others go only as far back as periods 4 and 5. It is only to say that certain kinds of variants seem to predominate at certain periods within the continuum of Homeric transmission. And it still remains to ask what if any distinguishing features we may find in an Athenian Koine version of period 3—an era defined in the previous chapter {153|154} as extending from the middle of the sixth century BCE to the later part of the fourth.

But there is a problem with this formulation as well. As we have also seen in the previous chapter, many Homeric variants {154|155} reported by the Alexandrian scholars as alternatives to the variants in the Koine can be shown to be just as authentic in their own right. So if indeed the Koine textual tradition of Homer is no more “original” than other traditions, then the question is: what if anything makes the Koine distinct?

With this historical background, let us now turn to the key passage suggesting that Demetrius had reformed the institution of Homeric performances in Athens: {157|158}

οὐκ ἀπελείποντο δὲ ἡμῶν τῶν συμποσίων οὐδὲ ῥαψῳδοί. ἔχαιρε γὰρ τοῖς Ὁμήρου ὁ Λαρήνσιος ὡς ἄλλος οὐδὲ εἷς, ὡς λῆρον ἀποφαίνειν Κάσανδρον τὸν Μακεδονίας βασιλεύσαντα, περὶ οὗ φησι Καρύστιος ἐν Ἱστορικοῖς ὑπομνήμασιν ὅτι οὕτως ἦν φιλόμηρος ὡς διὰ στόματος ἔχειν τῶν ἐπῶν τὰ πολλά· καὶ Ἰλιὰς ἦν αὐτῷ καὶ Ὀδυσσεία ἰδίως γεγραμμέναι. ὅτι δ᾿ ἐκαλοῦντο οἱ ῥαψῳδοὶ καὶ Ὁμηρισταὶ Ἀριστοκλῆς εἴρηκεν ἐν τῷ περὶ Χορῶν. τοὺς δὲ νῦν Ὁμηριστὰς ὀνομαζομένους πρῶτος εἰς τὰ θέατρα παρήγαγε Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς. Χαμαιλέων δὲ ἐν τῷ περὶ Στησιχόρου καὶ μελῳδηθῆναί φησιν οὐ μόνον τὰ Ὁμήρου, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ Ἡσιόδου καὶ Ἀρχιλόχου, ἔτι δὲ Μιμνέρμου καὶ Φωκυλίδου. Κλέαρχος δὲ ἐν τῷ προτέρῳ περὶ Γρίφων “τὰ Ἀρχιλόχου, φησίν, [ὁ] Σιμωνίδης ὁ Ζακύνθιος ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις ἐπὶ δίφρου καθήμενος ἐραψῴδει.” Λυσανίας δ᾿ ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ περὶ Ἰαμβοποιῶν Μνασίωνα τὸν ῥαψῳδὸν λέγει ἐν ταῖς δείξεσι τῶν Σιμωνίδου τινὰς ἰάμβων ὑποκρίνεσθαι. τοὺς δ᾿ Ἐμπεδοκλέους Καθαρμοὺς ἐραψῴδησεν Ὀλυμπίασι Κλεομένης ὁ ῥαψῳδός, ὥς φησιν Δικαίαρχος ἐν τῷ Ὀλυμπικῷ. Ἰάσων δ᾿ ἐν τρίτῳ περὶ τῶν Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἱερῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ φησὶν ἐν τῷ μεγάλῳ θεάτρῳ ὑποκρίνασθαι Ἡγησίαν τὸν κωμῳδὸν τὰ Ἡσιόδου, [19] Ἑρμόφαντον δὲ τὰ Ὁμήρου.

Nor were rhapsodes [rhapsōidoí] missing from our symposia. For Larensis took delight in the works of Homer as no one else could, so much so that he made even Cassander, the one who was King of Macedonia, look superficial. About whom [Cassander] it is said by Carystius in his Historika hupomnḗmata that he was such a Homer enthusiast [philómēros] that he could orally render much of the epic poetry of Homer. And he [Cassander] made his own private transcript of the Iliad and Odyssey. [20] That the rhapsodes [rhapsōidoí] were also called Homēristaí is reported by Aristocles {158|159} in his work On choruses. Demetrius of Phaleron was the first to introduce those who are nowadays called Homēristaí into the theaters. Chamaeleon, in his work On Stesichorus, says that not only the poetry of Homer was melodically sung but also that of Hesiod and Archilochus, even that of Mimnermus and Phocylides. Clearchus, in the first of the two scrolls of his work entitled On riddles, says: “Simonides of Zacynthus, seated on a stool, used to perform rhapsodically [verb rhapsōideîn] the poetry of Archilochus in the theaters.” [21] Lysanias, in the first scroll of his work On the iambic poets, says that Mnasion the rhapsode [rhapsōidós] used to act [hupokrínesthai] in his performances [deíxis plural] some of the iambs of Simonides. [22] As for the Katharmoi of Empedocles, Kleomenes the rhapsode [rhapsōidós] used to perform them rhapsodically [verb rhapsôideîn] at the Olympics, as Dicaearchus says in his work, The Olympic. Jason says, in the third scroll of his work The sacred institutions of Alexander, that Hegesias the performer of comedies acted [hupokrínesthai] in the Great Theater in Alexandria the poetry of Hesiod, and Hermophantos, the poetry of Homer.

Athenaeus 14.620b-c

Let us pursue further, now moving considerably ahead in time, the connection made by the third century BCE sources of Athenaeus (14.620b-c) between rhapsode-style performance and the setting of theaters. There is an incidental reference to theatrical performances of Homer in Achilles Tatius (3.20.4): τῶν τὰ Ὁμήρου τῷ στόματι δεικνύντων ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις ‘those who perform [deiknúnai] the poems of Homer orally in theaters’. [39] Let us now consider a related passage, by the same author, where the art of performing Homeric poems is designated by the verb Homērízein. It is this verb, of course, from which Homēristaí is derived. As we examine this passage, we will note various allusions to the theatricality of Homeric performance in what seems to be a parody of the very ideology of paideía ‘education’ in the arts. The context is this: in a legal wrangle, a speaker is attacking his opponent by portraying him as a moral degenerate. The man’s degeneracy is being expressed metaphorically in a humorous narrative about his counterfeit paideía ‘education’ in the arts, as it were, where the idea of practicing the art par excellence seems to be equated mockingly with a theatrical image of ‘playing the Homēristḗs’. The central joke is in the word itself, since the form Homērízein is being used here as a pun to convey a sexual double entendre (mēr in the sense of ‘thigh’):

καί τοι γε νέος ὢν συνεγίνετο πολλοῖς αἰδοίοις ἀνδράσι καὶ τὴν ὥραν ἅπασαν εἰς τοῦτο δεδαπάνηκε. σεμνότητα δ᾿ ἔδρακε καὶ σωφροσύνην ὑπεκρίνατο, παιδείας προσποιούμενος ἐρᾶν καὶ τοῖς εἰς ταύτην αὐτῷ χρωμένοις πάντα ὑποκύπτων καὶ ὑποκατακλινόμενος ἀεί. καταλιπὼν γὰρ τὴν πατρῴαν οἰκίαν, ὀλίγον ἑαυτῷ μισθωσάμενος στενωπεῖον, εἶχεν ἐνταῦθα τὸ οἴκημα, ὁμηρίζων μὲν τὰ πολλά, πάντας δὲ τοὺς χρησίμους πρὸς ἅπερ ἤθελε προσηταιρίζετο δεχόμενος. καὶ οὕτω μὲν ἀσκεῖν τὴν ψυχὴν ἐνομίζετο, ἦν δ᾿ ἄρα τοῦτο κακουργίας ὑπόκρισις. {164|165}

