Homer the Preclassic

  Use the following persistent identifier: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Nagy.Homer_the_Preclassic.2009.

Epilegomena: A preclassical text of Homer in the making

E1. Reconstructing Homer forward in time

E§1 Till now I have been reconstructing Homer as a preclassic by working my way backward in time. Now I will attempt an overview by going forward in time. I start with the earliest possible point of departure, the so-called Bronze Age.

E§2 For some, the Bronze Age is so obscure that it seems even darker than the so-called Dark Age. My thinking is different. For me the Bronze Age is perhaps the brightest of all the ages of Homer. In what follows, I will explain my reasons for applying the metaphor of brightness to this age.

E§4 Many of those who imagine such a Homer lurking in the darkness of the eighth {311|312} or the seventh century, stranded from his own prehistory, will nevertheless want to add an escape clause when it comes to the premier landmark of the Bronze Age in the popular imagination of today and yesterday and in fact ever since time immemorial, that is, Troy and the story of Troy. Even the advocates of a stranded Homer need to pay lip service to Troy, the ostensibly real Troy that Heinrich Schliemann had rediscovered and reclaimed for Homer as he understood Homer, but these same advocates are willing to allow this Homer of theirs to tell of Troy only in terms of vague atavistic memories—memories that blur the ostensibly real Troy that archaeologists ever since Schliemann have been trying to piece together. The romantic Schliemann has of course been replaced by scientific archaeologists, but I have a strong sense that Schliemann’s romantic construct of Homer has not at all been replaced in the field of archaeology: this romantic Homer lives on, lingering in the minds of today’s scientific thinkers as they fret over Homer’s picture of Troy and the story of Troy. Was Homer right or wrong about Troy? Was his memory clear or beclouded?

E§7 In order to account for the increasing variation of this poetry in its earlier phases, some try to downdate Homer, pushing him forward in time from the eighth to the seventh or even to the sixth century. Although I think this approach is to some degree productive, it has its problems. Even the term downdate is problematic. It reflects the same kind of thinking that led to the relatively earlier datings, pushing Homer {312|313} backward to the seventh or eighth century. If you are forced to downdate Homer, you will still be trying to date Homer at one time and one place. And you will still be assuming that you can reach a point where all significant variation will disappear in the poetry of Homer himself. If you push Homer far enough forward in time to reach such a point, it will be far too late for those who need to attribute the Iliad and Odyssey to a single creative mind of a single person called Homer or whatever his name may be.

E§10 An essential phase of transition from Homer the Preclassic to Homer the Classic was the sixth century, which is my shorthand term here for referring to a period that actually extends over the limit of a hundred years at each end, overlapping into the earlier and later centuries by a few decades. As I reconstruct my way backward in time in the twin book Homer the Classic, I conclude with Athens in the classical period of the fifth century. Here in Homer the Preclassic, where I reconstruct my way backward from the sixth century, I might have been expected to move away from such an Athenocentric viewpoint. But by now it is evident that this viewpoint stayed in place even when I reached the sixth century. I was able to keep Athens in view even then, because of the way I had redefined the concept of a Dark Age from the start. At the very beginning of Part I, I was saying that everything between the Bronze Age and the classical age is really a dark age for research on Homer. And then I went on to concentrate on the latest part of this dark age, focusing on the sixth century. Here in the Epilegomena as well, I take this opportunity to focus one more time on the sixth century as a point of entry for reconstruction, but this time I will be reconstructing forward in time when I start from there, not backward in time.

E2. The Peisistratean Recension and beyond

E§11 The meaning of Homer’s name, Homēros, is a metaphor that encapsulates the Poet’s life as narrated in the myths of the Lives of Homer. That is what I argued in Chapter 9, where I examined the myths that recapitulate the metaphor of Homer as the one who ‘joins together’ or ‘integrates’ the body politic. But there is not only a metaphor at work in these myths. There is also a metonym. In terms of these myths, Homer himself is a metonym. He is not only the person who is Homer. He is also Homeric poetry, which is a metonymic extension of Homer. Such a metonymy of Homer as an extension of his own poetry is evident in the myths we have seen so far about the integration of the body politic by Homer the person. Just as Homeric poetry integrates society, so also does Homer himself. But now we are about to see a myth that reverses the perspective. It is the myth of the Peisistratean Recension. Up to {314|315} now, we have seen myths saying that society is integrated by Homer. By contrast, the myth of the Peisistratean Recension says that Homer is integrated by society.

E§12 In this myth, the metonymy of Homer as the body of Homeric poetry is actually attested. Before I show the attestation, however, I propose to preview the essence of the myth on the basis of the attested stories. The body of Homeric poetry, according to these stories, had become disintegrated in the course of Homer’s wanderings from city to city, since Homer could never find a permanent place to live. As we saw in the Lives of Homer, the only permanent place for the Poet was a place to die, which turns out to be the Ionian island of Ios. As we also saw, that place for Homer to die was also the place where he had been conceived—according to the version of the story favored by the Athenians. When Homer dies, he leaves behind him what is metonymically a corpus, a body of poetry that is scattered throughout the multiplicity of cities he had visited in the course of his wanderings. This body is a metonym for Homer, not a metaphor. It is the body of Homeric poetry that is scattered all over the cities, not Homer himself as a dead body. Homer is scattered only as a metonymic extension of his poetry. According to the myth, the scattered and disintegrated Homer is then reintegrated by Peisistratos of Athens.

E§14 The simplest formulation of this charter myth can be found in one of the Lives of Homer:

Eⓣ1 Vita 4.8–10

περιιὼν δὲ τὰς πόλεις ᾖδε τὰ ποιήματα. ὕστερον δὲ Πεισίστρατος αὐτὰ συνήγαγεν

[Homer], as he went wandering around [perierkhesthai] the cities, was singing [āidein] his poetic creations [poiēmata]; later, Peisistratos collected them.

E§15 In this particular Life, the cities that Homer is said to have visited in the course of his wanderings are not listed, but the cities that claim to be the place of his birth are given in this order: Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, and Athens (Vita 4.7–8). As we saw in Chapter 6, this sequencing of cities represents the prevalent Athenocentric narrative pattern. It follows that the repertoire of Homer in this narrative is like-{315|316} wise Athenocentric: in terms of the myth of the Peisistratean Recension, the ‘poetic creations’ of Homer, his poiēmata, are assumed to be the Iliad and the Odyssey only, to the exclusion of other creations—except for the Margites.

E§16 This Life goes on to add a most important detail, which brings me to the metonymy of Homer as the body of Homer. The narrative quotes an epigram attributed to Peisistratos himself, where the tyrant claims to be a reintegrator of the disintegrated corpus. This epigram is also attested in Vita 5, and in the Greek Anthology. Here are the verses of the epigram attributed to the tyrant:

E§17 The figure of Peisistratos is picturing himself here as a reintegrator. And he is reintegrating the poetry of Homer by way of reintegrating Homer himself.

E§18 This epigram of Peisistratos, it is said in another Life, was located in Athens:

Eⓣ3 Vita 5.24–28

τὰ δὲ ποιήματα αὐτοῦ τὰ ἀληθῆ σποράδην πρότερον ᾀδόμενα Πεισίστρατος Ἀθηναῖος συνέταξεν, ὡς δηλοῖ τὸ φερόμενον ἐπίγραμμα Ἀθήνησιν ἐπιγεγραμμένον ἐν εἰκόνι αὐτοῦ τοῦ Πεισιστράτου. ἔχει δ’ ὧδε·

His [= Homer’s] genuine poetic creations [poiēmata], which had formerly been in a scattered state [sporadēn] in the course of being sung [from place to place], were organized by Peisistratos of Athens, as is proved by the epigram that is attested in Athens. It is inscribed on a likeness of Peisistratos himself, and it goes as follows [here is where the quotation as I gave it above is given by Vita 5.29–34].

E§19 The story is implying that Athens was the first place where the poetry of Homer was performed in its entirety after his death. And the story says explicitly that the {316|317} only genuine poetic creations of Homer were the Iliad and the Odyssey—to the exclusion of other epics and even of the Homeric Hymns (Vita 5.19–22). But the story does not say where and how the poet Homer may have performed the Iliad and the Odyssey for the first time. That is because, as we are about to see, the myth of the Peisistratean Recension must have said something else. It must have said that Homer never had a chance to perform either the Iliad or the Odyssey all at once.

E§20 The evidence comes from a version of the Lives of Homer as summarized in the Suda. In some ways, as we will see, the wording is post-Athenocentric in its outlook on Homer. In other ways, however, it is distinctly Athenocentric. According to this version, the pieces of Homeric poetry that Peisistratos supposedly assembled in creating the Peisistratean Recension were performance units that Homer supposedly ‘wrote down’ (graphein) after ‘performing’ (epideiknusthai) each piece in each of the cities he visited during his wanderings, and the word that is used to indicate such a performance unit is rhapsōidia ‘rhapsody’:

Eⓣ4 Vita 10.37–43 Suda

ποιήματα δ’ αὐτοῦ ἀναμφίλεκτα Ἰλιὰς καὶ Ὀδύσσεια. ἔγραψε δὲ τὴν Ἰλιάδα οὐχ ἅμα, οὐδὲ κατ τὸ συνεχ ς ὥσπερ σύγκειται, ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς μὲν ἑκάστην ῥαψῳδίαν γρ ά ψας καὶ ἐπιδειξ ά μενος τῷ περινοστεῖν τὰς πόλεις τροφῆς ἕνεκεν ἀπέλιπεν. ὕστερον δὲ συνετέθη καὶ συνετάχθη ὑπὸ πολλῶν καὶ μάλιστα ὑπὸ Πεισιστράτου τοῦ τῶν Ἀθηναίων τυράννου.

His [= Homer’s] undisputed poems [poēmata] are the Iliad and Odyssey. He wrote down [graphein] the Iliad not all at once nor in sequence, the way it is composed, but he [= Homer] wrote down [graphein] each rhapsody [rhapsōidia] himself after performing [epideiknusthai] each one as he went around from city to city in order to make a living, leaving each one behind [wherever he wrote it]. Later on, it [= the Iliad] was put together by a number of people, especially by Peisistratos the tyrant of Athens.

E§21 What we see in this version of the Lives of Homer is a visualization of the Iliad as a complete composition made up of pieces of text supposedly ‘written’ by Homer on the basis of corresponding pieces of poetry supposedly ‘performed’ by him in his travels as a wandering rhapsode who went from city to city in order to make a living. By extension, the same kind of visualization applies to the Odyssey.

E§23 This Athenocentric model of Homer as reflected in the narrative of the Suda is incompatible with some earlier models we find in other narratives. In terms of these earlier models, Homer the wandering rhapsode performs epics other than the Iliad and Odyssey. He even performs other poetry in general, including epigrams. The most telling examples of such earlier models can be found in the narratives of Vita 1 and Vita 2.

E§24 In Vita 1, Homer performs a wide variety of poetry in the Aeolian cities of Neon Teikhos, Smyrna, and Cyme; after Cyme, he performs in the Ionian cities of the Asiatic mainland, as also on the outlying Ionian islands of Chios and Samos. Vita 1 does not say explicitly that Homer performed the Iliad and Odyssey as well, but this part of his repertoire seems to be a given.

E§25 By contrast with Vita 1, which concentrates on the performances of Homer in the cities on the mainland of Asia Minor and on the islands of Chios and Samos, Vita 2 concentrates on the performances of Homer in the cities of the mainland of Hellas. In this case, we do see an explicit reference to Homeric performance of the Iliad. The setting is Argos, where Homer is said to perform verses from the Iliad (Vita 2.287–315). In this case, the narrative implies that Homer’s performance is rhapsodic: that is, he performs not the whole Iliad but only parts of it that please the people of Argos. We see an analogous pattern in the case of Homer’s performance in Corinth (Vita 2.286–287): the narrative makes it explicit that he performs there in the manner of a rhapsode, rhapsōideîn (ἐρραψῴδει τὰ ποιήματα).

E§26 In the narrative of Vita 2, it is implied that Homer composes complete poems when he is stationary but performs rhapsodic pieces, as it were, when he is wandering. As we saw earlier, it is said that Homer started his career of poetry (poiēsis 2.17) in Colophon (2.15), having ‘made’ (poieîn 2.17) the Margites. Later on in the narrative, it is said that Homer, having ‘made’ (poieîn 2.55) the Margites in Colophon, went wandering around other cities, performing poetry wherever he went: Ὅμηρον περιέρχεσθαι κατὰ πόλιν ‘Homer went wandering around from city to city’ (2.55–56). That is, Homer went wandering around from city to city after having left the city of Colophon, where he had ‘made’ the Margites. When he goes to Chalkis and competes with Hesiod there (2.62–214), he performs a variety of {318|319} verses that we may identify with verses of the Iliad and Odyssey. Still, in terms of the narrative, he has not yet composed the Odyssey, and it seems that he has not yet composed the Iliad, either. Mention of Homer’s composition of the Iliad and Odyssey happens much later on in the narrative, at the point where Homer goes to Delphi: at this point, it is said that he composed (poieîn 2.274) these two epics, not that he performed them. And, before Homer had ever reached Delphi, there had been more wandering. After he is defeated by Hesiod in the poetic contest at Chalkis, Homer resumes his wandering (2.254–255): περιερχόμενος ἔλεγε τὰ ποιήματα ‘as he [= Homer] went wandering around [perierkhesthai], he was telling his poetic creations [poiēmata]’ (2.255). The wording here is parallel to the wording at the start of the narrative: ποιήσαντα γὰρ τὸν Μαργίτην Ὅμηρον περιέρχεσθαι κατὰ πόλιν ῥαψῳδοῦντα ‘having made [poieîn] the Margites, Homer went wandering around [perierkhesthai] from city to city, performing in the manner of rhapsodes [rhapsōideîn]’ (2.55–56). Here I cite again Plato’s passing reference to the myth of the Certamen: both Homer and Hesiod are pictured as ‘performing in the manner of rhapsodes’ (rhapsōideîn) as they ‘go wandering around’ (perierkhesthai) from city to city (Plato Republic 10.600d-e ῥαψῳδεῖν … περιιόντας).

E§27 Though neither Vita 1 nor Vita 2 says explicitly that the performances of Homer as a wandering rhapsode add up to an integral Homeric corpus of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, such a corpus is indicated as a subtext in both these narratives.

E§28 In the narrative of Vita 1, such a subtext takes the form of a noticeable pattern of elision. Some rival epics that Homer could have been performing in this narrative are being systematically elided. The elision happens in the course of narrating the sequence of places visited by the wandering Homer. Though the narrative of Vita 1 concentrates on the area of the Asiatic mainland and the outlying islands, it elides two most prominent places in that area, both of which were associated with Homer’s authorship of prominent epics. The two elided places are (1) the Ionian city of Miletus, which had once dominated the old Ionian Dodecapolis, and (2) the Aeolian island of Lesbos.

E§30 Such elision indicates a classical Athenocentric point of view. From the standpoint of Athenians in the fifth century, Homer himself was no longer the poet of such epics as the Aithiopis or the Iliou Persis or the Little Iliad. That is because these epics stemming from the so-called epic Cycle were no longer performed at the Athenian festival of the Panathenaia in the fifth century and beyond.

E§32 Still, we can expect Athenian accretions at a lower degree in the epic Cycle and at a higher degree in the Iliad and Odyssey, since the epics of the Cycle were phased out of the epic program of the Panathenaia in Athens by the time of the classical period, leaving the Iliad and Odyssey as the sole representatives of Homeric poetry at that festival. Even in the preclassical period, the epics of the Cycle were peripheral while the Iliad and Odyssey were central in the Homeric tradition, as we can see from the fact that the overall narrative of the Cycle is built around the Iliad and Odyssey. [16] This formulation holds not only for the preclassical era of epic as performed at the Panathenaia under the rule of the Peisistratidai but even more so for the earlier preclassical era of epic performance as it evolved at the festival of the Panionia at the Panionion of the Ionian Dodecapolis, in the late eighth and early seventh century. Already at that time, as we saw in Chapter 1, the two central epics performed at the festival of the Panionia were prototypical versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey. As Douglas Frame has shown, a lasting trace of this centrality is the fact that each of these two epics is divisible into six performance units, adding up {320|321} to twelve performance units representing each one of the twelve cities of the Ionian Dodecapolis. [17] To be contrasted are the two Ionian epics attributed to Arctinus of Miletus, the Aithiopis and the Iliou Persis, which do not fit the broader social framework of the Ionian Dodecapolis but rather the narrower one of Miletus as a single city. And the themes that we find in such epics of the Cycle tend to be more localized and therefore more conservative than the more Panhellenized themes of the Iliad and Odyssey. In earlier work, I offered this explanation:

E§33 The classical version of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey as performed at the festival of the Panathenaia, derived from the preclassical version as performed at the festival of the Panionia, tends to neutralize any potential incompatibilities with older and more localized epic versions still evident in the epic Cycle. I mention two examples here. One is the pair of epics known as the Aithiopis and the Iliou Persis, both attributed to Arctinus of Miletus, which promote the Ionian traditions of the city of Miletus. Another such example is the Little Iliad attributed to Lesches of Lesbos, which promotes the Aeolian traditions of the island of Lesbos. In Chapter 7, I have already noted how the Panathenaic version of the Homeric Iliad neutralizes both the Ionian and the Aeolian versions of epic traditions associated respectively with Miletus and Lesbos. A case in point is the Panathenaic elision of the hero Scamandrius son of Hector, who had a role in the Ionian as well as the Aeolian versions of stories about the capture of Troy.

E§34 I have also noted in Chapter 7 traces of the Aeolian version in the Trōïka of Hellanicus (FGH 4 F 31), as reported by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Roman Antiquities 1.45.4–1.48.1). According to this source, the city of New Ilion was once ruled jointly by Scamandrius the son of Hector and Ascanius the son of Aeneas. In the same chapter, we have also seen traces of the Ionian version in an account given by Demetrius of Scepsis as mediated by Strabo (13.1.52 C607). According to this source, the city of Scepsis was once ruled jointly by Scamandrius the son of Hector and {321|322} Ascanius the son of Aeneas; and the same source adds that immigrants from the Ionian city of Miletus were integrated into the population at a later period.

