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Ὅμηρος). The ancient Greeks never doubted the historical existence of Homer. He was to them “the poet” ( ποιητής) in a special sense, but they knew nothing of him as a person. Eight Greek biographies of him are still extant— one under the name of Plutarch, another falsely ascribed to Herodotus—but none of them have any historic value; most of them belong to the Christian era. The early Greeks had no more interest in literary biography than the English contemporaries of Chaucer, and later generations supplied the lack of knowledge from vague tradition and from uncertain indications in the works attributed to the poet. They did not require scientific accuracy of statement, and enjoyed a good story too well to question its truth. A large variety of manifestly fictitious genealogical trees is presented for Homer, in many of which he is brought into some connection with Hesiod. Some made him a descendant of Orpheus. He was called by some Melesigenes, as the son of the river-god Meles, near Smyrna. Others called him Maeonides, either as the son of Maeon or the son of Maeonia (Lydia). A well-known epigram emphasizes the uncertainty with regard to his birthplace. More than seven cities claimed him as their own. Some thought he was born at Smyrna, and near that city a grotto was shown in which they said he composed his poems. Simonides (Frag. 85) called him a Chian, doubtless partly on the strength of the verse in the Hymn to Delian Apollo, 172, τυφλὸς ἀνήρ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίῳ ἔνι παιπαλοέσσῃ, which is quoted by Thucydides (iii. 104)—a verse which at least supported the popular belief in the poet's blindness. The great critic Aristarchus thought him an Athenian, basing his arguments upon characteristics of the Homeric dialect. Aristodemus of Nyssa believed him to be a Roman, because of the similarity of certain Roman customs with those described by the poet. Others would make an Ithacan of him. Others thought him an Aegyptian. Lucian called him a Babylonian, but doubtless in merry jest. It was reserved for an English scholar, however, to suggest that if Homer's name were read backwards, in Hebrew style, ΟΜΗΡΟΣ would become ΣΟΡΗΜΟ, which was only another form for Solomon; thus the Homeric poems were ascribed to the Hebrew king. He was generally assumed to have lived about a century or a century and a half after the Trojan War (B.C. 1183). Others made him flourish about B.C. 976. He was set by Herodotus (ii. 53) not more than four hundred years before his time, or B.C. 850. The church fathers, Clemens Alexandrinus and Tatian, inclined to set the date of his birth as late as possible, in order to sustain their claim that the wisdom of the Greeks was derived from the Hebrews.

Scholars no longer ask where Homer was born or when he lived, but in what regions and tribes of Greece epic poetry was perfected, and in what centuries the Iliad and Odyssey received their present form. Not that all would deny that any poet Homer ever lived to whom we owe the Iliad or Odyssey, or both, but all authentic information regarding him has perished beyond recovery. Even in his poems his personality is kept entirely in the background.

The meaning of the name Homer is uncertain. Many stories were invented to account for it as meaning “a hostage.” Half a century ago it was explained as “the uniter” (ὁμοῦ ἀραρίσκω), and thus it was made to sustain the view that the poems are only a conglomeration of distinct and independent lays. Georg Curtius showed that, according to analogy, the name should mean “the united,” not “the uniter.” The plural Ὅμηροι would then be used of the members of a guild of poet-singers. The next generation would be Ὁμηρίδαι, and from this patronymic an assumption was made of an original Ὅμηρος. This pro

Ideal Head of Homer. (Sans Souci Palace, Potsdam.)

cess has been playfully but fairly illustrated by the succession in English: “fellows” (ὅμηροι), “the fellows' guild” (ὁμηρίδαι), “the Fellows guild” (Ὁμηρίδαι), which last assumes a Mr. Fellows (Ὅμηρος) as its founder. But very possibly the name had nothing to do with the profession of song.

Homer was to the early Greeks the personification of epic poetry. All the old epic poems were attributed to him, as all great achievements were assigned to Heracles—not only what are extant, but also what are known as the cyclic poems: the Cypria (τὰ Κύπρια, in eleven books, of the judgment of Paris, the rape of Helen, and other events which immediately preceded the Trojan War—ascribed by others to Stasinus of Cyprus), the Aethiopis and Iliupersis (Αἰθιοπίς, in five books, of the arrival of the Amazons and the Aethiopian Memnon, the defence of Troy, and the death of Achilles; and Ἰλίου Πέρσις, in two books, of the device of the wooden horse and the capture of the city —generally ascribed to Arctinus of Miletus), the Little Iliad (Ἰλιὰς Μικρά, in four books, in which Philoctetes and Achilles' son Neoptolemus were brought to the help of the Greeks—by Lesches of Mitylené), the Nosti (Νόστοι, in five books, of the adventures of the Greeks on their return from Troy—by Agias of Troezen), and the Telegonia (Τηλεγονία, in two books, a sort of conclusion of the story of the Odyssey—by Eugammon of Cyrené).

When Aeschylus said that his tragedies were but crumbs from the rich feast of Homer (Athen. viii. 347 E, τὰς αὑτοῦ τραγῳδίας τεμάχη εἶναι ἔλεγε τῶν Ὁμήρου μεγάλων δείπνων), he probably had in mind not only the Iliad and Odyssey, but also the other poems of the Trojan cycle, from which he borrowed suggestions, as is seen from the titles of his plays. Herodotus was the first, so far as is known, to deny the Homeric authorship of the Cypria. This he did (ii. 117) on the ground of the inconsistency that the poet of the Cypria made Paris reach Troy on the third day from Sparta, while the poet of the Iliad represented him as driven on a devious course to Sidon; and the historian remarks that nowhere else does Homer contradict himself (οὐδαμῇ ἄλλῃ ἀνεπόδισε ἑωυτόν). Thucydides (iii. 104) seems to have acknowledged or assumed the Homeric authorship of the so-called Homeric Hymns. Plato and Xenophon mean our Iliad and Odyssey when they speak of Homer; but Aristotle (Nicom. Eth. 1141 a) quotes from the Margites (ὥσπερ Ὅμηρός φησιν ἐν τῷ Μαργίτῃ). The earliest Alexandrian editor of Homer, Zenodotus, seems to have assigned to him only the Iliad and Odyssey.

