Arrows Are Words: A Scholion Reads a Poem for Us

Pindar, Olympian 2, 83-88

“Many are the swift arrows
Within the quiver
Under my arm—
They speak to those who understand,
But they lack interpreters
In every direction. Wise is the one who knows many things
by nature…”

…. πολλά μοι ὑπ’
ἀγκῶνος ὠκέα βέλη
ἔνδον ἐντὶ φαρέτρας
φωνάεντα συνετοῖσιν· ἐς δὲ τὸ πὰν ἑρμανέων
χατίζει. σοφὸς ὁ πολλὰ εἰδὼς φυᾷ·

(Special thanks to my thesis advisee Taylor for making me read Pindar)

Schol. Ad Pin. Ol. 2

“Swift arrows”: these are an allegory for poems from an archery metaphor. The quiver is his mind; the arrows are words.”

A ὠκέα βέλη: ἀλληγορεῖ ἀπὸ τῶν τόξων μεταφέρων ἐπὶ τὰ ποιήματα· φαρέτρα μὲν γὰρ ἡ διάνοια, βέλη δὲ οἱ λόγοι.

Image result for ancient greek archery vase

This made me think of this: Homer, Odyssey 21.407-409

“Just as a man who knows both lyre and song
easily stretches a string on a new peg
as he attaches the twisted sheep-gut to both sides
just so, without haste, Odysseus strung the great bow.”

ὡς ὅτ’ ἀνὴρ φόρμιγγος ἐπιστάμενος καὶ ἀοιδῆς
ῥηϊδίως ἐτάνυσσε νέῳ περὶ κόλλοπι χορδήν,
ἅψας ἀμφοτέρωθεν ἐϋστρεφὲς ἔντερον οἰός,
ὣς ἄρ’ ἄτερ σπουδῆς τάνυσεν μέγα τόξον ᾿Οδυσσεύς.

A beautiful repose before a banquet of death…the full text.


And also of this: Horace, Ars Poetica 347

“The string does not always return the sound that the hand and mind desire”.

neque chorda sonum reddit quem volt manus et mens.

Proverbs in the Scholia to the Odyssey

Occasionally, marginal notes on Homeric manuscripts (scholia) will attempt to explain a passage by appealing to a proverb or assert a proverb’s derivation from one of the epics. Several of the proverbs that appear in the scholia to the Odyssey don’t appear outside of the commentary tradition.

Schol. ad. Od. 8.17 (On why Odysseus is only responsible for the companions in his particular ship)

“According to the proverb “Common ship, common safety”
κατὰ τὴν παροιμίαν “κοινὴ ναῦς κοινὴ σωτηρία,”

Schol. ad. Od. 3.36

“Why is Peisistratos first? The proverb goes: “The same age delights the same age”
διὰ τί πρῶτος ὁ Πεισίστρατος; παροιμία ἐστὶν ἡ λέγουσα, ἧλιξ ἥλικα τέρπει. E.

Schol. ad Od. 3.32

“Problem: Why do they dedicate tongues to the gods? Solution: Some say it is because the tongue is the strongest of the limbs; others claim that it is because it is right to be careful about what is said at a drinking party. This is where the proverb “I have the drinking buddy who doesn’t forget” comes from.

᾿Απορία. διὰ τί τοῖς θεοῖς ἀπένεμον τὰς γλώσσας; Λύσις. οἱ μὲν ὅτι κράτιστον τῶν μελῶν ἡ γλῶσσα, οἱ δὲ ὅτι δεῖ τὰ ἐν συμποσίοις λεχθέντα τηρεῖν. ὅθεν καὶ παροιμία “μισῶ μνάμονα συμπόταν.” B.

Schol. ad Od. 7.36

“Or like a thought: this is where the proverbial saying comes from: “It flew like a thought”

ἠὲ νόημα] ἐντεῦθεν τὸ παροιμιῶδες “διέπτατο δ’ ὥστε νόημα.”

Schol. ad. Od. 8.285

“He was not blind, according to the common proverb, “the blind man saw it”
οὐδ’ ἀλαοσκοπίην] οὐ τυφλὸς ἦν, κατὰ τὴν κοινὴν παροιμίαν, ὁ τυφλὸς ἐσκόπησεν.