E§35 A question arises about the pairing of Scamandrius and Ascanius: Does this pairing suit the political interests of these two cities of Ilion and Scepsis? As we saw in Chapter 7, New Ilion was Aeolian, and Scepsis was Ionian. And we also saw that the descendants of Hector by way of Scamandrius represent the Aeolians just as surely as the descendants of Aeneas by way of Ascanius represent the Ionians. So why not have Scamandrius alone representing the Aeolian city of New Ilion and Ascanius alone representing the Ionian city of Scepsis?

E§36 In search of an answer, I propose to take a second look at the myth that tells how the descendants of Aeneas were eventually expelled from New Ilion by the Aeolians (exegetical scholia T for Iliad XX 307–308a1). Effectively, the joint rule of New Ilion by Aeolians and Ionians as represented by Scamandrius and Ascanius was thus eliminated by the Aeolians. What I find most remarkable about this myth is that the point it makes about the eventual status of New Ilion actually proves that the earlier status of the city was different—that there really was a joint rule of New Ilion by Aeolians and Ionians—and that the pairing of Scamandrius with Ascanius did in fact once suit the political interests of the city. By way of this pairing, the myth is taking it for granted that New Ilion was once upon a time ruled jointly by Aeolians and Ionians.

E§37 Before the expulsion of the descendants of Aeneas from New Ilion, the Ionian model of Troy in the aftermath of the Trojan War would have depended on Ionian joint ownership of the city of New Ilion as the genuine new Troy that continues where the old Troy left off. After the expulsion, however, the Ionian model needed a different new Troy to be owned jointly with the Aeolians. This would-be new Troy could be any city other than New Ilion. And the city of choice could now become Scepsis in the highlands of Mount Ida. Similarly, the site of old Troy could now be any site other than the old site of Troy. And the site of choice could now become the place identified by Strabo as ἡ τῶν Ἰλιέων κώμη ‘the village [kōmē] of the people of Ilion [Ilieis]’, located some thirty stadia away from New Ilion, in territory belonging to the city of Scepsis (13.1.35–36 C597–598; also 13.1.25 C593).

E§38 The expulsion of the Aeneadae from New Ilion, which meant a loss of joint ownership for the Ionians, must have been a major loss in prestige for Miletus as the dominant city of the Ionian Dodecapolis. The substitution of Scepsis for New Ilion as the would-be new Troy for Ionians in general and for Milesians in particular, as narrated in the Ionian epic of the Iliou Persis, can be viewed as a compensation for this loss. And the concept of a joint rule over Scepsis by Scamandrius the son of Hector and Ascanius son of Aeneas can be viewed as a substitute for the concept of a joint rule over New Ilion that was no longer valid for that city.

E§39 Ultimately, the substitution of Scepsis for New Ilion as the would-be new Troy for Ionians in general and for Milesians in particular failed. And this ultimate fail-{322|323} ure, which was really a failure not so much for the city of Scepsis as for all Ionians federated with Miletus, was due not only to the ultimate success of the rival city of New Ilion in maintaining its status as the real Troy after it expelled the descendants of Aeneas. It was due also to the temporary success of another rival city that became a new Troy. That city, as we saw in Chapter 7, was the new Troy of the Athenians, Sigeion.

E§40 Unlike the Ionians in general and the Milesians in particular, the Athenians did not need Scamandrius. Moreover, because Scamandrius figured as the ancestor of the dynasty that ruled the Aeolian city of New Ilion, he should not even exist as far as the Athenians were concerned. That is why, as we saw in Chapter 7, it suited the Athenians to have a version of the Iliad that kills off the figure of Scamandrius by merging him with the figure of Astyanax, whose death at Troy is evidently acknowledged in all existing versions.

E§41 All this is not to say that a Milesian version of the Troy narrative that accommodated Scamandrius was a threat, in and of itself, to the Athenian version as perpetuated in the Panathenaic Homer. It would be better to say that such a Milesian version was no longer needed by Athens. The Aeneas of the Milesians could no longer find a home anywhere other than Scepsis, and that was no longer good enough for the Athenians. As we saw, Ionian Scepsis no longer measured up to the model of a new Troy that could rival the New Ilion of the Aeolians. Only the Ionian Sigeion of the Athenians could measure up.

E§42 The decline in the prestige of Ionian Scepsis was part of a far more extensive pattern of decline involving the Ionians in general and the Milesians in particular after the collapse of the Ionian Revolt and the total defeat of Miletus by the Persians in the 490s. Although the power of Miletus and the Ionian Dodecapolis was already under severe pressure from the earlier Lydian empire, it was many years later, under the Persian empire in the 490s, that it utterly collapsed. Accompanying this collapse of power was a destabilization of Ionian epic traditions overtly associated with Miletus as the most dominant city of the Ionian Dodecapolis. Even before the final collapse, in the era marked by the maritime empire or thalassocracy of the tyrant Polycrates, the only cities of the Dodecapolis that still played a significant role in the shaping of Ionian epic traditions were the island cities of Chios and Samos. The mainland cities of the Dodecapolis, even Miletus and Ephesus, could no longer play such a significant role. In the era of Polycrates of Samos, who controlled the islands of the Aegean Sea, the center of gravity for Ionian epic had shifted away from the cities of the Asiatic mainland. It was in this historical context that the mainland cities of the old Ionian Dodecapolis finally lost control of the Panionian epic performance traditions as represented by the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. This way, they lost Homer as the core of the epic Cycle. [19] But they kept their peripheral epic per-{323|324} formance traditions as represented by the Aithiopis and the Iliou Persis, reassigned from Homer to Arctinus of Miletus. Paradoxically, such peripheral epic traditions may have been, at an earlier stage, more central to the localized interests of a city like Miletus. In the case of the Aithiopis, for example, attributed to Arctinus of Miletus, the immortalization of Achilles (Proclus summary p. 106.12–15 ed. Allen) reflects the local traditions of Achilles as cult hero of the Milesians. [20] Similarly in the case of the Iliou Persis, likewise attributed to Arctinus of Miletus, the reference to Scepsis as the city where Aeneas finds refuge after the capture of Troy reflects the political links of this city with Miletus. [21]

E§45 In the epigram of Peisistratos about the Peisistratean Recension, we saw that Smyrna is claimed as a daughter city of Athens. This appropriation of Smyrna by Athens shows that the charter myth about the Recension actually acknowledged Smyrna as Homer’s point of origin. By claiming Smyrna as their very own, the Athenians were claiming Homer as well. The fact that the Athenian appropriation of {324|325} Homer was predicated on an Athenian appropriation of Smyrna shows that this Asiatic city was felt to be an indispensable part of the myth of the Recension. It also implies that Smyrna was indispensable for validating earlier versions of the myth.

E§46 In its ultimate form, the myth of the Peisistratean Recension was indirectly telling a story of cultural eclipse. The disintegrating Homer of the Panionia was eclipsed by the reintegrated Homer of a rival festival, the Delia, which was the point of definition for the earlier phases of the Athenian empire. The Delia then gave way to yet another rival festival, the Panathenaia, which became the ultimate point of definition for the later phases of the Athenian empire. As I said in Chapter 8, the eclipsing of the Panionian Homer by the Panathenaic Homer was not unprecedented. Earlier, the Panionian Homer of the Ionian Dodecapolis had eclipsed what I will call the Panaeolian Homer of the Aeolian Dodecapolis. The “big bang” in that case was the transformation of Aeolian Smyrna, native city of Homer, into Ionian Smyrna.

E§47 I conclude my analysis of the myth of the Peisistratean Recension by summarizing what it tells us about the reception of Homer in the era of the Peisistratidai. It is clear from what we have seen that this Homer of the Peisistratidai is figured as a Panathenaic Homer, a prototype for what we know as the Iliad and Odyssey. Clearly, the myth of the Peisistratean Recension focuses mostly on the Iliad and Odyssey by way of occluding other major epic traditions as represented by the Aithiopis, the Iliou Persis, and the Little Iliad. Nevertheless, we need to keep in mind that this myth of the Peisistratean Recension was linked not to the Panathenaic Homer of the Athenian democracy, which was the Homeric Koine, but rather to the earlier Homer of the Peisistratidai. And this earlier Homer was the Panionian Homer stemming from the glory days of the Ionian Dodecapolis.

E3. Asiatic and Helladic receptions of Homer

E§48 Although the myth of the Peisistratean Recension situates Homer’s point of origin on the mainland of Asia Minor, it reflects a gradual shift of perspective toward the mainland of Hellas. The cause of this westward gravitation was the evolution of Homeric performance traditions at the Panathenaia in Athens. Tracing this gradual shift, I note two phases of Homeric reception. In the earlier phase, Homer was linked almost exclusively with Asia Minor and the outlying islands, especially with Chios and Samos. In the later phase, we see an accretion of links to various sites on the Helladic mainland. From here on, I will refer in shorthand to the earlier phase of Homeric reception as Asiatic, and to the later phase as Helladic.

E§50 In what follows, I will examine traces of both Asiatic and Helladic phases of Homeric reception in the Lives of Homer, especially in the narratives of Vita 1 and Vita 2. As we will see, the first of these Lives of Homer shows an earlier and broader and less Athenocentric concept of Homer than the second, which shows a considerably later and narrower and more Athenocentric concept, corresponding more closely to the Panathenaic Homer that ultimately prevailed by the time of the second half of the fifth century and thereafter.

E§51 Vita 1 recognizes a prototype of what became the Panathenaic Homer. This pre-Panathenaic Homer, like its later Athenian counterpart, is credited with only two epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The difference is, this prototype is localized in the city of Chios, not in Athens. According to Vita 1, Homer composed the Iliad and Odyssey in the city of Chios. Still, although the narrative of Vita 1 insists on a pre-Panathenaic prototype that Homer supposedly made in Chios, it acknowledges a Panathenaic outcome for this prototype: in the course of composing the Iliad and Odyssey, Homer kept augmenting his composition by adding verses that centered on the glorification of Athens (1.378–399). But the narrative maintains that the making of such a pre-Panathenaic Homer did not take place in Athens. The Panathenaic Homer may have been destined for performance in Athens, but the composition for that performance supposedly took place in the city of Chios. The narrative of Vita 1 draws further attention to this localization inside the city of Chios by actually allowing for non-Panathenaic compositions by Homer outside that city. Whereas Homer composed only the Iliad and the Odyssey inside the city of Chios, he supposedly composed other epics in other cities—such as the Little Iliad that he ‘made’ (poieîn) in the city of Phocaea (1.203). So the narrative of Vita 1 reveals a broader concept of Homer that corresponds to a prototypical Homer who supposedly created the whole epic Cycle. [25] Still, it insists on a narrower concept within the limits of the city of Chios. [26] {326|327} This narrower concept, which prefigures the Panathenaic Homer, corresponds to the Homer who was ancestor of the Homēridai of Chios. And this Homer of the Homēridai of Chios stems ultimately from the Panionian Homer of the Ionian Dodecapolis, whose repertoire is restricted to the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey—as distinct from the broader repertoire of the prototypical Homer who supposedly created the whole epic Cycle.

E§53 By contrast with the less Athenocentric outlook of Vita 1, where Homer composes for performance in Athens but never gets there, Vita 2 shows a far more Athenocentric outlook. As far as this alternative version is concerned, Homer does perform in Athens (2.276–285) and then goes on to perform in other major cities of the Helladic mainland, especially Corinth (2.286–287) and Argos (2.288–314). Homer’s long-awaited songmaking tour of the Helladic mainland, which failed to take place in Vita 1, is realized in Vita 2. Conversely, Vita 2 omits the adventures of Homer in the cities of the Asiatic mainland and in outlying islands like Chios and Samos. There are only a few exceptions, to which I will turn later.

E§54 The narrative of Vita 2 not only highlights the Helladic phase of Homeric reception by contrast with the Asiatic phase as highlighted by Vita 1. More than that, Vita 2 reassigns to the Helladic mainland various adventures that Vita 1 assigns to the Asiatic mainland and to its outlying islands. In other words, Vita 2 actually displaces elements of the earlier Asiatic phase and replaces them with elements from the later Helladic phase.

E§58 There are further points of comparison between the narratives of Vita 1 and Vita 2: whereas Vita 1 shows Homer traveling from Samos to Ios (1.484–485), Vita 2 shows him traveling from Delos to Ios, where he meets Kreophylos (2.322; Vita 11 [= Proclus summary p. 100 ed. Allen] lines 11–13), who as we saw is the Samian counterpart of Homer the Chiote. Whereas Vita 1 shows a Samian connection in Homer’s point of departure to Ios, Vita 2 shows a Samian connection in his point of arrival at Ios. Both points, however, are in fact transitional, not terminal. In Vita 1, the real point of departure for Athens is not Samos but Chios. In Vita 2, the real point of arrival is not the encounter with Kreophylos of Samos but something unexpected {328|329} that happens thereafter, Homer’s own death. The fact that Homer’s place of death is consistently pictured as the Ionian island of Ios is in and of itself an Ionian signature, which complements another Ionian signature in the narrative: Homer stops over at Ionian Ios on his way from Ionian Delos, which is the notional centerpoint of all Ionians, the place where he successfully performs the Homeric Hymn to Apollo at the festival of the Delia.

E§59 The fact that Samos is an intermediate point in the narrative of Vita 1—a stopover for Homer between his starting point of Chios and the anticipated arrival point of Athens—is relevant, I propose, to the role of the Kreōphuleioi of Samos as alternative mediators of Homer. It is also relevant to the fact that the maritime Ionian empire of Athens was prefigured by the maritime Ionian empire of the tyrant of Samos, Polycrates. Just as the empire of Polycrates of Samos is a precursor of the empire of Athens as ruled by the sons of Peisistratos, so also the story of Homer in Samos is a precursor of the story of Homer in Athens. A case in point is the riddle told by Homer in Samos, as narrated in Vita 1 (421–432): both the setting and the wording match closely the setting and the wording of the riddle told by Homer in Athens, as narrated in Vita 2 (278–285). Comparing the two versions, I argue that the Samian version cannot be based on the corresponding Athenian version. To put it another way, the Asiatic version cannot be based on the corresponding Helladic version.

E§60 So far, we have seen two Samian subtexts in Vita 2. First, the riddle that Homer tells in Athens has a precursor in the riddle he tells in Samos. Second, Homer travels to Ios in order to meet Kreophylos of Samos (2.322). But there is a third Samian subtext as well in Vita 2, and this one is far more important than the other two: just before Homer reaches Ios (2.322), he stops over at the island of Delos (2.315–322), where he performs the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (2.316–319). As we have already seen from the testimony of Thucydides and other sources, this Homeric performance was pictured as the centerpiece of the festival of the Delia, as organized by Polycrates of Samos. Without naming the organizer, Vita 2 refers to this Ionian festival, calling it a panēguris (2.316, 321).

E4. A spokesman for all Hellenes

E§61 In the narrative of Vita 2, the Homeric Hymn to Apollo authorizes Homer as the spokesman of an Ionian empire—an empire we know was once ruled by the tyrant Polycrates of Samos and later by the sons of Peisistratos in Athens—and still later by the democratic regime of Athens. According to Vita 2, the authorization of and by Homer is made explicit in his performance. Specifically, Homer ‘speaks’ ( legein ) the humnos to Apollo (2.316-317 καὶ σταθεὶς ἐπὶ τὸν κεράτινον βωμὸν λέγει ὕμνον εἰς Ἀπόλλωνα); then, once Homer ‘speaks’ ( legein ) the humnos (2.319 ῥηθέντος δὲ τοῦ ὕμνου), all the Ionians who are gathered at Delos and celebrating their Panionian festival (panēguris, at 2.316, 321) respond by making Homer their ‘common {329|330} citizen’ , their koinos politēs (2.319–320 οἱ μὲν Ἴωνες πολίτην αὐτὸν κοινὸν ἐποιήσαντο). As I argued in Chapters 2 and 9, this Panionian ‘common’ Homer in the narrative of Vita 2 is an imperial Homer. The Panionianism is viewed from the Athenocentric standpoint of the latest of the Ionian empires. Homer speaks not only for the empire shaped by the tyrant of Samos but also for the empire later reshaped by the tyrants of Athens. In the name of this empire, moreover, he speaks for all Hellenes.

E§62 This visualization of Homer as the koinos politēs ‘common citizen’ of all Ionian cities as he ‘speaks’ his Hymn to Apollo at Delos exemplifies the imperial phase of Homeric reception: each and every city of the Ionians now claims Homer as an authorized citizen, while the city of Athens claims to be the metropolis or ‘mother city’ of all Ionian cities. The word koinos ‘common, standard’, as applied to Homer and Homeric poetry, reflects the appropriation of Homer as a spokesman for the incipient Athenian empire at the Panionian festival of the Delia in Delos, and this myth about Homer in Delos as the koinos politēs ‘common citizen’ of all Ionian cities prefigures an imperial universalization of Homer for all Hellenes.

E5. Homer’s split personality

E§63 The idea of Homer as a koinos politēs ‘common citizen’ of all Ionian cities illustrates a special way of thinking, for which I proposed a special term in Chapter 9, split referencing. In the case of Homer, the reference is split between Athenocentric and non-Athenocentric meanings. The term koinos politēs has a general meaning for Ionians, which is explicit, but it also has a special Athenocentric meaning for Athenians, which is implicit. This split between explicit and implicit identities creates the effect of a split personality.

E§65 Homer’s split personality is inherent in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo itself. Homer may be Ionian in multiple ways or in a singular way. When he performs the Homeric Hymn to Apollo in Delos, he is Ionian in multiple ways because the setting of the Hymn is the Panionian festival of the Delia. But he is Ionian in a singular way from the standpoint of Athenians, since the setting of Homer’s performance, the island of Delos, is the center of a Panionian federation dominated by Athens after the collapse of the empire of Polycrates. The point of reference for the Hymn, from the perspective of Athenians, is a reality dominated by Athenians, whereas the point of reference from the perspective of Ionians is a reality shared by all Ionians. The Athenians in effect claim exclusive rights to a poetic reality that is notionally common to all Ionians. That common reality is Homer, the koinos politēs ‘common citizen’ of all Ionian cities.