Among the minor poems of Homer are generally placed the Hymns, Battle of the Frogs and Mice (Βατραχομυομαχία), Jests (παίγνια), and Margites. The Hymns are not hymns in the modern sense of the term; they are rather epic than lyric. They number thirty-four in all, but ten are brief, having only three to six lines each. The first two, to Apollo, were counted as one until the critic Rhunken in 1749 convinced scholars that the first was in praise of Delian (178 verses) and the second of Pythian Apollo (368 verses). The latest editor endeavours again to show that the two are simply parts of one. The third Hymn (580 verses) tells of the birth of Hermes and the exploits and tricks of the new-born babe: how he found a tortoise and invented the seven-stringed lyre (φόρμιγξ), how he stole the cattle of Apollo and then returned to his cradle, finally appeasing Apollo's wrath by the gift of the lyre. This and the one immediately following are distinctly secular, not religious, in their character. The fourth Hymn (293 verses) tells of Aphrodité and her love for Anchises. The fifth Hymn (495 verses), to Demeter, has a more serious tone than the preceding. It seems to have been intended to state the mythical foundation for the Eleusinian Mysteries. It tells how Persephoné, Demeter's daughter, was carried off by Hades as she was plucking flowers (“herself a fairer flower”), and of the disconsolate wanderings of the mother in search of her daughter until she found a temporary home at Eleusis; on her departure thence a temple was built in her honour, and at last the mother and daughter were united. No one of the other Hymns has more than sixty verses. They are “introductions,” proems (προοίμια), intended to be sung before the rhapsodist's recital of some other lay (perhaps at some rhapsodic contest), as a sort of “grace before meat”—in the same spirit which made every Greek festivity sacred to some divinity. No external evidence exists for the date of these Hymns. They contain many Homeric formulas and tags of verses which give an antique flavour even to what is comparatively modern. Parts of the poems may go back to a remote antiquity; the Hymn to Demeter may have been composed about B.C. 650; more date from the fifth and sixth centuries. After the fifth century, the interest in epic recitations was so slight that these proems would not be composed.

The Batrachomyomachia is a comic epic poem of 303 verses, giving a burlesque account of the battle between the frogs and mice, when Puff-cheek (Φυσίγναθος), king of the frogs, caused the death of Crumb-snatcher (Ψιχάρπαξ), a promising young mouse, inviting him and bearing him on his back to visit his home, but deserting him in the midst of the waters on the approach of a water-snake. The story is composed with humour and some ingenuity, but is a light production. It was ascribed to Pigres, son of Lygdamis and nephew of the Artemisia who distinguished herself in the battle of Salamis; but if it were composed by him, it was interpolated and worked over later. Very possibly it was composed in the Alexandrian period, in mockery of the revival of epic poetry after the ancient spirit was lost. The epigrams and jests are entirely insignificant, both in quantity and quality. The only one of any note is the answer of Arcadian fishers to the question as to their luck: “All that they took, they left; what they did not take, they brought with them” (ὅσς᾿ ἕλομεν, λιπόμεσθ̓ <*> ὅσα δ̓ οὐχ ἕλομεν φερόμεσθα). The Margites was a comic poem of considerable fame in antiquity, part in dactylic hexameter and part in iambic trimeter verse, with the story of a stupid (μάργος), bashful fellow, who had all manner of ridiculous adventures and attempted many things which were beyond his powers. As long as critics are not agreed as to what works are rightly attributed to Chaucer, and even as to the authorship of some of the plays which have been ascribed to Shakespeare, no one can wonder that little is known of the history of the incunabula of Greek poetry, composed in the imaginative age, long before the classical period.

The Iliad and the Odyssey contain the story of parts of the Trojan cycle of myths.

The Iliad opens with a scene in the last of the ten years of the Siege of Troy, and the action of the poem continues for only seven weeks. With great ingenuity (as it would seem) just enough incidental indications are given of the early history of the war to supply the needed basis for an intelligent appreciation of the story. As Horace says, Homer semper ad eventum festinat et in medias res, non secus ac notas auditorem rapit. The judgment of Paris and the assignment of the prize of beauty to the Goddess of Love are referred to in the Homeric poems but once, and that in a doubtful passage, xxiv. 29, 30. Paris (his Greek name Alexander is more frequent in the poems), the voluptuous son of Priam, king of Ilios (the later Ilium), in the Trojan land, on the south western shore of the Hellespont, had sailed to Lacedaemon and carried away Helen, the beautiful wife of Menelaüs, the king, and many of her possessions. In order to avenge this insult and to recover the woman and her treasures, Menelaüs and his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, gathered an army at Aulis, and with 1186 ships (and perhaps 100,000 men) set sail for the plain of Troy. For ten years they besiege the city. They bring with them no supplies, and spend much of their time in making forays on the neighbouring districts and more formal expeditions against the adjoining towns. The captured men are slain or sold to distant islands; the women are kept as slaves. The Trojans are not closely barred within their walls, but they are unable to cultivate their fields and are obliged to send their treasures to their neighbours, in order to buy provisions and to hire mercenaries. The loss of men does not seem to have been very great on either side in the early years of the war. At the opening of the Iliad, an old priest of Apollo, Chryses, comes to the Greek camp to ransom his daughter, who had been captured by the Greeks and given as a prize of honour to Agamemnon. The king refuses the request, and Apollo avenges the slight to his priest by sending a pestilence upon the Greek camp. After nine days an assembly of the army is called, and the seer Calchas declares the cause of the god's anger. The rude language used by Achilles, the mightiest of the Greek warriors, arouses the wrath of Agamemnon, and a quarrel follows. Achilles “sulks in his tent,” while his mother, the goddess Thetis, persuades Zeus to grant victory to the Trojan arms. The action of the Iliad includes only four days of battle. In the first, ii.-vii. 380, neither side gains any great advantage; in the second, viii., the tide of battle often turns and the gods interfere again and again, but at last the Trojans drive the foe to their camp, and bivouac on the plain, near the Greek watchfires. In the third day of battle, xi.-xviii., the Trojans break into the Greek camp and begin to set fire to the fleet; but as soon as Achilles sees the flickering flame he sends his comrade Patroclus with his Myrmidons, enjoining upon him to drive the Trojans from the camp, but not to attempt to capture the city. Patroclus forgets the warning of his chief, and filled with the spirit of the combat presses on too far; Apollo strikes him (the only instance in the poems of such direct interference of a divinity), and Hector slays him. Achilles now becomes more angry at Hector than he had been at Agamemnon, and takes an active part in the fourth day of battle, xix.—xxii., in which he drives the Trojans in confusion into their city, and slays Hector. The twenty-third book is devoted to the funeral games in honour of Patroclus, in accordance with the curious ancient custom of honouring the dead with horse-races and foot-races and contests in wrestling, boxing, putting the shot, and shooting the bow. In the twenty-fourth book old Priam comes to the Greek camp and ransoms the body of Hector from Achilles, who here appears in a gentler mood. The poem closes very simply: “Thus these were busy with the burial of Hector.”

