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HOMER 100.00%
A poet of Hierapolis in Caria, son of the poetess Moero, born in the first half of the 3rd century B.C. He was one of the seven tragic poets of the Alexandrine Pleiad (q.v.).
 
HOMER 100.00%
The poet, whose name is borne by the two oldest and at the same time grandest monuments of the Greek genius, the epic poems called the Iliad and the Odyssey. Concerning the personality of the poet, his country, and his time, we have no trustworthy information. Even the personal existence of the poet has been disputed, and it has often been attempted to prove, from the meaning of the name, that he was not an individual, but an ideal type. It has been held that Homer means either orderer or comrade, and it has been supposed that in the former case the name indicates the ideal representative of the epic poem in its unified and artistically completed form, whilst the other explanation is suggestive of an ideal ancestor and patron of an exclusive order of minstrels. But as Homer is a proper name, simply meaning hostage, without any connexion with poetry, there is nothing in the name itself to give occasion to any doubt as to the existence of Homer as an historical personage. In antiquity seven places contended for the honour of being his birthplace: Smyrna, Rhodes, Colophon, Salamis (in Cyprus), Chios, Argos, and Athens; yet there is no doubt that the Homeric poems originated on the west coast of Asia Minor, and the older tradition is fairly correct in fixing on the Aeolian Smyrna as his home, and on the Ionian island of Chios as the place where his poetry was composed. The Aeolc colouring of the Ionic dialect, which forms the foundation of Homeric diction, agrees with this; as also the fact that at Chios for centuries afterwards there was a family called the Homeridoe, who, called after his name, claimed descent from him and occupied themselves with the recitation of his poetry. As to the time when the poet lived, all the views of early investigators, founded on chronological considerations, differ widely from one another. However, this much seems certain, that the period in which epic poetry attained the degree of perfection to which Homer brought it does not fall either before B.C. 950 or after 900. Of the various traditions respecting Homer, we need only state, that his father's name was Meles, that in his old age he was blind, and that he died on the small island of Ios, where his grave was shown, and on it yearly, in the month called after him Homereon, a goat was sacrificed to the poet, who was worshipped as a hero. Perhaps the story of his blindness arose from fancying that Demodocus, the blind singer in the Odyssey, was a prototype of Homer. A trustworthy corroboration of this was supposed to be found in the fact that the author of the hymn to the Delian Apollo, which the voice of antiquity unhesitatingly described to Homer, represented him as blind and living on the island of Chios. The importance of Homer rests in the fact that, while using the fixed forms of poetic diction and metre which had been fashioned by his predecessors, he was able to raise epic song to the definite level of epic poetry with its systematic arrangement and its artistic elaboration. The two epics which bear his name, the Iliad and the Odyssey, both of which at a late period were divided into twenty-four books, deal with the legends of Troy. The Iliad traverses an interval of fifty-one days out of the tenth year of the Trojan War, according to a simple plan with a consecutive account of the events of the time. Beginning with the wrath of Achilles at being deprived of his captive, the maiden Briseis, at the command of Agamemnon, it narrates the ever-increasing distress which the indignant hero's withdrawal from the battle brings upon the Greeks in their fights on the Trojan plain, around the walls, and near the naval camp. This gives a suitable opportunity for describing the other heroes down to the fall of Patroclus, which is the turning-point of the poem. Then follows the reconciliation of Achilles, his avenging his slain friend by killing Hector, and the funeral games in honour of Patroclus. The poem comes to a tragical conclusion with the surrender and burial of the body of Hector. The Odyssey similarly deals with a multitude of incidents connected with the return of Odysseus to his home, all of which take place in the narrow interval of forty days, but according to a highly artistic and complex plan. In contrast to the two main portions of the Iliad, the Odyssey consists of four parts. The first describes the adventures of Telemachus, who is oppressed by the suitors of his mother Penelope, and sets off on a journey to Nestor at Pylos and Menelaus at Sparta, in quest of his father. Thus the poet finds occasion to give an account of the different fates of the Greek heroes on their return home. The second part describes the adventures of Odysseus in his voyage from Ogygia, the island of Calypso, his stay among the Phaeacians (connected with which is the hero's own account of his wanderings on his voyage from Troy down to his landing at Ogygia), and, lastly, his