E6. A prototype for Homer, Hesiod, and Orpheus

E§67 So far, we have seen that Homer has a special meaning for the Athenians. But that meaning changes in the course of time. In the era of the democracy, that meaning was determined primarily by the content of the Iliad and Odyssey. Earlier, however, in the era of the Peisistratidai, the meaning of Homer was more broadly determined. The Homer of the Peisistratidai was imagined as the poet of the epic Cycle, which in turn was imagined to be a complete body of epic that actually included what later became the Iliad and Odyssey. In that era, rhapsodes competing at the Panathenaia had in their repertoire not only the equivalents of our Iliad and Odyssey but also the equivalents of what we know as the epics of the Cycle. Moreover, the latitude of the rhapsodes’ repertoire was so extensive as to transcend Homer by including epic traditions attributed to such poets as Hesiod and Orpheus. In Chapter 1, I con-{331|332} centrated on the differentiation of Homer in the later years of the tyrants and, still later, in the new era of the democracy. Then, in Chapter 3, I concentrated on the non-differentiation of Homer in the earlier years of the tyrants and, still earlier, in the preceding eras going as far back as the Bronze Age. For the moment, I use the term non-differentiation as a way of expressing a concept of Homer that includes the concepts of Hesiod and Orpheus. As my argumentation proceeds, this concept will have to be tailored to suit what eventually evolved into three distinct forms of epic, as represented by the three poets Homer, Hesiod, and Orpheus. My aim, then, is to consider what these three differentiated forms of epic once had in common.

E§68 The latitude of epic repertoire that I reconstruct for the festival of the Panathenaia in the era of the tyrants is comparable to what we find attested at a later point in another important festival of the Athenians, the City Dionysia. This Dionysiac festival accommodated a wide variety of performance media in the dramatic arts. These media of Dionysiac drama at the City Dionysia complemented the media of epic and lyric at the Panathenaia. In this connection, it is essential to keep in mind the patterns of mutual influence between the media of the City Dionysia and those of the Panathenaia in the era of the democracy in Athens. As we will now see, such patterns of mutual influence between the media of the City Dionysia and the Panathenaia actually date farther back to the earlier era of the tyranny under the Peisistratidai. Already then, the performance media of these two major festivals were evolving together and influencing one another.

E§70 Keeping in mind these later developments, I go back to concentrating on the era of the Peisistratidai, which was a time when other forms of epic still coexisted with what eventually became the Homeric form of epic. In the case of one such epic form, what I have been calling Cyclic poetry, I have already said in Chapters 3 and 4 what I needed to say: Homer was understood to be the poet of at least some of the epics {332|333} of the Cycle in the era of the tyrants and perhaps even later, in the earlier phases of the democracy that followed it. I still need to say more, however, about the two other forms of epic we have been considering all along, that is, the Hesiodic and the Orphic forms.

E§71 In the case of the Hesiodic form of epic, I have so far highlighted only its ultimate differentiation from the Homeric form. But now, as I started to say at the beginning of this section, I will need to confront earlier phases of non-differentiation between these two forms of epic. From here on, I will speak of such non-differentiation in terms of convergence. That is, I will be investigating earlier phases of convergence between Hesiodic and Homeric forms of epic.

E§72 What I have just said about Hesiodic poetry applies also to Orphic poetry. In what follows, I will also need to confront earlier phases of convergence between Orphic and Homeric forms of epic. In this case, the task will be more difficult, because we know far less about the Orphic form of epic in its earliest recoverable phases than we know about the Hesiodic form.

E§73 Here I will need to make a point that I make also in the twin book Homer the Classic: the convergence of Hesiodic and Orphic forms of epic with the Homeric form of epic was viewed retrospectively not as a real convergence but as an augmentation. That is, Homer was once thought to be augmented by way of Hesiod and augmented by way of Orpheus. In order to develop this point further, I start by outlining in the next two sections the concepts of the Homeric Koine and the Homerus Auctus. Then, in subsequent sections, I explore the convergence of Hesiodic and Orphic forms of epic with the Homeric form of epic.

E7. Homeric Koine

E§74 In the Prolegomena to Homer the Classic, I reconstruct the term Koine (koinē) in the combined sense of ‘common’ and ‘standard’ with reference to what I have been calling the Panathenaic Homer. The evidence for this reconstruction comes from the political discourse of democratic Athens in the fifth as well as the fourth centuries BCE, when the adjective koinos / koinē / koinon was still used in the combined sense of ‘common’ and ‘standard’, conveying simultaneously the ideas of democracy and empire. As we have seen in Chapter 2 of the present book, this usage is relevant to the concept of Homer himself as the koinos politēs ‘common citizen’ of all Ionian cities (Contest of Homer and Hesiod, Vita 2.319–320). This usage is central to the overall thesis of the twin book Homer the Classic, which is to argue that the Homeric Koine represents the ideological appropriation of Homer by the Athenian empire in the new era of the democracy. In other words, the Homeric Koine was the lingua franca of Athenian democracy and empire combined.

E§75 Some of the most telling evidence about the Homeric Koine, as I argue in Chapter 3 of Homer the Classic, is to be found in the quotations taken from Homer in {333|334} the works of Plato. On the basis of this evidence, we can see that Plato’s Homer, as quoted in such virtual dialogues as the Ion and the Hippias Minor, was the Panathenaic Homer of his day, in the fourth century BCE. Using the additional evidence provided by Plato’s precise references to rhapsodic conventions, we can also see that Plato’s Homer was essentially the same Homer that was being quoted by the likes of Ion, Hippias, and Socrates in real dialogues of their own day, in the fifth century BCE. What, then, is the distinguishing feature of this Homeric Koine as the Panathenaic Homer of the Athenian democracy? My answer can be summed up this way: the Homeric Koine as quoted by Plato was relatively unaugmented in comparison with the Homerus Auctus, which I describe as a relatively more augmented or expanded form of Homer. This Homerus Auctus included elements that editors in the age of Callimachus judged to be Cyclic, Hesiodic, and Orphic accretions.

E8. Homerus Auctus

E§76 In Chapter 2 of the twin book Homer the Classic, I use the term Homerus Auctus to indicate an augmented version of Homer that can be dated back to the sixth century BCE, by contrast with the dating of the unaugmented Homeric Koine to the fifth century BCE. In the third century BCE, however, which is the era of editors like Zenodotus and poets like Callimachus, the Homerus Auctus was viewed not as an earlier version of Homer. It was viewed instead as the result of newer additions to an older text. And the unaugmented Homer, as represented by the Homeric Koine, was viewed as the older text.

E§77 From such a point of view, it is as if an older core of Homeric poetry kept on getting augmented and reaugmented by a mass of ever newer additions. Conversely, it is as if the Homeric Koine resulted from subtractions—as if the Homerus Auctus were purged of its augmentations and restored to its supposedly original Homeric core.

E§78 Contradicting such a point of view, I argue that the Homerus Auctus was not some disorganized mass of newer additions clustering around a relatively organized older core. Rather, this augmented Homer was the culmination of an organically expanding epic tradition—a tradition marked by an esthetics of expansion.

E§79 The idea of an augmented Homer, as expressed by the term Homerus Auctus, does not presuppose a textual transmission of Homer. A case in point is the moment when Homer in the Lives of Homer is imagined as adding verses to the Iliad during his stay in Chios (Vita 1.378–398). The story pictures him in the act of adding verses to preexisting verses, but there is no indication that these preexisting verses are imagined as a text. What is imagined, rather, is a preexisting song already in the making, performed by Homer on preexisting occasions. In the logic of the story, {334|335} Homer is getting ready to perform a longer version of his song for the new occasion of his intended debut in Athens. In terms of oral poetry, Homer’s addition of verses favorable to Athens can be understood as a process of expansion.

E§82 In Chapter 2 of Homer the Classic, I show how the Homer of the Homerus Auctus, as viewed in the era of poets like Callimachus in the third century BCE, was studiously imitated by these poets. Such a model of Homer represents an extreme of inclusiveness—for poets. That is because the text of such a Homer went far beyond the text of what I have been calling the Homeric Koine. But the Homer of this Homerus Auctus was not the entire text. As we see from the actual editorial practices that prevailed in the era of Callimachus, the supposedly real Homer was only a part of the text of the Homerus Auctus. Homer had to be extracted from the text in which he was embedded, the Homerus Auctus. And this supposedly real Homer represents an extreme of exclusiveness.

E§83 Zenodotus, as an editor of Homer in the age of Callimachus, was in some ways more exclusivist than Aristarchus, who edited Homer over a century later. The system used by Zenodotus in determining which verses in the Homeric base text were to be athetized, that is, marked in the margin as non-Homeric, was more extreme than the later system of Aristarchus. In other ways, however, it was Aristarchus who was more extreme than Zenodotus. In judging variant readings within a given verse, for example, Aristarchus and the Aristarcheans developed criteria favoring phraseology they considered more Homeric than the corresponding phraseology found in the Koine versions. In this respect, Zenodotus was less extreme than Aristarchus, since his readings corresponded more often to the default phraseology found in the Koine version. For the most part, however, Zenodotus too, like Aristarchus, tended to favor non-Koine variants. I bring this section to an end by noting that I offer in Chapter 2 of Homer the Classic a detailed comparison of the editorial methods of Zenodotus and Aristarchus. {335|336}

E9. Hesiod as a contemporary of Homer

E§84 Having explored in the previous two sections the concepts of the Homeric Koine and the Homerus Auctus, I now turn to the convergence of Hesiodic and Orphic forms of epic with the Homeric form of epic. I start with Hesiod, resuming an argument I was making in Chapter 3. Analyzing the myths about the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, which show the importance of Hesiodic poetry as a potential rival of Homeric poetry, I argued that the very idea of a rivalry between Homer and Hesiod corresponds to the institutional reality of rival Homeric and Hesiodic performance traditions at a festival like the Delia at Delos. In making this argument, I quoted a passage referring to such rivalry. My aim was to highlight the divergence between the epic forms of Homer and Hesiod. I now quote this passage again, this time highlighting the convergence. As we are about to see, this convergence takes shape ultimately in terms of Homer, not Hesiod. That is, the epic form of Homer is imagined as being augmented by the epic form of Hesiod:

Eⓣ5 Scholia for Pindar Nemean 2.1d lines 14–29

Φιλόχορος δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ συντιθέναι καὶ ῥάπτειν τὴν ᾠδὴν οὕτω φησὶν αὐτοὺς προσκεκλῆσθαι. δηλοῖ δὲ ὁ Ἡσίοδος λέγων·

ἐν Δήλῳ τότε πρῶτον ἐγὼ καὶ Ὅμηρος ἀοιδοὶ
μέλπομεν, ἐν νεαροῖς ὕμνοις ῥάψαντες ἀοιδὴν,
Φοῖβον Ἀπόλλωνα χρυσάορον, ὃν τέκε Λητώ.

Hesiod F 357

ῥαψῳδῆσαι δέ φησι πρῶτον τὸν Ἡσίοδον Νικοκλῆς. Μέναιχμος δὲ ἱστορεῖ τοὺς ῥαψῳδοὺς στιχῳδοὺς καλεῖσθαι διὰ τὸ τοὺς στίχους ῥάβδους λέγεσθαι ὑπό τινων. ἄλλως. Ὁμηρίδαι πρότερον μὲν οἱ Ὁμήρου παῖδες, ὕστερον δὲ οἱ περὶ Κύναιθον ῥαβδῳδοί· οὗτοι γὰρ τὴν Ὁμήρου ποίησιν σκεδασθεῖσαν ἐμνημόνευον καὶ ἀπήγγελλον· ἐλυμήναντο δὲ αὐτῇ πάνυ. αἰεὶ οὖν τὴν ἀρχὴν ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πλεῖστον ἐκ Διὸς ἐποιοῦντο προοιμιαζόμενοι, ἐνίοτε δὲ καὶ Μουσῶν.

Philochorus [FGH 328 F 212] says that they [= rhapsōidoi] were called that [= rhapsōidoi] on the basis of the idea of composing, that is, stitching together [rhaptein], the song. Proof for this comes from Hesiod, who says:

In Delos, back then at the very beginning, I and Homer, singers [aoidoi],
sang-and-danced [melpein], stitching together [rhaptein] a song in new humnoi,
making Phoebus Apollo the subject of our song, the one with the golden weapon, the one born of Leto.

Hesiod F 357

Nicocles [FGH 376 F 8] says that Hesiod was the first to perform rhapsodically [rhapsōideîn]. The investigations of Menaechmus indicate that rhapsodes [rhapsōidoi] were called verse singers [stikhōidoi] because verses [stikhoi] were called staffs [rhabdoi] by some people. Here is another version: the Homēridai were in former times the descendants of Homer, but then, in later times, they were a group comprised of Kynaithos and his associates, who were called “rhabdōidoi” [“staff-singers”]. For these [= Kynaithos and his associates] are the ones who used to bring back to memory and to perform the poetry [poiēsis] of Homer, which had been scattered. But they mistreated [lumai-{336|337}nesthai] it [= the poetry]. And they [= the Homēridai] always started with a prooimion, making mostly Zeus their point of departure and occasionally the Muses.

E§85 The point being made in this commentary deriving from the Pindaric scholia is that Kynaithos and his associates claimed to be the continuators of an art that was actually shared by Homer and Hesiod. The formulation can be reversed: Homer and Hesiod were thought to have in common the art of the rhapsodes—on the grounds that this art was thought to be continuous with the art of rhapsodes like Kynaithos.

E§86 But there is also another point being made in this commentary. These rhapsodes claimed only Homer as their prime ancestor, not Hesiod. That is, the rhapsodes identified here as Kynaithos and his followers were supposedly the Homēridai. These rhapsodes, as we can see from this same commentary, claimed to be the continuators of a body of Homeric poetry that resulted from a reintegration of a formerly disintegrated corpus. We are being told that Homer’s poetry had been ‘scattered’ before it was then ‘brought back to memory’ and ‘performed’ by Kynaithos and his followers. The idea of a ‘scattered’ body of poetry is strikingly reminiscent of a detail we have already seen in the charter myth of the Peisistratean Recension. According to this myth, Homer’s poetry had been ‘scattered’ before it was collected by Peisistratos. In the case of Kynaithos, however, the tyrant who commissioned the collection may well have been Polycrates of Samos, not Peisistratos of Athens. It may well have been Polycrates, as we have seen in Chapter 1, who commissioned the Homeric Hymn to Apollo as perhaps performed by Kynaithos in Delos. In other words, the charter myth about the Peisistratean Recension in Athens may have had as its precursor a charter myth about a Polycratean Recension. Such a recension, nominally undertaken by Polycrates, would have integrated a disintegrated corpus that combined the epics of Homer and Hesiod, just as the Homeric Hymn to Apollo performed by Kynaithos in Delos combined the hymns of Homer and Hesiod. The actual combination of Homer with Hesiod is in any case imagined as the work of Homer, who implicitly subsumes the epic of Hesiod just as he subsumes the hymn of Hesiod in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo.

E§87 Here I sum up what I have reconstructed so far from the commentary about Kynaithos and his associates. These associates, as would-be Homēridai, claimed possession of a reintegrated corpus of Homeric poetry that had supposedly languished in a state of disintegration until a recension finally produced a successful reintegration. Such a corpus incorporated Hesiodic as well as Homeric verses. That is, the epic of Homer was notionally augmented by the epic of Hesiod, just as the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo was notionally augmented by a Hesiodic Hymn to Pythian Apollo. The result of the augmentation was an overall Homeric Hymn, not a Hesiodic Hymn. The Hesiodic verses were notionally incorporated into a larger {337|338} integral Homeric corpus. Then, in a later era, the integrity of such a corpus and its attribution to Homer were challenged by the likes of Aristarchus.

E§88 As I argued in Chapter 3, the unnamed source for the commentary that I have just summarized is Aristarchus himself. Our source is critical of the rhapsodes identified as Kynaithos and his associates, accepting only a part of their claims. Though our source accepts the idea that the body of Homeric poetry was disintegrated or ‘scattered’, he rejects the complementary idea that this body was thereafter reintegrated in the process of being ‘brought back to memory’ and ‘performed’ by these would-be descendants of Homer. Instead, our source claims that Kynaithos and his associates ‘mistreated’ the body of Homeric poetry. And, as we saw in another passage I quoted in Chapter 3 from the scholia for Pindar, this alleged mistreatment involved the adding of verses that were supposedly not Homeric. I quote that passage again:

Eⓣ6 Scholia for Pindar Nemean 2.1c lines 1–10

Ὁμηρίδας ἔλεγον τὸ μὲν ἀρχαῖον τοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ Ὁμήρου γένους, οἳ καὶ τὴν ποίησιν αὐτοῦ ἐκ διαδοχῆς ᾖδον· μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ οἱ ῥαψῳδοὶ οὐκέτι τὸ γένος εἰς Ὅμηρον ἀνάγοντες. ἐπιφανεῖς δὲ ἐγένοντο οἱ περὶ Κύναιθον, οὕς φασι πολλὰ τῶν ἐπῶν ποιήσαντας ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν Ὁμήρου ποίησιν. ἦν δὲ ὁ Κύναιθος τὸ γένος Χῖος, ὃς καὶ τῶν ἐπιγραφομένων Ὁμήρου ποιημάτων τὸν εἰς Ἀπόλλωνα γεγραφὼς ὕμνον ἀνατέθεικεν αὐτῷ. οὗτος οὖν ὁ Κύναιθος πρῶτος ἐν Συρακούσαις ἐραψῴδησε τὰ Ὁμήρου ἔπη κατὰ τὴν ξθ΄ Ὀλυμπιάδα, ὡς Ἱππόστρατός φησιν.

E§89 As I pointed out in Chapter 3, our unnamed source suspects Kynaithos of interpolating or ‘inserting’ newer verses into the preexisting older verses of Homer (en-ballein, scholia for Pindar Nemean 2.1c). Such an insertion is condemned as a ‘mistreatment’ of Homer (lumainesthai, scholia for Pindar Nemean 2.1d). The act of insertion is pictured as a physical outrage against the person of Homer, against {338|339} the body of Homer. But the very idea of insertion here is based on a questionable premise—that Hesiod is a newer poet than Homer. I will have more to say presently about this premise.

E§90 An alternative explanation has already been considered in Chapter 3: in the case of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the Hesiodic verses are deployed as a complement to the Homeric verses. In Chapter 3, I viewed this complementarity in terms of a divergence between Homeric and Hesiodic poetry. Here I view it in terms of a convergence more basic than any divergence.

