The Age of Achilles

Politian, Miscellanies 1.45:

There is an opinion long disseminated and accepted among everyone that Patroclus was younger than Achilles and was, as it were, loved by him as Hylas was by Hercules. Martial seems to make a nod to this when he says

The young friend was closer to Aeacides.

Therefore a dirty little verse from the Hermaphrodite was commonly applauded. Statius however claims in his Achilleid that they were both of equal age, writing,

There follows, joined then by a great love, Partoclus, and works as a rival to Achilles’ great deeds, equal in his pursuits and age, but much inferior in physical strength, and nevertheless set to see Troy with an equal fate.

Plato, however, argues something far different in the Symposium. For he declares that Achilles was much younger and that he was loved by Patroclus, being still beardless and not only more beautiful than Patroclus, but also than all the other heroes. Indeed, for that cause, he says, the gods loaded him with exceptional honors to send him off to the Blessed Isles, because he made such a big deal of his lover that he not only opted to die for him, but even chose to die for him rather than to grow old in his homeland.

Indeed, Plato criticizes Aeschylus for being a clown because he put forth the claim that Achilles was Patroclus’ lover and cited Homer as the authority for the ages of the two. If anyone would like the words of Homer to be shown to them, they may read them in the eleventh book of the Iliad in the character of Nestor with the orders which Menoetius used to send his son Patroclus to the war.

Hymning the Praises of Women and Men: A Lost Singer in the Odyssey

Homer Odyssey 3. 265-72

“Shining Klytemnestra was resisting the shameful deed
Previously, for she had use of some good advice for her mind.
See, a man was there beside her, a singer whom Agamemnon
Ordered much to safeguard his wife when he went to Troy.
But when the fate of the gods was bound to overcome him,
Then [he*] packed off the singer to some lonely island
And left him there as food and booty for the birds
And he, willingly, took her willing to his own home”

ἡ δ’ ἦ τοι τὸ πρὶν μὲν ἀναίνετο ἔργον ἀεικές,
δῖα Κλυταιμνήστρη· φρεσὶ γὰρ κέχρητ’ ἀγαθῇσι·
πὰρ δ’ ἄρ’ ἔην καὶ ἀοιδὸς ἀνήρ, ᾧ πόλλ’ ἐπέτελλεν
᾿Ατρεΐδης Τροίηνδε κιὼν εἴρυσθαι ἄκοιτιν.
ἀλλ’ ὅτε δή μιν μοῖρα θεῶν ἐπέδησε δαμῆναι,
δὴ τότε τὸν μὲν ἀοιδὸν ἄγων ἐς νῆσον ἐρήμην
κάλλιπεν οἰωνοῖσιν ἕλωρ καὶ κύρμα γενέσθαι,
τὴν δ’ ἐθέλων ἐθέλουσαν ἀνήγαγεν ὅνδε δόμονδε.

*note how carefully the Homeric text leaves the subject of the action in doubt until the final line.

Schol. EM ad Od. 3.267

“In olden days, singers used to hold the position of philosopher, everyone used to consider them wise and they entrusted their kind to them to be educated. When gathering in festivals and to rest for many days, they used to listen to them if any famous or noble deed had happened. So, the singer who was left with Klytemnestra was trying to hinder wicked thoughts from happening by narrating the virtues of men and women. And she was acting prudently as long as that singer was present. Some people say that the singer did not have genitals, wrongly. Some named him Khariades, others call him Demodokos, others Glaukos.”

τὸ ἀρχαῖον οἱ ἀοιδοὶ φιλοσόφου τάξιν ἐπέσχον καὶ πάντες αὐτοῖς προσεῖχον ὡς σοφοῖς, καὶ παιδευθῆναι τούτοις παρεδίδοσαν τοὺς ἀναγκαίους· ἔν τε ταῖς ἑορταῖς ἔν τε ταῖς ἀναπαύσεσιν ἐπὶ πολλὰς ἡμέρας συλλεγόμενοι τούτων ἤκουον εἴ που γέγονεν ἐπιφανὲς ἢ καλὸν ἔργον. καὶ ὁ καταλειφθεὶς οὖν παρὰ τῇ Κλυταιμνήστρᾳ ᾠδὸς πονηρὰς ἐπινοίας ἐγγίνεσθαι ἐκώλυε, διηγούμενος ἀνδρῶν καὶ γυναικῶν ἀρετάς. καὶ ἕως τούτου ἐσωφρόνει ἕως αὐτῇ παρῆν οὗτος. τινὲς ἀοιδὸν τὸν μὴ αἰδοῖα ἔχοντα, κακῶς. τοῦτόν τινες Χαριάδην, οἱ δὲ Δημόδοκον καλοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ Γλαῦκον.

Woodcut illustration of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus murdering Agamemnon and their subsequent deaths at the hand of Orestes
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woodcut_illustration_of_Clytemnestra_and_Aegisthus_murdering_Agamemnon_and_their_subsequent_deaths_at_the_hand_of_Orestes_-_Penn_Provenance_Project.jpg

Schol MQV 3.267

“A singer was stationed with her too. For in ancient times, singers used to have the position of philosophers. Some people who know things badly report that he was a Eunuch”

συμπαρῆν γὰρ αὐτῇ καὶ ᾠδός. τὸ γὰρ ἀρχαῖον οἱ ᾠδοὶ φιλοσόφων τάξιν ἐπεῖχον. τινὲς δὲ κακῶς νοήσαντες τὸν εὐνοῦχον ἀπέδοσαν.