arrival at Ithaca. The third part contains his visit to the hut of the swineherd Eumaeus, his recognition by Telemachus (who has returned home) and by his faithful servant, and the planning of vengeance on the suitors. The fourth part contains the carrying out of the vengeance, and the whole is brought to a peaceful conclusion by the re-union of the hero with his wife Penelope and his aged father Laertes. By means of professional reciters, who went from city to city and were called rhapsodoi (q.v.), the Homeric poems found a rapid circulation, not only in their Asiatic home, but also in Greece and its western colonies. They were introduced into Sparta by Lycurgus [Plut., Lyc. 4], who learned their existence in his travels, at Samos, from the descendants of Creophylus, a poet reputed to have been a friend and relation of Homer. In 753 B.C., twenty-three years after the commencement of the Olympiads, they were, in fact, the common property of all Greeks. At the recitations given by the rhapsodoi at many places during festivals, the great bulk of the poems from the very first necessitated a regular division of the subject into suitable, portions, in order to give intervals of rest not only to the reciters, but also to the audience. Hence arose the division into separate lays called rhapsodies, with distinctive titles, which were still in use at a later date, when both poems were divided into twenty-four books. It soon became customary to recite single rhapsodies, some being especial favourites and considered more suitable than others for showing the special talents of individual rhapsodists to advantage. Thus it happened that some portions easily fell into oblivion and gaps arose in the oral tradition of the poems. On the other hand, the rhapsodists could not avoid giving a certain finish and completeness to their favourite pieces, and even permitted themselves to make alterations and additions where they saw fit. To Athens belongs the honour of having arrested the everincreasing confusion caused by these practices. Solon was the first to order that the rhapsodists at their public recitals should keep closely to the traditional text of the poems. Pisistratus (about B.C. 535) made, by means of a committee of several poets, headed by Onomacritus (q.v.), a collection of the scattered lays and a revision of the text, founded on extant copies and on the oral traditions of the rhapsodists. [Cic., De Orat. iii 137 and Pausanias, vii 26, are the earliest authorities for this vague and doubtful story.] Either Pisistratus or his son Hipparchus made the regulation that the rhapsodists, in their competitions at the Panathenaic festival, should recite in consecutive order and completeness the Homeric poems, which had been thus restored to their proper form. To this revision, which could only partially counteract the gradually increasing corruption of the text, we may probably trace the copies of the Homeric poems which were afterwards in existence in various parts of Greece. In course of time these also in their turn underwent many arbitrary alterations, chiefly at the hands of the learned who sought to improve the text. The first to do this were the Alexandrine scholars, who found in Homer a central point for their philological studies, and practised a methodical criticism of the text, for which they enjoyed both the means and the opportunity in the collection of ancient manuscripts of the poet in the Library of Alexandria. The beginning was made by ZENODOTUS of Ephesus, who was succeeded by ARISTOPHANES of Byzantium, whose pupil ARISTARCHUS (q.v.,) by his dition of Homer, reached the highest point that the ancients ever attained in philological criticism. The editions of these Alexandrine critics were founded on the redaction by Pisistratus, and are themselves the origin of our present text of the Homeric poems. From that time forward down to the latest times of Greek antiquity, Homer never ceased to be a theme for learned disquisition, which is attested for us by numerous remains still in existence. Even in ancient times scholars occupied themselves with the question whether the Iliad and the Odyssey were composed by the same poet. This question was fully justified by the fact that the name of Homer had long been recognised as a collective term, and had included a long series of epics formed on his model, the true authorship of which was only gradually discovered; and it did not escape observation that the Odyssey, in its more artistic design, as well as in relation to social, moral, and religious life, belonged to a more advanced stage of development than the Iliad. Thus, in ancient times, those who are known as Chorizontes (or "Separaters"), headed by the grammarians Xenon and Hellanious, probably belonging to the beginning of the Alexandrine period, held that the Odyssey was composed by a later poet. Even modem scholars have shared this view, while others, relying on the essential correspondence of tone, language, and metre, attribute less importance to the points of divergence, and explain them as due to the difference in the aim of the two poems as well as in the poet's time of