Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond

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Chapter 7

Homer as “Scripture”

Let us turn to the last of the five periods in the history of Homeric transmission, as formulated at the beginning of the fifth chapter. For the later Alexandrian scholars starting with Aristarchus, whom I put into period 5 of Homeric transmission, that is, into the most “rigid” period, the script or scripts stemming from the Athenian State tradition became “scripture.” This is the next thesis, which I will now develop by re-examining some key terms—and the ideas behind them. [1] Even before we consider the reasons for my use of the term “scripture,” however, we must start with the relevant Greek terms.

In period 5, by contrast, which I equate with the era of Aristarchus and his school, the same word koinḗ could have come to mean, more generally, the Athenian City Text. The alternation of singular koinḗ and plural koinaí in the scholia reporting the views of Aristarchus suggests that he found some degree of variation within this textual tradition of an earlier era, but the Aristarchean convention of consistently juxtaposing the readings of the koinḗ or koinaí with the readings of other textual transmissions suggests that Aristarchus treated the koinḗ or koinaí as a distinct manuscript family. For him, the koinaí at his disposal may have been mostly commercial copies.

I believe I have found an example of such a fourth-century scholar: in Isocrates’ Letter 8, To the Rulers of Mytilene (dated around 350), Isocrates is pleading for the restoration from exile of one Agenor of Mytilene in Lesbos, currently living in Athens and serving as the ‘music teacher’ of Isocrates’ grandsons (paideuthéntes … tà perì tḕn mousikḗn, section 1). The father of these boys is Aphareus, a poet of tragedy. Isocrates goes on to say about Agenor of Mytilene (section 4): αἰσχρὸν γὰρ τὴν μὲν πόλιν ὑμῶν ὑπὸ πάντων ὁμολογεῖσθαι μουσικωτάτην εἶναι καὶ τοὺς ὀνομαστοτάτους ἐν αὐτῇ παρ᾿ ὑμῖν τυγχάνειν γεγονότας, τὸν δὲ προέχοντα τῶν νῦν ὄντων περὶ τὴν ἱστορίαν τῆς παιδείας ταύτης φεύγειν ἐκ τῆς τοιαύτης πόλεως ‘it is a shame that, while your city [= Mytilene] is acknowledged by all to be the mostmusical” and the most famed figures in that field [ἐν αὐτῇ] happen to have been born in your city, yet he who is preeminent {192|193} among those who are currently engaged in the historía of this paideía [maybe the ἐν αὐτῇ refers proleptically to this paideía] is an exile from such a city’.

Let us return, however, to our immediate problem: why is it that we see in the Homer scholia practically no references to the activity of “editing” the text of Homer in the fourth century? There is a solution to be found if we can establish that the koinḗ tradition of Homer was linked to the editorial scholarship of the Peripatetic School in general and of Demetrius in particular. If that is the case, then there are clear and understandable reasons to account for any disinclination on the part of critics in the Library of Alexandria, from Zenodotus onward, to authorize explicitly this stream of scholarship—even if they themselves were the continuators of that scholarship. We will turn to these reasons presently.

The use of koinḗ ‘common’ in the positive sense of ‘standard’—and therefore, by implication, ‘universal’—is to be found in reference not only to the text of Homer, as just argued, but also to the sacred text of scripture, specifically the Hebrew Bible as translated into the Greek. Here I come to the original reason for my using the word “scripture”—with specific reference to the era of Aristarchus. {193|194}

Although Aristarchus may have valued other textual traditions more highly, I agree with Allen that this Alexandrian critic treated the koinḗ version of Homer with some measure of respect, as a standard. I also agree that Aristarchus would have thought of the hypothetical archetype of the koinḗ version of Homer as a sacred text—sacred as far as the Athenians were concerned.

