Proclus, Life of Homer
m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus
ΠΡΟΚΛΟΥ ΧΡΗΣΤΟΜΑΘΙΑΣ ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΙΚΗΣ ΤΟ Ᾱ
ΟΜΗΡΟΥ ΧΡΟΝΟΙ, ΒΙΟΣ, ΧΑΡΑΚΤΗΡ, ΑΝΑΓΡΑΦΗ ΠΟΙΗΜΑΤΩΝ
1 Ἐπῶν ποιηταὶ γεγόνασι πολλοί· τούτων δ’ εἰσὶ κράτιστοι Ὅμηρος, Ἡσίοδος, Πείσανδρος, Πανύασσις, Ἀντίμαχος.
2 Ὅμηρος μὲν οὖν τίνων γονέων ἢ ποίας ἐγένετο πατρίδος, οὐ ῥάιδιον ἀποφήνασθαι· οὔτε γὰρ αὐτός τι λελάληκεν, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ οἱ περὶ αὐτοῦ εἰπόντες συμπεφωνήκασιν, ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ μηδὲν ῥητῶς ἐμφαίνειν περὶ τούτων τὴν ποίησιν αὐτοῦ, μετὰ πολλῆς ἀδείας ἕκαστος οἷς ἠβούλετο ἠβούλετο m: ἐβούλετο m ἐχαρίσατο. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οἳ μὲν Κολοφώνιον αὐτὸν ἀνηγόρευσαν, οἳ δὲ Χῖον, οἳ δὲ Σμυρναῖον, οἳ δὲ Ἰήτην, ἄλλοι δὲ Κυμαῖον, καὶ καθόλου πᾶσα πόλις ἀντιποιεῖται τἀνδρός, ὅθεν εἰκότως ἂν κοσμοπολίτης λέγοιτο.
3 οἱ μὲν οὖν Σμυρναῖον αὐτὸν ἀποφαινόμενοι Μαίονος μὲν πατρὸς λέγουσιν εἶναι, γεννηθῆναι δὲ ἐπὶ Μέλητος τοῦ ποταμοῦ, ὅθεν καὶ Μελησιγένη ὀνομασθῆναι· δοθέντα δὲ Χίοις εἰς ὁμηρείαν Ὅμηρον κληθῆναι. οἳ δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν ὀμμάτων πηρώσεως τούτου τυχεῖν αὐτόν φασι τοῦ ὀνόματος· τοὺς γὰρ τυφλοὺς ὑπὸ Αἰολέων ὁμήρους καλεῖσθαι.
4 Ἑλλάνικος FGrHist 4 F 5b = fr. 5 Fowler δὲ καὶ Δαμάστης FGrHist 5 F 11b = fr. 11 Fowler καὶ Φερεκύδης FGrHist 3 F 167 = fr. 167 Fowler εἰς Ὀρφέα τὸ γένος ἀνάγουσιν αὐτοῦ. Μαίονα γάρ φασι τὸν Ὁμήρου πατέρα καὶ Δῖον τὸν Ἡσιόδου γενέσθαι Ἀπέλλιδος τοῦ Μελανώπου τοῦ Ἐπιφράδεος τοῦ Χαριφήμου τοῦ Φιλοτέρπεος τοῦ Ἰδμονίδα τοῦ Εὐκλέους τοῦ Δωρίωνος τοῦ Ὀρφέως. Γοργίας δὲ ὁ Λεοντῖνος 82 Β 25 D.-K. εἰς Μουσαῖον αὐτὸν ἀνάγει.
5 περὶ δὲ τῆς τελευτῆς αὐτοῦ λόγος τις φέρεται τοιοῦτος. ἀνελεῖν φασιν αὐτῶι τὸν θεὸν χρωμένωι περὶ ἀσφαλείας τάδε· AP 14.65; St. Byz. s.v. Ἴος; Ps.-Plut. Vit. Hom. 1.4; Cert. 5; Paus. 10.24 (add. AP 14.66.1-2)
ἔστιν Ἴος νῆσος μητρὸς πατρίς, ἥ σε θανόντα
δέξεται· ἀλλὰ νέων ἀνδρῶν ἀνδρῶν M, Ps.-Plut.: παίδων Cert. αἴνιγμα φύλαξαι.