life. With all our admiration of the art and beauty of the Homeric poems, it is not to be denied that they do not stand throughout on the same level of perfection, but that, by the side of the most magnificent passages, there are others which are dull and less attractive, and interruptions of the narrative and even contradictions are not wanting. Such blemishes did not escape the observation of the Alexandrine scholars, who met objections of this kind by assuming frequent interpolations, not only of single lines, but of whole passages; e.g. they held that the second half of the last book but one, and the whole of the last book of the Odyssey, were spurious. In modern times many explanations of these defects have been put forward. In the first place F. A. Wolf [1795] observed that in the time of Homer the art of writing was not yet practised to such an extent as to be employed for literary purposes; and held that it was impossible even for the highest genius, with the aid of memory alone, either to produce such comprehensive works, and to transmit them to others. On these grounds he held that the Iliad and Odyssey received their existing form, for the first time, in the time of Pisistratus, when the old lays on the Trojan War, which had hitherto been preserved by oral tradition alone, were fixed by means of writing, and collected and united into two great wholes. He has been followed by others who have endeavonred to dissect the Iliad in particular into its separate and originally independent lays. Others hold that Homer's two poems consisted of compositions of moderate length; the Wrath of Achilles and the Return of Odysseus, which, by amplifications, improvements, and alterations, have resulted in the existing Odyssey and Iliad. Others again, instead of assuming a larger number of single lays, assume a combination of small epic poems, an Achilleis and an Iliad, thus resulting in the present Iliad, and a Telemachia and a Return of Odysseus in the present Odyssey. On the other hand, many important authorities maintain that, granting the possibility of a utilization of previously existing lays, the Odyssey and Iliad, from the very beginning, respectively constituted a united whole; but that, soon after their first composition, they underwent manifold revision and amplification, until they received, before the beginning of the Olympiads, the essential form which they still retain. Certain it is that, after the first Olympiad, longer epic poems were composed on the model of the Iliad and Odyssey, and in continuation of them; and it cannot be denied that, long before this period, the art of writing had been extensively employed in Greece. It is also beyond contradiction that, apart from corruptions which arose from later alterations, dissimilarities in the treatment of the several parts, as well as many inconsistencies, may have existed in the poems even in their primitive form. In spite of such blemishes of detail, the Homeric poems remain unsurpassed as works of art, which have had an incalculable influence not only upon the development of literature and art, but also upon the whole life of the Greeks, who from the earliest times regarded them as the common property of the nation, and employed them as the foundation of all teaching and culture. Even now, after nearly 3,000 years, their influence remains unimpaired. Besides the Iliad and Odyssey, we still possess under the name of Homer: (a) A collection of Hymns: five of greater length on the Pytbian and Delian Apollo, Hermes, Aphrodite, and Demeter; and twenty-nine shorter poems on various gods. These are really prooemia, or introductions, with which the rhapsodists prefaced their recitations. Their object is to praise the god at whose festival the recitation took place, or who was specially honoured in the town where the rhapsodist presented himself. Perhaps even the choice of the introduction may have been influenced by the contents of the subsequent poem. If these poems did not originate with Homer, at any rate they are the compositions of rhapsodists of the Homeric school, called Homeridoe. Thus the rhapsodist Cynaethus of Chios (about B.C. 504) is named as the author of the hymn to the Delian Apollo. The collection appears to have been prepared for the use of the rhapsodists in Attica, with a view to selections being made from it at pleasure. (b) Sixteen small poems called Epigrammata, remains of an older poetry, two of which are lays in a popular style: the Kaminos, or "potter's oven" (in which the blessing of Athene is invoked on a batch of earthenware, when placed in the furnace), and a kind of begging song, called the Eiresione (lit. a harvest-wreath wound round with wool). (c) The Batrachoyomachia, the Battle of the Frogs and Mice, a parody of the Iliad, is generally attributed to Pigres, the brother of the Carian queen Artemisia, so well known in connexion with the Persian Wars. The ancient satirical epic poem called the Margites ("the dolt") has been lost. Its great antiquity may be inferred from its having been assigned to Homer as early as the time of Archi1ochus ob. 676 B.C.) [On Homer, see Prof. Jebb's Introduction]
 