After the action of the Iliad, the Aethiopian Memnon comes with his men to the help of Troy, while Philoctetes with the bow of Heracles and Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, after his father's death, come to aid the Greeks. The alliance of the Amazons with the Trojans is not mentioned in the poems. Odysseus plans the Wooden Horse, by which the city is captured. Athené's wrath is kindled against the Greeks by their conduct after the capture of the city, and she sends upon them a storm, which scatters their fleets. Menelaüs is driven to Crete and Egypt, and with Helen reaches his home in Sparta only in the eighth year of their wandering. Odysseus is driven first to the land of the lotus-eaters, then to the island of the Cyclopes, where Polyphemus slays and devours six of his comrades (and is blinded by him), thence to the land of the Laestrygonians (where all but one of his ships are destroyed), and to Circe's island, where he passes a year. He then visits Hades, in order to consult the soul of the blind Theban seer, Teiresias. In Hades he sees the shade of his mother and those of many of the Greek heroes. On his return the dangers of Scylla and Charybdis are met. His comrades slay one of the cattle of the Sun, and their boat is wrecked. Odysseus himself is borne to the island of the sea-nymph Calypso, who cares for him tenderly, and would make him immortal and her husband. The scene of the Odyssey opens in the tenth year after the close of the Trojan War and the twentieth after the departure of Odysseus from his home on Ithaca. He has been absent so long that no expectation is entertained of his return. His home is filled by more than a hundred young princes, each eager to win the hand of the faithful and prudent wife, Penelopé; and thus to become the king of the realm. The goddess Athené pities Odysseus, who is weary of his sojourn in the grotto of Calypso and longing for his home, and secures the decree of Zeus for his return. Meanwhile she sends his son Telemachus to Nestor and Menelaüs, asking for tidings of his father. Odysseus sets out from Calypso's island, eighteen days' sail to the west, but as he approaches Greece he is wrecked by the sea-god Poseidon, whose son Polyphemus he had blinded, and is cast on the shore of the Phaeacians (identified by the ancients with Corcyra, the modern Corfu), who convey him to his home. Finding his palace in the possession of haughty suitors, he returns in the guise of a beggar, but with the help of his son and two faithful servants (and Athené) he slays the suitors and regains his kingdom and faithful wife.

The action of the Odyssey covers only six weeks —less even than that of the Iliad—yet the events of the ten years of wandering are comprised in the stories which are put into the mouth of Nestor , Menelaüs, and Odysseus himself. This device of introducing a full account of events which are not included in the time of the proper action of the poem was followed by Vergil in his account of the capture of Troy (as told by Aeneas), and by Milton in his account of the war in heaven (told by Raphael). Many matters which are merely touched upon in the poem were discussed more fully in the lesser epic poems, and the question has been raised whether these brief mentions in the Iliad and Odyssey were allusions to the fuller accounts, already familiar to the hearer, or rather were the fruitful germs which were later developed into the Cypria, the Nosti, etc. In some cases the latter alternative seems certain—e. g. on the death of Hector, his wife Andromaché despairs of safety for herself and her son Astyanax; “he will either accompany her into slavery, or some Greek will seize him by the arm and hurl him from the wall.” This seems to have suggested to a later poet the detailed description of such a death for the boy.