Achilles Tatius 8.9.2–3

Given that the art of the rhapsode was becoming ever more theatrical and mimetic over time, as we see from the testimony of Plato and Aristotle already in the fourth century BCE, we have reason to expect Athenaeus, near the beginning of the third century CE, to assume that the theatrical tradition of the Homēristaí was ultimately derived from an earlier rhapsodic heritage. Further, on the basis of Aristotle’s remark about stylized physical gestures in the mimesis of Homer—let us say the acting of Homer—we have reason to expect such specific aspects of mimetic performance to become ever more pronounced with the passage of time. Let us consider a case in point, with explicit reference to Homēristaí. In the Interpretation of Dreams by Artemidorus (4.2 p. 205 ed. Hercher), dated to the second century CE, there is an anecdote about a surgeon who once dreamed that he was acting Homer, expressed by the verb Homērízein (ὁμηρίζειν νομίσας), and the reason given for this dream is a mechanical analogy between the motions made by surgeons as they make their incisions and the motions made by Homēristaí as they make their gestures of wounding opponents with weapons and drawing blood: καὶ γὰρ οἱ ὁμηρισταὶ τιτρώσκουσι μὲν καὶ αἱμάσσουσιν, ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ ἀποκτεῖναί γε βούλονται· οὕτω δὲ καὶ ὁ χειρουργός ‘for just {165|166} as the Homēristaí make wounds and draw blood, without any intention of killing, so also does the surgeon’. [41]

There is a comparable reference to Homēristaí in Petronius (Satyricon 59.2–6), where the histrionics of these performers are being ridiculed as an abstruse exercise in art, on display for pretentious but ludicrously ignorant connoisseurs. [42] In this humorous account, the host Trimalchio starts by saying (59.2–3): …simus ergo, quod melius est, a primitiis hilares et Homeristas spectemus ‘so let us be festive, which is better, right from the start; let us watch the Homēristaí. At that point (59.4–6), intravit factio statim hastisque scuta concrepuit. ipse Trimalchio in pulvino consedit, et cum Homeristae Graecis versibus colloquerentur, ut insolenter solent, ille canora voce Latine legebat librum. mox silentio facto “scitis” inquit “quam fabulam agant? Diomedes et Ganymedes duo fratres fuerunt. horum soror erat Helena. Agamemnon illam rapuit…” ‘there entered right away a troupe [of Homēristaí], beating on their shields with their spears. Trimalchio himself sat down on his cushion and, while the Homēristaí were having their dialogues in Greek verses, in their usual pompous manner, he [Trimalchio], in a sonorous voice, was reading along, in Latin, from a scroll. [43] Then after a moment of silence, he said: “do you know what story they are acting? Well Diomedes and Ganymedes were two brothers. They had a sister, Helen, and Agamemnon abducted her …”’[this display of Trimalchio’s faulty education continues through section 6]. When Trimalchio finishes (59.6): haec ut dixit Trimalchio, clamorem Homeristae sustulerunt, … ‘when Trimalchio said these things, the Homēristaí raised a clamor …’.

These passages from Artemidorus and Petronius show clear signs of a newer and ever more theatrical stage in the lengthy history of Homeric performance traditions—a stage where these traditions come closest to our own contemporary notion of a “script.” We begin to appreciate from these later sources just {166|167} how far the theatrical conventions in the performance of Homer have evolved from the conventions envisioned by earlier sources. We have just seen in the passage from Artemidorus that the Homēristaí actually act out the wounding of opponents with weapons. Now we see in Petronius that such explicitly mimetic gestures are being reinforced by stage props, as it were, such as spears and shields. [44] Moreover, in the passage from Petronius, it appears that different players take on different roles in enacting a Homeric scene. The players seem to have speaking parts, delivered in Greek verses (to be contrasted with Trimalchio’s Latin), apparently representing the speeches of Homeric heroes engaged in combat with each other. I infer that these dialogues were dramatically excerpted—or let us say “scripted”—from actual combat scenes contained by the overall Homeric narrative. Thus I propose to adjust, ever so slightly, a formulation concerning the Artemidorus and the Petronius passages: according to Louis Robert, the Homēristaí mimed battles. [45] Surely the activity of miming does not exclude the factor of speaking parts, delivered in Greek verse. Still, my use of the expression “speaking parts” shows just how far removed we now are, as we contemplate this particular moment in the history of Homeric performance, from the early traditions of the rhapsodes. The text of Homer has achieved the status of a “script.” [46]

Let us start with papyrus 5, which is the text of a contract formalized by the magistrates of the metropolis of Oxyrhynchus for the engagement of a Homēristḗs and a dramatic mime (biológos) who are to travel all the way to the metropolis of Arsinoe in order to perform at a seasonally-recurring festival of Kronos. [50] From the context, Geneviève Husson infers that Oxyrhynchus must have had a special reputation for producing artisans of this kind. [51] Next we look at papyrus 1: here the performance of, again, a Homēristḗs, who is to be paid 448 drachmas, is slated to occur after that of a mime, who is to get 496 drachmas, and before that of a dancer, whose wages can be reconstructed at somewhere between 100 and 200 drachmas. [52] In papyrus 4 as well, a Homēristḗs and a mime are listed alongside each other. [53] As Husson notes, all these occasions of performance by Homēristaí are festivals. [54] Moreover, the dates of all these occasions are not far removed from the era of our main source about Homēristaí, Athenaeus of Naucratis (around 200 CE). It is realistic, no doubt, to be reminded again that we are by now over 500 years removed from {168|169} the glory days of Demetrius of Phaleron, whom Athenaeus credits with the theatricalization of rhapsodes. But it is also realistic to keep in mind the continuity, however transformed, of Hellenic culture even half a millennium later. As Husson points out, for example, the metropolis of Oxyrhynchus had a theater with a seating capacity of over 10,000. [55] Such theaters were to be found throughout the Hellenic cities that dotted the Egyptian hinterland or khṓra, and Husson reminds us that the cultural vitality of urban life in that era can in no way be imagined as a phenomenon restricted to a small handful of “gymnasium élite.” [56] It is clear even from the theatrical events mentioned in our Oxyrhynchus papyri that Hellenic institutions actively coexisted with Egyptian counterparts: in the papyrus mentioning the festival of Kronos, for example, on which occasion there was a Homēristḗs contracted to perform, it appears that the cult of the god Anubis also figures prominently. [57]

For yet another attestation of Homēristḗs, we turn to an inscription, published by Charlotte Roueché, [58] that was found by excavators on the side of a doorway leading into Room 6 behind the stage front of the theater at Aphrodisias in Caria: it reads Δημητρίου ὁμηριστοῦ διασκεύη ‘equipment of Demetrius the Homēristḗs’, [59] and its date cannot be much later than the end of the third century CE. [60] As in the case of the evidence from Oxyrhynchus, the naming of this Homēristḗs occurs in a context associated with mimes: the inscriptions on the sides of other doorways leading into other rooms behind the stage designate mimes (as in the case of Room 1: Παρδαλᾶ μειμολόγου). [61] In this era, however, it must be kept in mind that such an association does {169|170} not reflect negatively on the Homēristaí, since the status (and prestige) of mimes was ascending exponentially throughout the Hellenic areas of the Empire at around the time of the third century. [62] The question, then, is not whether the status of Homēristaí was declining with the passage of time: what needs to be determined, rather, is to what extent their very identity was becoming assimilated to that of mimes. [63] The mimetic connotations of this particular attestation of a Homēristḗs at Aphrodisias in the third century CE bring us to a remarkable additional detail: inscribed above the name of Demetrius the Homēristḗs is the following phrase: ἐγενήσθη Ἀλέξανδρος ‘he became Alexander’. [64] Here is an interpretation, considered by Roueché: ‘he was (acted) Alexander, i.e. Paris’. [65] If this particular interpretation is right, then Demetrius the Homēristḗs is known for his acting—or, let us say, re-enacting—of Paris in the Iliad.