Schol. M. ad Od. 3.367

“There some people report he was a Eunuch from the alpha privative morios and aidoios for singer, that his genitals were removed.”

ἐνταῦθα δέ τινες ἀοιδὸν τὸν εὐνοῦον νοοῦσιν ἐκ τοῦ α στερητικοῦ μορίου καὶ τοῦ αἰδοίου, τὸν ἐστερη-μένον τῶν αἰδοίων.

Schol P. ad Od. 3.367

“Some say that the singers were tragedians. For the ancients treated these people with honor. And others say that the singer he mentions was a eunuch”

ἀοιδὸς] οἱ μὲν ἀοιδοὺς λέγουσι τοὺς τραγῳδούς. διὰ τιμῆς γὰρ οἱ παλαιοὶ τούτους ἦγον· οἱ δὲ …. φασὶν εἶναι εὐνοῦχον λέγοντα τὸν ἀοιδὸν εἶναι τῆς Κλυταιμνήστρας.

Schol. EHMQR Ad Od. 3.267

“Demetrius of Phalerum has as follows: “Menelaos, when he went with Odysseus to Delphi asked about the expedition which was about to happen against Troy. At that time, in fact, Kreon was running the nine-year contest of the Pythian games. The Spartan Demodokos won, a student of Automedon of Mycenae who was the first who composted the Battle of Amphritryon against the Teleboans and the Conflict of Kithairon and Helikon for whom the mountains in Boiotia are named. He was also a student of Perimedes the Argive who taught the Mycenean Automedes himself along with Likymnios the Bouprasian and Sinis along with Dôrieus, the Laconian Pharides and the Spartan Probolos.

At that time, Menelaos dedicated the expedition for Helen to Athena thanks to forethought. Agamemnon led Demodokos to Mycenae and ordered him to watch over Klytemnestra.

People used to honor singers excessively as teachers of the gods and other ancient acts of good men and they used to delight in the lyre beyond the other instruments. Klytemnestra clearly honored him—she didn’t have him murdered but instead ordered him to be exiled. Timolaus suggest that he was the brother of Phemios who accompanied Penelope to Ithaca to keep a watch over her. He sang for the suitors under compulsion.”

οὕτω Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς· Μενέλαος ἅμα τῷ ᾿Οδυσσεῖ ἐλθὼν εἰς Δελφοὺς τὸν θεὸν ἤρετο περὶ τῆς μελλούσης ἔσεσθαι εἰς ῎Ιλιον στρατείας. τότε δὴ καὶ τὸν ἐνναετηρικὸν τῶν Πυθίων ἀγῶνα ἀγωνοθετεῖ Κρέων, ἐνίκα δὲ Δημόδοκος Λάκων μαθητὴς Αὐτομήδους τοῦ Μυκηναίου, ὃς ἦν πρῶτος δι’ ἐπῶν γράψας τὴν ᾿Αμφιτρύωνος πρὸς Τηλεβόας μάχην καὶ τὴν ἔριν Κιθαιρῶνός τε καὶ ῾Ελικῶνος, ἀφ’ ὧν δὴ καὶ τὰ ἐν Βοιωτίᾳ ὄρη προσαγορεύεται· ἦν δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς μαθητὴς Περιμήδους ᾿Αργείου, ὃς ἐδίδαξεν αὐτόν τε τὸν Μυκηναῖον Αὐτομήδην, καὶ Λικύμνιον τὸν Βουπράσιον καὶ Σίνιν, καὶ τὸν Δωριέα, καὶ Φαρίδαν τὸν Λάκωνα, καὶ Πρόβολον τὸν Σπαρτιάτην. τότε δὴ Μενέλαος τῇ προνοίᾳ τῆς ῾Ελένης ἀνέθηκεν ὅρμον ᾿Αθηνᾷ. τὸν δὲ Δημόδοκον εἰς Μυκήνας λαβὼν ᾿Αγαμέμνων ἔταξε τὴν Κλυταιμνήστραν τηρεῖν. ἐτίμων δὲ λίαν τοὺς ᾠδοὺς ὡς διδασκάλους τῶν τε θείων καὶ παλαιῶν ἀνδραγαθημάτων, καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὀργάνων πλέον τὴν λύραν ἠγάπων. δηλοῖ δὲ καὶ Κλυταιμνήστρα τὴν εἰς αὐτὸν τιμήν· οὐ γὰρ φονεύειν, ἀλλ’ ἀφορίζειν αὐτὸν ἐκέλευσε. Τιμόλαος δὲ ἀδελφὸν αὐτόν φησιν εἶναι Φημίου, ὃν ἀκολουθῆσαι τῇ Πηνελόπῃ εἰς ᾿Ιθάκην πρὸς παραφυλακὴν αὐτῆς· διὸ καὶ βίᾳ τοῖς μνηστῆρσιν ᾄδει.

Schol. EQ ad. Od. 3.367

“The music of rhapsodes applied so much to political matters that people report that the city of Sparta used it especially to encourage like-mindedness and preservation of the customs. They also say that once the Pythia, when a disturbance developed, told people to listen a Lesbian song and stop their rivalry.”