The influence of the Homeric poems upon the Greeks was very great. Pindar says that Odysseus had more fame than he deserved because of the sweet-voiced Homer ( Nem. vii. 20, ἐγὼ δὲ πλέον̓ ἔλπομαι λόγον Ὀδυσσέος πάθαν διὰ τὸν ἁδυεπῆ γενέσθ̓ Ὅμηρον). Herodotus (ii. 53) even asserts that Homer and Hesiod fixed the theogony of the Greeks, distributing to the gods their epithets, arts, and honours. Appeal was made to the Homeric poems to settle questions of precedence and of title to territory. These poems were in large measure the basis of the Greek youth's education. A fragment of a play of Aristophanes (Frag. 222) shows us a father examining his son, to prove his diligence in school, on the meaning of certain obsolete Homeric words: τί καλοῦσι κόρυμβα; τί καλοῦς᾿ ἀμενηνὰ κάρηνα; In the Symposium of Xenophon (iii. 5), Niceratus says that his father, the noted Athenian general Nicias, in his desire to make a good man of him, compelled him to learn all the poems of Homer, and that he could repeat the entire Iliad and Odyssey from memory. At the Panathenaic festival from the time of Solon early in the sixth century, for at least two hundred years the recitation of portions of the Homeric poems had a prominent place (Leocrates, 102). The Platonic dialogue Ion reports a conversation between Socrates and the Ephesian rhapsode Ion, who visits Athens after taking the prize in the Homeric recitation at Epidaurus, and expects the same honour from the Panathenaic festival. This Ion was a Homeric specialist; he claimed no unusual familiarity with Hesiod and Archilochus, but asserted that no one equalled him as an interpreter of Homer. Such men naturally magnified their office and represented the poet as the teacher of much occult wisdom—finding in his works the best maxims for war and for peace, for the statesman, the philosopher, and the general. Even Aristophanes represents Aeschylus as saying, “From what has divine Homer received his fame except from his most excellent instructions with regard to tactics, brave deeds, and the arming of men?” ( Frogs, 1034, δὲ θεῖος Ὅμηρος | ἀπὸ τοῦ τιμὴν καὶ κλέος ἔσχεν πλὴν τοῦδ̓ ὅτι χρήστ̓ ἐδίδαξεν | τάξεις ἀρετὰς ὁπλίσεις ἀνδρῶν). The words of Horace are familiar: at Praeneste he read again Homer, who taught what was base and what was honourable more fully and better than the Stoic Chrysippus or the Academic philosopher Crantor (Epist. i. 2.1, Troiani belli scriptorem . . . relegi; | qui quid sit pulchrum, quid turpe, quid utile, quid non, | plenius ac melius Chrysippo et Crantore dicit). Plato ( Rep. x. 599 c) refutes the view that Homer had special wisdom in regard to “wars, generalships, administration of cities, and the education of men,” thus showing the prevalence of that belief.

According to an uncertain story, Pythagoras was said to have seen Homer in Hades, suffering torments in return for his statements about the gods. But the first definite criticism of Homer, so far as is known, was that of Xenophanes (Frag. 7), at the close of the sixth century B.C., that Homer and Hesiod attributed to the gods all actions which are regarded as shameful by men. Heraclitus, Xenophanes' contemporary, would have Homer driven from the musical contests. Plato, in his Republic (ii. 377 d-iii. 391 c), enters into a detailed examination of the moral effect exerted by the Homeric poems, and declares that the youths who are in process of training to be the guardians of his ideal State must not be rendered impious by hearing what would degrade the gods in their eyes; lest they should fear death more than defeat and flight, they must not hear Zeus lamenting the death of Sarpedon ( Il. xvi. 433 foll.), and Achilles declaring that he would rather serve a poor man on earth than rule over all the dead in the home of Hades ( Od. xi. 488 foll.); they must not be taught insubordination and insolence to commanding officers by hearing Achilles call Agamemnon a coward ( Il. i. 225); and they must not learn to give free rein to their passions from the wantonness of Zeus ( Il. xiv. 314 foll.) and from Odysseus' enjoyment of food and drink ( Od. ix. 5 foll.). Thus, although with much regret because of his old regard and affection for the poet, the works of Homer are not allowed in Plato's ideal State. The reader is at a loss to know how seriously he is to understand these words of the philosopher, who is fond of clinching an argument or giving a higher literary flavour to a sentence by a quotation from the “inspired poet.” Allegory was already employed in the interpretation of the most offensive passages, but Plato says that the young person cannot distinguish between what is allegorical and what is not ( Rep. ii. 378 d). In the Phaedrus (243 a) he playfully suggests that the poet may have lost his sight because of his false statements with regard to the gods. Plutarch, in his treatise on “How a young man should study poetry,” makes a formal reply to Plato without naming him, urging that the young should be taught to discriminate between what is admirable in itself and what is an admirable imitation of the offensive or even base. The rhetorician Zoïlus received the nickname of Homer's Scourge (Ὁμηρομάστιξ) because of his severe criticisms on the poet; but these were meant very likely merely as a paradox, just as other rhetoricians showed their ingenuity in maintaining the guilt of Socrates, the innocence of Busiris, and the advantages of fever and vermin.

The old Greek commentaries (scholia, σχόλια) on Homer mention editions by Antimachus of Colophon (himself an epic poet, a contemporary of Plato), and by Aristotle, who was said to have prepared an edition expressly for the use of his distinguished pupil, Alexander the Great (Plut. Alex. 8). Athenian school-masters prepared also lists of obsolete Homeric words. The critical study of Homer, however, began at Alexandria, in connection with the great library and “Museum” which were established by the Ptolemies. These kings of Egypt had abundant means with which to encourage the arts and sciences, and desired by the help of Greek civilization to break down the barriers which existed between the different races of their subjects and to exalt their kingdom. They gathered men of literary talent from all lands and set apart a portion of the palace for a great library. Strenuous efforts were made to secure copies of all works of Greek literature, and, in fact, of all literature, including, according to the story, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. In the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus (who reigned B.C. 285-247), the library was said to contain 400,000 volumes (rolls)—perhaps equal to about 40,000 modern octavo volumes—such a collection as had never existed before. It possessed copies of Homer from Marseilles, Chios (the seat of the Homeridae), Sinope on the Black Sea, Argos, Cyprus, Crete. The Homeric poems formed the centre of the literary studies of the Alexandrian scholars. The first careful editor and reviser of the Homeric text was Zenodotus, the earliest of the librarians. He had before him copies of the poems with variations which extended over whole verses and clauses, as well as to words and forms. A critical procedure was necessary. Even the same manuscript must have shown marked inconsistencies of grammatical forms. The first critical edition, in the nature of the case, must have been an experiment. The editor can have had no fixed principles with regard to the formation of words and the characteristics of the Homeric dialect. Zenodotus is thought to have been the first to divide the Iliad and the Odyssey each into twenty-four books. In earlier times this division was unknown. So, for example, Herodotus (ii. 116) speaks of Iliad vi. 289-292 as ἐν Διομήδεος ἀριστείῃ. Aelian (Varia Hist. xiii. 14) writes in detail of this ancient custom of reference by the subject of each particular portion of the poems. The ancient titles are preserved, though with some possible inaccuracies and no definite authority, as the headings of the books in ordinary editions of the poems. The division into books became necessary at this particular time, because then parchment was replaced by papyrus as the ordinary writing material. The comparatively frail papyrus was not suited for long rolls. Hence the works of Plato, Xenophon, Thucydides, and Herodotus were divided, also. Zenodotus seems to have composed no commentary to accompany his edition of the poems, but tradition preserved his views of certain passages. He was not led to reject or change for grammatical reasons, but seems to have been guided in many changes rather by a sense of propriety. Thus he rejected Il. iii. 424, where Aphrodité took a chair and set it for Helen, for the goddess to do menial service was ἀπρεπές in his eyes; verses Il. i. 28-30 were unworthy of a king; in Il. i. 260, where Nestor says, “I have been associated with better men than you” (ἀρείοσιν ἠέ περ ὑμῖν), Zenodotus read “than we” (ἡμῖν), in order to make the expression more courteous. But the work of this critic is coming to honour, and it is at present fashionable in some quarters to praise him at the expense of Aristarchus.