E§91 I now turn to a classic formulation of what I picture as a convergence of Homeric and Hesiodic poetry:

Eⓣ7 Herodotus 2.53.1–3

Ὅθεν δὲ ἐγένετο ἕκαστος τῶν θεῶν, εἴτε δὴ αἰεὶ ἦσαν πάντες, ὁκοῖοί τέ τινες τὰ εἴδεα, οὐκ ἠπιστέατο μέχρι οὗ πρώην τε καὶ χθὲς ὡς εἰπεῖν λόγῳ. Ἡσίοδον γὰρ καὶ Ὅμηρον ἡλικίην τετρακοσίοισι ἔτεσι δοκέω μέο πρεσβυτέρους γενέσθαι καὶ οὐ πλέοσι· οὗτοι δέ εἰσι οἱ ποιήσαντες θεογονίην Ἕλλησι καὶ τοῖσι θεοῖσι τὰς ἐπωνυμίας δόντες καὶ τιμάς τε καὶ τέχνας διελόντες καὶ εἴδεα αὐτῶν σημήναντες· οἱ δὲ πρότερον ποιηταὶ λεγόμενοι τούτων τῶν ἀνδρῶν γενέσθαι ὕστερον, ἔμοιγε δοκέειν, ἐγένοντο.

But it was just the day before yesterday, so to speak, that they [= the Hellenes] came to understand where each of the gods originated from, whether they all existed always, and what they were like in their visible forms [eidos plural]. For Hesiod and Homer, I think, lived not more than four hundred years ago. These are the men who composed [poieîn] a theogony [theogonia] for the Hellenes, who gave epithets to the gods, who distinguished their various spheres of influence [timai] and spheres of activity [tekhnai], and who indicated [sēmainein] their [= the gods’ ] visible forms [eidos plural]. And I think that those poets who are said to have come before these men really came after them.

E§93 In this same formulation of Herodotus that I have just quoted (2.53.1–3), the historian is taking what at first appears to be an idiosyncratic stance in his relative dating of both Hesiod and Homer with reference to the Trojan War and the Ionian Migration. I have already noted this apparent idiosyncrasy in Chapter 6, contrasting the relatively late date assigned to Homer by Herodotus with the relatively early date assigned by antiquarians like Aristarchus and Crates. As we saw in that chapter, Aristarchus dated the birth of Homer to coincide with the era of the Ionian Migration, whereas Crates made sure to predate the birth. The synchronized dating by Aristarchus, as we also saw in that chapter, reflects an Athenocentric point of view, to be contrasted with the predating by Crates. But the postdating by Herodotus, I should now point out, can likewise reflect an Athenocentric point of view, which requires only that the birth of Homer should not predate the Ionian Migration. And so the dating of Homer by Herodotus is not idiosyncratic after all—from an Athenocentric point of view.

E§94 In fact, this formulation of Herodotus (2.53.1–3) about Hesiod and Homer may be considered to be Athenocentric, reflecting a preclassical point of view that was typical of Athens in the era of the Peisistratidai. In terms of my argument, the epic poetry attributed to Homer in this era coexisted with epic poetry attributed to Hesiod. Granted, such a coexistence between Homeric and Hesiodic poetry in the sixth century became obsolete in the fifth, by which time only the Iliad and Odyssey were performed at the Panathenaia and only those two epics were attributed to Homer. But I argue that Hesiod and Homer still shared the stage, as it were, at the festival of the Panathenaia in the preclassical era of the Peisistratidai. As we saw in Chapter 3, Vita 2 of Homer shows traces of such a coexistence between Hesiod and Homer. In terms of the narrative of Vita 2, the Hesiodic tradition was not only distinct from the Homeric tradition: it could directly compete with it. We find in this narrative two versions of a myth that aetiologizes a competitive relationship between the Homeric and the Hesiodic traditions. According to one version found in Vita 2 of Homer, Homer and Hesiod had a contest at Chalkis in Euboea (2.68); according to another version, their contest took place at Aulis (2.54–55), situated on the mainland in Boeotia across the strait from Euboea.

E10. Orpheus as a precursor of Hesiod and Homer

E§96 As I will argue, this older way of thinking was current in the era of tyrants like the Peisistratidai of Athens and Polycrates of Samos. In that era, the poetic status of Orpheus was not shaded over but highlighted. Back then, poetic figures like Orpheus and his successor Musaeus were thought to be the luminous precursors of Hesiod and Homer. As my argumentation proceeds, I will be turning to another passage in Herodotus where even he acknowledges the anteriority of Orpheus.

E11. Orpheus as a neoteric

Eⓣ8 Quintilian 10.1.54

Apollonius in ordinem a grammaticis datum non venit, quia Aristarchus atque Aristophanes, poetarum iudices, neminem sui temporis in numerum redegerunt

Apollonius is not granted admission into the canon [ordo] by the grammatikoi [= the school of critics represented here], since Aristarchus and Aristophanes [= the grammatikoi], those judges of poets, listed no one of their own times among the ranks [of the canon].

E§99 What Quintilian treats here as a single period is for my purposes really a matter of two different eras in the Hellenistic period: the era of Apollonius in the third century BCE and the era of Aristarchus—as also of Aristophanes of Byzantium—in the second century. For Quintilian, as we see from what I just quoted, the ultimate arbiters of canon formation were not poets like Apollonius—or Callimachus or Theocritus—in the third century. Rather, they were textual critics like Aristarchus in the second.

E§101 The neoteric stance of Apollonius as poet—as also of Callimachus and Theocritus—needs to be contrasted with the anti-neoteric stance of Zenodotus as an editor of Homer in the same era, the third century BCE. For Zenodotus as editor, the base text of Homer was a Homerus Auctus, a text filled with augmentations stemming from supposedly ‘newer’ poets like Orpheus. Zenodotus displayed his editorial virtuosity by observing and marking what was supposed to be ‘newer’ and post-Homeric. For Apollonius and the other poets of his era, these supposedly ‘newer’ and post-Homeric forms could then be used as building blocks for creating their own ‘newer’ poetry. In the process of poetic creation, they could display their poetic virtuosity by observing the same distinctions observed by the editor. In Chapter 2 of Homer the Classic, I offer a detailed analysis of such displays of poetic virtuosity.

E§102 I conclude this outline by emphasizing that I use the term neoteric from the standpoint of Aristarchus, not from my own. I do not prejudge whether poets whom Aristarchus judged to be neoteric were really ‘newer’ than Homer, or whether the poetic forms that Aristarchus judged to be neoteric were really ‘newer’ than the poetic forms he judged to be Homeric. What Aristarchus considered a negative poetic quality—to be neoteric – had once been a positive quality for Callimachus, Apollonius, and Theocritus as poets, in that they followed as their poetic models not only the supposedly older poet Homer but also the supposedly ‘newer’ poets like {342|343} Orpheus. The neoterism of Callimachus, Apollonius, and Theocritus is relevant to the concept of the Homerus Auctus as I defined it earlier. This definition suits the Homeric textual tradition available to these poets—as also to Zenodotus as editor of Homer. As I show in Chapter 2 of Homer the Classic, this textual tradition included rather than excluded the supposedly ‘newer’ features that were characteristic of poets like Orpheus—and Hesiod.

E12. Orpheus in the era of the Peisistratidai

E§103 Though it is far beyond the scope of my project to address in all its magnitude the concept of Orpheus, I now proceed to outline the reception of Orpheus as poet in the age of the Peisistratidai—and to juxtapose that reception with his later reception in the age of Callimachus. As I have been arguing, scholars like Zenodotus in the age of Callimachus thought that Homeric poetry was augmented by Orphic poetry. The situation was radically different in the age of the Peisistratidai. In that era, the poetry attributed to Orpheus was not yet peripheral. Like the poetry of Homer, the poetry of Orpheus was featured prominently at the festival of the Panathenaia in that earlier era.

E§104 To back up this formulation, I start by comparing the festival of the Panathenaia with the festival of the City Dionysia, that is, with the most significant venue for dramatic poetry. I pair the Orphic media of the Panathenaia with the Dionysiac media of the City Dionysia because such a pairing is actually attested in a turn of phrase used by Herodotus in a most telling context:

E§107 Next I turn to the Panathenaia in the new era of the democracy. Here we find a less varied program featuring primarily two events: (1) competitions of rhapsodes performing only the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey and (2) competitions of citharodes performing the lyric compositions of such established poets as Simonides and Anacreon. As for the City Dionysia in the era of the democracy in Athens, we find a far more varied program featuring a far wider variety of myths.

E§108 This is not the place to explore the complexities of the mythical repertoire current at the City Dionysia in the new era of the democracy. My aim here is simply to note a surprising outcome in the evolution of the City Dionysia, which is com-{344|345} parable to an unsurprising outcome in the evolution of the Panathenaia. Here is the surprise: in the context of the City Dionysia, Dionysus became marginalized. What surprises is that the god whose very essence was once central to the City Dionysia became marginalized at his own festival.

E§111 Homer democratizes the Panathenaia by ousting Orpheus, but we have no myth, as far as I know, that tells of such an ouster. Nor do we have a myth that tells about an ouster of Hesiod by Homer at the Panathenaia. Instead, as we have just seen, what we do have is a myth about the unfair victory of Hesiod over Homer in an unjust world dominated by unjust kings. In such a world, as brought back to life in the Contest of Homer and Hesiod (Vita 2 of Homer), the favorite poet of royalty is bound to defeat the favorite poet of the people.

E§112 In the postdemocratic era of revisionistic antiquarian research, however, the royalism of Hesiod is shaded over and his anti-royalism is highlighted. According to {345|346} Pausanias (1.2.3), for example, Hesiod’s professed reluctance to travel and his strong attachment to a stationary way of life in the countryside are to be explained in terms of this poet’s detachment from the company of kings. The self-characterization of Hesiod in the Works and Days as a stationary poet is to be contrasted with his characterization as a wandering poet in the Contest of Homer and Hesiod tradition (also in Plato Republic 10.600d-e). Unlike Hesiod, Homer continues to be acknowledged as a wandering poet by Pausanias, who adds that Homer too, like Hesiod, does not seek the company of kings (1.2.3). It seems to me that Pausanias here is deliberately eliding the anti-Hesiodic democratic ideology of the Contest of Homer and Hesiod tradition. While he acknowledges the popular affinities of Homer, he shades over the royal affinities of Hesiod.

E§113 In the era of the Athenian democracy, by contrast, the institutional reality of the Panathenaia tells its own story. In that era, Homer had in effect ousted not only Orpheus but also Hesiod at the Panathenaia. Homer had thus become the unique poet of the epic venue at the ultimate festival of Athens. I describe the Panathenaia this way because this festival defines the identity of Athens as a city by virtue of defining the identity of Athena as the goddess of the city. That is, this festival celebrates Athena as the goddess who is metonymically the very essence of the city of Athens. As the unique poet of the epic performed at the ultimate festival of Athens, Homer thus becomes the ultimate poet of the Athenians. And, as this ultimate poet, the democratized Homer democratizes the Panathenaia.

E§114 It is not only the Panathenaia that Homer democratizes. He also contributes indirectly to the democratization of the City Dionysia. That is because tragedy at the Dionysia became diversified in the process of becoming democratized, and this diversification was most strongly influenced by the diversity of epic traditions left over from the era of the Peisistratidai. These leftover epic traditions were ousted from the festival of the Panathenaia, which was becoming restricted to the unified Homeric tradition that produced the Iliad and Odyssey. The diversity of epic as performed at the Panathenaia in the earlier era of the Peisistratidai lived on in the diversity of epic themes at the City Dionysia in the later era of the democracy.

E§115 In the era of the Peisistratidai, as I have been arguing so far, Orpheus was still central to the Panathenaia as the idealized poet of this festival. Such centrality is comparable to the centrality of Dionysus as the idealized poetic subject of the City Dionysia. It was only later, in the new era of the democracy, that these two figures became peripheral, marginalized. Along with their marginalization came a sense of their alienation from Hellenism, and the alien point of reference could be Egypt or Thrace or any other mythologized expression of otherness. ‘Bacchic’ and ‘Orphic’ features could now be seen as marginal rather than central precisely because they were associated with the formerly central features of royalty, even of tyranny. What was central in the older times was now becoming marginal in the emerging new worldview of democracy. {346|347}

E§116 The centrality of Orpheus in the older times is comparable to the centrality of Hesiod in these same older times. The role of Kynaithos the rhapsode, as I analyzed it in Chapter 3, is relevant. Just as Hesiod is mediated by Kynaithos in a performance of a Hymn to Apollo that re-enacts Hesiod as well as Homer, so also Orpheus is mediated by Pythagoras in performances that re-enact Orpheus. It is not that Pythagoras simply attributed the verses of Orpheus to himself. Rather, as I argued in Chapter 3, he took on the persona of Orpheus when he performed verses attributed to Orpheus. As I also argued in Chapter 3, the attribution to Orpheus and the self-identification of Pythagoras with Orpheus would have been simultaneous at the moment of performance. Similarly, Kynaithos identifies with Hesiod when he performs verses sacred to the Pythian Apollo, just as he identifies with Homer when he performs verses sacred to the Delian Apollo.

E§118 So far, I have been arguing that the centrality of Orpheus and the Orphic poetry associated with him in the era of the Peisistratidai was eventually replaced by the centrality of Homer and the Homeric poetry of the Iliad and Odyssey in the era of the democracy. But now we will see that this process of replacement was already under way in the era of the tyrants, since we can find a point of contact between Orphic and Homeric poetry already in that era. As we are about to see, this contact can be reconstructed on the basis of what we read about the activities of a poet who performed as an agent of the Peisistratidai. This poet was Onomacritus of Athens, and his activities as an agent of the tyrants of Athens are comparable to the activities of Kynaithos of Chios, the poet who seems to have performed as an agent of the tyrant Polycrates of Samos. {347|348}

E§119 According to a narrative transmitted by Tzetzes (Anecdota Graeca 1.6 ed. Cramer), this poet Onomacritus was one of a group of four men commissioned in the reign of Peisistratos to supervise the ‘arranging’ (diatithenai) of the Homeric poems, which were before then ‘in a scattered state’ : διέθηκαν οὑτωσὶ σποράδην οὔσας τὸ πρίν. It has been argued persuasively that the source of Tzetzes here was Athenodorus, head of the Library at Pergamon in the first century BCE. [54] In terms of this narrative, Onomacritus was one of the organizers of the Peisistratean Recension. I highlight the word sporadēn ‘in a scattered state’, which refers explicitly to the state of Homeric poetry before the intervention of Peisistratos. We have already seen the same word in a passage referring to the charter myth of the Peisistratean Recension. In an epigram preserved in the Greek Anthology (11.442), Peisistratos is dramatized as making this claim about Homer: ὃς τὸν Ὅμηρον | ἤθροισα σποράδην τὸ πρὶν ἀειδόμενον ‘[I was the one] who took Homer | and put him all together; before that, he used to be sung in a scattered state [sporadēn]’. [55] In the passage transmitted by Tzetzes, I highlighted also the use of the word diatithenai ‘arrange’ with reference to the organizing of the Peisistratean Recension by Onomacritus and his fellow arrangers. This word, as we are about to see, indicates a mode of poetic transmission that was viewed in later times as antithetical and even detrimental to poetry.

Eⓣ10 Herodotus 7.6.1–5

ταῦτα δὲ ἔλεγε οἷα νεωτέρων ἔργων ἐπιθυμητὴς ἐὼν καὶ θέλων αὐτὸς τῆς Ἑλλάδος ὕπαρχος εἶναι. χρόνῳ δὲ κατεργάσατό τε καὶ ἀνέπεισε Ξέρξην ὥστε ποιέειν ταῦτα· συνέλαβε γὰρ καὶ ἄλλα οἱ σύμμαχα γενόμενα ἐς τὸ πείθεσθαι Ξέρξην· τοῦτο μὲν ἀπὸ τῆς Θεσσαλίης παρὰ τῶν Ἀλευαδέων ἀπιγμένοι ἄγγελοι ἐπεκαλέοντο βασιλέα πᾶσαν προθυμίην παρεχόμενοι ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα (οἱ δὲ Ἀλευάδαι οὗτοι ἦσαν Θεσσαλίης βασιλέες), τοῦτο δὲ Πεισιστρατιδέων οἱ ἀναβεβηκότες ἐς Σοῦσα, τῶν τε αὐτῶν λόγων ἐχόμενοι τῶν καὶ οἱ Ἀλευάδαι, καὶ δή τι πρὸς τούτοισι ἔτι πλέον προσωρέγοντό οἱ, ἔχοντες ᾿Ονομάκριτον, ἄνδρα ᾿Αθηναῖον χρησμολόγον τε καὶ διαθέτην χρησμῶν τῶν Μουσαίου, ἀνεβεβήκεσαν, τὴν ἔχθρην προκαταλυσάμενοι. 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 {348|349} νῆσοι ἀφανιοίατο κατὰ τῆς θαλάσσης· διὸ ἐξήλασέ μιν ὁ Ἵππαρχος, πρότερον χρεώμενος τὰ μάλιστα. τότε δὲ συναναβάς, ὅκως ἀπίκοιτο ἐς ὄψιν τὴν βασιλέος, λεγόντων τῶν Πεισιστρατιδέων περὶ αὐτοῦ σεμνοὺς λόγους, κατέλεγε τῶν χρησμῶν· εἰ μέν τι ἐνέοι σφάλμα φέρον τῷ βαρβάρῳ, τῶν μὲν ἔλεγε οὐδέν, ὁ δὲ τὰ εὐτυχέστατα ἐκλεγόμενος ἔλεγε, τόν τε Ἑλλήσποντον ὡς ζευχθῆναι χρεὸν εἴη ὑπ’ ἀνδρὸς Πέρσεω, τήν τε ἔλασιν ἐξηγεόμενος. οὗτός τε δὴ χρησμῳδέων προσεφέρετο, καὶ οἵ τε Πεισιστρατίδαι καὶ οἱ Ἀλευάδαι γνώμας ἀποδεικνύμενοι.