APION 46.59%
A Greek grammarian of the 1st century A.D., a pupil of Didymus, and president of the philological school at Alexandria. He also worked for a time at Rome under Tiberius and Claudius. A vain, boastful man, he travelled about the Greek cities, giving popular lectures on Homer. Of his many writings we have only fragments left. The glosses on Homer that bear his name are of later origin; on the other hand, the Homeric lexicon of the sophist Apollonius is based on his genuine Homeric glosses. His bitter complaint, Against the Jews, addressed to Caligula at the instace of the Alexandrians, is best known from Josephus' noble reply to it.
 
DIDYMUS 45.59%
One of the most celebrated, Greek scholars of antiquity. He was born, at Alexandria in 63 B.C., but lived and taught in Rome. He was one of the chief representatives of the school of Aristarchus. He is said to have been the author of more than 3,500 works, and from his own industry and gigantic power of work was called Chalkenteros (the man with bowels of brass). Homer was the chief subject of his researches. His greatest work was a treatise of extraordinary care upon Aristarchus' edition of Homer, extracts from which are preserved in the Venetian Scholia to Homer. He wrote commentaries, not only on Homer, but on Hesiod, the lyric and dramatic poets, and the Attic orators, besides monographs and works of reference on literary history. The most valuable part of the information handed down in the grammatical lexicons and commentaries of the Byzantines is to be referred to him.
 
BATRACHOMYOMACHIA 43.46%
The Battle of the Frogs and the Mice. This was the title of an epic poem falsely bearing the name of Homer. It was a parody of the Iliad, and was probably written by Pigres. (See HOMER 1, end.)
 
HESIOD 37.83%
The earliest epic poet of Greece (next to Homer), whose writings have actually come down to us. Even the ancients themselves had no clear views of his date, some making him the contemporary of Homer and others even still older. He certainly lived after Homer, probably about the beginning of the Olympiads in 776 B.C. His poems contain incidentally a few allusions to the circumstances of his life. According to them he was born at Ascra in Boeotia, near He1icon, where his father Dius had settled as an emigrant from the Aeolic Cyme (Kume) in Asia. At his father's death he was involved in a dispute with his younger brother Perses about his patrimony. This was decided against him by the verdict of the judges, who had been bribed by the younger brother. Disgust at the injustice he had suffered, and a renewal of the dispute with his brother, appear to have determined him to forsake his native land and to settle at Naupactus. According to a tradition he was murdered at the Locrian town of (Eneon by the sons of his host, on a false suspicion; but, by command of the Delphic oracle, his bones were brought to Orchomenus, where a monument, with an inscription, was erected to him in the market-place. In ancient times a series of epic poems bore his name, and were attributed to him as the representative of the Boeotian and Locrian school of poetry, in contrast to the Ionian and Homeric school. Three poems of his have been preserved: (1) The Works and Days, which consists of myths, fables, and proverbs, interwoven with exhortations to his brother, who, having lost by extravagance his share of the patrimony, was now threatening him with a new law-suit, The poet here recommends him to abstain from his unrighteous proceedings, and by honourable toil to gain fresh wealth for himself. He therefore lays down for his guidance all manner of precepts, on agriculture, domestic economy, navigation, etc., and specifies the days appropriate for every undertaking. Although this poem is deficient in true artistic finish, it was highly valued by the ancients on account of its moral teaching. (2) The Theogony. An account of the origin of the world and of the birth of the gods, which, in its present shape, is composed of different recensions, together with many later additions. Next to the Homeric poems, it is the most important source of our knowledge of the views of the Greeks of the earliest times as to the world and the gods. (3) The Shield of Heracles. A description of the shield of Heracles, wrought by Hephaestus, to arm the hero in his conflict with Cycnus (q.v.), son of Ares. It is a weak imitation of the Homeric account of the shield of Achilles, and is certainly not the work of Hesiod. As an introduction, a number of verses are borrowed from a lost poem by Hesiod, of genealogical import,--a list of the women whom the gods had made the mothers of the heroic families of Greece. The poetry of Hesiod, although composed in the same form as that of Homer, never approaches it in grace and beauty. On the contrary, it is wanting in artistic form and finish, and rarely affords any real enjoyment. Nevertheless it betokens an important advance in the development of the Greek intellect, from the naive simplicity of its attitude in Homeric times, to the speculative observation of the world and of human life. It contains the germs of lyric, as also of elegiac, iambic, and aphoristic poetry.
 