The edition of Zenodotus formed the basis of that of his successor, Aristophanes of Byzantium, a little after B.C. 200, who is noteworthy as the first to introduce to general use the marks of accentuation and the signs of quantity, which are still in use. His chief work was in lexicography.

Unquestionably the greatest of the literary critics of Alexandria was Aristarchus, who was born in the island of Samothrace, but came to Alexandria and studied under Aristophanes, whom he succeeded in the care of the library. He prepared two revised editions of the Homeric text, with critical marks in the margin, and wrote eight hundred tracts on many subjects, largely connected with our poet. He founded a school of critics which continued active until the time of the early Roman emperors. Many of his notes have been preserved to us in the Greek scholia, and prove his learning and his caution. The watchword and battle-cry of his school was analogy, opposed to the rival school of the Stoic Crates at Pergamum, who was more free in the admission of anomalies in the construction of sentences and in the formation and meaning of words. Crates indulged in allegorical interpretation, paying little attention to grammatical studies, and making Homer a philosopher and an orator, while Aristarchus was more conservative and sober in his views.

The basis of our scholia to the Iliad is an epitome made about A.D. 200, of four works. Of these the most important was a work by Didymus (called Χαλκέντερος and Βιβλιολάθας from his unwearied industry and literary productivity), of the time of Augustus, in which Didymus aimed at giving a full report of the readings of the editions of Aristarchus, in so far as they varied from others. Next in importance was a work by an earlier contemporary, Aristonicus, who endeavoured to explain the use of the critical signs of Aristarchus, and the reasons for their employment in each case. Less full and important were the extracts from a treatise by Herodian on Accentuation ( Ἰλιακὴ Προσῳδία) and one by Nicanor on Punctuation (Περὶ Στιγμῆς). The epitome of these four works has suffered serious losses in its transmission to the present time, and considerable additional matter of little value and authority has been added. The component parts of these scholia have been carefully analyzed and separated, and scholars no longer speak of the statement of the scholiast, but of that of Didymus, of Nicanor, etc. The extant scholia to the Odyssey are far less extensive and important than those to the Iliad.

The Homeric text of the MSS. does not seem to be so distinctly under the control of the text of Aristarchus as was to be expected. In many particulars it differs from his editions—so widely that it seems that the vulgate text was only indirectly and slightly influenced by his work. Many scholars now regard the restoration of the Aristarchean text as the ultimate, or at least the immediate, aim of Homeric text-criticism. But Bekker's edition of 1858 attempted to present the text as it was sung—not as it stood in the old MSS.—inserting the lost vau where the editor believed it had once been pronounced. Bekker had been preceded by a wholly unscientific attempt of the same kind in 1820, by R. Payne Knight, who inserted vaus with more zeal than discretion, printing as the title of the Iliad ϝΙΔϝΙΑΣ, and Tydeus as ΤΥϝΔΕϝΣ, but who with many absurdities had many ideas which have been confirmed by modern investigations. Bekker has been followed by others, notably Nauck, who has made a scientific edition of Homer such as he believes the poems to have been before the forms were subjected to later Attic influence.

That the Homeric text of Plato and Aristotle was not exactly like that of the present day is extremely probable, but these seem to have quoted so freely that exact inferences are difficult. The view that they quoted from memory is strengthened by the fact that each of the two makes a careless reference to the Homeric story: Plato ( Rep. iii. 405 e) speaks of Eurypylus where he means Machaon, confusing two similar incidents in the same book of the Iliad (xi. 638-641, 822-848); and Aristotle (Nicom. Eth. ii. 1109, a 31) puts into the mouth of Calypso a command of Odysseus which was given in accordance with advice of Circé ( Od. xii. 219). In the summer of 1891 the British Museum published a collation of several very ancient papyrus texts of the Iliad, containing fragments of several hundred lines. With the exception of two or three details, the most important teaching of these MSS., one of which is from the very beginning of our era, is that the ordinary texts of to-day are rather more accurate and intelligible than those of two thousand years ago, but certain verses may not have been recognized as Homeric then which are in modern texts.