Here we return to the term Homēristaí, which Athenaeus (14.620b-c) seems to connect with a reform of Homeric performance traditions under the régime of Demetrius of Phaleron—and which I have tried to connect with the idea of an Athenian “State Script” of Homer. In the previous chapter, we have seen that the same term Homēristaí was actually used in Hellenized Egypt with reference to Homeric performers. Now I propose to go one step even further: the standard “script” tradition of Homeric performers in Egypt, who were known as Homēristaí, may have been derived from a “State Script” instituted for Homeric performers in Athens under the régime of Demetrius of Phaleron, who were also known as Homēristaí according to my interpretation of the passage from Athenaeus.

In any case, I must insist that the Koine tradition was for Aristarchus simply a “scripture,” not the “scripture.” Similarly, the Septuagint was simply one of six columns in the six-column format of Origen’s edition of the Hebrew Bible, the Hexapla. {195|196}

We see such a pattern of slighting even when it comes to the ultimate service performed by Demetrius for the Ptolemies. There is a celebrated remark by Strabo (13.1.54 C608–609) about Aristotle’s prestige as a renowned collector of books, and in this context it is he rather than Demetrius who gets the credit—despite the historical evidence indicating otherwise—for ‘teaching’ the Ptolemies how to achieve the greatest book-collection of them all, the Library of Alexandria: Ἀριστοτέλης … πρῶτος ὧν ἴσμεν συναγαγὼν βιβλία, καὶ διδάξας τοὺς ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ βασιλέας βιβλιοθήκης σύνταξιν ‘Aristotle … was the first that we know of to collect books, and he taught the kings in Egypt how to put together a library’.

The point remains that the pieces of evidence concerning the {199|200} activities of Demetrius of Phaleron add up to a premier example of a historical fact: that the ideology of actually possessing the text, whether by commissioning or by acquisition, was a key principle in the genesis of the Library of Alexandria. Witness this anecdote in Plutarch Regum et imperatorum apophthegmata 189d: Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεὺς Πτολεμαίῳ τῷ βασιλεῖ παρῄνει τὰ περὶ βασιλείας καὶ ἡγεμονίας βιβλία κτᾶσθαι καὶ ἀναγινώσκειν· “ἃ γὰρ οἱ φίλοι τοῖς βασιλεῦσιν οὐ θαρροῦσι παραινεῖν, ταῦτα ἐν τοῖς βιβλίοις γέγραπται” ‘Demetrius of Phaleron gave King Ptolemy this advice [paraínesis]: that he should possess [ktâsthai] and read [anagignṓskein] books about kingship and hegemony, giving this as a reason: “those who are near and dear to kings do not dare to give them advice [paraínesis] about the kind of things that are written in these books.”’

Let us return to the detail in Plutarch’s Life of Alexander 8.2 {201|202} concerning a copy of the Iliad kept in a box that was placed under the proskephálaion of Alexander the Great as he slept. I prefer to translate proskephálaion as ‘headrest’. The point is that the text was under the king’s head, so that the notion ‘under the headrest’ translates into ‘under the bed under the headrest under the head’. As we will now see, not only did the king possess the text: in the logic of the story, the text possessed the king—specifically the king’s head—in his sleep.

The dream of Alexander takes place after he has been pondering where he should found the ultimate Hellenic city; in the dream, an old man with gray hair appears to him and declaims the verses that we know as Odyssey iv 354–355 (Plutarch Life of Alexander 26.5). When Alexander awakens, he realizes that the apparition was Homer and that the mention of Pharos in the Homeric verses meant that he was destined to found the ultimate city at the very site that was to become Alexandria (26.5 and following). I see here a charter myth reflecting what I have just described as the ideology of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt—and, {202|203} more directly, the early ideology of the Library of Alexandria. This charter myth, to repeat, would have been founded on the idea that the Ptolemies now possessed the texts of Alexander the Great, especially Aristotle’s text of Homer. According to this charter myth, as Alexander reportedly inferred after his dream, he now had Homer as his military companion (26.3: οὔκουν [οὐκ] ἀργὸς οὐδ᾿ ἀσύμβολος αὐτῷ συστρατεύειν ἔοικεν Ὅμηρος)—and so too, according to this version of the story as believed by ‘the people of Alexandria’, did the Ptolemies (26.3: εἰ δ᾿, ὅπερ Ἀλεξανδρεῖς λέγουσιν Ἡρακλείδῃ [F 140 Wehrli] πιστεύοντες, ἀληθές ἐστιν). [53] What was ‘believed’ by ‘the people of Alexandria’ was the ideology of the Ptolemies. And this ideology, I propose, goes back to a time when Demetrius of Phaleron was still helping Ptolemy I acquire all the available books of Greek civilization, the most treasured of which could have been the text of Homer’s Iliad, the product of a diórthōsis executed by Aristotle himself.