λέγουσιν οὖν αὐτὸν εἰς Ἴον πλεύσαντα διατρῖψαι μὲν παρὰ Κρεοφύλωι Κρεοφύλωι m: Κρεωφύλωι m, γράψαντα δὲ Οἰχαλίας ἅλωσιν τούτωι χαρίσασθαι· ἥτις νῦν ὡς Κρεοφύλου Κρεοφύλου m: Κρεωφύλου m περιφέρεται. καθεζόμενον ἐπί τινος ἀκτῆς θεασάμενον ἁλιεῖς προσειπεῖν αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀνακρῖναι τοῖσδε τοῖς ἔπεσιν· Cert. 18, Tzetz. Exeg. in Il. 37, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3, Anon. Vit. Hom. 3.5
ἄνδρες ἀπ’ Ἀρκαδίης θηρήτορες θηρήτορες m, Cert., Tz.: ἁλιήτορες m, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3, Anon. Vit. Hom. 3.5,ἦ ῥ’ ἦ ῥ’ m: ἆρ’ m. ἔχομέν τι;
ὑποτυχόντα δὲ αὐτῶν ἕνα εἰπεῖν· Cert. 18, P.Mich. inv. 2754 ll. 2-3, Ps.-Hdt. Vit. Hom. 35, Anon. Vit. Hom. 1.6, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3, Anon. Vit. Hom. 3.5, Ps.-Plut. Vit. Hom. 1.4, Suda s.v. Ὅμηρος
οὓς ἕλομεν λιπόμεσθ’, οὓς δ’ οὐχ ἕλομεν φερόμεσθα.
οὐκ ἐπιβάλλοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ διελέσθαι τὸ αἴνιγμα, ὅτι ἐπὶ ἰχθυΐαν καταβάντες ἀφήμαρτον, φθειρισάμενοι δὲ ὅσους μὲν ἔλαβον τῶν φθειρῶν ἀποκτείναντες ἀπολείπουσιν, ὅσοι δὲ αὐτοὺς διέφυγον, τούτους ἀποκομίζουσιν, οὕτω δ’ ἐκεῖνον ἀθυμήσαντα σύννουν ἀπιέναι, τοῦ χρησμοῦ ἔννοιαν λαμβάνοντα, καὶ οὕτως ὀλισθέντα περιπταῖσαι λίθωι, καὶ τριταῖον τελευτῆσαι. ἀλλὰ δὴ ταῦτα μὲν πολλῆς ἔχεται ζητήσεως, ἵνα δὲ μηδὲ τούτων ἄπειρος ὑπάρχηις, διὰ τοῦτο εἰς ταῦτα κεχώρηκα.
6 τυφλὸν δὲ ὅσοι τοῦτον ἀπεφήναντο αὐτοί μοι δοκοῦσι τὴν διάνοιαν πεπηρῶσθαι· τοσαῦτα γὰρ κατεῖδεν ἄνθρωπος ὅσα οὐδεὶς κατεῖδεν ἄνθρωπος ὅσα οὐδεὶς m: κατεῖδεν ὅσα οὐδεὶς ἅνθρωπος m πώποτε. εἰσὶ δὲ οἵτινες ἀνεψιὸν αὐτὸν Ἡσιόδου παρέδοσαν, ἀτριβεῖς ὄντες ποιήσεως· τοσοῦτον γὰρ ἀπέχουσι τοῦ γένει προσήκειν ὅσον ἡ ποίησις διέστηκεν αὐτῶν. ἄλλως δὲ οὐδὲ τοῖς χρόνοις συνεπέβαλον ἀλλήλοις. ἄθλιοι δὲ οἱ τὸ αἴνιγμα πλάσαντες τοῦτο·
Ἡσίοδος Μούσαις Ἑλικωνίσι τόνδ’ ἀνέθηκεν,
ὕμνωι νικήσας ἐν Χαλκίδι θεῖον Ὅμηρον. AP 7.53, D. Chr. Or. 2.11, Cert. 13, P.Freib. 1.1b
ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἐπλανήθησαν ἐκ τῶν Ἡσιοδείων Ἡμερῶν· ἕτερον γάρ τι σημαίνει.
7 τοῖς δὲ χρόνοις αὐτὸν οἱ μὲν περὶ τὸν Ἀρίσταρχόν φασι γενέσθαι κατὰ τὴν τῆς Ἰωνίας ἀποικίαν, ἥτις ὑστερεῖ τῆς Ἡρακλειδῶν καθόδου ἔτεσιν ἑξήκοντα· τὸ δὲ περὶ τοὺς Ἡρακλείδας λείπεται τῶν Τρωικῶν ἔτεσιν ὀγδοήκοντα. οἱ δὲ περὶ Κράτητα ἀνάγουσιν αὐτὸν εἰς τοὺς Τρωικοὺς χρόνους.
8 φαίνεται δὲ γηραιὸς ἐκλελοιπὼς τὸν βίον· ἡ γὰρ ἀνυπέρβλητος ἀκρίβεια τῶν πραγμάτων προβεβηκυῖαν ἡλικίαν παρίστησι. πολλὰ δὲ ἐπεληλυθὼς μέρη τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐκ τῆς πολυπειρίας τῶν τόπων εὑρίσκεται. τούτωι δὲ προσυπονοητέον καὶ πλούτου πολλὴν περιουσίαν γενέσθαι· αἱ γὰρ μακραὶ ἀποδημίαι πολλῶν δέονται ἀναλωμάτων, καὶ ταῦτα κατ’ ἐκείνους τοὺς χρόνους οὔτε πάντων πλεομένων ἀκινδύνως οὔτε ἐπιμισγομένων ἀλλήλοις πω τῶν ἀνθρώπων ῥαιδίως.