Schol. ad Od. 8.329

“A gnomic phrase” through the idea “the slow overtakes the swift, there is a popular proverb “a race of cripples.”
γνωμικόν. διὰ δὲ τοῦ “κιχάνει τοι βραδὺς ὠκύν” ἡ παρὰ πολλοῖς παροιμία ἐστὶν “καὶ χωλῶν δρόμος·”

Schol. ad Od. 9.80

“Maleia”: “But when he was about then to come to the steep peak of the Maleains”. It is a rather high mountain in Laconia. It is a rather high, dangerous peak in Laconia, this is where we get the proverb “after rounding Malea, you forgot everything at home.”
Μάλειαν] “ἀλλ’ ὅτε δή ῥα ἔμελλε Μαλειάων ὄρος αἰπὺ ἵξεσθαι” (Od. δ, 514.). ἔστι δὲ ἀκρωτήριον τῆς Λακωνικῆς. B.E.Q. ἀκρωτήριον τῆς Λακωνικῆς λίαν ἐπικίνδυνον. ὅθεν ἡ παροιμία “Μαλέαν δὲ κάμψας ἐπιλαθοῦ τῶν οἴκαδε.” MS. Barnes.

Schol. ad Od. 14.214

“But still the reed.” There is also the proverb, “grain from the reed”
ἀλλ’ ἔμπης καλάμην] καὶ ἡ παροιμία, ἀπὸ τῆς καλάμης τὸν στάχυν. Q.

Schol ad Od. 22.9-12

“For the men…” Dionysus Thrax says in his Thoughts that the proverb “there are many things between the cup and the tip of the lip” comes from this scene. For after raising the cup, Antinoos was struck. Aristotle says this about the proverb. Angkaios, the son of Poseidon and Astupalaia, who was Samian by birth had a household servant from Krete and ordered him to bring him a drink to drink. When he saw that he was not able to drink where the grapes happened to be, Ankaios himself threatened the servants, took the cup and raised it. After he said “there are many thinks between a cup and the tip of its lip”, a curse of a great boar came to ravage the land of Ankaios. After he heard this, he pulled the cup from his lips, put it down, and ran out to face the beast, where he died. Aristotle says that the proverb developed from this story.”

ἀνδράσιν] Διονύσιος ὁ Θρᾷξ ἐν ταῖς Μελέταις φησὶ τὴν παροιμίαν “πολλὰ μεταξὺ πέλει κύλικος καὶ χείλεος ἄκρου” ἀπὸ τούτου διαδε-δόσθαι. προστιθέμενος γὰρ ᾿Αντίνοος τὸ ἔκπωμα βάλλεται. λέγει δὲ ᾿Αριστοτέλης περὶ τῆς παροιμίας οὕτως. ᾿Αγκαῖος ὁ Ποσειδῶνος καὶ ᾿Αστυπαλαίας Σάμιος ὢν τὸ γένος ἔχων οἰκέτην ἀπὸ Κρήτης ἐκέ-λευσεν αὐτῷ προσφέρειν ποτὸν πίνειν. εἰπόντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ὡς οὐ δυνήσεται πιεῖν ὅθεν ἐντεῦθεν αἱ ἄμπελοι τυγχάνουσιν, αὐτὸς ὁ ᾿Αγκαῖος κατακερτομήσας τοὺς θεράποντας ἔλαβε τὴν κύλικα καὶ προσέθετο.λέξαντος δὲ ἐκείνου “πολλὰ μεταξὺ πέλει κύλικος καὶ χείλεος ἄκρου” ἄφνω συνέβη χρῆμα συὸς μεγάλου ἐπιζαρῆσαι τοῖς τοῦ ᾿Αγκαίου χωρίοις. ἀκούσαντα δὲ αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν χειλέων τὴν κύλικα καταθεῖναι καὶ δραμεῖν ὡς τὸν ἄγριον ὗν, συμβαλόντα δὲ τῷ κάπρῳ τελευτῆσαι. ἔνθα φησὶ κατανοῆσαι τὴν παροιμίαν. V.


This version is not very clear. Here is the account from Zenobius

Zenobius, 5.71

“There are many things between the cup and the tip of the lip”. This proverb was coined for the following reason. Ankaios was a child of Poseidon who planted vines and was mean to his servants. One of his servants said that the master would have no part of the harvest. Ankaois, once the fruit had ripened, he delighted, living luxuriously, and he ordered his servant to mix [wine] for him. When he was about to raise the cup to his mouth, he reminded him of the speech. Then he spoke the line which had been uttered. While these things were being said, another servant arrived and announced that a super-big board was destroying the vineyard. Ankaos dropped his drink and rushed to the boar; he was struck by him and died. This is where the proverb comes from.