There are further traces of Homēristaí to be found, in Eustathius. Here we must be even more cautious, given that this scholar of the twelfth century CE often makes spectacular mistakes in his own internalized chronology of the cultural history of Classical and post-Classical Athens, Ptolemaic and post-Ptolemaic Egypt. At the very beginning of his Prolegomena to his Commentary on the Iliad (p. 1 ed. Van der Valk), for example, Eustathius treats Aristarchus as a predecessor of Zenodotus, and he assigns both scholars to the era of Peisistratos. Still, Eustathius had access to information that was often more complete than what we now have, as for example in the case of the Athenaeus text that he used for reference, and thus the actual information that he gives can be valuable even when his own interpretation of that information may not be so. [67] Let us begin with two cases of the noun itself, Homēristaí. In one case (Eustathius 4.937), the information replicates what we have just read in Athenaeus (14.620b-c). [68] In the other case (Eustathius 4.970), the reference is en passant, as if Homēristaí had once been the standard word for ‘performers of Homer’: ταῦτα δὲ πάντα καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα ὑποκρουσάμενος τοῖς Ὁμηρισταῖς ὁ ποιητὴς αὐτὸς αὖθις ἐπελύσατο διά τε θείων προσώπων καὶ διὰ λόγων δεξιότητος… ‘being faulted for all these things [that is, for various narrative inconsistencies] and for however many other such things by the Homēristaí, the poet himself provided explanations’. I find this second reference significant precisely because it is used so casually—not just by Eustathius but also, presumably, by his ancient source. [69] {171|172}

True, the attestations of this term are so relatively late that we cannot be sure, at this point in the argument, whether it is justifiable to date the institution of Homēristaí as far back as the fourth century BCE. For now, at least, the only direct textual evidence we have for this argument is the passage in Athenaeus 14.620b-c, already quoted, which suggests that the Homēristaí are offshoots of Homeric performance traditions as reformed by Demetrius. What follows, however, is additional textual evidence for taking the actual term Homēristaí all the way back to the era of Demetrius. Also, I will present arguments for linking this term with the idea of a fourth-century “State Script.”

There are in fact historical precedents, beyond the reform of Athenian State Theater instituted by Demetrius himself in the fourth quarter of the fourth century, for this same man’s reform of Homeric performance traditions. A few years earlier, in the third quarter of the fourth century, we find that Lycurgus of Athens had instituted something that seems analogous: this statesman had initiated reforms in the performance traditions of State Theater in Athens, legislating an official “State Script” for the tragedies of three poets and three poets only, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. [75] The crucial piece of evidence comes from a compressed and problematic passage in [“Plutarch”] Lives of the Ten Orators (841f). [76] According to this passage, Lycurgus introduced a law requiring that the Athenians erect bronze statues of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and that the State make official the texts of the tragedies of these three poets in the following way:

…τὰς τραγῳδίας αὐτῶν ἐν κοινῷ γραψαμένους φυλάττειν καὶ τὸν τῆς πόλεως γραμματέα παραναγινώσκειν τοῖς ὑποκρινομένοις· οὐκ ἐξεῖναι γὰρ αὐτὰς ὑποκρίνεσθαι

“Plutarch” Lives of the Ten Orators 841f

There is further testimony about such an Athenian text: tragoedias primus in lucem Aeschylus protulit, sublimis et gravis et grandilocus saepe usque ad vitium, sed rudis in plerisque et incompositus; propter quod correctas eius fabulas in certamen deferre posterioribus poetis Athenienses permisere; suntque eo modo multi coronati ‘the first to bring out tragedies was Aeschylus—sublime, severe, and often grandiloquent to a fault, but unpolished in many ways and disorganized; on account of which the Athenians allowed later poets to introduce into dramatic competitions the corrected versions of his dramas, and in this way many of these later poets won the garland of victory’ (Quintilian Institutio oratoria 10.1.66). We note with special interest the expression correctas, which seems to me analogous to the concept of diórthōsis, which in turn may be related to the concept of paranagignṓskein.

Let us return to the comment, made by Eustathius (1.9) in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, that performers whom he describes as ‘those in a later period’ had ‘acted Homeric poetry in a more dramatic fashion’ (εἰ δὲ καὶ τὴν Ὁμηρικὴν ποίησιν οἱ ὕστερον ὑπεκρίνοντο δραματικώτερον). I have already suggested that Eustathius—or, better, perhaps his source, which may have been a fuller version of Athenaeus than the one we have—is referring to the Homēristaí . This reference of Eustathius to ‘later’ conventions in Homeric performance implies also a contrast with what he describes in the same context (p. 10) as earlier conventions of ‘the ancients’, the majority of whom had referred to the totality of Homeric poetry as rhapsōidía {180|181} ‘rhapsody’ and to those who sing it, as rhapsōidoí ‘rhapsodes’ (οἱ δὲ πλείους τῶν παλαιῶν τήν τε ὅλην Ὁμηρικὴν ποίησιν ῥαψῳδίαν λέγουσι καὶ ῥαψῳδοὺς τοὺς αὐτὴν ᾄδοντας ‘but the majority of the ancients refer to the totality of Homeric poetry as rhapsōidía and to those singing it as rhapsōidoí’). [101] This earlier practice is then contrasted explicitly (Eustathius, top of p. 10) with the later practice of designating as rhapsōidía each of the twenty-four units of the Iliad and Odyssey, with each rhapsōidía corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. I now propose to link this reportedly ‘later’ practice with the era of Demetrius of Phaleron and with the traditions of the Homēristaí.

In the era of Aristarchus as distinct from the era of Demetrius, the twenty-four units of the Iliad and Odyssey could have become reconceptualized, shifting their identity from quasi-textual rhapsōidíai, numbered according to the twenty-four letters of the Athenian State Alphabet, to veritable “books” or scrolls of the Iliad and Odyssey. In general, however, Aristarchus’ organization of the Homeric text was perhaps closer to Demetrius’ earlier organization than to what we find attested in the so-called “eccentric” Homer papyri. Conventions of book-production in the early Ptolemaic era, as reflected by the “eccentric” Homer papyri, seem to ignore the canonical division of the Homeric poems into the relatively small units marked off by the twenty-four letters of the alphabet. Following the calculations of Jean Irigoin and others, John Van Sickle argues that the pre-Aristarchean Ptolemaic norm for the size of a papyrus scroll or “book” of Homer could have been the length of, say, one of the four scrolls or “books” of the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes (Scroll 1, 1362 verses; Scroll 2, 1285; Scroll 3, 1407; Scroll 4 1781)—or for that matter the length of an Athenian tragedy or comedy—in any case, within the range of 1000 to 2000 lines. [108] By contrast, the post-Aristarchean norm for the size of a papyrus scroll or “book” of Homer averages around 500 to 650 lines—and these lengths match the book-divisions that have come down to us through the medieval manuscript tradition. [109] Moreover, as Van Sickle shows, the norm of any book in the literary world of the post-Aristarchean era actually became reconceptualized to approximate the size of the Homeric book. [110] The two prime examples are Virgil’s Aeneid, the “books” or scrolls of which average 850 verses, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where the average is 800. [111]


[ back ] 1. The criteria of any “traditional oral epic diction,” it is important to repeat, are hardly universal: they have to be studied within the different historical contexts of different cultures.

[ back ] 2. Allen 1924:282.

[ back ] 3. Allen 1924:281.

[ back ] 4. Janko 1992:22, 26.

[ back ] 5. Janko 1992:22, 26.

[ back ] 6. See p. 143.

[ back ] 7. See p. 144 Also HQ 76.

[ back ] 8. Again, p. 144.