For the last century the vexed and ever-burning Homeric Question has been with regard to the composition and original form of the Homeric poems—whether they were the creations of one poetic genius or the remnants of the songs of many bards; whether their composition was organic or atomic; whether they can be compared with Vergil's Aeneid and Milton's Paradise Lost, or whether they were at first only short, scattered songs, grouped around central personages and events, and gradually developed into longer poems with unity. The heat and length of the discussion have made clear the fact that the question is difficult, and no hypothesis has been presented free from grave objections. Scholars are more nearly agreed than half a century ago, however. Probably no one who has a right to an opinion on the subject now holds to the strict unity of the poems in the old sense—that all of the Iliad and Odyssey was composed by one man—yet comparatively few would deny a certain unity in the poems, however it was secured. The ancient Alexandrians had their Separatists (χωρίζοντες), Xeno and Hellanicus, who denied that the Odyssey was composed by the author of the Iliad, and Perizonius in 1684 called attention to the late use of writing for literary purposes. The great Bentley in 1713 said that “Homer wrote a sequel of songs and rhapsodies to be sung by himself for small earnings and good cheer, at festivals and other days of merriment; the Iliad he made for the men, and the Odysseïs for the other sex. These loose songs were not collected together in the form of an epic poem till about five hundred years after.” Vico of Naples in 1725 expressed his view that Homer never existed—that he was the personification of the early songs of the Greeks. Robert Wood, in An Essay on the Original Genius of Homer (1769), declared his belief that the art of writing was not known to Homer. But the modern discussion of the Homeric Question dates from the Prolegomena ad Homerum of Friedrich August Wolf, published in 1795. The Prolegomena excited much attention, and probably has had greater influence than any other work on the methods of historical and philological study, although its ideas were not wholly novel. The poet Herder and the philologist Heyne each claimed that his thunder had been stolen. The book owed its great success largely to its clear and attractive presentation of the subject, and it is more valuable now for its method than for its particular arguments. Wolf planned to give a critical history of the Homeric poems through six periods, the first of which extended from the composition of the poems (about B.C. 950, according to him) to the age of Pisistratus, tyrant of Athens in the sixth century B.C., who, according to an uncertain tradition, first collected and arranged them in their present form; the second period extended from Pisistratus to Zenodotus, the earliest of the Alexandrian critics. Wolf never completed his work beyond these first two periods. He attempted to show (a) that the Homeric poems were not committed to writing by the poet, but were intrusted to the memory of the rhapsodes, who were gathered in schools, like the Hebrew prophets; thus before the poems were written they were exposed to many and unintentional changes—from lapse of memory, and from a singer's desire to improve a passage or suit it more perfectly to a special occasion. Writing was unknown in Greece in Homer's time, and no class of readers existed for whom a poem should be written. (b) After the poems had been committed to writing, many more additional changes were made in them, in order to remove inconsistencies and to give them the polish of an age advanced in culture and poetic art. (c) The Iliad and Odyssey in their present form are due not to the poetic genius of Homer, but to the intelligence of a later age—to the united efforts of Pisistratus and the poets of his court. (d) The songs themselves, of which the Iliad and Odyssey are composed, are not by the same poet. These last two theses were never publicly discussed by Wolf in detail. He only urged that if the poems were not to be committed to writing at the time when they were composed, the sougs were not originally parts of one long work; no one would have thought of making a poem which could not be read and which was too long to be sung or recited at a single sitting. A bond of union would be valueless between lays which were to be sung in no regular order on different occasions. The Homeric poems unquestionably possess a certain unity beyond what is found in Hesiod or in the late poet Quintus Smyrnaeus, but this unity must be due to the editors of the Pisistratean age. Discrepancies are found which could not occur in a single poem, but might very well be overlooked in the combination of independent lays. Entire rhapsodies (e. g. Iliad x.) seem to be due to some other than the poet of the greater part of the Iliad.

The views of Wolf were received with intense interest, but with varied approval. The poet Schiller said that the man was a barbarian who would tear asunder the Homeric poems and believe that they were put together long after their composition. Goethe, while at first an enthusiastic admirer of the Prolegomena, soon declared that he believed in the unity of the Iliad more heartily than ever. On the whole, however, the work of Wolf was convincing, at least in large part, to most scholars of Germany. Theologians received it with special interest, on account of the applications of Wolf's principles to the study of the Old Testament. But a reaction took place. Opponents urged that the use of writing in Greece was much earlier than Wolf claimed; but they made the fatal concession that such long poems would be impossible without the aid of writing. Both sides claimed too much. Writing was certainly known in Greece earlier than Wolf allowed, but was not used for extensive literary purposes until long after the time alleged by his opponents. The power of the human memory to retain accurately long poems had been underrated. The external arguments against the original unity of the Homeric poems have yielded rather than advanced since Wolf's time. The evidence in support of the story of the work of Pisistratus in collecting and arranging the scattered Homeric poems is considered weak, as well as that for the existence of schools of rhapsodists corresponding to the schools of the prophets.

