Hippota Nestor

  Frame, Douglas. 2009. Hippota Nestor. Hellenic Studies Series 37. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Frame.Hippota_Nestor.2009.

Chapter 7. Odyssey 11 and the Phaeacians

{225|227} §2.100 Nestor is mentioned twice more in the Odyssey, in Odyssey 11 and Odyssey 24. [128] In Odyssey 11, as discussed already, only his name occurs: when Odysseus meets the ghost of Nestor’s mother Chloris in the underworld, Nestor is named as one of three sons she bore to Neleus (Odyssey 11.281–286):

καὶ Χλῶριν εἶδον περικαλλέα, τήν ποτε Νηλεὺς
γῆμεν ἑὸν διὰ κάλλος, ἐπεὶ πόρε μυρία ἕδνα,
ὁπλοτάτην κούρην Ἀμφίονος Ἰασίδαο,
ὅς ποτ’ ἐν Ὀρχομενῷ Μινυηΐῳ ἶφι ἄνασσεν·
ἡ δὲ Πύλου βασίλευε, τέκεν δέ οἱ ἀγλαὰ τέκνα,
Νέστορά τε Χρομίον τε Περικλύμενόν τ’ ἀγέρωχον.

And I saw beautiful Chloris, whom Neleus once
married for her beauty after he gave countless wedding gifts,
the youngest daughter of Amphion, Iasus’s son,
who once ruled with might over Minyan Orchomenus;
but she reigned in Pylos and bore him splendid children,
Nestor and Chromios and proud Periklymenos. {227|228}

This is the passage to which the khōrízontes drew attention because of its discrepancy with Iliad 11, where Neleus is said to have had twelve sons in contrast to the three sons named here. The point of interest now, however, is that Nestor, given his role in the nóstos of Odysseus in Odyssey 3, should be named at all in Odyssey 11. Was his name intended to slip by unnoticed in the sea of other names in the catalogue of heroines? The reason that Odysseus is in the underworld in the first place has everything to do with Nestor and his failure to give him a nóstos. It does not seem likely that Odysseus would mention Nestor’s name at this point with no thought given to Nestor’s role in Odyssey 3. The truth is, I think, that this passage is very much aware of Nestor’s role in Odyssey 3. The passage, which alone in Homer names Nestor’s brother Periklymenos, has to do with Nestor’s twin myth; together with Nestor’s story in Iliad 11 the catalogue of Odyssey 11 is in fact the basic text for that myth. At the literal level the passage in Odyssey 11 of course does not acknowledge Nestor’s twin myth, but disguises it: Nestor is not one of two brothers, but one of three brothers because Chromios is named in addition to Nestor and Periklymenos. We know Chromios’s story already, and it is a very short one. [129] Chromios is in the catalogue for the purpose of disguising Nestor’s twin myth at the most literal level, as is consistent with the way in which this myth is treated elsewhere in the Iliad and the Odyssey. To discern Nestor’s twin myth in Odyssey 11 we must consider its wider context in the entire catalogue of heroines.

§2.101 The heroine who follows Chloris in the catalogue is Leda, who gave birth to the Dioskouroi. In contrast to Nestor, who separated from his brother Periklymenos, the Dioskouroi remained together in life and in death; even beneath the earth they continue to share equally in life and death from one day to the next (Odyssey 11.298–304):

καὶ Λήδην εἶδον, τὴν Τυνδαρέου παράκοιτιν,
ἥ ῥ’ ὑπὸ Τυνδαρέῳ κρατερόφρονε γείνατο παῖδε,
Κάστορά θ’ ἱππόδαμον καὶ πὺξ ἀγαθὸν Πολυδεύκεα,
τοὺς ἄμφω ζωοὺς κατέχει φυσίζοος αἶα·
οἳ καὶ νέρθεν γῆς τιμὴν πρὸς Ζηνὸς ἔχοντες
ἄλλοτε μὲν ζώουσ’ ἑτερήμεροι, ἄλλοτε δ’ αὖτε
τεθνᾶσιν· τιμὴν δὲ λελόγχασιν ἶσα θεοῖσι. {228|229}

And I saw Leda, the wife of Tyndareus,
who under Tyndareus gave birth to two strong-minded sons,
horse-breaking Castor and Polydeuces, good with his fists,
both of whom the life-giving earth holds alive;
and they, having honor from Zeus even under the ground,
are alive on alternate days, and then in turn
they are dead; and they receive honor equal to the gods.

The contrast between Nestor and the Dioskouroi could not be sharper: Polydeuces brought Castor back to life by sharing his immortality with his brother; Nestor, on the other hand, did not bring Periklymenos back to life, but instead took his brother’s place.

§2.102 Nestor’s sister Pero is a crucial bridge between the two entries in the catalogue, those of Chloris and Leda, because she is the analogue of Helen, the sister of the Dioskouroi. The wooing of Helen was a celebrated event in Greek myth, and the wooing of Nestor’s sister Pero has everything in common with it. The main similarity is that in both cases the successful suitors were a pair of brothers, one of whom wooed for the other. In Helen’s case the successful suitors were the two Atreidai, of whom Agamemnon wooed for Menelaus; a Hesiodic fragment tells how Castor and Polydeuces, who oversaw their sister’s wooing, would have chosen Agamemnon himself had he not wooed for his brother (Hesiod fr. 197.3–5 MW):

καί νύ κε δὴ Κάστωρ τε καὶ ὁ κρατερὸς Πολυδεύκης
γαμβρὸν ποιήσαντο κατὰ κράτος, ἀλλ’ Ἀγαμέμνων
γαμβρὸς ἐὼν ἐμνᾶτο κασιγνήτωι Μενελάωι.

In Pero’s case the successful suitors were the brothers Melampus and Bias, Nestor’s cousins. The story of how Melampus wooed Pero for his brother Bias is told twice in the Odyssey, first in Chloris’s entry in Odyssey 11. After she bore Nestor, Chromios, and Periklymenos, Chloris gave birth to a daughter Pero, whom all her neighbors wooed; as Pero’s bride-price Neleus demanded the cattle of Iphiklos (Odyssey 11.287–290):

τοῖσι δ’ ἐπ’ ἰφθίμην Πηρὼ τέκε, θαῦμα βροτοῖσι,
τὴν πάντες μνώοντο περικτίται· οὐδέ τι Νηλεὺς
τῷ ἐδίδου, ὃς μὴ ἕλικας βόας εὐρυμετώπους
ἐκ Φυλάκης ἐλάσειε βίης Ἰφικληείης….

After them she bore steadfast Pero, a wonder to mortals,
whom all her neighbors wooed; but Neleus did not
give her to anyone who did not drive the wide-browed spiral-horned cattle
of mighty Iphiklos from Phylake….

Only the prophet Melampus undertook to drive off the cattle of Iphiklos for his brother Bias. But Melampus was caught in the act and imprisoned for a year before he gained his own release and the release of the cattle by revealing certain prophecies. The concluding lines of Chloris’s entry in the catalogue allude to these events without naming Melampus (he is here called “the faultless prophet”) and without referring to Bias at all (Odyssey 11.291–297):

…ἀργαλέας. τὰς δ’ οἶος ὑπέσχετο μάντις ἀμύμων
ἐξελάαν· χαλεπὴ δὲ θεοῦ κατὰ μοῖρα πέδησε
δεσμοί τ’ ἀργαλέοι καὶ βουκόλοι ἀγροιῶται.
ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ μῆνές τε καὶ ἡμέραι ἐξετελεῦντο
ἂψ περιτελλομένου ἔτεος καὶ ἐπήλυθον ὧραι,
καὶ τότε δή μιν ἔλυσε βίη Ἰφικληείη
θέσφατα πάντ’ εἰπόντα· Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή.

…hard (to drive). Those (cattle) only the faultless prophet promised
to drive away; but he was bound by the god’s harsh fate,
painful bonds, and rustic cowherds. {230|231}
But when the months and days were completed
as the year came around, and the seasons returned,
then mighty Iphiklos freed him,
after he spoke all the prophecies; and the will of Zeus was accomplished.

More informative is the story in Odyssey 15, which is told in connection with a descendant of Melampus, the prophet Theoklymenos. This version of the story concerns Melampus’s move from Pylos to Argos, where his descendants remained thereafter. [131] During the year that Melampus was imprisoned in Phylake Neleus seized his property, and Melampus, when he returned to Pylos, somehow paid Neleus back for this ill deed and then fled from Pylos to Argos. In this passage we hear explicitly how Melampus brought the cattle back from Phylake to Pylos and thus won a wife for his brother (Odyssey 15.228–239):

δὴ τότε γ’ ἄλλων δῆμον ἀφίκετο, πατρίδα φεύγων
Νηλέα τε μεγάθυμον, ἀγαυότατον ζωόντων,
ὅς οἱ χρήματα πολλὰ τελεσφόρον εἰς ἐνιαυτὸν
εἶχε βίῃ. ὁ δὲ τεῖος ἐνὶ μεγάροις Φυλάκοιο
δεσμῷ ἐν ἀργαλέῳ δέδετο, κρατέρ’ ἄλγεα πάσχων
εἵνεκα Νηλῆος κούρης ἄτης τε βαρείης,
τήν οἱ ἐπὶ φρεσὶ θῆκε θεὰ δασπλῆτις Ἐρινύς.
ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἔκφυγε κῆρα καὶ ἤλασε βοῦς ἐριμύκους
ἐς Πύλον ἐκ Φυλάκης καὶ ἐτείσατο ἔργον ἀεικὲς
ἀντίθεον Νηλῆα, κασιγνήτῳ δὲ γυναῖκα
ἠγάγετο πρὸς δώμαθ’· ὁ δ’ ἄλλων ἵκετο δῆμον,
Ἄργος ἐς ἱππόβοτον.

Then indeed he came to the land of other people, fleeing his own fatherland
and great-hearted Neleus, noblest of living men,
who held his many possessions for a year until its end
by force. Meanwhile he was bound in painful bonds
in the halls of Phylakos, suffering powerful woes {231|232}
because of Neleus’s daughter and heavy deception,
which the avenging fury, destructive goddess, put in his mind.
But he escaped death and drove the loud-bellowing cattle
to Pylos from Phylake, and repaid the cruel deed
of godlike Neleus, and brought a wife
home to his brother; but he went to the land of other people,
to horse-pasturing Argos.

Melampus and Bias fit the categories of the Indo-European twin myth extraordinarily well. [132] Melampus is associated with both “cattle” (he must win them) and “intelligence” (he is both a prophet and a physician). The two themes are connected in the myth insofar as Melampus must use his prophetic skill to win the cattle. [133] Phulákē, “prison,” is the name of the place where he is held for a year (Odyssey 11.290, 15.236); [134] Melampus’s return from this mythic place of imprisonment with the prize of cattle is a variation on the function of the Indo-European immortal twin. [135] Bias, on the other hand, is associated with both “horses” and “war,” the attributes of the Indo-European mortal twin. Hesiod, who tells of the brothers’ dealings with Proitos in Argos, calls Bias hippódamos, “horsebreaking,” the same epithet that characterizes the mortal twin Castor. [136] {232|233} Bias does not get the same attention as Melampus in their myths, but his name, which is formed from the noun bíē, “strength,” is proof enough that he is a “warrior” in contrast to his brother the prophet/physician.

§2.103 I return to the wooing of Pero as the analogue to the wooing of Helen, and as the bridge between Nestor and the Dioskouroi in the catalogue of heroines. Helen is not mentioned in Leda’s entry to the catalogue; only Leda’s two sons, Castor and Polydeuces, are named, and their myth, which is meant to contrast with Nestor’s myth (about which nothing is said explicitly) is given in full. Among Chloris’s offspring Pero gets all the attention, and the reason for this is that in the next entry Helen is omitted, and Pero is meant to evoke her as soon as the entry begins with Helen’s mother Leda. Pero’s wooing by all her neighbors brings to mind the wooing of Helen by the entire heroic world; in particular the successful suit of the brothers Melampus and Bias brings to mind the successful suit of the brothers Agamemnon and Menelaus. [137] With Pero as the bridge from Nestor to the Dioskouroi, Nestor’s unspoken myth emerges by its contrast with the Dioskouroi, whose myth is explictly given. There is a balance in what is left out from each passage (an explicit twin myth in the case of Nestor and a much-wooed sister in the case of the Dioskouroi) and this balance of omissions itself tightens the link between the two passages. [138] {233|234}

§2.104 Chloris and Leda are the heart of the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11: their two entries, between them, lay bare Nestor’s twin myth. The next entry is also about twins: Iphimedeia is the mother of Otos and Ephialtes by the god Poseidon. Unlike the Dioskouroi, who go on sharing life and death beneath the earth forever, these twins both died young (Odyssey 11.305–308):

τὴν δὲ μέτ’ Ἰφιμέδειαν, Ἀλωῆος παράκοιτιν,
εἴσιδον, ἣ δὴ φάσκε Ποσειδάωνι μιγῆναι,
καί ῥ’ ἔτεκεν δύο παῖδε, μινυνθαδίω δὲ γενέσθην,
Ὦτόν τ’ ἀντίθεον τηλεκλειτόν τ’ Ἐφιάλτην….

And after her I saw Iphimedeia, the wife of Aloeus,
who said that she made love with Poseidon
and bore two sons, but they were short-lived,
godlike Otos and far-famed Ephialtes….

The rest of this entry, after describing the size and beauty of the Aloadai, tells how they tried to storm heaven by piling Ossa on Olympus and Pelion on Ossa; but Apollo laid them low before beards covered their chins (Odyssey 11.309–320):

…οὓς δὴ μηκίστους θρέψε ζείδωρος ἄρουρα
καὶ πολὺ καλλίστους μετά γε κλυτὸν Ὠρίωνα·
ἐννέωροι γὰρ τοί γε καὶ ἐννεαπήχεες ἦσαν
εὖρος, ἀτὰρ μῆκός γε γενέσθην ἐννεόργυιοι.
οἵ ῥα καὶ ἀθανάτοισιν ἀπειλήτην ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ
φυλόπιδα στήσειν πολυάϊκος πολέμοιο.
Ὄσσαν ἐπ’ Οὐλύμπῳ μέμασαν θέμεν, αὐτὰρ ἐπ’ Ὄσσῃ
Πήλιον εἰνοσίφυλλον, ἵν’ οὐρανὸς ἀμβατὸς εἴη.
καί νύ κεν ἐξετέλεσσαν, εἰ ἥβης μέτρον ἵκοντο·
ἀλλ’ ὄλεσεν Διὸς υἱός, ὃν ἠύκομος τέκε Λητώ,
ἀμφοτέρω, πρίν σφωϊν ὑπὸ κροτάφοισιν ἰούλους
ἀνθῆσαι πυκάσαι τε γένυς εὐανθέϊ λάχνῃ. {234|235}

…whom indeed the grain-giving earth raised to be the biggest
and much the most beautiful after famous Orion;
for they were nine years old and nine cubits
wide, and they were nine fathoms tall.
Against the immortals they threatened
to set the strife of violent war on Olympus.
They strove to put Ossa on top of Olympus, and on top of Ossa
Pelion, with its fluttering leaves, so that the sky could be ascended.
And they would have accomplished this if they had reached young manhood;
but the son of Zeus, whom beautiful-haired Leto bore, destroyed them
both before the hair blossomed on their cheeks beneath their temples
and covered their chins with beautifully-flowering down.

The main point of this passage is that it, like the passage about the Dioskouroi, is explictly about twins: what is explicit in these two passages can then be read back into the passage about Nestor, where the point is implicit (in fact disguised). The early death of both twins reinforces the idea that in all three passages the issue is the life and death of twins; here is a third possible outcome: Nestor may have failed to bring Periklymenos back to life as Polydeuces did Castor, but there were worse outcomes, as the two Aloadai, who both died young, show.

§2.105 We have yet to address the most basic structural point about the catalogue, which is that it is really not one catalogue, but two catalogues insofar as it falls into two equal parts. There is a careful balance between the two parts of the catalogue both in the number of entries (five in each part) and in the total number of lines (46 in the first part and 47 in the second part). Nestor and his entry begin the second part of the catalogue; Nestor’s father Neleus and his entry begin the first part of the catalogue. We have considered the first three entries in the second part of the catalogue, which all concern twins, either explicitly or implicitly. Let us now consider the first part of the catalogue, starting with the first entry. Just as Nestor is the real point of the first entry in the second part of the catalogue, Neleus is the real point of the first entry in the first part of the catalogue. Like Nestor, Neleus is a twin who separated from his brother. The story of his and his brother’s birth is the main focus of Tyro’s entry, which begins the catalogue as a whole. After hearing of {235|236} Tyro’s father and husband, Salmoneus and Kretheus, we learn that Tyro fell in love with the river god Enipeus (Odyssey 11.235–239):

ἔνθ’ ἦ τοι πρώτην Τυρὼ ἴδον εὐπατέρειαν,
ἣ φάτο Σαλμωνῆος ἀμύμονος ἔκγονος εἶναι,
φῆ δὲ Κρηθῆος γυνὴ ἔμμεναι Αἰολίδαο·
ἣ ποταμοῦ ἠράσσατ’ Ἐνιπῆος θείοιο,
ὃς πολὺ κάλλιστος ποταμῶν ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἵησι….

Then I saw Tyro first, born of a noble father,
who said that she was the offspring of faultless Salmoneus,
and said too that she was the wife of Kretheus, descended from Aeolus.
She fell in love with a river, the divine Enipeus,
who is much the most beautiful of rivers to pour forth on the earth….

When Tyro visited the streams of Enipeus Poseidon took on the likeness of the river god and made love to her; he then revealed himself to her in a speech and promised her that splendid children would be born from their union (Odyssey 11.240–253):

…καί ῥ’ ἐπ’ Ἐνιπῆος πωλέσκετο καλὰ ῥέεθρα.
τῷ δ’ ἄρα εἰσάμενος γαιήοχος ἐννοσίγαιος
ἐν προχοῇς ποταμοῦ παρελέξατο δινήεντος·
πορφύρεον δ’ ἄρα κῦμα περιστάθη οὔρεϊ ἶσον,
κυρτωθέν, κρύψεν δὲ θεὸν θνητήν τε γυναῖκα.
λῦσε δὲ παρθενίην ζώνην, κατὰ δ’ ὕπνον ἔχευεν.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεί ῥ’ ἐτέλεσσε θεὸς φιλοτήσια ἔργα,
ἔν τ’ ἄρα οἱ φῦ χειρὶ ἔπος τ’ ἔφατ’ ἔκ τ’ ὀνόμαζε·
“χαῖρε, γύναι, φιλότητι· περιπλομένου δ’ ἐνιαυτοῦ
τέξεαι ἀγλαὰ τέκνα, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἀποφώλιοι εὐναὶ
ἀθανάτων· σὺ δὲ τοὺς κομέειν ἀτιταλλέμεναί τε.
νῦν δ’ ἔρχευ πρὸς δῶμα καὶ ἴσχεο μηδ’ ὀνομήνῃς·
αὐτὰρ ἐγώ τοί εἰμι Ποσειδάων ἐνοσίχθων.”
ὣς εἰπὼν ὑπὸ πόντον ἐδύσετο κυμαίνοντα. {236|237}

…and she wandered along the Enipeus’s beautiful streams.
Taking his shape the earthholder, the earthshaker,
lay with her in the mouth of the eddying river;
a dark wave as big as a mountain rose up around them,
curved, and hid the god and the mortal woman.
He loosened her maiden’s girdle and poured sleep over her.
And when the god finished the deeds of love,
he took her by the hand and spoke a word and called her by name:
“Rejoice, woman, in this act of love; as the year returns
you will bear splendid children, since the beds of the immortals are not in vain;
but you, take care of them and raise them.
Now go home and restrain yourself and do not say my name;
I am indeed Poseidon the earthshaker.”
So saying he sank beneath the wavy sea.

Tyro then gave birth to the twins Pelias and Neleus, who did not remain together: Neleus left Pelias behind in Iolkos and founded Pylos by himself (Odyssey 11.254–257):

ἡ δ’ ὑποκυσαμένη Πελίην τέκε καὶ Νηλῆα,
τὼ κρατερὼ θεράποντε Διὸς μεγάλοιο γενέσθην
ἀμφοτέρω· Πελίης μὲν ἐν εὐρυχόρῳ Ἰαολκῷ
ναῖε πολύρρηνος, ὁ δ’ ἄρ’ ἐν Πύλῳ ἠμαθόεντι.

And she conceived and bore Pelias and Neleus,
who became strong servants of great Zeus,
both of them; Pelias in wide Iolkos
had his home, owning many sheep, the other one in sandy Pylos.

In the final two lines of the passage Tyro’s three other sons by her husband Kretheus are named (Odyssey 11.258–259):

τοὺς δ’ ἑτέρους Κρηθῆϊ τέκεν βασίλεια γυναικῶν,
Αἴσονά τ’ ἠδὲ Φέρητ’ Ἀμυθάονά θ’ ἱππιοχάρμην.

The queen among women bore her other sons to Kretheus,
Aison and Pheres and the chariot-fighter Amythaon. {237|238}

§2.106 Just as Nestor contrasts with the Dioskouroi in the second part of the catalogue, Neleus contrasts with another pair of twins in the first part of the catalogue. The second entry in the first part of the catalogue belongs to Antiope, who bore the twins Amphion and Zethos to Zeus. Like Neleus, these twins were city founders: they founded the city of Thebes in Boeotia. Unlike Neleus, who founded Pylos by himself, these twins founded Thebes together (Odyssey 11.260–265):

τὴν δὲ μέτ’ Ἀντιόπην ἴδον, Ἀσωποῖο θύγατρα,
ἣ δὴ καὶ Διὸς εὔχετ’ ἐν ἀγκοίνῃσιν ἰαῦσαι,
καί ῥ’ ἔτεκεν δύο παῖδ’, Ἀμφίονά τε Ζῆθόν τε,
οἳ πρῶτοι Θήβης ἕδος ἔκτισαν ἑπταπύλοιο
πύργωσάν τ’, ἐπεὶ οὐ μὲν ἀπύργωτόν γ’ ἐδύναντο
ναιέμεν εὐρύχορον Θήβην, κρατερώ περ ἐόντε.

And after her I saw Antiope, the daughter of Asopos,
who claimed to have slept in the arms of Zeus himself,
and she bore two sons, Amphion and Zethos,
who first founded the seat of seven-gated Thebes
and walled it, since they could not inhabit wide Thebes
without walls, strong though they were.

The relationship between the first two passages in the first half of the catalogue is exactly what it is in the second half of the catalogue: twins who separate are contrasted with twins who stay together; the focus in each case is on Neleus and Nestor, the twins who separated from their brothers. [139] {238|239}

§2.107 The third passage in the first half of the catalogue features another twin, Heracles, but his twin Iphicles is not mentioned. Iphicles is implied, however: Alcmena, who had Heracles by Zeus, is introduced as the wife of the mortal Amphitryon, who was the father of Iphicles (Odyssey 11.266–268):

τὴν δὲ μετ’ Ἀλκμήνην ἴδον, ᾿Αμφιτρύωνος ἄκοιτιν,
ἥ ῥ’ Ἡρακλῆα θρασυμέμνονα θυμολέοντα
γείνατ’ ἐν ἀγκοίνῃσι Διὸς μεγάλοιο μιγεῖσα.

And after her I saw Alcmena, Amphitryon’s wife,
who bore bold-battling lion-hearted Heracles
after making love in the arms of great Zeus.

According to the myth Alcmena conceived the two twins by different fathers on the same night. Zeus visited her first, and on that very night Amphitryon {239|240} returned home from war and made love to her. The tale, which became the subject of comedy in Plautus, is told in the epic Shield of Heracles. [140] The dual paternity of Heracles and his brother, and the dichotomy between an immortal and a mortal father, reflect the categories of the Indo-European twin myth; the Dioskouroi are the model. Heracles is not called a twin in Odyssey 11, but he is one. In both respects this gives him something important in common with Nestor.

§2.108 The first half of the catalogue matches the second half of the catalogue in featuring twins, either explicitly or implicitly, in the first three entries, the first two of which contrast twins who separate with twins who remain together: the chief interest in each case focuses on the first entry, the twins who separate from their brothers, Neleus in the first half of the {240|241} catalogue (explicitly), and Nestor in the second half of the catalogue (implicitly). The other two entries of the five total entries in each part of the catalogue, which complete the catalogue’s overall structure, are the concluding passage in each part and the passage immediately preceding the concluding passage in each part. A group of three heroines finishes the second half of the catalogue, ending the entire catalogue; Epikaste and her son Oedipus finish the first half of the catalogue. [141] The two passages that precede the concluding passages are a group of three Attic heroines in the second half of the catalogue and Heracles’ wife Megara in the first half of the catalogue. We will consider these passages more closely when we return to the structure of the catalogue as a whole and examine its component parts more critically.

§2.109 For now the case is clear enough: when Odysseus meets the group of ghostly heroines in the underworld, he comes face to face with Nestor’s myth, which is what has put Odysseus in the underworld in the first place: Nestor did not bring Odysseus home, just as he did not bring Periklymenos back to life; if Odysseus depended on Nestor’s help for his nóstos, there would be no hope for him. As if to make this point Odysseus interrupts his story at {241|242} the end of the catalogue and proposes to his Phaeacian hosts that he end his story right there, in the underworld; he says that he saw too many ghostly heroines to go on naming them all, and that it is now time for sleep. He ends by specifying the Phaeacians themselves (along with the gods) as his hope for a nóstos (Odyssey 11.328–332):

πάσας δ’ οὐκ ἂν ἐγὼ μυθήσομαι οὐδ’ ὀνομήνω,
ὅσσας ἡρώων ἀλόχους ἴδον ἠδὲ θύγατρας·
πρὶν γάρ κεν καὶ νὺξ φθῖτ’ ἄμβροτος. ἀλλὰ καὶ ὥρη
εὕδειν, ἢ ἐπὶ νῆα θοὴν ἐλθόντ’ ἐς ἑταίρους
ἢ αὐτοῦ· πομπὴ δὲ θεοῖσ’ ὑμῖν τε μελήσει.

I could not say or name all
the wives and daughters of heroes that I saw;
immortal night would pass away first. But it is time
to sleep, either going to the swift ship and crew
or here; but my voyage will be up to the gods and to you.

At this point the story of Odysseus’s return has itself stopped. In order to start it up again the Phaeacians must intervene and encourage him to continue. The burden is here shifted from Nestor, who did not bring Odysseus home, to the Phaeacians, who (along with the gods) will. The interruption dramatizes this shift. Arete, the queen, is the first to speak. So far she has been rather reserved about Odysseus, but here, for the first time, she expresses complete admiration for him, and she tells the other Phaeacians not to stint on their gifts to him (Odyssey 11.333–341):

ὣς ἔφαθ’, οἱ δ’ ἄρα πάντες ἀκὴν ἐγένοντο σιωπῇ,
κηληθμῷ δ’ ἔσχοντο κατὰ μέγαρα σκιόεντα.
τοῖσιν δ’ Ἀρήτη λευκώλενος ἤρχετο μύθων·
“Φαίηκες, πῶς ὔμμιν ἀνὴρ ὅδε φαίνεται εἶναι
εἶδός τε μέγεθός τε ἰδὲ φρένας ἔνδον ἐΐσας;
ξεῖνος δ’ αὖτ’ ἐμός ἐστιν, ἕκαστος δ’ ἔμμορε τιμῆς.
τῶ μὴ ἐπειγόμενοι ἀποπέμπετε μηδὲ τὰ δῶρα
οὕτω χρηΐζοντι κολούετε· πολλὰ γὰρ ὑμῖν
κτήματ’ ἐνὶ μεγάροισι θεῶν ἰότητι κέονται.” {242|243}

So he spoke, and they all fell into a hushed silence
and were held by a spell in the dusky hall.
White-armed Arete spoke to them first:
“Phaeacians, how does this man strike you
in form and size and well-balanced mind within?
He is my guest, but each of you has a share in the honor.
So do not rush to send him away, and do not cut short
your gifts when he has such need; for many possessions
lie in your halls by the will of the gods.”

The aged retainer Ekheneos speaks next; he praises the queen’s speech, but he says that putting it into effect depends on Alcinous, the king (Odyssey 11.344–346):

ὦ φίλοι, οὐ μὰν ἧμιν ἀπὸ σκοποῦ οὐδ’ ἀπὸ δόξης
μυθεῖται βασίλεια περίφρων· ἀλλὰ πίθεσθε.
Ἀλκινόου δ’ ἐκ τοῦδ’ ἔχεται ἔργον τε ἔπος τε.

Dear people, not at all beside the point or short of expectation
does our wise queen speak; be persuaded by her.
But on Alcinous here both word and deed depend.

Alcinous immediately ratifies the queen’s proposal, bidding Odysseus wait until tomorrow for his return so that there will be time for the Phaeacians to bring him additional gifts; [142] he then says that Odysseus’s journey home will be the concern of the Phaeacian men, himself in particular (Odyssey 11.348–353):

τοῦτο μὲν οὕτω δὴ ἔσται ἔπος, αἴ κεν ἐγώ γε
ζωὸς Φαιήκεσσι φιληρέτμοισιν ἀνάσσω·
ξεῖνος δὲ τλήτω, μάλα περ νόστοιο χατίζων, {243|244}
ἔμπης οὖν ἐπιμεῖναι ἐς αὔριον, εἰς ὅ κε πᾶσαν
δωτίνην τελέσω. πομπὴ δ’ ἄνδρεσσι μελήσει
πᾶσι, μάλιστα δ’ ἐμοί· τοῦ γὰρ κράτος ἔστ’ ἐνὶ δήμῳ.

This will be my word, exactly so,
if I live and rule over the oar-loving Phaeacians.
But let the stranger be patient, though he longs for his return,
and wait until tomorrow, until I make good
his whole gift. His voyage will be up to all the men,
but most of all to me; for I hold the power in the land.

When Alcinous says that Odysseus’s journey home will be his concern in particular, he picks up Odysseus’s final words before the interruption of his story: πομπὴ δὲ θεοῖσ’ ὑμῖν τε μελήσει. With those words Odysseus shifted responsibility for his nóstos from Nestor to the Phaeacians. We now see that that responsibility has been shifted to Alcinous in particular, who accepts it: Alcinous has replaced Nestor as Odysseus’s homebringer. To dramatize this shift Alcinous gets Odysseus to restart his story by asking him if he saw any of his companions from Troy in the underworld (Odyssey 11.370–372). Odysseus, in answering him, resumes his story, which in due course will take him back out of the underworld and up to the present. Alcinous has taken over for Nestor symbolically in the underworld, and as Odysseus moves forward from this point he now has Alcinous on his side. [143]

§2.110 There are strong parallels between Nestor, king of Pylos, and Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians, not only in their function as “homebringers,” but also in their names, which both designate this function. Both names, as previously discussed, contain the transitive root *nes-. The name Alkí-noos means “he who brings back by his strength,” and its second element, like the name Néstōr, is closely associated with the noun nóos “mind,” with which it {244|245} is identical in form. The first element, Alki-, which suggests a warrior’s attribute, is parallel to Nestor’s warrior epithet hippóta, “horseman.” Beyond their common function and comparable names, there are also striking parallels between their families, starting with their fathers. Just as Nestor is the son of the founder of his city, so too is Alcinous. We learn this at the very outset of the Phaeacian episode, when Athena enters the Phaeacian city to appear in a dream to Nausicaa. The Phaeacians are here introduced as having formerly lived near the Cyclopes, who were stronger than they and brought them harm. Hence godlike Nausithoos moved his people to Scheria, their present home, and built a city for them. Nausithoos was now dead, and Alcinous ruled in his place (Odyssey 6.4–12):

οἳ πρὶν μέν ποτ’ ἔναιον ἐν εὐρυχόρῳ Ὑπερείῃ,
ἀγχοῦ Κυκλώπων ἀνδρῶν ὑπερηνορεόντων,
οἵ σφεας σινέσκοντο, βίηφι δὲ φέρτεροι ἦσαν.
ἔνθεν ἀναστήσας ἄγε Ναυσίθοος θεοειδής,
εἷσεν δὲ Σχερίῃ, ἑκὰς ἀνδρῶν ἀλφηστάων,
ἀμφὶ δὲ τεῖχος ἔλασσε πόλει καὶ ἐδείματο οἴκους
καὶ νηοὺς ποίησε θεῶν καὶ ἐδάσσατ’ ἀρούρας.
ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἤδη κηρὶ δαμεὶς Ἄϊδόσδε βεβήκει,
Ἀλκίνοος δὲ τότ’ ἦρχε, θεῶν ἄπο μήδεα εἰδώς.