Dionysius claims that it refers to the fate of Antinoos after he was wooing Penelope. For he deid as he was lifting a cup to his lips, shot by Odysseus’ bow.”

Πολλὰ μεταξὺ πέλει κύλικος καὶ χείλεος ἄκρου: παροιμία λεχθεῖσα ἐξ αἰτίας τοιαύτης· ᾿Αγκαῖος παῖς Ποσειδῶνος φυτεύων ἀμπελῶνα βαρέως ἐπέκειτο τοῖς οἰκέταις. Εἷς δὲ τῶν οἰκετῶν ἔφη, μὴ μεταλήψεσθαι τὸν δεσπότην τοῦ καρποῦ. ῾Ο δὲ ᾿Αγκαῖος ἐπειδὴ ὁ καρπὸς ἐφθάκει, χαίρων ἐτρύφα, καὶ τὸν οἰκέτην ἐκέλευσε κεράσαι αὐτῷ. Μέλλων δὲ τὴν κύλικα προσφέρειν τῷ στόματι, ὑπεμίμνησκεν αὐτὸν τοῦ λόγου· ὁ δὲ ἔφη τὸν εἰρημένον στίχον. Τούτων ἔτι λεγομένων οἰκέτης ἦλθεν ἀπαγγέλλων,  ὡς ὑπερμεγέθης σῦς τὸν ὄρχατον λυμαίνεται. ῾Ο δὲ ᾿Αγκαῖος ἀποβαλὼν τὴν πόσιν ἐπὶ τὸν σῦν ὥρμησε καὶ πληγεὶς ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ ἐτελεύτησεν. ῞Οθεν ἡ παροιμία. Διονύσιος δέ φησιν εἰρῆσθαι αὐτὴν ἀπὸ τῆς ᾿Αντινόου μνηστευσαμένου τὴν Πηνελόπην συμφορᾶς. Προσαγόμενος γὰρ τὸ ἔκπωμα ἐτελεύτησε τοξευθεὶς παρὰ τοῦ ᾿Οδυσσέως.

Image result for ancient greek drinking cup

Porphyry on Odysseus and His Companions, Part 2

For part 1, go here

Schol. H ad Od. 1.8 ex. Porphyry

“Because he saved himself from every threat of death rushing upon him, he was also only skilled enough to save his companions from the dangers looming over him, if they would accept their own responsibility, not an excuse. But wisdom is not able to make men immortal nor can a wise man preserve them from every kind of death, but only that which is selected due to our own responsibility, if those who are with him might obey him. Nor again is the wise man able to persuade in every situation.

“He suffered much as he tried to preserve his life and the homecoming of his companions” in those deeds which safeguard against dangers, but not in those which do not occur by our own agency. And similarly in events that occur through our own choice, he would have saved them as he trusted in his own virtue if they had been capable of not dying thanks to some preordained external fortune, and from their own responsibility, even though he was especially eager, “because they perished from their own recklessness: when they went and disrespected Helios independently.

This shows that some events occur according to fortune and from external causes, over which a wise man has power, while others occur because of us and our own drive, over which a serious man may have power. But the serious man is not in control of death which is motivated externally and according to fortune, either for himself or for another, even as he will foresee from every angle the danger caused by our own fault for both himself and those who differ from him. The same man will be conspicuous in trying many things for himself and others when they do not have the same ability of thought as him. This is how to understand “he suffered many things in his heart as he tried to save his life and the homecoming of his companions.”

[This refers] to in those moments we are capable and responsible for death for ourselves, and certainly does not apply to the situations where it is not our fault. For the serious man is desirous only of things under our control and because of this he is on guard against the death that comes due to our own responsibility. But he has neither for those events motivated by external fate. For there is no control over everything subject to external fate nor even everything under our power: some of the external events overpower those things that are under our control. Some deaths issue from external causes, but others come from our own mistakes—and these especially are connected to our stupidity, because most of those who are compelled because of wickedness to chastisement by the law are condemned by their own voluntary transgressions.”