Only a beginning had been made of the attempt to disprove the unity of the Homeric poems from internal evidence when Lachmann, of Berlin, in 1837, applied to the Iliad the analysis which had been applied not much earlier to the Nibelungenlied. He set to work to discover contradictions and inconsistencies which would indicate the different authorship of different parts. The discussion of the unity of the poems was conducted mainly on his principles for half a century, and no one now lays stress on the external evidence, one way or the other. In the first book of the Iliad he determined an original lay (1-347), complete in itself, and two independent and inconsistent continuations (430-492; and 348-429, 493-611). The beginning of the second book (he says) cannot have been part of the same lay as the close of the first book; at the close of book i., Zeus sleeps, with Hera by his side, while at the beginning of book ii., Zeus cannot sleep and has an interview with the Dream God, in which he tells much that he would not have Hera know. In the third day of battle, which begins book xi. 1 and continues through book xviii. 240, the sun comes twice to the zenith (at xi. 86 and xvi. 777, nearly 4000 verses later). The twenty-third book of the Iliad cannot have been intended to follow immediately upon the twenty-second—the one ending, “Thus she spake weeping, and the women groaned in response,” while the next begins, “Thus these were groaning throughout the city.” Following such indications, Lachmann marked out the boundaries of eighteen distinct lays in the Iliad. Köchly, following in Lachmann's footsteps, published in 1851 an edition of the Iliad, in sixteen lays (omitting books x., xix.-xxiii., and parts of some others)—not agreeing with Lachmann in the divisions so well as in the number of the songs. The advocates of the theory that the Homeric poems are but a conglomeration of independent lays have not succeeded in coming to essential agreement with regard to the original songs. Their lines of cleavage do not agree. Contradictions certainly exist: Odysseus' hair is blonde ( Od. xiii. 431), but black ( Od. xvi. 176). Diomed and Odysseus are seriously wounded and retire from the conflict ( Il. xi. 369 foll. Il., 428 foll.), but two days later take part in the games in honour of Patroclus—Odysseus wrestling with Telamonian Ajax ( Il. xxiii. 709), and winning the prize in the foot-race ( Il. xxiii. 778). Most noted of all is the case of Pylaemenes; he is slain at Il. v. 576, but follows the corpse of his son from the battle ( Il. xiii. 658). Some inconsistencies may be considered as trifles about which the poet did not concern himself; he was composing for hearers rather than for critical readers who can turn backward and forward, and compare statements. Other inconsistencies may have been caused by interpolations; the incident of Pylaemenes in Il. xiii. 658 may have been added by a later poet in order to give increased pathos to the scene. Possibly the Homeric Greeks were not so much disturbed as some moderns at such inconsistencies. Similar discrepancies are found in the works of Vergil and other poets.

In 1846, the historian Grote, declaring that “the idea that a poem as we read it grew out of atoms not originally designed for the places which they now occupy, involves us in new and inextricable difficulties when we seek to elucidate either the mode of coalescence or the degree of existing unity,” proposed the theory that the present Iliad was made up by the combination of an original Iliad (books ii.-vii., ix., x., xxiii.-xxiv.) with an Achilleïd (books i., viii., xi.-xxii.). This latter poem on the Wrath of Achilles gives all that is “really necessary to complete the programme in the opening proem of the poem.”

In 1878, Professor Geddes of Aberdeen, following in Grote's footsteps, declared that “the Homeric corpus of Iliad and Odyssey falls asunder into two great sections, on the one hand the Achilleïd, and on the other the non-Achilleïd, plus the Odyssey.” “A poet, who is also the author of the Odyssey, has engrafted on a more ancient poem, the Achilleïd, splendid and vigorous saplings of his own, transforming and enlarging it into an Iliad.” This view was maintained by many indications: Achilles is more gentle in the Odyssean books; Helen is not mentioned in the Achilleïd; the dog is more honoured in the Odyssean books, the horse in the Achilleïd, etc.

Organic development from a brief epic poem was claimed for the Odyssey by Kirchhoff of Berlin,

Bankes Papyrus of the Second Century B.C. ( Il. xxiv. 692-700.)

in 1859. He considers the original part to be the old Return (Νόστος) of Odysseus, of just 1200 verses; to this simple story was added a longer story of 3560 verses, narrating the adventures of Odysseus after his return to Ithaca; still later were added (7185 verses) the Telemachia, or account of the journey of Telemachus to Pylus and Sparta, the experiences of Odysseus in Phaeacia, and his adventures in the cave of Polyphemus, in the island of Circé, in the realm of Hades, etc.

Christ of Munich published in 1884 an edition of the Iliad in which he divided the poem into forty lays, and indicated by the use of four different styles of Greek type his view of the relative order of composition of the different parts of the poem. Immediately after the first book he places the eleventh, the Bravery of Agamemnon, believing that the intermediate books were composed after the poet saw what a rich vein he had struck, and to what a magnificent growth his germ might be developed. He holds that most of the poem proves a poet revolving a great plan in his mind, and arranging the parts to form a whole.

Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff published in 1884 an important work on this subject, Homerische Untersuchungen, dedicated to the well-known Biblical scholar Wellhausen. Just as Wolf's Prolegomena stimulated the investigation of the historical sources and of the age of the Old Testament Scriptures, so the method of the recent analysis of the Pentateuch has been applied to the Homeric poems. Wilamowitz rejects Lachmann's lays as being fragments, unintelligible when separated. He bases his work upon that of Kirchhoff, yet rejects many of the latter's views. He follows him in putting the Odyssey in the front of the discussion. Until Kirchhoff, no scholar had seriously attempted the critical dissection of this poem, of which the artistic plan was not doubted. Two of Wilamowitz's conclusions are that the Telemachia Od. ii. 1-iv. 619) was composed in Asia Minor, and that the Odyssey was brought into its present form in Greece proper —probably near Corinth or in Euboea.

The Homeric Question is clearly full of difficulties. No theory has been proposed which meets with general acceptance. The poems doubtless contain a great mass of very ancient material. Professor Percy Gardner writes, in his New Chapters in Greek History (1892), “There is a broad line dividing mythical from political Hellas, a line which seems to coincide with the great break made in the continuity of Hellas by the Dorian invasion. . . . The Homeric poetry may have been reduced to form after the splendour of the Ionian and Achaean chiefs had passed away. . . . In using the name of Homer, we do not, of course, assert that the Homeric poems had a single author. But we do assert the antiquity of those poems. Homer reflects the pre-historic age of Greece as truly as does Herodotus the Greece of the Persian Wars, or Pausanias the Greece of the age of the Antonines.” The poet does not profess to have seen Priam's Troy; he is clearly conscious that he belongs to a degenerate age, and that he is dependent on the muse for his information. No one supposes that the poems are an accurate record of a particular war. The recent excavations, however, establish the fact that at Mycenae, the home of the Homeric Agamemnon, and on the shore of the Hellespont, the home of the Homeric Priam, stood at the same period, flourishing from about B.C. 1400 to about B.C. 1000, cities of wealth and power, of similar culture. A war between these cities, which may have suggested the Homeric story, is by no means an impossibility. The details, however, and perhaps every name of a person, are due to the poet's imagination. The view that the poems were essentially in their present condition before the historical period in Greece began, early in the eighth century B.C., is moderate.