They once lived in wide Hypereia
near the Cyclopes, overbearing men
who harmed them, for they were greater in strength.
Uprooting his people godlike Nausithoos led them away
and settled them in Scheria, far from laboring men,
and drove a wall around the city and built dwellings,
and made temples of the gods and apportioned fields.
But he had already succumbed to death and gone to Hades,
and Alcinoos, knowing counsels from the gods, now ruled.

In this passage Nausithoos is called the founder of Scheria, and his role as founder is emphasized by a detailed description of his act: he built walls, houses, and temples, and he apportioned fields. Nestor’s father Neleus was the founder of Pylos, and the parallel with Nausithoos is very striking; it is made more so by the last two lines in the passage above. These lines, saying that Nausithoos was dead and that Alcinous now ruled in his place, are {245|246} paralleled in only one place in Homer, and that is in Odyssey 3, when Nestor gets up on the morning after Telemachus’s arrival, and sits on the shining stones on which Neleus once sat: Neleus too was now dead, and Nestor ruled in his place (Odyssey 3.404–412):

ἦμος δ’ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς,
ὤρνυτ’ ἄρ’ ἐξ εὐνῆφι Γερήνιος ἱππότα Νέστωρ,
ἐκ δ’ ἐλθὼν κατ’ ἄρ’ ἕζετ’ ἐπὶ ξεστοῖσι λίθοισιν,
οἵ οἱ ἔσαν προπάροιθε θυράων ὑψηλάων
λευκοί, ἀποστίλβοντες ἀλείφατος· οἷσ’ ἔπι μὲν πρὶν
Νηλεὺς ἵζεσκεν, θεόφιν μήστωρ ἀτάλαντος·
ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἤδη κηρὶ δαμεὶς Ἄϊδόσδε βεβήκει,
Νέστωρ αὖ τότ’ ἐφῖζε Γερήνιος, οὖρος Ἀχαιῶν,
σκῆπτρον ἔχων.

But when early-born rosy-fingered dawn appeared,
the Gerenian horseman Nestor rose from bed,
and went out and sat on polished stones
that were in front of his high doors,
white and glistening with oil, on which formerly
Neleus would sit, a counselor equal to the gods;
but he had already succumbed to death and gone to Hades,
and Gerenian Nestor, guardian of the Achaeans, now sat on them
holding his scepter.

The repeated line, used first of Neleus, then of Nausithoos, occurs nowhere else. The parallel in diction strongly reinforces the parallel in content, and it begins to appear that the parallel in content is deliberate—that we are meant to be reminded of Neleus and Nestor when we first hear about Nausithoos and Alcinous. [144] {246|247}

§2.111 The impression that the parallel between Nausithoos and Neleus as city founders is deliberate is confirmed by a second passage; this passage, like the passage that first introduces the Phaeacians, occurs in the context of an entrance by Athena into the Phaeacian city to help Odysseus. On her first entrance she appeared to Nausicaa in a dream. Now, on her second entrance, she disguises herself as a young maiden, and she encounters Odysseus himself in order to lead him to the Phaeacian palace. Odysseus has already learned from Nausicaa that her parents are Alcinous and Arete, the king and queen. Athena, who like Nausicaa stresses the need to make a favorable impression on the queen, goes on to give Odysseus a genealogy of the royal family, which is the same for the king and queen, since they are not only husband and wife, but also uncle and niece. Nausithoos, Athena says, was the son of Poseidon and the youngest daughter of a king of the giants named Eurymedon. This otherwise unknown figure destroyed both himself and his reckless people, but his daughter, whose name was Periboia, was apparently spared, for she bore Nausithoos to Poseidon, and Nausithoos became the king of the Phaeacians (Odyssey 7.56–62):

Ναυσίθοον μὲν πρῶτα Ποσειδάων ἐνοσίχθων
γείνατο καὶ Περίβοια, γυναικῶν εἶδος ἀρίστη,
ὁπλοτάτη θυγάτηρ μεγαλήτορος Εὐρυμέδοντος,
ὅς ποθ’ ὑπερθύμοισι Γιγάντεσσιν βασίλευεν.
ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ὤλεσε λαὸν ἀτάσθαλον, ὤλετο δ’ αὐτός·
τῇ δὲ Ποσειδάων ἐμίγη καὶ ἐγείνατο παῖδα
Ναυσίθοον μεγάθυμον, ὃς ἐν Φαίηξιν ἄνασσε.

First Nausithoos was fathered by earthshaker Poseidon
and given birth by Periboea, most beautiful of women,
the youngest daughter of great-hearted Eurymedon, {247|248}
who once ruled over the arrogant Giants.
But he destroyed his reckless people and was himself destroyed.
Poseidon made love with her and fathered a child,
great-hearted Nausithoos, who ruled among the Phaeacians.

How Eurymedon destroyed himself and his people is not told, but the answer is implied in their designation as overbearing giants. For giants in Greek myth notoriously fought against the Olympian gods and were destroyed by them. We are doubtless meant to understand that Eurymedon and his people likewise rivaled the gods and were destroyed by them. Although when and where this may have happened is left out of the account, the occasion was apparently not that of the later myth, for in that the giants’ leaders are Porphyrion and Alkyoneus and there is no giant named Eurymedon. [145]

§2.112 Nausithoos’s ancestry, which cannot be traced to any otherwise known myth of the giants, has a profound similarity to something else, namely the ancestry of Neleus. As we are explicitly told in the first passage of the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11, the god Poseidon made love to Tyro, the mother of Neleus, just as he did to Periboia, the mother of Nausithoos. Tyro’s father, moreover, corresponds strikingly to Periboia’s father. Tyro’s father was Salmoneus, and Salmoneus, though not a giant, did precisely what Eurymedon did, namely destroy himself and his people through his foolish challenge of the gods. The only one of his race who was spared destruction, furthermore, was his daughter Tyro, who mated with Poseidon and gave birth to the city founder Neleus. Periboia, who gave birth to the city founder Nausithoos, likewise seems to be the sole survivor of her race.

§2.113 Odyssey 11 does not tell the story of Salmoneus, but seems rather to divert attention from it when it first introduces Tyro, giving her the epithet eupatéreian, “born of a noble father,” and in the next line calling Salmoneus himself amúmonos, “faultless” (Odyssey 11.235–236):

ἔνθ’ ἦ τοι πρώτην Τυρὼ ἴδον εὐπατέρειαν,
ἣ φάτο Σαλμωνῆος ἀμύμονος ἔκγονος εἶναι. {248|249}

Then I saw Tyro first, born of a noble father,
who said that she was the offspring of faultless Salmoneus.

But if Odyssey 11 chooses to ignore [146] Salmoneus’s myth, his myth nonetheless is well known from later sources, beginning with Hesiod. [147] Salmoneus had the temerity to rival Zeus himself, ordering his people to offer sacrifices to himself rather than to Zeus. To show that like Zeus he wielded thunder and lightning, he dragged bronze cauldrons behind his chariot to imitate thunder and threw torches into the sky to imitate lightning. We do not have the full text of the Hesiodic treatment of the myth, but a papyrus fragment (Hesiod fr. 30 MW) reveals many significant details: the harnessing of Salmoneus’s horses (…ὡ]π̣λ̣ί̣ζ̣ετο μ[ών]υχας ἵππου[ς, line 4), his chariot (ἅρμα [καὶ] ἵππους, line 6), the bronze cauldrons (χάλκεοί τε λ[έβ]ητες, line 7, cf. line 5), and the brightness of burning fire (σέ]λ̣α̣ς πυρὸς αἰθ[ο]μένοιο, line 10). More fully preserved by this fragment is the reaction of Zeus, who destroys the entire people of Salmoneus because of his transgression (Hesiod fr. 30.12–19 MW):

ὁ δ’ ἀγᾶτ[ο πατ]ὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τ[ε,
σκληρὸν δ’] ἐ̣βρόντ[ησεν ἀπ’] οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος
[]ον δή· ἐτ[ί]ν̣αξε δὲ γαῖαν ἅπασαν.
βῆ δὲ κατ’ Ο]ὐλύμποιο [χο]λούμενος, αἶψα δ’ ἵκανεν
λαοὺς Σαλμ]ωνῆος ἀτ[ασ]θάλου, οἳ τάχ’ ἔμελλο̣ν
πείσεσθ’ ἔρ]γ’ ἀΐδηλα δι’ ὑβ̣[ρ]ι̣σ̣τὴν βασιλῆα·
τοὺς δ’ ἔβα]λ̣εν βροντῆι [τε κ]αὶ αἰθαλόεντι κεραυνῶι.
ὣς λαοὺς ἀπε]τίνεθ’ ὑπερβ[ασίην] βασιλῆος.

The father of men and gods was offended,
and he thundered [harshly] from the starry sky,
[] ; he shook the whole earth.
[He descended from] Olympus in anger, and came at once
to the people] of reckless Salmoneus, who were soon to
[suffer] ruthless deeds because of their king’s outrages.
[He struck them] with a thunderbolt and flashing lightning.
[Thus he punished the people] for the transgression of the king. {249|250}

In the next lines Salmoneus’s children, wife, servants, city, and palace are destroyed by Zeus’s anger one after another, and Salmoneus himself is hurled into the underworld as a warning to other mortals (Hesiod fr. 30.20–23 MW):

] ̣ς παῖδάς τε γ̣[υν]α̣ῖκά τ̣ε̣ ο̣ἰ̣κῆάς τε,
πό]λιν καὶ δώμα[τ’ ̣ ̣]ίρρυτα θ̣ῆ̣κεν ἀίστως,
τὸν δὲ λα]βὼν ἔρριψ’ ἐς Τ[ά]ρταρον ἠερόεντα,
ὡς μή τις] βροτὸς ἄλλος [ἐ]ρ̣ί̣ζ̣ο̣ι̣ Ζηνὶ ἄνακτι.

] his children and wife and servants
] city and house he destroyed,
and seizing him] he threw him into gloomy Tartarus,
so that no] other mortal would challenge lord Zeus.

Then we learn about Tyro, who was spared the fate of the rest of her people because she tried to stop her father from committing his act of hubris (Hesiod fr. 30.24–28 MW):


τοῦ δ’ ἄρα] παῖς ἐλέλειπτο φίλη μακάρεσσι θεοῖσι
Τυρὼ ἐυπ]λόκαμος ἰκέλη χ[ρ]υσῆι Ἀφρο[δ]ίτ[ηι,
οὕνεκα νε]ικείεσκε καὶ̣ ἤ̣ρ̣[ισε] Σαλμωνῆϊ
συνεχές, οὐ]δ’ εἴασκε θεοῖς [βροτὸν ἰσ]οφαρίζειν·
τούνεκά] μιν ἐσάωσε πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε.

But his] child was left, dear to the blessed gods,
Tyro with the beautiful] hair, like golden Aphrodite,
because] she quarreled and fought with Salmoneus
always,] and would not allow a mortal to act like the gods’ equal;
because of that] the father of men and gods spared her.

In the next lines of the fragment Zeus leads Tyro to the house of “faultless Kretheus,” who rears her, and this prepares the way for her union with Poseidon, the account of which begins just before the fragment breaks off (Hesiod fr. 30.29–35 MW).

§2.114 The resemblance between the earliest stages of the Phaeacian genealogy and the same stages of the Neleid genealogy fits an already large pattern of correspondences and can hardly be fortuitous. It would seem in fact that when we hear the first line of the catalogue of heroines and the name Tyro in Odyssey 11 we are meant to recall the Phaeacian genealogy {250|251} and the figure Periboia in Odyssey 7. If attention is diverted from the correspondence by giving Salmoneus a generic epithet of approbation, amúmonos, “faultless,” [148] this is only what we have come to expect in contexts that involve Nestor. In the case of the Phaeacian progenitor Eurymedon his hubris has been made explicit so that his correspondence to Salmoneus may be perceived. In the case of Salmoneus we do not need to hear about his crime because it is already well known.

§2.115 We return now from the correspondence between the city founders, Neleus and Nausithoos, and their respective parentages, involving Poseidon and the daughter of a sinner in each case, to the “homebringers” themselves, Nestor and Alcinous. For it is the correspondence between these two that is central to the story of the Odyssey. We have so far dealt only with the first part of the Phaeacian genealogy that Athena tells to Odysseus in Book 7. What she tells him next concerns Alcinous. As in the correspondence between Eurymedon the “sinner” in Odyssey 7 and the “faultless” Salmoneus in Odyssey 11, something is made explicit in the case of the Phaeacian king Alcinous in Odyssey 7 that is suppressed in the case of Nestor in Odyssey 11. As we have seen, Odyssey 11 does not call Nestor a twin whose warrior brother Periklymenos died. Nor does it say that Nestor took his warrior brother’s place. These are things that we have had to reconstruct painstakingly, and that we can now say are implied by the structure of the catalogue in Odyssey 11, but that the surface of the text deliberately disguises. In the case of Alcinous, on the other hand, what is implied for Nestor is made explicit: Alcinous had a brother named Rhēxḗnōr, “breaker of men,” who died young: Apollo shot him when he was just a bridegroom, and he left just a single daughter, Arete, whom Alcinous married (Odyssey 7.63–66):

Ναυσίθοος δ’ ἔτεκεν Ῥηξήνορά τ’ Ἀλκίνοόν τε.
τὸν μὲν ἄκουρον ἐόντα βάλ’ ἀργυρότοξος Ἀπόλλων
νυμφίον, ἐν μεγάρῳ μίαν οἴην παῖδα λιπόντα,
Ἀρήτην· τὴν δ’ Ἀλκίνοος ποιήσατ’ ἄκοιτιν.

Nausithoos fathered Rhexenor and Alcinous.
The one silver-bowed Apollo shot while he was a bridegroom
Without any sons, leaving only a daughter in his hall,
Arete, whom Alcinous made his wife. {251|252}

To analyze this passage it is best to proceed backwards, beginning with what does not correspond to Nestor at all, namely Alcinous’s marriage to Arete, for Nestor did not marry his own niece. Queen Arete, who is fully as important among the Phaeacians as king Alcinous is, has her own story to be uncovered, and we will devote full attention to it later. But her story has nothing to do with Nestor, and we must simply leave her out of account for now. On the other hand Arete’s marriage to her father’s brother does serve to give her a convenient origin, [149] which we will later see that she needs, and it also allows Alcinous to do something that is significant for his correspondence to Nestor, namely to take his brother’s place by raising his brother’s orphaned daughter and marrying her. [150] This of course is not the way in which Nestor took his brother’s place, which he did by becoming a warrior in his own right. But the warrior nature of the brother who died has already been fully brought out in the case of Rhexenor by his name, “breaker of men,” which could not be more significant, both in itself and in what it says about Nestor’s myth. In itself Rhexenor is otherwise an epithet in the Homeric poems, and it is used of only one hero, namely Achilles himself (there are four occurrences in the Iliad and one in the Odyssey). [151] We should note just how unusual the name “breaker of men” is among the seafaring and peace-loving Phaeacians. [152] Unlike Achilles, who died young in battle where {252|253} all had witnessed his preeminent right to this epithet, Nestor’s brother was shot by Apollo, which is a vague form of death, but might suggest disease. [153] Rhexenor was a Phaeacian, living far from other men, and he therefore had no enemies to break. This is to say that he owes his name not to any real tradition of his own, but to his correspondence to Periklymenos, Nestor’s warrior brother.

§2.116 It is remarkable how the Phaeacian genealogy in Book 7, from beginning to end, selects significant details to create an unmistakable correspondence to Nestor and his family. The most significant of these details (and the least overt correspondence) is the one that we considered last, the warrior brother who died young. In schematic form the correspondences, which constitute a virtual fingerprint for the Phaeacians’ identity, are as follows:

Hippota Nestor: Phaeacian Genealogy

It is also worth noting how what is not essential to the purpose of the Phaeacian genealogy is left out. There is, for example, no figure corresponding to Nestor’s mother Chloris, the wife of Neleus. Only Nausithoos, the father, is mentioned in telling of the birth of Rhexenor and Alcinous. And while the fact that Alcinous had a warrior brother (that they were in effect a pair of twins) is fully brought out and emphasized, Nausithoos is not given a twin to match Neleus’s twin brother Pelias. The narrative does not exclude {253|254} that Nausithoos may have had a twin brother, but the point is irrelevant to the genealogy’s express purpose, which is to sketch a direct line of descent from the earliest progenitor, the giant Eurymedon, to Alcinous and Arete; it does not matter whether or not Nausithoos was a twin as far as his place in this direct line of descent is concerned. The point is also not necessary to the genealogy’s unexpressed purpose, since the correspondence to Nestor’s genealogy is made plain by other means.

§2.117 It has become clear at this point, I think, that the Phaeacians had no independent existence of their own, but existed by virtue of their correspondence to other figures. This is very clear in the case of Alcinous’s brother Rhexenor, who owes his name to his correspondence to Nestor’s warrior brother, Periklymenos. It is as true of Alcinous, whose correspondence to Nestor is the point of all the other correspondences in the genealogy. His name, “he who brings home by his might,” as suggested earlier, is a recasting of the name-and-epithet combination hippóta Néstōr. With the name goes the function of “homebringing,” and we may say that this too has come to Alcinous secondarily from Nestor. But this amounts to saying that the Phaeacians themselves have Nestor as their origin, for there is no distinction to be drawn between the king Alkínoos, “he who brings home by his might,” and his people, for their only mythic function is to do what his name means. I am suggesting that the Phaeacians as a whole were created by the Odyssey, to establish the correspondence to Nestor that we have seen, and that they had no independent existence apart from this. [154] Within the Odyssey the Phaeacians of course claim to be the “harmless escorts of all” (πομποὶ ἀπήμονές εἰμεν ἁπάντων, Odyssey 8.566 = 13.174), as if their beneficiaries were legion, and when Alcinous arranges Odysseus’s homecoming in his council, he alludes to others who have received an escort from them without having to endure any long wait (Odyssey 8.31–33):

ἡμεῖς δ’, ὡς τὸ πάρος περ, ἐποτρυνώμεθα πομπήν·
οὐδὲ γὰρ οὐδέ τις ἄλλος, ὅτις κ’ ἐμὰ δώμαθ’ ἵκηται,
ἐνθάδ’ ὀδυρόμενος δηρὸν μένει εἵνεκα πομπῆς. {254|255}

Concretely, however, the Odyssey offers only one example, besides Odysseus himself, of a figure who was taken anywhere by the Phaeacians in their fabulous ship, and this was the hoary Rhadamanthys, whom the Phaeacians once took to see Tityos, the son of earth. Alcinous refers to this in Book 7, when he promises Odysseus that on the next day he will be carried home fast asleep on a Phaeacian ship no matter how far off he lives, even if it is farther than Euboea, where the Phaeacians once took Rhadamanthys (Odyssey 7.321–324):

εἴ περ καὶ μάλα πολλὸν ἑκαστέρω ἔστ’ Εὐβοίης·
τὴν γὰρ τηλοτάτω φάσ’ ἔμμεναι οἵ μιν ἴδοντο
λαῶν ἡμετέρων, ὅτε τε ξανθὸν Ῥαδάμανθυν
ἦγον ἐποψόμενον Τιτυόν, Γαιήϊον υἱόν.

Even if it is farther away than Euboea,
which is said to be farthest off by those of our people who saw it
when they took fair-haired Rhadamanthys
to see Tityos, Earth’s son.

This meeting between Rhadamanthys and Tityos is otherwise unknown, but a narrative thrust is clearly suggested, for Rhadamanthys was the paradigm of justice (hence he became a judge in the underworld when he died), whereas Tityos was one of the great sinners (hence he was punished in the underworld when he was slain by Apollo). His sin was that he tried to rape the goddess Leto, and it was perhaps to warn him against his sin that Rhadamanthys visited him in Euboea. [156] But really we are free to make up whatever narrative we like {255|256} for this meeting between sinner and judge, for Tityos, the giant, belongs with Eurymedon, the giant, who, as we have seen, was invented for the Phaeacian genealogy. Tityos was not invented for the Odyssey, but he is a primeval figure, and the episode conjured up for him is just that, an episode that was conjured up to give the Phaeacians one other passenger besides Odysseus. [157]

§2.118 Outside the Odyssey the Phaeacians have no existence at all, if one excepts the late Argonautic tradition (Apollonius of Rhodes) that Jason and Medea stopped in the land of the Phaeacians on their flight from Colchis and got married there. [158] There is a reason, of course, that the Phaeacians have {256|257} no tradition outside the Odyssey, and that is that the Odyssey, which brought the Phaeacians into existence and gave them the function of “homebringers,” also takes this function away from them. After delivering Odysseus to Ithaca, the Phaeacian ship is turned to stone by Poseidon on its return trip, just as it approaches land. When the Phaeacians see this, Alcinous recalls an old prophecy that his father had told him, that Poseidon would one day strike a Phaeacian ship on its return and wall their city in with a mountain, for he begrudged their serving as harmless escorts to all (Odyssey 13.172–177). [159] Alcinous orders the Phaeacians to cease giving escort to mortals: πομπῆς μὲν παύεσθε βροτῶν, ὅτε κέν τις ἵκηται / ἡμέτερον προτὶ ἄστυ (Odyssey 13.180–181). Thus the Phaeacians’ function as escorts ends with Odysseus, and this is the surest sign that it also began with Odysseus (i.e. that the Odyssey created the Phaeacians in the first place), for the Odyssey could not alter the Phaeacians’ essential nature if they had an independent existence outside the tradition of this poem. The last that we hear of the Phaeacians, they pray to Poseidon not to fulfill the rest of his ancient threat, to wall the Phaeacians in behind a mountain (Odyssey 13.181–187). The outcome is left in doubt, as the scene shifts in mid-verse from the Phaeacians praying to Poseidon to Odysseus awakening after his journey on the shores of Ithaca (Odyssey 13.187). The Odyssey thus returns the Phaeacians to the same doubtful existence from which they came. [160] {257|258}

§2.119 We have seen that the Phaeacians, insofar as they are “homebringers,” derive from Nestor. It is to the Phaeacian men that the function of “homebringing” pertains, and to their king in particular, as Alcinous himself says in Odyssey 11.352–353: πομπὴ δ’ ἄνδρεσσι μελήσει / πᾶσι, μάλιστα δ’ ἐμοί. Thus it is the Phaeacian men, and Alcinous in particular, and not the Phaeacian queen, who have to do with Nestor. We have seen that this is true of the Phaeacian genealogy, in which Alcinous corresponds to Nestor but Arete has nothing to do with Nestor or his family. [161]

§2.120 Nestor’s role in the nóstos of Odysseus, as we have seen in our analysis of Odyssey 3, was to leave Odysseus behind on the island of Tenedos after an angry dispute concerning the very issue of the Achaeans’ nóstos. And given who Nestor is by his very name, and his underlying function of “bringing back {258|259} to life,” his action in effect condemns Odysseus to death. Alcinous, on the other hand, reverses all of this, simultaneously bringing Odysseus home and bringing him back to life. The fabulous nature of the Phaeacians, which derives from their being a fiction of the Odyssey, allows the underlying nature of Nestor’s function as “homebringer” to come to the surface. The Phaeacians’ very ships, in contrast to Nestor’s, have a fabulous nature, for “they have no helmsman or rudders, as other ships do, but they know themselves the thoughts and minds of men, and they know the cities and rich fields of all, and they swiftly cross the gulf of the sea covered in mist and cloud” (Odyssey 8.557–562). The relation between “mind” and “return” is suggested by these ships, which “take aim” with “minds” of their own (τιτυσκόμεναι φρεσὶ νῆες, Odyssey 8.556), and which themselves “know the thoughts and minds of men” (αὐταὶ ἴσασι νοήματα καὶ φρένας ἀνδρῶν, Odyssey 8.559). The word nóēma, “thought,” characterizes the ships themselves in a comparison for their speed when Athena, disguised as a Phaeacian maiden, tells Odysseus that the Phaeacian ships “are as swift as an arrow or a thought” (τῶν νέες ὠκεῖαι ὡς εἰ πτερὸν ἠὲ νόημα, Odyssey 7.36). The emphasis on nóos, “mind,” through its derivative nóēma, comes from Nestor, for we saw that his nóstos with Diomedes gave ample scope to the role of nóos as identified with the process of nóstos itself. But in the Phaeacian ships this identification is given a fabulous coloration as opposed to the literal identification in Nestor’s return. Likewise when Nestor brings Diomedes home to Argos, he does not bring him back to life in any literal sense, but the Phaeacians come close to doing so when they bring Odysseus home. [162] For one of the elements of the Phaeacians’ conveyance is that their passengers lie overcome by sleep as the sailors drive the ship across the calm sea (Odyssey 7.318). In the case of Odysseus, the sleep that falls upon his brows when the Phaeacian sailors begin to row is “most like death” (Odyssey 13.78–80):

εὖθ’ οἳ ἀνακλινθέντες ἀνερρίπτουν ἅλα πηδῷ,
καὶ τῷ νήδυμος ὕπνος ἐπὶ βλεφάροισιν ἔπιπτε,
νήγρετος ἥδιστος, θανάτῳ ἄγχιστα ἐοικώς.

When they bent back and churned the sea with oars
there fell on his brows a grateful sleep
not to be awakened from, most sweet, most nearly like death.

Odysseus does not awaken from this profound sleep until he is home on the shores of Ithaca (Odyssey 13.187), so that when he does so his nóstos is {259|260} simultaneously a “return home” and, in the terms of the simile, a “return from death.” The simile makes all but explicit in the case of the Phaeacians what cannot be made explicit in Nestor’s case, that his “homebringing” is at the same time a “bringing back to life.” [163]

§2.121 The differences between Nestor and the Phaeacians thus have to do with the Phaeacians’ fabulous nature, but their fabulous nature also allows mythic traits to come to the surface that pertain equally to Nestor but cannot be made explicit in his case. The differences, when viewed in this way, actually establish a stronger identification. Nestor and king Alcinous are, as it were, mirror images of one another in the Odyssey, balancing and offsetting one another on the level of the story. We need to bear this in mind when we examine the role of Alcinous in more detail on the level of the story. If Alcinous is, so to speak, a counter-Nestor on the level of the story, then the relationship that Odysseus had with Nestor, as revealed in Odyssey 3, should be picked up and countered in the new relationship that Odysseus has with Alcinous. The key point for Odysseus’s relationship to Nestor, despite the harmony between them all through the Trojan war, was the bitter dispute that divided them when they last saw each other. If Alcinous is to take the place of Nestor in Odysseus’s nóstos, the tension of this dispute should be present from the start when Odysseus and Alcinous meet, and then be gradually set aside. This would dramatically reverse the process of harmony ending in dispute that characterized Odysseus in his relationship to Nestor. The process must be reversed if Alcinous is indeed a mirror image of Nestor.

§2.122 There is in fact tension between Odysseus and the Phaeacians right from the start. Odysseus is told twice before he meets the Phaeacian king and queen that he must win favor with the queen. [164] Nausicaa tells him to go straight to her mother once inside the palace; she will be seated by the fire spinning wool, and her father will be there too, drinking wine. Odysseus should pass by her father and supplicate her mother, for if her mother is well {260|261} disposed toward him there is hope that he will return home (Odyssey 6.303–315). Odysseus follows this advice when he enters the palace covered in a mist. When the mist disappears Odysseus has already clasped Arete’s knees, and calling her by name, he supplicates her with the words, “I have come to your husband and to your knees” (Odyssey 7.146–147):

Ἀρήτη, θύγατερ Ῥηξήνορος ἀντιθέοιο,
σόν τε πόσιν σά τε γούναθ’ ἱκάνω.

Arete, daughter of godlike Rhexenor,
I come to your husband and to your knees.

Odysseus has come to both king and queen, but he has bypassed the king in order to supplicate the queen. When Odysseus finishes his appeal for a passage home (Odyssey 7.146–152), no one replies until the aged retainer Ekheneos breaks the awkward silence with a rebuke to Alcinous for letting the stranger sit on the ground in the ashes of the hearth, for everyone else waits to hear from Alcinous before speaking (Odyssey 7.159–161):

Ἀλκίνο’, οὐ μέν τοι τόδε κάλλιον οὐδὲ ἔοικε
ξεῖνον μὲν χαμαὶ ἧσθαι ἐπ’ ἐσχάρῃ ἐν κονίῃσιν·
οἵδε δὲ σὸν μῦθον ποτιδέγμενοι ἰσχανόωνται.

Alcinous, this is not decent and it is not seemly,
that a stranger sits on the ground by the hearth in the dust;
the others are holding back waiting for your word.

Odysseus has thus been accorded a very cool reception by the Phaeacians, and it is Alcinous, in the speech of his aged retainer, who is blamed for it. Ekheneos proceeds to tell Alcinous to raise the stranger from the ground and seat him on a chair, to order a libation to Zeus, the god of suppliants, and to offer the stranger food. All this Alcinous does, without, however, addressing Odysseus directly. He orders the herald Pontonoos to prepare the libation (Odyssey 7.179–181), and he tells the Phaeacians that more of the elders will be called the next day to meet and grant the stranger’s request for passage home (Odyssey 7.189–198). All the while he refers to Odysseus in the third person, wondering aloud at the end of his speech who the stranger may be: perhaps he is a god, although before this the gods have always showed themselves openly to the Phaeacians (Odyssey 7.199–206). Odysseus then addresses Alcinous for the first time, proclaiming that he is a mortal who has suffered much by the will of the {261|262} gods, and that he is hungry and wants to eat. He ends by asking Alcinous to give him passage home the next day. The Phaeacians all approve Odysseus’s speech but still there is no direct response from Alcinous and the guests leave for the night. Now Odysseus is alone with the king and queen, and the queen speaks first, for she recognizes the garments that Nausicaa gave to Odysseus. She asks him who he is, and who gave him the garments. Did he not say that he came to their land over the sea? Odysseus tells how he came from Calypso’s island and was shipwrecked near Scheria, and how Nausicaa gave him clothing when he supplicated her. Alcinous now addresses Odysseus for the first time, finding fault with his daughter for not bringing him to the palace herself. Odysseus tells him not to blame his daughter, for it was he, Odysseus, who did not want to accompany her despite her invitation. He feared that Alcinous would be angry, “for we tribes of men on earth are a jealous lot” (Odyssey 7.303–307):

ἥρως, μή μοι τοὔνεκ’ ἀμύμονα νείκεε κούρην·
ἡ μὲν γάρ μ’ ἐκέλευε σὺν ἀμφιπόλοισιν ἕπεσθαι,
ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ οὐκ ἔθελον δείσας αἰσχυνόμενός τε,
μή πως καὶ σοὶ θυμὸς ἐπισκύσσαιτο ἰδόντι·
δύσζηλοι γάρ τ’ εἰμὲν ἐπὶ χθονὶ φῦλ’ ἀνθρώπων.