HYPERION 33.65%
One of the Titans (q.v.), father of the Sun-god Helios, who himself is also called Hyperion in Homer.
 
PIGRES 32.37%
A Greek poet, author of the Batrachomyomachia. (See HOMER, ad fin.)
 
LOTOPHAGI 26.70%
A people on the north coast of Africa, mentioned as early as Homer [Od. ix 84]. They lived on the fruit of the lotus. (Cp. ODYSSEUS.)
 
NECTAR 23.64%
The drink of the Greek gods (see AMBROSIA), which Homer describes as a red wine [Il. xix 38] which Hebe pours out for the immortals [ib. iv 3].
 
ARISTARCHUS 23.37%
A scholar, born in Samothrace, and a pupil of Aristophanes of Byzantium. He lived at Alexandria in the first half of the 2nd century B.C. as tutor to the royal princes, and keeper of the library. In the tyrannical reign of his pupil Ptolemy VII (Physcon) he fled to Cyprus, and there died of dropsy about B.C. 153, aged 72. He is the most famous of the Alexandrian Critic, and devoted his attention mainly to the Greek poets, especially Homer, to whom he rendered essential service by his critical edition of the text, which remains in substance the groundwork of our present recension. This edition had notes on the margin, indicating the verses which Aristarchus thought spurious or doubtful, and anything else worthy of remark. The meaning of the notes, and the reasons for appending them, were explained in separate commentaries and excursuses, founded on a marvellously minute acquaintance with the language and contents of the Homeric poems, and the whole of Greek literature. He was the head of the school of Aristarcheans, who continued working on classical texts in his spirit till after the beginning of the Empire. Of his numerous grammatical and exegetical works only fragments remain. An idea of his Homeric studies, and of their character, can best be gathered from the Venetian scholia to the Iliad, which are largely founded on extracts from the Aristarcheans Didymus and Aristonicus.
 
CENTAURI 23.03%
Homer and the older mythology represent the Centaurs are a rude, wild race, fond of wine and women , dwelling in the mountains of Thessaly, especially on Pelion and CEta. In Homer they are spoken of as shaggy animals, living in the mountains. It was, perhaps, not until the 5th century B.C. that they were represented in the double shape now familiar to us. Originally the Centaur was conceived as a being with the body of a man standing on a horse's legs; but in later times the human body was represented as rising up in the front of a horse's body and four legs (see cut). According to one version of the current legend they were the offspring of Nephele and Ixion; according to another, the son of this pair, Kentauros, begat them upon mares (see IXION). The story of their contest with the Lapithae at the wedding of Pirithous, born of their drunkenness and lust, is as early as Homer [Iliad i 268, Odyssey xxi 295 foll.] (See PIRITHOUS.) In Homer Nestor, and in the later story Theseus, are represented as taking part in it. It was a favourite subject with poets and artists. The Centaurs were driven from Pelion by Pirithous and the Lapithae, and even the wise Chiron was forced to go with them (see CHIRON). Artists were always fond of treating the fabulous combats of the Centaurs and the heroes of old; but in later times the Centaurs appear in a different light. They form part of the following of Dionysus, moving peaceably in his festal train among satyrs, nymphs, and Bacchants, drawing the victorious car of the god and his queen Ariadne, playing on the lyre, and guided by gods of love. The forms of women and children were sometimes represented in the shape of Centaurs, and used in various ways by artists for their smaller pictures. For the Centauro-Tritones or Ichthyocentauri ("Fish-Centaurs") see TRITON.
 