He [= Mardonios] said these things because he was a man who yearned for new accomplishments and wanted to be appointed as the ruler of Hellas. It took him some time to do what he did, but he worked on Xerxes long enough to persuade him to do these things. And other things happened that contributed to his success in persuading Xerxes. For one thing, messengers came from Thessaly, sent by the Aleuadai—and these Aleuadai were kings of Thessaly—inviting the King [= Xerxes] to invade Hellas and offering their total support. For another thing, the Peisistratidai who had traveled inland to Susa, [57] used the same line of thinking in their speech as did the Aleuadai, offering to Xerxes even more incentives. They [= the Peisistratidai] had moved inland and relocated at Sardis in the company of Onomacritus, an Athenian poet of oracles [khrēsmologos] who was an arranger [diathetēs] of the oracles of Musaeus. They [= the Peisistratidai] had already settled their previous feud with him. Onomacritus had been banished from Athens by Hipparkhos, son of Peisistratos, when he was caught by Lasus of Hermione in the act of fitting inside [en-poieîn] [58] the compositions of Musaeus an oracular utterance saying that the islands off Lemnos would disappear into the sea. Because of this Hipparkhos exiled him, though he had previously been most friendly to him. Now he [= Onomacritus] had arrived in Susa with the Peisistratidai, and, whenever he appeared before the King [= Xerxes] they [= the Peisistratidai] used words evoking reverence for the divine in talking about him and he would go on to say something from his oracular poems; and if there was something in the oracular utterance that conveyed a failure for the non-Greek side, he would say nothing of these things, and instead he would say [legein] only those things that conveyed the greatest success, by way of selecting [eklegein], telling how the Hellespont must be bridged by a Persian man and prescribing the expedition. So, this man [= Onomacritus] was making his approach by singing oracular utterances, while the Peisistratidai and the Aleuadai were making their own approach by publicly delivering [apodeiknusthai] their words of advice.

E§121 It is anachronistic to translate en-poieîn here as ‘interpolate’. What it means instead is ‘make poetry fit inside’—to make poetry fit inside poetry that has already been made. In the Lives of Homer, we have seen Homer himself in the act of making verses fit into poetry that has already been made: {349|350}

E§122 Here I review what I said in Chapter 2 about this passage. Homer, in the act of composing the ‘big’ Iliad, is ‘making’ (poieîn) special things take place inside the epic plot of this Iliad. Specifically, Homer ‘makes’ the epē (= epos plural) ‘verses’ about Erekhtheus and Athens take place inside the Iliad; also, he makes other additional verses about Menestheus, the leader of the Athenians at the time of the Trojan War, thereby glorifying or ‘praising’ him as well.

E§126 What Pausanias (1.22.7) says about the involvement of Onomacritus in the verses of Musaeus can be reinterpreted this way: Onomacritus, in performing verses attributed to Musaeus, recomposed these verses in the process of performance. The recomposer can then be reconfigured as the original composer. Elsewhere in Pausanias (1.25.8), we see that Musaeus figures prominently in the mythological landscape of the city of Athens: opposite the acropolis, within the old city boundaries, is a hill called the Mousaion ‘Museum’, that is, the ‘space of Musaeus’, where it is said that Musaeus used to sing and where his body was buried after he died of old age.

E§127 I highlight the fact that this versatile figure of Onomacritus is associated with the organization of Homeric as well as Orphic poetry, since we have seen him described as one of the four diathetai ‘arrangers’ of the Peisistratean Recension of Homer (Tzetzes Anecdota Graeca 1.6 ed. Cramer). So we see here a point of contact between Orphic and Homeric poetry in the era of the Peisistratidai. But then the question is, Can we say that Onomacritus augmented Homer in a way that is {351|352} comparable to the way he augmented Musaeus or even Orpheus? And can we say further that Onomacritus augmented Homer by way of adding the verses of, say, Orpheus?

E13. Selective adjustment of repertoire

E§129 The fluidity of Homeric poetry in the era of the Peisistratidai is evident from the story we just saw in Herodotus (7.6.1–5) about a performance by Onomacritus in the presence of tyrants and kings. The performer can expand his performance by adding details in order to highlight whatever fits the occasion of this performance. And he can also compress his performance by subtracting details in order to shade over whatever does not fit the occasion. Onomacritus not only expands but also compresses his performance while recomposing what he performs. Whether he adds verses or subtracts them, he is achieving his aim of fitting his recomposition to the occasion of the performance. In oral poetry, the actual performance is decisive for understanding the current meaning of a given composition, since the composition is being recomposed in performance. The basis for understanding has to be the current performance, not any previous performance. I propose to describe this phenomenon as a selective adjustment of repertoire.

E§130 On each new occasion when a composition is recomposed in performance, it may be measured against previous performances. But any previous performance can only be a secondary basis for judging what the current performance should be. The primary basis has to be the new occasion, the occasion of the current performance. If any given previous performance featured a composition that was more expanded or more compressed than the composition produced by the current performance, such a longer or shorter version is not necessarily more basic than the current version, since both the previous and the current compositions are in any case recompositions. There is no absolute way of recovering an original composition on the basis of any single recomposition as performed in the here and now. {352|353}

E§131 In some situations of performance, what the performer adds or subtracts is only for the performer to know for sure. In other situations, some who attend the performance may know what the performer knows. Their knowledge will depend on their own expertise in the poetry being performed. The observation made by Herodotus about an addition made by Onomacritus to the verses of Musaeus is an example of the second kind of situation. In terms of this observation, the expertise of the rival poet Lasus of Hermione makes it possible for that poet to detect the addition made by Onomacritus of Athens—an addition that non-experts are supposedly unable to detect on their own.

E§132 In terms of performance, the adding or subtracting of verses is the effect, not the cause, of expansion or compression. It is simply a matter of adding or subtracting what needs to be said or not to be said, to be expanded or compressed. The presence or the absence of verses is merely a symptom of the process of expanding or compressing what the performer actually has to say in performance. In the context of performance, the ownership of any given verse is momentarily transferred to the performer. So the members of an audience cannot know for sure the identity of any previous owner of a verse they hear unless some reference is being made to that identity—whether that reference is explicit or at least implicit—as in the case of references to Homer or Hesiod in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. Without a reference, it cannot be known for sure whether the owner of a given verse is to be understood as Homer or Hesiod or Musaeus or Orpheus or any other poet.

E§134 Highlighting the complementary factors of compression and expansion taken together, I adduce once again the pertinent observation of Herodotus about the performance by Onomacritus of oracular poetry attributed to Musaeus, successor to Orpheus. We saw in that observation a most fitting instance of the principle I describe as the selective adjustment of repertoire. This principle, as I have argued, applies also to the epic poetry represented by the Homerus Auctus in the era of the Peisistratidai. The variations of this poetry evolved selectively to suit the poetic ideology as it evolved in the context of a venue like the festival of the Panathenaia.

E§135 As we trace the evolution of this ideology by going backward in time, from the {353|354} era of the democracy in the fifth century BCE to the era of the Peisistratidai in the sixth, we find more and more fluidity the farther back we go. The most fluid phase is represented by what I am calling the Homerus Auctus. And the most visible traces of that early version of Homer are the so-called plus verses, remnants of a grand expansion esthetic that characterized Homeric poetry in the era of the Peisistratidai.

E§137 From the standpoint of Homeric poetry, however, there was relatively little difference between Solon and the Peisistratidai as heads of state who presided over the expansionism of the Athenian state at the expense of other states and, correlatively, over the performance of Homeric poetry at the Panathenaia. [69] In the case of Peisistratos, I have already focused on the city of Mytilene in Lesbos as an example of a state that lost possession of some of its prize territory to the expansionism of the evolving Athenian empire under the leadership of Peisistratos; as we saw, this contested territory was a choice part of the Troad, prized as a link to the heroic world of the Trojan War. In the case of Solon, we find a similar example in the history of the city of Megara, which lost possession of the island Salamis to the expansionism of Athens under the leadership of Solon, sometime before 600 BCE. [70] In this case as well, the contested territory was prized as a link to the heroic world of the Iliad—personified in the figure of Telamonian Ajax, local hero of Salamis. Whereas the transfer of territory from Mytilene to Athens involved at one point the arbitration of Corinth under the leadership of its tyrant Periander, the transfer of Salamis from Megara to Athens involved the arbitration of Sparta. [71] In both cases of arbitration, Homeric poetry was cited by Athens as evidence for the city’s own claims to the territories at stake. In the case of the territory of the Troad as claimed and counterclaimed by Athens and Mytilene, we have already seen in Chapter 6 the report of Herodotus (5.94–95) concerning the Athenians’ use of Homer in asserting their claims. In the case of the island Salamis as claimed and counterclaimed by Athens {354|355} and Megara, there is a corresponding set of reports concerning the Athenians’ use of Homer (Strabo 9.1.10 C394, Plutarch Solon 10, Diogenes Laertius 1.2.48). From these reports we can reconstruct the rhetoric of the contending city of Megara in making its counterclaim: that the Athenians supposedly interpolated what we know as verses 557 and 558 of Iliad II. [72] In these reports, the act of interpolation is attributed variously to Solon or Peisistratos. Once again we see here an instance of the process I describe as a selective adjustment of repertoire.

E14. The poetics and politics of the Homerus Auctus

E§139 In the poetry of the evolving Homerus Auctus, the expansions were far more noticeable than the compressions. And the expansions involved the adding of verses that were typical of Orpheus as well as Homer. In the era of the Peisistratidai, the poetics of Orpheus and Homer were far less differentiated than in the later era of the democracy. From the retrospective standpoint of the democracy, the poetry of Homer in the era of the tyrants was augmented by the poetry of Orpheus. From the earlier standpoint of the tyrants, however, this poetry was far less differentiated.

E§140 The Homer of the Peisistratidai, as notionally augmented by way of Orpheus, was not only a poet of epic. Like Orpheus, he was also a poet of oracular verses that initiated the privileged initiand into mysteries inaccessible to the profane. For a ruler to possess this kind of Homer was the equivalent of possessing a distinctive mark of royalty, a royalist Homer. Such a royalist Homer would have been closely connected to Hesiod, to Musaeus, and especially to Orpheus himself. He would have been the ultimately sophisticated and charismatic poet who combines the virtues of all other poets. His charisma – let us call it kharis—would have charmed all, much as Orpheus charmed all. The Homer of the democracy stands in sharp contrast against such a background. This alternative Homer was a democratic Homer, sup-{355|356} posedly free of royalist accretions such as plus verses. He is the Homer of what I have been calling the Homeric Koine.

E§141 Mention of the Homeric Koine brings me back to my analysis of the editorial stance of Alexandrian scholars with regard to what they considered to be Orphic accretions in the text of Homer. In particular, I have in mind the narrative about the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII. As we have seen, Zenodotus in the third century BCE went ahead and athetized the whole passage about the Shield, evidently on the grounds that its verses were Orphic, whereas Aristarchus in the second century held back. As we will now see, the editorial stance of Aristarchus in this regard has to be evaluated in the historical context of alternative editorial trends that were current in his era.

E§142 The era of Aristarchus, head of the Library in Alexandria in the mid second century BCE, was also the era of Crates, head of the Library in Pergamon. As I show in the Prolegomena to Homer the Classic, the text of Homer as edited by Crates was worlds apart from the text of Homer as edited by Aristarchus: while the base text used by Aristarchus was what we know as the Homeric Koine, the base text used by Crates was the Homerus Auctus. And there are political differences between these two base texts of Homer. As I will now argue, the edition of Homer by Aristarchus can be viewed as a political deactivation of the Homeric Koine that once represented the Athenian empire, and, conversely, the edition of Homer by Crates in the same era can be viewed as a political reactivation of the Homerus Auctus. As we will see in what follows, what I mean by political deactivation and political reactivation corresponds respectively to an editorial deactivation and an editorial reactivation of poetry attributed to Orpheus. Orphic verses had a political as well as poetic valence.

E§143 In order to explore the political reactivation of the Homerus Auctus, I start by highlighting Virgil’s use of this textual tradition in the first century BCE. As I argue in the Conclusions to Homer the Classic, Virgil used the Homerus Auctus as edited in the second century BCE by Crates, head of the Library of Pergamon. In other words, Virgil preferred to use the neoteric textual tradition of the Homerus Auctus as represented by the edition of Crates, not the anti-neoteric textual tradition of the Homeric Koine as represented by the edition of Aristarchus. Virgil’s epic Aeneid was based on the inclusive Homer of Crates, not on the exclusive Homer of Aristarchus.

E15. The Shield of Achilles and the Homerus Auctus

E§145 For Virgil, the Homerus Auctus as a poetic model was mediated not only by the archaizing base text of Homer as edited by Crates of Pergamon but also by this same editor’s modernizing commentaries on Homeric poetry. As Philip Hardie has demonstrated in a book about Virgil’s Aeneid, the poetics of this Roman imperial epic were decisively shaped by Crates’ modern exegesis of allegorical traditions about the world of Homer. [77] For Virgil, as for Crates of Pergamon, the circular world of Homer was envisioned as spherical—not flat as it was for Aristarchus of Alexandria. For Virgil, this spherical world of Homer was represented by the cosmic Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII, which became the poetic model for the cosmic Shield of Aeneas as it takes shape in Aeneid 8. Virgil understood the meaning of the Homeric Shield in terms of the exegesis developed by Hellenistic allegorizers, especially by Crates:

E§146 The Shield of Achilles, even when visualized as a sphere, must have seemed to be a purely Homeric visualization to Crates. And since this Shield of Achilles was evidently the model for the Shield of Aeneas, we may at first think that it seemed to be a purely Homeric visualization to Virgil as well. But Virgil’s poetry was refer-{357|358} ring not only to a Homeric visualization. It was referring also to a Cratetean visualization of the Homeric visualization. And the visualization of Crates, based on the Homerus Auctus as he edited it and as he commented on it, went far beyond any Homeric visualization. Virgil’s Homer was the expansive Homerus Auctus as edited and interpreted by Crates, not the narrower Homeric Koine as edited and interpreted by Aristarchus, for whom the Ōkeanos was a freshwater river encircling an earth that was flat, not the salty sea waters enveloping an earth that was spherical. Virgil’s Homer is also to be distinguished from the supposedly real Homer as edited by Zenodotus, for whom the verses about the Ōkeanos—and in fact all the verses about the Shield of Achilles—were Orphic accretions that needed to be athetized in his base text of Homer.

E§148 Hardie’s argument that the Homeric Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII was interpreted by Crates in terms of an allegory about the cosmos is validated by explicit testimony in Eustathius (Commentary 3.144.13 for Iliad XI 40) and in the Homeric bT scholia (for Iliad XI 40): both sources indicate that Crates himself interpreted in exactly these terms the Shield of Agamemnon in Iliad XI (32–40). [80] Elsewhere in Eustathius, we see a similar cosmic allegorization of the Shield of Achilles, with specific reference to that shield’s antux or ‘rim’, mentioned in Iliad XVIII (479 and 608). From the internal evidence of Homeric diction, we see that this antux ‘rim’ is triplax ‘threefold’ or ‘triple’ (XVIII 480), and that the outermost fold or circle of this antux is specifically named as the Ōkeanos (XVIII 608). [81] For Crates, this outermost fold is allegorized as the saltwater ocean that encompasses the spherical cosmos. As Hardie {358|359} shows, the allegorization of Crates about the Shield of Achilles is attested indirectly in Eustathius and in the scholia for the Phaenomena of Aratus:

E§150 Although any overall design or “programme” that might have been devised by Crates for the iconography of the Great Altar of Pergamon is now lost—or never existed in the first place—we do have ample traces of this man’s overall design for Homeric interpretation, and we can see it attested in the fragments of his Homeric {359|360} commentaries, as I analyze them in Chapter 2 of Homer the Classic. This design, as we can see from that analysis, is a modernizing one in its scientific reinterpretations of Homeric allegory, but it is archaizing in its reliance on a base text that represents the Homerus Auctus.

E§151 For Virgil, his own allegorizing in the poetic creation of his Shield of Aeneas in Aeneid 8 matches the allegorizing of Crates himself in his commentaries on the Homeric shields in Iliad XI and XVIII. In other words, the poetic model for Virgil’s Shield was the Homeric Shield as interpreted in the commentaries of Crates—and as mediated by a base text representing the Homerus Auctus, not the Homeric Koine.

E§152 For Virgil, as also for Crates, such allegorizing involved not only cosmology but also the imperialistic ideology of his patrons. Just as Crates’ Homeric text and commentaries represented the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon in the second century BCE, so also Virgil’s neo-Homeric Aeneid represented the evolving Julian dynasty of Rome in the first century BCE, in the age of Augustus. Moreover, as Hardie has shown, the cultural ideology of the Roman empire under Augustus was actually modeled on the earlier cultural ideology of the Attalidai of Pergamon. [84] It is in this historical context that we can appreciate the poetics of Virgil’s Shield of Aeneas, where the idea of cosmos is fused with the idea of Roman imperium:

E16. The ideology of cosmos and imperium in Homer through the ages

E§155 As I have already argued, this Athenian empire in the predemocratic era was a precursor of the empire that evolved in the era of the democracy. And, although this earlier empire cannot compare in scale to the later one, it nevertheless shaped an imperial design of vast proportions in its own right. In making this argument, I have tried to convey the vastness of this design by exploring in some detail two initiatives taken by the Peisistratidai in appropriating Homer as a spokesman for their incipient Athenian empire. Here I review these two initiatives in order to explore even further the imperial design of the Peisistratidai of Athens.

E§156 One of these two initiatives was the Athenians’ acquisition of the Homēridai. These Homēridai of Chios claimed as their ancestor the Homer who speaks in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo as the spokesman of all Ionians assembled at the festival of the Delia in Delos. The other of these two initiatives was the Athenians’ acquisition of Sigeion—under the leadership of Peisistratos. Since the territory of Sigeion was equated with the sacred setting of the story of Troy, this Athenian acquisition was equated with the Athenian acquisition of Homer as the poet who told the story of Troy.

E§157 Both these Athenian initiatives, I will now argue, were linked to the idea of cosmos and imperium as expressed by the Homerus Auctus. In making this argument, I must stress again that this Homerus Auctus was not the Homer of the Koine that became the standard form of epic in the era of democracy in Athens. Rather, the Homerus Auctus was the undifferentiated Homer, inclusive of elements that were {361|362} only later to be differentiated as Cyclic or Hesiodic or Orphic—as opposed to Homeric. The association of this Homerus Auctus with the Peisistratidai was aetiologized, as we have seen, in the charter myth of the Peisistratean Recension.

E17. The Ring of Minos as a symbol of cosmos and imperium

E§158 The initiative taken by the Peisistratidai of Athens in appropriating Homer as a spokesman for the Delian League was not without precedent. As we have already seen, an earlier such initiative was also taken by Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, whose Ionian empire once competed with the Ionian empire of the Peisistratidai. Both initiatives, as jointly reflected in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, drew on the idea of cosmos and imperium. And a most fitting symbol of this idea was a precious object that figures prominently in the story told by Herodotus about the rise and fall of the Ionian empire ruled by Polycrates of Samos: the signet ring or sphragis of Polycrates (3.41–43). As we are about to see, this symbol was linked to an older symbol going all the way back to the Bronze Age. That older symbol was the signet ring or sphragis of Minos.