Hero, do not scold your faultless daughter for my sake,
for she urged me to follow her handmaidens,
but I was unwilling out of fear and shame
lest your heart somehow be offended when you saw it;
for we tribes of men on earth are jealous.

Alcinous answers Odysseus that his heart is not prone to wanton anger and that due measure in all things is best (Odyssey 7.309–310):

ξεῖν’, οὔ μοι τοιοῦτον ἐνὶ στήθεσσι φίλον κῆρ
μαψιδίως κεχολῶσθαι· ἀμείνω δ’ αἴσιμα πάντα.

Stranger, the heart in my breast is not such
as to become angry for no reason; all things are better in due measure.

As if to show how far anger is from his heart at the present moment, Alcinous spontaneously prays to Zeus, Athena, and Apollo that the stranger, being such as he is and being like-minded with himself, might stay and become his son-in-law (Odyssey 7.311–315): {262|263}

αἲ γάρ, Ζεῦ τε πάτερ καὶ ᾿Αθηναίη καὶ Ἄπολλον,
τοῖος ἐών, οἷός ἐσσι, τά τε φρονέων ἅ τ’ ἐγώ περ,
παῖδά τ’ ἐμὴν ἐχέμεν καὶ ἐμὸς γαμβρὸς καλέεσθαι,
αὖθι μένων· οἶκον δέ κ’ ἐγὼ καὶ κτήματα δοίην,
εἴ κ’ ἐθέλων γε μένοις.

I wish, father Zeus and Athena and Apollo,
that someone who is as you are, and thinks as I do,
would have my daughter and be called my son-in-law,
staying here; I would give a house and possessions
if you willingly remained.

But Alcinous immediately proceeds to say that no one will force the stranger to stay against his will, and as proof of this, he ordains his passage home for the next day, describing the ease and speed with which the voyage will be made, no matter how long. Odysseus responds with his own prayer to Zeus that Alcinous may carry out his promise: he would win inextinguishable fame for himself by doing so and Odysseus, for his part, would reach home (Odyssey 7.331–333): [165]

Ζεῦ πάτερ, αἴθ’, ὅσα εἶπε, τελευτήσειεν ἅπαντα
Ἀλκίνοος· τοῦ μέν κεν ἐπὶ ζείδωρον ἄρουραν
ἄσβεστον κλέος εἴη, ἐγὼ δέ κε πατρίδ’ ἱκοίμην.

Father Zeus, I wish that Alcinous might bring about all that he has said;
his fame on the grain-giving earth
would be inextinguishable, and I would reach my fatherland.

With this the day comes to a close, and at the end of Book 7 Odysseus goes to sleep in a bed prepared for him at Arete’s direction, and the king and queen likewise go to bed.

§2.123 In this scene there is never any real doubt that Odysseus will receive passage home from the Phaeacians, for Alcinous, after being rebuked by the aged retainer Ekheneos, promises as much virtually from the start (Odyssey 7.189–198). But this is simply because it is his and his people’s {263|264} function to do so: they give passage to any stranger who comes their way, as Alcinous says in council the next day (Odyssey 8.31–33):

ἡμεῖς δ’, ὡς τὸ πάρος περ, ἐποτρυνώμεθα πομπήν·
οὐδὲ γὰρ οὐδέ τις ἄλλος, ὅτις κ’ ἐμὰ δώμαθ’ ἵκηται,
ἐνθάδ’ ὀδυρόμενος δηρὸν μένει εἵνεκα πομπῆς.

But, as in the past, let us press on with his conveyance;
for no one else who comes to my house
ever waits here long pleading for conveyance.

What is significant is not that Alcinous grants Odysseus’s request, but that he must be prompted by Ekheneos to receive the stranger at all. Tension is created when Odysseus, after making his appeal to Arete, is left sitting in the ashes. This tension is then progressively removed, to the point that Alcinous in the end asks Odysseus, if he wants, to stay and become his son-in-law. In the process of defusing the tension between Odysseus and Alcinous, Arete is the first to address Odysseus directly. When Alcinous addresses him for the first time, the subject is Nausicaa, but the real issue is anger. In his first words to Odysseus, we hear of Alcinous’s displeasure, although his displeasure is pointedly not with Odysseus but with his own daughter. This leads to Odysseus’s response that he acted as he did because he wished to avoid Alcinous’s anger, and to a general statement about the jealous nature of men. The culmination, however, comes when Alcinous disavows any anger on his own part, and invites the stranger, whom he finds like-minded with himself, to stay and become his son-in-law. The issue of anger has been deftly raised in this scene, and just as deftly disposed of. It is there from the start, not because there is any previous history between Odysseus and Alcinous (there is not), but because there is a previous history between Odysseus and Nestor, who underlies Alcinous. Being of one mind during the war (héna thumòn ékhonte, Odyssey 3.128), Nestor and Odysseus split in anger from each other after the war, and the consequences for Odysseus were calamitous. Now Alcinous enters the story to reverse that chain of events, in particular the anger with which it started. Odysseus tells Alcinous that he did not accompany his daughter to the palace because he did not wish to anger him. Alcinous sees the respect that the stranger has shown him in this, and this prompts him not only to disavow any anger on his own part, but to declare the stranger to be like-minded with himself. The issue is Odysseus’s sense of tact toward the father of an unmarried girl when Alcinous wishes for a son-in-law like Odysseus, who thinks like himself: τοῖος ἐών, οἷός {264|265} ἐσσι, τά τε φρονέων ἅ τ’ ἐγώ περ (Odyssey 7.312). But the underlying issue is the like-mindedness of Odysseus and Nestor, which came apart after the war, and which has now been restored in a new form. [166]

§2.124 There is more to say about Arete in this scene. She too is slow to respond to Odysseus’s appeal, and his appeal, after all, is to her. Her reticence, however, seems designed to let the tension with Alcinous come to the surface. That at least is the effect of Ekheneos’s speech, for he clearly makes the inhospitable treatment of the stranger the king’s responsibility (everyone waits for the king to take the lead in welcoming the stranger) and thus responsibility seems to be removed from the queen. There is also the important point, which is twice impressed upon Odysseus, that his return home depends on Arete’s good will. We cannot really explain Arete’s importance for Odysseus’s return without understanding more about her nature, and this must wait until Part 3 below. But we have already seen that she acts as a kind of buffer between Alcinous and Odysseus at their first meeting when the anger inherent in their relationship has yet to play itself out. We may even go so far as to say that part of the reason that Arete is so important to Odysseus’s return is precisely the fact that Alcinous, the “homebringer,” begins his relationship with Odysseus in a state of vicarious hostility, and Arete is necessary as a buffer between them. This is the dramatic effect of Odysseus’s passing by Alcinous when he enters the palace and clasping Arete’s knees, especially when Odysseus’s first words after addressing the queen by name are “having suffered much, I come to your husband and to your knees” (σόν τε πόσιν σά τε γούναθ’ ἱκάνω πολλὰ μογήσας, Odyssey 7.147). The implication is that Arete, as intermediary between Odysseus and Alcinous, can resolve their underlying dispute. This point is in fact anticipated earlier in Book 7, when Athena, disguised as a Phaeacian maiden, encounters Odysseus and tells him about the royal couple. This passage, which includes the Phaeacian genealogy, starts and ends with Arete, whom Odysseus is to meet first in the royal hall (Odyssey 7.53). After the genealogy, the great honor in which Arete is held by her husband, children, and people is described. Her people look on her as a god when they greet her as she walks through the city, “for she too does not lack good nóos, and she resolves quarrels even for men toward whom she is well disposed” (Odyssey 7.73–74): {265|266}

οὐ μὲν γάρ τι νόου γε καὶ αὐτὴ δεύεται ἐσθλοῦ,
οἷσίν τ’ ἐῢ φρονέῃσι, καὶ ἀνδράσι νείκεα λύει.

For she too does not lack fine intelligence,
and for those to whom she is well disposed, even for men, she reconciles quarrels.

The statement that “she also” does not lack good nóos seems to allude to Alcinous, whose very name indicates his possession of good nóos, as well as his function as “homebringer.” But Alcinous, whose genealogy in the immediately preceding passage has just revealed him to be a second Nestor, has an inherited conflict with Odysseus, and this is the point of the next line, for Arete “resolves quarrels even between men toward whom she is well disposed.” Odysseus’s homecoming depends on his resolving his former conflict with Nestor in his new relationship with Alcinous, and this resolution depends on Arete. This connection of ideas is strongly suggested by the end of Athena’s speech, where the statement that Arete resolves quarrels even among men is followed by the statement that there is hope for Odysseus’s return if Arete is well disposed toward him (Odyssey 7.75–77):

εἴ κέν τοι κείνη γε φίλα φρονέῃσ’ ἐνὶ θυμῷ,
ἐλπωρή τοι ἔπειτα φίλους ἰδέειν καὶ ἱκέσθαι
οἶκον ἐς ὑψόροφον καὶ σὴν ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν.

If she should be kindly disposed to you in her heart,
then there is hope for you to see your dear ones and to reach
your high-roofed house and your fatherland.

The connection between resolving a conflict “for those to whom she is well-disposed” (hoîsín t’ eǜ phronéēisi) and helping Odysseus to achieve his return “if she is kindly disposed to you” (toi…phíla phronéēis’) is suggested by the close similarity of the phrases indicating Arete’s attitude. The difference between the two occurrences of the verb phronéēisi is that the second occurrence applies explicitly to Odysseus whereas the first does so implicitly. Arete’s favor is necessary to undo Odysseus’s underlying conflict with Alcinous, his “homebringer.”

§2.125 For Alcinous the underlying conflict with Odysseus is finished when he wishes that the stranger would stay and marry his daughter. But it takes two to make a quarrel, and there is anger to be resolved on Odysseus’s {266|267} side as well as Alcinous’s. For Alcinous it was enough to leave Odysseus sitting in the ashes for too long a time and to find fault with his own daughter for what appeared to be a similar lack of hospitality in order to raise the issue and to resolve it. For Odysseus, whose quarrel with Nestor was real, anger is more of an issue, and it takes longer to resolve. Anger is also a basic part of Odysseus’s nature, as is indicated by his name and by the epic verb to which it gave rise, odússomai, “be angry.” Among the Phaeacians Odysseus’s anger exhibits itself in Book 8, when he is provoked to take part in athletic contests. His underlying quarrel with Alcinous, which recasts his quarrel with Nestor, provides the overall context for Odysseus’s show of anger, but Alcinous himself is kept well away from any direct confrontation. His son Laodamas is more directly involved, but even he is too close to Alcinous to be the primary target of Odysseus’s anger. This role is reserved for Euryalos, a Phaeacian youth with no direct connection to the king.

§2.126 Although Alcinous does not participate in the athletic contests of Book 8, he has a stake in them, and thus Odysseus’s display of anger, while kept at a safe distance from the king, ultimately pertains to him as well. Alcinous’s stake is established when he first calls for the games so that the stranger may tell those at home how much the Phaeacians surpass others in boxing, wrestling, jumping, and racing (Odyssey 8.100–103):

νῦν δ’ ἐξέλθωμεν καὶ ἀέθλων πειρηθῶμεν
πάντων, ὥς χ’ ὁ ξεῖνος ἐνίσπῃ οἷσι φίλοισιν
οἴκαδε νοστήσας, ὅσσον περιγινόμεθ’ ἄλλων
πύξ τε παλαιμοσύνῃ τε καὶ ἅλμασιν ἠδὲ πόδεσσιν.

Now let us go out and try our skill in all the contests,
so that the stranger may tell his dear ones
when he returns home how much we excel others
in boxing and wrestling and jumping and running.

When Laodamas, Alcinous’s son, challenges Odysseus to compete, he does so graciously, but Odysseus is clearly provoked (Odyssey 8.153–157):

Λαοδάμα, τί με ταῦτα κελεύετε κερτομέοντες;
κήδεά μοι καὶ μᾶλλον ἐνὶ φρεσὶν ἤ περ ἄεθλοι,
ὃς πρὶν μὲν μάλα πολλὰ πάθον καὶ πολλὰ μόγησα,
νῦν δὲ μεθ’ ὑμετέρῃ ἀγορῇ νόστοιο χατίζων
ἧμαι, λισσόμενος βασιλῆά τε πάντα τε δῆμον. {267|268}

Laodamas, why do you exhort me to do these things, ridiculing me?
There are greater cares than contests in my heart,
who before now suffered much and toiled much,
and now sit in your assembly longing for a return,
begging the king and all the people.

In the final line Odysseus displays a rather surprising lack of gratitude toward Alcinous and his people, who just that morning had met in council and ordained a homecoming for him. Odysseus makes it sound as though the council reached no conclusion and he must continue to make his appeal. It is significant that Alcinous is evoked in such an ungenerous spirit precisely now, for Odysseus’s only open conflict with the Phaeacians is about to burst forth. Euryalos, one of the young Phaeacian contestants, abuses Odysseus roundly, calling him a lowly sailor who has no skill in athletics. Odysseus answers Euryalos with equal abuse, calling him heedless and lacking in sense, with no grace of speech to match the grace of his youthful looks. Angered by Euryalos, Odysseus leaps to his feet and hurls the discus far beyond all the other marks (Odyssey 8.158–200). He then challenges the Phaeacians to compete with him in any other contest, showing that his anger is not limited to Euryalos. But his anger, which has so far been safely confined to Euryalos, must not proceed too far toward its real target, Alcinous. Thus when he challenges all the young Phaeacians to compete, he is careful to exclude Alcinous’s son Laodamas from his challenge, for he is his host, and only a worthless fool would injure his own interests by competing with his host (Odyssey 8.208–211):

ξεῖνος γάρ μοι ὅδ’ ἐστί· τίς ἂν φιλέοντι μάχοιτο;
ἄφρων δὴ κεῖνός γε καὶ οὐτιδανὸς πέλει ἀνήρ,
ὅς τις ξεινοδόκῳ ἔριδα προφέρηται ἀέθλων
δήμῳ ἐν ἀλλοδαπῷ· ἕο δ’ αὐτοῦ πάντα κολούει.

For he is my host; who would fight with a man who loves him?
That one is indeed a witless and worthless man
who offers the strife of contests to his host
in a foreign land; he cuts short everything of his own.

Odysseus, who had a disastrous quarrel with Nestor on the island of Tenedos, is not about to make the same mistake with his host Alcinous, or with anyone close to him. Alcinous was not directly involved in the conflict with Euryalos, and after Odysseus challenges all the other Phaeacians except Laodamas to {268|269} compete, Alcinous says that the stranger’s words are “not unpleasing” (οὐκ ἀχάριστα, Odyssey 8.236), for he naturally wants to display his prowess after being provoked to anger by Euryalos. But then, to show that Alcinous himself is involved in the carefully managed conflict of the athletic contests, he no longer claims as he did before that the Phaeacians excel in all such contests (Odysseus has just proved him wrong on that point), but only in footracing, the one contest that Odysseus said he might not win because his sea voyage has sapped his strength (Odyssey 8.230–233). Alcinous now removes boxing and wrestling from the list of games in which the Phaeacians excel, saying that their real excellence lies not there, but in footracing and seafaring, and that what is dear to them are banquets, music, and dancing, clean clothes, warm baths, and beds (Odyssey 8.246–249):

οὐ γὰρ πυγμάχοι εἰμὲν ἀμύμονες οὐδὲ παλαισταί,
ἀλλὰ ποσὶ κραιπνῶς θέομεν καὶ νηυσὶν ἄριστοι,
αἰεὶ δ’ ἡμῖν δαίς τε φίλη κίθαρίς τε χοροί τε
εἵματά τ’ ἐξημοιβὰ λοετρά τε θερμὰ καὶ εὐναί.

For we are not faultless boxers or wrestlers,
but we run fast on foot and we are the best in ships,
and always dear to us is the banquet and the lyre and dances
and changes of clothes and warm baths and beds.

§2.127 Odysseus’s display of anger has, so to speak, put the Phaeacians in their place. They are not rugged competitors, but refined practitioners of a softer life. Forced by Odysseus to modify his earlier claim, Alcinous still maintains to his guest that the Phaeacians are best at some things. His claim to Phaeacian superiority in seamanship of course goes unchallenged, for that is their particular virtue. It is also the domain to which Alcinous lays claim first, at the end of Book 7, when he describes the speed of the Phaeacian ships that will take Odysseus home (Odyssey 7.327–328):

εἰδήσεις δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἐνὶ φρεσίν, ὅσσον ἄρισται
νῆες ἐμαὶ καὶ κοῦροι ἀναρρίπτειν ἅλα πηδῷ.

And you yourself will know in your mind how much the best
my ships and youths are at churning up the sea with oars.

Alcinous also does not relinquish the Phaeacians’ claim to superior speed of foot, which Odysseus has conceded to them anyway. But in addition to these {269|270} two claims, for seamanship and speed of foot, Alcinous also wants to prove to his guest that the Phaeacians are better than others at singing and dancing, and so he calls out dancers to put on a display (Odyssey 8.250–253):

ἀλλ’ ἄγε, Φαιήκων βητάρμονες ὅσσοι ἄριστοι,
παίσατε, ὥς χ’ ὁ ξεῖνος ἐνίσπῃ οἷσι φίλοισιν,
οἴκαδε νοστήσας, ὅσσον περιγινόμεθ’ ἄλλων
ναυτιλίῃ καὶ ποσσὶ καὶ ὀρχηστυῖ καὶ ἀοιδῇ.

But come, all the best dancers of the Phaeacians,
Show your skill, so that the stranger may tell his loved ones
When he returns home how much better we are than others
In sailing and footracing and dancing and singing.

Framed in the same language as his earlier claim to superiority in athletics, Alcinous’s new claim draws no opposition from Odysseus, but complete agreement when he has witnessed the skill of the Phaeacian dancers (Odyssey 8.382–384): [167]

Ἀλκίνοε κρεῖον, πάντων ἀριδείκετε λαῶν,
ἠμὲν ἀπείλησας βητάρμονας εἶναι ἀρίστους,
ἠδ’ ἄρ’ ἑτοῖμα τέτυκτο· σέβας μ’ ἔχει εἰσορόωντα.

King Alcinous, most exalted of all your people,
You boasted that your dancers are the best,
And your words have proved true; awe holds me as I watch.

As far as Odysseus’s underlying conflict with Alcinous is concerned, it is over and done with, from his standpoint as well as Alcinous’s, with these lines. His acceptance of Alcinous, now that he has forced him to modify (and reduce) his claims to superiority, is wholehearted and enthusiastic. To resolve the issue of Odysseus’s anger completely, it only remains for Alcinous to order Euryalos, his scapegoat, to make personal amends to Odysseus, which Euryalos does with the gift of a sword and a graceful speech of apology (Odyssey 8.406–411). {270|271} Odysseus accepts both the sword and the apology (Odyssey 8.413–415), and from now on all is harmonious between Odysseus and his hosts. [168]

§2.128 In the rest of Book 8 Odysseus receives gifts from the Phaeacians and they honor him with a banquet. When they have eaten, Odysseus asks the bard Demodokos to sing the tale of the wooden horse at Troy, and he weeps as he did earlier, when Demodokos sang the tale of his own dispute with Achilles. In both tales, Odysseus is the central figure, and the two tales also relate to one another. Although the point is not made in Demodokos’s first song, Odysseus prevailed in his dispute with Achilles, in which he championed “guile” over “might” as the means to take Troy; [169] for it was he who thought of the trick of the wooden horse, and the wooden horse is the subject of the second song. The second instance of Odysseus’s weeping focuses attention on the question of his identity, which he has so far not revealed. Alcinous, who alone has noticed his weeping, is the one to ask Odysseus who he is, and he does so in a long speech that concludes Book 8, and prepares for Odysseus’s revealing of his identity in Book 9, and the tale of his wandering in Books 9-12. In this speech Alcinous calls on Demodokos to stop his song, for the stranger has not ceased weeping since it began. It is for his sake that gifts and passage have been provided, and his enjoyment is thus paramount. Therefore let him not hide his name, but speak it, and {271|272} tell what land he is from so that the Phaeacian ships may take aim for it in their minds. He goes on to describe the wondrous nature of the Phaeacian ships, and he recalls Poseidon’s ancient threat to end their seafaring and the safe passage that they give to mortals. Then he returns to his questions of Odysseus, asking next about his wanderings and where they have taken him. Finally he asks why he weeps when he hears of the Argives and Troy. Did Odysseus lose a kinsman at Troy, a son-in-law or a father-in-law, who are closest to one after blood relations? Or did he perhaps lose a close companion? With these questions the way is prepared for Odysseus to reveal that he not only knew Achaeans who fought at Troy, but that he was there himself, the very sacker of the city.

§2.129 In his long speech that concludes Book 8, in which he probes Odysseus for his identity, Alcinous makes a pair of statements that can be interpreted in two ways, and which, when interpreted in the second way, strike to the very heart of Odysseus’s relationship with Alcinous, on the one hand, and with Nestor, on the other hand. Both relationships are based on Nestor’s variant of the twin myth, the essence of which is a separation between brothers. When Odysseus is left behind by Nestor at Tenedos, he is in the position of Nestor’s brother who died, and when Alcinous undertakes to bring Odysseus not only home, but back to life, he is likewise in the position of a brother—of the immortal twin in relation to the mortal twin. Alcinous’s first statement pertains to himself, for when he calls on Demodokos to stop his song so that all may enjoy themselves equally, guest as well as hosts, and then reminds the Phaeacians that gifts and escort have all been prepared for the stranger’s sake, he concludes his thought on the honor due a guest by saying that, for a man who has even a little sense, a guest and suppliant is “equal to a brother” (Odyssey 8.546–547):

ἀντὶ κασιγνήτου ξεῖνός θ’ ἱκέτης τε τέτυκται
ἀνέρι, ὅς τ’ ὀλίγον περ ἐπιψαύῃ πραπίδεσσι.

A stranger and a suppliant is equal to a brother
for a man who has even a little wit.

On the surface Alcinous means only that the honor due a suppliant is as great as that due a close blood relation, and there is nothing strange about that thought in an ancient Greek context. But two factors draw particular attention to Alcinous’s statement at this point. First, Alcinous has himself lost his only brother, Rhexenor, and his statement that Odysseus is equal to a brother is precise in terms of Alcinous’s myth, which is itself a copy of Nestor’s myth. {272|273} In relation to both figures Odysseus is in the position of the lost mortal twin, but whereas he was left for dead by Nestor, he will be brought back to life by Alcinous. Odysseus is truly equal to a brother in relation to Alcinous. The second factor that draws attention to Alcinous’s statement is the fact that he says something strikingly similar, yet different, at the very end of his speech. In the final lines of Book 8, wanting to know why Odysseus weeps when he hears songs of Troy, he asks whether he lost a son-in-law or a father-in-law at Troy—or, he concludes, did he perhaps lose a dear companion there, “for a wise companion is in no way less than a brother” (Odyssey 8.581–586):

ἦ τίς τοι καὶ πηὸς ἀπέφθιτο Ἰλιόθι πρό,
ἐσθλὸς ἐών, γαμβρὸς ἢ πενθερός; οἵ τε μάλιστα
κήδιστοι τελέθουσι μεθ’ αἷμά τε καὶ γένος αὐτῶν.
ἦ τίς που καὶ ἑταῖρος ἀνὴρ κεχαρισμένα εἰδώς,
ἐσθλός; ἐπεὶ οὐ μέν τι κασιγνήτοιο χερείων
γίνεται, ὅς κεν ἑταῖρος ἐὼν πεπνυμένα εἰδῇ.

Did some kinsman by marriage die at Troy,
one who was a good man, a son-in-law or father-in-law? These
are the closest ties after one’s own blood and family.
Or was it some companion who knew pleasing things,
a good man? Since in no way inferior to a brother
is one who, being a companion, knows wise things.

Alcinous asks only if Odysseus had a close companion who died at Troy, but his words can be taken another way. Odysseus did lose a companion at Troy, although not in the sense that Alcinous means. He lost Nestor, whose help he needed to return, when he quarreled with him on Tenedos. Nestor was the companion who was truly “no less than a brother” to Odysseus, first of all in the ironic sense that he failed to bring Odysseus home just as he failed to bring his brother Periklymenos back to life. But before they split on Tenedos, Nestor and Odysseus were also close companions, agreeing so completely with one another in their counsels for the Argives that, in Nestor’s words, they had one mind (héna thumòn ékhonte, Odyssey 3.128). It is the wise Nestor, with whom Odysseus shared one mind, that seems indicated by Alcinous’s words, when he first asks if a “dear companion” was lost at Troy (ἑταῖρος ἀνὴρ κεχαρισμένα εἰδώς), and says then that a “wise companion” (ὅς κεν ἑταῖρος ἐὼν πεπνυμένα εἰδῇ) is no less than a brother. With the subtle change of expression from κεχαρισμένα εἰδώς to πεπνυμένα εἰδῇ, who else but Nestor comes to mind? {273|274}

§2.130 As with the phrase antì kasignḗtou, “equal to a brother,” that Alcinous uses for Odysseus, the phrase ou…ti kasignḗtoio khereíōn, “in no way less than a brother,” that he uses of a companion who may have died at Troy would not demand a secondary interpretation if it occurred alone. It is the fact that the word kasígnētos, “brother,” occurs twice in Alcinous’s speech that gives it a secondary meaning both times. When the secondary interpretations are grouped there is a close relation between the two uses of the word “brother,” for they equate Alcinous with Nestor in relation to Odysseus, and that equation has been at issue since the beginning of the Phaeacian episode. The two uses of kasígnētos provide a climax to this part of the episode, just before Odysseus reveals his identity to his hosts. It is appropriate that Alcinous’s final words in asking Odysseus to reveal his identity should evoke Nestor, for Nestor is the answer to the question of Alcinous’s own identity, and this question has been every bit as much a part of the Phaeacian episode as Odysseus’s long delay in revealing his identity.

§2.131 If the Phaeacians must wait to find out who Odysseus is, there is a reciprocal, but deeper, problem for Odysseus to solve: does he know who the Phaeacians are? There is high drama at the beginning of Book 9 when Odysseus does finally reveal his identity to the Phaeacians, and then begins his tale. But the full drama of the situation does not play itself out until Odysseus interrupts his tale in Book 11 and again converses with the Phaeacians. We have already seen that Odysseus proposes to end his tale when he is in the underworld because he has just highlighted the negative role of Nestor in his homecoming by giving Nestor’s whole genealogy, with full attention to his twin myth, in the catalogue of heroines whom he met there. We have also already discussed the idea that Odysseus converses with the Phaeacians at this point because it is the Phaeacian men, and in particular king Alcinous, who will take the failed Nestor’s place in providing Odysseus a nóstos. We now see that there is more to it than that. When Odysseus gives Nestor’s genealogy, and simultaneously reveals Nestor’s twin myth, he shows that in a deep sense he knows who the Phaeacians are, for Nestor’s genealogy is also the core of their genealogy. When the Phaeacians respond to him at this point, it is a virtual acknowledgment that he has penetrated their identity to its core, at least as regards the king. The queen is a different matter, which we have yet to address. But we do know that her acceptance of Odysseus has twice been presented as the key to his return, and it therefore seems significant that she is the first to speak. For the first time Arete, on whose good will Odysseus’s return depends, praises him, and calls on her people to redouble {274|275} their gifts to him (Odyssey 11.336–341). [170] It is hard not to understand Arete’s one and only expression of acceptance of Odysseus as meaning that, in the same way that Odysseus knows who Alcinous and the Phaeacians are, Arete knows that he knows.

§2.132 At the end of Book 8 Alcinous asked Odysseus if he had lost a wise companion at Troy. Odysseus in effect answers that question in its secondary meaning when he presents Nestor’s twin myth in the context of the catalogue of heroines. It was Nestor that he lost at Troy, and it was that loss that led him to the underworld in the first place. The two passages, in Book 8 and in Book 11, work together. The passage that ends Book 8 is not idle—it has an answer, and is in fact answered in Book 11, but both question and answer are at a secondary level. The primary meaning of Alcinous’s question in Book 8—did a dear companion of Odysseus die at Troy?—is also taken up again in Book 11, but at a primary level, when Alcinous asks Odysseus whether he saw any companions who died in Troy in the underworld (Odyssey 11.370–372), and so motivates him to continue and complete his tale.

§2.133 It is important to see the connection between the secondary level of Alcinous’s question at the end of Book 8 on the one hand, and the catalogue of heroines in Book 11 as the answer to that question on the other hand. The first point to establish is that the real question at the end of Book 8 is the secondary one, and not the primary one. The six lines of Alcinous’s question are carefully framed to end with the idea of the loss of a companion who was in no way less than a brother. This is a very particular, and a very complex idea. It is not nearly as straightforward as what is not asked—did you lose a blood relative at Troy? But the idea that it was not a blood relative is crucial, and this idea is therefore anticipated in the form that Alcinous’s question first takes—did you lose a kinsman by marriage, perhaps a son-in-law or father-in-law, who are closest to one after one’s blood and race? The form that Alcinous’s question first takes establishes that he does not have in mind blood relatives, but those who are close to blood relatives in one’s affection. Having set these as the terms for his real question, Alcinous can then ask about a companion—one who was not a blood relative, but who was still no less than a brother. Taken as a whole, Alcinous’s question has a thrust to it, which is carefully articulated. If it is just an idle question that he asks—one with no answer—it is hard to understand why it is given such a particular and such a complex form. If, on the other hand, the question has an answer, the form of {275|276} the question makes perfect sense. The question does in fact have an answer but only at a secondary level, and this is the reason that the real question is the secondary one, and not the primary one. The secondary question determines the question’s form. [171]

§2.134 I turn now from Alcinous’s real question in Odyssey 8—who was the wise companion that you lost at Troy?—to Odysseus’s implied answer in Odyssey 11—it was Nestor, the son of Neleus, who, in accord with his ancient twin myth, left me behind in Troy, and I as a result failed to return home. My interpretation of the catalogue of heroines in Book 11 requires that Nestor be seen as the catalogue’s focus, and it is time to confront the issue of whether this is really one’s experience when reading the catalogue, or whether, in spite of arguments presented so far, Nestor still seems to get lost in the catalogue’s complexity. While the presence of both Nestor and Neleus in the catalogue has seemed significant to others, [172] no one seems to have noticed that the two passages containing them divide the catalogue into two virtually equal parts, and that this is the catalogue’s main organizing principle. To see the reason for the bipartite structure of course requires that one know in advance Nestor’s variant of the twin myth, and Nestor’s myth has hitherto escaped notice. It should also be added that the Phaeacian genealogy in Book 7, with its great attention to the city founder Nausithoos, the father of Alcinous, prepares the way for the bipartite structure of the catalogue in Book 11, with the city founder Neleus beginning its first part, and with Nestor, the real point of the catalogue, beginning its second part. But however true these arguments are, the fact remains that the catalogue’s structure, which I see as the key to its interpretation, has impressed itself on no one, and this is very remarkable. The reason for this is neither that the structure is not as fundamental as I argue, nor that it has simply been missed by generations of readers, but that it has been obscured by interpolations in the text. While these interpolations have not destroyed the catalogue’s original bipartite structure—indeed this structure has been preserved, as I have tried to show—they have still obscured it almost beyond recognition. My argument thus is {276|277} that a single interpolator, who was well aware of the catalogue’s bipartite structure, made additions to the catalogue in a number of places, but sought to preserve the catalogue’s original structure in the process. [173]

§2.135 I do not make the suggestion of interpolations in the Homeric text lightly, and I therefore wish to begin this analysis with a passage that has drawn the attention of many scholars, namely the first passage in the catalogue, devoted to Neleus’s mother Tyro. She fell in love with the river god Enipeus, and as she wandered by his riverbanks, Poseidon took on Enipeus’s likeness and lay with her. From this union Pelias and Neleus were born, who were kings in separate cities, Iolkos and Pylos, and Tyro herself bore three other sons to the mortal Kretheus. Most of this passage is devoted to Tyro’s dramatic union with Poseidon, who addresses her when they have made love, telling her that she will bear splendid children and revealing that he is the god Poseidon, and who then disappears beneath the waters. It has long been suspected by students of mythology that this version of the myth, in which Poseidon is the father of the twins Neleus and Pelias, is the transformation of an earlier version, in which the river god Enipeus himself was the father. [174] {277|278} More recently, the actual language of the passage in which Poseidon appears has been found to be very closely paralleled by the Hesiodic treatment of the same myth, fragments of which have survived on papyrus. We have already seen the first part of the Hesiodic version, following on the story of Tyro’s father Salmoneus, which we considered in connection with the Phaeacian genealogy. When Salmoneus was cast into Tartaros for his sin, and all his people were destroyed, Tyro alone was spared by Zeus, who gave her to her uncle Kretheus to raise. At the end of the fragment in which these events are told, the story of her union with the god Poseidon begins. When she grew up, Poseidon fell in love with her because of her beauty (Hesiod fr. 30.31–34 MW):

αὐτὰρ ἐπεί] ῥ’ ἥβης πολυηράτου ἐς τέλος ἦλθεν
τῆ]ς γ’ ἐράεσκε Ποσειδάων ἐνοσίχθων
̣ ̣] φιλότητι θεὸς βροτῶι, οὕνεκ’ ἄρ’ εἶδος
πασάων προὔχεσκε γυναι]κῶν θηλυτεράων.