PAEAN 22.82%
In Homer [Il. v 401, 899], the physician of the Olympian gods; then an epithet of gods who grant recovery and deliverance, especially of Apollo. The paean, which appears in Homer [Il. i 473, xxii 391], was connected originally with Apollo and his sister Artemis. It was a solemn song for several voices, either praying for the averting of evil and for rescue, or giving thanks for help vouchsafed. The name was, however, also used in an extended sense for invocations to other gods. The p'an was struck up by generals before the battle and by armies on the march against the enemy, as well as after the victory. Similarly it was sounded when the fleet sailed out of harbour. P'ans were sung at entertainments between the meal and the carousal, and eventually also at public funerals.
 
ANTIMACHUS 22.00%
A Greek poet and critic of Colophon, an elder contemporary of Plato, about 400 B.C. By his two principal works-the long mythical epic called Thebais and a cycle of elegies named after his loved and lost Lyde, and telling of famous lovers parted by death-he became the founder of learned poetry, precursor and prototype of the Alexandrians, who, on account of his learning, assigned him the next place to Homer amongst epic poets. In striving to impart strength and dignity to language by avoiding all that was common, his style became rigid and artificial, and naturally ran into bombast. But we possess only fragments of his works. As a scholar, he is remarkable for having set on foot a critical revision of the Homeric poems.
 
MOLIONIDAE 21.44%
Eurytus and Cteatus, the sons of Actor (whence they were also called Actoridae) or else of Poseidon and Molione. [Homer, Il. xi 750, calls them by the dual and double name Actorione> Molione.] As boys they fought against Nestor and the men of Pylus. When they had grown up, they beat the army of Heracles that threatened their uncle Augeas, but were killed by the former near Cleonae in Argolis. In Homer their sons Thalpius and Antimachus are the chieftains of the Epeians before Troy. A later legend describes them as having only one body [Athenaeus, ii P. 58].
 
LAESTRYGONES 21.21%
In Homer, a race of giants and cannibals dwelling in the distant north, where the nights are so short that the shepherd driving his flock out meets the shepherd who is driving his flock in. Their city was Telepylus, founded by Lamus. When Odysseus (q.v.) came there on his wanderings their king was Antiphates. The later Greeks placed the home of the Laestrygonians in Sicily, to the south of Etna, near the town of Leontini; the Romans, on the southern coast of Latium, near Formiae. [Homer, Od. x 82, 106; Thuc., vi 2; Cic., Ad Atticum ii 13; Horace, Odes iii 16, 34.] (See PAINTING, fig. 5.)
 
CRATES 21.06%
Crates of Mallos in Cilicia. A Greek scholar, and adherent of the Stoic philosophy. He founded a school of interpretation at Pergamon. His principles were in direct opposition to those of Aristarchus; not only d id he take an essentially different view of the Homeric text, but he favoured the allegorical method of exposition, to which the Stoics were so partial, and which was so disliked by the school of Aristarchus. His chief work was a comprehensive commentary, critical and exegetical, on Homer. In 167 B.C. he was sent by king Attalus on an embassy to Rome. Here he broke his leg, and was thus forced to make a long stay. He used his enforced leisure in giving lectures, which gave the first impulse to the study of philology and literary criticism among the Romans. Only a few fragments of his works have survived.
 
APOLLONIUS 21.06%
Apollonius the Sophist, of Alexandria. His precise date A.D. is unknown. He was author of an extant Lexicon of Homeric Glosses, based on Apion's lost glossarial writings.
 
SARPEDON 20.85%
According to Homer, son of Zeus and Laodamia and grandson of Belleroplion; like his cousin Glaucus (q.v., 4), a prince of the Lycians and ally of Priam. At the storming of the Greek camp he, in company with Glaucus, was the first upon the enemy's wall; on his falling by the hand of Patroclus, a fearful battle arose over his body, until Apollo, by the command of Zeus, rescued the disfigured corpse from the Greeks, and, after washing it and anointing it with ambrosia, had it carried through the air to Lycia by the twin brothers Sleep and Death [Homer, xvi 419-683]. Later writers describe him as a son of Zeus and Europa, and brother of Minos; driven out by the latter, he won for himself a lordship in Lycia, and lived there by the favour of Zeus for three generations.
 
NAUSICAA 18.51%
The discreet and beautiful daughter of the Phaeacian king Alcinous and Arete. She met Odysseus when he was cast ashore on the island of Scheria, and conducted him to her father's palace (Homer, Od. vi).
 
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