Another prominent example of this driving idea, that the Library of Alexandria was predicated on the ideological principle of possessing the canonical texts, is the report of Athenaeus (1.3a-b) concerning the patron of Zenodotus, none other than King Ptolemy II himself, who reigned from 283 to 246 BCE: the king purchased the whole library of Aristotle from one Neleus, to whom it had been handed down by Theophrastus, who in turn had inherited it from his teacher Aristotle himself. Included in this collection, we might expect, were other valuable copies of Homer. But given the fact that Demetrius of Phaleron was a student of Theophrastus, we might also expect that any “State Script” of Homer, instituted under the régime of Demetrius while he was still in power in Athens, would have already incorporated the diórthōsis of Aristotle. If Demetrius had brought with him from Athens an authorized copy of such a “State Script” at the time when he was welcomed to Alexandria by Ptolemy I, then the later purchase of Aristotle’s whole library by Ptolemy II need not have significantly affected the Alexandrian textual transmission of Homer. This line of reasoning may explain in part why we find in the Homeric scholia no mention, attributed to the Alexandrian critics, of a Homeric diórthōsis by {203|204} Aristotle; the results of such a diórthōsis would have been already incorporated into the text as reshaped under the régime of Demetrius of Phaleron—and as further reshaped through the Homeric diórthōsis by Zenodotus and by the later Alexandrian critics. [54]

Galen tells the anecdote about Ptolemy III and the State Text of the three canonical poets of tragedy in the context of having recounted how Scroll III of the Hippocratic Epidemiai found its way to the Library at Alexandria. This scroll, he says, belongs to the τῶν ἐκ πλοίων category (Galen 17.1.606), that is, one of the old scrolls that had been borrowed ‘straight off the boat’, in that Ptolemy had the policy of requiring that any travelers to Alexandria should hand over whatever old scrolls they owned so that these could be copied, whereupon originals would be kept while new copies would be given back to their owners. Galen then goes on to say that the extent of just how far Ptolemy would go in pursuit of his policy is illustrated by the case of the Athenian State Text of tragedies. The deposit of this large sum of fifteen talents indicates the exceptional nature of this acquisition. Moreover, we see in the very fact of the acquisition a transformation in the status of the text from script to “scripture.”

So also with the acquisition of Homeric texts: what had been a {204|205} script in Athens becomes scripture in Alexandria for the scholars of the Library. And a major figure in this transition is Demetrius of Phaleron himself. More than that, he is an actual agent of transition. In terms of the sequence of five periods of Homeric transmission that I postulated at the beginning of the fifth chapter, the activities of Demetrius not only overlap between period 3 and period 4: they even anticipate period 5. With reference to the transition from period 3 to period 4, we have examined a source claiming that Demetrius was instrumental in the theatricalization of traditions in Homeric performance. If we accept this claim, we can say that Demetrius was primarily responsible for the mentality of what I have been calling the script. With reference to the eventual transition from period 4 to period 5, we have also examined a source claiming that Demetrius was a key figure in the founding of the Library of Alexandria during the interim years after he had fled from Greece and before he fell from grace with Ptolemy II in Alexandria. If we accept this claim, we can say that Demetrius had been instrumental in the Library’s acquisition of a copy or copies of the Koine, the more heavily edited versions of which I identify with the new Athenian State Script of Homer, instituted under his old régime. A parallel phenomenon is the later acquisition by the Ptolemies of an older Athenian State Script, the corpus of the three tragedians. [57] These scripts of the Athenian State become the “scripture” for a later Alexandrian editor like Aristarchus.

