As to the age of Homer and of Hesiod opinions differ. Some, among whom are Philochorus 1 and Xenophanes, 2 have written that Homer was older than Hesiod; others that he was younger, among them Lucius Accius the poet and Euphorus the historian. 3 But Marcus Varro, in the first book of his Portraits, 4 says 5 that it is not at all certain which of the two was born first, but that there is no doubt that they lived partly in the same period of time, and that this is proved by the inscription 6 engraved upon a tripod which Hesiod is said to have set up on Mount Helicon. Accius, on the contrary, in the first book of his Didascalica, 7 makes use of very weak arguments in his attempt to show that Hesiod was the elder: “Because Homer,” he writes, “when he says at the beginning of his poem 8 that Achilles was the son of Peleus, does not inform us who Peleus was; and this he unquestionably would have done, if he did not know that the information had already been given by Hesiod. 9 Again, in the case of Cyclops,” says Accius, “he would not have failed to note such a striking characteristic and to make particular mention of the fact that he was oneeyed, were it not that this was equally well known from the poems of his predecessor Hesiod.” 10 Also as to Homer's native city there is the very greatest divergence of opinion. Some say that he was from Colophon, some from Smyrna; others [p. 277] assert that he was an Athenian, still others, an Egyptian; and Aristotle declares 11 that he was from the island of los. Marcus Varro, in the first book of his Portraits, placed this couplet under the portrait of Homer: 12
This snow-white kid the tomb of Homer marks;
For such the Ietae 13 offer to the dead.