τοσοῦτον δὲ καὶ πρὸς τὰ πολιτικὰ διέτεινεν ἡ τῶν κιθαρῳδῶν μουσικὴ ὡς τῶν Σπαρτιατῶν τὴν πόλιν ὠφελεῖσθαι λέγουσιν ὑπὸ τούτων τῶν ἀνδρῶν τὰ μέγιστα καὶ πρὸς ὁμόνοιαν καὶ πρὸς τὴν τῶν νόμων φυλακήν. ὡς καὶ τὴν Πυθὼ, αὐτόθι φυομένης ταραχῆς, εἰπεῖν, τὸν Λέσβιον ᾠδὸν ἀκούειν καὶ παύσασθαι τῆς φιλονεικίας. ὃ καὶ γέγονεν. E.Q.

Need To Plan A Holiday Meal? Grill Some Meat With Achilles

Homer, Il. 9.206–217

“He put a large meat block on a burning fire
And placed on top of it the back of a sheep and a fat goat
And a slab of succulent hog, rich with fat.
As Automedon held them, Achilles cut.
Then he sliced them well into pieces and put them on spits
While the son of Menoitios, a godlike man, built up the fire.
But when the fire had burned up and the flame was receding,
He spread out the coal and stretched the spits over it.
Once he put the meat on the fire he seasoned it with holy salt.
When he cooked the meat and distributed it on platters,
Patroclus retrieved bread and placed it on a table
In beautiful baskets. Then Achilles gave out the meat.”

αὐτὰρ ὅ γε κρεῖον μέγα κάββαλεν ἐν πυρὸς αὐγῇ,
ἐν δ’ ἄρα νῶτον ἔθηκ’ ὄϊος καὶ πίονος αἰγός,
ἐν δὲ συὸς σιάλοιο ῥάχιν τεθαλυῖαν ἀλοιφῇ.
τῷ δ’ ἔχεν Αὐτομέδων, τάμνεν δ’ ἄρα δῖος ᾿Αχιλλεύς.
καὶ τὰ μὲν εὖ μίστυλλε καὶ ἀμφ’ ὀβελοῖσιν ἔπειρε,
πῦρ δὲ Μενοιτιάδης δαῖεν μέγα ἰσόθεος φώς.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ κατὰ πῦρ ἐκάη καὶ φλὸξ ἐμαράνθη,
ἀνθρακιὴν στορέσας ὀβελοὺς ἐφύπερθε τάνυσσε,
πάσσε δ’ ἁλὸς θείοιο κρατευτάων ἐπαείρας.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεί ῥ’ ὤπτησε καὶ εἰν ἐλεοῖσιν ἔχευε,
Πάτροκλος μὲν σῖτον ἑλὼν ἐπένειμε τραπέζῃ
καλοῖς ἐν κανέοισιν, ἀτὰρ κρέα νεῖμεν ᾿Αχιλλεύς.

Related image

How Many Cities in Crete?

Schol. A. ad Il. 2.649

“Others have instead “those who occupy hundred-citied Crete” in response to those Separatists because they say that it is “hundred-citied Crete” here but “ninety-citied” in the Odyssey. Certainly we have “hundred-citied” instead of many cities, or he has a similar and close count now, but in the Odyssey lists it more precisely as is clear in Sophocles. Some claim that the Lakedaimonian founded ten cities.”

Ariston. ἄλλοι θ’ οἳ Κρήτην <ἑκατόμπολιν ἀμφενέμοντο>: πρὸς τοὺς Χωρίζοντας (fr. 2 K.), ὅτι νῦν μὲν ἑκατόμπολιν τὴν Κρήτην, ἐν ᾿Οδυσσείᾳ (cf. τ 174) δὲ ἐνενηκοντάπολιν. ἤτοι οὖν ἑκατόμπολιν ἀντὶ τοῦ πολύπολιν, ἢ ἐπὶ τὸν σύνεγγυς καὶ ἀπαρτίζοντα ἀριθμὸν κατενήνεκται νῦν, ἐν ᾿Οδυσσείᾳ δὲ τὸ ἀκριβὲς ἐξενήνοχεν, ὡς παρὰ Σοφοκλεῖ (fr. 813 N.2 = 899 P. = 899 R.). τινὲς δέ †φασι πυλαιμένη† τὸν Λακεδαιμόνιον δεκάπολιν κτίσαι.

Strabo, 10.15

“Because the poet sometimes calls Krete “hundred-citied” but at others, “ninety-cited”, Ephorus says that ten cities were founded after the battles at Troy by the Dorians who were following Althaimenes the Argive. But he also says that Odysseus names it “ninety-cities” This argument is persuasive. But others say that ten cities were destroyed by Idomeneus’ enemies. But the poet does not claim that Krete is “hundred-citied” during the Trojan War but in his time—for he speaks in his own language even if it is the speech of those who existed then, just as in the Odyssey when he calls Crete “ninety-citied”, it would be fine to understand it in this way. But if we were to accept that, the argument would not be saved. For it is not likely that the cities were destroyed by Idomeneus’ enemies when he was at war or came home from there, since the poet says that “Idomeneus led to Crete all his companions who survived the war and the sea killed none of them.

He would have mentioned that disaster. For Odysseus certainly would not have known of the destruction of the cities because he had not encountered any of the Greeks either during his wandering or after. And one who accompanied Idomeneus against Troy and returned with him would not have known what happened at home either during the expedition or the return from there. If Idomeneus was preserved with all his companions, he would have come back strong enough they his enemies were not going to be able to deprive him of ten cities. That’s my overview of the land of the Kretans.”