But when] she reached the completion of her much-desired youth
] Poseidon the earthshaker desired her
] in love a god for a mortal, because in beauty
she exceeded all] female women.

The last letters of eight more lines end this fragment, including two whole words, καλὰ ῥέεθρα, “beautiful streams,” at the end of the first of these lines (Hesiod fr. 30.35 MW). In Odyssey 11 the line that immediately sets the scene for Tyro’s affair with Poseidon (Odyssey 11.240) contains the same two words. Here is the description of their affair from the start (Odyssey 11.238–242):

ἣ ποταμοῦ ἠράσσατ’ Ἐνιπῆος θείοιο,
ὃς πολὺ κάλλιστος ποταμῶν ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἵησι,
καί ῥ’ ἐπ’ Ἐνιπῆος πωλέσκετο καλὰ ῥέεθρα.
τῷ δ’ ἄρα εἰσάμενος γαιήοχος ἐννοσίγαιος
ἐν προχοῇς ποταμοῦ παρελέξατο δινήεντος. {278|279}

She fell in love with a river, the divine Enipeus,
who is much the most beautiful of rivers to pour forth on the earth,
and she wandered along the Enipeus’s beautiful streams.
Taking his shape the earthholder, the earthshaker,
lay with her in the mouth of the eddying river.

On the basis of Odyssey 11.240, the next line of the Hesiodic fragment (Hesiod fr. 30.35 MW) was restored by Merkelbach and West as: ἣ δ’ ἐπ’ Ἐνιπῆος πωλέσκετο] καλὰ ῥέεθρα. In the remaining seven lines of this fragment nothing but the word κούρη, “maiden,” can be made out. What led Merkelbach and West to assume the same line in Hesiod as in Odyssey 11 has to do with two further pieces of evidence. First, the story of the union between Tyro and Poseidon in the Odyssey continues with the description of a curved wave, as big as a mountain, which surrounded them and hid their act of love (Odyssey 11.243–244):

πορφύρεον δ’ ἄρα κῦμα περιστάθη οὔρεϊ ἶσον,
κυρτωθέν, κρύψεν δὲ θεὸν θνητήν τε γυναῖκα.

A dark wave as big as a mountain rose up around them,
curved, and hid the god and the mortal woman.

Vergil has a similar description of a wave in the fourth book of the Georgics, [175] and a scholiast tells us that this line was taken, not from Odyssey 11, as we would expect, but from Hesiod’s Catalogue of Women. [176] Although there is no indication as to the Hesiodic context in which the curved wave occurred, the occurrence of what seems to be an identical wave in the story of Tyro in Odyssey 11 strongly suggests that in Hesiod too her story was the wave’s context. The last, and most compelling, piece of evidence concerns the speech that Poseidon addresses to Tyro after they have made love, when he tells her that she will bear splendid children and then reveals his identity to her before disappearing beneath the water (Odyssey 11.246–253):

αὐτὰρ ἐπεί ῥ’ ἐτέλεσσε θεὸς φιλοτήσια ἔργα,
ἔν τ’ ἄρα οἱ φῦ χειρὶ ἔπος τ’ ἔφατ’ ἔκ τ’ ὀνόμαζε· {279|280}
“χαῖρε, γύναι, φιλότητι· περιπλομένου δ’ ἐνιαυτοῦ
τέξεαι ἀγλαὰ τέκνα, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἀποφώλιοι εὐναὶ
ἀθανάτων· σὺ δὲ τοὺς κομέειν ἀτιταλλέμεναί τε.
νῦν δ’ ἔρχευ πρὸς δῶμα καὶ ἴσχεο μηδ’ ὀνομήνῃς·
αὐτὰρ ἐγώ τοί εἰμι Ποσειδάων ἐνοσίχθων.”
ὣς εἰπὼν ὑπὸ πόντον ἐδύσετο κυμαίνοντα.

And when the god finished the deeds of love,
He took her by the hand and spoke a word and called her by name:
“Rejoice, woman, in this act of love; as the year returns
you will bear splendid children, since the beds of the immortals are not in vain;
but you, take care of them and raise them.
Now go home and restrain yourself and do not say my name;
I am indeed Poseidon the earthshaker.”
So saying he sank beneath the wavy sea.

There is another papyrus fragment of the Hesiodic version, which is only six lines long, and in which both the beginnings and the ends of the lines have been lost, but enough of the fragment has been preserved to show that lines 2–3 were close to or identical with Odyssey 11.249–250 (Hesiod fr. 31.1–7 MW):

] ̣Π̣ο̣σ̣ε̣ι̣δάων λ̣[
τέξεις δ’ ἀγλαὰ τέκ]να , ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἀποφώ[λιοι εὐναὶ
ἀθανάτων· σὺ δὲ τ]οὺς κομέειν ἀτιτα[λλέμεναί τε.
] ἵν’ ἀγλαὰ τέκνα τ[εκ-
] ̣τανεμεσσητοι τε[
ὣς εἰπὼν ὃ μὲν αὖτις] ἀ̣γ̣ασ̣τόν̣ωι εμ[
]η̣ ἔβη οἶκόνδε [νέεσθαι
] ̣ ̣ο̣ν̣ ̣[

] Poseidon [
you will bear splendid child]ren since not in vai[n the beds
of immortals; but you,] take care of them and raise them [
] so that splendid children [ {280|281}
] ? [
so saying he again] (in?) the resounding [
] (she) went home [returning
] ? [

With Poseidon named in the fragment’s first line, and with the resemblance of the next two lines to Poseidon’s speech in Odyssey 11, there is every reason to believe that this Hesiodic fragment likewise concerns Tyro, and that the relationship between the two passages is one of direct imitation on the part of the passage in Odyssey 11. [177]

§2.136 I think that an interpolator who knew the Hesiodic version of the tale added the passage with Poseidon to Odyssey 11, and that the version of the tale in Odyssey 11 originally had the river god Enipeus rather than Poseidon as the father of Neleus and Pelias. If we remove lines 240–253 from the story, we are left with Tyro who first falls in love with the river god Enipeus, and then becomes pregnant and bears his children. The passage about Tyro would then be eleven lines long in all, as follows:

ἔνθ’ ἦ τοι πρώτην Τυρὼ ἴδον εὐπατέρειαν,
ἣ φάτο Σαλμωνῆος ἀμύμονος ἔκγονος εἶναι,
φῆ δὲ Κρηθῆος γυνὴ ἔμμεναι Αἰολίδαο·
ἣ ποταμοῦ ἠράσσατ’ Ἐνιπῆος θείοιο,
ὃς πολὺ κάλλιστος ποταμῶν ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἵησι.
ἡ δ’ ὑποκυσαμένη Πελίην τέκε καὶ Νηλῆα,
τὼ κρατερὼ θεράποντε Διὸς μεγάλοιο γενέσθην {281|282}
ἀμφοτέρω· Πελίης μὲν ἐν εὐρυχόρῳ Ἰαολκῷ
ναῖε πολύρρηνος, ὁ δ’ ἄρ’ ἐν Πύλῳ ἠμαθόεντι.
τοὺς δ’ ἑτέρους Κρηθῆϊ τέκεν βασίλεια γυναικῶν,
Αἴσονά τ’ ἠδὲ Φέρητ’ Ἀμυθάονά θ’ ἱππιοχάρμην.

Then I saw Tyro first, born of a noble father,
who said that she was the offspring of faultless Salmoneus,
and said too that she was the wife of Kretheus, descended from Aeolus.
She fell in love with a river, the divine Enipeus,
who is much the most beautiful of rivers to pour forth on the earth.
She conceived and bore Pelias and Neleus,
who became strong servants of great Zeus,
both of them; Pelias in wide Iolkos
had his home, owning many sheep, the other one in sandy Pylos.
The queen among women bore her other sons to Kretheus,
Aison and Pheres and the chariot-fighter Amythaon.

Since we are used to a version more than twice as long as this, and one in which Poseidon and his act of love with Tyro provide the memorable images, it requires a considerable mental effort even to consider a version in which Poseidon has no part—or, rather, a version in which Poseidon’s part is implied rather than explicit. For even in the shortened version Poseidon would still be present by implication. In Miletus, the city of the historical Neleids, the appearance of the river god Enipeus in the story would have automatically implied Poseidon, for Ἐνιπεύς was a cult title of Poseidon in Miletus. [178] Thus if the river god Enipeus is made Neleus’s father in Odyssey 11, Poseidon is not thereby excluded, but only withdrawn from direct view. [179]

§2.137 To assess the shortened version of the passage we need next to look closely at the flow of the narrative from the line before the interpolation to the {282|283} line after it, and to make a judgment on its merits. With Poseidon gone, there is no longer an explicit act of love preceding Tyro’s conceiving and giving birth, and this is somewhat unusual if we survey other instances in Greek epic of the feminine participle ὑποκυσαμένη (or κυσαμένη), “having conceived,” and a verb meaning “gave birth” (τέκε, τέκετο, γείνατo). There are twelve such occurrences of ὑποκυσαμένη (including two of κυσαμένη) in addition to the example in Odyssey 11: two in the Iliad, four in Hesiod’s Theogony, four in Hesiodic fragments, and two in the Homeric Hymns. In six of the twelve instances, an explicit act of love is mentioned first. [180] But then there are also occurrences of ὑποκυσαμένη where there is no explicit mention of an act of love. [181] In two of these a heroine is merely called the wife (ákoitis, “bed partner”) of someone before being said to conceive and give birth. Hesiod Theogony 409–412 tells how the Titan Perses led Asteria to his home to be called his wife, and how she conceived and gave birth to Hekate:

᾿Αστερίην εὐώνυμον, ἥν ποτε Πέρσης
ἠγάγετ’ ἐς μέγα δῶμα φίλην κεκλῆσθαι ἄκοιτιν. {283|284}
ἡ δ’ ὑποκυσαμένη Ἑκάτην τέκε, τὴν περὶ πάντων
Ζεὺς Κρονίδης τίμησε.

Asteria of good name, whom Perses once
led to his great home to be called his dear wife.
She conceived and bore Hekate, whom above all
Zeus the son of Kronos honored.

Here the connection between an act of love and the birth of a child is left as unspoken as it is in the case of Tyro and Enipeus. Noteworthy in this passage also is the mention of Zeus, who “honored” Hekate greatly, for in later tradition Zeus, not the Titan Perses, was frequently regarded as Hekate’s father. [182] If Hesiod knew of a rival tradition, in which Zeus rather than Perses was the father, his reticence in depicting an act of love between Hekate’s mother and Perses may be significant, and comparable to the situation of Tyro and Enipeus. Not to depict the act of love in explicit terms was perhaps to leave open the question of paternity in both cases.

§2.138 A second instance involving the word ákoitis, Hesiod fr. 26 MW, is less clear because the fragment is damaged in the lines before the occurrence of ὑποκυσαμένη in line 27. The fragment concerns Stratonike, who bore Eurytos to Melaneus (Hesiod fr. 26.27–28 MW): [183]

τῶι δ’ ὑπ[οκυσαμένη καλλίζωνος Στρατονίκη
Εὔρυτον [ἐν μεγάροισιν ἐγείνατο φίλτατον υἱόν.

To him, con[ceiving, beautifully-girdled Stratonike]
[bore in her halls a dearest son] Eurytos.

These two lines of the fragment are confidently restored because they are preserved in the scholia to Sophocles Women of Trachis 266; they begin a five-line passage concerning the offspring of Eurytos, who are the reason that the scholiast quotes the passage. The previous five lines are preserved only on the badly damaged papyrus fragment (Hesiod fr. 26.22–26 MW): {284|285}

] ̣ Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων,
βῆ δὲ φέ[ρ]ων ἀνάε̣[δ]ν̣[ον ἐύζωνον ]Στ[ρ]α̣[τ]ον̣ί̣κ̣ην·
δ̣ῶ̣κε δὲ π̣[αι]δ̣ὶ [φί]λ̣ωι θαλ̣[ερ]ὴ̣ν̣ [κ]ε̣κλῆ̣σθα̣ι̣ ἄκο̣ιτιν
ἀ]ντι̣θέω̣ι Μελ̣[αν]ῆ̣ϊ̣, [τὸν οὔρ]ε̣[σι] πότνια̣ ν̣ύμφη
Ο]ἰτη[ῒ]ς Προ̣[ν]ό̣[η ]ω̣ματ[ ̣]ο̣υ ̣ ̣[

] Phoebus Apollo,
And he went off taking [well-girdled] Stratonike without a bride-price;
he gave her to his dear son to be called his flourishing wife,
to godlike Melaneus, [whom on the mount]ains the revered nymph
Pronoe from Mount Oeta [ ] ? [ ] ? [

Enough of this passage is preserved to see that Apollo, the father of Melaneus, brought Stratonike to Melaneus and gave her to him to be called his wife (ἄκο̣ιτιν in line 24); the final line and a half, though the last line is especially badly damaged, seem to have concerned the nymph who bore Melaneus to Apollo; her name was apparently contained in the first part of the last line. Though the condition of the fragment makes certainty impossible, there seems to be no room for the explicit mention of an act of love between Stratonike and Melaneus before Stratonike is described as conceiving and bearing Eurytos. [184]

§2.139 For our comparison with Tyro and Enipeus, the Hesiodic fragment contains another detail of some relevance. The scholiast to Sophocles who quoted part of the passage was concerned with Stratonike, her son Eurytos, and, in particular, the children of Eurytos. He was not concerned with Melaneus, the subject of the preceding lines. He therefore seems to have slightly misquoted the first line of the passage, which he begins with the subject pronoun ἥ, referring to Stratonike; the papyrus fragment quoted above, on the other hand, begins this line with the dative pronoun τῷ, “to him,” referring to Melaneus. [185] This is clearly right. In the previous lines {285|286} the subject has strayed from the marriage of Stratonike to Melaneus to Melaneus’s birth from Apollo and a nymph, and when Stratonike is described as giving birth without any mention of an act of love, a reference to Melaneus as the father is required, and this is what the dative pronoun τῷ provides: Stratonike bore a son Eurytos “to him.” I strongly suspect that the same dative pronoun τῷ originally stood in the passage in Odyssey 11 concerning Tyro and Enipeus, so that the narrative flow from the passage before the interpolation to the passage after it was as follows:

ἣ ποταμοῦ ἠράσσατ’ Ἐνιπῆος θείοιο,
ὃς πολὺ κάλλιστος ποταμῶν ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἵησι.
τῷ δ’ ὑποκυσαμένη Πελίην τέκε καὶ Νηλῆα,
τὼ κρατερὼ θεράποντε Διὸς μεγάλοιο γενέσθην

She fell in love with a river, the divine Enipeus,
who is much the most beautiful of rivers to pour forth on the earth.
To him she conceived and bore Pelias and Neleus,
who became strong servants of great Zeus,
both of them.

Since there is no explicit mention of an act of love in this passage, it tightens the narrative flow considerably to have the father to whom the children were born referred to in the dative case. [186]

§2.140 The epic examples of (ὑπο)κυσαμένη that we have surveyed so far reveal that the narrative flow of the passage proposed for Tyro and Enipeus is somewhat unusual in its non-mention of an act of love, but hardly unparalleled when we consider the two Hesiodic examples. If ἡ δ’ ὑποκυσαμένη was the original reading in the Tyro and Enipeus passage, Hesiod’s description {286|287} of the birth of Hekate, which seems to leave the question of paternity open, would provide a parallel, for the same ambiguity may have been aimed at regarding the paternity of Neleus and Pelias. If, as I prefer, the original reading was τῷ δ’ ὑποκυσαμένη, then the Hesiodic fragment concerning Stratonike and Melaneus provides a wholly satisfactory parallel. In addition, the scholiast’s change of τῷ to ἣ in quoting this passage shows the ease with which the same change could have been made by the interpolator in Odyssey 11, once τῷ no longer fit the new context. The sequence ἡ δ’ ὑποκυσαμένη is in fact the normal formulaic sequence, and there is no need to wonder how the change might have taken place. [187] {287|288}

§2.141 The interpolation in the passage about Tyro is but the first of several such interpolations in the catalogue of heroines. Before we proceed to consider the rest of these there are certain general points to be made, the first of which is that the interpolator knew the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women. The story of Poseidon and Tyro is taken directly from Hesiod, as the verbal similarity of Poseidon’s speech to Tyro in particular shows. But while the interpolator appears to have taken a few lines verbatim from Hesiod, his procedure was for the most part to fashion a somewhat looser imitation, and to adapt it to its new context in the catalogue of Odyssey 11. The second point concerns the nature of the original passage about Tyro as I have reconstructed it. This passage invited interpolation because it deliberately suppressed what may be called the Panhellenic version of Neleus’s origin in favor of an older, local variant. Why it did so doubtless had to do with the Phaeacian genealogy, to which it corresponds. While the overall correspondence is unmistakable, correspondences of detail are intentionally disguised. Thus we have seen that the Neleid progenitor Salmoneus is called “faultless,” and his daughter is called “born of a noble father,” whereas the corresponding figure in the Phaeacian genealogy has attributed to him all that we know really characterized the sinner Salmoneus. It is consistent with this that in the Phaeacian genealogy the father of the city founder Nausithoos should be the same as the father of the city founder Neleus in the Panhellenic version of his myth, namely the god Poseidon, but that in the passage about Neleus himself his father should instead be the river god Enipeus. By choosing the local, more obscure variant of the myth, attention is again diverted from a direct correspondence of detail. As far as the interpolator is concerned, however, the {288|289} only point that matters is that the passage about Tyro in the Odyssey did not contain the well-known version of her myth, and thus clearly invited his response, which was to provide it.

§2.142 The interpolator’s knowledge of Hesiod, which is well established by what he added to the story of Tyro, can perhaps be detected in a second passage as well, namely that concerning Chloris, the mother of Nestor. After telling of the birth of Nestor and his brothers, the passage continues with the birth of Pero, Nestor’s sister, who, as we have seen, is a counterpart to Helen, and thus a crucial link to the following passage concerning the Dioskouroi. Pero’s parallel with Helen is her wooing by all her neighbors, and the story of this is told starting with the condition that Neleus put on Pero’s suitors, that none should have his daughter who did not drive off the cattle of Iphiklos from Phylake (Odyssey 11.287–290):

τοῖσι δ’ ἐπ’ ἰφθίμην Πηρὼ τέκε, θαῦμα βροτοῖσι,
τὴν πάντες μνώοντο περικτίται· οὐδέ τι Νηλεὺς
τῷ ἐδίδου, ὃς μὴ ἕλικας βόας εὐρυμετώπους
ἐκ Φυλάκης ἐλάσειε βίης Ἰφικληείης.

After them she bore steadfast Pero, a wonder to mortals,
whom all her neighbors wooed; but Neleus did not
give her to anyone who did not drive the wide-browed spiral-horned cattle
of mighty Iphiklos from Phylake.

The passage then proceeds to tell how only the “faultless seer” undertook to drive the cattle off, but he was bound for a full year before he “told all the prophecies” and Iphiklos released him (Odyssey 11.291–297). Although he is not named, the faultless seer is of course Melampus, who successfully wooed Pero for his brother Bias. What is very striking is that his story is joined to the preceding narrative by a highly unusual enjambment. The first word of his story is argaléas, “difficult,” modifying bóas, “cattle,” not in the line before, but two lines before (Odyssey 11.289). The rest of the passage is as follows (Odyssey 11.291–297):

ἀργαλέας. τὰς δ’ οἶος ὑπέσχετο μάντις ἀμύμων
ἐξελάαν· χαλεπὴ δὲ θεοῦ κατὰ μοῖρα πέδησε
δεσμοί τ’ ἀργαλέοι καὶ βουκόλοι ἀγροιῶται.
ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ μῆνές τε καὶ ἡμέραι ἐξετελεῦντο {289|290}
ἂψ περιτελλομένου ἔτεος καὶ ἐπήλυθον ὧραι,
καὶ τότε δή μιν ἔλυσε βίη Ἰφικληείη
θέσφατα πάντ’ εἰπόντα· Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή.

hard (to drive). Those (cattle) only the faultless prophet promised
to drive away; but he was bound by the god’s harsh fate,
painful bonds, and rustic cowherds.
But when the months and days were completed
as the year came around, and the seasons returned,
then mighty Iphiklos freed him,
after he spoke all the prophecies; and the will of Zeus was accomplished.

This entire passage, I believe, is the work of the same interpolator who added the passage about Poseidon to the story of Tyro. What suggests this first is the unusual enjambment of argaléas with bóas, two lines earlier. This would not be unduly suspicious in itself, were it not for the fact that the Hesiodic version of this story appears to have contained the same highly unusual enjambment. A papyrus fragment of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women tells the story in what remains of its first seven lines. [188] The first line of this fragment contains only two intelligible words, οὗ κλέος, “whose fame,” but this is enough to establish a hero as the line’s subject, and this was very likely Iphiklos. It is the next line that begins with an enjambed argaléa[s], and then continues with an apparent reference to Melampus. The reading suggested by Merkelbach and West is in fact close to the wording of Odyssey 11.291, to which they refer (Hesiod fr. 37.1–2 MW):

]νο̣υ̣, οὗ κλέος εσ[
ἀργαλέα[ς]· μοῦνος δ’ ὑπ̣[εδέξατο μάντις ἀμύμων.

] whose fame [
hard (to drive); he alone pro[mised, the faultless prophet. {290|291}

If the first line does refer to Iphiklos, as Merkelbach and West suggest, [189] and if argaléa[s] in the second line does modify a previous mention of Iphiklos’s cattle, the enjambment must extend over more than one line, just as in Odyssey 11.

§2.143 The word argaléa[s] in the Hesiodic fragment is thus a highly suggestive piece of evidence, but it is also true that there are no further verbal resemblances between the two passages in what remains of the Hesiodic passage. Lines 3–4 contain phrases for “he accomplished it,” apparently referring to Melampus’s “undertaking” (cf. ὑπ̣[εδέξατο, line 2), and “having a cruel bond,” referring to Melampus’s imprisonment for a year (Hesiod fr. 37.3–4 MW):

καὶ τὸ̣ μὲ[ν] ἐξε[τ]έλεσσε, β̣[
δεσμὸν ἀεικὲς ἔχων̣ [

In the last three lines of the story are found the phrases “he wooed for his brother” and “he brought about a delightful marriage,” and there is also an explicit reference to the “spiral-horned cattle” that play such a prominent part in the story (Hesiod fr. 37.5–7 MW):

μνᾶτο γ̣ὰρ αὐτοκασιγν[ήτωι, ἥρωι Βίαντι,
ἤνυέ θ[’] ἱμερόεντα γάμ̣[ον
βοῦς ἕλικας, κα̣ὶ ἄεθλον ἀμ[ύμονα δέξατο κούρην.

For he wooed for his broth[er, the hero Bias,
and brought about the longed-for marria[ge
the spiral-horned cattle, and [he received] the prize of the bla[meless girl.

§2.144 It does not matter, however, that the interpolator, apart from the striking enjambment of argaléas, does not seem to have had this Hesiodic passage particularly in mind when he created the passage for Odyssey 11. We already know from the Tyro passage that the interpolator, while he knew Hesiod, and borrowed some of Hesiod’s diction, was well able to create and adapt on his own. He also borrowed diction from sources other than Hesiod. In the Pero passage we see this in the phrase that he chose to end his addition to the passage, Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή, “and the plan of Zeus was fulfilled” (Odyssey 11.297). This phrase has great point in its only two other occurrences {291|292} in Greek epic, namely in the proem of the Iliad and in Cypria fr. 1, but here it seems to be little more than a filler, suggested most likely by the proem of the Iliad. [190] It is interesting that the only trace of Hesiod, the enjambment of argaléas, occurs just where the new passage is joined to the preceding context. I surmise that the enjambment caught the interpolator’s attention as a device well suited to his purpose of adding the story of Melampus to what had been the bare mention of Iphiklos’s cattle.

§2.145 In addition to the trace of Hesiod in the passage, there is another reason for thinking that Odyssey 11 did not tell the story of Melampus, but only implied it: as mentioned earlier, Odyssey 15 tells Melampus’s story in detail, and the economy of the Homeric poems does not usually allow such a repetition. In Odyssey 15 Telemachus meets the seer Theoklymenos and takes him aboard his ship on his return voyage from Pylos to Ithaca. Theoklymenos was the great grandson of the seer Melampus, and at Theoklymenos’s first appearance in the poem the descendants of Melampus are set out in full, including both branches of the family, and not just the branch to which Theoklymenos belongs. The passage, which is thirty lines long (Odyssey 15.226–255) is about Melampus and the Melampids, and appropriate attention is paid to the family founder at the beginning. The catalogue of his descendants does not begin until he moves from Pylos to Argos, marries there, and has two sons. His own story anticipates this at the beginning by saying that he fled from Pylos to another land (Odyssey 15.226–228), but epic ring composition allows the whole story of the wooing of Pero to be told before we continue with his move to Argos (Odyssey 15.228–239). [191] The ring composition begins in line 228, where we learn that Melampus fled from Pylos, where he lived in wealth (line 227), to escape from Neleus, who forcibly held his property for a year (Odyssey 15.228–231):

δὴ τότε γ’ ἄλλων δῆμον ἀφίκετο, πατρίδα φεύγων
Νηλέα τε μεγάθυμον, ἀγαυότατον ζωόντων,
ὅς οἱ χρήματα πολλὰ τελεσφόρον εἰς ἐνιαυτὸν
εἶχε βίῃ.

Then indeed he came to the land of other people, fleeing his fatherland
And great-hearted Neleus, noblest of living men, {292|293}
Who held his many possessions for a year until its end
by force.

This was the year-long period that he was imprisoned in Phylake. He was bound there in the halls of Phylakos, who is not otherwise identified, but who is called the father of Iphiklos in later tradition. [192] Melampus suffered these woes because of Neleus’s daughter and the átē, “delusion,” that an avenging fury put in his mind (Odyssey 15.231–234):

ὁ δὲ τεῖος ἐνὶ μεγάροις Φυλάκοιο
δεσμῷ ἐν ἀργαλέῳ δέδετο, κρατέρ’ ἄλγεα πάσχων
εἵνεκα Νηλῆος κούρης ἄτης τε βαρείης,
τήν οἱ ἐπὶ φρεσὶ θῆκε θεὰ δασπλῆτις Ἐρινύς.

Meanwhile he was bound in painful bonds
in the halls of Phylakos, suffering powerful woes
because of Neleus’s daughter and heavy delusion,
which the avenging fury, destructive goddess, put in his mind.

What precisely the átē was that an Erinys put in his mind we do not know, but the mention of Neleus’s daughter is clear. In the remaining lines of the story we hear that Melampus, escaping death, drove the cattle back to Pylos, that he repaid Neleus for his wicked deed, and that he thus got a wife for his brother; he then went on to Argos (Odyssey 15.235–239): [193]

ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἔκφυγε κῆρα καὶ ἤλασε βοῦς ἐριμύκους
ἐς Πύλον ἐκ Φυλάκης καὶ ἐτείσατο ἔργον ἀεικὲς
ἀντίθεον Νηλῆα, κασιγνήτῳ δὲ γυναῖκα
ἠγάγετο πρὸς δώμαθ’· ὁ δ’ ἄλλων ἵκετο δῆμον,
Ἄργος ἐς ἱππόβοτον.

But he escaped death and drove the loud-bellowing cattle
to Pylos from Phylake, and repaid the cruel deed
of godlike Neleus, and brought a wife
home to his brother; and he went to the land of other people,
to horse-pasturing Argos. {293|294}

§2.146 The version of Melampus’s story told in Odyssey 11 overlaps with this version to a very large extent. The version in Odyssey 11 is less complete in that it leaves out the basic detail that Melampus wooed Pero for the sake of his brother, but it adds a detail in saying that Melampus was freed by Iphiklos when he told all the prophecies. It is clear, I think, that one of the two passages is superfluous to the overall scheme of the Odyssey, and that one of the passages was added to the text of the poem at a later point than the other. There is, I think, no question that the passage in Odyssey 15 belongs to the poem, but there is good reason to doubt the genuineness of the passage in Odyssey 11. We may conclude therefore that the interpolator had another source besides Hesiod for the passage that he added to the story of Pero in Odyssey 11, namely the passage in Odyssey 15. In Odyssey 15 there is an unusual juxtaposition of the concrete and the abstract when Melampus is said to have suffered woes εἵνεκα Νηλῆος κούρης ἄτης τε βαρείης, “because of Neleus’s daughter and heavy delusion.” The passage in Odyssey 11 contains a similar juxtaposition of the abstract and the concrete when, referring to the “faultless prophet,” it says that “the harsh fate of god, strong bonds, and rustic cowherds bound him” (Odyssey 11.292–293):

χαλεπὴ δὲ θεοῦ κατὰ μοῖρα πέδησε
δεσμοί τ’ ἀργαλέοι καὶ βουκόλοι ἀγροιῶται.

But he was bound by the god’s harsh fate,
painful bonds, and rustic cowherds.

I would like to think that the interpolator of the passage in Odyssey 11, who was clearly a craftsman, was inspired by the rather extravagant tone of the passage in Odyssey 15 to create something similar in Odyssey 11. The first term of his tripartite subject, χαλεπὴ…θεοῦ…μοῖρα, “the harsh fate of god,” looks like it may owe something to the ἄτη, “delusion,” brought on by the δασπλῆτις Ἐρινύς, “avenging fury,” in Odyssey 15. His very concrete middle term, δεσμοί τ’ ἀργαλέοι, “harsh bonds,” may be a transformation of the similar phrase in Odyssey 15.232, δεσμῷ ἐν ἀργαλέῳ δέδετο, “he was bound in a harsh bond.” [194]

§2.147 In the catalogue of heroines as originally conceived, then, the passage devoted to Chloris ended with the condition that Neleus laid down for his daughter’s suitors, that he would give her to no one who did not drive off {294|295} the cattle of Iphiklos. The rest of the story, which was well known, and would be told in another context later in the poem, was simply not told here. This allusive quality, whereby certain things are left unsaid, is consistent with what is found in the passage about Tyro, where knowledge of Salmoneus’s hubris is assumed [195] but nothing is said about it, and it is even contradicted by his epithet “faultless.” In this passage, however, the story is allusive for a different reason. Pero is the link between Nestor and the Dioskouroi in the catalogue of women, as we have seen. She is the analogue to Helen, the Dioskouroi’s sister, and her function in the catalogue is fulfilled as soon as she is seen in Helen’s defining role, as the prize sought by many suitors. This is the place to suggest her story with a significant detail, the cattle of Iphiklos, but not to tell the story in full. For the full story really does not concern Pero, or even her successful suitor Bias, but her suitor’s brother Melampus, and this is simply not the place to tell his story. The only relevant detail in his story is that he wooed for his brother, because this is how Helen also was wooed, by Agamemnon for the sake of Menelaus. But this important detail comes to mind of itself when Pero’s myth is simply alluded to. The interpolated passage, by contrast, despite the fact that it makes the story of Melampus explicit, omits this significant detail, and it thus misses the essential point of the passage as a whole.