As we contemplate the standardizing or “scriptural” period of Homeric transmission, the era of Alexandrian transmission, it is enough to repeat one last time what I argued in the fifth chapter: that Aristarchus and his predecessors, even though they collected a wide range of variants, had in mind an editorial goal very different from the one I am advocating. They insisted on the idea of an original version of Homer, which must be reconstructed by way of sorting out the variants attested in surviving texts. I insist, by contrast, on the historical fact that the performance tradition of Homer stayed alive well beyond the sixth century BCE, and that {205|206} a primary heritage of this tradition—at least until the era of Aristarchus—was multiformity.

In the end, the textual tradition of Homer, as most strongly represented by Aristarchus, won out. Or, to put it more aptly, the performance tradition, as by now most weakly represented by the Homer performers of Hellenized Egypt, lost out to an ever more uniform text. {206|207}


[ back ] 1. For a historical analysis of the term “scripture,” see Smith 1993; cf. also Graham 1987, especially pp. 92–95 on the Arabic word qur’ān as a common rather than proper noun meaning ‘act of recitation’.

[ back ] 2. Jensen 1980:109.

[ back ] 3. Allen 1924:278.

[ back ] 4. In Plato Phaedrus 252b, there is a quotation of a pair of hexameters about Eros, nowhere else attested, that are supposedly taken from apótheta reported by ‘some of the Homērídai’ (λέγουσι δὲ οἶμαί τινες Ὁμηριδῶν ἐκ τῶν ἀποθέτων δύο ἔπη εἰς τὸν Ἔρωτα). As Lohse 1964:26 points out, following Lobeck 1829:861-863, apótheta conveys the idea of ‘removed from common usage and known only to a few’ (“communi usu exempta paucisque nota”) rather than ‘esoteric’ or ‘reserved’. Without entering the debate over whether these two hexameters are “genuine,” I simply draw attention to the idea of common usage as a principle ascribed to the repertoire of the Homērídai.

[ back ] 5. Allen 1924:278. On the implications of khariéstera ‘more elegant’ from the earlier standpoint of the fourth century BCE, see p. 122 above. The semantic heritage of dēmṓdēs ‘vulgar’ is also of interest. In Plato Phaedo 61a, Socrates implies that all mousikḗ except for philosophy is dēmṓdēs, in the context of explaining why he chose to engage in the mousikḗ of composing 1) a hymn to Apollo and 2) poetic versions of fables of Aesop (60c-d). Both of these poetic forms, he says, are a matter of mûthos, not lógos (61b: ἐννοήσας ὅτι τὸν ποιητὴν δέοι, εἴπερ μέλλοι ποιητὴς εἶναι, ποιεῖν μύθους ἀλλ᾿ οὐ λόγους).

[ back ] 6. I have already noted the expression en koinôi ‘in common possession’ in [“Plutarch”] Lives of the Ten Orators 841f. In this context, the expression means in the possession of the Athenian State, with reference to the texts of the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides that the State had commissioned to be transcribed and kept under its control: τὰς τραγῳδίας αὐτῶν ἐν κοινῷ γραψαμένους φυλάττειν καὶ τὸν τῆς πόλεως γραμματέα παραναγινώσκειν τοῖς ὑποκρινομένοις· οὐκ ἐξεῖναι γὰρ αὐτὰς ὑποκρίνεσθαι ‘…that they were to transcribe their tragedies [that is, the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides] and keep them under control in common possession, and that the recorder [grammateús] of the city was to read them as a model [paranagignṓskein] to those acting in the tragedies, for otherwise it was not permitted to act them [that is, the tragedies]’.