Τοῦ δὲ ποιητοῦ τὸ μὲν ἑκατόμπολιν λέγοντος τὴν Κρήτην, τὸ δὲ ἐνενηκοντάπολιν, Ἔφορος μὲν ὕστερον ἐπικτισθῆναι τὰς δέκα φησὶ μετὰ τὰ Τρωικὰ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἀλθαιμένει τῷ Ἀργείῳ συνακολουθησάντων Δωριέων· τὸν μὲν οὖν Ὀδυσσέα λέγει ἐνενηκοντάπολιν ὀνομάσαι· οὗτος μὲν οὖν πιθανός ἐστιν ὁ λόγος· ἄλλοι δ᾿ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰδομενέως ἐχθρῶν κατασκαφῆναί φασι τὰς δέκα. ἀλλ᾿ οὔτε κατὰ τὰ Τρωικά φησιν ὁ ποιητὴς εκατοντάπολιν ὑπάρξαι τὴν Κρήτην, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον κατ᾿ αὐτόν (ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ ἰδίου προσώπου λέγει· εἰ δ᾿ ἐκ τῶν τότε ὄντων τινὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, καθάπερ ἐν τῇ Ὀδυσσείᾳ, ἡνίκα ἐνενηκοντάπολιν φράζει, καλῶς εἶχεν ἂν οὕτω δέχεσθαι), οὔτ᾿ εἰ συγχωρήσαιμεν τοῦτό γε, ὁ ἑξῆς λόγος σώζοιτ᾿ ἄν. οὔτε γὰρ κατὰ τὴν στρατείαν οὔτε μετὰ τὴν ἐπάνοδον τὴν ἐκεῖθεν τοῦ Ἰδομενέως εἰκός ἐστιν ὑπὸ τῶν ἐχθρῶν αὐτοῦ τὰς πόλεις ἠφανίσθαι ταύτας· ὁ γὰρ ποιητὴς φήσας, πάντας δ᾿ Ἰδομενεὺς Κρήτην εἰσήγαγ᾿ ἑταίρους, οἳ φύγον ἐκ πολέμου, πόντος δέ οἱ οὔτιν᾿ἀπηύρα·

καὶ τούτου τοῦ πάθους ἐμέμνητ᾿ ἄν· οὐ γὰρ δήπου Ὀδυσσεὺς μὲν ἔγνω τὸν ἀφανισμὸν τῶν πόλεων ὁ μηδενὶ συμμίξας τῶν Ἑλλήνων μήτε κατὰ τὴν πλάνην μήθ᾿ ὕστερον. ὁ δὲ καὶ συστρατεύσας τῷ Ἰδομενεῖ καὶ συνανασωθεὶς οὐκ ἔγνω τὰ συμβάντα οἴκοι αὐτῷ οὔτε κατὰ τὴν στρατείαν οὔτε τὴν ἐπάνοδον τὴν ἐκεῖθεν· ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ μετὰ τὴν ἐπάνοδον· εἰ γὰρ μετὰ πάντων ἐσώθη τῶν ἑταίρων, ἰσχυρὸς ἐπανῆλθεν, ὥστ᾿ οὐκ ἔμελλον ἰσχύσειν οἱ ἐχθροὶ τοσοῦτον, ὅσον δέκα ἀφαιρεῖσθαι πόλεις αὐτόν. τῆς μὲν οὖν χώρας τῶν Κρητῶν τοιαύτη τις ἡ περιοδεία.

File:Map Minoan Crete-fi.svg
There are not one hundred cities here.

Don’t Eat Brains: Zombie-Tydeus for Werewolf Week

In the spirit of the week before Halloween, below are the major accounts of Diomedes’ father, Tydeus, who was rejected by Athena after eating brains. 

Hom. Il. 5.801

“Tydeus was a little man, but a fighter.”

Τυδεύς τοι μικρὸς μὲν ἔην δέμας, ἀλλὰ μαχητής·

Schol. AbT ad Il. 5.126

“They say that when Tydeus was wounded by Melanippos Astakos’ son, he got pretty upset. And Amphiarus, after he killed Melanippus, gave his head to Tydeus. Like a beast, Tydeus ripped it open and slurped up his brains to his fill. Athena happened to be there at that time, bringing some immortal medicine to him from heaven, and she turned back out of disgust. When he saw her, he asked that she favor his son with the divine favor. That’s Pherecydes’ story.”

Τυδέα τρωθέντα ὑπὸ Μελανίππου τοῦ ᾿Αστακοῦ σφόδρα ἀγανακτῆσαι. ᾿Αμφιάρεων δὲ κτείναντα τὸν Μελάνιππον δοῦναι τὴν κεφαλὴν Τυδεῖ. τὸν δὲ δίκην θηρὸς ἀναπτύξαντα ῥοφᾶν τὸν ἐγκέφαλον ἀπὸ θυμοῦ. κατ’ ἐκεῖνο δὲ καιροῦ παρεῖναι ᾿Αθηνᾶν ἀθανασίαν αὐτῷ φέρουσαν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καὶ διὰ τὸ μύσος ἀπεστράφθαι. τὸν δὲ θεασάμενον παρακαλέσαι κἂν τῷ παιδὶ αὐτοῦ χαρίσασθαι τὴν ἀθανασίαν. ἱστορεῖ Φερεκύδης (FGrHist 3, 97). A b (BC) T

Schol. in Pind. Nem. 11.43b

“That Melanippos was Theban and stood in battle against Tydeus. It seems that Tydeus took his head in rage, smashed it, and gulped up his brains. For this reason, Athena turned back even though she was bringing him a revitalizing drug.”