E§159 Before I turn to the myth about the Ring of Minos, however, I need to make five points about Polycrates in his role as an Ionian tyrant:

  1. Polycrates was hardly the only model for the Peisistratidai to follow in promoting the idea of cosmos and imperium. There were other models as well, as represented by the Ionian tyrant Thrasyboulos of Miletus (Herodotus 1.20–22, 5.92ζ-η). As we saw earlier, the city of Miletus dominated the Ionian Dodecapolis, a federation that was older and formerly more prestigious than the rival federation of the Delian League. The Ionian Dodecapolis was relevant to Polycrates of Samos, since the island-state of Samos was one of the twelve members of this federation. It was also relevant to the Homēridai of Chios, since the island-state of Chios was likewise one of the twelve members. And it was even more relevant to the Peisistratidai of Athens, for two reasons. First, the city of Athens claimed to be the metropolis or ‘mother city’ of the twelve Ionian cities of the Dodecapolis. Second, the genealogy of the founders of the Dodecapolis was linked to the genealogy claimed by the Peisistratidai, since their common ancestor was thought to be Neleus of Pylos. [88] This figure of Neleus was a symbol in his own right—a symbol likewise going all the way back to the Bronze Age. [89]
  2. The Ring of Polycrates, as a traditional story, was linked not only to the myth of the Ring of Minos. It was linked also to stories of rings possessed by oriental {362|363} despots. The prime example comes from Plato. It is the Ring of Gyges, which empowered Gyges to become invisible at will: using this ring, Gyges overthrew the previous dynasty of the Lydians, thus becoming founder of the Lydian dynasty that culminated in the kingship of Croesus (Republic 2.359d–360b, 10.612b). [90] The Ring of Gyges can be linked to another ring of Asiatic provenience in Plato’s repertoire: in the Ion (536b), Socrates refers to Orpheus, Musaeus, and Homer as three First Poets pictured as three First Rings attracting other rings with their magnetic power, and the source of this power is a magnetic stone that shares its name with the city of Magnesia-at-Sipylus in Asia Minor. As we see in Plato’s Ion (533d), the magnetic power of the Magnesian Stone is a metaphor for the poetic power of the Muse in linking Homer to the Homeric rhapsode and his audience.
  3. The orientalism associated with the Ring of Polycrates fits the historical context of his empire. The royal imperialism of Ionian tyrants like Polycrates was shaped by a lengthy prehistory of close contacts between the Greeks of Asia Minor and the Lydian empire, which was later to be replaced by the Persian empire (in 547 BCE). Even the Greek usage of the word turannos ‘tyrant’ is relevant, since it represents the Lydian word for ‘king’. [91] What we see in the Greek usage of the word turannos is an orientalizing of the very concept of royal imperialism. A most fitting symbol of this orientalized concept was the figure of Croesus himself as king of the Lydians, whom Herodotus pictures as the prototype of an imperial tyranny that strongly resembled the power of the Athenian empire: like the Athenians, as Herodotus goes out of his way to emphasize, the Lydians deprived Hellenic states of their freedom by making them tributaries of their empire (1.5.3–1.6.3). [92]
  4. Linking the Ring of Polycrates of Samos to the Ring of Gyges of Lydia is the would-be Ring of Croesus. The story is told in the Life of Aesop (G 81–100). At a meeting of the assembly of the people of Samos, where a debate is raging over who should get the dēmosion daktulion ‘ring of the people’ (G81: here the noun is in the neuter), an eagle swoops down upon the assembled crowd, snatches the ring, and flies off with it; then it flies back and drops it into the lap of a slave (G 82). Aesop interprets this omen, referring to the ring as the daktulios stratēgikos, that is, the ‘ring of the lawmaker’ (G 91: here the noun is in the masculine) [93] and advising the people of Samos to resist a demand made by the tyrant Croesus that the state of Samos must become a tributary of the Lydian empire (G 92–94). By way of telling the people of Samos a fable, Aesop persuades them to heed his {363|364} advice and refuse the demand of Croesus (G 94–95). The tyrant, cheated out of ruling over Samos, is thus implicitly deprived of the ‘ring of the lawmaker’. Angry over his loss, Croesus threatens the people of Samos with military invasion unless they surrender Aesop to him as a hostage (G 95–98). Aesop reacts by telling the people of Samos another fable, which persuades the Samians not to surrender Aesop as a hostage to the Lydians; but then Aesop voluntarily journeys to the palace of Croesus and voluntarily surrenders himself as hostage to the tyrant (G 98–99). There he proceeds to tell further fables, which secure his own freedom from the tyrant and, in addition, the freedom of the people of Samos, who then proceed to enter into an equitable alliance with the Lydians (G 98–100). [94]
  5. Such orientalized concepts of royal imperialism stemming from a predemocratic era persisted even into the democratic era of the Athenian empire. A case in point is the Skēnē or ‘Tent’ of the Great King of Persia, reconfigured as the Odeum of Pericles in the Athens of Pheidias and Pericles. As I argue in Chapter 4 of the twin book Homer the Classic, this monumental building was a most fitting venue for spectacular events of state that highlighted the wealth, power, and prestige of the Athenian empire in the era of the democracy. Chief among these events was the performance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey in the Odeum of Pericles on the occasion of the festival of the Panathenaia.

E§160 In describing the Ring of Polycrates as the symbol of an orientalized concept of royal imperialism, I am making a distinction between the words orientalized and oriental. That is because the symbolism here stems ultimately not from oriental sources—even though the political and cultural influence of the oriental Lydian empire was strongly felt by the Greeks of Asia Minor and the outlying islands. The ring that symbolizes the empire of Polycrates is modeled on an earlier ring that symbolizes an earlier empire thought to be Greek by the Greeks themselves—an empire dating all the way back to the Bronze Age.

E§161 Here I return to the concept of a maritime empire or thalassokratia ‘thalassocracy’ once ruled by Minos, king of the city of Knossos on the island of Crete. As we saw in Chapter 8, where I quoted the relevant passage from Herodotus (3.122.2), this thalassocracy of Minos is pictured as the prototype of the maritime empire of the Ionian tyrant Polycrates and, ultimately, of the Athenians. We see an analogous picturing of the Minoan thalassocracy in Thucydides (1.4). Moreover, King Minos is figured in modern archaeology as the prototype of what is known as the Minoan empire in the Bronze Age.

E§162 As we already saw in Chapter 8, the symbol of this empire was the Ring of Minos, which the prototypical king of the Minoan thalassocracy throws into the sea—{364|365} to be recovered by Theseus, the prototypical king of Athens and the notional founder of the Athenian thalassocracy (Bacchylides Song 17). In commenting on the representation of this myth as pictured in a painting that covered one full wall of the sanctuary of Theseus in Athens, Pausanias offers a retelling of the myth, which he says is only partially retold through the medium of the painting:

Eⓣ12 Pausanias 1.17.3

Μίνως ἡνίκα Θησέα καὶ τὸν ἄλλον στόλον τῶν παίδων 
ἦγεν ἐς Κρήτην, ἐρασθεὶς Περιβοίας, ὥς οἱ Θησεὺς 
μάλιστα ἠναντιοῦτο, καὶ ἄλλα ὑπὸ ὀργῆς ἀπέρριψεν ἐς 
αὐτὸν καὶ παῖδα οὐκ ἔφη Ποσειδῶνος εἶναι, ἐπεὶ <οὐ> 
δύνασθαι τὴν σφραγῖδα, ἣν αὐτὸς φέρων ἔτυχεν, ἀφέντι 
ἐς θάλασσαν ἀνασῶσαί οἱ. Μίνως μὲν λέγεται ταῦτα 
εἰπὼν ἀφεῖναι τὴν σφραγῖδα· Θησέα δὲ σφραγῖδά τε 
ἐκείνην ἔχοντα καὶ στέφανον χρυσοῦν, Ἀμφιτρίτης δῶρον, ἀνελθεῖν λέγουσιν ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης.

When Minos was taking Theseus and the rest of the delegation of young men and women to Crete he fell in love with Periboia, and when Theseus opposed him by objecting, he [= Minos] insulted him and said that he [= Theseus] was not the son of Poseidon, since he [= Theseus] could not recover for him [= Minos] the signet ring [sphragis] which he [= Minos] happened to be wearing, if he threw it into the sea. With these words Minos is said to have thrown the signet ring [sphragis], but they say that Theseus emerged from the sea holding that ring and also a gold garland [stephanos] that Amphitrite gave him.

E§164 I conclude that the ring worn by Hippias in the course of making his Homeric displays is ostensibly a re-enactment of the Ring of Minos. And I find it relevant to compare this primal image of the Ring of Minos to the primal image of three First Rings in Plato’s Ion (536b), since these rings stand for the three First Poets, identified as Orpheus, Musaeus, and Homer. {365|366}

E18. The Shield of Achilles as a symbol of cosmos and imperium

E§165 So far, I have been arguing that the initiative of the Peisistratidai in appropriating Homer as the spokesman of the Delian League was linked to the idea of cosmos and imperium. A symbol for this idea was the Ring of Minos—a symbol going all the way back to the Bronze Age. Now I will argue that the initiative of the Peisistratidai in appropriating Sigeion in the Troad was likewise linked to the idea of cosmos and imperium. In this case, a symbol for this idea was the Shield of Achilles as described in Iliad XVIII. Like the Ring of Minos, this symbol of a bronze Shield goes all the way back to the Bronze Age. Moreover, this symbol of the bronze Shield is linked, like the previous symbol of the ring, with Minos, king of Knossos in Crete.

E§166 In the case of this bronze Shield, as I argued in Chapters 7 and 10, its link to the Bronze Age is expressed by the artifact itself. The poetry of the Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII is designed to show that this bronze Shield can make direct contact with the Bronze Age. Contact is established through the selas ‘gleam’ that radiates from the bronze surface of the Shield, projecting a picture from the Bronze Age. This gleam radiating from the Shield of Achilles is directly compared in Iliad XVIII to the gleam emanating from the tumulus of Achilles, the location of which is imagined to be in Sigeion, the prize territory of the Athenians in the Troad. I have already drawn attention to this gleam in Chapter 7 and again in Chapter 10, but I must now quote the relevant verses once again:

Eⓣ13 Iliad XIX 368–379

          δύσετο δῶρα θεοῦ, τά οἱ Ἥφαιστος κάμε τεύχων.
          κνημῖδας μὲν πρῶτα περὶ κνήμῃσιν ἔθηκε
370    καλὰς ἀργυρέοισιν ἐπισφυρίοις ἀραρυίας·
          δεύτερον αὖ θώρηκα περὶ στήθεσσιν ἔδυνεν.
          ἀμφὶ δ’ ἄρ’ ὤμοισιν βάλετο ξίφος ἀργυρόηλον
          χάλκεον· αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα σάκος μέγα τε στιβαρόν τε
          εἵλετο, τοῦ δ’ ἀπάνευθε σέλας γένετ’ ἠΰτε μήνης.
375    ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἂν ἐκ πόντοιο σέλας ναύτῃσι φανήῃ
          καιομένοιο πυρός, τό τε καίεται ὑψόθ’ ὄρεσφι
          σταθμῷ ἐν οἰοπόλῳ· τοὺς δ’ οὐκ ἐθέλοντας ἄελλαι
          πόντον ἐπ’ ἰχθυόεντα φίλων ἀπάνευθε φέρουσιν·
          ὣς ἀπ’ Ἀχιλλῆος σάκεος σέλας αἰθέρ’ ἵκανε

          He [= Achilles] put it [= his armor] on, the gifts of the god, which Hephaistos had made for
              him with much labor.
370    First he put around his legs the shin guards,
          beautiful ones, with silver fastenings at the ankles.
          Next he put around his chest the breastplate,
          and around his shoulders he slung the sword with the nails of silver,
          a sword made of bronze. Next, the Shield, great and mighty,
          he took, and from it there was a gleam [selas] from afar, as from the moon, {366|367}
375    or as when, at sea, a gleam [selas] to sailors appears
          from a blazing fire, the kind that blazes high in the mountains
          at a solitary station [stathmos], as the sailors are carried unwilling by gusts of wind
          over the fish-swarming sea [pontos], far away from their loved ones.
          So also did the gleam [selas] from the Shield of Achilles reach all the way up to the aether.

E§167 I will briefly repeat here what I argued in Chapters 7 and 10, and then I will extend the argument further. The gleam of the Shield emanates not only from its form but also from the content of the form. The gleam comes not only from the armor, that is, from the shining metal of the bronze surface reflecting the radiant light of the sun. The gleam comes also from what the armor means. That meaning is conveyed not only through the simile of the hero’s tumulus as a lighthouse but also through the picture made by the divine metalworker on the shining bronze surface of the Shield. It is a picture of cosmos and imperium:

Eⓣ14 Iliad XVIII 590–606

590    Ἐν δὲ χορὸν ποίκιλλε περικλυτὸς ἀμφιγυήεις,
          τῷ ἴκελον οἷόν ποτ’ ἐνὶ Κνωσῷ εὐρείῃ
          Δαίδαλος ἤσκησεν καλλιπλοκάμῳ Ἀριάδνῃ.
          ἔνθα μὲν ἠΐθεοι καὶ παρθένοι ἀλφεσίβοιαι
          ὀρχεῦντ’ ἀλλήλων ἐπὶ καρπῷ χεῖρας ἔχοντες.
595    τῶν δ’ αἳ μὲν λεπτὰς ὀθόνας ἔχον, οἳ δὲ χιτῶνας
          εἵατ’ ἐϋννήτους, ἦκα στίλβοντας ἐλαίῳ·
          καί ῥ’ αἳ μὲν καλὰς στεφάνας ἔχον, οἳ δὲ μαχαίρας
          εἶχον χρυσείας ἐξ ἀργυρέων τελαμώνων.
          οἳ δ’ ὁτὲ μὲν θρέξασκον ἐπισταμένοισι πόδεσσι
600    ῥεῖα μάλ’, ὡς ὅτε τις τροχὸν ἄρμενον ἐν παλάμῃσιν
          ἑζόμενος κεραμεὺς πειρήσεται, αἴ κε θέῃσιν·
          ἄλλοτε δ’ αὖ θρέξασκον ἐπὶ στίχας ἀλλήλοισι.
          πολλὸς δ’ ἱμερόεντα χορὸν περιίσταθ’ ὅμιλος
          τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδὸς 

605    φορμίζων· δοιὼ δὲ κυβιστητῆρε κατ’ αὐτοὺς 

          μολπῆς ἐξάρχοντ o ς ἐδίνευον κατὰ μέσσους. [

590    The renowned one [= Hephaistos], the one with the two strong arms,
               pattern-wove [poikillein] [
97] in it [= the Shield] a khoros. [98] {367|368}
          It [= the khoros] was just like the one that, once upon a time in far-ruling Knossos,
          Daedalus made for Ariadne, the one with the beautiful tresses [plokamoi].
          There were young men there, [
99] and girls who are courted with gifts of cattle,
          and they all were dancing with each other, holding hands at the wrist.
595    The girls were wearing delicate dresses, while the boys were clothed in khitons
          well woven, gleaming exquisitely, with a touch of olive oil.
          The girls had beautiful garlands [stephanai], while the boys had knives
          made of gold, hanging from knife-belts made of silver.
          Half the time they moved fast in a circle, with expert steps,
600    showing the greatest ease, as when a wheel, solidly built, is given a spin by the hands
          of a seated potter, who is testing it whether it will run well.
          The other half of the time they moved fast in straight lines, alongside each other.
          And a huge assembly stood around the place of the khoros, which evokes desire,
          and they were all delighted. And in their midst sang-and-danced [melpesthai]
               a divine singer,
605    playing on the phorminx. And two special dancers among them
          were swirling as he led [ex-arkhein] the singing and dancing [molpē] in their midst.

E§169 The lens through which this picture is viewed is an Athenian lens, dating back to the era of the Peisistratidai. In this era, the bronze Shield of Achilles was the ultimate picture of empire. {368|369}

E19. Ten centuries of Homeric transmission

E§170 By now we have seen that both the Ring of Minos and the Shield of Achilles were linked to the idea of cosmos and imperium as expressed by the Homerus Auctus in the era of the Peisistratidai in the sixth century. We have also seen that both the Ring and the Shield derive from the era of the Bronze Age. So the idea of cosmos and imperium has a prehistory of at least five centuries, stretching from the era of the Bronze Age to the era of the Peisistratidai in the sixth century BCE. The continuity of this idea over a span of five centuries is a sign of general continuity in the transmission of Homeric poetry over the same span of time. And we have already seen further continuity in the next five centuries, starting from the era of the Peisistratidai of Athens and proceeding forward in time to the era of the Attalidai of Pergamon in the second century BCE. All through this span of time, the idea of cosmos and imperium was continued. Adding the two spans together, we see a general continuity of over ten centuries.

E§171 As I have argued, the idea of cosmos and imperium was most clearly expressed in the medium of expression that I call the Homerus Auctus, an undifferentiated form of Homer that must be contrasted with the differentiated Homer of the Koine, which became the standard form of epic in the era of democracy in Athens. This undifferentiated Homer included elements that were only later to be differentiated as Cyclic or Hesiodic or Orphic—as opposed to Homeric.

E§172 The Homerus Auctus was associated with the Peisistratidai in the sixth century BCE, and it was aetiologized in the charter myth of the Peisistratean Recension. And this recension was notionally recovered in the edition of Homer by Crates in the second century BCE.

E§174 The Peisistratean Recension, as a mythical prototype of the Cratetean Edition, is the notional foundation of what I describe as the Homerus Auctus of the Peisistratidai. This augmented Homer was replete with mystical verses judged to be Orphic in later times but accepted as Homeric in its own time. From the retrospective standpoint of a democratic world of later times, such verses seemed Orphic because of their mystical valence, matching a predemocratic political valence. From the retrospective standpoint of a postdemocratic world of still later times, however, such verses could be seen once again as Homeric, since the mysteries of the Orphic cosmos were now subsumed by an all-inclusive Homeric cosmos.