[ back ] 7. For an example of koinós in this sense, see Demosthenes 18.170: ἣν γὰρ ὁ κῆρυξ κατὰ τοὺς νόμους φωνὴν ἀφίησι, ταύτην κοινὴν τῆς πατρίδος δίκαιον ἡγεῖσθαι ‘as for the voice that the herald emits in accordance with the laws, it is just that it be considered the common possession [koinḗ] of the fatherland’. As Victor Bers points out to me, Isocrates 15.296 claims that the Attic dialect is the lingua franca of Greece because of its koinótēs, that is, because of its quality of being koinḗ, the common possession of all Greeks.

[ back ] 8. Cf. PH 160–162, with special reference to the promotion, by the Peisistratidai, of an Athenian ideology of shared poetic culture, as articulated in “Plato” Hipparchus 228d. Cf. also Aloni 1984 and 1986, along with the assessment of Catenacci 1993:7–8n2.

[ back ] 9. See ch. 5 p. 111n23.

[ back ] 10. See ch. 5. p. 121.

[ back ] 11. Cf. Ludwich 1884:118–122 and the critique of Janko 1992:26.

[ back ] 12. Pfeiffer 1968:72 argues: “the only pre-Hellenistic editor of Homer” was Antimachus of Colophon (late fifth century BCE). Pfeiffer means “editor” here in a strictly qualified sense: “we have no reason to assume that Antimachus made a ‘recension’ of the Homeric poems, collating manuscripts and emending the text; his work is never called a ‘diórthōsis’” (p. 94).

[ back ] 13. Pfeiffer 1968:72 interprets the silence of the Homer scholia concerning any “edition” of Homer by Aristotle to be proof that there was no such thing. On the general failure of the Homer scholia to mention Aristotle in the context of references to Aristarchus’ Homer research, see Lührs 1992:14, who goes on to survey instances where Aristarchus seems nonetheless to show an awareness of Aristotle’s views (pp. 13–17).

[ back ] 14. There are sporadic instances in the Homer scholia where the editorial judgment of a critic called “Demetrius” is actually still on record. In most of these situations, however, it is difficult if not impossible to know for sure whether Demetrius of Phaleron is meant. One obstacle is that there were other critics by the name of Demetrius, such as Demetrius Ixion, a contemporary of Aristarchus (in the Homer scholia, sometimes called Demetrius, sometimes Ixion; seven attestations where both parts of the name are given), mentioned prominently by Janko 1992.203. An even bigger obstacle, of course, is the nature of scholiastic writing, where the perspective of the latest scholiast tends to displace the perspectives of earlier ones. What may be obviously Demetrius of Phaleron to an earlier scholiast may easily be reinterpreted as, say, Demetrius Ixion by a later one. Nor does it help that the earlier Demetrius, as we will see, eventually became a persona non grata in Alexandria. Even if certainty is precluded, we find some examples from the Homer scholia. In the scholia A for Iliad VI 414c, Demetrius is cited as an authority for the reading ἁμόν (Δημήτριός φησιν ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐμόν). In the scholia AT for XIII 5b, he is said to interpret ἀγαυῶν as ‘splendid-looking’ (Δημήτριος δὲ ἀγαυοὺς τοὺς εὐειδεῖς). The scholia A to Iliad XIV 221a report that Aristarchus reads γε νέεσθαι where Demetrius reads γενέεσθαι, a form that the scholia reject as a false analogy (γε νέεσθαι τουτέστι πορεύεσθαι· οὕτως Ἀρίσταρχος. Δημήτριος δὲ “γενέ<ε>σθαι” ἀντὶ τοῦ γενήσεσθαι, βιαίως πάνυ· οὐδὲ γὰρ τὸ “πυθέσθαι” πυθέεσθαι γίνεται οὐδὲ τὸ λαβέσθαι λαβέεσθαι, ἵνα καὶ τὸ “γενέσθαι” “γενέεσθαι” γένηται); Janko p. 203 seems sure that we are dealing with Demetrius Ixion. In the scholia A for Iliad XV 194, where the attested manuscript tradition reads βέομαι φρεσίν, we see that Demetrius reads ἀποβήσομαι in the sense of ‘I will yield’ (διὸ οὐκ ἂν κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ γνώμην βιώσομαι, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ. Δημήτριος δὲ ἀποβήσομαι, εἴξω); Janko p. 248 again seems sure that we are dealing with Demetrius Ixion. The only case in the Homer scholia where a reference to Demetrius of Phaleron is incontrovertible can be found in Odyssey iii 267, where the scholia give πὰρ γὰρ ἔην καὶ ἀοιδὸς· οὕτω Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς: that is to say, Demetrius read what the majority of our attested manuscripts give, πὰρ γὰρ ἔην, as opposed to πὰρ δ᾿ ἄρ᾿ ἔην, the minority reading (and the reading chosen in the OCT). In Athenaeus 5.177f–178a, there is a report of Demetrius’ negative judgment of the ethos reflected in Iliad II 409. Bayer 1942:146–147 argues that the technical language expressing Demetrius’ criticism, as in the case of the word parálēpsis, is anachronistic. I propose, however, that we give this report the benefit of the doubt, given the implications of marginal notation in this term parálēpsis. As we have seen, explicit references to marginal notation are a characteristic of Peripatetic text criticism. {I note with interest the term ἀττικίζων, which suggests that Demetrius too thought of an Athenian Homer.I note with interest the term ἀττικίζων, which suggests that Demetrius too thought of an Athenian Homer.}