[ back ] 9. Bolling 1925, followed by Apthorp 1980.

[ back ] 10. Those who envisage an Athenian version of Homer purely in textual terms can disagree radically about the reliability of the Alexandrian critics in transmitting such a version: see Rengakos 1993:15–16, who lists various experts representing what he sees as the two opposing sides (it may be noted here that many other radical disagreements separate those who are supposedly members of each side). See further below at n118.

[ back ] 11. Basic works on Demetrius of Phaleron: Bayer 1942, Dow and Travis 1943, Wehrli 1968.

[ back ] 12. On the cultural reforms of Demetrius in Athens, and on his connections with the school of Aristotle, see in general Williams 1987 (who also surveys the bibliography, which is vast).

[ back ] 13. Blum 1991:24.

[ back ] 14. On Lycurgus as a cultural forerunner of Demetrius, see Mossé 1989. In the discussion that follows, I propose to compare briefly the reforms of Athenian State Theater undertaken by Lycurgus and Demetrius.

[ back ] 15. Blum 1991:24.

[ back ] 16. Blum 1991:24.

[ back ] 17. Cf. FGH no. 228 p. 957. Cf. Adrados 1983. Jacoby (FGH no. 228 Notes p. 644) points out that the bibliography of Demetrius’ works as listed in Diogenes Laertius 5.80-81 tends to prove Demetrius’ connection with the Library of Alexandria (T 6b, e), in that ordinarily there are no such lists for “modern” authors. The total list, as given in Diogenes Laertius 5.80–81, is staggering. This cumulative bibliography of Demetrius, which is supplemented in Wehrli 1968:518–522, is reproduced in the Appendix.

[ back ] 18. Χρειῶν α’ in the bibliography of Demetrius as given in Diogenes Laertius 5.81 has been identified with this lore about the Seven Sages: Jacoby FGH no. 228 (Notes p. 644). In Diogenes Laertius 1.22, we read about Thales of Miletus: καὶ πρῶτος σοφὸς ὠνομάσθη ἄρχοντος Ἀθήνησι Δαμασίου, καθ’ ὃν καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ σοφοὶ ἐκλήθησαν, ὥς φησι Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεὺς ἐν τῇ τῶν Ἀρχόντων ἀναγραφῇ (Demetrius of Phaleron FGH 228 F 1).

[ back ] 19. Valckenaer emends, maybe unnecessarily, from Ἡροδότου.

[ back ] 20. J. D. Morgan comments (per litteras 6 June 1994): “This is certainly evidence for Cassander’s high level of interest in Homer and possibly even for his concern for the proper constitution of the text of Homer.” For Cassander to write out the Iliad and Odyssey by hand is effectively to produce his own private edition. I suspect that Aristotle himself did so, and that he may in fact be the model for what Cassander is reported to have done. Cassander, son of Alexander’s regent Antipater, was the ruler of Macedon from 317 to 297. He was on close terms with Aristotle’s successor, Theophrastus, who composed a book entitled Πρὸς Κάσανδρον περὶ βασιλείας ‘To Cassander, on Kingship’ (Diogenes Laertius 5.47, Athenaeus 4.144e). In the discussion that follows, I will take note of Cassander’s relationship with Demetrius of Phaleron.

[ back ] 21. On the dating of Clearchus, who flourished between 300 and 250 BCE, see Bartol 1992:67, with further references.

[ back ] 22. Lysanias was reportedly the teacher of Eratosthenes (Suda s.v. Eratosthenes); the latter flourished in the third century BCE, so that Lysanias is roughly contemporaneous with Clearchus. I draw attention to the dates of Clearchus (previous note) and Lysanias because both these relatively early sources seem to associate the art of the rhapsodes with theatrics. Such an association is important for later stages of my argumentation.

[ back ] 23. For an extensive discussion of the recitative format of rhapsodic performance traditions: PH 19–28.

[ back ] 24. Husson 1993. She stresses the pertinence of Athenaeus 14.620b-c to the history of Homeric performance traditions. She argues also that the comments by Robert 1936=1969:673n4 and 1983:182-184 on Homēristaí need to be modified, if ever so slightly, on the basis of this passage. Further discussion below.

[ back ] 25. PH 26–27 (cf. West 1970:919), where I offer a detailed diachronic explanation of such concepts as represented by the word melōidēthênai ‘to be sung melodically’ (in the passage quoted from Athenaeus 14.620c), arguing that it is anachronistic to translate this word as ‘to be set to music’. Although the fifth and especially the fourth centuries mark an innovative phase in songmaking traditions where even poetic forms with reduced melody, such as hexameters and iambic trimeters, can indeed be “set to music” (again, PH 26–27), there is a more basic principle to be kept in mind: that even recitative poetic forms like the hexameter stem ultimately from traditions of singing (PH 24–26). Thus we may expect the modified survival of traditional patterns of melody even in poetic forms with ultimately reduced melody, like the hexameter. We may also expect the performance traditions of rhapsodes to reflect such patterns, which in turn would promote the preservation of archaic patterns of pitch accent (PH 29). More below on the subject of accent-patterns preserved in performance.

[ back ] 26. Cf. Husson 1993:94–95. On this point, I disagree with Boyd 1994, who argues that the connection between rhapsōidoí and Homēristaí is unjustifiable.

[ back ] 27. Cf. Husson 1993:95. She notes that the usage of the term Homēristaí seems to be linked with the era of Athenaeus.

[ back ] 28. Timothy Boyd draws my attention to Diomedes Ars Grammatica 3.484.12–16 (fourth-century CE), where the word rhapsōidía is associated with performance, in theatrical contexts, by Homēristaí.

[ back ] 29. Husson 1993:95.

[ back ] 30. It is crucial to note the use of δέ at the beginning of a rhapsodic performance. The fact that correlative μέν and δέ can be found separated by Homeric book-divisions, as at Odyssey ii 434 (μέν) and iii 1 (δέ), has been used along with other facts to argue that the division of the Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four books each is “not original but most likely a product of the Hellenistic age”: see S. Douglas Olson, in a paper presented 28 December 1993 at the annual convention of the American Philological Association (APA 1993 Abstracts p. 41). On the basis of the anecdote that we have just seen, however, I would argue that such separations of correlative μέν and δέ are traditional rhapsodic practice: the δέ of Iliad XVIII 356, beginning a performance at the wedding of Ptolemy II, is syntactically correlated with a μέν in an earlier Iliadic verse, XVIII 354. More below on the possibility that Homeric book-divisions were based on rhapsodic practices.

[ back ] 31. The historical occasion is the marriage, in the first quarter of the third century before our era, of Ptolemy II Philadelphus to his sister, Arsinoe, in accordance with the practice of Egyptian pharaohs—and in violation of Hellenic practices.

[ back ] 32. See also Plato Ion 535b; cf. Husson 1993:95.

[ back ] 33. Cf. Boyd 1994.

[ back ] 34. See Dupont-Roc and Lallot 1980:407.

[ back ] 35. PH 25.

[ back ] 36. See p. 159 above.

