Homer in Argos, Troezen and India: More Anecdotes from Aelian


“They say that the Argives granted Homer the first prize of all poetic art and put all other poets second to him. When they made a sacrifice, they used to call Apollo and Homer to their table. It is said in addition that because he had no money to give his daughter in marriage, that he gave her the epic the Kypria as a dowry. Pindar agrees with this.”


῞Οτι ποιητικῆς ἁπάσης ᾿Αργεῖοι τὰ πρῶτα ῾Ομήρῳ ἔδωκαν, δευτέρους δὲ αὐτοῦ ἔταττον πάντας. ποιοῦντες δὲ θυσίαν, ἐπὶ ξένια ἐκάλουν τὸν ᾿Απόλλωνα καὶ ῞Ομηρον. λέγεται δὲ κἀκεῖνο πρὸς τούτοις, ὅτι ἄρα ἀπορῶν ἐκδοῦναι τὴν θυγατέρα, ἔδωκεν αὐτῇ προῖκα ἔχειν τὰ ἔπη τὰ Κύπρια. καὶ ὁμολογεῖ τοῦτο Πίνδαρος.


“The traditions of Trozen report that the epics of Oroebantius of Troezen are earlier than Homer’s. They also say that Dares the Phrygian, whose Phrygian Iliad survives even to today, I think, was earlier than Homer. Melêsander of Miletus wrote about the battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs.”

῞Οτι ἦν ᾿Οροιβαντίου Τροιζηνίου ἔπη πρὸ ῾Ομήρου, ὥς φασιν οἱ Τροιζήνιοι λόγοι. καὶ τὸν Φρύγα δὲ Δάρητα, οὗ Φρυγίαν ᾿Ιλιάδα ἔτι καὶ νῦν ἀποσωζομένην οἶδα, πρὸ ῾Ομήρου καὶ τοῦτον γενέσθαι λέγουσι. Μελήσανδρος ὁ Μιλήσιος Λαπιθῶν καὶ Κενταύρων μάχην ἔγραψεν.



“[Men say] that the Indians have translated the words of Homer into their own native language and they sing them; and they aren’t the only ones: the Persian kings do too, if we can trust those who write about these things.”

῞Οτι ᾿Ινδοὶ τῇ παρά σφισιν ἐπιχωρίῳ φωνῇ τὰ ῾Ομήρου μεταγράψαντες ᾄδουσιν οὐ μόνοι ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ Περσῶν βασιλεῖς, εἴ τι χρὴ πιστεύειν τοῖς ὑπὲρ τούτων ἱστοροῦσιν.

The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 5: Dying Mouse Curses Coward Frog

(How did our animal friends make it this far? Go here…)

“Suddenly, a water snake appeared, a bitter sight to both,
who held his throat up straight out of the water.
When he saw him, Bellowmouth went under water, considering not
what sort of friend he was about to abandon to death.
He submerged in the depth of the pond, and avoided black death.
But the mouse, as he let go, fell straight down into the water,
clenched his hands, and squeaked as he was dying.
Several times he went down below the water, and several times
He kicked and came back up. But it was not possible to ward off fate.
His wet hair took on more weight,
And dying in the water, he shouted out these words:

“You won’t get away with doing these deceitful things,
Tossing your passenger from your body as if off a cliff.
You rotten bastard, you were no better than me upon land
At fighting or wrestling or running, so you brought me to the water
And hurled me into it! God has an eye for vengeance.
And you will not avoid paying a penalty and
Righteous payback to the host of mice who honor me!”

This is definitely not what happened. Treacherous Frogs!
This is definitely not what happened. Treacherous Frogs!

82 ῞Υδρος δ’ ἐξαίφνης ἀνεφαίνετο, πικρὸν ὅραμα
83 ἀμφοτέροις• ὀρθὸν δ’ ὑπὲρ ὕδατος εἶχε τράχηλον.
84 τοῦτον ἰδὼν κατέδυ Φυσίγναθος, οὔ τι νοήσας
85 οἷον ἑταῖρον ἔμελλεν ἀπολλύμενον καταλείπειν.
86 δῦ δὲ βάθος λίμνης καὶ ἀλεύατο κῆρα μέλαιναν.
87 κεῖνος δ’ ὡς ἀφέθη, πέσεν ὕπτιος εὐθὺς ἐφ’ ὕδωρ,
88 καὶ χεῖρας ἔσφιγγε καὶ ὀλλύμενος κατέτριζε.
89 πολλάκι μὲν κατέδυνεν ὑφ’ ὕδατι, πολλάκι δ’ αὖτε
90 λακτίζων ἀνέδυνε• μόρον δ’ οὐκ ἦν ὑπαλύξαι.
91 δευόμεναι δὲ τρίχες πλεῖον βάρος εἷλκον ἐπ’ αὐτῷ•
92 ὕδασι δ’ ὀλλύμενος τοίους ἐφθέγξατο μύθους•
93 Οὐ λήσεις δολίως Φυσίγναθε ταῦτα ποιήσας,
94 ναυηγὸν ῥίψας ἀπὸ σώματος ὡς ἀπὸ πέτρης.
95 οὐκ ἄν μου κατὰ γαῖαν ἀμείνων ἦσθα κάκιστε
96 παγκρατίῳ τε πάλῃ τε καὶ εἰς δρόμον• ἀλλὰ πλανήσας
97 εἰς ὕδωρ μ’ ἔρριψας. ἔχει θεὸς ἔκδικον ὄμμα
97a ποινήν τ ἀντέκτισίν τ᾿ ὀρθήν ὅς κ᾿ ἀποδώσει,
98b τοῖς τίσουσί σε μυῶν στρατὸς οὐδὲ ὐπαλύξεις
98 ποινήν αὖ τείσεις σὺ μυῶν στράτῷ οὐδὲ ὐπαλύξεις

[There are some variants in the MSS at the end. We’re keeping them all. For fun.]

What will happen next?