[ back ] 15. See again ch. 5.

[ back ] 16. Isocrates Panathenaicus (Oration 12) 18–19 and 33, as quoted in ch. 5.

[ back ] 17. Pathfinding work by Risch 1946 on the early textual history of such poets.

[ back ] 18. We may compare the usage of diatribḗ as ‘performance’ in Isocrates 12.19, as quoted at pp. 123–124.

[ back ] 19. Allen 1924:278, 317, who also cites Basil In Esaiam 2 p. 447d ed. Garnier, where koinḗ refers, again, to a Greek version of the Hebrew Bible.

[ back ] 20. Allen 1924:315–320.

[ back ] 21. Allen 1924:315–317, quoting other texts as well besides Eusebius. We may note with interest the use of the word ktêma ‘possession’ in the passage from Eusebius that is cited here.

[ back ] 22. Neuschäfer 1987 I 99–100; cf. Lührs 1992:8n27.

[ back ] 23. Allen 1924:316; cf. Neuschäfer 1987 II 388n175.

[ back ] 24. Allen 1924:320.

[ back ] 25. Allen 1924:320.

[ back ] 26. Allen 1924:320. Allen’s relevant remarks about the editing of the Hippocratic corpus are to be found at his p. 313.

[ back ] 27. On which see Murray 1987.

[ back ] 28. Recast in HQ 70–75.

[ back ] 29. Janowitz 1991. {The Reverend P. Southwell of Queen’s College, Oxford, points me to the 14th ch. of 2 Esdras concerning the numbers 22 and 70 and 72.The Reverend P. Southwell of Queen’s College, Oxford, points me to the 14th ch. of 2 Esdras concerning the numbers 22 and 70 and 72.}

[ back ] 30. This crucial link between Demetrius and Ptolemy I was brought to my attention by J. D. Morgan (per litteras 30 November 1993).

