Handbook of Homeric Study

Front Cover
General Books LLC, 2009 - 246 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1905 Excerpt: ... 3. The Poems among the Greeks The early traditions about Homer in historical times were vague and have for us merely an indirect importance. There appears to have been a Traditional In-consensus among the Greeks that they traduction of the had derived the poems from the Ionian PGerwcent0 colonies of Asia Minor, as indeed the dialects in which they received them would also suggest. One tradition attributed their importation into Greece to Lycurgus, who was reputed to have been King of Sparta about the first Olympiad, or B.C. 776. As, however, so many impossible things were related of Lycurgus, whose very existence has been (perhaps rashly) called in question by modern critics, this statement is not of much importance. Still, it testifies to a rooted belief in the great antiquity of the poems. Herodotus, as we have seen, confirms this by stating with some emphasis that the poems were not more than four hundred years prior to himself, as though combating a view that they were far older. This would bring them, roughly speaking, to a generation before the supposed date of Lycurgus. In considering this question it is necessary at the outset to point out that references to Homer need not necessarily apply to our Iliad and Odyssey in any form, still less to the precise text which has come down to us. According to Herodotus, about a century and a half before his own date the tyrant of Sicyon, Cleisthenes, objected to the public recitation of the poems because they made too much of the city of his rivals, the Argives. This seems to point to the Iliad,1 which makes the title 'Argive' synonymous with 'Greek, ' and it seems to 1 It is true that Grote and other critics deny this, and attribute the reference to the cyclic poem the Thebais--a gratuitous and unnecessa...

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