Oracles, Politics, and Poor Hesiod’s Dusty Bones

We recently posted two different accounts of Hesiod’s death. Here is more about what happened to his body in later years.

Pausanias 4.38

“In Orkhomenos there is a [sanctuary] for Dionysus, but the most ancient shrine if for the graces. They honor the stones most especially and they say that they fell for Eteokles from the sky. In my time there were cult images dedicated, which are also made of stone. Near them, there is a fountain worthy of visiting. People go down to eat to bring back water.

And you will also find the treasure-house of Minyas, which is a wonder beneath no others in Greece. It has been fashioned in the following way. It was built up from stone; it has a circular shape but it directs upward to a peak that is not very sharp. They claim that the stone at the very top is the keystone for the entire construction.

And there are the tombs of Minyas and Hesiod. People say that the bones of Hesiod were regained in this way. When a wasting plague was afflicting men and animals they sent messengers to the gods. They reported that the Pythia answered to them that they must bring the bones of Hesiod back from Naupactus to Orknomenos, and that there was no other cure for them. When they asked in turn where they might find these bones in Naupactus, then again the Pythia told them that a crow would inform them. So, they say that as the representatives were disembarking in Naupactus a stone close to the road and a bird on the stone appeared to them. There they discovered Hesiod’s bones in a fold in the rock. And these elegiac lines were written on the marker:

Although wheat-wealthy Ascra was his home, when he died
The land of the horse-whipping Minyans holds Hesiod’s bones.
His glory will rise to be the greatest in Greece
When men are judged by the standard of wisdom.

XXXVIII. Ὀρχομενίοις δὲ πεποίηται καὶ Διονύσου, τὸ δὲ ἀρχαιότατον Χαρίτων ἐστὶν ἱερόν. τὰς μὲν δὴ πέτρας σέβουσί τε μάλιστα καὶ τῷ Ἐτεοκλεῖ αὐτὰς πεσεῖν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ φασιν· τὰ δὲ ἀγάλματα τὰ σὺν κόσμῳ πεποιημένα ἀνετέθη μὲν ἐπ᾿ ἐμοῦ, λίθου δέ ἐστι καὶ ταῦτα. ἔστι δέ σφισι καὶ κρήνη θέας ἀξία· καταβαίνουσι δὲ ἐς αὐτὴν ὕδωρ οἴσοντες. θησαυρὸς δὲ ὁ Μινύου, θαῦμα ὂν τῶν ἐν Ἑλλάδι αὐτῇ καὶ τῶν ἑτέρωθι οὐδενὸς ὕστερον, πεποίηται τρόπον τοιόνδε· λίθου μὲν εἴργασται, σχῆμα δὲ περιφερές ἐστιν αὐτῷ, κορυφὴ δὲ οὐκ ἐς ἄγαν ὀξὺ ἀνηγμένη· τὸν δὲ ἀνωτάτω τῶν λίθων φασὶν ἁρμονίαν παντὶ εἶναι τῷ οἰκοδομήματι. τάφοι δὲ Μινύου τε καὶ Ἡσιόδου· καταδέξασθαι δέ φασιν οὕτω τοῦ Ἡσιόδου τὰ ὀστᾶ. νόσου καταλαμβανούσης λοιμώδους καὶ ἀνθρώπους καὶ τὰ βοσκήματα ἀποστέλλουσι θεωροὺς παρὰ τὸν θεόν· τούτοις δὲ ἀποκρίνασθαι λέγουσι τὴν Πυθίαν, Ἡσιόδου τὰ ὀστᾶ ἐκ τῆς Ναυπακτίας ἀγαγοῦσιν ἐς τὴν Ὀρχομενίαν, ἄλλο δὲ εἶναί σφισιν οὐδὲν ἴαμα. τότε δὲ ἐπερέσθαι δεύτερα, ὅπου τῆς Ναυπακτίας αὐτὰ ἐξευρήσουσι· καὶ αὖθις τὴν Πυθίαν εἰπεῖν ὡς μηνύσοι κορώνη σφίσιν. οὕτω τοῖς θεοπρόποις ἀποβᾶσιν ἐς τὴν γῆν πέτραν τε οὐ πόρρω τῆς ὁδοῦ καὶ τὴν ὄρνιθα ἐπὶ τῇ πέτρᾳ φασὶν ὀφθῆναι· καὶ τοῦ Ἡσιόδου δὲ τὰ ὀστᾶ εὗρον ἐν χηραμῷ τῆς πέτρας. καὶ ἐλεγεῖα ἐπὶ τῷ μνήματι ἐπεγέγραπτο·

Ἄσκρη μὲν πατρὶς πολυλήιος, ἀλλὰ θανόντος
ὀστέα πληξίππων γῆ Μινυῶν κατέχει
Ἡσιόδου, τοῦ πλεῖστον ἐν Ἑλλάδι κῦδος ὀρεῖται
ἀνδρῶν κρινομένων ἐν βασάνῳ σοφίης.