E§175 One such mystery was the cosmic river Ōkeanos, imagined as a freshwater stream that encircles and thus defines both the macrocosm of the heroic world and the microcosm of the Shield of Achilles as it takes shape in Iliad XVIII. Arguing against the idea of such an Ōkeanos in the real world, Herodotus remarks that this idea originates either from Homer or from an ostentatiously unnamed figure whom he describes as a poet even earlier than Homer (Herodotus 2.23). And, as we have already seen in another passage, Herodotus says he is going against a more traditional way of thinking when he makes the claim that Homer—along with Hesiod—was more ancient than other ancient poets whom he leaves unnamed (2.53.1–3). As I have argued, the foremost of the unnamed poets that Herodotus has in mind in that passage is Orpheus. Similarly in the passage at hand (2.23), Herodotus calls attention once again to a more traditional way of thinking when he says that there was an unnamed poet who was conventionally thought to be more ancient than Homer: in rejecting the existence of a cosmic river Ōkeanos in the real world, the historian attributes the actual idea of Ōkeanos not only to Homer but also to this unnamed poet (2.23). As I argue in Chapter 2 of Homer the Classic concerning the Orphic associations of this cosmic river, that unnamed poet is evidently Orpheus.

E§176 For a later thinker like Crates, by contrast, the idea of Ōkeanos is basically Homeric, not Orphic, and Homer himself can be credited with the idea of Earth as a sphere, with a land mass surrounded by a body of water called the Ōkeanos. Here I turn to a most evocative image. It is the statue of the Farnese Atlas. The sculpture pictures the Titan in the act of shouldering a celestial sphere, an idealization of the Earthly sphere:

Figure 13. Sculpture: the “Farnese Atlas.” Roman copy of a Hellenistic Greek original. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, 6374. Drawing by Valerie Woelfel.

E§177 As I argue in the Conclusions to Homer the Classic, such a visualization of Atlas struggling underneath the massive burden of a cosmic and imperial globe was inspired by theories about a spherical world, and these theories were in turn inspired by allegorizing traditions stemming from the Homerus Auctus, that is, from a text that combined—or recombined—the world of Orpheus with the world of Homer. {370|371} The burden that weighs so heavily on the shoulder of this primordial Atlas is analogous to the cosmic and imperial burden of an augmented and theoretically all-inclusive Homer.

E§178 For now I return to my basic argument, that the Homerus Auctus was not an innovation. The Homerus Auctus did not result from a process of attaching Orphic and other supposedly non-Homeric elements to the Athenian Koine of Homer. The supposedly Orphic elements in Homer were at one time not Orphic but simply Homeric. These elements may not have been Homeric in the way that Crates thought them to be Homeric, but they were still integral to the Homeric poetry he was ed-{371|372} iting. In terms of this basic argument, then, the Homerus Auctus was cumulatively older than the Athenian Koine.

E§179 By contrast, the Athenian Koine of Homer was an innovation. It resulted from a process of detaching Orphic and other supposedly non-Homeric elements from the Homerus Auctus. These elements, detached in the democratic era of the Athenian empire, had their own importance in the predemocratic era—an importance no longer fully understood by the time they were finally reattached in the postdemocratic era. In the predemocratic era of the Homerus Auctus, poetic traditions later described as Orphic, Hesiodic, and Cyclic were still attached to a poetic tradition described as Homeric. In the democratic era of the Athenian Koine they became detached. In the postdemocratic era of Callimachus and the neoterics, elements of the old Homerus Auctus were reattached, only to get detached for good in the still later postdemocratic era of Aristarchus.

E20. Homer the poet of kings

E§180 The politics of the Homerus Auctus, as we have seen from the augmentations later attributed to Orpheus, Hesiod, and the poets of the epic Cycle, were royal politics. In the democratic era of Athens, these poets were associated with the earlier era of the Peisistratidai, and they were therefore marginalized. In the case of Orpheus, for example, we have just seen how he lost his priority—and anteriority—to Homer, who became the representative of nonroyal politics in the democracy. This nonroyal Homer, however, was not the same Homer whose epics were performed at the Panathenaia in the earlier years of the Peisistratidai. That earlier Homer was a spokesman for the idea of royalty. He was the poet of kings.

E§181 That royalist Homer was not the differentiated Homer of the Homeric Koine. He was an undifferentiated Homer whose verses could not be systematically distinguished from verses also attributed to the poets of the Cycle, to Hesiod, and to Orpheus. That undifferentiated Homer was a poet of royalty in his own right, in sharp contrast with the Homer of the Homeric Koine.

E§182 The aura of royalty conveyed by the Homerus Auctus is evident from its reception in empires that came after the Athenian empire. These later empires, unlike the Athenian empire in the democratic era, were royal, ruled by Hellenistic dynasties like the Ptolemies of Alexandria and the Attalidai of Pergamon. In the still later empire ruled by the dynasty taking shape at Rome in the age of Virgil, we saw a comparable pattern of reception.

E§183 While the Roman empire, as glorified by the epic poetry of Virgil, was in some ways similar to the Athenian empire of the democracy, it was even more similar to the Athenian empire of the tyranny that came before—and to the later empires of the Hellenistic kingdoms that came after. In what follows, I will highlight these pre-{372|373} democratic and postdemocratic empires against the backdrop of the democratic Athenian empire. Whereas the Athenian empire in the democratic era was mediated by the Homeric Koine, the empires of the Hellenistic kingdoms and the Roman empire itself were mediated by the Panathenaic Homer of the predemocratic era, that is, by the Homerus Auctus.

E§187 If we follow the canonical sequence of Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer chronologically backward, moving from Homer to Hesiod to Musaeus to Orpheus, we see an increasing identification of poetry with royalty, culminating in Orpheus, the poet of kings par excellence. Relevant is the Pylos fresco painting of the Lyre Singer pictured as performing next to the royal throne of the throne room in the Mycenaean palace at Pylos:

Figure 14. Fresco painting: the Lyre Singer. Reconstructed from fragments found in the throne room, Pylos. Drawing by Valerie Woelfel.

E§188 Every time the king sat on his throne in the throne room of his palace at Pylos, he could see at his side the painting of this Lyre Singer who is seated on a rock in the wilderness and who performs for the king. The singer seated on the rock will perform for the king every time the king is seated on the throne. This Lyre Singer looks more like Orpheus the citharode, less like Homer the rhapsode. The Bronze Age Homer looks more like the classical Orpheus and less like the classical Homer.

E§189 In describing the Lyre Singer depicted on this Mycenaean fresco, I find it most instructive to apply the anachronistic term citharode. Here I return to my argument that Orpheus and Orphic poetry became marginalized in the era of the Athenian {374|375} democracy, making room for the centrality of Homer as the exclusive poet of epic at the Panathenaia. Homer became the rhapsode par excellence, while Orpheus became marginalized as a citharode. In terms of this argument, the association of the citharodic Simonides with the rhapsodic Homer and Hesiod instead of the citharodic Orpheus indicates that he succeeded in making a poetic transition from the predemocratic to the democratic era.

E§190 In the predemocratic era, there was a time when the royal figure of Orpheus was still central, and when Homer was still only becoming central—to the extent that Homeric poetry emulated Orphic poetry. There was a time when Orpheus was still considered to be the master of all kinds of poetry and song. It was only later, in the era of the democracy, that he became marginalized as a prototype of the effete citharode we see pictured in Plato’s Symposium (179d-e). Even as a citharode, the prototypical lyric poet Orpheus ultimately became marginalized at the Panathenaia in the new era of the democracy, making room for the centrality of contemporary lyric poets like Simonides.

E21. From Homer the Preclassic to Homer the Classic

E§193 What I have reconstructed as the Homerus Auctus of the sixth century is a point of transition from the preclassical to the classical Homer. Refocusing on the sixth century, I contemplate the world of Athens under the leadership of Solon in the early years of that century and of the Peisistratidai in the later years.

E§194 I return to two arguments that apply here. One: both Solon and the Peisistratidai were involved in the evolution of Homeric poetry. Two: this involvement was relevant to the evolution of the Athenian empire. I say empire because, to repeat one last time a point I have been making ever since Part I, Athens could already be considered an empire in the preclassical eras of Solon and the Peisistratidai. This was no empire in the classical sense of the empire that Athens became after its enormous successes in the fifth century, but it was an empire nonetheless.

E§195 The concept of Homer as the spokesman of a preclassical empire survived into the classical period. Such a concept was supposedly articulated by Homer himself, according to classical sources. A prime example of such sources, as we are about to see, is Thucydides.

E§196 Rule by the sea, that is, thalassokratia ‘thalassocracy’, is a basic prerequisite for the preclassical empire as represented by Homer. So says Thucydides (1.4), who cites as the prototype of Athenian thalassocracy the prehistoric imperial rule of the Aegean Sea under the leadership of Minos, king of the city of Knossos on the island of Crete. It is essential that Thucydides offers his formulation about a Minoan thalassocracy precisely in the context of recalling the story of the Capture of Troy—as he understands it from Homer. Immediately before he says what he says about the Minoan thalassocracy, Thucydides observes that the Capture of Troy marks the very first time that the Hellenes ever did anything hathrooi ‘together’, and that it {376|377} was by using the sea that they xunexēlthon ‘came out together’ for the first time when they sailed off to Troy in order to capture it (1.3.4). Thucydides makes it explicit, it is essential to add, that his primary evidence for what he argues about the Capture of Troy is Homer himself:

Eⓣ16 Thucydides 1.3.3

τεκμηριοῖ δὲ μάλιστα Ὅμηρος

The one who provides evidence [tekmērioûn] primarily is Homer.

E§197 It is likewise essential to add that, although Thucydides is speaking here about an enterprise ostensibly undertaken by all Hellenes, he uses the language of the Athenian empire in making his initial formulation about this ostensibly first Panhellenic enterprise:

Eⓣ17 Thucydides 1.3.2

πρὸ γὰρ τῶν Τρωικῶν οὐδὲν φαίνεται πρότερον κοινῇ ἐργασαμένη ἡ Ἑλλάς

Before the events at Troy, it appears that Hellas had previously accomplished nothing in common [koinēi].

E§198 The expression koinēi, stemming from the adjective koinos ‘common, standard’, is decisive. The criterion applied by Thucydides here in describing the political realities of the Bronze Age as he sees it is extrapolated from the political realities of the sixth as well as the fifth century BCE. In the sixth century, as I mentioned earlier, the Athenians had already gained a foothold in the Troad and reshaped Homeric poetry in the process, primarily at the expense of the rival city of Mytilene in Lesbos. The Athenians also acquired the island of Salamis at the expense of the rival city of Megara, and here too they reshaped Homeric poetry in the process. I have already referred to these phases in the evolution of Homeric poetry. Suffice it to add here that the encroachment of Athens on the territories of Megara must be viewed in the context of expanding Athenian trade routes in the region of the Hellespont. Such a pattern of ever increasing acquisition—we could even call it acquisitiveness or, by its Greek name, pleon(h)exia—has to do with thalassocracy and Homer in the same breath. The expansionism reaches the point of a real empire with the formation of the Delian League, as aetiologized in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo.

E§199 The noun homēros, in the usage of Thucydides, could mean not only ‘hostage’ in general but hostage of the Athenian empire in particular (3.90.4, 4.57.4, 5.84.1, etc.). This meaning is correlative with the meaning of the nomen loquens of Homer. As I argued in Chapter 9, the name Homēros means ‘fitting together’ in a political as well as a poetic sense. In a poetic sense, as we saw, a master poet ‘fits together’ pieces of poetry that are made ready to be parts of an integrated whole just as a master carpenter or joiner ‘fits together’ or joins pieces of wood that are made ready to {377|378} be parts of a chariot wheel; in a political sense, the hostage ‘fits together’ or joins pieces of human society that are made ready to be parts of a supposedly integrated whole. The politics and the poetics go together, just as empire and Homer go together. The unequal reciprocity inherent in the English word hostage, which implies that the captor is a “host” and the captive is a “guest,” is comparable to the reciprocity inherent in the Greek word kharis ‘pleasurable beauty’ in the sense of both ‘favor’ and ‘gratitude’, as we see from the wording that Thucydides ascribes to Pericles in a most telling context:

Eⓣ18 Thucydides 2.40.4–2.41.5

καὶ τὰ ἐς ἀρετὴν ἐνηντιώμεθα τοῖς πολλοῖς· οὐ γὰρ πάσχοντες εὖ, ἀλλὰ δρῶντες κτώμεθα τοὺς φίλους. βεβαιότερος δὲ ὁ δράσας τὴν χάριν ὥστε ὀφειλομένην δι’ εὐνοίας ᾧ δέδωκε σῴζειν· ὁ δὲ ἀντοφείλων ἀμβλύτερος, εἰδὼς οὐκ ἐς χάριν, ἀλλ’ ἐς ὀφείλημα τὴν ἀρετὴν ἀποδώσων. καὶ μόνοι οὐ τοῦ ξυμφέροντος μᾶλλον λογισμῷ ἢ τῆς ἐλευθερίας τῷ πιστῷ ἀδεῶς τινὰ ὠφελοῦμεν. Ξυνελών τε λέγω τήν τε πᾶσαν πόλιν τῆς Ἑλλάδος παίδευσιν εἶναι καὶ καθ’ ἕκαστον δοκεῖν ἄν μοι τὸν αὐτὸν ἄνδρα παρ’ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ πλεῖστ’ ἂν εἴδη καὶ μετὰ χαρίτων μάλιστ’ ἂν εὐτραπέλως τὸ σῶμα αὔταρκες παρέχεσθαι. καὶ ὡς οὐ λόγων ἐν τῷ παρόντι κόμπος τάδε μᾶλλον ἢ ἔργων ἐστὶν ἀλήθεια, αὐτὴ ἡ δύναμις τῆς πόλεως, ἣν ἀπὸ τῶνδε τῶν τρόπων ἐκτησάμεθα, σημαίνει. μόνη γὰρ τῶν νῦν ἀκοῆς κρείσσων ἐς πεῖραν ἔρχεται, καὶ μόνη οὔτε τῷ πολεμίῳ ἐπελθόντι ἀγανάκτησιν ἔχει ὑφ’ οἵων κακοπαθεῖ οὔτε τῷ ὑπηκόῳ κατάμεμψιν ὡς οὐχ ὑπ’ ἀξίων ἄρχεται. μετὰ μεγάλων δὲ σημείων καὶ οὐ δή τοι ἀμάρτυρόν γε τὴν δύναμιν παρασχόμενοι τοῖς τε νῦν καὶ τοῖς ἔπειτα θαυμασθησόμεθα, καὶ οὐδὲν προσδεόμενοι οὔτε Ὁμήρου ἐπαινέτου οὔτε ὅστις ἔπεσι μὲν τὸ αὐτίκα τέρψει, τῶν δ’ ἔργων τὴν ὑπόνοιανἀλήθεια βλάψει, ἀλλὰ πᾶσαν μὲν θάλασσαν καὶ γῆν ἐσβατὸν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ τόλμῃ καταναγκάσαντες γενέσθαι, πανταχοῦ δὲ μνημεῖα κακῶν τε κἀγαθῶν ἀίδια ξυγκατοικίσαντες.

When it comes to striving for achievement [aretē], we [= Athenians] stand in sharp contrast to most others. For it is not by being treated well by others, but by treating them well, that we acquire those who are near and dear [philoi] to us. The one who is at the giving end of the kharis is more dependable, in that he is disposed to keep it [= that kharis] going, by continued good will toward the one at the receiving end. But the other who is at the receiving end and must pay it [= the kharis] back is by comparison unresponsive, knowing that when he pays it back it will count not as a kharis but as a debt repaid. And we are the only ones who benefit others not with calculations of self-interest but with the confidence of our liberal generosity. Summing it all up, then, I say that our city is in its entirety the education [paideusis] of Hellas, and that, as far as I can see, each of us could easily apply his own being, as an autonomous individual, toward the greatest variety of forms—and do so with kharis [plural, matching each of the forms]. And that this is no mere boast, uttered in the context of the occasion, but rather the truth [alētheia] as linked to the realities [erga], is attested by the very power of our city, a power that we have acquired in consequence of these characteristics. For the city of Athens, alone among all the cities of today, comes up looking {378|379} better when put to the test—better than what people say about it—and it alone causes neither resentment for the opposing enemy for being defeated by such opponents nor self-reproach for subordinates for not being ruled by worthy superiors. Great are the visible signs with which we have made our power a thing that cannot go without being witnessed, and that is why we will be the wonder of those who live today and of future generations as well. We will not need Homer as our agent of praise [epainetēs] or anyone else whose verses [epos plural] will give pleasure [terpein] only for the moment but whose underlying meaning [huponoia] [111] as linked to the realities will be vulnerable to the truth [alētheia], which will utterly undermine [blaptein] them [= the verses]. [112] But we have compelled every sea and every land to grant access to our daring, and have everywhere planted everlasting memorials both of destructive and of constructive deeds. [113]

E§200 In effect, Thucydides is making a reference here, however indirectly, to the appropriation of Homer by Athens. Such a reference, I argue, is evident from his use of the word kharis ‘pleasurable beauty, gracefulness; graciousness, favor; gratitude’. This word kharis combines the idea of beauty and pleasure with the affective ties that come with the beauty and the pleasure. By affective ties I mean the relationships expressed by the word philos, meaning ‘near and dear’ as an adjective and ‘friend’ as a noun. In the words of Pericles as dramatized here by Thucydides, the kharis of the Athenians in exercising their imperial power is understood as the beauty and the pleasure that comes from their being philoi ‘friends’ to their allies, from their being ‘near and dear’ to them. The kharis of this reciprocity between the Athenians and their allies is decidedly unequal, Pericles says, in that the allies reciprocate the Athenians not because they want to but because they have to. The allies feel obligated by necessity, whereas the Athenians feel obligated by the beauty and the pleasure of their own imperial greatness. Noblesse oblige, as it were. This kind of kharis is more than unequal: it is hierarchical. On the surface, the Athenians are ‘friends’ of their allies; underneath the surface, they are superior to them, because the beauty and the pleasure of what they give them is notionally far superior to whatever the allies give back. And the most beautiful and pleasurable of Athenian possessions is Homer himself. The Athenians think they own Homer, and, quite conscious of this ownership, they feel they do not have to mention it when they give Homer to other Hellenes, who will be most grateful to have Homer but will have nothing comparable to give back to the Athenians. In response to any kharis in the sense of gratitude, the Athenians will be obliged by their own kharis in the sense of {379|380} graciousness to say, if I may be allowed to paraphrase: “Don’t mention it!” And the Athenians won’t have to mention Homer, either. To repeat, they think they own Homer. All other Hellenes need Homer as an epainetēs or ‘agent of praise’, in the sense that they feel a need for Homer to mention details about them, but the Athenians do not need even to hear any mention of details about them by Homer because, to repeat one last time, they own Homer. For the Athenians, Homer is part of their identity, and so the city of Athens can claim to be the source of ‘education’ or paideusis for the entire Hellenic world. Why? It is simply because Homer is already acknowledged by all Hellenes as their universal educator. This conceit is captured most succinctly in Plato’s Republic (2.376e–398b; 10.599c-d, 606e).