9 γέγραφε δὲ ποιήσεις δύο, Ἰλιάδα καὶ Ὀδύσσειαν, ἣν Ξένων καὶ Ἑλλάνικος ἀφαιροῦνται αὐτοῦ. οἱ μέντοι γε ἀρχαῖοι καὶ τὸν Κύκλον ἀναφέρουσιν εἰς αὐτόν. προστιθέασι δ’ αὐτῶι καὶ παίγνιά τινα· Μαργίτην, Βατραχομαχίαν ἢ Μυομαχίαν, †ἕν τε πακτίον αἶγα†, Κέρκωπας, Κενούς.
From the first book of Proclus’ Chrestomathy:
Homer’s date, life, character, catalogue of poems.
1 The epic poets have been many: the greatest of them are Homer, Hesiod, Peisander, Panyassis, and Antimachus.
2 As far as Homer is concerned, it is not easy to demonstrate his parentage or his country of origin, for he himself said nothing, nor are those who have spoken about him in agreement; but as his poetry makes no definite statements on these matters, all have indulged their fantasies without restraint. And for this reason some claimed that he was a Colophonian, some a Chian, some a Smyrnaean, some a man of Ios, some a Cymaean, and, in general, every city lays claim to the man, so that he could reasonably be said to be a citizen of the world.
3 Those who claim that he is a Smyrnaean say that his father was Maeon, and that he was born by the river Meles, from which he was given the name Melesigenes; but having been given to the Chians as a hostage (homeros), he was named Homer. Others say that he got the name from his loss of sight, for, as they say, the blind are called homeroi by the Aeolians.
4 Hellanicus, Damastes and Pherecydes trace his descent back to Orpheus. They say that Maeon, Homer’s father, and Dius, Hesiod’s father, were sons of Apelles, the son of Melanopus, the son of Epiphrades, the son of Chariphemus, the son of Philoterpes, the son of Idmonides, the son of Eucles, the son of Dorion, the son of Orpheus. Gorgias of Leontini traces his ancestry back to Musaeus.
5 About his death the following story is told. They say that when Homer consulted the god about his safety, he responded:
There is an island, Ios, hometown of your mother, which will receive you after you die; but beware the riddle of the young men.
So they say that he sailed to Ios and spent time with Creophilus, and having written the Capture of Oechalia he gave it to him as a gift; it now circulates as Creophilus’ own work. While he was sitting on the shore he saw some fishermen, and he addressed them and made the following enquiry in verse:
Huntsmen from Arcadia, have we caught anything?
And one of them said in reply:
What we caught we left behind, what we did not catch we carry with us.
He did not understand the solution to the riddle, that they had failed when they went fishing but had deloused themselves, and the lice that they had caught they had killed and left behind, whereas those that had escaped they carried away; and so he became despondent and went away deep in thought, having grasped the meaning of the oracle, and in this state he slipped and fell on a stone, and he died on the third day. These matters certainly require a lot of research – however, I have explored them so that even here you may not be uninformed.
6 All those who have claimed that he was blind were themselves, in my opinion, intellectually blind. For that man saw more than anyone else ever. There are some who claimed that he was Hesiod’s cousin, but they are only amateurs in matters of poetry, for they are as distant in lineage as their poetry is different. Besides, they were not contemporaries either. Wretched were those who invented this riddle:
Hesiod dedicated this to the Heliconian Muses when he defated divine Homer in song at Chalcis.
They were in fact misled by the Hesiodic Days; for the verses have a different meaning.
7 As for his chronology, the followers of Aristarchus say that he was born at the time of the Ionian migration, which postdates the return of the Heraclids by sixty years; the return of the Heraclids was eighty years after the Trojan War. The followers of Crates trace him back to the time of the Trojan War.
8 It is clear that he was old when he died; for his exceptional precision in circumstantial details is indicative of an advanced age. That he travelled very widely may be inferred from his extensive geographical knowledge. One may also assume that he had significant financial resources; for long journeys entail great expenses, and this was especially true in his day, when it was not possible for all to sail in safety, nor was it easy for people to visit each other.
9 He has written two poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, although Xenon and Hellanicus reject his authorship of the latter. The ancients, however, also ascribe to him the Cycle, and some credit him with some playful poems as well: the Margites, the Batrachomachia or Myomachia, †The goat …†, the Cercopes, and Empty.