Making and Unmaking: The Achaean Wall and the Limits of Fictionality in Homeric Criticism
How to Make Something from Nothing
Literal-Minded Arguments in the Ancient Scholia: A Survey
Poetic and Metapoetic Readings in the Scholia: The Achaean Wall as an Ersatz Troy
the gods in session at the side of Zeus who handles the lightning
watched the huge endeavour (μέγα ἔργον) of the bronze-armoured Achaians;
and the god Poseidon who shakes the earth began speaking among them:
“Father Zeus, is there any mortal left on the wide earth
who will still declare to the immortals his mind and his purpose?
Do you not see how now these flowing-haired Achaians
have built a wall (τεῖχος ἐτειχίσσαντο) landward of their ships (νεῶν ὕπερ), and driven about it
a ditch, and not given to the gods any grand sacrifice?
Now the fame of this will last as long as dawnlight is scattered,
and men will forget that wall which I and Phoibos Apollo
built with our hard work for the hero Laomedon’s city.”
Indeed, the incomprehensibility of his reaction seems to be what the scholium to VII 445 is all about, starting with the words, οὐδενὶ δὲ ἥρμοττεν ἡ κατηγορία: “The accusation was suitable to no one except Poseidon or Apollo, because the Greeks were building a counter-wall [LSJ: “erecting counter-fortifications”] to the Trojan Wall. And Apollo is not speaking—for indeed Hera would say, ‘That’s just the sort of thing you would say [being anti-Greek]’ (XXIV 56)—while Poseidon, though a pro-Greek god, seems to be accusing the Greeks ἀπαθῶς [mss.: ἀμαθῶς Cobet].” ἀπαθῶς, accepted by Erbse, is curious, and hard to render. “Unmoved” seems singularly inapt for the context, seeing how Poseidon is rather beside himself at the moment. “Without being affected” or “attacked” would seem something of a stretch, especially given δοκεῖ. Cobet’s emendation, ἀμαθῶς, makes sense if we take it to mean “ignorant of the obvious difference between the two walls,” which the god is treating as effectively equal.  In the eyes of this grammarian, at least, the difference is plain as day, and Poseidon is acting irrationally.
are gone back with their ships to the beloved land of their fathers,
break their wall to pieces and scatter it into the salt sea
and pile again the beach deep under the sands and cover it;
so let the great wall of the Achaians go down to destruction.
The monumental obliteration of the Achaean Wall, rather than erasing the memory of the wall, to the contrary ensures that the same wall will go down in the annals of memory as one of the most unforgettable walls ever constructed. Not even the Trojan Wall suffered such an unforgettable annihilation: though it may have been divinely made (θεοποίητον), it was destroyed by mere men, albeit with the aid of the gods. The Achaean Wall was humanly made, but it took three gods, eight rivers, nine days, an earthquake, and an ocean to destroy it. What is so strange in all of this is the weird performative antilogic so furiously at work here. For let us suppose that Poseidon was dead wrong about his prophecy regarding the Achaean Wall—suppose the wall was never destined to eclipse Troy in fame. Nevertheless, by assuming (or pretending) that it was, Poseidon triggered off a chain of events that produced the reality he feared, and his prediction proved true in the end. As a result, the Achaean Wall suffered a cataclysmic obliteration that Troy (literally) never knew.
So long as Hektor was still alive, and Achilleus was angry,
so long as the citadel of lord Priam was a city untaken,
for this time the great wall of the Achaians stood firm. (T9)
Aristotle’s Solution: The Fictions of Homer, or, The Lady Vanishes
The passage is sprinkled with the language of the grammarians and their learned debates, which Philostratus is surely spoofing. Protesilaus, after all, poses as someone who carefully scours Homer’s poems for their faults (βασανίζειν γάρ που αὐτοῦ ἔφασκες τὰ τούτου ποιήματα, 25.1). For the critical admission that the Achaean Wall was a plasma, or poetic fiction invented by Homer, Philostratus playfully pretends to substitute Protesilaus’ aggressively anti-Homeric view, which challenges Homer’s representation of the Trojan War on every conceivable detail: “No wall was erected (ἐξεποιήθη) by the Achaeans at Troy.” And yet the tag, “the wall was also constructed (ξυνετέθη) by [Homer],” places the accent just where it belongs: first, on the verb for Homer’s making, which is one of poetic making (sunthesis); and second, on the equivocation that is implied (there was no wall, and yet there was), which is the equivocation of fiction—or else of sophistry.  How convenient to be able to challenge Homer so authoritatively on a learned detail when you are a foot-soldier in the Trojan army. The joke is doubled inasmuch as the criticism seems to come totally out of the blue in the course of a defense of Sthenelus, an undersung Homeric hero in Protesilaus’ eyes.  Sthenelus’ connection with the Achaean Wall is gratuitous (he is nowhere mentioned by Homer in this regard), and therefore all the more apt: in a sense, the frailty of the connection merely highlights the arbitrariness of his choice by Protesilaus/Philostratus as a counterweight to Achilles in the Heroicus. As one of the Epigonoi and a fairly irrelevant secondary figure in the Iliad, Sthenelus (“The Mighty One”), who is being promoted like a prize-fighter by Protesilaus (the first to lay foot on the Trojan shores and to die there, and so the representative of a “distantiated” perspective capable of weighing in against Homer’s own), is an eminently useful personage to retrieve in a Second Sophistic revisionist context, especially as a counter to Homer’s Achilleocentric epic.
Traumatic Obliteration (Αphanisis)
μή πως καὶ Κρονίδης κεχολώσεται, αἴ κεν Ἀχιλλεὺς
τόνδε κατακτείνῃ· μόριμον δέ οἵ ἐστ’ ἀλέασθαι,
ὄφρα μὴ ἄσπερμος γενεὴ καὶ ἄφαντος ὄληται
Δαρδάνου, ὃν Κρονίδης περὶ πάντων φίλατο παίδων
οἳ ἕθεν ἐξεγένοντο γυναικῶν τε θνητάων.305
ἤδη γὰρ Πριάμου γενεὴν ἔχθηρε Κρονίων·
But come, let us ourselves get him away from death, for fear
the son of Kronos may be angered if now Achilleus
kills this man. It is destined that he shall be the survivor,
that the generation of Dardanos shall not die, without seed
obliterated, since Dardanos was dearest to Kronides
of all his sons that have been born to him from mortal women.
For Kronos’ son has cursed the generation of Priam. 
ἄκριτον ἐκ πεδίου· ποτὶ δ’ αὐτὸν δείμομεν ὦκα
πύργους ὑψηλοὺς εἶλαρ νηῶν τε καὶ αὐτῶν
ἐν δ’ αὐτοῖσι πύλας ποιήσομεν εὖ ἀραρυίας,
ὄφρα δι’ αὐτάων ἱππηλασίη ὁδὸς εἴη·
καὶ ἔτι λειῶσαί τε τὸν τόπον καὶ
αὖθις δ’ ἠιόνα μεγάλην ψαμάθοισι καλύψαι (v. 31),
ὄφρα μὲν Ἕκτωρ ζωὸς ἔην καὶ μήνι’ Ἀχιλλεὺς
καὶ Πριάμοιο ἄνακτος ἀπόρθητος πόλις ἔπλεν,
τόφρα δὲ καὶ μέγα τεῖχος Ἀχαιῶν ἔμπεδον ἦεν.