E§201 The imperial kharis of the Athenians is predicated on the inherent kharis of Homer as expressed by Homeric poetry. Starting his performance in Odyssey ix, Odysseus describes the ideal occasion for a performing aoidos ‘singer’ (ix 3–4), and that occasion is a feast (5–12). There is no telos ‘outcome’, the hero says, that brings more kharis—more beauty and pleasure—than the singing of an aoidos before an audience of daitumones (7), an audience of participants in a feast:

Eⓣ19 Odyssey ix 3–11

          ἦ τοι μὲν τόδε καλὸν ἀκουέμεν ἐστὶν ἀοιδοῦ
          τοιοῦδ’, οἷος ὅδ’ ἐστί, θεοῖσ’ ἐναλίγκιος αὐδήν.
5        οὐ γὰρ ἐγώ γέ τί φημι τέλος χαριέστερον εἶναι
          ἢ ὅτ’ ἐϋφροσύνη μὲν ἔχῃ κάτα δῆμον ἅπαντα,
          δαιτυμόνες δ’ ἀνὰ δώματ’ ἀκουάζωνται ἀοιδοῦ
          ἥμενοι ἑξείης, παρὰ δὲ πλήθωσι τράπεζαι
          σίτου καὶ κρειῶν, μέθυ δ’ ἐκ κρητῆρος ἀφύσσων
10      οἰνοχόος φορέῃσι καὶ ἐγχείῃ δεπάεσσι·
          τοῦτό τί μοι κάλλιστον ἐνὶ φρεσὶν εἴδεται εἶναι.

          This is indeed a beautiful thing, to listen to a singer [aoidos]
          such as this one [= Demodokos], the kind of singer that he is, comparable to the gods in
               the way he speaks [audē],
5        for I declare, there is no outcome [telos] that has more pleasurable beauty [kharis]
          than the moment when the spirit of festivity [euphrosunē] [
114] prevails throughout the
               whole community [dēmos]
          and the people at the feast [daitumones], throughout the halls, are listening to the
               singer [aoidos]
          as they sit there—you can see one after the other—and they are sitting at tables that are filled
          with grain and meat, while wine from the mixing bowl is drawn
10      by the one who pours the wine and takes it around, pouring it into their cups. {380|381}
          This kind of thing, as I see it in my way of thinking, is the most beautiful thing in the whole


[ back ] 1. On the idea of Homer as an illiterate singer who dictates as he performs, see Janko 1992:37–38. On the idea of Homer as a literate singer who writes down what he composes, see West 2003b. For his earlier theories, see West 2000b:486 and 1995:203–219. For a critique of dictation theories in general, see Cassio 1999 and 2002.

[ back ] 2. HQ 70, 73, 83, 92–93.

[ back ] 3. Nagy 2001a; rewritten as HTL ch. 2.

[ back ] 4. See HR 69–70, HTL 30, 185.

[ back ] 5. Frame 2009 ch. 11.

[ back ] 6. A most important line of inquiry is the sustained argumentation of Debiasi 2004 and 2008, who speaks of “la matrice euboica.” I cite here just one point of special interest: Plutarch in his Greek Questions (296d-e) tells of a tradition claiming that Euboea used to be Aeolian and then became Ionian. See also Debiasi 2004:202.

[ back ] 7. A point of special interest is the role of Athens, Thessaly, and Sikyon as members of the amphiktuones in the First Sacred War.

[ back ] 8. HQ 93–105.

[ back ] 9. The version given in the Greek Anthology shows a variant at this point: βουλῇ.

[ back ] 10. As I noted earlier, however, I agree with Douglas Frame’s argument (2009 ch. 11) that the Homeric performance units stemming from the Panathenaic Regulation stem ultimately from the performance units that evolved at the festival of the Panionia as celebrated in the late eighth and early seventh centuries BCE at the Panionion of the Ionian Dodecapolis in Asia Minor.

[ back ] 11. PR 64.

[ back ] 12. PH 1§7n10 (= p. 19), §21n61 (= p. 28); 2§§37–49 (= pp. 70–79).

[ back ] 13. HQ 38, 89–91; relevant comments by Burgess 2001:15 and 200n44.

[ back ] 14. Details of such Athenian accretions in the transmission of the epic Cycle are surveyed by Debiasi 2004:206–207.

[ back ] 15. Debiasi 2004:132n58, 207; for further examples of such Athenian accretions, see Burgess 2001:152, 247n75.

[ back ] 16. PH 2§40 (= p. 72).

[ back ] 17. Frame 2009 ch. 11, who shows that each one of these twelve performance units corresponds to four rhapsōidiai ‘rhapsodies’ or ‘books’ of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey as we know them (‘books’ 1–4, 5–8, 9–12, 13–16, 17–20, 21–24).

[ back ] 18. PH 2§40 (= p. 73).

[ back ] 19. PH 2§§37–49 (= pp. 70–79).

[ back ] 20. PH 2§37 (= pp. 70–72).

[ back ] 21. See also HC 1§109.

[ back ] 22. According to Vita 1 (202–205), as we saw in Chapter 2, Homer composes the Little Iliad in Phocaea, not in Lesbos. On the Ionian city of Phocaea as a cultural mediator between Ionian and Aeolian traditions, see Debiasi 2004:205–206.

[ back ] 23. According to Vita 2 (55–56), as I quoted it in Chapter 2, there is a story that tells how Homer ‘made’ the Margites in Colophon. Such a story, which I think is derived from the charter myth of the Peisistratean Recension, seems to be the basis for the opinion expressed by Aristotle in the Poetics (1448b30) that Homer is the author of the Margites.

[ back ] 24. On the poetic theme of Hesiod’s reluctance to navigate, see Rosen 1990 and Martin 1992. Also Debiasi 2001:19.

[ back ] 25. For a brief analysis, see HQ 38; there is a more extensive analysis in PH 1§7n10 (= p. 19), 2§§48–49 (= pp. 77–79); see now also West 1999:372, who does not engage with either of my analyses in his discussion.

[ back ] 26. As we saw in Vita 1.332–335, which I quoted in Chapter 2, the poetry that Homer creates in the countryside of the island of Chios is carnivalesque and loosely defined, as compared with the poetry that he creates within the city limits.

[ back ] 27. See also Allen 1912:127 (citing the Tabula Iliaca) and 129 (with a survey of various attributions, including all the references by Pausanias to Lesches).

[ back ] 28. Allen 1912:126.

[ back ] 29. The differences between the wording of Vita 2.281–285 and of Vita 1.425–429 reflect, I propose, oral poetic variations in formula. The two different contexts that frame the two different versions reflect, in turn, oral poetic variations in theme.

[ back ] 30. In Vita 3a.61–62, as I noted in Chapter 2, Homer goes not from Thebes to Delphi but from Delphi to Thebes. We find here an interesting added detail: in Thebes, Homer takes part in the festival of the Kronia, described as an agōn mousikos (Vita 3a.62).

[ back ] 31. PP 179, 226–227. My interpretation there is now apparently accepted by West 1999:381–382.

[ back ] 32. HC 4§§25–30.

[ back ] 33. As we saw earlier, Herodotus uses koinos ‘common’ in contexts of commonality (as at 1.151.3, 1.166.1, 1.170.2, 2.178.2, and so on). And there are two instances where he uses the synonym xunos ‘common’ (4.12.3, 7.53.1).

[ back ] 34. Frame 2009 ch. 11 makes it clear that Chios was essential to the Homēridai even before they were brought to Athens.

[ back ] 35. Nagy 2000f, with reference primarily to the Seven against Thebes of Aeschylus.

[ back ] 36. Background in HQ 76–77.

[ back ] 37. Background in HQ 76.

[ back ] 38. HQ 76.

[ back ] 39. To repeat, Martin 2000b:419n58 suggests that the phrasing here could mean instead ‘and dedicated it to him [= Apollo]’.

[ back ] 40. The visual metaphor of eidos here in the sense of ‘visible form’ is reinforced by the use of the verb sēmainein ‘indicate, reveal’ in this context.

[ back ] 41. PH 8§2n10 (= p. 216).

[ back ] 42. HC 3§100. See also Hermesianax F 7.21–26 ed. Powell (the sequence here is Orpheus to Musaeus to Hesiod), as analyzed by Hunter 2005b:261.

[ back ] 43. See Chapter 3, the section entitled “A post-Athenocentric view of the Homēridai.”

[ back ] 44. HC 2§§186–190.

[ back ] 45. Rengakos 2001, with a rich inventory of examples.

[ back ] 46. Herodotus thinks that the Pythagoreans were responsible for importing Egyptian customs. I agree with Asheri, Lloyd, and Corcella 2007:296 when they say about the section that reads Βακχικοῖσι … καί: “this section is omitted in all the Florentine mss [as opposed to other mss], but the arguments for postulating an omission in this group are considerably stronger than those for interpolation.”

[ back ] 47. HC 2§§238–268.

[ back ] 48. On citharodic as well as rhapsodic performances of Orphic song in Athens, see Power 2010:355–367; see also his pp. 274–285 on citharodic performances of epic associated with Orphic Argonautica around the time of the Peisistratidai.

[ back ] 49. PH 13§10 (= pp. 385–386), with further citations (especially Seaford 1984:43).

[ back ] 50. HC 1§170, 2§§18, 236.

[ back ] 51. GM 52–53.

[ back ] 52. Riedweg 2002:14.

[ back ] 53. Again, Riedweg 2002.

[ back ] 54. Allen 1924:233.

[ back ] 55. See also Pausanias 7.26.13.

[ back ] 56. Further details in PH 6§§52–53 (= pp. 172–174); see also Haubold 2004:27–28.

[ back ] 57. Hippias son of Peisistratos had been exiled from Athens along with his family.

[ back ] 58. Here we see in action the poetics of en-poieîn and its opposite, resulting in plus verses and minus verses. In a shorthand, this is the poetics of selectivity.

[ back ] 59. The ‘following verses’ include passages from both the Iliad and the Odyssey. The extract I am quoting here gives the verses quoted from the Iliad.

[ back ] 60. After quoting these epē (= epos plural) ‘verses’ from the Iliad, the narrative goes on to quote epē ‘verses’ that Homer en-poieî ‘makes inside’ the Odyssey, which I do not include here in this extract.

[ back ] 61. Pausanias (1.14.3) cites verses attributed to Musaeus (though he doubts the validity of the attribution) in considering the lore about the culture hero Triptolemos. According to these verses, Triptolemos was the son of Ōkeanos and Earth. He also cites verses attributed to Orpheus (though again he doubts the validity of the attribution), according to which Eubouleus and Triptolemos were sons of Dysaules; in return for giving Demeter information about her daughter, they were rewarded with the sowing of seed.

[ back ] 62. My phrasing here has been improved by Kristin Ellithorpe (2005.06.09).

[ back ] 63. Richardson 1974:12.

[ back ] 64. HC ch. 2 section 13.

[ back ] 65. HC ch. 2 section 18. Aristonicus reports (via Scholia A for Iliad XVIII 483a): ὅτι Ζηνόδοτος ἠθέτηκεν ἀπὸ τούτου τοῦ στίχου τὰ λοιπά ‘[Aristarchus marks with the sign >:] because Zenodotus has athetized the rest of this passage, starting with this verse’.

[ back ] 66. Figueira 1985:116. See also Dué 2006:94–95. On Iliad I 265, see Dué p. 95n12.

[ back ] 67. See also Aloni 1989:43–45.

[ back ] 68. Figueira 1985:282.

[ back ] 69. HQ 74–75, 81, 101–102, 104–105.

[ back ] 70. Aloni 2006:91.

[ back ] 71. Figueira 1985:281–283; Frame 2009:428–432.

[ back ] 72. PH 11§12 (= p. 320). See also Dué 2006:94.

[ back ] 73. PH ch. 6 (= pp. 146–198).

[ back ] 74. HC 2§§196, 206–208, 214.

[ back ] 75. HC 2§§148–157.

[ back ] 76. HC 2§§178–184.

[ back ] 77. Hardie 1986.

[ back ] 78. Hardie 1986:367.

[ back ] 79. Hardie 1986:27–28, with reference to further argumentation in his ch. 8, “The Shield of Aeneas: The Cosmic Icon” (pp. 336–376).

[ back ] 80. Hardie 1986:341.

[ back ] 81. In Eustathius (Commentary on Iliad vol. 4 p. 218 lines 14–17), the commentator draws attention to the morphological parallelism of triplax ‘threefold’ with diplax ‘twofold’, reasoning that this parallelism proves that diplax is not necessarily restricted to the world of weaving, since triplax is obviously associated with metalwork (Ὅρα δὲ τὸ “τρίπλακα,” δηλοῦν ὅτι καὶ τὸ δίπλακα δύναται μὴ ἀεὶ ἐπὶ ὑφάσματος τίθεσθαι. ἰδοὺ γὰρ τὴν ἐλατὴν ἄντυγα “τρίπλακα μαρμαρέην” ἔφη, ὅ ἐστι τρίθετον κατὰ τρεῖς πλάκας ‘Consider τρίπλακα, which shows that even δίπλακα need not always be used in the sense of weaving; to back up this reasoning, I draw your attention to the way he [= the poet] says τρίπλακα μαρμαρέην with reference to the metalworked antux, which is tripartite in terms of its three layers’). As we saw in Chapter 10, the word diplax refers to a woven fabric in Iliad III 126 and XXII 441, and both attestations show the epithet marmareē as a variant of porphureē. So, just as the epithet marmareē describes the diplax as a woven web, the epithet triplax marmareē describes the antux of the Shield of Achilles in XVIII 480. What I find significant is the actual crossover here between the world of weaving and the world of metalwork.

[ back ] 82. Hardie 1986:341. The reportage of Eustathius 4.220.9–11 is mediated by an earlier source, Demo: see Hardie p. 375; also Broggiato 2001:158–159, 161–162.

[ back ] 83. Hardie 1986:342.

[ back ] 84. Hardie 1986:28, 123–156, 342.

[ back ] 85. Hardie 1986:339. Hardie then goes on to analyze the differences in narrative perspective between the Shield of Aeneas in Aeneid 8 and the review of Roman heroes in Aeneid 6.

[ back ] 86. Further citations on the concept of merism in HTL 159.

[ back ] 87. I postpone for another project my study of the Hesiodic Shield of Herakles, which is later than the Orphic Shield of Achilles in Iliad XVIII: that is, the Hesiodic Shield dates back to a later phase in the era of the Peisistratidai.

[ back ] 88. For a full presentation of the argument, see Frame 2009.

[ back ] 89. Frame 2009.

[ back ] 90. The theme of the invisibility of Gyges is euhemerized in the version narrated by Herodotus 1.8–13.

[ back ] 91. PH 9§23 (= p. 266); also PH ch. 10 (= pp. 274–313) in general.

[ back ] 92. PH 8§22 (= pp. 229–230).

[ back ] 93. On the usage of stratēgikos in the Life of Aesop (G 91) in the sense of ‘belonging to the lawmaker’, see PH 11§20n53 (= p. 324).

[ back ] 94. For a commentary on this narrative taken from the Life of Aesop (G 81–100), see PH 11§§18–20 (= pp. 323–324).

[ back ] 95. HC ch. 4 section 8.

[ back ] 96. On the textual transmission of Iliad XVIII 604–606, I refer to my analysis in Chapter 10.

[ back ] 97. Also attested at this verse, besides ποίκιλλε (poikillein), is the variant ποίησε (poieîn), with the neutral meaning of ‘make’.

[ back ] 98. Once again, I repeat that this word khoros can designate either the place for singing and dancing or the group of singers and dancers who perform at that place.

[ back ] 99. The ‘there’ is both the place of dance and the place in the picture that is the Shield.

[ back ] 100. In a future project, I connect with this theme the interaction between Catullus 66.39 and Virgil Aeneid 6.460.

[ back ] 101. HC ch. 2 section 14.

[ back ] 102. LP (Nagy 1998) 223–228.

[ back ] 103. Nagy 2005b.

[ back ] 104. PH 14§2 (= pp. 414–415).

[ back ] 105. HC ch. 3 section 6.

[ back ] 106. See HC 3§§99–100.

[ back ] 107. The theme of the Gigantomachy is programmatically aborted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (1.151–162 and 5.318–331) as a gesture to a programmatic abortion of this same theme in Callimachean poetics: see Tarrant 2005:67–69.

[ back ] 108. I note the relationship of Orpheus with the Muse of kings, Kalliope.

[ back ] 109. Among the songs that will be sung by Orpheus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses is the story about Pygmalion and his ivory statue (10.238–297), as quoted and analyzed in Homer the Classic ch. 1 section 9. It can be argued that the happy ending of that story is a wish-fulfillment on the part of the embedded narrator, who is Orpheus himself: see Tarrant 2005:76.

[ back ] 110. HC 3§99, with commentary.

[ back ] 111. For huponoia, see category II of LSJ (s.v. ὑπόνοια): “the real meaning which lies at the bottom of a thing, deeper sense,” as in Xenophon Symposium 3.6; “esp. covert meaning (such as conveyed by myths and allegories),” as in Plato Republic 2.378d. But LSJ assigns category I not II to the present attestation in Thucydides: suspicion, conjecture, guess.

[ back ] 112. In other words, the truth about realities will undermine the huponoia about realities.

[ back ] 113. Translation adapted primarily from the version of Richard Crawley in Strassler 1996.

[ back ] 114. On the programmatic implications of euphrosunē ‘mirth’ as the atmosphere, as it were, of the poetic occasion, see BA 5§39 (= p. 91), 12§15 (= p. 235), PH 6§92 (= p. 198), all following Bundy 1986:2.

[ back ] 115. HC Prolegomena section 11; also PP 116n46.