(FHG I O M, I 117 J). ὁ δὲ Μελάνιππος οὗτος Θηβαῖος ἦν ἐπὶ τοῦ πολέμου συστὰς τῷ Τυδεῖ. τούτου δοκεῖ διὰ τὴν ὀργὴν λαβὼν ὁ Τυδεὺς τὴν κεφαλὴν καὶ ῥήξας ἐκροφῆσαι τὸν ἐγκέφαλον· διὸ καὶ ἀπεστράφη ἡ ᾿Αθηνᾶ τότε κομίζουσα αὐτῷ
τὴν ἀθανασίαν…

Schol. in Theoc. Proleg. 15-18b

“From man-eating Tydeus: For that Tydeus ate Melannipus’ brains down to the marrow.”

Τυδέως τοῦ ἀνδροβρῶτος—ἔφαγε γὰρ οὗτος ὁ Τυδεὺς τὴν κεφαλὴν τοῦ Μελανίππου καταρροφήσας τὸν ἐν αὐτῇ μυελόν.

Schol ad. Lyk. 1066 1-7

“Of the head-munching Tydeus: the story goes that during the Theban war, Tydeus ate up Melanippus’ head. Thus, Tydeus is called “head-muncher” and his child is Diomedes.”

τοῦ κρατοβρῶτος
τοῦ Τυδέως, ἐπειδὴ ἐν τῷ
Θηβαϊκῷ πολέμῳ λέγεται ὁ
Τυδεὺς τὴν κεφαλὴν τοῦ Μελα-
νίππου κατεδηδοκέναι. κρα-
τοβρῶτος οὖν ὁ Τυδεύς,
παῖς δὲ αὐτοῦ ὁ Διομήδης.

Kallierges (Etym. Magn.)

“Tydeus, from tuthon (“a little”); for he was small for his age group.”

Τυδεύς: Παρὰ τὸ τυτθόν· μικρὸς γὰρ ἦν τῇ ἡλικίᾳ.

Note the variations in the narrative Apollodorus introduces by bringing all the details together: Amphiarus becomes the villain here!

Apollodorus, 3.76-77

“Melanippus, the last of Astacus’ children, wounded Tydeus in the stomach. While he was lying there half-dead, Athena brought him medicine she had begged from Zeus in order to make him immortal. But when Amphiarus perceived this, because he hated Tydeus for persuading the Argives to march against Thebes against his own judgment, he cut off Melanippus’ head and gave it to him (Tydeus killed him when he was wounded). He drew out the brains and gobbled them up. When Athena saw him, she was disturbed, and withheld and kept the medicine.”

Μελάνιππος δὲ ὁ λοιπὸς τῶν ᾿Αστακοῦ παίδων εἰς τὴν γαστέρα Τυδέα τιτρώσκει.
ἡμιθνῆτος δὲ αὐτοῦ κειμένου παρὰ Διὸς αἰτησαμένη ᾿Αθηνᾶ φάρμακον ἤνεγκε, δι’ οὗ ποιεῖν ἔμελλεν ἀθάνατον αὐτόν. ᾿Αμφιάραος δὲ αἰσθόμενος τοῦτο, μισῶνΤυδέα ὅτι παρὰ τὴν ἐκείνου γνώμην εἰς Θήβας ἔπεισε τοὺς ᾿Αργείους στρατεύεσθαι, τὴν Μελανίππου κεφαλὴν ἀποτεμὼν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ (τιτρωσκόμενος δὲ Τυδεὺς ἔκτεινεν αὐτόν). ὁ δὲ διελὼν τὸν ἐγκέφαλον ἐξερρόφησεν. ὡς δὲ εἶδεν ᾿Αθηνᾶ, μυσαχθεῖσα τὴν εὐεργεσίαν ἐπέσχε τε καὶ ἐφθόνησεν.

temple-relief-from-pyrgi-b

Sextus Empiricus, Pyrrhoniae Hypotyposes 3.208

“We consider eating human flesh to be wrong; but it is a matter of ambivalence among the barbarians. But why should we even speak of ‘barbarians’ when Tydeus is said to have eaten an enemy’s brains and when the Stoics claim it is not strange for someone to eat another’s flesh or his own?”

ἀγαθῷ τινι τούτῳ χρῆσθαι τῷ κακῷ πυνθανόμεθα. ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ ἀνθρωπείων γεύεσθαι σαρκῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν μὲν ἄθεσμον, παρ’ ὅλοις δὲ βαρβάροις ἔθνεσιν ἀδιάφορόν ἐστιν.

καὶ τί δεῖ τοὺς βαρβάρους λέγειν, ὅπου καὶ ὁ Τυδεὺς τὸν ἐγκέφαλον τοῦ πολεμίου λέγεται φαγεῖν, καὶ οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Στοᾶς οὐκ ἄτοπον εἶναί φασι τὸ σάρκας τινὰ ἐσθίειν ἄλλων τε ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἑαυτοῦ;

Dabbling in the Occult: Odysseus, Necromancer

It is the right time of the year for raising the dead. A student paper on the Elpenor Pelike at the MFA in Boston drew my attention to the following passage.

Servius ad Aen. 6.107

“For this reason the place is named without joy since, as people claim, it would not have been there but for necromancy or spell-craft. For, Aeneas completed these sacred rites when Misenus was killed and Ulysses did it with the death of Elpenor.

