), was, according to the Iliad
), a priest of Hephaestus at Troy.
There existed in antiquity an Iliad or an account of the destruction of Troy, which was believed to be more ancient than the Homeric poems, and in fact to be the work of Dares, the priest of Hephaestus. (Ptolem. Hepihaest. l; Eustath. ad Hom. Od.
11.521.) Both these writers state, on the authority of Antipater of Acanthus, that Dares advised Hector not to kill Patroclus, and Eustathius adds, that Dares, after deserting to the Greeks, was killed by Odysseus, which event must have taken place after the fall of Troy, since Dares could not otherwise have written an account of the destruction of the city.
In the time of Aelian ( Ael. VH 11.2
; comp. Isidor. Orig,
1.41) the Iliad
of Dares, which he calls Φρυγία Ἰλιάς
, was still known to exist; he too mentions the belief that it was more ancient than Homer, and Isidorus states that it was written on palm-leaves.
But no part or fragment of this ancient Iliad has come down to us, and it is therefore not easy to form a definite opinion upon the question.
It is, however, of some interest to us, on account of a Latin work on the destruction or Troy, which has been handed down to us, and pretends to be a Latin translation of the ancient work of Dares.
It bears the title Daretis Phrygii de Excidio Trojae Historia
It is written in prose, consists of 44 chapters, and is preceded by a letter purporting to be addressed by Corn. Nepos to Sallustius Crispus.
The writer states, that during his residence at Athens he there met with a MS. of the ancient Iliad of Dares, written by the author himself, and that on perusing it, he was so much delighted, that he forthwith translated it into Latin.
This letter, however, is a manifest forgery. No ancient writer mentions such a work of Corn. Nepos, and the language of the treatise is full of barbarisms, such as no person of education at the time of Nepos could have been guilty of.
The name of Corn. Nepos does not occur in connexion with this alleged translation previous to the 14th century.
These circumstances have led some critics to believe, that the Latin work bearing the name of Dares is an abridgment of the Latin epic of Josephus Iscanus (Joseph of Exeter, who lived in the 12th century), and there are indeed several expressions in the two works which would seem to favour the opinion, that the author of the one borrowed from the other; but the differences and discrepancies in the statements of the two works are so great, that they alone are sufficient to overthrow the hypothesis. Dederich, the last editor, is inclined to think that the author of our work was a real Roman of the 5th, 6th, or 7th century.
The work itself is evidently the production of a person of little education and of bad taste : it seems to consist of a number of extracts made from several writers, and put together without any judgment; there is scarcely anything in the work that is striking or novel.
But, notwithstanding all this, the work was very popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, like everything else referring to the war of Troy. Hence several editions and translations were made of it.
It was then and is still usually printed together with the work of Dictys Cretensis. The first edition appeared at Cologne, in 1470
; the first in which care was bestowed upon the text, is that of J. Mercerus. (Paris, 1618, and Amsterdam, 1631, 12mo.) The subsequent editions give the text of Mercerus, such as those of Anne Dacier (Paris, 1680, and Amsterdam, 1702, 4to.)
, U. Obrecht (Strassb. 1691, 8vo.)
, and others. The best and most recent edition is that of A. Dederich (Bonn, 1837, 8vo.)
, who has appended it to his edition of Dictys, and premised an interesting dissertation upon Dares and the work bearing his name.