Suda, tau 732

“Hesiodic old age”: A proverb for people who are really old. Pindar’s epigram also conveys something like this: “Goodbye, Hesiod, you were twice young and twice you found a grave—you who provided for mankind a measure for wisdom”

Τὸ ῾Ησιόδειον γῆρας: ἐπὶ τῶν ὑπεργήρων· φέρεται γὰρ καὶ ἐπίγραμμα Πινδάρου τοιοῦτον· χαῖρε δὶς ἡβήσας καὶ δὶς τάφων ἀντιβολήσας, ῾Ησίοδ’, ἀνθρώποις μέτρον ἔχων σοφίης.

Aristotle, fragments of the Constitution of the Orkhomenians

“Hesiodic Old Age: Aristotle says in his Constitution of the Athenians that Hesiod was buried twice and received the following epigram: “Goodbye, Hesiod, you were twice young and twice you found a grave—you who provided for mankind a measure for wisdom”

Coll. proverb. cod. Vat. et Bodl. (App. 4, 92 ed. Gott. I p. 456) s. τὸ ῾Ησιόδειον γῆρας: ᾿Αριστοτέλης ἐν ᾿Ορχομενίων πολιτείᾳ δὶς τεθάφθαι φησὶ τὸν ῾Ησίοδον καὶ ἐπι-γράμματος τοῦδε τυχεῖν· χαῖρε δὶς ἡβήσας καὶ δὶς τάφου ἀντιβολήσας,
῾Ησίοδ’, ἀνθρώποις μέτρον ἔχων σοφίης. παρόσον τό τε γῆρας ὑπερέβη καὶ δὶς ἐτάφη.

From the Same Text, a Surprising Relation

Aristotle the philosopher, I think rather than the one who gathered together the Robes, says in his Constitution of the Athenians that Stesichorus the lyric poet was the son of Hesiod who was born from Klymenê, the daughter of Amphiphanes and the sister of Ganuktôr, a daughter of Phêgeus (Cf. Schol in Hes. Op. 268: Philokhoros says that Stesichorus was a son of Klumenê and Hesiod). Pindar also has this inscription….
Io. Tzetzes (cf. A. P. p. 505 sqq.) prolegg. comm. in

Hesiodi opp. p. 15 Gf. ᾿Αριστοτέλης γὰρ ὁ φιλόσοφος, μᾶλλον δ’ οἶμαι ὁ τοὺς Πέπλους συντάξας, ἐν τῇ ᾿Ορχομενίων πολιτείᾳ Στησίχορον τὸν μελοποιὸν εἶναί φησι υἱὸν ῾Ησιόδου ἐκ τῆς Κλυμένης αὐτῷ γεννηθέντα τῆς ᾿Αμφιφάνους καὶ Γανύκτορος ἀδελφῆς, θυγατρὸς δὲ Φηγέως (cf. Schol. in Hes. opp. 268 Φιλόχορος δὲ Στησίχορόν φησι τὸν ἀπὸ Κλυμένης sc. υἱὸν εἶναι ῾Ησιόδου). —p. 17: ἐπέγραψε δὲ
καὶ Πίνδαρος· χαῖρε κ. τ. λ.

“Plutarch says that this happened at that time when the Thespiens were driving out the inhabitants and the Orkhomenians had asked that they be saved. This is why the god tasked the Orkomenians with returning Hesiod’s remains and interring them among them. Aristotle says the same thing when he writes about the Constitution of the Orkhomenians.”

Schol. (Procl.) in Hesiodi opp. 631 (p. 298 Gaisf.):
ἀοίκητον δὲ αὐτὸ (τὸ πολίχνιον τὴν ῎Ασκραν) ὁ Πλούταρχος ἱστορεῖ καὶ τότε εἶναι, Θεσπιέων ἀνελόντων τοὺς οἰκοῦντας, ᾿Ορχομενίων δὲ τοὺς σωθέντας δεξαμένων. ὅθεν καὶ τὸν θεὸν ᾿Ορχομενίοις προστάξαι τὰ ῾Ησιόδου λείψανα λαβεῖν καὶ θάψαι παρ’ αὐτοῖς, ὡς καὶ ᾿Αριστοτέλης φησὶ γράφων τὴν ᾿Ορχομενίων πολιτείαν.

Image result for Ancient Greek Orchomenus
Ruins at Orkhomenos

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