This very scene Homer himself presented falsely from the detail of its location which he specifies along with the length of time of the journey. For he claims that Ulysses sailed for one night and came to the place where he completed these sacrifices. For this reason it is abundantly clear that he doesn’t mean the ocean but Campania.”

sine gaudio autem ideo ille dicitur locus, quod necromantia vel sciomantia, ut dicunt, non nisi ibi poterat fieri: quae sine hominis occisione non fiebant; nam et Aeneas illic occiso Miseno sacra ista conplevit et Vlixes occiso Elpenore. quamquam fingatur in extrema Oceani parte Vlixes fuisse: quod et ipse Homerus falsum esse ostendit ex qualitate locorum, quae commemorat, et ex tempore navigationis; dicit enim eum a Circe unam noctem navigasse et ad locum venisse, in quo haec sacra perfecit: quod de Oceano non procedit, de Campania manifestissimum est.

The relevant passages from the Odyssey don’t give any hint that Elpenor was intentionally killed for black magic. When Odysseus actually does summon the dead, now that gets a little dark.

Odyssey, 10.552–560

“I could not even lead my companions unharmed from there.
The youngest of my companions was a certain Elpênor,
He was neither especially brave in battle or composed in his thoughts.
He separated himself from the companions in Kirkê’s holy home
Because he needed some air; then he fell asleep because he was drunk.
When he heard the noise and trouble of our companions moving out,
He got up immediately and it completely escaped his thoughts
To climb down again by the long ladder—
So he fell straight from the roof and his neck
Shattered along his spine; then his spirit flew down to Hades.”

οὐδὲ μὲν οὐδ’ ἔνθεν περ ἀπήμονας ἦγον ἑταίρους.
᾿Ελπήνωρ δέ τις ἔσκε νεώτατος, οὔτε τι λίην
ἄλκιμος ἐν πολέμῳ οὔτε φρεσὶν ᾗσιν ἀρηρώς,
ὅς μοι ἄνευθ’ ἑτάρων ἱεροῖσ’ ἐν δώμασι Κίρκης,
ψύχεος ἱμείρων, κατελέξατο οἰνοβαρείων·
κινυμένων δ’ ἑτάρων ὅμαδον καὶ δοῦπον ἀκούσας
ἐξαπίνης ἀνόρουσε καὶ ἐκλάθετο φρεσὶν ᾗσιν
ἄψορρον καταβῆναι ἰὼν ἐς κλίμακα μακρήν,
ἀλλὰ καταντικρὺ τέγεος πέσεν· ἐκ δέ οἱ αὐχὴν
ἀστραγάλων ἐάγη, ψυχὴ δ’ ῎Αϊδόσδε κατῆλθεν.

Elpênor appears twice more in the epic: 11.51–80 (Odysseus meets Elpênor’s ghost when he summons the dead); 12.9-15 (Odysseus buries Elpênor).

picture of red figure vase with three figures. the ghost of elpenor on the left, odysseus in the middle, and hermes on the right

MFA Boston, Accession Number 34.79; Caskey-Beazley, Attic Vase Paintings (MFA), no. 111; Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 070-071.

Nekuomanteia, glossed by Hesychius as nekromanteia (i.e. “necromancy”) is an alternate name for the Nekyuia, the parade of the dead in book 11 of the Odyssey. From the Greek Anthology: ᾿Εν τῷ Η ἡ τοῦ ᾿Οδυσσέως νεκυομαντεία· (3.8); Scholia to the Odyssey, Hypotheses: Λ. Νεκυομαντεία, ἢ, Νεκυία. Cf. Eustathius, Comm. Ad Od. 1.396.10

Sweettalking From Trees and Stone

Before facing Achilles, Hektor stops and talks to himself. He imagines taking off his armor, offering Achilles all their wealth and Helen back too. Then he reconsiders….

Il. 22 22.126-129

“There’s no way from oak nor stone
To sweet-talk him, the way that a young woman and a young man
or a young man and a young woman sweet talk one another.”

οὐ μέν πως νῦν ἔστιν ἀπὸ δρυὸς οὐδ’ ἀπὸ πέτρης
τῷ ὀαριζέμεναι, ἅ τε παρθένος ἠΐθεός τε
παρθένος ἠΐθεός τ’ ὀαρίζετον ἀλλήλοιιν.

Schol. Ad Il. 22.126 bT

”There’s no way from oak or stone to sweet-talk him” to describe  ridiculous ancient sayings: it is either from the generation of humans who were in the mountains, or it is because early people said they were ash-born or from the stones of Deukalion. Or it is about providing oracles, since Dodona is an oak and Pytho was a stone. Or it means to speak uselessly, coming from the leaves around trees and the waves around stones. Or it is not possible for him to describe the beginning of the human race.”

<οὐ μέν πως νῦν ἔστιν> ἀπὸ δρυὸς οὐδ’ ἀπὸ πέτρης / τῷ ὀαριζέμεναι: ληρώδεις ἀρχαιολογίας διηγεῖσθαι, ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ τὸ παλαιὸν ὀρεινόμων ὄντων τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐκεῖσε τίκτεσθαι ἢ ἐπεὶ μελιηγενεῖς λέγονται οἱ πρώην ἄνδρες καὶ <λαοὶ> ἀπὸ τῶν λίθων Δευκαλίωνος.  ἢ χρησμοὺς διηγεῖσθαι (Δωδώνη γὰρ δρῦς, πέτρα δὲ Πυθών). ἢ περιττολογεῖν, ἀπὸ τῶν περὶ τὰς δρῦς φύλλων καὶ περὶ τὰς πέτρας κυμάτων. ἢ οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτῷ τὴν ἀρχὴν τοῦ γένους διηγεῖσθαι τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

From M. L. West’s Commentary on Hesiod’s Theogony, many other suggestions:


Meta-Classics Costume Idea: Paris as Menelaos

In the Helen, Euripides pursues the version of events favored by Stesichorus and mentioned by Herodotus too: that Helen was replaced by a cloud-Helen (whom I call a Cylon). The fake-Helen went to Troy while the real one went to Egypt.