[ back ] 37. Cf. Bartol 1992:66. My interpretation of this Aristotle passage depends on whether the paideía here refers to whatever the boy learns—by way of songs and the erotic sensibilities conveyed in the songs—as preparation for participation in the symposium. See Calame 1989, with reference to a red-figure painting by Douris on a drinking-cup produced between 490 and 480 BCE (ARV2 431, 48 and 1653; CVA II pp. 29–30, with plates 77 and 78): the painting illustrates in rich detail two scenes, “A” and “B,” where boys are being educated in the learning and the performance of song and musical accompaniment. On the left in both scenes A and B, a seated ephebe (B) or adult (A) is playing the reed (B) or the lyre (A). On the right in both scenes, a seated pedagogue, with a cane, looks on. In the middle is a young boy standing and facing a seated ephebe who holds a tablet, on which he is writing (B) and a young boy standing and facing a seated adult who holds a scroll of papyrus, which he is reading (A). Another young boy is standing and facing the seated reed-playing ephebe on the left (B), and a seated lyre-playing ephebe faces the seated lyre-playing adult on the left (A). In scene A, there are musical instruments—both lyres and reeds—represented as levitating above the action, and they are framed on either side by representations of drinking-cups shaped just like the one painted by Douris. As Calame argues (p. 53), the songmaking apprenticeship of the boys, with distinct implications of homoerotic undertones (on both sides, there is an erotic inscription designed to touch the lips of whoever drinks from the cup), is being represented as a prerequisite for the integration of adolescents into the symposia of adult citizens, which is the context for which the drinking-cup of Douris is destined.

[ back ] 38. Further discussion in ch. 8, p. 218.

[ back ] 39. On this passage, see Jones 1991:189, especially with reference to the use of weapons as props, as it were, for Homeric performance. See also p. 167 below.

[ back ] 40. In LSJ s.v. Homēristḗs, it is pointed out that the word conveys a sexual double entendre in this context. For another such sexual pun involving mēr in the sense of ‘thigh’, see Crates, Greek Anthology 11.218.

[ back ] 41. Cf. Jones 1991:189. For a related passage, Achilles Tatius 3.20.4, see p. 164 above.

[ back ] 42. Cf. also Jones 1991:189.

[ back ] 43. The humorous effect that is intended here may be this: one would expect an educated person to read along from a libretto written in the original Greek, as it were, but Trimalchio has to resort to a Latin translation. The implications of this detail, where someone is described as reading along while the Homeric performers recite their lines, may be pertinent to a custom dating back to fourth-century Athens, as discussed below.

[ back ] 44. In some contemporary epic performance traditions of India, various characters of epic are re-enacted by performers who dance wielding specific weapons: for example, Arjuna with a bow and arrow, Draupadī with a scythe, and so forth. These weapons, once used in performance, are venerated as sacred objects. See Sax 1991.

[ back ] 45. Robert 1936=1969:673n4 and 1983:182–184. In the Corpus Glossariorum Latinorum, the Homēristaí are mentioned s.v. atellani; see Husson 1993:94n6, who cites e.g. CGL II p. 22 lines 40–42 and VI p. 108 (we note the verbal association of atellani with skēnikoí and biológoi as well as Homēristaí).

[ back ] 46. I should add: what is already “scripture” for Aristarchus may continue to be a “script” for the Homēristaí. More on the notion of “scripture” in ch. 7.

[ back ] 47. I had first discussed these papyri in a paper presented 28 December 1992 at the annual convention of the American Philological Association (“Prosodic Anomalies in Homer: Evidence for Rhapsodic Performance Traditions?” APA 1992 Abstracts p. 89). The perceptive analysis of these same papyri by Husson 1993 has added valuable new information about these texts, which I now list in the order that she prefers. C. P. Jones points out to me that an inscription published by Marek 1993:144 (no. 28; cf. also p. 109) seems to refer to a Homēristḗs (though the actual term is not used in this case).

[ back ] 48. Of great interest to me is the collocation here of Homēristaí with the word apódeixis in the sense of ‘performance’; I discuss the concept of apódeixis at length in PH, especially pp. 222–224, 320, 344, 364, 411. We have already noted at p. 164 above the collocation of Homēristaí and the verb of apódeixis in Achilles Tatius 3.20.4.

[ back ] 49. In the case of examples 3a and 3b, which come from the same document, Homēristḗs is in collocation with anagnṓstēs.

[ back ] 50. For the term biológos, cf. cross-ref. n45 above.

[ back ] 51. Husson 1993:96–97.

[ back ] 52. Husson 1993:98.

[ back ] 53. Husson 1993:98.

[ back ] 54. Husson 1993:97.

[ back ] 55. Husson 1993:99.

[ back ] 56. Husson 1993:99.

[ back ] 57. Husson 1993:98–99, along with other striking illustrations of Greek-Egyptian cultural coexistence in the context of the festivals noted in these Oxyrhynchus papyri.

[ back ] 58. Roueché 1993:18; this evidence was kindly brought to my attention by Geneviève Husson, per litteras (29 November 1994).

[ back ] 59. Roueché 1993:22: “In Room 6 it is clear that more than one text had been inscribed and erased. [The Room 6 inscription] seems to have read Δημητρίου ὁμηριστοῦ διασκεύη; the description ὁμηριστοῦ, after Demetrius’ name, is in a different hand, and was presumably either added to the inscription, or possibly, left over from a previous inscription which Demetrius replaced with his own.” On diaskeûos in the sense of ‘theatrical equipment’ (perhaps ‘costume’), see Roueché p. 20.

[ back ] 60. Roueché 1993:24.

[ back ] 61. Roueché 1993:16.

[ back ] 62. Roueché 1993:24, who also points out that two of the mimes mentioned in the Aphrodisias inscriptions, Philologos (Room 4) and Autolykos (Room 3), were “almost certainly mimes who were competitors at ‘sacred’ contests at some time in the third century.” See also p. 25: “It does seem to be the case … that the two types of performance which had been increasing in popularity in the Roman period—the pantomime and the mime—dominated the late Roman period.” The evidence of ancient testimony surveyed by Roueché pp. 26–27 makes it clear that the performances of pantomimes and mimes involved singing as well as dancing; cf. p. 26: “While the dancer himself did not speak, he was normally accompanied by a choir who would sing the story; … the songs themselves might be picked up and sung at home by the spectators [with reference to Libanius, iv CE, On Dancing 93]).” Cf. also Lucian On Dance 68. {In Bonario II p. 57 test. no. 535, we read concerning Homeric conventions: γνῶμας ἐμμέτρους ἀλλήλοις ἀντιτιθέναι: this is from Choricius, as ed. by Stephanes.In Bonario II p. 57 test. no. 535, we read concerning Homeric conventions: γνῶμας ἐμμέτρους ἀλλήλοις ἀντιτιθέναι: this is from Choricius, as ed. by Stephanes.}

[ back ] 63. The passage about the Homēristaí in Petronius Satyricon 59.4–6, as discussed above, is instructive in this regard: intravit factio statim hastisque scuta concrepuit. ipse Trimalchio in pulvino consedit, et cum Homeristae Graecis versibus colloquerentur , ut insolenter solent, ille canora voce Latine legebat librum. mox silentio facto “scitis” inquit “quam fabulam agant? Diomedes et Ganymedes duo fratres fuerunt. horum soror erat Helena. Agamemnon illam rapuit…” ‘there entered right away a troupe [of Homēristaí], beating on their shields with their spears. Trimalchio himself sat down on his cushion and, while the Homēristaí were having their dialogues in Greek verses, in their usual pompous manner, he [Trimalchio], in a sonorous voice, was reading along, in Latin, from a book. Then after a moment of silence, he said: “do you know what story they are acting? Well Diomedes and Ganymedes were two brothers. They had a sister, Helen, and Agamemnon abducted her …”’.

[ back ] 64. Roueché 1993:18.

[ back ] 65. Roueché 1993:22.

[ back ] 66. To repeat an ongoing point: what is already “scripture” for Aristarchus may continue to be a script for the Homēristaí.

[ back ] 67. For example, Eustathius used an epitome of Athenaeus that was in several respects fuller in detail than the C and E versions that have come down to us; see Van der Valk 1971:lxxxv.{From Lohse 1965.290n85, I learn of Klara Aldick, De Athenaei Dipnosophistarum Epitomae codicibus Erbac. laurent. Parisino. Diss. Münster 1928.From Lohse 1965.290n85, I learn of Klara Aldick, De Athenaei Dipnosophistarum Epitomae codicibus Erbac. laurent. Parisino. Diss. Münster 1928.}

[ back ] 68. For a general discussion of the possibilities of recovering, by way of Eustathius, fuller versions of the Athenaeus text tradition, see Van der Valk 1971:lxxix–lxxxv.