§2.148 The two most important passages in the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11 are those devoted to Tyro and Chloris, the mothers of Neleus and Nestor, and we have now seen that both of these passages were expanded by interpolations. The next passage that we will consider was not an expansion of an existing passage, as in the case of Tyro and Chloris, but an outright addition to the catalogue. Near the end of the catalogue, there is a passage that contains a group of three heroines of Attic mythology, Phaedra, Prokris, and Ariadne. For the first two of these heroines only their names are given and nothing is said of their myths. [196] For the last named, Ariadne, there is a short account of her death, when Theseus was bringing her from Crete to Athens (Odyssey 11.321–325):

Φαίδρην τε Πρόκριν τε ἴδον καλήν τ’ ᾿Αριάδνην,
κούρην Μίνωος ὀλοόφρονος, ἥν ποτε Θησεὺς
ἐκ Κρήτης ἐς γουνὸν Ἀθηνάων ἱεράων {295|296}
ἦγε μέν, οὐδ’ ἀπόνητο· πάρος δέ μιν Ἄρτεμις ἔκτα
Δίῃ ἐν ἀμφιρύτῃ Διονύσου μαρτυρίῃσι.

I saw Phaedra and Prokris and beautiful Ariadne,
the daughter of destructive-minded Minos, whom Theseus once
brought from Crete to the hill of sacred Athens,
but he did not enjoy her; Artemis killed her first
on sea-swept Dia on the evidence of Dionysus.

In general, the Homeric poems do not make use of Attic mythology; [197] this passage is therefore anomalous and subject to doubt. While there is no hard and fast rule about this, [198] there are additional reasons to think that this passage was the work of an interpolator. The first is Dionysus’s name in the phrase Διονύσου μαρτυρίῃσι, “by the evidence of Dionysus.” Διόνυσος, with omicron, is the Attic form of the god’s name. The Homeric form is Διώνυσος, with omega. [199] The use of the Attic form of Dionysus’s name in Odyssey 11.325, added to the Attic context, indicates clearly that the author of the passage was not a Homeric poet, but an Athenian interpolator. We may also note an Athenian bias in the version of Ariadne’s myth told here, at least as compared with the later version of her myth, in which Theseus deserts her and Dionysus rescues and weds her. Here Dionysus indicts her and Artemis kills her, and the Athenian Theseus is blameless.

§2.149 The passage with the three Athenian heroines amounts to the interpolator’s signature at the end of his work. We have not yet identified all of his work in the catalogue, but this passage was his last, and it proclaims quite proudly the name of “holy Athens,” Ἀθηνάων ἱεράων (Odyssey 11.323). It is almost as if the interpolator wished to give himself away at the end, especially in his very last phrase, Διονύσου μαρτυρίῃσι, “on the evidence of Διόνυσος.” The use of the un-Homeric form, far from being an attempt to conceal anything, seems rather to be a deliberate and meaningful choice—a purposely dropped hint. {296|297}

§2.150 The final passage of the original catalogue is another group of three heroines, Maira, Klymene, and Eriphyle. In this passage, as in the Athenian interpolation that immediately precedes it, the first two heroines are only named, whereas the third, Eriphyle, has a comment added after her name, giving the essence of her myth (Odyssey 11.326–327):

Μαῖράν τε Κλυμένην τε ἴδον στυγερήν τ’ Ἐριφύλην,
ἣ χρυσὸν φίλου ἀνδρὸς ἐδέξατο τιμήεντα.

I saw Maira and Klymene and hateful Eriphyle,
who took precious gold in exchange for her dear husband.

Eriphyle, the last heroine named in the catalogue, has the epithet στυγερήν, “hateful,” added to her name because she was a famous sinner. She accepted a bribe from Polyneices to persuade her husband, the Argive seer Amphiaraos, to join the expedition against Thebes, although he had foreseen that this would cause his death. Finishing his catalogue on this note, Odysseus goes on to say that he could not name or tell of all the other heroines that he saw in the underworld, for the immortal night would end first (Odyssey 11.328–330):

πάσας δ’ οὐκ ἂν ἐγὼ μυθήσομαι οὐδ’ ὀνομήνω,
ὅσσας ἡρώων ἀλόχους ἴδον ἠδὲ θύγατρας·
πρὶν γάρ κεν καὶ νὺξ φθῖτ’ ἄμβροτος.

But I could not say or name all
the wives and daughters of heroes that I saw;
immortal night would pass away first.

§2.151 The two-line passage with Maira, Klymene, and Eriphyle is a fitting end to the catalogue. It names three heroines at once, without identifying two of them, as a way of generalizing the situation at the end of the catalogue, and in order to convey the idea of an indefinite multitude that is to be pursued no further. [200] After Odysseus ends his account with this group {297|298} of three heroines he interrupts his tale with the suggestion that all now go to bed. The flow of the narrative is natural and the reason for the two-line concluding passage is clear. It is likewise clear that the passage with the three Attic heroines is a deliberate imitation of the catalogue’s concluding passage and its three Panhellenic heroines. [201] This was the interpolator’s concluding addition, as we have seen, and in it he has imitated the idea of suggesting a multitude by only naming two of the heroines, and then telling something about the third. [202] But the idea of multitude is out of place here, because the catalogue needs and can accommodate only one concluding passage, and this it already has. Before the concluding passage as the catalogue originally stood each heroine had her own passage, and this scheme has now been altered. Once again the interpolator has understood something of what he set out to imitate, but in carrying out his imitation he has fundamentally changed the nature of the original. [203]

§2.152 Let us return now to the structure of the catalogue of heroines, including interpolations, as we have received it in the text of the Odyssey. The two parts of the catalogue, headed by the passages containing Neleus and Nestor respectively, are of roughly equal length, and each part of the catalogue contains five entries. We will come back to the overall length of each part when we have found all the interpolated passages. For now it is the number of entries in each part that matters, for we have just found that the interpolator added a completely new entry to the second part, namely the passage of Attic heroines, which occurs second to last. The passage that occurs second to last in the first part of the catalogue, Heracles’ wife Megara, was also, I believe, added by the interpolator. The immediately preceding {298|299} passage is devoted to Heracles’ mother, Alcmena, and Megara is simply tacked on at the end of this passage, without even a new main verb to connect her. The two passages, consisting of three lines and two lines respectively, are as follows (Odyssey 11.266–270):

τὴν δὲ μετ’ Ἀλκμήνην ἴδον, Ἀμφιτρύωνος ἄκοιτιν,
ἥ ῥ’ Ἡρακλῆα θρασυμέμνονα θυμολέοντα
γείνατ’ ἐν ἀγκοίνῃσι Διὸς μεγάλοιο μιγεῖσα·

καὶ Μεγάρην, Κρείοντος ὑπερθύμοιο θύγατρα,
τὴν ἔχεν Ἀμφιτρύωνος υἱὸς μένος αἰὲν ἀτειρής.

And after her I saw Alcmena, Amphitryon’s wife,
who bore bold-battling lion-hearted Heracles
after making love in the arms of great Zeus;

and Megara, bold Kreion’s daughter,
whom Amphitryon’s son never tiring in his strength had.

In this sequence of heroines Heracles becomes, so to speak, the principle of selection: since his mother has been chosen for inclusion in the catalogue, his wife will be too. In the genuine catalogue of heroines there was only one hero who had both his mother and his wife named, and in his case the one was not simply tacked onto the other. This was Neleus, whose mother Tyro heads the first part of the catalogue, and whose wife Chloris heads the second part. The interpolator has clearly done something very different from this, and something unparalleled in the rest of the catalogue, by juxtaposing one hero’s mother and wife. On the other hand, he has followed literally the catalogue’s announced intention of presenting the “wives and daughters” of heroes, [204] for Megara is very neatly presented as both a wife (of Heracles) and a daughter (of Kreon) in the two lines that the interpolator has devoted to her. Once again the interpolator has been faithful to a certain aspect of the catalogue’s structure, while violating it in a more basic way. Even the catalogue’s announced intention of presenting the wives and daughters of heroes he has taken more literally than does most of the rest of the catalogue. In the rest of the catalogue it is again only Tyro and Chloris who have both a father and a husband named. [205] The catalogue’s real intention is in any case {299|300} not what it announces, for the heroines who are included have really been chosen neither as wives nor as daughters, but as mothers. [206]

§2.153 There are two passages now left for us to consider. Each of these passages, I think, explicitly narrates a story that in the original catalogue was merely alluded to. The phenomenon is thus the same as in the passage devoted to Chloris, where the story of Melampus was originally left untold, although enough was said, concerning the cattle of Iphiklos, to bring that story to mind. In the case of the passage about Melampus there were external pieces of evidence, including the enjambed word argaléas found in apparently the same context in Hesiod, and the repetition of the same story in Odyssey 15, to indicate that the passage had been interpolated. There is no such external evidence in the case of the two remaining passages, so we will have to rely on strictly internal evidence. But at this point we also know more about the interpolator’s procedure, which was precisely to fill out what was originally only alluded to. [207] And we have also come to see that the original catalogue was allusive in just this way. [208] The passage devoted to Iphimedeia, the mother of the twin giants, Otos and Ephialtes, who piled Ossa on Olympus and Pelion on Ossa in their vain attempt to overthrow the gods, is sixteen lines long in the catalogue as we have received it. This passage, I believe, was originally but four lines long. The story that is narrated in the last twelve lines of the passage (the hubris of Otos and Ephialtes and their destruction at the hands of Apollo as still very young men, before their beards had matured) was all indicated, I believe, by a three-word parenthesis—μινυνθαδίω δὲ γενέσθην, {300|301} “but they were short-lived”—in the second last line of the original passage (Odyssey 11.305–308):

τὴν δὲ μέτ’ Ἰφιμέδειαν, Ἀλωῆος παράκοιτιν,
εἴσιδον, ἣ δὴ φάσκε Ποσειδάωνι μιγῆναι,
καί ῥ’ ἔτεκεν δύο παῖδε, μινυνθαδίω δὲ γενέσθην,
Ὠτόν τ’ ἀντίθεον τηλεκλειτόν τ’ Ἐφιάλτην.

And after her I saw Iphimedeia, the wife of Aloeus,
who said that she made love with Poseidon
and bore two sons, but they were short-lived,
godlike Otos and far-famed Ephialtes.

The whole story of the two Aloadai is implied in the words μινυνθαδίω δὲ γενέσθην, as a comparison with the expanded version shows. [209] The key point, however, is that their story should not be told in full here, for the sequence of passages itself follows a pattern, both in their order and in their length. In the second part of the catalogue the sequence of passages is Chloris (the mother of Nestor), Leda (the mother of the Dioskouroi), Iphimedeia (the mother of the twins Otos and Ephialtes), followed by a two-line conclusion to the catalogue as a whole (Maira, Klymene, and Eriphyle). The passage devoted to Iphimedeia achieves its purpose as soon as she is said to have been the mother of twins. [210] As for the length of passages in the second part of the catalogue, they decrease steadily from first to last, with the greatest number of lines given to Chloris (10), followed in rank order by Leda (7), Iphimedeia (4), and the concluding passage (2); the effect is to emphasize Chloris at the head of the list. The total number of lines in the second part of the catalogue is thus 23, which is 24 lines shorter than in the catalogue as it now stands. This brings us to the final interpolated passage in the catalogue, for what we {301|302} have now found in the second part of the catalogue applies equally to the first part. This is to say that the four entries in the first part decrease in length just as in the second part, and that the interpolator has added the same number of passages (two expansions of existing passages and one new passage) and the same number of lines (24) to the first part as to the second part. All of this is true when we realize that the passage devoted to Epikaste, the mother of Oedipus, was originally but two lines long (Odyssey 11.271–272):

μητέρα τ’ Οἰδιπόδαο ἴδον, καλὴν Ἐπικάστην,
ἣ μέγα ἔργον ἔρεξεν ἀϊδρείῃσι νόοιο.

And I saw the mother of Oedipus, beautiful Epikaste,
who did a monstrous deed in the ignorance of her mind.

The story of Epikaste’s unwitting incest with Oedipus, her son, is clearly evoked by these two lines alone, without the explicit detail of the eight lines that follow. The unwitting aspect of her deed is indicated by the phrase ἀϊδρείῃσι νόοιο, “in the ignorance of her mind,” and its enormity by the phrase μέγα ἔργον, “a monstrous deed.” [211] While the fact that she committed incest with her own son is deliberately withheld, it is powerfully evoked by the phrase μητέρα τ’ Οἰδιπόδαο, “the mother of Oedipus,” which is used to introduce her. No other heroine in the catalogue is introduced in this way—indeed they are all said to be the “daughters and wives” of heroes (Odyssey 11.227 and 329). Not until Epikaste, at the end of the first part of the catalogue, is the pretense that the catalogue is interested primarily in fathers and husbands dropped, and it is dropped immediately with the word μητέρα, “mother,” implying “son.” [212] The true purpose of the catalogue is about to be revealed in the first passage of the second part of the catalogue, where Chloris is of course important as a wife (Neleus is her husband), but, from the standpoint of the catalogue’s real purpose, she is more important as a mother {302|303} (Nestor is her son). Epikaste, who is simultaneously a wife and a mother, and whose motherhood is emphasized, prepares the way for Chloris. The details of Epikaste’s story in the rest of the passage as we have received it do not sharpen the transition to Chloris, but blunt it; to be effective the transition must be short. The two-line passage devoted to Epikaste not only prepares for the opening of the second part of the catalogue, it also balances the two-line passage at the end of the second part. In both parts of the catalogue the passages decrease steadily in length from first to last, emphasizing the first passage in each part. [213] {303|304}

§2.154 When the 48 interpolated lines are removed from the catalogue of heroines (24 from each part), the catalogue’s bipartite structure stands out starkly. In order to show this structure visually, I display the entire catalogue, minus interpolations, in two columns: the introduction to the catalogue precedes the first column and the conclusion to the catalogue follows the second column, and in between the two columns themselves mirror each other perfectly.

Catalogue A: Text
Catalogue A: Translation

With the text before us let us recapitulate. The two parts of the catalogue each consist of four passages, which decrease in length from first to last. The most important passage in each column is now clearly the first and longest: Tyro (and her son Neleus) in the first part; Chloris (and her son Nestor) in the second part. The second passage in each part is shorter than the first passage, and is directly related to it. In contrast to the fullness of detail in the Tyro and Chloris passages which come first in each part, the passages that follow them focus all but exclusively on the twin sons of the heroines in question: the city founders Amphion and Zethos in the first part of the catalogue; the twins Castor and Polydeuces in the second part. In both parts of the catalogue the second passage presents twins who remained together, and who therefore contrast with Neleus, on the one hand, and Nestor on the other hand, each of whom split from his twin brother. In the case of Nestor and Periklymenos, the split meant the death of the warrior twin, Periklymenos. This point is not made directly in the catalogue, but indirectly, in the contrast presented by the Dioskouroi, both of whom remain alive beneath the earth, even as they alternate between life and death on successive days. This is the central message of the catalogue—the revelation of Nestor’s twin myth through the contrasting myth of the Dioskouroi—and there is no mistaking this message once the structure of the catalogue is clear; it is worth noting that the passages conveying this central message are further bound together by the distinctive pattern with which they alone open (Καὶ Χλῶριν εἶδον/Καὶ Λήδην εἶδον). The third passage in each part, which is again shorter than the {304|305} passage that precedes it in each case, continues and reinforces the central theme of twins. In the second part of the catalogue the monstrous twins Otos and Ephialtes, who challenged the gods and were destroyed by them before reaching manhood, contrast pointedly with the Dioskouroi and their attainment of immortality and honor equal to the gods. This contrast between the Dioskouroi and the twins who follow them reinforces the contrast between the Dioskouroi and Nestor, in the passage that precedes them. The main purpose of the Dioskouroi’s presence is to contrast their situation with Nestor’s, and the idea of contrast with another pair of twins thus becomes a theme in itself, which is repeated in the short passage given to Otos and Ephialtes. In the first part of the catalogue the situation is similar, but also different. The third passage, which is again shorter than the passage that precedes it, concerns a twin, Heracles, but Heracles’ twin brother, Iphicles, is not mentioned. Instead the different fathers of the two twins are both mentioned, for Alcmena is called the wife of the mortal Amphitryon, but she is said to have borne Heracles to the immortal Zeus. It was to the mortal Amphitryon that she bore the mortal Iphicles, and the different fates of the two brothers, with the son of Zeus alone achieving immortality, is thus suggested by leaving the son of Amphitryon out of account. The theme is thus the separation between twins, and this theme has been at issue in the first two passages of the first part of the catalogue. These passages both concern city-founding twins, but in the first passage Neleus splits from his brother Pelias to found Pylos, whereas in the second passage the twins Amphion and Zethos found Thebes together. The Heracles passage, while discontinuing the theme of city-founding twins, picks up the more important theme of the separation between twins, in the case of Neleus and Pelias, and their inseparability, in the case of Amphion and Zethos. The Heracles passage reinforces this theme rather than that of city-founding because separation versus inseparability is the crucial theme in the second part of the catalogue where the separation between Nestor and Periklymenos is realized only through the contrast with Castor and Polydeuces. Thus it is that the solitary Heracles, who was a twin but is not called one in the catalogue, prepares the way for Nestor, who likewise was a twin, but is instead presented as one of three brothers. [214] {305|310}

§2.155 The last passage in each part of the catalogue is in each case the shortest, only two lines long. The function of these short passages no longer has to do with the theme of twins, which is fully worked out in the other six passages of the catalogue, the first three in each part. We have already seen that the function of the catalogue’s very last passage, with the mention of three heroines in a single line, is simply to indicate a further indefinite multitude by way of conclusion: more heroines presented themselves in the underworld than Odysseus could name or tell of, just as he goes on to say. The only heroine among the final three to receive a brief elaboration is the sinner Eriphyle, who took a bribe of gold for the life of her husband, the seer Amphiaraos. We may now note the close parallel of the two-line passage that concludes the first part of the catalogue, for this too concerns a sinner, Epikaste, the mother and wife of Oedipus. [215] This parallel of course does not present itself until the catalogue concludes and the theme of the sinning woman has repeated itself in the case of Eriphyle. At that point, the entire bipartite structure of the catalogue has also become clear through the decreasing length of the passages in the two parts. The two-line passage devoted to Epikaste at the end of the first part is pivotal in this bipartite structure because of its eloquent brevity. This passage, which could hardly have been briefer, or more pointed in its brevity, is clearly perceived as a conclusion to the series of three passages that has just preceded it, in which each passage was shorter than the one before. Thus when the catalogue does not end at this point, but begins anew with a long and complex passage devoted to Nestor’s mother Chloris, the catalogue’s bipartite structure immediately manifests itself, and continues to work itself out through the repetition of an identical structure of four passages of decreasing length, the last of which is a two-line coda, just as in the first part. [216] There is no missing the bipartite structure in the catalogue’s original form, and it is highly significant that this structure reveals itself first in the passage on Nestor. We have already seen that Nestor’s deliberately unstated twin myth is the focus of the catalogue’s structure in the arrangement of the five other passages that concern twins, most pointedly in the immediate juxtaposition of the passage with the Dioskouroi, but hardly less so in the case of the other four passages. While Nestor’s own passage deliberately does not say that he was a twin, the {310|311} focus of the other five passages on his passage just as deliberately says that he was. We may now go a step further and ask why the catalogue’s highly unusual arrangement in two parallel parts was chosen. This double structure must have something to do with the catalogue’s unstated point, namely Nestor’s twin myth. This myth, which is the catalogue’s central message, is realized only through indirect means, and the ultimate among these means is the catalogue’s very bipartite structure. This structure denotes duality, and duality is the essence of Nestor’s myth. Thus its own bipartite structure is the ultimate indirection by which the catalogue establishes Nestor’s myth.

§2.156 The next point to note about the original form of the catalogue is that the parallelism between its two parts, while it is very close in terms of the overall length of each part—22 lines in the first part and 23 lines in the second part—is not rigid. The same is true of the individual passages when we compare their lengths, for only the two final passages are of exactly the same length, namely two lines each. The three initial passages in each part are all close in length when we compare the first part of the catalogue with the second part, but in every case there is a one-line difference: the passages that come first in each part are eleven and ten lines long, respectively; the passages that come second are six and seven lines long, respectively; and those that come third are three and four lines long, respectively. The reason for this indifference to an exact line count is that the catalogue’s bipartite structure does not depend on an exact identity in terms of length for the two parts, but only on a close approximation. The only point at which an identical number of lines is easily perceptible, and has therefore been rendered, is in the final passage in each part because these passages are the shortest—two lines each. In the earlier passages the ear and the mind cannot detect the difference of a single line between corresponding passages in each part, and a rigid equivalence would thus serve no purpose. To the ear and the mind the parallelism between the two parts of the catalogue as it originally stood is completely clear from the relative lengths of the four passages in each part, which decrease from first to last, and from the approximate equivalence in length of the corresponding passages in each part.

§2.157 Although the catalogue’s bipartite structure can be appreciated by the eye (I earlier arranged the catalogue visually for just this purpose) it is clear that this structure was not created for the eye, but for the ear. I emphasize the oral nature of the original form of the catalogue in order to contrast it with the work of the interpolator, who added exactly 24 lines to each of the catalogue’s two parts. To the interpolator an exact line count evidently did matter, and we are bound to ask why. The answer that immediately suggests {311|312} itself is that the interpolator, who could not help but notice the catalogue’s bipartite structure, used the medium of writing when he sought to preserve this bipartite structure by adding exactly the same number of lines (24) and the same number of passages (two expansions of existing passages and one outright addition) to each of the catalogue’s two parts. While the catalogue that resulted from his efforts, which is the catalogue that has come down to us in the text of the Odyssey, is not readily perceived as a bipartite structure by either the ear or the eye, it was clearly the work of a literate poet, who used his eye as much as his ear in making his additions to a written text. [217]

§2.158 To look more closely into the nature of the interpolator’s work, I begin by again displaying the entire catalogue, this time including the interpolated passages, which I indent to set them off from the catalogue in its original form.

Catalogue B: Text
Catalogue B: Translation

As we survey the interpolator’s work, it is clear that he has preserved the careful balance between the two parts of the original catalogue in only two respects: the total number of lines is still one less in the first part, with 46, than in the second part, with 47, just as it was in the original catalogue, where the numbers were 22 and 23, respectively, and the two parts still correspond to one another in having the same number of passages, now five each instead of the original four each. These are the two basic aspects of the catalogue’s original balance, hence it was these that the interpolator contrived to preserve. In doing so, however, he destroyed the original balance between the catalogue’s two parts in nearly every other respect. The most disruptive addition was to Epikaste’s passage, for in its original two-line form this passage signaled the transition from the first part of the catalogue to the second. Gone too, as a result of the interpolation, is the parallelism with the catalogue’s two-line conclusion, for no comparable addition was made to this passage. On the other hand, the interpolator did expand both of the passages that stand first in the two parts of the catalogue, namely those containing Neleus and Nestor respectively, but even here he has destroyed the symmetry between the two passages by adding a much longer interpolation to Neleus’s passage (fourteen lines) than to Nestor’s (seven lines). Likewise there is no real balance between the two passages that the interpolator added outright to each part of the catalogue, except for the fact that they are the fourth passage in each part. In the first part the passage on Megara, the wife of Heracles, is only two lines long, and {312|313} it concerns a single heroine. In the second part we have three Athenian heroines grouped together in a longer five-line addition. The balance between these two passages is purely formal, based on the count of items in a list, and not on any more poetic consideration. The expansion of the story of Otos and Ephialtes, the third passage in the catalogue’s second part, is both very long (twelve lines) and unbalanced by any addition to the third passage in the catalogue’s first part, which is devoted to Alcmena and her son Heracles. There is thus the same imbalance between these two passages as between the final two passages in each part. In effect, the expansion of Epikaste’s story, the last passage in the first part, has been “balanced” by the expansion of the Aloadai’s story, which, coming third in the second part, does not correspond to it at all in terms of its placement. The effect of this “balancing,” as of the rest of the interpolator’s work, has been to unbalance the two parts of the catalogue all but completely.

§2.159 What was the interpolator’s purpose in adding the passages that he did to the catalogue? The first point to note is that all four of the passages that the interpolator expanded were told so briefly in the original catalogue as to omit in each case most of the actual story, which was alluded to only briefly or suppressed altogether. These passages rather cried out to have their stories told, and thus offered an interpolator both the temptation to ply his craft and a purchase on which to do so. The two-line passage devoted to Epikaste is the clearest example of a brief allusion to a well-known story that was simply left at that. The lack of specific detail in these two lines invited the interpolator to add the rest of the story, or at least the heart of it, as he did immediately with the phrase γημαμένη ᾧ υἷϊ, “marrying her own son,” from which he went on to Oedipus’s murder of his father (ὁ δ’ ὃν πατέρ’ ἐξεναρίξας) and his marrying of his mother (again the verb γῆμεν, starting the second line of the interpolation, and matching the participle γημαμένη used of Epikaste at the start of the first line). Similarly, in the story of the Aloadai, the brief allusion to their fate—μινυνθαδίω δὲ γενέσθην, “but they were short-lived”—invited the expansion that it duly received from the interpolator. As for the wooing of Nestor’s sister Pero, the original catalogue told the story only in a negative form, that Neleus did not give his daughter to anyone who did not drive off the cattle of Iphiklos, and the interpolator seized on this to tell the story in a positive form, with mention of the “faultless seer” (Melampus) and his imprisonment and release by Iphiklos. Rather different, however, is the expansion of the story of Tyro, for in the original catalogue the story of her union with Poseidon was suppressed in favor of an older version of the myth, in which she bore the twins Neleus and Pelias {313|318} to the river god Enipeus. The passage that the interpolator has inserted into the middle of the original version brings Poseidon back into the story by having him take on the likeness of Enipeus and thus lie with Tyro. To the Ionians for whom the original catalogue was composed, and for the Milesians in particular, Poseidon’s role in the story was always implied, even though Enipeus alone was present in it. [218] Non-Ionians, however, may not have been as attuned to the close connection between Enipeus and Poseidon. There was thus perhaps an element of correction in the interpolator’s addition to the story, or at least the desire to bring the story back into line with what was more commonly known.

§2.160 The interpolator’s motivation, then, certainly included the desire to fill in stories that were only alluded to or implied in the original catalogue. But there must have been more, for the desire to tell omitted stories, even the desire to modernize one of the stories on a basic point, does not explain the profound change that the interpolator has worked on the catalogue while trying to preserve its structure. We know that the interpolator was an Athenian from the three Attic heroines that he added to the catalogue in his final passage. As noted previously, this passage was the interpolator’s signature, which, far from being disguised, seems to exhibit itself rather proudly as an Athenian product. As for the date of the interpolations, the first point to note is that two of the passages (that on Epikaste and Oedipus and that on Ariadne and Theseus) contain preclassical versions of the myths of the figures that they feature, and the interpolations are thus likely to belong to the sixth century BC at the latest. We have seen that the Hesiodic catalogues were used by the interpolator in at least two of his expansions of existing passages (Tyro and Chloris), and may have been used in his other two expansions as well (Epikaste and Iphimedeia). The use of the Hesiodic catalogues also seems consistent with a sixth century BC date. [219] The evidence of time and place makes it highly likely that the {318|319} interpolations were created for that elusive artifact of sixth-century Athens, the Peisistratean recension of the Homeric poems. If so, we have found not only the occasion, but also the reason for the interpolations. For the Athenian tyrant Peisistratos, the alleged prime mover of the “recension” that bears his name, claimed descent from Nestor and Neleus through Nestor’s son Peisistratos, his supposed namesake. To Peisistratos the tyrant, with his pretensions to descent from Neleus and Nestor (and thus ultimately from Poseidon), the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11, in which pride of place goes to precisely Neleus and Nestor, must have been an important part of the poems themselves. That his pretensions were in all likelihood no more than that would only increase his interest in the passage that concerned his pedigree. [220] But to make the passage apply to his pedigree the catalogue needed an Athenian dimension to it, and {319|320} this is exactly what it received from the interpolator. The reworked version of the catalogue still gives pride of place to Neleus and Nestor—and to Neleus in particular—but the relevance of these figures has been shifted to an Athenian perspective, so as to embrace their supposed Athenian descendant. The other change that needed to be made to the catalogue was in the passage on the birth of Neleus. It would not do to have Neleus, at the beginning of the Athenian tyrant’s pedigree, called the son of a minor river god in Thessaly, when Poseidon was known to be the father. The indignity was all the greater in that the catalogue makes Poseidon or Zeus the father of all the other twin figures, including Amphion and Zethos (Zeus is the father), Heracles (Zeus is the father), Castor and Polydeuces (Tyndareus is called the father, but Zeus, the divine father, is also present in the passage), and the Aloadai (Poseidon is the father). [221] The longest passage that the interpolator inserted into the catalogue, at fourteen lines, is the one that occurs first, and now we see why. This passage reestablishes Poseidon as progenitor of the Neleids and their supposed Athenian descendant and it does so with full dramatic flourish, including a speech by the god to the heroine whom he has just deceived with his disguise about the splendid children that she will bear him. [222] Earlier, when we first considered the interpolation of this passage, I remarked that it is difficult at first to read this passage without the interpolation because it is that very passage that is most vivid and memorable. That, we may now say, is exactly what it is meant to be. The passage on Tyro, with its eleven original and fourteen interpolated lines, is by far the longest passage in the catalogue (Nestor’s passage is seven lines shorter, the Aloadai’s passage is eight lines shorter). This passage now dominates the catalogue as well as simply heading it. Thus the interpolator has not only corrected the out-of-date version of Neleus’s birth in the original catalogue; he has made an indelible impression with his own correction. Surely this was his primary object in making over the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11.