ὡς γὰρ ἑαυτὸν σώζει ἐκ παντὸς τοῦ παρ’ ἑαυτὸν ῥυόμενος θανάτου, οὕτως καὶ τοὺς ἑταίρους ἐκ τοῦ παρ’ ἑαυτὸν δύναται μόνος σοφὸς ῥύεσθαι θανάτου, εἰ τὸπαρ’ ἑαυτοὺς αἴτιον μὴ πρόφασιν ἐνδοῦναι πείσειεν· ἀθανάτους δὲ οὔτε σοφία ποιῆσαι ἐπαγγέλλεται οὔθ’ ὁ σοφὸς σώσειεν ἂν ἐκ παντὸς θανάτου, ἀλλ’ ἐκ μόνου ἄρα τοῦ παρὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν αἰτίαν ὑφισταμένου, εἰ πεισθεῖεν αὐτῷ οἱ συνόντες· οὐδὲ γὰρ οὐδὲ τοῦ πεῖσαι ἐκ παντὸς κύριος  ὁ σοφός. πολλὰ ὁ μὲν ἔπαθεν ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων ἐν τοῖς παρ’ ἑαυτῷ σωστικοῖς ἔργοις τῶν κινδύνων, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐν τοῖς μὴ παρ’ ἡμᾶς ἀποβαινόντων. καὶ ὁμοίως ἐν τοῖς παρ’ ἡμᾶς αὐτὸς μὲν ἔσωσεν ἀρετῇ πειθόμενος τοὺς δυνηθέντας ἂν μὴ διὰ τύχην

ἔξωθέν τινα καθ’ εἱμαρμένην ἀποθανεῖν, ἐκ δὲ τῆς παρ’ ἑαυτῶν αἰτίας, καίπερ πολλὰ προθυμηθεὶς, οὐκ ἔσωσεν· αὐτοὶ γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν …. ….. ἦσαν εἰς τὸν ῞Ηλιον μόνοι ἀσεβήσαντες. ἔδειξεν οὖν ὅτι τῶν συμβαινόντων τὰ μὲν παρὰ τύχην καὶ τὴν ἔξωθεν αἰτίαν, ὧν ὁ σοφὸς οὐ κύριος, τὰ δὲ παρ’ ἡμᾶς καὶ τὴν ἡμετέραν ὁρμὴν, ὧν κρατεῖν οἷός τε ὁ σπουδαῖος. καὶ θανάτου οὖν τοῦ μὲν ἔξωθεν καὶ παρὰ τὴν τύχην οὔτ’ ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῦ οὔτ’ ἐπ’ ἄλλου ὁ σπουδαῖος κύριος, τοῦ δὲ παρὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν αἰτίαν ἐκ παντὸς προνοήσεται ὁ σπουδαῖος καὶ ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν αὐτῷ διαφερόντων· καὶ περιγενόμενος ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἀποτακτήσει τὰ πολλὰ ἐπὶ ἄλλων, ὅταν μὴ τὴν αὐτὴν αὐτῷ τῆς φρονήσεως ἔχωσιν ἕξιν. ἀκουστέον οὖν τὸ

πολλὰ δ’ ὅγ’ ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ἄλγεα ὃν κατὰ θυμὸν,

ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων

ἐν τοῖς δυνατοῖς καὶ παρ’ ἡμᾶς τοῦ θανάτου αἰτίοις,,  ἀλλ’ οὐ μέντοι τοῖς μὴ παρ’ ἡμᾶς αἰτίοις· τῶν γὰρ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν μόνων ὀρεκτικὸς ὁ σπουδαῖος, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τῶν ἐξ ἡμῶν αἰτίων θανάτου φυλακτικὸς, ἀλλ’ οὐ τῶν ἔξωθεν κατὰ τὴν εἱμαρμένην αἰτίαν ἀποβαινόντων. οὔτε γὰρ πάντων ἁπαξαπλῶς τῶν ἔξωθεν αἴτια, οὔτε πάλιν τὸ ἐφ’ ἡμῶν πάντων κύριον, ἀλλ’ ὧν μὲν τὸ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν, ὧν δὲ κρατεῖ τὰ ἔξωθεν. καὶ τῶν θανάτων οἱ μὲν δι’ αἰτίας ἔξωθεν γίνονται, οἱ δὲ δι’ ἡμετέρας ἁμαρτίας, καὶ ἐκ τῆς ἀνοίας τῆς ἡμετέρας ἤρτηνται, ὡς οἵ γε πλεῖστοι τῶν διὰ κακίας εἰς κόλασιν ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου ἐπαγομένων ἠρτημένοι ἀπ’ αἰτίας τῆς ἐκ τῶν ἑκουσίων ἁμαρτημάτων. H.

