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 No one should be surprised that the poet, in his fiction descriptive of the wanderings of Ulysses, should have located the majority of the scenes which he narrates without the Pillars, in the Atlantic. For historical events of a similar char- acter did actually occur near to the places, so that the other circumstances which he feigned did not make his fiction incredible; nor [should any one be surprised] if certain persons, putting faith in the historical accuracy and extensive knowledge of the poet, should have attempted to explain the poem of Homer on scientific principles; a proceeding undertaken by Crates of Mallos,1 and some others. On the other hand, there have been those who have treated the undertaking of Homer so contemptuously, as not only to deny any such knowledge to the poet, as though he were a ditcher or reaper, but have stigmatized as fools those who commented on his writings. And not one either of the grammarians, or of those skilled in the mathematics, has dared to undertake their defence, or to set right any mistakes in what they have advanced, or any thing else; although it seems to me possible both to prove correct much that they have said, and also to set right other points, especially where they have been misled by putting faith in Pytheas, who was ignorant of the countries situated along the ocean, both to the west and north. But we must let these matters pass, as they require a particular and lengthened discussion.
1 A celebrated stoic philosopher and grammarian contemporary with Aristarchus. He was of Mallos, a city of Cilicia, and surnamed the Critic and the Homeric, on account of the corrections, explanations, and remarks which he composed in nine books on the poems of Homer.
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