§2.161 If we have correctly identified the origin of the interpolations in Odyssey 11 as the “Peisistratean recension,” we can use these interpolations as primary evidence for what this “recension” actually was. [223] As the {320|321} analysis above has shown, there was in Athens, in all likelihood, a written text to which a literate interpolator could and did make additions. [224] Whatever the merits of other aspects of the ancient tradition for a Peisistratean recension (and the merits vary with the aspect) there is thus reason to believe the tradition of interpolations made to the Homeric text. [225]

§2.162 Chief among the interpolations alleged in antiquity is Iliad 2.558, in the Catalogue of Ships, which says that Ajax stationed his twelve ships from Salamis where the Athenian battle lines stood: Peisistratos or Solon is supposed to have inserted this line into the text of the Iliad to justify the Athenian capture of Salamis from the Megarians in the time of Solon in a campaign in which the young Peisistratos is also said to have played a part. [226] {321|322} So the Megarians claimed, who had an alternative version of Iliad 2.557–558 that made no mention of Athens, and which they claimed was genuine. There has never been consensus on the merits of the Megarians’ charge of an Athenian forgery, but there is I think more reason to credit the charge with the evidence of the catalogue of heroines to compare. [227]

§2.163 The same may be said of Plutarch’s report (Theseus 20) of what the Megarian historian Hereas claimed in the fourth or third century BC, namely that Peisistratos inserted into Odyssey 11 a line that names Theseus and Peirithoos as heroes whom Odysseus wished to see in the underworld had he been allowed to stay there longer (Odyssey 11.631); Peisistratos inserted this line, Hereas charged, to please the Athenians. In the same passage Plutarch repeats a second charge of Hereas which concerns the works of Hesiod but is directly relevant to the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11. Hereas claimed that Peisistratos removed from the works of Hesiod a line concerning Theseus’s desertion of Ariadne; according to this line (Hesiod fr. 298 MW) Theseus deserted Ariadne because he had fallen in love with another woman, namely Aigle: δεινὸς γάρ μιν ἔτειρεν ἔρως Πανοπηΐδος Αἴγλης, “for a terrible passion for Aigle, the daughter of Panopeus, afflicted him.” [228] The report that Peisistratos removed this line {322|323} from Hesiod in order to defend the reputation of the Athenian hero Theseus offers striking support to the argument that it was likewise Peisistratos who was responsible for the interpolations in the catalogue of Odyssey 11. The last of the interpolated passages in the catalogue, as we have seen, similarly defends the reputation of Theseus from the charge of deserting Ariadne by saying that Artemis killed her on the evidence of Dionysus. Theseus, “who was bringing her to the hill of holy Athens,” clearly did not desert her, or have anything to do with her death. The evidence at this point is mutually reinforcing, for the interpolated passage of the catalogue, with its defense of Theseus, in turn lends greater credibility to the claims of Hereas, at least regarding the removal of an offending line of Hesiod on the part of the Athenian tyrant Peisistratos. [229]

§2.164 The final example of alleged interpolation in the Peisistratean recension is Odyssey 11.604. This line concludes a passage about Heracles, whose ghost Odysseus sees in the underworld, but who “himself” dwells among the gods and has Hebe for a wife (Odyssey 11.602–604):

εἴδωλον· αὐτὸς δὲ μετ’ ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖσι
τέρπεται ἐν θαλίῃς καὶ ἔχει καλλίσφυρον Ἥβην,
παῖδα Διὸς μεγάλοιο καὶ Ἥρης χρυσοπεδίλου.

…his likeness; but he himself among the immortal gods
delights in abundance and possesses beautiful-ankled Hebe,
the child of great Zeus and golden-sandaled Hera. {323|324}

All three of these lines have been considered spurious, and line 604 in particular was athetized according to the Homeric scholia. [230] This very line is found three times in Hesiod, where in each case it also describes Hebe as the wife of Heracles. [231] The scholiast says not only that this line of the Odyssey was athetized, but that it was inserted into the Odyssey by Onomakritos, the poet who was later exiled from Athens by Peisistratos’s son Hipparchus for forging an oracle of Musaeus. [232] Onomakritos was exiled by Hipparchus because he was caught in the act of forgery and exposed by a fellow poet, Lasos of Hermione. [233] {324|325} As Herodotus reports, however, Onomakritos did the Peisistratids’ bidding before his exile (ἐξήλασέ μιν ὁ Ἵππαρχος, πρότερον χρεώμενος τὰ μάλιστα, Herodotus 7.6.3), and he did so again after the Peisistratids themselves were exiled from Athens in 510 BC; in 485 BC he is found with the Peisistratids at the Persian court, where he put his knowledge of oracles at their disposal to persuade Xerxes to invade Greece. [234] It seems likely that Hipparchus exiled Onomakritos, not because he did anything against the interests of his Peisistratid patrons or of Athens, but because he was caught in the act of forgery by a non-Athenian poet and, with his credibility thus destroyed among Greeks, he was of no further use to the Peisistratids until they went to Persia. [235] On the evidence of the Homeric scholia Onomakritos borrowed a line from Hesiod and inserted it into the Odyssey (Odyssey 11.604). If he did this much it seems likely that he added the entire three-line passage on Heracles as an immortal on Olympus (Odyssey 11.602–604), for Peisistratos himself had a great interest in Heracles; indeed he seems to have modeled himself on Heracles, who dwelt on Olympus with the gods, when he set up residence on the Athenian Acropolis among the temples of the gods. [236] {325|326}

§2.165 Onomakritos, who was a known “interpolator” of oracles, who was in the pay of the Peisistratids, even (perhaps) of Peisistratos himself, [237] and who, if he interpolated 11.602–604 into the Odyssey, used Hesiod for one of the three lines, has all the qualifications necessary to be considered as the poet of the six passages interpolated into the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11. [238] If it was not Onomakritos who interpolated these passages, it must have been someone very much like him. [239] {326|327}

§2.166 Peisistratos’s claim to descent from Neleus and Nestor explains the interpolations made by him (or possibly by his son Hipparchus) to the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11. [240] The primary purpose was to put the god Poseidon back where he belonged at the head of the Neleid genealogy, and then to give an Athenian stamp to the catalogue as a whole, so that its relevance to Peisistratos would be perceived. This is the reason that the last of the interpolated passages is, as earlier noted, blatantly Athenian. It means to draw attention to itself and to Athens, and thereby to the ancestry of the Athenian tyrant. [241] {327|328}

§2.167 The Ionian catalogue of heroines that was originally in Odyssey 11 had a very different character from the Athenian catalogue of heroines that has come down to us in Odyssey 11. The Ionian catalogue had no interest in telling stories for their own sake; rather it arranged everything in a structure which itself conveyed a message that under no circumstances was to be expressed more directly. In and of itself this catalogue, devoid of such vivid passages as Poseidon’s impersonation of Enipeus and seduction of Tyro, is dry. The whole interest of this catalogue is the place that it occupies in the larger story, which is again a matter of structure. It is the answer to Alcinous’s question whether Odysseus, his nameless guest, lost a companion at Troy: he did, and the catalogue reveals through indirection the entire myth of this lost companion, and in what sense he was lost to Odysseus. But the catalogue does more than answer Alcinous’s question: it confirms the hidden identity of Alcinous himself. The catalogue in Odyssey 11, focusing on Nestor, is the counterpart to the Phaeacian genealogy in Odyssey 7, which presents Alcinous as a second Nestor. For the correspondence to work over so large a span the focus of the catalogue on Nestor has to be clear, as it is in the Ionian version of the catalogue. The point is then reinforced by having the Phaeacians, and Alcinous in particular, intervene in the story exactly when the catalogue is finished. In the Athenian catalogue this identification can no longer work, for the catalogue no longer clearly focuses on Nestor. But it would be truer to say that the identification of Nestor and Alcinous had already ceased to operate by the Athenian period, and that is why the catalogue was given a new look. [242] As long as the catalogue served the structural purpose for which it was intended, it was as alive as any passage in the Homeric poems. When it ceased to serve that purpose, it had little else going for it, and was ripe for a makeover that would give it at least one striking and memorable passage. This is the catalogue that has come down to us. [243] {328|329}

§2.168 I have now completed my discussion of Nestor’s role in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and to conclude Part 2 I return briefly to a question posed at the beginning of Part 1, to which the answer is now clear. In the Iliad Nestor is called one of the twelve sons of Neleus, whereas in the Odyssey he is named as one of the three sons of Neleus and Chloris, and the question is whether this discrepancy means, as the ancient khōrízontes maintained, that the Iliad and the Odyssey were by different poets. We have found that when Nestor is called one of the twelve sons of Neleus in Iliad 11 this is a screen for a much older myth in which Nestor and his brother Periklymenos are twin figures, and that this hidden myth is a paradigm for Patroclus in his relationship with Achilles; in the Odyssey, where Periklymenos is named together with Nestor, a third brother is also named, but the context in which this occurs, the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11, shows by its structure that the third brother is also a screen for Nestor’s twin myth, which in every other respect determines the content and shape of the catalogue. The conclusion is that the Iliad and the Odyssey do not differ fundamentally insofar as both assume Nestor’s twin myth and both disguise it; the difference between the two poems is in the disguises, and this is a superficial difference with its own rationale. More will be said in Part 4 about the myth of the twelve sons of Neleus, which has its own important role in the Homeric poems and could not be omitted from them. But this myth also could not be allowed to stand as the sole truth to the exclusion of Nestor’s much older tradition, and this is what the discrepancy in Odyssey 11 clearly conveys. [244] At the deepest level the Iliad and the Odyssey are the same with respect to Nestor and his myth. {329|331}


[ back ] 128. The final mention of Nestor in the poem is in Odyssey 24 in Agamemnon’s account of Achilles’ funeral: Nestor restrained the Achaeans from fleeing to the ships in panic when Thetis and the Nereids came to mourn Achilles’ death (Odyssey 24.50–52). The scene resembles Agamemnon’s testing of the army in Iliad 2, except that there Odysseus restrains the Achaeans from fleeing to the ships and Nestor incites them to war; see §2.67 above. The same motif in Odyssey 24 looks like a conscious variation of Iliad 2. In the main story of the Odyssey Nestor’s final appearance (or rather non-appearance) is in Odyssey 15, when Telemachus bypasses him on the way to Ithaca (see §2.91 above).

[ back ] 129. See above §1.4 and n1.8.

[ back ] 130. Agamemnon in this passage is called the brother-in-law of the Dioskouroi (γαμβρὸς ἐὼν, line 5); this must mean that he had already wed Clytemnestra and was no longer himself an eligible suitor of Helen. The precise point of lines 3–4 then—that Castor and Polydeuces “would have made him (Agamemnon) their brother-in-law by force”—is not quite clear; this apparently means that they would have made him their brother-in-law if he had not already been their brother-in-law. It is not likely that γαμβρός in line 5 means “wooer” rather than “brother-in-law”—an Aeolic and Doric usage attested by Pindar and Theocritus—in view of the meaning “brother-in-law” in the previous line. At any rate Agamemnon woos not for himself but for his brother. Hesiod fr. 198.2–8 MW says that Odysseus, who wooed from Ithaca, kept promising gifts to Castor and Polydeuces but never sent them, because he knew that Menelaus, as the richest of the Achaeans, would win Helen.

[ back ] 131. Melampus and Bias fled to Argos together, but this passage is interested only in Melampus, the ancestor of Theoklymenos; cf. “Apollodorus” 1.9.12 and 2.2.2 (see also above §1.11 and n1.26).

[ back ] 132. They are not called twins, but they are twin figures; see n1.24 above.

[ back ] 133. “Apollodorus” 1.9.12 offers a detailed account: Melampus, who understood the language of animals, heard worms talking in his prison and escaped before they ate through the beam over his head; this impressed his captor, who agreed to give him the cattle in return for curing his son (cf. n2.134 below). “Apollodorus” 1.9.11 tells how Melampus first became a prophet when snakes cleaned his ears and this enabled him to understand the language of birds.

[ back ] 134. In Odyssey 15.231 Melampus is held in the halls of Phúlakos, whose name, “imprisoner,” matches the name of the place, Phulákē. In Odyssey 11.290 it is Iphiklos, not Phylakos, whose cattle are set as Pero’s bride price; the two names are reconciled in “Apollodorus,” where Phylakos is the father of Iphiklos: Melampus wins the cattle and his own freedom through his medical skill, telling Phylakos how to cure his son Iphiklos of childlessness. Melampus’s medical skill is featured again in the myth of Proitos’s daughters, whom he cures of madness (cf. n1.26 above); in his function as a physician Melampus corresponds to the Vedic twin gods and the Greek twins Podaleirios and Makhaon (for the latter pair see above §2.8 with n2.19).

[ back ] 135. Compare the Vedic name Nā́satyā in its association with cattle in Vedic diction, and in its association with a return from darkness in the Vedic twins’ myths and rituals; compare also the cattle raid in the myth of the Dioskouroi (see above §1.66 and n1.205). In the myth of Castor’s death the variant to the driving off of cattle is the carrying off of brides, the Leukippides; in the case of Melampus and Bias the winning of a bride is not a variant for the winning of cattle, but connected to it: cattle are Pero’s bride price.

[ back ] 136. Hesiod fr. 37.10–14 MW:

οἳ δὲ καὶ εἰς Ἄργος Προῖ̣[το]ν̣ πά̣[ρα δῖον ἵκοντο,
ἔνθά σφιν μετέδ̣ωκ̣[ε
ἴ̣φ̣θ̣[ι]μ̣ος Προῖτο̣σ̣ κλῆρ̣ον ̣[
ἱπποδάμω̣ι τ̣ε [Βί]α̣ντι̣ [Μελάμποδί θ’
μαντοσύνηις ἰήσατ’, ἐπεὶ ε̣φ̣[

They [went] to Argos and to Proitos [
there [he] gave them [
steadfast Proitos a share [
both to horse-breaking Bias [and to Melampus
cured with his prophetic skill, when [

[ back ] 137. The birth of Pero after her brothers in Odyssey 11 is uncannily echoed by the birth of Helen after her brothers in Cypria fr. 7.1 Allen: τοὺς δὲ μέτα τριτάτην Ἑλένην τέκε θαῦμα βροτοῖσι, “after them she bore a third, Helen, a wonder to mortals”; compare Odyssey 11.287: τοῖσι δ’ ἐπ’ ἰφθίμην Πηρὼ τέκε, θαῦμα βροτοῖσι, “after them she bore steadfast Pero, a wonder to mortals.” The phrase thaûma brotoîsi, “a wonder to mortals,” occurs in only these two lines in Greek epic: Pero and Helen were both “a wonder to mortals” because of their beauty, which attracted many suitors. The Cypria fragment, which is found in Athenaeus 8.334b–d, continues with a passage naming Nemesis as Helen’s mother. From this it would appear that the Cypria considered Nemesis the mother of the Dioskouroi as well, but this is not certain (the first line of the fragment and the lines about Nemesis are not clearly connected; Allen indicates a lacuna between them). “Apollodorus” 3.10.7 says that according to some Nemesis rather than Leda was Helen’s mother; he does not say that this pertained to the Dioskouroi as well as to Helen.

[ back ] 138. See n1.156 above for the female figure associated with the twins in the Indo-European myth; she is called the “daughter of the sun,” and she is both the sister and common wife of the twins. In the Greek myth Helen is the sister of the Dioskouroi but her suitors are a different pair of brothers; Pero follows the same pattern as Helen.

[ back ] 139. For the city-founding function of Greek twins cf. also n2.20 above on Podaleirios, who acts separately from his brother Makhaon in this role, just as Neleus acts separately from Pelias. The city-founding function of twins has correspondences elsewhere in the Indo-European domain: Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, and Hengist and Horsa, the leaders of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, are examples; the Anglo-Saxon twins, both of whose names mean “horse” (for Hengist cf. German Hengst, “stallion”), are a reflex of the twin horsemen of the Indo-European myth. Other Germanic peoples (the Vandals, Langobards, and Asdingi) are also said to have been led by pairs of twins during the period of migrations; see Ward 1968:50–56 and 1970:199–200 with n30. The Theban city founders have the basic features of Indo-European twins: they are associated with horses (see EN1.3 end), and they are contrasted with each other like other Indo-European twins. In Euripides’ fragmentary Antiope the contrast between them is cast as a debate between Zethos, the proponent of an active life, and Amphion, a contemplative musician (see Kambitsis 1972:xxii–xxx). In this debate music is equated with sophía, “wisdom”: cf. sophísmata, fr. 188.5, sophós, frs. 186.1, 200.3, 202.2 Kannicht 2004; according to Cicero On Invention 1.50.94 and the Rhetorica ad Herennium 2.27.43 Amphion’s defense of music in the play is rather a defense of sapientia; cf. Kambitsis xxii n2 and xxviii–xxix. The active life advocated by Zethos, on the other hand, includes the duties of a citizen soldier (cf. aspídos kútei, “the hollow of the shield,” fr. 185.5 Kannicht). Euripides seems to have recast in contemporary terms an old contrast between the twins (“intelligence” in the one, “war” in the other). “Apollodorus” 3.5.5 tells how the Theban twins were exposed by their mother and raised by a cowherd, and how Amphion practiced music whereas Zethos practiced cowherding. From the standpoint of the Indo-European myth Zethos’s association with cattle is secondary; it perhaps has to do with Euripides’ distinction between an aprágmōn Amphion, who busies himself with music, and a poluprágmōn Zethos, who busies himself from childhood with active pursuits (the word aprágmōn, “free from business, staying away from politics,” and the idea of a poluprágmōn, “restless, meddlesome man,” are found in Antiope fr. 193 Kannicht). Plato’s Gorgias bears witness to the contemporary resonance of the Euripidean debate between Amphion and Zethos (the debate is alluded to in Gorgias 484e, 485e, 486bc, 489e). The tradition that Amphion and Zethos walled Thebes by means of the kithara, attested for Hesiod (fr. 182 MW), is ignored by Homer. At the end of Euripides’ Antiope Hermes assigns the two twins different roles in the task of building walls for Thebes: Amphion is to play the lyre, which stones and trees will obey (fr. 223.119–126 Kannicht); in the lines addressed to Zethos there is a lacuna, but the full line that remains, while itself corrupt, has a warlike sound to it that fits the characterization of this twin: σὺ μὲν .[.]…το̣ν̣ ἔ̣ρ̣υ̣μα̣ πολεμίων λαβών, “you, on the one hand…taking the enemies’ defense,” Kannicht fr. 223.118 (cf. Kambitsis ad loc. [fr. 48.89] for the uncertain text). Apollonius of Rhodes 1.735–741 pictures the twins in the act of building the Theban walls; Zethos lifts a mountain peak on his shoulders with great effort, while Amphion plays his lyre and a rock twice as large as his brother’s follows him. As a parallel for Amphion the musician, the Dioskouroi are called musicians in Theocritus 22.24 (ἱππῆες κιθαρισταὶ ἀεθλητῆρες ἀοιδοί, “horsemen, kithara-players, athletes, singers”; music presumably characterized Polydeuces in contrast to Castor, but this is not attested. For a discussion of early and late sources attesting the building of the walls of Thebes by Amphion and Zethos see Hurst 2000. The double foundation of Thebes, by Cadmus on the one hand, and by Amphion and Zethos on the other hand, is studied with a focus on archaeological evidence by Berman 2004.

[ back ] 140. Hesiod Shield of Heracles 35–38 (Zeus is the subject in the first two lines):

αὐτῇ μὲν γὰρ νυκτὶ τανισφύρου Ἠλεκτρυώνης
εὐνῇ καὶ φιλότητι μίγη, τέλεσεν δ’ ἄρ’ ἐέλδωρ·
αὐτῇ δ’ Ἀμφιτρύων λαοσσόος, ἀγλαὸς ἥρως,
ἐκτελέσας μέγα ἔργον ἀφίκετο ὅνδε δόμονδε.

On one night he made love
with Electryon’s slender-ankled daughter in her bed and fulfilled his desire;
on the same night warrior-rousing Amphitryon, the splendid hero,
returned to his house after accomplishing a great deed.

After the lovemaking of husband and wife (lines 39–47) the poem concludes with the birth of Alcmena’s twin sons (lines 48–56); the latter passage elaborately contrasts both the fathers, one immortal and the other mortal, and the sons, one better and the other worse (Hesiod Shield of Heracles 48–56):

ἣ δὲ θεῷ δμηθεῖσα καὶ ἀνέρι πολλὸν ἀρίστῳ
Θήβῃ ἐν ἑπταπύλῳ διδυμάονε γείνατο παῖδε,
οὐκέθ’ ὁμὰ φρονέοντε· κασιγνήτω γε μὲν ἤστην·
τὸν μὲν χειρότερον, τὸν δ’ αὖ μέγ’ ἀμείνονα φῶτα,
δεινόν τε κρατερόν τε, βίην Ἡρακληείην·
τὸν μὲν ὑποδμηθεῖσα κελαινεφέϊ Κρονίωνι,
αὐτὰρ Ἰφικλῆα δορυσσόῳ Ἀμφιτρύωνι,
κεκριμένην γενεήν· τὸν μὲν βροτῷ ἀνδρὶ μιγεῖσα,
τὸν δὲ Διὶ Κρονίωνι θεῶν σημάντορι πάντων.

Having submitted to the god and to much the best man
she bore twin sons in seven-gated Thebes,
one the worse, the other greatly the better man,
terrible and strong, the mighty Heracles;
him (she bore) submitting to the dark-clouded son of Kronos,
but Iphicles (she bore) to spear-shaking Amphitryon,
illustrious offspring; the one (she bore) having made love to a mortal man,
the other to Kronos’s son Zeus, ruler of all the gods.

[ back ] 141. A brief comment on Epikaste is in order. The catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11 presents the “wives and daughters” of heroes: Odysseus says so in his introduction to the catalogue (Odyssey 11.225–227):

νῶϊ μὲν ὣς ἐπέεσσιν ἀμειβόμεθ’, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες
ἤλυθον, ὤτρυνεν γὰρ ἀγαυὴ Περσεφόνεια,
ὅσσαι ἀριστήων ἄλοχοι ἔσαν ἠδὲ θύγατρες.

Thus the two of us exchanged words, and the women
came, for revered Persephone roused them,
all who were wives and daughters of the best men.

He uses the same formulation in his epilogue at the end of the catalogue proper (Odyssey 11.328–329):

πάσας δ’ οὐκ ἂν ἐγὼ μυθήσομαι οὐδ’ ὀνομήνω,
ὅσσας ἡρώων ἀλόχους ἴδον ἠδὲ θύγατρας.

I could not say or name all
the wives and daughters of heroes that I saw.

Husbands and fathers of the heroines are duly named in each entry, but not very consistently, and it does not take long to emerge that the heroines are actually significant as mothers rather than as wives and daughters: it is the heroines’ sons (and one daughter, Pero) who matter in this catalogue. In Epikaste, who is both wife and mother to Oedipus, the announced intention of the catalogue and its real purpose coincide, and this obviously happens in her case alone. The real purpose of the catalogue, which is to present the mothers of heroes and their sons, pertains to the entire catalogue; the clearest articulation of this purpose, in the shocking case of Epikaste, is well placed at the midpoint of the catalogue as a whole.

[ back ] 142. Analysts have long regarded the “intermezzo” (as the interruption in Odysseus’s story is sometimes called) as a secondary intrusion into the poem; see e.g. Page 1955:32–35, whose argument focuses on the addition of an extra day to Odysseus’s stay (τλήτω…ἐπιμεῖναι ἐς αὔριον, “let him bear…to remain until tomorrow,” Odyssey 11.350–351), when his departure seemed to be firmly fixed for a day earlier (αὔριον ἔς, “for tomorrow,” Odyssey 7.318, spoken the day before). Fenik 1974:108 comments on the phrase αὔριον ἔς in Odyssey 7.318 that “probably no other single phrase in the Odyssey has served as the basis for more elaborate or more confident analyst criticism and reconstruction.” Brian Hainsworth (Heubeck et al. 1988, vol. 1, 317) defends the phrase from such analyst criticism, arguing that “its use in the circumstances is perfectly natural and it is corrected at 11.350–351 when circumstances had changed.”

[ back ] 143. The role of the Phaeacian queen is also crucial for Odysseus’s homecoming; he is told twice before he meets her that if she is well disposed toward him there is hope that he will reach home (Odyssey 6.313–315, 7.75–77). It is in the interruption of Odysseus’s story that Arete first gives him her full endorsement. Her speech is well placed because it immediately follows Odysseus’s encounters with other female figures in the underworld, his mother first, followed by the group of heroines. As has often been noted, the shift in Odysseus’s story from the encounters with these female figures to encounters with his male companions from Troy is dramatized by having the queen speak first after Odysseus interrupts his story, and having the king speak next, before he resumes his story (see e.g. Pache 1999:30). The shift from a female to a male perspective is signaled especially in Alcinous’s words πομπὴ δ’ ἄνδρεσσι μελήσει / πᾶσι, μάλιστα δ’ ἐμοί, “his voyage will be up to all the men, but to me most of all.”

[ back ] 144. Note that Nestor’s “smooth stones” to sit on (epì xestoîsi líthoisin, Odyssey 3.406) are paralleled in the Phaeacians’ place of council when Alcinous gathers the elders to arrange Odysseus’s return (Odyssey 8.4–7):

τοῖσιν δ’ ἡγεμόνευ’ ἱερὸν μένος Ἀλκινόοιο
Φαιήκων ἀγορήνδ’, ἥ σφιν παρὰ νηυσὶ τέτυκτο.
ἐλθόντες δὲ καθῖζον ἐπὶ ξεστοῖσι λίθοισι

Alcinous, having sacred power, led them
to the assembly of the Phaeacians, which was built for them next to the ships.
They went and sat on polished stones,
near each other.

These are the phrases’s only two occurrences in the Odyssey; there is a third occurrence in the Iliad in the litigation scene on the shield of Achilles (Iliad 18.504). There are variations of the phrase at Iliad 6.244 and 248 (θάλαμοι ξεστοῖο λίθοιο, “bedchambers of polished stone”) and Odyssey 16.408 (ἐλθόντες δὲ καθῖζον ἐπὶ ξεστοῖσι θρόνοισιν, “they went and sat on polished thrones”); cf. also ξεστοῖσιν λάεσσι, “polished stones,” in Odyssey 10.211 and 253 (Circe’s palace).

[ back ] 145. “Apollodorus” 1.6.1–2 names thirteen giants who took part in the battle at Phlegrai and Eurymedon is not among them, much less their king. There may also have been local myths of giants, and it is possible that Eurymedon represents one such. See West 1966:419 (on Theogony 954) for the possibility that Heracles, besides his participation in the battle at Phlegrai, slew other giants by himself on a different occasion. For further discussion of the giants in Greek tradition see EN2.3 and, from an Athenian perspective, n3.105 and n3.108 and EN3.7 below.

[ back ] 146. Conceal would be more accurate; see below.

[ back ] 147. Hesiod fr. 30 MW; also “Apollodorus” 1.9.7; cf. Vergil Aeneid 6.585–594.

[ back ] 148. It is also famously given to the sinner Aigisthos (Odyssey 1.29).

[ back ] 149. And a typical one for ancient Greek society (see n2.150 below). There are two examples in Nestor’s own family: Tyro was Kretheus’s niece (cf. Hesiod fr. 10 MW) whom he raised and married after her father Salmoneus was destroyed (Hesiod fr. 30.25–30 MW); Amythaon married the daughter of his brother Pheres and had the sons Melampus and Bias by her (“Apollodorus” 1.9.11).

[ back ] 150. In Attic legal terminology Arete has the status of an epíklēros, “heiress,” a daughter whose father had no male heirs; the epíklēros was required to produce a male heir for her father’s line through marriage to a close relation (a father’s brother or a cousin); see Cox 1998:94–99. In Athens, according to Aristotle, the father could give such a daughter to whomever he chose, and if he died intestate, the guardian of his inheritance (his klēronómos) could give her to whomever he chose (Politics 1270a26–29); the klēronómos was “the nearest adult male relative, or if there should be more than one equally near, the eldest of them” (Newman 1887:329; cf. also Schütrumpf 1991:312–313 for more recent discussion). For bibliography on Homeric and Attic marriage and differences between them see Foley 1994:147–148 and n208. In Sparta, if a father had not chosen a husband for an heiress, the kings did so (Herodotus 6.57.4). In Sparta, as in Athens, an heiress would no doubt be married to her nearest relation on the father’s side, an uncle or cousin, so that the property would remain in the clan.

[ back ] 151. Iliad 7.228, 13.324, 16.146, 16.575; Odyssey 4.5. All occurrences of the epithet are in the same metrical position as the name Rhexenor in Odyssey 7.63. The name occurs once more, in Odyssey 7.146, where Arete is called “daughter of Rhexenor.” The noun ῥηξηνορίη, “man-breaking might,” occurs once, in Odyssey 14.217, in Odysseus’s tale to Eumaios.

[ back ] 152. For the Phaeacians’ names, see Welcker 1832/1845:3–4 (discussed further in n4.179 below): Alcinous has three sons and a daughter, three of whose names relate to the sea; the exception is Laodámas, whose name expresses “kingliness” (“das Königliche”) in Welcker’s term (for this figure, the Phaeacian heir apparent, see §4.49–§4.53 below; for his name see EN2.2 to n2.125 above and cf. n2.125 above). Among the rest of the Phaeacians eighteen have names that relate to the sea and only two do not: Polybos, who made a purple ball used for a dance (Odyssey 8.373) and Dymas, “famous for ships” (ναυσικλειτοῖο Δύμαντος, Odyssey 6.22).

[ back ] 153. Compare the arrows that Apollo shoots against the Achaean army in Iliad 1.43–52, which suggest plague, especially in the deaths of animals (dogs and asses) as well as humans. In Odyssey 15.407–411, on the other hand, Eumaeus tells Odysseus that on the island of Syrie, where he was born, there was no hunger or disease, but when people grew old Apollo and Artemis shot them with gentle arrows; in this case the gods’ arrows seem to represent a natural death by old age, which would not apply to Rhexenor.

[ back ] 154. More than a century and a half ago G. W. Nitzsch wrote to the point of the Phaeacians that “they are there only for Odysseus and the course of the Odyssey” (“sie nur für Odysseus und den Verlauf der Odyssee da sind,” Nitzsch 1831:165; cf. Welcker 1832/1845:14, who quotes Nitzsch’s statement, and also Nitzsch’s related discussion, p. 78). Brian Hainsworth regards the Phaeacian genealogy as an invention, noting that “at least twelve Periboeas and eight Eurymedons are known to the mythographers,” but he misses the point that the Phaeacians themselves are an invention of the Odyssey (Hainsworth in Heubeck et al. 1988 on Odyssey 7.54–66).

[ back ] 155. The pretense is maintained at Odyssey 16.227–228, where Odysseus tells Telemachus that the Phaeacians brought him home, “who also convey other men, whoever comes to them”:

Φαίηκές μ’ ἄγαγον ναυσικλυτοί, οἵ τε καὶ ἄλλους
ἀνθρώπους πέμπουσιν, ὅτίς σφεας εἰσαφίκηται.

[ back ] 156. The scholia to Odyssey 7.324 say that Rhadamanthys came “to bring Tityos to his senses” about his evil deed (ὡς δὴ σωφρονίσων αὐτὸν) or that “Rhadamanthys, the most just judge among the Greeks, punished him earlier,” i.e. before Apollo did (τοῦτον οὖν ὁ Ῥαδάμανθος ὁ δικαιότατος παρ’ ῞Ελλησι κριτὴς ἐτιμώρησε πρότερον). These alternatives are clearly guesses based on nothing more than the text of the Odyssey. Welcker 1832/1845:28, 71 supposes that the Odyssey alludes to a real tradition for Tityos and Rhadamanthys which was known to Homer but did not survive later. He makes much of the statement of the scholia to Odyssey 7.324 that the Phaeacians seem to live near the isles of the blest (φαίνονται γοῦν οἱ Φαίακες πλησίον τῶν μακάρων νήσων κατοικοῦντες), and this leads him to connect the Phaeacians with a Germanic tradition for islands of the dead in the Atlantic Ocean. He follows another of the scholiast’s leads in comparing Rhadamanthys’s final abode in Elysion, which is “at the ends of the earth” according to Odyssey 4.563, with the apparent home of the Phaeacians. The upshot is that the Phaeacians and Rhadamanthys lived near each other “at the ends of the earth,” and this is the reason that they took him on his obscure mission to Euboea. I would agree that this seems entirely consistent with what the Odyssey says about the Phaeacians.