[ back ] 69. Besides the two cases of the noun Homēristaí in Eustathius, we find also the verb Homērízein. In Eustathius (1.553), the expression κατά τε Ὅμηρον καὶ τοὺς ὁμηρίζοντας, may imply that the Homērízontes (from Homērízein) are the equivalent of Homēristaí. Eustathius (1.1), in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, says that no poet would miss the opportunity to imitate Homer, πάντα ποιῶν δι᾿ ὧν ὁμηρίζειν δυνήσεται ‘doing everything that enables him to be a Homērízōn’. It seems as if the idea of a poet’s imitating Homer is being implicitly equated with the idea of performing Homer.

[ back ] 70. Eustathius (1.9), in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, may perhaps be guessing when he attributes to ‘the ancients’ this rationale for the distinct color-schemes: that red stands for the blood shed in war, and purple, for the sea, as the setting of Odysseus’ wanderings. Still, his report about the actual color dichotomy seems to be grounded in tradition. In Homeric diction, we find a parallel dichotomy of red and purple in descriptions of colors painted on ships: nêes miltopárēioi in Iliad II 637 and Odyssey ix 125 vs. néas phoinikoparḗious in Odyssey xi 124 and xxiii 271. Moreover, the inventories of chariots in the Linear B tablets show yet another parallel dichotomy of red and purple in descriptions of colors painted on chariots: the noun i-qi-ja ‘chariot’ is described as either mi-to-we-sa = miltówessa ‘red’ as in Knossos tablet Sd 4407 (Ventris and Chadwick 1973:562 compare nêes miltopárēioi in Iliad II 637) or po-ni-ki-ja = phoinikíā ‘purple’ as in Knossos tablet Sd 4402 (Ventris and Chadwick p. 573 compare néas phoinikoparḗious in Odyssey xi 124). For the translation ‘purple’ in the latter case, I note φοινικόβαπτα ἐσθήματα in Aeschylus Eumenides 1028. In Iliad XXIII 717, the same notion of purple may even fit σμώδιγγες … αἵματι φοινοκόεσσαι, if the reference is to a special kind of discoloration associated with welts.

[ back ] 71. See pp. 141, 144 above.

[ back ] 72. Blum 1991:24.

[ back ] 73. Blum 1991:24. Perhaps it is pertinent to recall the remark of Eustathius (1.9), in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Iliad, about the red and the purple costumes worn by performers of the Iliad and Odyssey respectively. {See Pickard-Cambridge [1988]:290 on purple robes worn by priests of the Dionúsou tekhnîtai in Athens around 125 BCE. The inscription is cited at p. 291n1.See Pickard-Cambridge [1988]:290 on purple robes worn by priests of the Dionúsou tekhnîtai in Athens around 125 BCE. The inscription is cited at p. 291n1.}

[ back ] 74. I hasten to add that any increased inclusiveness of membership in an actors’ corps, as implied by the professionalization of the chorus in Athenian State Theater, seems symptomatic of a decreasing flexibility in the inherited repertoire. By the time of Demetrius, the ancestral choral traditions in Athens seem to have grown so obsolete as to require revitalization by professionals. The trend of professionalism in the fourth century BCE is made clear by Pickard-Cambridge [1988]:279–280, who traces this trend forward in time into the norms of professionalism that prevail in the early third century BCE and thereafter, under the general heading of Dionúsou tekhnîtai ‘Artists of Dionysus’: see his illuminating chapter “The Artists of Dionysus,” pp. 279–321. He also points out that this category of Dionúsou tekhnîtai included “professional reciters of epic” (p. 92n4). Cf. Stephanes 1988, especially pp. 573–574 (index of rhapsōidoí). More on this subject at n89 below. {It is relevant to mention here the role of Demetrius as the patron of Menander, on which see Handley’s ed. of the Dyscolus.It is relevant to mention here the role of Demetrius as the patron of Menander, on which see Handley’s ed. of the Dyscolus.}

[ back ] 75. Cf. Wilamowitz 1895:132 and 148, followed by Blum 1991:42, on Lycurgus’ “theater reform.” As the discussion that follows makes clear, I do not agree with the opinion of Wilamowitz that the texts of the Athenian tragedians came into being as books intended for a reading public.

[ back ] 76. See Bollack 1994.

[ back ] 77. I interpret ἐν κοινῷ γραψαμένους φυλάττειν to mean ‘that they were to transcribe them [that is, the tragedies] and keep them under control in common possession’, with ἐν κοινῷ linked directly with φυλάττειν and not with γραψαμένους (thus I disagree with the interpretation ‘that they were to transcribe them [that is, the tragedies] all together [that is, as an ensemble] and keep them under control’—if I understand Blum 1991:83n155 correctly). On ἐν κοινῷ ‘in common possession’ as opposed to ἰδίᾳ ‘in private possession’, cf. Demosthenes In Leptinem 24: εἰ ἐν κοινῷ μὲν μηδ’ ὁτιοῦν ὑπάρχει τῇ πόλει, ἰδίᾳ δέ τινες πλουτήσουσ’ ἀτελείας ἐπειλημμένοι.

[ back ] 78. Cf. grammateús as ‘recorder of memory’ (so LSJ) in Plato Philebus 39a. Bollack 1994 compares another mention of ‘the recorder [grammateús] of the city’ in Thucydides 7.10.

[ back ] 79. In LSJ s.v., we may note the translation of paranagignṓskein as ‘read beside, compare, collate one document with another.’ One of the most interesting attestations of paranagignṓskein is Aeschines De falsa legatione 135 (the orator asks his audience to listen to a reading ἐκ τῶν δημοσίων γραμμάτων). {Among other attestations of paranagignṓskein: Isocrates 12.17 and many others listed in LSJ; Bollack cites Isocrates Panegyricus 120 and Aeschines Against Ctesiphon 201. Plus the following: Isocrates, Panathenaicus (orat. 12), Section 17, line 2; Galen, De placitis Hippocratis et Platonis, Book 2, chapter 5, section 24, line 2; Galen, De compositione medicamentorum secundum locos libri x, Volume 12, page 865, line 4.Among other attestations of paranagignṓskein: Isocrates 12.17 and many others listed in LSJ; Bollack cites Isocrates Panegyricus 120 and Aeschines Against Ctesiphon 201. Plus the following: Isocrates, Panathenaicus (orat. 12), Section 17, line 2; Galen, De placitis Hippocratis et Platonis, Book 2, chapter 5, section 24, line 2; Galen, De compositione medicamentorum secundum locos libri x, Volume 12, page 865, line 4.}

[ back ] 80. Editors have usually adopted the reading οὐκ ἐξεῖναι γὰρ <παρ᾿> αὐτὰς ὑποκρίνεσθαι ‘for it was not possible to be acting in contradiction of them’ (e.g. the Teubner text of J. Mau, Leipzig 1971). Even without the conjectured <παρ᾿>, however, the text as it is makes sense: ‘for otherwise it was not permitted to act them [that is, the tragedies]’. For the usage of γάρ in the sense of ‘for otherwise’, see Denniston 1954:62–63.

[ back ] 81. P. G. McC. Brown, per litteras (14 July 1993).

[ back ] 82. Cf. Cameron 1990:124, with an inventory of important parallels. See also Bollack 1994.