Image result for Odysseus and sheep

Philosophers Hating Philosophers: Epicurus’ Insults

Diogenes Laertius, 10.8

“[Epicurus] used to call Nausiphanes a jellyfish who was illiterate, a cheat and a whore. He used to refer to Plato’s followers as the Dionysus-flatters; he called Aristotle a waste who, after he spent his interitance, fought as a mercenary and sold drugs. He maligned Protagoras as a bellboy, and called Protagoras Democritus’ secretary and a teacher from the sticks. He called Heraclitus mudman, Democritus Lerocritus [nonsense lord]. Antidorus he called Sannidôros [servile-gifter]. He named the Cynics “Greece’s enemies”; he called the dialecticians Destructionists and, according to him, Pyrrho was unlearned and unteachable.”

πλεύμονά τε αὐτὸν ἐκάλει καὶ ἀγράμματον καὶ ἀπατεῶνα καὶ πόρνην: τούς τε περὶ Πλάτωνα Διονυσοκόλακας καὶ αὐτὸν Πλάτωνα χρυσοῦν, καὶ Ἀριστοτέλη ἄσωτον, <ὃν> καταφαγόντα τὴν πατρῴαν οὐσίαν στρατεύεσθαι καὶ φαρμακοπωλεῖν: φορμοφόρον τε Πρωταγόραν καὶ γραφέα Δημοκρίτου καὶ ἐν κώμαις γράμματα διδάσκειν: Ἡράκλειτόν τε κυκητὴν καὶ Δημόκριτον Ληρόκριτον καὶ Ἀντίδωρον Σαννίδωρον: τούς τε Κυνικοὺς ἐχθροὺς τῆς Ἑλλάδος: καὶ τοὺς διαλεκτικοὺς πολυφθόρους, Πύρρωνα δ᾽ ἀμαθῆ καὶ ἀπαίδευτον.

Image result for Epicurus

Greek to Make a Man Puke

“The false quantities made by scholars would furnish a curious list. When Joshua Barnes desired his wife to devote her fortune to the publication of his edition of Homer, and at last persuaded her to do so by assuring her that the Iliad was written by Solomon, in the joy of his heart he composed some Greek hexameters. One of these he began with εὐπρᾰγίης which Bentley said was ‘ enough to make a man spew.’ (Ribbeck lately complained that Madvig’s emendations of the Latin dramatists had the like effect on him, nauseam adferunt.)”

Hugh E.P. Platt, A Last Ramble in the Classics (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1906), pp. 153-154

To Hell With Grammarians!

The following poems are taken from the Greek Anthology.  Both provide interesting possible origins for the phrase “bookworm”. A google search for the origin of the term is rather disappointing and points to book-eating species. But what if the species were named for scholars?

Philippos, 11.321

“Grammarians, children of hateful Blame, thorn-worms
Book-monsters, whelps of Zenodotus,
Soldiers of Kallimakhos, a man you project like a shield
But do not spare from your tongue,
Hunters of grievous conjunctions who take pleasure
In min or sphin* and in asking if the Cyclops kept dogs,
May you wear out your lives, wretches, muttering over the abuse
Of others. Come sink your arrow in me!”

Γραμματικοὶ Μώμου στυγίου τέκνα, σῆτες ἀκανθῶν,
τελχῖνες βίβλων, Ζηνοδότου σκύλακες,
Καλλιμάχου στρατιῶται, ὃν ὡς ὅπλον ἐκτανύσαντες,
οὐδ’ αὐτοῦ κείνου γλῶσσαν ἀποστρέφετε,
συνδέσμων λυγρῶν θηρήτορες, οἷς τὸ „μὶν” ἢ „σφὶν”
εὔαδε καὶ ζητεῖν, εἰ κύνας εἶχε Κύκλωψ,
τρίβοισθ’ εἰς αἰῶνα κατατρύζοντες ἀλιτροὶ
ἄλλων· ἐς δ’ ἡμᾶς ἰὸν ἀποσβέσατε.

Antiphanes, 11.322

“Useless race of grammarians, digging at the roots of
Someone else’s poetry, luckless worms who walk on thorns,
Perverters of great art, boasting over your Erinna*,
Bitter, parched watchdogs of Kallimakhos,
Rebukes to poets, death’s shade to children learning,
Go to hell, you fleas that secretly bite eloquent men.”