[ back ] 157. It is worth noting the quaintness of Euboea’s being the farthest point that the Phaeacians ever reached if indeed they took many on their way (so also Stanford 1959 ad loc.). The conveyance of Rhadamanthys, if examined closely, is different from what the Phaeacians otherwise claim to do, which is to provide conveyance to anyone who comes to them needing it (Odyssey 8.31–33; see §2.117 above). Rhadamanthys cannot be imagined as simply wandering into the Phaeacians’ kingdom in desperate straits like Odysseus; the Phaeacians must have picked him up where he dwelt (cf. n2.156 above). After taking him to Euboea, moreover, they must have taken him back home again, even though this detail is left out of Alcinous’s brief description of the round trip: καὶ μὲν οἱ ἔνθ’ ἦλθον καὶ ἄτερ καμάτοιο τέλεσσαν / ἤματι τῷ αὐτῷ καὶ ἀπήνυσαν οἴκαδ’ ὀπίσσω, “They went there and they finished the voyage without toil / and came back home again on the same day” (Odyssey 7.325–326); this return trip is also more than what the Phaeacians claim to do routinely. The Rhadamanthys episode is meant to be vague and suggestive, as said; a further point that is suggested is worth making explicit. If Rhadamanthys indeed inhabited the Elysian fields (cf. n2.156 above), he was already “dead” when he visited Tityos. This is relevant to the “return to life” of Odysseus, the Phaeacians’ only other passenger. The death-like state of Odysseus in his final return aboard the Phaeacian ship (Odyssey 13.80; cf. §2.120 below) goes well with the Rhadamanthys episode, so interpreted, and vice versa.

[ back ] 158. To be sure the Corcyreans claimed to be the Phaeacians’ descendants, a claim that was well established by the fifth century BC (Thucydides 1.25.4). Welcker 1832/1845:40–41 speculates that Hesiod was the first to associate the Phaeacians with Corcyra, since Hesiod associated Odysseus’s other travels with locations in Italy (cf. Welcker 1832/1845:47n103). The first attested mention of Corcyra is in the probably sixth-century Naupaktia Epe, which according to Pausanias 2.3.9 represented Jason and Medea as moving to Corcyra from Iolkos after the death of Pelias. How the Phaeacians figured in this epic is not known, but the story seems different from the wedding of Jason and Medea under the protection of Alcinous and Arete known from later Argonautic tradition (cf. Welcker 1832/1845:39). A major accomplishment of Welcker’s essay is to show that the Homeric Phaeacians had nothing to do with Corcyra, despite the fact that this identification was taken seriously in the time of Thucydides, and probably well before Thucydides. In the Hellenistic era Eratosthenes and others distinguished Scheria from Corcyra, but the indentification was revived in modern times (see Welcker 1832/1845:47–60, who gives an interesting example on p. 54: Isaac Newton calculated thirty-four years between Medea’s marriage on Corcyra and the fall of Troy, and on this basis calculated that the bride Nausicaa was fifty years old when she married Telemachus; as Welcker points out, Newton did not allow for the possibility that Arete was childless at the time of Medea’s marriage). Many have supposed (rightly, in my view) that the Argonautic use of the Phaeacians merely imitates the Odyssey (cf. Welcker 1832/1845:53; for a summary of views before Welcker, either attacking or defending the identification of the Phaeacians with the Corcyreans, see Welcker 1832/1845:57–59). For the wedding of Jason and Medea among the Phaeacians as a Corcyrean invention, see Welcker 1832/1845:39–40; the Corcyreans commemorated the wedding in a festival attested by Timaeus (scholia to Apollonius of Rhodes 4.1217, 1153). Welcker 1832/1845:40 argues that Corinthian colonists brought Medea together with Hera and other divinities to Corcyra (for Hera’s important place in Corcyra, cf. Thucydides 1.24.7, 3.75.5, 3.79.1; 734 BC is the traditional date for the founding of Corcyra by Corinth). The features of the Homeric Phaeacians that may have led Hesiod and later Greeks to identify them with the Corcyreans are discussed by Welcker 1832/1845:41: Thesprotians, who figure prominently in Odysseus’s lying tales, are in the same geographic region as Corcyra; the place of origin of the Phaeacians’ servant woman, called a γρηῢς Ἀπειραίη, “an old woman from Apeira,” in Odyssey 7.8 (cf. Ἀπείρηθεν, “from Apeira,” in Odyssey 7.9) was taken to be Epirus, which again is in the same geographic region as Corcyra.

[ back ] 159. Alcinous recalls this prophecy on an earlier occasion as well (Odyssey 8.564–569).

[ back ] 160. Note also that they live “far from grain-eating men” (ἑκὰς ἀνδρῶν ἀλφηστάων, Odyssey 6.8); hence no one can have any intercourse with them, or indeed any knowledge of them. Analogous to the Phaeacians with respect to their non-existence outside the Odyssey is the Achaean wall in the Iliad, about which Aristotle, as quoted by Strabo 13.1.36, says: “the poet who made it also destroyed it” (ὁ δὲ πλάσας ποιητὴς ἠφάνισεν).

[ back ] 161. Another sign that Arete’s place in the Phaeacian genealogy is, so to speak, arbitrary, is the discrepancy between Homer and Hesiod as to what her place in fact is. In the Odyssey Athena tells Odysseus that Arete is from the same “parents” (tokē̂es) as Alcinous before she proceeds with the rest of the Phaeacian genealogy (Odyssey 7.53–55):

δέσποιναν μὲν πρῶτα κιχήσεαι ἐν μεγάροισιν·
Ἀρήτη δ’ ὄνομ’ ἐστὶν ἐπώνυμον, ἐκ δὲ τοκήων
τῶν αὐτῶν, οἵ περ τέκον Ἀλκίνοον βασιλῆα.

You will come upon the mistress first in the halls;
Arete is her well-chosen name; she is from the same
parents who gave birth to Alcinous the king.

As the continuation of the passage shows, tokḗōn here means “parents” in an extended sense that also includes an earlier generation in the bloodline (Nausithoos is Alcinous’s father but Arete’s grandfather); this usage is unusual, but no more so than in Odyssey 4.596, when Telemachus says that he could stay in Sparta and listen to Menelaus for a year and not miss his tokē̂es (only his mother and his paternal grandfather are in Ithaca; Telemachus can hardly be including Odysseus in his statement). According to the scholia to Odyssey 7.54 Hesiod took Arete to be the sister of Alcinous (Hesiod fr. 222 MW). It is clear that for this Hesiod depends on Odyssey 7.54–55, where Arete is said to be from the same “parents” as Alcinous, but it is hard to explain why Hesiod ignores the Odyssey’s explanation of this statement. Perhaps it was a “learned” disagreement showing Hesiodic independence from the Homeric Odyssey on this point; the Hesiodic variant of a brother-sister marriage would thus be an invention, and one that could not be disputed with anything beyond the uncle-niece marriage of Odyssey 7, for no one knew any more about the Phaeacians than what the Odyssey said. In other words, the Hesiodic poets pretended to know more than the Homeric poets in this instance. If this explanation is right, it is consistent with the view that the Phaeacians really belong solely to the Odyssey. For further evidence that Hesiod knew nothing about the Phaeacians, but simply drew inferences from the Odyssey, see Welcker 1832/1845:40–41and 47n103; I note in particular his suggestion that Hesiod, who first assigned Italian locations to Odysseus’s travels, also first equated Scheria with Corcyra (cf. n2.158 above).

[ back ] 162. For the following cf. above §1.37, also n2.154.

[ back ] 163. The Phaeacian ship reaches Ithaca with the sleeping Odysseus just at dawn (Odyssey 13.93–95):

εὖτ’ ἀστὴρ ὑπερέσχε φαάντατος, ὅς τε μάλιστα
ἔρχεται ἀγγέλλων φάος Ἠοῦς ἠριγενείης,
τῆμος δὴ νήσῳ προσεπίλνατο ποντοπόρος νηῦς.

When the brightest star rose, which especially
comes and announces the light of early-born Dawn,
the sea-crossing ship approached the island.

Odysseus’s nóstos is thus a “return to light” as well as a “return to life.”

[ back ] 164. Nausicaa tells him this in Odyssey 6.313–315; Athena tells him again in Odyssey 7.75–77.

[ back ] 165. Note that in this passage Alcinous’s fame (kléos) is tied to Odysseus’s homecoming; this is another sign (not a proof) that Alcinous is limited to the Odyssey tradition.

[ back ] 166. The transference of anger from one context to another is also found in Odyssey 15, where Peisistratos warns Telemachus that Nestor will be angry if Telemachus simply bypasses him on his return to Ithaca (μάλα γὰρ κεχολώσεται ἔμπης, “in any case he will be very angry,” Odyssey 15.214); this anger too is a transference from the quarrel between Nestor and Odysseus on Tenedos (see §2.91 above).

[ back ] 167. There are actually two dance performances (Odyssey 8.261–265 and 8.370–380), and Odysseus comments approvingly after the second one, in which Laodamas and Halios (another son of Alcinous) show unusual skill. Between the two dances Demodokos sings the song of Ares and Aphrodite. According to Alcinous the Phaeacians excel in singing as well as dancing (Odyssey 8.253), and Demodokos’s song bears him out.

[ back ] 168. The tone of latent hostility between Odysseus and his hosts is generalized to all the Phaeacians before he has even met his hosts, when Athena covers him in a mist on his way into the town so that none of the Phaeacians will taunt him (Odyssey 7.14–17):

καὶ τότ’ Ὀδυσσεὺς ὦρτο πόλινδ’ ἴμεν· ἀμφὶ δ’ Ἀθήνη
πολλὴν ἠέρα χεῦε φίλα φρονέουσ’ Ὀδυσῆϊ,
μή τις Φαιήκων μεγαθύμων ἀντιβολήσας
κερτομέοι τ’ ἐπέεσσι καὶ ἐξερέοιθ’ ὅτις εἴη.

And then Odysseus got up to go into the city; Athena poured
much mist around, being kindly minded toward Odysseus,
so that none of the great-hearted Phaeacians, meeting him,
would taunt him with words and ask who he was.

Disguised as a maiden, Athena then warns Odysseus directly about the Phaeacians’ unfriendly attitude to strangers (Odyssey 7.32–33):

οὐ γὰρ ξείνους οἵ γε μάλ’ ἀνθρώπους ἀνέχονται
οὐδ’ ἀγαπαζόμενοι φιλέουσ’, ὅς κ’ ἄλλοθεν ἔλθῃ.

For they do not gladly suffer foreign men,
and they do not welcome and love anyone who comes from somewhere else.

Odysseus’s chilly reception in the palace is well prepared for; so too is the taunt that he receives from Euryalos.

[ back ] 169. For the quarrel between Achilles and Odysseus (the first song of Demodokos) see Nagy 1979:23–25, 45–46.

[ back ] 170. The passage is quoted §2.109 above.

[ back ] 171. The form of the question, with a set of alternatives, the second of which is valid, is reminiscent of the technique used in the chariot race of Iliad 23 when Idomeneus speculates about what befell Eumelos at the turning post: first he surmises what actually happened, a crash on the plain, then he suggests what is the real point of the scene—a crash at the turning post.

[ back ] 172. See Stanford 1959 on Odyssey 3.4; Stanford’s view that Homer’s Ionian audience venerated Neleus as the ancestor of the kings of Miletus and Colophon is, I think, substantially right, with a qualification in the case of Colophon (Colophon is secondary to Miletus in this affiliation; see Part 4 below).

[ back ] 173. For what I mean (and, more important, what I do not mean) by “interpolations,” see n2.16 above regarding Cantieni’s argument that Nestor’s story in Iliad 11 contains “spurious” passages. What I mean by “interpolation” is anything that entered the Homeric poems after the Ionic phase of development. As I noted earlier, I reserve the term “Homeric” for the Ionic phase, but I by no means wish to impose this usage on those who have a different perspective. The unfortunate part of the term “interpolation” is that it automatically suggests a written text. When I use the term I prefer not to prejudge the question of the medium, whether oral or written, but to consider this issue with others on a case by case basis. There have been those who consider the catalogue of heroines as a whole an interpolation (references in Stenger 2006:231n57), and this, to say the least, is an overreaction. Those who defend the catalogue from the charge of irrelevance to Odysseus’s mission in the underworld (references in Stenger 2006:231n58) often point to the role of Arete, who seems to accept Odysseus for the first time immediately after the catalogue. I agree with this point (cf. n2.143 above), and I cite Stenger 2006:230–232, who makes a good case in these terms; in the end, however, this defense of the catalogue still seems to me to fall short.

[ back ] 174. Preller 1894:573n1: “Indeed the narrative of Odyssey 11.235ff. still allows one without difficulty to guess an older form of the myth, according to which not Poseidon, but the river god Enipeus…was the original ancestor. Cf. Poseidon Ἐνιπεύς in Miletus” (“Doch lässt die Erzählung der Odyssee 11.235ff. noch unschwer eine ältere Sagenform errathen, wonach nicht Poseidon, sondern der Flussgott Enipeus…der Stammvater war. Vgl. den Poseidon Ἐνιπεύς in Milet”). For the cult of Poseidon Ἐνιπεύς in Miletus see n2.178 below. Similarly Robert 1920:39: “There Poseidon approaches her in the form of Enipeus. This is probably already a transformation of the oldest form of the myth, according to which Enipeus himself was the father of Pelias and Neleus” (“Da naht sich ihr Poseidon in der Gestalt des Enipeus. Wahrscheinlich ist das bereits eine Umgestaltung der ältesten Sagenform, nach der Enipeus selbst der Vater des Pelias und Neleus war”). Weizsäcker, Roscher’s Lexikon ‘Neleus’ 112: “For that he [Neleus] was originally thought to be the son of the river god follows of itself from the narrative of the Odyssey” (“Denn dass er [Neleus] ursprünglich für einen Sohn des Flussgottes galt, geht aus der Erzählung der Odyssee selbst hervor…”). Cf. also West 1985:142.

[ back ] 175. Vergil Georgics 4.360–361: at illum / curvata in montis faciem circumstetit unda, “but a curved wave that looked like a mountain surrounded him”; the context is the Aristaeus epyllion.

[ back ] 176. Scholia to Vergil Georgics 4.361: hunc versum ex Hesiodi gynecon transtulit (Hesiod fr. 32 MW). For the source cf. Schwartz 1960:116–117.

[ back ] 177. There are further similarities between the two texts: in line 7 of the Hesiodic fragment Tyro returns home after Poseidon disappears beneath the water, and in Odyssey 11.251 Poseidon commands Tyro to return home and disappears beneath the water. I do not agree with the suggestion that the close similarity in wording and situation between the two passages can be explained by a common epic tradition underlying both (Crane 1988:97–98, Tsagarakis 2000:83–84) or that the Hesiodic fragment imitates the Odyssey rather than the reverse (Tsagarakis 2000:84); the point that fragments of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women contain no speeches apart from this one in my view does not indicate the direction of borrowing since there is an anomaly in either case. Theoretically Hesiod could be imitating Homer (as defined n2.16 above) verbatim, but to my knowledge there are no other examples of this. Cf. Page 1955:37–38: “The second and third lines are identical with 11.249–250. They are not conventional or formular phrases; it is therefore probable that the relation between the Hesiodic poem and the Odyssey is one of direct imitation. In both versions Poseidon is speaking to the lady of his love; the outline of the story was identical in the two poems, and so was a good deal of the detail.” Whereas Page believes that the whole catalogue is a post-Hesiodic interpolation into the Odyssey, I think that only limited parts are.

[ back ] 178. Scholia to Lycophron 722: Ἐνιπεὺς ὁ Ποσειδῶν τιμᾶται παρὰ Μιλησίοις. The identification of this cult with an altar of Poseidon that the city founder Neileos was said to have established on Cape Poseidion (Strabo 14.1.2, 3, 5) is implied by Lycophron 722 and the scholia to this line: Lycophron 722 locates the cult on a “projecting headland” (ἀκτὴν…προὔχουσαν), and the scholia specify Cape Poseidion; cf. Herda 1998:15. See Map 2.

[ back ] 179. In the Phaeacian genealogy, which is based on the Neleid genealogy, the role of Poseidon is explicit: he is the father of Nausithoos. This imitates his role as the father of Neleus in the Panhellenic myth (as opposed to the Milesian version).

[ back ] 180. These include both examples in the Iliad, three of the four examples in the Theogony, one of the two examples in the Homeric Hymns, and none of the four examples in the Hesiodic fragments. In four of the six total examples the act of love is specified by a form of the verb μιγῆναι, “mingled”: Iliad 6.26, Hesiod Theogony 125 and 308, Homeric Hymn 32.15; in Iliad 20.225 the verb is παρελέξατο, “lay next to”; in Hesiod Theogony 404–406 the verbal phrase ἦλθεν ἐς εὐνήν, “went to bed,” occurs, and the phrase ἐν φιλότητι, “in love,” follows loosely with the act of becoming pregnant and giving birth. The example with παρελέξατο in Iliad 20.225, in which the north wind Boreas takes on the likeness of a horse and impregnates mares, provides a useful contrast with the proposed reading of Odyssey 11 (Iliad 20.223–225):

τάων καὶ Βορέης ἠράσσατο βοσκομενάων,
ἵππῳ δ’ εἰσάμενος παρελέξατο κυανοχαίτῃ·
αἳ δ’ ὑποκυσάμεναι ἔτεκον δυοκαίδεκα πώλους.

Boreas desired them as they grazed,
and he took on the appearance of a dark-maned horse and lay with them;
and they conceived and bore twelve colts.

In the Odyssey, Tyro “desires” Enipeus (same verb ἠράσσατο as in Iliad 20.223), she conceives and gives birth (ὑποκυσαμένη…τέκε, corresponding to ὑποκυσάμεναι ἔτεκον in Iliad 20.225), but there is nothing in the Tyro passage corresponding to the verb παρελέξατο, “lay with,” used of Boreas.

[ back ] 181. These six examples include one from the Theogony, one from the Homeric Hymns, and four from the Hesiodic fragments; two of the four Hesiodic fragments (Hesiod fr. 7 and fr. 205 MW) contain ὑποκυσαμένη in the first line of the fragment, hence we do not know what preceded it. This leaves us with four valid examples, one each in the Theogony and the Homeric Hymns, and two in Hesiodic fragments.

[ back ] 182. West 1966 on Theogony 409 notes that a fragment of Musaeus gives the same parentage for Hecate as Hesiod “but with Perses cuckolded by Zeus” (scholia to Apollonius of Rhodes 3.1035 = Musaeus fr. 16 Diels-Kranz; the scholia to Apollonius of Rhodes 3.467 say that “some” make Zeus rather than Perses the father). For Hekate’s various fathers, including others besides Zeus, see Steuding, Roscher’s Lexikon ‘Hekate’ 1899.

[ back ] 183. Eurytos was the famous archer, whose son Iphitos later gave his bow to Odysseus (Odyssey 21.13–38; for Eurytos cf. also Odyssey 8.223–228). Eurytos’s father Melaneus, a son of Apollo, was also a famous archer.

[ back ] 184. Is it possible that the paternity of Eurytos was disputed, being attributed to Apollo himself as well as to Apollo’s son Melaneus? Then there would be the same reason as in the birth of Hekate not to make the act of love explicit (the same phrase κεκλῆσθαι ἄκοιτιν, “to be called his wife,” is used in both cases). Against this is the pronoun τῷ, “to him,” in line 27, which must refer to Melaneus.

[ back ] 185. The beginning of the line has been preserved, and enough of the next four lines has also been preserved to ensure that the papyrus contains the same passage as in the scholia. Note, however, that the passage in the scholia contains a sixth line that does not match the corresponding line in the papyrus; see Merkelbach and West 1967 ad loc. for the conjecture that this line in the scholia is not Hesiodic, but perhaps from the Oikhalias Halosis of Kreophylos, and has simply been added to the Hesiodic passage by the scholiast.

[ back ] 186. Homeric Hymn 1 to Dionysus, which contains the third of our four instances of (ὑπο)κυσαμένη without the explicit mention of an act of love (for the fourth see n2.187 below), has only the name of the father, Zeus, in the dative case: οἱ δέ [sc. φάσ’, line 2] σ’ ἐπ’ Ἀλφειῷ ποταμῷ βαθυδινήεντι / κυσαμένην Σεμέλην τεκέειν Διὶ τερπικεραύνῳ, “some (say) that Semele, becoming pregnant, bore you on the deep-swirling Alpheios River to Zeus who delights in thunder” (Homeric Hymn 1.3–4).

[ back ] 187. There is a third Hesiodic passage to discuss in which an explicit act of love is omitted, but it is another fragment, and its condition is worse than the other fragments that we have considered. This is Hesiod fr. 145 MW concerning the birth of the Minotaur from Pasiphae and a bull. The three lines concerning the birth are relatively clear (Hesiod fr. 145.15–17). As far as can be told, the act of love of Pasiphae and the bull was passed over in silence in the preceding lines, and in line 15 Pasiphae is said to have borne her offspring, not to the bull, but to Minos: ἣ δ’ ὑποκ̣[υσα]μένη Μίνωι τέκε κα[ρτερὸν υἱόν, / θαῦμα ἰ[δεῖν], “she conceived and bore a st[rong son] to Minos, a wonder to s[ee]” (Hesiod fr. 145.15–16). In the preceding lines the version of the story is perhaps that in which Poseidon sends a bull to Minos in answer to his prayer (cf. “Apollodorus” 3.1.3–4: Minos wants to impress his subjects and so prays for the bull; Poseidon complies, but demands that the bull be sacrificed; when Minos fails to sacrifice the bull, Poseidon makes Pasiphae fall in love with it). In the two lines preceding the line with ὑποκυσαμένη, “conceiving,” we can clearly make out in the first line that the bull “desired” Pasiphae; what the second line contained is only conjecture, but it is probably correct that it gave further description of Pasiphae, the object of the bull’s desire: τῆς δ’ ἄρ’ [ἐν ὀ]φθαλμοῖσιν̣ ἰ̣δὼν ἠράσ̣[σατο… / †ταύρωι̣ ̣[ ̣ ̣ ̣]ρ̣ι̣μενησ̣κ̣α̣μ̣ε̣ρ̣μ̣ιδαο̣τα̣[†, “seeing her with his eyes he desired her / † bull ?? †” (Hesiod fr. 145.13–14). West, by way of example (“sic lusit West”), restores the second line as: Ταυρων (?)…Ηριγενης Υπεριονιδαο τε κουρης. If this is at least pointed in the right direction, there is only the verb ἠράσσατο, used of the bull’s “desire” for Pasiphae, followed by Pasiphae’s conceiving and bearing of the Minotaur, and no explicit mention of their act of love (a bestial act about which the less said the better?). There is a close parallel here to the passage about Tyro and Enipeus in that the verb ἠράσσατο, indicating sexual desire, suffices by itself to imply an act of love, after which the heroine conceives and gives birth. The only difference is that in one case it is the male’s desire (that of the bull) and in the other case the female’s desire (that of Tyro) that is indicated by the verb. There is another famous example (or rather series of examples) in which the male’s desire, as expressed by the same verb ἠράσσατο, leads immediately to the birth of children with no mention of an act of love. This is in Iliad 14, where Zeus bids Hera to lie with him, for never before has desire of a goddess or a woman so overpowered him, not even when—and he continues with a list of seven of his conquests and their offspring. The first of these is the wife of Ixion, and she sets the pattern for the rest (Iliad 14.315–318):

οὐ γάρ πώ ποτέ μ’ ὧδε θεᾶς ἔρος οὐδὲ γυναικὸς
θυμὸν ἐνὶ στήθεσσι περιπροχυθεὶς ἐδάμασσεν,
οὐδ’ ὁπότ’ ἠρασάμην Ἰξιονίης ἀλόχοιο,
τέκε Πειρίθοον θεόφιν μήστωρ’ ἀτάλαντον.

The desire of a goddess or woman has never before
so poured around my heart in my breast and overcome it,
not even when I desired Ixion’s wife,
who bore Peirithoos, a counselor equal to the gods.

Although this example does not contain the participle ὑποκυσαμένη, “having conceived,” it is still comparable with the Tyro and Enipeus passage (as I propose to read it) for the essential point. The point of comparison is that Zeus’s passion, as expressed by the verb ἠρασάμην, is followed immediately by the birth of a child. Is this the same as in the Tyro and Enipeus passage? One difference, as in the previous example, is male versus female as the subject of desire. There is also a reason that explicit acts of love are not described in Zeus’s case: that would push a passage that is already close to the edge (it has been called Zeus’s “Leporello catalogue”) past the bounds of decency. There is, moreover, an explicit reference to an act of love at the beginning of the passage, when Zeus invites Hera to bed: νῶϊ δ’ ἄγ’ ἐν φιλότητι τραπείομεν εὐνηθέντε, “but come let us turn to love and go to bed” (Iliad 14.314). Perhaps the main conclusion to be derived from this and the other examples is that there was variety in the way that this situation was handled.

[ back ] 188. Hesiod fr. 37.1–7 MW. The rest of the fragment continues as follows: lines 8–9 tell how Pero bore a son Talaos to Bias; lines 10–15 tell how Melampus and Bias then went to Argos, where Melampus cured the madness of the daughters of Proitos; lines 16–23 (the last lines of the fragment) concern Neleus’s brother Pelias. Lines 10–14 are quoted in n2.136 above.

[ back ] 189. Pfeiffer suggests κοίρανος, “ruler,” as the line’s first word.

[ back ] 190. Iliad 1.5. In the Cypria the “plan of Zeus” is to relieve the earth of overpopulation by means of the Trojan war (οἱ δ’ ἐνὶ Τροίῃ / ἥρωες κτείνοντο, Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή, “the heroes were killed in Troy, and the plan of Zeus was fulfilled,” Cypria fr. 1.6–7 Allen).

[ back ] 191. This passage is quoted in §2.102 above.

[ back ] 192. Cf. n2.134 above.

[ back ] 193. What he did to repay Neleus for his wicked deed is not known.

[ back ] 194. There is one other Homeric occurrence of δεσμῷ ἐν ἀργαλέῳ, “in a harsh bond,” in Odyssey 15.444 (one of Odysseus’s lying tales); Homeric Hymn 7.12 (to Dionysus) has δεσμοῖς…ἀργαλέοισι, “harsh bonds.”

[ back ] 195. The sin of the giant Eurymedon in the Phaeacian genealogy shows that.

[ back ] 196. Phaedra, daughter of Minos and wife of the Athenian Theseus, is well known. Prokris was daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens, and unfaithful wife of Kephalos, who killed her unintentionally.

[ back ] 197. See Allen 1924:242–245, who cites Scott 1911, 1914, and 1921:47–72. For instances in which Homer ignores Attic myth see Scott 1911:427–428.

[ back ] 198. A counterexample is the reference to Erechtheus’s palace in Odyssey 7.80–81; this passage, which Martin Nilsson recognized as highly archaic in content (Nilsson 1921:12–13, 1967:348, 1950:488), is, I think, integral to the story of the Odyssey; see Part 3 below (for Nilsson’s view see n3.115).

[ back ] 199. There are three examples of Διώνυσος in the Iliad (6.132, 135, 14.325) and one in the Odyssey (24.74). The Homeric Hymns use both forms (omicron in 7.56, 19.46, 26.1 and 11; omega in 7.1 and 1.20; note that Homeric Hymn 7 uses both forms, lines 1 and 56).

[ back ] 200. We do not know for sure who Maira and Klymene are since more than one heroine had these names. Maira is probably the daughter of Proitos, the son of Thersander, who in the Nostoi was said to have died a virgin (fr. 5 Allen in Pausanias 10.30.5); the same Maira (the daughter of Proitos, the son of Thersander) was said by Pherekyces to be a nymph of Artemis who was killed by the goddess after Zeus made love to her (Pherekydes FGrHist 3 F 170). In Tegea Maira was identified as the daughter of Atlas and wife of the local hero Tegeates (Pausanias 8.48.6). Klymene may be the figure so named in Nostoi fr. 4 Allen (Pausanias 10.29.6); she was a daughter of Minyas who married Kephalos (not Phylakos, as Stanford 1959 ad loc. says) and had a child Iphiklos.

[ back ] 201. Eriphyle was from Argos; Klymene was probably Thessalian (see n2.200 above for the daughter of Minyas); Maira is uncertain, but later at least was claimed by Tegea (see n2.200 above).

[ back ] 202. Compare καλήν τ’ Ἀριάδνην, “and beautiful Ariadne,” with στυγερήν τ’ Ἐριφύλην, “and hateful Eriphyle”: the third heroine gets the epithet, as well as the story, and in the case of Ariadne the interpolator has changed the epithet from one of blame (“hateful”) to one of praise (“beautiful”). Using an epithet of just the third person named is of course normal Homeric practice: cf. Νέστορά τε Χρομίον τε Περικλύμενόν τ’ ἀγέρωχον, “Nestor and Chromios and proud Periklymenos.”

[ back ] 203. Another point of comparison between the two passages is their length. The interpolator’s passage is longer, which is fitting, since it is not the last in the catalogue, and we want to have more than a line on Ariadne in this position. But the length of the passage makes the mention of the other two heroines, Phaedra and Prokris, inappropriate, because we want to hear their stories too. In the genuine conclusion to the catalogue, the names of the two heroines whose stories are not told seem more generic. There are no specific stories that we want to hear, and in any case these heroines are soon swept away with the rest of the multitude that Odysseus does not wish even to name.

[ back ] 204. Cf. n2.141 above.

[ back ] 205. This does not count the interpolated Ariadne (Theseus is in any case not called Ariadne’s husband). Only Antiope (besides Tyro and Chloris) has her father named. Four heroines (besides Tyro and Chloris, and not counting the interpolated Megara) have a husband named: Alcmena, Epikaste, Leda, and Iphimedeia.

[ back ] 206. See n2.141 above. Megara too is a mother, but this is left out of account in Odyssey 11 for an obvious reason: Heracles kills Megara’s children when he goes mad. This is the subject of Euripides’ Heracles, in which Heracles kills Megara as well. The story of Heracles’ madness occurred in the Cypria: according to Proclus Chrestomathy line 116 (Allen 1912:103 line 23) Nestor told the story of “Heracles’ madness” (τὴν Ἡρακλέους μανίαν) to Menelaus, but the details of his account are unknown; it must have contained at least the death of Heracles’ children. Megara’s murder by Heracles is apparently Euripides’ invention; in the more common tradition, as attested by e.g. Pausanias 10.29.7, Heracles divorces Megara because the marriage has proved unlucky; see Wilamowitz 1895:82–85. Wilamowitz (p. 83) is surely right that the brief account in Odyssey 11 is incompatible with Megara’s murder, but at least the infanticide must have been known to the interpolator. Whereas the other heroines in the catalogue have children who collectively convey the catalogue’s hidden meaning, Megara had children who cannot even be mentioned. Cf. n2.219 below.

[ back ] 207. This also holds for the expansion of the Tyro passage.

[ back ] 208. The final line of the catalogue (Eriphyle “accepted gold for her husband”) is as good an example as any of the catalogue’s overall allusive quality.

[ back ] 209. The expansion of the Otos and Ephialtes story was again perhaps based on Hesiod; the scholia to Apollonius of Rhodes 1.482 comment as follows on the name Ἀλωϊάδας (Hesiod fr. 19 MW): “Hesiod says that they were in name the offspring of Aloeus and Iphimedeia, but in truth of Poseidon and Iphimedeia, and that the city Alos in Aetolia was founded by their father.” Unfortunately none of the Hesiodic text has survived to compare with Odyssey 11.

[ back ] 210. The fact that both twins die contrasts with the Dioskouroi (both live) and Nestor (he lives, his brother dies); see §2.104 above. But the fact that both Aloadai die is well conveyed in the first four lines of the passage through the phrase μινυνθαδίω δὲ γενέσθην, “but they were short-lived”; the full story of how they were undone by their own hubris is not needed to establish both the parallel and the contrast with the two preceding entries of the catalogue.