[ back ] 83. I compare the formula ἐκδόσεως παραναγνωσθείσης (plus dative), as in the explicit to the commentary of Eutocius of Ascalon (sixth century CE) to his commentary on Book I of Archimedes, De sphaera et cylindro (see Cameron 1990:103–107 for this and other examples of the formula). I interpret this formula to mean ‘and the edition [ékdosis] was read out loud (by reader X) for (editor) Y’. The ékdosis ‘edition’ in question is the text of the work about which the commentary is written, not the commentary itself, and this text is ‘corrected’ by the one who ‘has it read out loud’ (this editor is sometimes but not always the same person as the commentator), with variant readings placed at the margins of the ‘edited’ text (Cameron pp. 116–117). I suggest that the idea of ‘reading out loud’ is a way of expressing the process of establishing a definitive text as if it were a speech-act. The interpretation I give here in this footnote is different from the one I had given in the corresponding footnote of the printed version of Poetry as Performance. In that version, I interpreted the formula ἐκδόσεως παραναγνωσθείσης (plus dative) to mean ‘and the edition [ékdosis] was read out loud, as a model, by (editor) X’. In terms of that interpretation, the text is being corrected by the one who reads it out loud as a model.

[ back ] 84. See p. 149.

[ back ] 85. See n74.

[ back ] 86. My suggestion, in a lecture given on 13 January 1993, entitled “Démétrius et les rhapsodes,” in the seminar of Françoise Létoublon at the Centre d’Etudes Anciennes, Ecole Normale Supérieure. It may be pertinent that in Aristophanes Frogs 52–53, Dionysus, is represented as anagignṓskōn ‘reading’ to himself (ἀναγιγνώσκοντί μοι … πρὸς ἐμαυτόν), on a ship, the Andromeda of Euripides. Given the self-referential jokes, throughout the Frogs, about Dionysus as god of State Theater, the self-representation of Dionysus as reading to himself may be interpreted not so much an act of “silent reading” (for bibliography on which see Dover 1993:196) but rather as a comic reference to a script reading, as it were, performed out loud by the god of the script himself.

[ back ] 87. See n49 above. I owe this observation to Geneviève Husson, per litteras (20 February 1994).

[ back ] 88. For possible references in New Comedy to the fall of Demetrius of Phaleron and to a subsequent relaxation of governmental control over the conventions of Athenian State Theater, see MacKendrick 1954; cf. Wiles 1984.

[ back ] 89. To cite an example: at the Amphictyonic festival of the Soteria at Delphi, as reflected in third-century inscriptions, the professionalized guild of performers known as the Dionúsou tekhnîtai ‘Artists of Dionysus’ includes, besides such categories as tragōidoí ‘tragic actors’ and khoreutaí ‘chorus-performers’ (both boys’ and men’s choruses), the category of rhapsōidoí ‘rhapsodes’ (e.g. SIG3 424, where two rhapsodes are mentioned); see Pickard-Cambridge [1988]:283–284. On the Dionúsou tekhnîtai in Alexandria, there is a reference in Athenaeus 5.198c, in the context of a report describing a spectacular procession during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (282–246 BCE); see Pickard-Cambridge p. 287, who adduces the corroborating evidence of two decrees dated around 240 BCE

[ back ] 90. This is not to say that we should still expect to see patterns of “fenced” performance traditions, which I have posited in general for the earlier “period 3,” dating from the era of the Peisistratidai in the sixth century all the way to the era of Demetrius toward the end of the fourth. From the middle of the second century BCE onward, the performance traditions of Homer would have been a far cry from those of earlier periods, as we may infer from the anecdotes about Homēristaí, reviewed above. My point is simply that the performance traditions of the Homēristaí were bound, by default, to a more canonical textual tradition of Homer. Though I cannot rule out the possibility that the Homēristaí may have taken liberties with the Homeric text, any such textual excerptings or even adjustments would be a far cry from the dynamics of variation within an oral performance tradition. As for P.Oxy. 3001 (second century CE; see Parsons 1974:8–12), I doubt that these fragments can be viewed as some sort of an adaptation of epic passages taken from the Iliad (especially from Scroll XXIII), let alone that such a creation could be attributed to the ad hoc activities of Homēristaí (tentative suggestion of M. L. West, as reported by Parsons p. 9). It is more likely, I think, that these fragments represent a poetic creation that has its own literary history.

[ back ] 91. On Homēristaí as derivative of Homērízein, see pp. 164, 171–172n69.

[ back ] 92. On which see Roesch 1982:138–142. I am grateful to Albert Schachter, who alerted me to this inscription and to the observations of Roesch.

[ back ] 93. On the poetic implications of the name Thámuris as a parallel to Hómēros: BA 311 par. 2n6.

[ back ] 94. Cf. again Aristophanes F 160.1. See also the scholia (vetera) to Theocritus (Prolegomena anecdote 14, section 5b, lines 4-10: τῶν Πυθαγόρου οἱ μὲν ἦσαν περὶ θεωρίαν καταγινόμενοι, οἵπερ ἐκαλοῦντο σεβαστικοί· οἱ δὲ περὶ τὰ ἀνθρώπινα, οἵπερ ἐκαλοῦντο πολιτικοί· οἱ δὲ περὶ τὰ μαθήματα τὰ γεωμετρικὰ καὶ ἀστρονομικά, οἵπερ ἐκαλοῦντο μαθηματικοί. τούτων οὖν οἱ μὲν αὐτῷ συγγινόμενοι τῷ Πυθαγόρᾳ ἐκαλοῦντο Πυθαγορικοί, οἱ δὲ τούτων μαθηταὶ Πυθαγόρειοι, οἱ δὲ ἄλλως ἔξωθεν ζηλωταὶ Πυθαγορισταί ‘Some of the followers of Pythagoras were concerned with theōría, and they were called sebastikoí; others were concerned with human affairs, and they were called politikoí; others were concerned with mathematics and geometry and astronomy, and they were called mathēmatikoí. And of all these followers, those who were companions of Pythagoras himself were called Puthagorikoí. And the disciples of these were the Puthagoreîoi, while those who were outsiders—but otherwise zealous followers—were the Puthagoristaí’.

[ back ] 95. Detailed discussion, with bibliography, in PH 23, 74, relying especially on Burkert 1972. More on the Kreōphúleioi in the Appendix.

[ back ] 96. Further arguments in PH 26.

[ back ] 97. PH 22–23. I note in this context the report of Eustathius (1.6) in his commentary on the Iliad concerning the Contest of Homer and Hesiod: εἰ δὲ καὶ ἤρισεν Ὅμηρος Ἡσιόδῳ τῷ Ἀσκραίῳ καὶ ἡττήθη, ὅπερ ὄκνος τοῖς Ὁμηρίδαις καὶ λέγειν ‘if indeed Homer had a contest with Hesiod of Ascra and was defeated—which was taboo for the Homērídai even to talk about’. Cf. GM 78–79.

[ back ] 98. PH 22–23, 73–75.

[ back ] 99. I infer from Plato Ion 530d that the Homērídai may have served as official judges in the competition of rhapsodes at the Feast of the Panathenaia at Athens.

[ back ] 100. See pp. 173–174. Perhaps the very name of Demetrius the Homēristḗs, in the inscription on the wall of Room 6 in the Theater at Aphrodisias (Roueché 1993:18) is significant; there is a possibility that the mime Philistion (named in the inscription of Room 1) was a namesake of one of the reputed founders of the art of the mime (Roueché p. 21, citing Bonaria 1955 II fasti nos. 516–540; on Philistion as a contemporary of Menander, cf. nos. 536, 537, 540). I raise the possibility that the namesake of Demetrius the Homēristḗs might be Demetrius of Phaleron, if indeed he was the founder of the Homēristaí.