Apparently there was also a tradition that has Aphrodite pulling a Zeus-Amphitryon trick with Paris and Menelaos.

Nikias of Mallos, BNJ 60 F 2a [=Schol. V ad Od. 23.218]

“Priam’s child Alexander  left Asia and went to Sparta with the plan of abducting Helen while he was a guest there. But she, because of her noble and husband-loving character, was refusing him and saying that she would honor her marriage with the law and thought more of Menelaos. Because Paris was ineffective, the story is that Aphrodite devised this kind of a trick: she exchanged the appearance of Alexander for Menelaos’ character to persuade Helen in this way. For, because she believed that this was truly Menelaos, she was not reluctant to leave with him. After she went to the ship before him, he took her inside and left. This story is told in Nikias of Mallos’ first book”

᾽Αλέξανδρος ὁ Πριάμου παῖς ἀπὸ τῆς ᾽Ασίας κατάρας εἰς τὴν Λακεδαίμονα διενοεῖτο τὴν ῾Ελένην ξενιζόμενος ἁρπάσαι· ἡ δὲ γενναῖον ἧθος καὶ φίλανδρον ἔχουσα ἀπηγόρευε καὶ προτιμᾶν ἔλεγε τὸν μετὰ νόμου γάμον καὶ τὸν Μενέλαον περὶ πλείονος ἡγεῖσθαι. γενομένου δὲ τοῦ Πάριδος ἀπράκτου φασὶ τὴν ᾽Αφροδίτην ἐπιτεχνῆσαι τοιοῦτόν τι, ὥστε καὶ μεταβάλλειν τοῦ ᾽Αλεξάνδρου τὴν ἰδέαν εἰς τὸν τοῦ Μενελάου χαρακτῆρα, καὶ οὕτω τὴν ῾Ελένην παραλογίσασθαι· δόξασαν γὰρ εἶναι ταῖς ἀληθείαις τὸν Μενέλαον μὴ ὀκνῆσαι ἅμα αὐτῶι ἕπεσθαι, φθάσασαν δὲ αὐτὴν ἄχρι τῆς νεὼς ἐμβαλλόμενος ἀνήχθη. ἡ ἱστορία παρὰ Νικίαι †τῶι πρώτωι†.

Image result for Ancient Greek Vase Paris and Helen

This kind of doubling and uncertainty about identity is certainly at home in any discussion of Euripides’ Helen (well, at least the first third where no one knows who anybody is). But it is also apt for the Odyssey where Odysseus cryptically insists (16.204):

“No other Odysseus will ever come home to you”

οὐ μὲν γάρ τοι ἔτ’ ἄλλος ἐλεύσεται ἐνθάδ’ ᾿Οδυσσεύς,

Helen’s Consent: A Scholion on the Difference between the Iliad and the Odyssey

Homer, Iliad 2.350–356

“I say that the over-powering son of Kronos assented
On that day when the Argives took to the fast-faring ships
Bringing murder and death to the Trojans,
Showing clear and favorable signs by flashing lightning.
So let no one be compelled to return home,
Before each one has taken a Trojan wife to bed
As payback for the struggles and moans of Helen”

φημὶ γὰρ οὖν κατανεῦσαι ὑπερμενέα Κρονίωνα
ἤματι τῷ ὅτε νηυσὶν ἐν ὠκυπόροισιν ἔβαινον
᾿Αργεῖοι Τρώεσσι φόνον καὶ κῆρα φέροντες
ἀστράπτων ἐπιδέξι’ ἐναίσιμα σήματα φαίνων.
τὼ μή τις πρὶν ἐπειγέσθω οἶκον δὲ νέεσθαι
πρίν τινα πὰρ Τρώων ἀλόχῳ κατακοιμηθῆναι,
τίσασθαι δ’ ῾Ελένης ὁρμήματά τε στοναχάς τε.

Schol. A ad Hom. Il. 2.356ex

[To pay back the struggles and moans of Helen]: “The separatists say that the poet of the Iliad presents Helen as enduring it badly and groaning because of the trauma of rape by Alexander while the poet of the Odyssey presents her as willing.

This is because they do not understand that the account is not from her perspective, but that we need to understand that it is from outside her perspective, that she is the object. So, there is the interpretation that it is is necessary to take vengeance in exchange for how we have groaned and suffered about Helen.”

τίσασθαι δ’ ῾Ελένης <ὁρμήματά τε στοναχάς τε>: πρὸς τοὺς Χωρίζοντας· ἔφασαν (fr. 1 K.) γὰρ τὸν μὲν τῆς ᾿Ιλιάδος ποιητὴν δυσανασχετοῦσαν συνιστάνειν καὶ στένουσαν διὰ τὸ βίᾳ  ἀπῆχθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ ᾿Αλεξάνδρου, τὸν δὲ τῆς ᾿Οδυσσείας ἑκοῦσαν, οὐ νοοῦντες ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπ’ αὐτῆς ὁ λόγος, ἀλλ’ ἔξωθεν πρόθεσιν τὴν περί δεῖ λαβεῖν, ἵν’ ᾖ περὶ ῾Ελένης. καὶ ἔστιν ὁ λόγος, τιμωρίαν λαβεῖν ἀνθ’ ὧν ἐστενάξαμεν καὶ ἐμεριμνήσαμεν περὶ ῾Ελένης· παραλειπτικὸς γὰρ προθέσεών ἐστιν ὁ ποιητής.