Γραμματικῶν περίεργα γένη, ῥιζωρύχα μούσης
ἀλλοτρίης, ἀτυχεῖς σῆτες ἀκανθοβάται,
τῶν μεγάλων κηλῖδες, ἐπ’ ᾿Ηρίννῃ δὲ κομῶντες,
πικροὶ καὶ ξηροὶ Καλλιμάχου πρόκυνες,
ποιητῶν λῶβαι, παισὶ σκότος ἀρχομένοισιν,
ἔρροιτ’, εὐφώνων λαθροδάκναι κόριες.

*An Alexandrian poet.


Philippus, 11.347

“Goodbye, men whose eyes have wandered over the universe,
And you thorn-counting worms of Aristarchus.
What’s it to me to examine which paths the Sun takes
Or whose son Proteus was or who was Pygmalion?
I would know as many works whose texts are clean. But let
The dark inquiry rot away the Mega-Kallimakheis!”

Χαίροιθ’, οἱ περὶ κόσμον ἀεὶ πεπλανηκότες ὄμμα
οἵ τ’ ἀπ’ ᾿Αριστάρχου σῆτες ἀκανθολόγοι.
ποῖ γὰρ ἐμοὶ ζητεῖν, τίνας ἔδραμεν ῞Ηλιος οἴμους
καὶ τίνος ἦν Πρωτεὺς καὶ τίς ὁ Πυγμαλίων;
γινώσκοιμ’, ὅσα λευκὸν ἔχει στίχον· ἡ δὲ μέλαινα
ἱστορίη τήκοι τοὺς Περικαλλιμάχους.


Two Lives of Homer, One Rather Strange

The first ‘life’ of Homer listed below is extremely strange. The other is a rather short but typical variation on the others. For some additional “lives” see earlier posts.


Life of Homer 7 (Allen; Eustathius Comm. Ad. Od. 1713.17)

“Alexander the Paphian records that Homer was the son of Aithra and Dmasagoras, Egyptians and that his nurse was a prophetess, a certain daughter of Oros, a priest of Isis, from whose breasts once flowed honey into the child’s mouth. Then the child uttered nine voices during the night: a swallow’s, a peacock’s, a dove’s, a crow’s, a partridge’s, a water hen’s, a starling’s, a nightingale’s, and a blackbird’s.

The child was found playing with nine doves on his bed along with the Sybil who was being entertained among the child’s doves and had been inspired to improvise epic lines which began “Dmasagoras, man of much victory…” in which she also addressed Homer’s father as “very-famous” and “prince” and ordered him to build a temple for the nine Pierian Muses. And she was revealing the muses to him [Dmasagoras].Then he did that [what she ordered] and showed the accomplishment to the human child. And thus the poet reverenced the animals he played with as a child and he made the doves carry ambrosia to Zeus.”

᾿Αλέξανδρος δὲ ὁ Πάφιος ἱστορεῖ τὸν ῞Ομηρον υἱὸν Αἰγυπτίων Δμασαγόρου καὶ Αἴθρας· τροφὸν δὲ αὐτοῦ προφῆτίν τινα θυγατέρα ῎Ωρου ἱερέως ῎Ισιδος, ἧς ἐκ τῶνμαστῶν μέλι ῥεῦσαί ποτε εἰς τὸ στόμα τοῦ παιδίου. καὶ τὸ βρέφος ἐν νυκτὶ φωνὰς ἐννέα προέσθαι· χελιδόνος, ταῶνος, περιστερᾶς, κορώνης, πέρδικος, πορφυρίωνος, ψαρός, ἀηδόνος καὶ κοττύφου. εὑρεθῆναί τε τὸ παιδίον μετὰ περιστερῶν ἐννέα παῖζον ἐπὶ τῆς κλίνης, εὐωχουμένην δὲ παρὰ τοῖς τοῦ παιδὸς τὴν Σίβυλλαν ἐμμανῆ γεγονυῖαν ἔπη σχεδιάσαι, ὧν ἀρχὴ
Δμασαγόρα πολύνικε,

ἐν οἷς καὶ μεγακλεῆ καὶ στεφανίτην αὐτὸν προσειπεῖν, καὶ ναὸν κτίσαι κελεῦσαι ἐννέα Πιερίδων· ἐδήλου δὲ τὰς μούσας. τὸν δὲ καὶ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι καὶ τῷ παιδὶ ἀνδρωθέντι ἐξειπεῖν τὸ πρᾶγμα. καὶ τὸν ποιητὴν οὕτω σεμνῦναι τὰ ζῷα οἷς βρέφος ὢν συνέπαιζε, καὶ ποιῆσαι αὐτὰ τῷ Διὶ τὴν ἀμβροσίαν κομίζοντα.