The Homeric dialect is artificial—that is, such as was never spoken by any Greek tribe. It contains many ancient elements, but is far from being the ancestor of all the later historical dialects. It is not even the source of the Attic or Ionic dialects. The Aeolic element in it is so strong as to suggest to Fick the view that the older parts of the poems were composed in the Aeolic dialect and were afterwards translated into that of the Ionic. The formulaic character of many of the Aeolic words and phrases, the large number of Homeric proper names found in historical times in Northern Greece, the traditions with regard to the seats of the Pierian Muses, and the prominence given to the Thessalian hero, Achilles, make probable the view that epic poetry was first cultivated by the Aeolians in Northern Greece, but was afterwards brought to perfection by the Ionians in Asia Minor. The dialect certainly indicates a long course of development. Obsolete words and forms were retained by the poets in certain connections after they had been dropped from the ordinary speech of the people. Certain late forms appear in the ordinary texts in sufficient number to suggest to Paley the theory that the poems were brought into their present form in the age of Pericles at Athens; but most of these forms can be explained easily as the work of a careless copyist, who substituted a form which he heard every day for one which was found only in old poems—just as a halfeducated man would do to-day in copying the works of Chaucer, unless he were specially warned and trained to be accurate in this matter. If the Homeric poems were thoroughly worked over, revamped, in the time of Solon or of Pericles, some clear trace would have been left of the culture and political relations of that time. A strong indication of the falsity of the story that Pisistratus gathered the poems and caused interpolations to be made to the glory of Athens, is the simple fact that Athens is so insignificant in the Iliad and Odyssey. If the unity of the poems were really due to Pisistratus, and he ordered the poets of his court to insert passages which would honour Athens, we should find greater distinction given to Athenian heroes and more myths of the Attic cycle. The two or three verses assigned by the ancient critics to Athenian interpolators are absolutely trifling.

Fortunately the Homeric poems exist, even though scholars have not settled the question when and how they came into being. Destructive criticism has not been able to disturb the fact that they remain the greatest epic poems the world has seen— admired by many ages and peoples of different civilizations. They stand unrivalled. In comparison with them the vast epics of India are as shapeless as the Hindoo idols, and are in their luxuriance like to a tropical jungle; while the work of Vergil and of Milton, who take Homer as their master, is artificial and unnatural in comparison with his—the “clearest-souled of men.”

Bibliography.—The best MS. of the Iliad is Venetus A, now in the library of San Marco at Venice, written in the eleventh century on 327 large leaves of parchment. The best MS. of the Odyssey is Codex Harleianus, now in the British Museum, written in the thirteenth century on 150 folio leaves of parchment.

The best introduction to Homer, with a delightful literary flavour, is Professor Jebb's Homer (1887). This treats of the general literary characteristics of the poems, the Homeric world, Homer in antiquity, and the Homeric question.

For the Homeric question, see Wolf, Prolegomena ad Homerum (1795); Lachmann, Betrachtungen über Homers Ilias (1837, 1865); Kirchhoff, Die homerische Odyssee und ihre Entstehung (1859, 1879); Grote, History of Greece, vol. ii.; Geddes, Problem of the Homeric Poems (1878); Bonitz, Origin of the Homeric Poems (1880); Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Homerische Untersuchungen (1884).

The best critical edition of the poems, with brief notes, is that of Nauck, 2 vols. (1874-79); the most complete critical apparatus for the Iliad is in the edition of La Roche (1873), and for the Odyssey in the edition of Ludwich (1889); the best exegetical commentary is that of Ameis-Hentze (with German notes, in twelve parts, of different dates—three parts as yet published with English notes); the best complete edition of the Iliad with English notes is that of Leaf, 2 vols. (1886-88); the best edition of the Odyssey with English notes is that of Hayman, 3 vols. (1866-82). Convenient text editions are those of Dindorf-Hentze and Cauer, both published at Leipzig. The most complete lexicon for Homer is the Lexicon Homericum of Ebeling, 1700 pages (1871-85); admirable is the Index Homericus of Gehring (1891); Keep's Autenrieth's Homeric Dictionary (1891) is capitally convenient; more elaborate than the last mentioned is Capelle's Wörterbuch über die Gedichte des Homeros und die Homeriden (1889). The best work in its department is Monro's Homeric Grammar (1882, 1891).

For Homeric antiquities, see Buchholz, Homerische Realien, 3 vols. (1871-85); Helbig, Das homerische Epos aus den Denkmälern erklärt (1884, 1887); Inghirami, Galleria Omerica, 3 vols. (1829); Anderson's Engelmann's Pictorial Atlas to Homer (1892). For Schliemann's work in connection with Homer, see Schuchhardt, Schliemann's Excavations (1891) and Gardner's New Chapters in Greek History (1892). The old Greek commentaries (Scholia ) are published best by Dindorf and Maass, 8 vols. (1855- 1887); for their illustration, see Lehrs' De Aristarchi Studiis Homericis (3d ed. 1882), and Ludwich's Aristarchs Homerische Textkritik (1884-85).

Very many translations have been made, and different tastes will like different translations. See Matthew Arnold's essay On Translating Homer. The translations of Chapman and Pope are classics in their way. Within the last few years two good prose translations of the Odyssey have appeared— one by Palmer, the other by Butcher and Lang. That of the Iliad by Lang, Leaf, and Myers, is not so good. Worsley's verse is enjoyed by some, and Bryant's by others. Leaf has published a Companion to the Iliad (1892), and Andrew Lang a work entitled Homer and the Epic (1892), in connection with their versions.

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