[ back ] 101. I repeat the claim of Eustathius (1.10) that the process of sewing together, as implicit in the traditional concept of rhapsōidós, is what confers upon the Homeric poems their unity: ῥάπτειν δὲ ἢ ἁπλῶς, ὡς εἴρηται, τὸ συντιθέναι ἢ τὸ κατὰ εἱρμόν τινα ῥαφῇ ὁμοίως εἰς ἓν ἄγειν τὰ διεστῶτα. σποράδην γάρ, φασί, κειμένης καὶ κατὰ μέρος διῃρημένης τῆς Ὁμηρικῆς ποιήσεως, οἱ ᾄδοντες αὐτὴν συνέρραπτον οἷον τὰ εἰς ἓν ὕφος ᾀδόμενα ‘sewing together [rháptein] either in the simple sense, as just mentioned, of putting together or, alternatively, in the sense of bringing different things, in accordance with some kind of sequence [heirmós] in sewing, uniformly into one thing; for they say that Homeric poetry, after it had been scattered about and divided into separate parts, was sewn together by those who sang it, like songs sung into a single fabric [húphos]’.

[ back ] 102. [S.] West 1988:40. When we consider the rareness of the word rhapsōidós in the Homeric scholia, the frequency of rhapsōidía as a designation of a given “book” of the Iliad or Odyssey stands out all the more.

[ back ] 103. [S.] West pp. 39–40. I note the story, in the T scholia for Iliad X 1, reporting that the rhapsōidía that we know as Book X had been composed by Homer separately, not as part of the Iliad, and that it was later arranged, tetákhthai, by Peisistratos to fit into the Iliad. In terms of this story, I suppose that such an insertion is imagined to happen at a time when there was as yet no ongoing convention of dividing the Iliad into twenty-four units—from either a performative or even a textual point of view. On the apparent appropriateness of the contents of Iliad X to the ideology of the Peisistratidai, see Catenacci 1993:18n34.

[ back ] 104. Further discussion in HQ ch. 3; see also HQ 88, where I consider the theory of a three-night performance division of the Iliad, as formulated by Taplin 1992.

[ back ] 105. For example: [S.] West 1988:39–40.

[ back ] 106. For example: Janko 1992:31n47. He is tentative to the extent that he allows for a slightly earlier date for the division, though not earlier than the era of Apollonius of Rhodes. A similar stance is taken by Olson, whose arguments are summarized above (n30). In the context of that summary (n30) I noted the rhapsodic practice of beginning a Homeric performance by starting with a δέ that picks up, midstream, a narrative that had contained a preceding μέν. In the same context, I compared this phenomenon with the splitting of a μέν / δέ construction by way of a Homeric scroll-division.

[ back ] 107. If it had been Aristarchus—or at least the school of Aristarchus—that really originated the division of the Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four scrolls each, it is difficult to explain the claim of the scholia to Odyssey xxiii 296, according to which Aristarchus as well as Aristophanes of Byzantium thought that this line marks the end of the authentic Odyssey (Ἀριστοφάνης καὶ Ἀρίσταρχος πέρας τῆς Ὀδυσσείας ποιοῦνται and τοῦτο τέλος τῆς Ὀδυσσείας φησὶν Ἀρίσταρχος καὶ Ἀριστοφάνης). That this claim of the scholia means what it says, the end of the Odyssey, is argued by Rossi 1968; cf. Garbrah 1977 and Catenacci 1993:14. It would be typical of Aristarchus’ editorial practice to adhere to an earlier convention—in this case, let us say, a division into twenty-four scrolls—even when such a convention was not “original” to Homer according to his own scholarly assessment. Further, even if Aristarchus thought that the “original” Odyssey ended at xxiii 296, such an opinion did not seem to stop him from making further distinctions between what he thought were more or less authentic portions of the Odyssey beyond xxiii 296. For example, the Odyssey scholia report that Aristarchus athetized xxiii 310–343, where Odysseus retells to Penelope the story that he had told Alkinoos about his adventures. The scholia (QV) speak of thirty-three lines. I find it striking that Aristotle Rhetoric 3.1417a13, in referring to the same Odyssey passage, speaks of sixty lines, not thirty-three. I infer that Aristotle’s version of the Odyssey did not stop at xxiii 296. {On the dating of a division into 24 rhapsodies, Janko 1992.31n47 cites Fowler, Materiali e discussioni 22 [1989] 104n111.On the dating of a division into 24 rhapsodies, Janko 1992.31n47 cites Fowler, Materiali e discussioni 22 [1989] 104n111.}

[ back ] 108. Van Sickle 1980:8, following Irigoin 1952:41.

[ back ] 109. Van Sickle 1980:9.

[ back ] 110. Van Sickle 1980:9 and following.

[ back ] 111. Van Sickle 1980:12. It seems to me that the average size of the books in Virgil’s Aeneid comes closer to 825 verses.

[ back ] 112. Van Sickle 1980:9. Cf. Rengakos 1993:93–94.

[ back ] 113. Van Sickle 1980:9.

[ back ] 114. On Benedict’s Rule, see Zetzel 1993:103–104, following Traube 1910.

[ back ] 115. Zetzel 1993:103.

[ back ] 116. Zetzel 1993:103.

[ back ] 117. The term “corruption” is of course valid only from the standpoint of Benedict’s original. Similarly, it is valid only from the standpoint of what we understand to be Aristarchus’ editorial principles.

[ back ] 118. There are also other theories of a pre-Alexandrian Homer text, founded on arguments different from mine. I note in particular the position taken by Ludwich 1898 (defended by Allen 1924:327), according to whom the Homeric text is pre-Alexandrian, to be traced back to Athenian copies and continuing as the basis of the medieval manuscript tradition. At least on this point, the views of van der Valk 1964:609 are similar: he argues that a pre-Aristarchean “vulgate” had “preserved the authentic text,” and that this text “was also transmitted by the vulgate of the medieval manuscript.” Van der Valk and Ludwich agree also in positing that this textual transmission bypassed the editions of the Alexandrian critics, especially that of Aristarchus. For van der Valk, what are thus bypassed are “conjectures,” whereas Ludwich affirms that Aristarchus did not make conjectures. For Ludwich, what are bypassed by the “vulgate” are for the most part better readings. For van der Valk, the “vulgate” version is superior to the Aristarchean version; for Ludwich, it is the reverse. [S.] West 1988:46 argues that “we should certainly reject the theory that an official Athenian copy, never mentioned because everywhere taken for granted, provided the basis for Aristarchus’ text.” At an earlier point, West (p. 39) posits a sixth-century Athenian “recension” of Homer, which “must be regarded as the archetype of all our Homeric manuscripts and of the indirect tradition represented by ancient quotations and allusions.” On the implications of Ludwich’s attempt to discredit the authenticity of the “eccentric” early Ptolemaic papyri, see Nickau 1977:31–32n3. My main problem with all these theories is that they concentrate almost exclusively on questions of textual traditions, without sufficient regard for questions of performance traditions. {Nickau 1977.32n5 refers to Pasquali 1952.220–221.Nickau 1977.32n5 refers to Pasquali 1952.220-221.}

[ back ] 119. Blum 1991:21–22 and 69-70n45 argues, despite the skepticism of a host of predecessors, for the existence of a diórthōsis of Homer by Aristotle. The key passage is Plutarch Life of Alexander 8.2, concerning a copy of the Iliad known as ἐκ τοῦ νάρθηκος ‘from the casket [nárthēx]’, a copy that Alexander kept under his proskephálaion, ‘headrest’ and that had been “corrected by Aristotle,” Ἀριστοτέλους διορθώσαντος (8.2). In the next chapter, there are further arguments for the existence of such a diórthōsis of Homer.

[ back ] 120. On Demetrius, Diogenes Laertius 5.75 says: οὗτος ἤκουσε μὲν Θεοφράστου ‘he attended the lectures of Theophrastus’.