[ back ] 31. Cf. Blum 1991:100–101, reviewing the discussions of Wilamowitz 1924 I 22 and 165, Pfeiffer 1968:96, 99-104. Both these earlier discussions stress the academic links of Demetrius with the school of Aristotle. Pfeiffer p. 99 remarks: “Demetrius was always a great favourite with Wilamowitz.” {Pfeiffer has in mind especially the discussion of Wilamowitz in his Antigonos von Karystos p. 291.Pfeiffer has in mind especially the discussion of Wilamowitz in his Antigonos von Karystos p. 291.}

[ back ] 32. J. D. Morgan comments (per litteras 30 November 1993): “I heartily agree with your argument that the Letter of Aristeas is evidence that Demetrius played a crucial role in collecting books under Ptolemy I, and that when it refers to Ptolemy II, that is a slip, whereas most previous scholars had thought that the Letter had right the name of the Ptolemy but had got wrong Demetrius’ role. It needs to be emphasized that confusion of one Ptolemy with another is a common error: e.g. P.Oxy. 1241, our primary source for the librarians, confuses Ptolemy I with Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy Philopator with Ptolemy Philometor.”

[ back ] 33. It is clear from the arguments assembled by Bayer 1942 (especially p. 99) that Demetrius was formally associated with Ptolemy I. On this detail, as Blum 1991.100 points out, the Letter of Aristeas has it wrong in referring to Ptolemy II. Blum pp. 116–117n27 takes to task Pfeiffer 1968:98 for making too much of the attested references to Ptolemy I instead of II. Blum p. 101: “one should not diminish the role of [Demetrius of Phaleron] in the foundation of the Alexandrian Library, as Pfeiffer and others have done.” Ptolemy II “supported the library during his forty years of government so lavishly that he was thought to have been its founder already in the second century BCE” (Blum p. 102, who as we have seen dates Letter of Aristeas at around 100 BCE). {Here Blum analyzes the Suda reference and calls into question the habit of referring to Zenodotus as the first Head of the Library [p. 101: “it does not say that he was the first head of the library,” my emphasis, only that he was a head], arguing that this position really became defined only later). Blum 102 even speculates that the rank of Zenodotus “was lower than that of Demetrios and that he was probably subordinated to him.”}

[ back ] 34. See Blum 1991:103, who points out that the History of Egypt by Manetho was dedicated to Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Blum also adduces a “translated” book on magic by “Zoroaster,” again in the reign of Ptolemy II, listed by the Callimachean Hermippus. Blum puts the Septuagint into a comparable context. {I draw attention here to the idea of a program for collecting national literatures—a program promoted by Ptolemy II (Blum 118n43 compares Charles V of France and his library at the Tour de Louvre: see Handbuch der Bibliothekswissenschaft 2nd ed. vol. 3, Wiesbaden 1955 p. 463). It makes sense, accordingly, that the Letter of Aristeas appropriates this Ptolemy for the sake of its own rhetoric. Janowitz has more to say about the rhetoric of the Letter of Aristeas.}

[ back ] 35. The relevant passage, as well as reinforcing passages from Tzetzes’ Prolegomena to his commentary on Aristophanes, are conveniently quoted by Pfeiffer 1968:100–101.

[ back ] 36. Although the Letter of Aristeas says that Demetrius of Phaleron was head of the Library under Ptolemy II, other sources indicate Ptolemy I, not II (Eusebius Historia Ecclesiastica 5.8.11 = Irenaeus Adversus Haereses 3.21.2) while still other sources give both possibilities (Clement of Alexandria Stromateis 1.48). J. D. Morgan comments (per litteras 30 November 1993): “With such variation in our sources regarding the identity of the Ptolemy and no variation regarding the role of Demetrius of Phaleron, it is clearly more systematic to give precedence to the latter.”

[ back ] 37. Blum 1991:101, 117n32, 127. Ptolemy II was a former pupil of Philitas of Cos: Pfeiffer 1968:124.