Life of Homer 4 (Allen; 8 Most, Vita Scorialensis 1)
“Homer, the poet, was the son of Maiôn and Hurnetho, according to some. According to others, he was the son of Melês. Others attribute his lineage to Kalliopê the Muse. They say that he was named Melêsigenes or Melianaks, but after he was blinded he was named Homer—for the Aeolians call blind people “Homers”. Some say his country was Smyrna, others say it was Khios; even others say Kolophôn and some claim it is Athens. He traveled around singing his poems. Later, Peisistratos gathered together his poems, as this epigram shows:

The people of Erektheus ran me out of town after I was a tyrant
Three times and took me back three times.
Peisistratos, tremendous in councils, who gathered up
all the Homer that was sung separately before.
That golden one is our citizen
If we believe that Athens founded Smyrna

They say that he died after starving himself due to grief on the island Ios because he could solve the riddle which was posed to him by the fishermen. When he encountered them he asked: “Fisherman from Arcadia, what do you have?”
And they answered: “However much we caught, we left behind; but whatever we didn’t, we bring.”

And written on his gravestome is:

Here the earth covers over this sacred head,
The master of heroic men, godly Homer.”

῞Ομηρος ὁ ποιητὴς υἱὸς ἦν κατὰ μέν τινας Μαίονος καὶ ῾Υρνηθοῦς, κατὰ δ’ ἐνίους Μέλητος τοῦ ποταμοῦ καὶ Κριθηίδος νύμφης. ἄλλοι δ’ αὐτοῦ τὸ γένος εἰς Καλλιόπην τὴν Μοῦσαν ἀναφέρουσιν. φασὶ δ’ αὐτὸν Μελησιγένη ἢ Μελησιάνακτα κεκλῆσθαι, τυφλωθέντα δ’ αὐτὸν ὕστερον ῞Ομηρον κληθῆναι· οἱ γὰρ Αἰολεῖς τοὺς τυφλοὺς ὁμήρους καλοῦσιν. πατρίδα δ’ αὐτοῦ οἱ μὲν Σμύρναν, οἱ δὲ Χίον, οἱ δὲ Κολοφῶνα, οἱ δ’ ᾿Αθήνας λέγουσιν. περιιὼν δὲ τὰς πόλεις ᾖδε τὰ ποιήματα. ὕστερον δὲ Πεισίστρατος αὐτὰ συνήγαγεν, ὡς τὸ ἐπίγραμμα τοῦτο δηλοῖ·

τρίς με τυραννήσαντα τοσαυτάκις ἐξεδίωξε
δῆμος ᾿Ερεχθῆος καὶ τρὶς ἐπηγάγετο,
τὸν μέγαν ἐν βουλαῖς Πεισίστρατον ὃς τὸν ῞Ομηρον
ἤθροισα σποράδην τὸ πρὶν ἀειδόμενον·
ἡμέτερος γὰρ κεῖνος ὁ χρύσεος ἦν πολιήτης
εἴπερ ᾿Αθηναῖοι Σμύρναν ἐπῳκίσαμεν.

φασὶ δ’ αὐτὸν ἐν ῎Ιῳ τῇ νήσῳ διὰ λύπην ἀποκαρτερήσαντα τελευτῆσαι διὰ τὸ μὴ λῦσαι τὸ ζήτημα τὸ ὑπὸ τῶν ἁλιέων αὐτῷ προτεθέν. ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἐπιστὰς ἤρετο·
ἄνδρες ἀπ’ ᾿Αρκαδίης ἁλιήτορες ἦ ῥ’ ἔχομέν τι;
οἱ δ’ ἀπεκρίναντο·
ὅσσ’ ἕλομεν λιπόμεσθ’, ὅσα δ’ οὐχ ἕλομεν φερόμεσθα.
ἐπιγέγραπται δ’ ἐν τῷ μνήματι αὐτοῦ
ἐνθάδε τὴν ἱερὴν κεφαλὴν κατὰ γαῖα καλύπτει
ἀνδρῶν ἡρώων κοσμήτορα, θεῖον ῞Ομηρον.