The debate here, then, seems to be whether Helen is the actor behind the ὁρμήματά τε στοναχάς τε or the reason the ὁρμήματά τε στοναχάς τε are experienced by others. What I find more interesting in this passage is the assertion that ancient scholars split the authorship of the epics based on whether Helen seems a willing participant or not. Also not to be overlooked here: Nestor is rallying the troops by telling them they won’t go home until each of them “lies alongside” (κατακοιμηθῆναι) a wife of a Trojan.

(Most of our information about the separatists comes from scholia attributed to Aristarchus. There are eleven direct mentions of the scholiasts in Erbse’s edition.)

File:Helen of Sparta boards a ship for Troy fresco from the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.jpg
Fresco from Pompeii, Helen Boards the Ship to Troy

The Cruelty Off Stage, Spoken Yet Unseen

Homer, Iliad 6.53-62

“And then [Menelaos] was intending to give Adrastus
To an attendant to take back to the Achaeans’ swift ships
But Agamemnon came rushing in front of him and spoke commandingly
“Oh my fool Menelaos, why do you care so much about people?
Did your house suffer the best treatment by the Trojans?
Let none of them flee dread death at our hands,
Not even  a mother who carries in her womb
a child that will be a boy, let not one flee, but instead
Let everyone at Troy perish, unwept and unseen.”

The hero spoke like this and changed his brother’s mind,
Since he advised properly…

καὶ δή μιν τάχ᾽ ἔμελλε θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν
δώσειν ᾧ θεράποντι καταξέμεν: ἀλλ᾽ Ἀγαμέμνων
ἀντίος ἦλθε θέων, καὶ ὁμοκλήσας ἔπος ηὔδα:
‘ὦ πέπον ὦ Μενέλαε, τί ἢ δὲ σὺ κήδεαι οὕτως
ἀνδρῶν; ἦ σοὶ ἄριστα πεποίηται κατὰ οἶκον
πρὸς Τρώων; τῶν μή τις ὑπεκφύγοι αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον
χεῖράς θ᾽ ἡμετέρας, μηδ᾽ ὅν τινα γαστέρι μήτηρ
κοῦρον ἐόντα φέροι, μηδ᾽ ὃς φύγοι, ἀλλ᾽ ἅμα πάντες
Ἰλίου ἐξαπολοίατ᾽ ἀκήδεστοι καὶ ἄφαντοι.

ὣς εἰπὼν ἔτρεψεν ἀδελφειοῦ φρένας ἥρως
αἴσιμα παρειπών:

Schol, bT ad Il 6.58-59 ex [from the Erbse edition]

 “these words are hateful and ill-fit to a noble manner. For they indicate a savageness of spirit and any human audience member will hate the excess bitterness and inhumanity. This is why tragedians hide people who do these kinds of things on stage and signal what was done either through the sound of some voices or through messengers later, for no other reason than they might be hated for what was done”

μηδ’ ὅντινα<—μηδ’ ὃς φύγοι>: μισητὰ καὶ οὐχἁρμόζοντα βασιλικῷ ἤθει τὰ ῥήματα· τρόπου γὰρ ἐνδείκνυσι θηριότητα, ὁ δὲ ἀκροατὴς ἄνθρωπος ὢν μισεῖ τὸ ἄγαν πικρὸν καὶ ἀπάνθρωπον. ὅθεν κἀν ταῖς τραγῳδίαις κρύπτουσι τοὺς δρῶντας τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐν ταῖς σκηναῖς καὶ ἢ φωναῖς τισιν ἐξακουομέναις ἢ δι’ ἀγγέλων ὕστερον σημαίνουσι τὰ πραχθέντα, οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἢ φοβούμενοι, μὴ αὐτοὶ συμμισηθῶσι τοῖς δρωμένοις….

A few more glosses from the scholia

Schol b ad Il. 6.59

“Who is a boy”: because a female infant would be useless for battle

<κοῦρον ἐόντα:> ἄχρηστον γὰρ εἰς μάχην τὸ θῆλυ.

Schol bT ad Il. 6.60a

ἀκήδεστοι: “unmourned” for people who don’t have someone grieving them

ἄφαντοι: “unseen” because no one leaves behind a grave marker for them

ἀκήδεστοι: μὴ ἔχοντες τὸν κηδεύοντα.

ἄφαντοι: ὡς μηδὲ μνημεῖον αὐτῶν παραλείπεσθαι.

 

Schol bT ad Il. 6.62

αἴσιμα παρειπών: “fated things” or “things proper for people who have done wrong”. The poet bears witness to how correctly Agamemnon has ordered his speech.”

αἴσιμα παρειπών: εἱμαρμένα, ἢ τὰ πρέποντα τοῖς ἀδικουμένοις. ἐμαρτύρησε δὲ ὁ ποιητὴς αὐτῷ ὡς καλῶς διαθεμένῳ τοὺς λόγους.

black-figured amphora: the death of Priam; Priam is being battered to death with the body of his grandson Astyanax. BM 1842,0314.3