[ back ] 38. See n30 above. J. D. Morgan comments (per litteras 30 November 1993),: “The connection is now clear. Upon the death in 297 of his protector Cassander, Demetrius of Phaleron sought refuge at the court of Cassander’s sister, and while there promoted the interests of his protectress, with ultimately fatal consequences to himself.” So finally the relationship of Cassander and Demetrius, which had seemed as if it were merely a random association in the passage of Athenaeus (14.620b-c) that we considered in the last chapter becomes evident. Morgan continues: “I think it is easy to suppose that one of the important personal links between the two was a common enthusiasm for studying the text of Homer, with each inspired by the earlier work of Aristotle on this topic.”

[ back ] 39. The formulation of Pfeiffer 1968:95 is instructive: “the line Philitas-Zenodotus-Callimachus, of which we have stressed the non-Aristotelian character, met in Alexandria with a genuine Peripatetic line from Athens.” At its earliest stages at Alexandria, the Peripatetic approach was represented most visibly by Demetrius of Phaleron (Pfeiffer p. 96). For a discussion of instances in the Homer scholia where the views attributed to Aristarchus imply an awareness of Aristotle’s views on Homer, see Lührs 1992:13–17.

[ back ] 40. I agree with Slater 1989:42, who argues that the tradition of the Alexandrian school, which “is best represented in our surviving scholia,” was “rooted in the methods of the sophists as redefined by Aristotle.” Still, there are clear signs of anti-Peripatetic tendencies, especially in the line of thought represented by Callimachus: see Pfeiffer 1968:136–137.

[ back ] 41. In this connection, we may note that Rengakos 1993:11 cautions against the reductionist mentality, evident already in the ancient world, of crediting Zenodotus, by retrojection, with all or most pre-Aristarchean variant readings of Homer. On Zenodotus’ methods in editing Homer, see Rengakos pp. 18–21 (with whom I agree that the variants reported by Zenodotus are genuine textual variants, not glosses or cited parallels, as van Thiel 1992 argues).

[ back ] 42. Blum 1991:69–70n 45.

[ back ] 43. Pfeiffer 1968:71–72.

[ back ] 44. See p. 121 above.

[ back ] 45. On Aristotle as the anagnṓstēs, see p. 149 above. For a mention, in passing, of a rhapsōidós ‘rhapsode’ who performed at a grand feast, the context of many other performances as well, arranged by Alexander the Great, I cite Athenaeus 12.538e. Worth noting is the whole narrative of the feast in Athenaeus 12.538c–539a, reporting the account of Chares in his History of Alexander (FGH 125 F 4). Cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1968:280.

[ back ] 46. Telestes and Philoxenus are dated to the late fifth and early fourth centuries.

[ back ] 47. On which see pp. 174–175 above.

[ back ] 48. Blum 1991:42.

[ back ] 49. Blum 1991:42.

[ back ] 50. Witness the designation of a certain category of acquired texts as ἐκ τῶν πλοίων ‘straight off the boats’ (Galen 17.1.606.13-14), to be discussed at p. 204 below.

[ back ] 51. On the concept of charter myth, see Leach 1982:5, following Malinowski 1926.

[ back ] 52. On the use of the word kibōtós ‘box’ and its derivatives to designate the special storage place of texts containing a powerful political message, see PH 171–172, 431.

[ back ] 53. On Alexander as a “second Achilles,” see Plutarch Alexander 5.8, 15.9.

[ back ] 54. See p. 199 above. Even before the Ptolemaic acquisition of the library of Aristotle, we may expect that the Library at Alexandria already had selective access to the works produced by the school of Aristotle, as eventually represented by his successor Theophrastus: Blum 1991:59. {I save for another occasion a critique of Fortenbaugh on Theophrastus.I save for another occasion a critique of Fortenbaugh on Theophrastus.}

[ back ] 55. Pfeiffer 1968:82.

[ back ] 56. On which see pp. 174–175 above.

[ back ] 57. We may note with interest the comment of Pfeiffer 1968:192: “in contrast to comedy, tragedy seems to have been neglected by the scholars of the third century.” See also Blum 1991:83n155.