[ back ] 211. The phrase μέγα ἔργον, “great deed” or “great misdeed,” has a negative connotation in all ten of its occurrences in the Odyssey (on the other hand it is morally neutral in eight of nine occurrences in the Iliad). The closest parallel to Odyssey 11.272 is Odyssey 24.458, where the seer Halitherses characterizes as a μέγα ἔργον the conduct of the suitors in consuming Odysseus’s property and dishonoring his wife: οἳ μέγα ἔργον ἔρεζον ἀτασθαλίῃσι κακῇσι, “who did a great misdeed in their evil recklessness.” The phrase is also used twice of Aigisthos’s corrupting of Agamemnon’s wife in his absence (Odyssey 3.261 and 275). Cf. Jebb’s comment on Sophocles Women of Trachis 1276f. that “μέγας, [‘great’], is often nearly equivalent to δεινός, [‘terrible’], as in μέγα τι παθεῖν, [‘suffer something great’] (Xenophon Anabasis 5.8.17), etc.”

[ back ] 212. Cf. n2.141 above.

[ back ] 213. The eight-line addition to the Oedipus passage contains nothing that is per se un-Homeric. Contrary to the later legend, in which Oedipus is expelled from Thebes, these lines say that Oedipus remained and ruled in Thebes after his incest was discovered (Odyssey 11.274–276):

ἄφαρ δ’ ἀνάπυστα θεοὶ θέσαν ἀνθρώποισιν.
ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἐν Θήβῃ πολυηράτῳ ἄλγεα πάσχων
Καδμείων ἤνασσε θεῶν ὀλοὰς διὰ βουλάς.

The gods at once made this known to men.
But he suffering sorrows in lovely Thebes
ruled over the Cadmeians by the destructive counsels of the gods.

Iliad 23.679–680, referring to a competitor at the funeral games of Oedipus in Thebes (ὅς ποτε Θήβας δ’ ἦλθε δεδουπότος Οἰδιπόδαο / ἐς τάφον, “who once went to Thebes to the funeral of the fallen Oedipus”), agrees with Odyssey 11 in having Oedipus remain in Thebes until his death. So do other early sources. According to Hesiod when Oedipus died in Thebes, Argeia, the daughter of Adrastos (and the wife of Polyneices) went to his funeral; the scholia to Iliad 23.679 (Hesiod fr. 192 MW) contain this account: (ἡ διπλῆ) ὅτι βασιλεύοντα ἐν Θήβαις φησὶν ἀπολέσθαι, οὐχ ὡς οἱ νεώτεροι. καὶ Ἡσίοδος δέ φησιν ἐν Θήβαις αὐτοῦ ἀποθανόντος Ἀργείαν τὴν Ἀδράστου σὺν ἄλλοις ἐλθεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν κηδείαν Οἰδίποδος, “(This verse is marked with the diplē̂) because it says that he died while he ruled in Thebes, and not as later poets say. Hesiod too says that when he died in Thebes Argeia, Adrastos’s daughter, went with others to his funeral.” In a fragment of the Thebaid, when Oedipus curses his two sons, the scene is Thebes to judge by the “table of Kadmos” mentioned there (Thebaid fr. 2.2–3 Allen). For the Oedipodia our evidence is Pausanias 9.5.10–11 (Oedipodia fr. 1 Allen), who argues that Epikaste could not have borne Oedipus four children if the gods revealed their incest “immediately” (ἄφαρ), as in Odyssey 11.274, and who goes on to say that in the Oedipodia the mother was Euryganeia, not Epikaste; thus Oedipus in this poem would seem to have continued to rule in Thebes after marrying a second wife. This was perhaps the version that the author of the interpolated passage in Odyssey 11 followed. In this passage, where the gods immediately reveal the incest of Oedipus and Epikaste and Oedipus remains and rules, Epikaste hangs herself and visits unnamed woes on Oedipus from the grave (Odyssey 11.277–280):

ἡ δ’ ἔβη εἰς Ἀΐδαο πυλάρταο κρατεροῖο,
ἁψαμένη βρόχον αἰπὺν ἀφ’ ὑψηλοῖο μελάθρου
ᾧ ἄχεϊ σχομένη· τῷ δ’ ἄλγεα κάλλιπ’ ὀπίσσω
πολλὰ μάλ’, ὅσσα τε μητρὸς ἐρινύες ἐκτελέουσι.

She went to the house of Hades, the strong gate-closer,
hanging a steep noose from the high roof-beam,
possessed by her grief; she left many sorrows behind for him,
as many as a mother’s avenging spirits bring to pass.

The woes (álgea) that Oedipus suffers presumably refer to the war between his two sons, but where did these children come from if the gods revealed the incest of Oedipus and Epikaste immediately? A second wife would seem to be implied in Odyssey 11, as in the Oedipodia, hence I regard the latter as a likely source for the interpolation in Odyssey 11. What, if anything, the other sources (Hesiod and the Thebaid) had to say about this matter is unknown.

[ back ] 214. Tyro’s two sets of offspring (twins by a divine father, three sons by a mortal father) in a certain sense parallel Nestor’s case, allowing him to be either one of two sons or one of three sons; a certain freedom of choice between two sons and three sons has been prepared for from the start of the catalogue. The catalogue thus exploits established tradition (Tyro’s two sets of sons) to mark Nestor’s ambiguous status as one of three sons but also a twin.

[ back ] 215. There is a contrast as well as a parallel in that Eriphyle was a conscious sinner, Epikaste an unconscious one.

[ back ] 216. The two-line Epikaste passage, by not stating its main point, but leaving it unstated, prepares for the same thing in Nestor’s passage, which is the focus of the entire catalogue, and in which his twin myth is deliberately disguised.

[ back ] 217. I by no means wish to prejudge the relation between oral and written texts of the Homeric poems since too much is still unknown about this very issue. I believe that the observations offered above are correct, but I am aware that unconscious anachronisms may affect one’s judgment in such a case. Cf. n2.173 above.

[ back ] 218. For the cult of Poseidon Enipeus in Miletus see n2.178 above.

[ back ] 219. Martin West dates the Hesiodic catalogues to sixth-century Athens (West 1985:130–137, 169–171; but cf. Janko 1982:85–87, 221–225, who argues for an earlier date and disputes an Attic origin). Although the poems of the epic cycle cannot be specifically detected in the interpolations of Odyssey 11, they were probably another source (cf. n2.213 above on the possible use of the Oedipodia in the Epikaste passage). The poems of the epic cycle are generally dated to the seventh and sixth centuries, and in their final form (as far as fragments show) they have been dated as late as the late sixth century (see Davies 1989, and for Cypria fr. 1 in particular, pp. 98–100). As discussed in n2.206 above the tradition that Heracles killed Megara’s children can be inferred for the Cypria; it is also directly attested for Stesichorus in the mid-sixth century (Pausanias 9.11.2, who cites Panyassis as well). Is the omission of Megara’s children in Odyssey 11 a silent correction of the tradition for their murder? For the likelihood that the interpolator took an interest in Heracles’ reputation, see §2.164 below. In the fifth century Pindar Isthmian 4.67–70 sought to correct the tradition for Heracles’ murder of his children (cf. Wilamowitz 1895:81–82). The motivation of Pindar as a Theban is clear; did a sixth-century Athenian intend a similar correction?

[ back ] 220. See Shapiro 1989 Chapter 6 (“Poseidon, Stammvater of the Tyrants”) for the importance of Poseidon to Peisistratos and his pedigree; cf. also Shapiro 1983. Shapiro thinks that Peisistratos’s claim to Neleid descent was based on fact. He addresses an interesting point, but one that does not bear directly on the actual question, when he notes that there was a cult of Poseidon Helikonios in the Attic village of Agrai (Shapiro 1989:102; reference to Eustathius ad Iliadem 361.36 should instead be to Kleidemos FGrHist 323 F 1). There was an associated cult of Demeter Thesmophoros in the same location (Kleidemos FGrHist 323 F 1). Shapiro proposes to date the cult of Poseidon Helikonios to the end of the Bronze Age, and to see it as the origin of the same cult in Ionia. Peisistratos’s birth in the same region of Attica would then associate him with the colonists of Neleid descent who founded a new cult of Poseidon Helikonios in Ionia. Perhaps a stronger argument for the genuineness of Peisistratos’s claim is the existence of an archon in 669/8 BC named Peisistratos: “An earlier namesake, surely an ancestor of the tyrant, was Archon in 669/8 BC [Cadoux 1948:90]. The family’s claim to descent from the Neleids was thus no invention of the tyrant, but reached back well into the Eupatrid period” (Shapiro 1989:103; cf. Shapiro 1983:89). I think that the family probably did claim this Pylian connection as early as the archon Peisistratos, but that they did so in imitation of the Neleids of Miletus and the Medontids of Athens. The archons succeeded the Medontids as rulers in Athens. The archon Peisistratos was among the first yearly archons, the list of whom begins in 683/2 BC. The last Medontid ruler was Hippomenes, whose cruelty led to the end of his family’s rule. It makes sense that an early archon (669/8 BC) claimed descent from a different branch of the same family that had now been removed from power, but only, I think, if the prestige of the Homeric poems was a factor. We must bear in mind that the Medontids and Neleids saw themselves as each others’ cousins; if the Homeric poems were important to the Milesian Neleids, these poems were probably not unknown to their Athenian cousins the Medontids. If a family named a child after a son of Nestor at about 700 BC in order to claim a pedigree rivaling the pedigree of the Medontids, now removed from office (or perhaps about to be removed), this, in my opinion, says a great deal about the degree to which the Homeric poems were already known in Athens. Peisistratos the tyrant was hardly the first to introduce these poems to Athens; Solon knew them, and I surmise that other Athenians before Solon did as well. See below §3.90 and §4.43–§4.44 for further discussion.

[ back ] 221. Note that after the birth of twins to the local god Enipeus in the first passage, the second passage features Antiope “who indeed (dḗ) claimed that she lay in the arms even (kaí) of Zeus” (ἣ δὴ καὶ Διὸς εὔχετ’ ἐν ἀγκοίνῃσιν ἰαῦσαι). A contrast with the preceding passage seems intended by the word “even,” and I take this as a highlighting of the (relative) lack of pretension in Tyro’s giving birth to twins by Enipeus. Otherwise I do not see the point of the word kaí.

[ back ] 222. When Poseidon says to Tyro that “the beds of the immortals are not in vain” (Odyssey 11.249–250), we may well imagine Peisistratos as the ultimate object of these words.

[ back ] 223. We can also go a long way in saying what it was not, namely the origin of the Homeric poems themselves. Pade 1983:13–14, having detected the influence of Peisistratos in the catalogue of heroines, draws the conclusion that the Homeric poems as a whole were composed at the request of the Athenian tyrant or his sons (cf. also Larson 2000). Murray 1934:312–314 and Jensen 1980:167, whom Pade cites, hold similar views regarding a Peisistratean recension, and for them as well the role of Nestor and his family in the poems is one reason. As far as the catalogue of heroines is concerned, once we distinguish between an earlier Ionian version and a later Athenian version, the Athenian claim to authorship of the poems on the basis of the catalogue disappears. It then remains to show only that Nestor’s role in the poems belongs with the Ionian version of the catalogue, i.e. that it too is Ionian, not Athenian.

[ back ] 224. As stated earlier (n2.217 above) I do not wish to minimize the part played by oral transmission of the Homeric text, which in some environments may have continued for a long time. While there must have been a written text to regulate the oral performance of the Homeric poems at the Panathenaia, too little is known to rule out an oral aspect to the process of interpolation even in this context. For an evolutionary model of Homeric transmission, including the Athenian phase, see Nagy 1992 and 1996:29–112.

[ back ] 225. Allen 1924:226–238 distinguishes four areas of ancient evidence bearing on the question of a Peisistratean recension: 1) passages dealing with the performance of the poems at the Panathenaia (this tradition is generally credible); 2) evidence for the transport of the poems to Athens (the claim in “Plato” Hipparchus 228b that Peisistratos’s son Hipparchus was the first to bring the poems to Athens is not credible; cf. n2.220 above and, for what may explain the claim, Ritoók 1993:48); 3) passages asserting the collection of the lays (this cannot refer to the actual genesis of the Homeric poems, nor is the inclusion of anything as major as Iliad 10 at all likely at this stage; cf. the following point); 4) passages attesting interpolations: Allen 234–238 lists five alleged interpolations, which vary in length from a single letter (Γονόεσσαν for Δονόεσσαν, Iliad 2.573) to the whole of Iliad 10 (according to the scholia at the beginning of Iliad 10 this book was composed as a separate poem by Homer and added to the text of the Iliad by Peisistratos); the other three alleged interpolations are each a single line (Iliad 2.558, Odyssey 11.604, and Odyssey 11.631). The difference in scale between Iliad 10 and the other four instances speaks for itself.

[ back ] 226. Much is uncertain in the conflict between Athens and Megara over Salamis. Legon 1981:101, 122–131, 136–139 reconstructs events as follows: Megara captured Salamis from Athens in the seventh century to protect its own shipping; Solon, at the beginning of his career in the early sixth century, instigated a war to recapture it; Peisistratos, who is said to have played a part in this war but almost certainly did not, came to power thirty years later and by capturing Nisaea forced Megara to accept arbitration of the continuing dispute over Salamis; the Spartans arbitrated the dispute and the aged Solon put the case for Athens, which included the allegedly interpolated line Iliad 2.558; because of his age Solon could not have done this later than the 560s or early 550s, in the early years of Peisistratos’s rule (Legon 1981:138–139). Legon suggests that the Megarians were willing to give up all claims to Salamis at this time so long as they got back their port of Nisaea. In any case the Spartans awarded Salamis to Athens. The fullest source for Solon’s role in the arbitration is Plutarch Solon 10; cf. also Strabo 9.1.10; Diogenes Laertius 1.46–48; Aristotle Rhetoric 1375b29–30.

[ back ] 227. Allen, who disbelieves the tradition for a Peisistratean recension, thinks that the Megarians forged their own version of Iliad 2.557–558 and invented the story that the Athenians forged their version (Allen 1924:245–246); Legon’s assessment, that “neither the Athenian nor Megarian couplet inspires confidence,” seems closer to the truth to me (Legon 1981:138n8; cf. n3.272 below).

[ back ] 228. The line removed by Peisistratos has been preserved for us (Hesiod fr. 298 MW), but not the context from which it was taken. Plutarch Theseus 20.1 makes it clear that the word γάρ, “for,” in this line relates to Theseus’s desertion of Ariadne. Before quoting the line Plutarch says that many stories are still told about Ariadne: some say that she hung herself when she was deserted by Theseus, others say that she was brought by sailors to Naxos to live with a priest of Dionysos, and that she had been abandoned because Theseus had fallen in love with another woman. Here Plutarch cites the verse of Hesiod, and he states Hereas’s charge about it, and he repeats Hereas’s further charge that Peisistratos interpolated line 11.631 into the text of the Odyssey: ἀπολειφθῆναι δὲ [sc. Ἀριάδνην] τοῦ Θησέως ἐρῶντος ἑτέρας· “δεινὸς γάρ μιν ἔτειρεν ἔρως Πανοπηίδος Αἴγλης.” τοῦτο γὰρ τὸ ἔπος ἐκ τῶν Ἡσιόδου Πεισίστρατον ἐξελεῖν φησιν Ἡρέας ὁ Μεγαρεύς, ὥσπερ αὖ πάλιν ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν Ὁμήρου νέκυιαν τὸ “Θησέα Πειρίθοόν τε θεῶν ἀριδείκετα τέκνα” χαριζόμενον Ἀθηναίοις. “[Others say that] she was left by Theseus who desired another woman: ‘for a terrible passion for Aigle, the daughter of Panopeus, afflicted him.’ Hereas the Megarian says that Peisistratos removed this verse from the poems of Hesiod, just as he inserted into Homer’s Nekyia the verse ‘Theseus and Peirithoos, illustrious children of the gods’ to gratify the Athenians” (Theseus 20.1–2). Plutarch implies that in his day the Hesiodic line was no longer part of the text of Hesiod, and this is borne out by Athenaeus 13.557b, who cites Hesiod for the fact that Theseus wed Hippe and Aigle, but who then cites Kerkops (not Hesiod) for Aigle as the reason that Theseus broke his oath to Ariadne; the passage follows and enlarges a list of Theseus’s wives (carried off or legally wed) found in the Atthidographer Istros: Ἡσίοδος δέ φησιν καὶ Ἵππην καὶ Αἴγλην, δι’ ἣν καὶ τοὺς πρὸς Ἀριάδνην ὅρκους παρέβη, ὥς φησι Κέρκωψ, “Hesiod says also Hippe and Aigle, because of whom he broke his oath to Ariadne, as Kerkops says.” Athenaeus would have cited Hesiod for Theseus’s treachery if the line in question had still been part of the Hesiodic text.

[ back ] 229. It is noteworthy that the interpolator, who made use of the Hesiodic catalogues to expand other passages in Odyssey 11, rejected the Hesiodic version of Ariadne’s fate as attested by fr. 298 MW (see n2.228 above). For the different traditions regarding Ariadne see Barrett 1964 on Euripides Hippolytus 339 and West 1966 on Hesiod Theogony 949. West comments as follows: “Her union with Dionysus is sometimes put in Crete…, though much more often in Naxos, where Theseus left her (first in fr. 298). A different version, perhaps older, is preserved in Odyssey 11.321–325: Theseus was taking her to Athens, but Dionysus drew attention to the elopement, and Artemis killed Ariadne on Dia.”

[ back ] 230. The scholia to Odyssey 11.604 refer to the athetesis of only this line: τοῦτον ὑπὸ Ὀνομακρίτου ἐμπεποιῆσθαί φασιν. ἠθέτηται δέ, “This line they say was inserted by Onomakritos. It is athetized.” The continuation of the scholium suggests that at least some (ἔνιοι) wished to reject line 604 but to keep line 603: ἔνιοι δὲ οὐ τὴν οἰνοχόον Ἥβην, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀνδρείαν, “Some say that Hebe does not refer to the wine-pourer but to his own manliness (i.e. to Heracles’ own hḗbē, ‘youthful prime’).” Allen 1924:238 and 1928:73 quotes other scholia stating that all three lines were athetized (see the apparatus in Allen’s OCT Odyssey edition ad loc. for the scholia in question); Allen 1928:73 states further that all three lines were obelized “in the lost minuscule MS. ‘J’ according to the collation of Heinsius.” Stanford 1959 on Odyssey 11.602–604 notes simply that “these lines are generally marked as spurious.” Cf. Cassio 2002:116n52.

[ back ] 231. Hesiod Theogony 952 and frs. 25.29 and 229.9 MW. The passage in the Theogony describes how Heracles made Hebe his wife (Hesiod Theogony 950–955):

Ἥβην δ’ Ἀλκμήνης καλλισφύρου ἄλκιμος υἱός,
ἲς Ἡρακλῆος, τελέσας στονόεντας ἀέθλους,
παῖδα Διὸς μεγάλοιο καὶ Ἥρης χρυσοπεδίλου,
αἰδοίην θέτ’ ἄκοιτιν ἐν Οὐλύμπῳ νιφόεντι·
ὄλβιος, ὃς μέγα ἔργον ἐν ἀθανάτοισιν ἀνύσσας
ναίει ἀπήμαντος καὶ ἀγήραος ἤματα πάντα.

Mighty Heracles, the steadfast son of beautiful-ankled Alcmena,
having completed his grievous labors, made Hebe,
the child of great Zeus and golden-sandaled Hera,
his revered wife on snowy Olympus;
fortunate man, who, having accomplished a great deed among the immortals,
lives free from trouble and old age forever.

Heracles won imortality from the gods by helping them to defeat the giants (the μέγα ἔργον, “great deed,” referred to in line 954; cf. n2.145 above).

[ back ] 232. Text quoted n2.230 above. Herodotus 7.6 tells the story of Onomakritos’s forgery and exile; he calls him an “oracle-monger” and the “arranger” of Musaeus’s oracles (Ὀνομάκριτον, ἄνδρα Ἀθηναῖον χρησμολόγον τε καὶ διαθέτην χρησμῶν τῶν Μουσαίου, Herodotus 7.6.3). Onomakritos presumably collected and arranged the oracles of Musaeus for the benefit of Peisistratos and his sons (cf. n2.234 below).

[ back ] 233. Herodotus 7.6.3–4: ἐξηλάσθη γὰρ ὑπὸ Ἱππάρχου τοῦ Πεισιστράτου ὁ Ὀνομάκριτος ἐξ Ἀθηνέων, ἐπ’ αὐτοφώρῳ ἁλοὺς ὑπὸ Λάσου τοῦ Ἑρμιονέος ἐμποιέων ἐς τὰ Μουσαίου χρησμὸν ὡς αἱ ἐπὶ Λήμνῳ ἐπικείμεναι νῆσοι ἀφανιοίατο κατὰ τῆς θαλάσσης· διὸ ἐξήλασέ μιν ὁ Ἵππαρχος, πρότερον χρεώμενος τὰ μάλιστα, “For Onomakritos was exiled from Athens by Hipparchus, the son of Peisistratos, when he was caught in the act by Lasos of Hermione inserting into the words of Musaeus an oracle that the islands lying near Lemnos would disappear under the sea; for this Hipparchus exiled him, having earlier made the greatest use of him.”

[ back ] 234. Onomakritos uttered oracles in Xerxes’ presence that portended well for the king’s invasion of Greece but suppressed any that foretold disaster (Herodotus 7.6.4). Herodotus says that the Peisistratids had reconciled their hostility with Onomakritos when they brought him with them to the Persian court in 485 BC: ἔχοντες Ὀνομάκριτον, ἄνδρα Ἀθηναῖον χρησμολόγον τε καὶ διαθέτην χρησμῶν τῶν Μουσαίου, ἀνεβεβήκεσαν, τὴν ἔχθρην προκαταλυσάμενοι, “They had traveled up country with Onomakritos, an Athenian oracle-monger and arranger of Musaeus’s oracles, having first ended their enmity” (Herodotus 7.6.3). The date 485 BC can be inferred from the fact that in Herodotus the passage concerning Onomakritos (7.6.3–5) immediately precedes the passage concerning Xerxes’ conquest of Egypt (7.7), which occurred in 485 BC, and from the further fact that Darius died and was succeeded by Xerxes in the autumn of 486 BC (see How and Wells 1928 on Herodotus 7.4; for the chronology of the whole ten-year period, 490–480 BC, see How and Wells on Herodotus 7.20.1).

[ back ] 235. The purpose of the forged oracle, which Herodotus 7.6.3 says concerned the disappearance of islands near Lemnos, must have had something to do with Athenian interests in the region; cf. Allen 1924:240: “Tradition does not give the intention of the forgery…, but it can hardly have been other than political, and connected with Athenian designs upon the Hellespont.” As to the reason that Hipparchus exiled Onomakritos, Lewis 1988:293–294 argues that genuine religious scruple was the motivation; Dillery 2005:167–168, 189 and Aloni 2006a:18 argue along the lines that I have suggested above. For a somewhat different interpretation of Onomakritos’s relation to the Peisistratids, cf. Nagy 1990a:172–174.

[ back ] 236. Ritoók 1993:41 discusses the evidence for Onomakritos as an interpolator (and redactor) of Homer but draws no firm conclusions; the Homeric scholia to Odyssey 11.604 can probably be taken to mean that all three lines, 602–604, were interpolated by Onomakritos (see Ritoók 1993:41n9). For Peisistratos’s occupation of the Acropolis with his “club-bearers” (κορυνηφόροι) see Herodotus 1.59.5–6. Boardman has made the case for Peisistratos’s special interest in Heracles, especially Heracles’ arrival on Olympus (see Boardman 1972:60–62; Peisistratos’s club-bearers likewise suggest Heracles). Boardman 1975 develops the argument further, addressing Heracles’ initiation into Eleusinian cult, which became part of his Cerberus adventure in the underworld; Peisistratos was much concerned with Eleusinian cult. Cf. Irwin 2005:152n104 for a debate regarding some parts of Boardman’s argument.

[ back ] 237. If Onomakritos was active for Peisistratos, who died in 527 BC, he must have been quite old when he became active again for the Peisistratids 42 years later in 485 BC. Onomakritos’s name is linked to that of Peisistratos in a passage of Tzetzes concerning the Peisistratean recension; it is there reported that some attributed the “recension” (διόρθωσις) of Homer to four men in the time of Peisistratos, one of whom was Onomakritos the Athenian (two others were Orpheus of Croton and Zopyros of Heraklea; the name of the fourth is corrupt [Tzetzes Perì Kōmōidías, Anecdota Graeca 1.6, ed. Cramer, quoted by Allen 1924:232–233, also in Kaibel 1899 p. 20; cf. Nagy 1990a:174]). Whatever the value of the rest of this report (for the editorial commission as a Hellenistic invention to make Peisistratos resemble the Ptolemies see Ritoók 1993:41and n13), its assigning of Onomakritos to the time of Peisistratos was perhaps not obviously wrong or easily contradicted, and may have been based on fact.

[ back ] 238. See n2.231 above for the Hesiodic line that also occurs at Odyssey 11.604: note that two of the three Hesiodic occurrences of this line are in the probably sixth-century Athenian Catalogue of Women (cf. n2.219 above), and that the third, Theogony 952, is in “the probably post-Hesiodic” part of that poem (line 901 to the end in the view of West 1966:397–399, who notes that lines 929, 939, 962, and 964 have also been proposed as the start of this part); use of the Hesiodic catalogues in particular matches the profile of the interpolator in Odyssey 11. The verb used by Herodotus of Onomakritos’s alleged forgery of oracles of Musaeus is ἐμποιέω (ἐμποιέων ἐς τὰ Μουσαίου χρησμόν, “inserting an oracle into the verses of Musaeus,” Herodotus 7.6.3). The same verb may occur in the scholia to Odyssey 11.604 with reference to Onomakritos’s alleged insertion of 11.604 into the Odyssey (here ἐμπεποιῆσθαι, “inserted,” is Lobeck’s emendation for πεποιῆσθαι). On the basis of Herodotus’s use of the verb ἐμποιεῖν for Onomakritos’s activity a more neutral term than “interpolation” from the standpoint of the use or non-use of writing would be “empoíēsis” (cf. n2.173 above). As to the implications of ἐμποιεῖν, Graziosi 2002:41–47 argues that ποιεῖν and related words when used of poetry emphasize composition as distinct from performance. Leaving aside the issue of what this implies about written as distinct from oral composition, I note only that ἐμποιεῖν would have been the proper term for the work of the interpolator in the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11, even in his own mind.

[ back ] 239. A statement like “Peisistratos added this line to the Nekyia” (Hereas’s charge about Odyssey 11.631 according to Plutarch Theseus 20.2) does not imply that Peisistratos himself composed the line; cf. Pausanias 7.26.13, who reports the view that when Peisistratos assembled the scattered parts of the Homeric poems, “either Peisistratos himself or one of his companions” (αὐτὸν Πεισίστρατον ἢ τῶν τινα ἑταίρων) made a mistake about a particular name, putting Γονόεσσαν for Δονόεσσαν (cf. n2.225 above). Onomakritos seems to have been one of Peisistratos’s “companions” if Tzetzes’ reference to him as one of the four compilers of the Peisistratean recension has even limited historical value (cf. n2.237 above). Pausanias several times refers to Onomakritos as the author of poems of an Orphic nature (8.31.3, 8.37.5, 9.35.5, cf. 1.22.7), but there is no consensus as to whether Onomakritos did in fact compose such poems; Pausanias, who did not believe that Orpheus was the author of such poems, may simply have attributed them to Onomakritos as a credible alternative (see Linforth 1941:350–353; Heinze DNP ‘Onomakritos’ compares Pausanias 1.22.7, where Pausanias comments that the poems of Musaeus are mostly not genuine and attributes one such to Onomakritos).

[ back ] 240. Hipparchus rather than his father is associated with Homeric poetry in “Plato” Hipparchus 228b: ὃς [sc. Ἵππαρχος] ἄλλα τε πολλὰ καὶ καλὰ ἔργα σοφίας ἀπεδείξατο, καὶ τὰ Ὁμήρου ἔπη πρῶτος ἐκόμισεν εἰς τὴν γῆν ταυτηνί, καὶ ἠνάγκασε τοὺς ῥαψῳδοὺς Παναθηναίοις ἐξ ὑπολήψεως ἐφεξῆς αὐτὰ διιέναι, ὥσπερ νῦν ἔτι οἵδε ποιοῦσιν, “Who [sc. Hipparchus] displayed many other fine deeds of wisdom, and in particular he first brought the epics of Homer to this land, and compelled the rhapsodes at the Panathenaia to go through them in order, one after another, as they still do now.” While the first part of this report is not credible (cf. n2.225 above), the “Panathenaic rule” governing rhapsodes’ performances may well have been due to Hipparchus (cf. n4.106 below). Onomakritos has a stronger connection with Hipparchus than with Peisistratos in the historical tradition; this, however, says little about the act of interpolating passages into the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11, for this act, which went undetected, lay outside the historical tradition. I prefer to think that it was for Peisistratos himself that the interpolations were made.

[ back ] 241. This is not to say that the Athenian passage wished to be recognized as an interpolation, for surely it did not. This raises the interesting question of how early the idea arose that the Homeric poems were actually Athenian, i.e. that Homer was Athenian. This idea, which is associated with Aristarchus in the Hellenistic era, seems present already in the fifth century when Gorgias traces Homer’s ancestry not to Orpheus, but to Musaeus, who was so to speak the Athenian Orpheus (see Graziosi 2002:82–83 on Gorgias fr. 25 Diels-Kranz = Proclus Chrestomathy line 24 [Allen 1912:100 lines 5–6]; for Musaeus as Athenian, cf. Diogenes Laertius 1.3). Traditions that synchronize Homer’s birth with the Ionian migration suggest a similar tendency; for the fourth century (Aristotle and probably others) see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 209, n11, and cf. Graziosi 2002:99 with n25; for the fifth century see Graziosi 2002:120, who interprets Thucydides to this effect. How much earlier the idea of an Athenian Homer may have arisen is unknown.

[ back ] 242. For more on the early phases of transmission of the Homeric poems see Part 4 below.

[ back ] 243. It is also the catalogue that Polygnotos knew in the mid-fifth century BC when he painted the Nekyia in the Lesche of the Cnidians at Delphi; Pausanias, who describes the painting, names some twenty female figures in it, eleven of whom are from the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11. Of these eleven seven are from the original catalogue (Chloris, 10.29.5; Tyro [referred to as “the daughter of Salmoneus”], 10.29.7; Pero, 10.31.10; Iphimedeia, 10.28.8; the three heroines at the end of the catalogue, Maira, 10.30.5, Klymene, 10.29.6, and Eriphyle, 10.29.7); four heroines are from the expanded catalogue (Megara, 10.29.7, and the three Athenian heroines, Ariadne, 10.29.3, Phaedra, 10.29.3, and Prokris, 10.29.6). The expanded catalogue had clearly replaced the older catalogue at the date of this painting (probably between 458 and 447 BC), which would have been within a century of the expansion itself. Plato Symposium 190b provides later but more explicit evidence for the expanded catalogue in a reference to the attempt by Otos and Ephialtes to storm heaven (they are a comparison for the proto-humans in the speech of Aristophanes): καὶ ὃ λέγει Ὅμηρος περὶ Ἐφιάλτου τε καὶ Ὤτου, περὶ ἐκείνων λέγεται, τὸ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνάβασιν ἐπιχειρεῖν ποιεῖν, ὡς ἐπιθησομένων τοῖς θεοῖς, “and what Homer says about Ephialtes and Otos is said about them, that they tried to make an ascent into the sky in order to attack the gods.”

[ back ] 244. Cf. §1.9 above.