Anonymous, Life of Homer 1 (Vita Romana / Vita Homeri VI)
m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus
1 Τὸ μὲν ἄντικρυς εἰπεῖν διισχυρισάμενον τήνδε τινὰ σαφῶς εἶναι τὴν Ὁμήρου γένεσιν ἢ πόλιν χαλεπόν, μᾶλλον δὲ ἀδύνατον εἶναι νομίζω· ἀναγκαῖον δὲ καταριθμῆσαι τὰς ἀντιποιουμένας τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ πόλεις, τό τε γένος ἐξειπεῖν τὸ ἀμφισβητήσιμον τοῦ ποιητοῦ.
2 Ἀναξιμένης FGrHist 72 F 30 μὲν οὖν καὶ Δαμάστης Fr. 11 Fowler καὶ Πίνδαρος ὁ μελοποιὸς Fr. 264 Snell-Maehler Χῖον αὐτὸν ἀποφαίνονται, καὶ Θεόκριτος ἐν τοῖς Ἐπιγράμμασιν Cf. AP 9.434· ὁ δὲ Δαμάστης καὶ δέκατον αὐτὸν ἀπὸ Μουσαίου φησὶ γεγονέναι. Ἱππίας FGrHist 6 F 13 δ’ αὖ καὶ Ἔφορος FGrHist 70 F 99 Κυμαῖον· ὁ δ’ Ἔφορος καὶ εἰς Χαρίφημον ἀνάγει τὸ γένος αὐτοῦ, ὁ δὲ Χαρίφημος οὗτος Κύμην ὤικισε. Τιμόμαχος FGrHist 754 F 2 δὲ καὶ Ἀριστοτέλης Fr. 76 Rose ἐξ Ἴου τῆς νήσου. κατὰ δ’ Ἀντίμαχον Fr. 130 Wyss Κολοφώνιος· κατὰ δὲ Στησίμβροτον τὸν Θάσιον FGrHist 107 F 22 Σμυρναῖος· κατὰ Φιλόχορον FGrHist 328 F 209 δ’ Ἀργεῖος· κατὰ Καλλικλέα FGrHist 758 F 13 δὲ τῆς ἐν Κύπρωι Σαλαμῖνος. Ἀριστόδημος δ’ ὁ Νυσαεὺς FHG iii.307 Ῥωμαῖον αὐτὸν ἀποδείκνυσιν ἔκ τινων ἐθῶν παρὰ Ῥωμαίοις μόνον γινομένων, τοῦτο μὲν ἐκ τῆς τῶν πεσσῶν παιδιᾶς, τοῦτο δ’ ἐκ τοῦ ἐπανίστασθαι τῶν θάκων τοὺς ἥσσονας τῶν βελτιόνων ἡκόντων τῶν βελτιόνων ἡκόντων West: τῶν βελτίστων ἑκόντας M· ἃ καὶ νῦν ἔτι φυλάσσεται παρὰ Ῥωμαίοις ἔθη. ἄλλοι δὲ Αἰγύπτιον αὐτὸν εἶπον διὰ τὸ [ἠ] παράγειν τοὺς ἥρωας ἐκ στόματος ἀλλήλους φιλοῦντας, ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἔθος τοῖς Αἰγυπτίοις ποιεῖν.
3 πατρὸς δὲ κατὰ μὲν Στησίμβροτόν FGrHist 107 F 22 addendum ἐστι Μαίονος τοῦ Ἀπέλλιδος καὶ μητρὸς Ὑρνηθοῦς ἢ Κρηθηίδος, κατὰ δὲ Δείναρχον Κρήθωνος, κατὰ δὲ Δημοκρίνην Ἀλήμονος, κατὰ δὲ τοὺς πλείστους Μέλητος τοῦ κατὰ Σμύρναν ποταμοῦ, ὃς ἐπ’ ὀλίγον ῥέων εὐθέως εἰς τὴν παρακειμένην θάλασσαν ἐκδίδωσιν. Ἀριστοτέλης Fr. 76 Rose δ’ ἱστορεῖν φησιν Ἰήτας Ἰήτας Sittl: λητάς M ἔκ τινος δαίμονος γεγεννῆσθαι τὸν Ὅμηρον ταῖς Μούσαις συγχορεύσαντος.
4 περὶ δὲ τῶν χρόνων καθ’ οὓς ἤκμασεν ἤκμασεν Piccolomini: ἤκουεν M, ὧδε λέγεται. Ἡρακλείδης Fr. 177 Wehrli μὲν οὖν αὐτὸν ἀποδείκνυσι πρεσβύτερον Ἡσιόδου· <Π>ύρανδρος FHG iv.486 δὲ καὶ Ὑψικράτης ὁ Ἀμισηνὸς FGrHist 190 F 5 ἡλικιώτην. Κράτης δ’ὁ Μαλλώτης p. 40 Wachsmuth μετὰ ἑξήκοντα ἔτη τοῦ Ἰλιακοῦ πολέμου φησὶν ἀκμάσαι· Ἐρατοσθένης FGrHist 241 F 9 δὲ μετὰ ἑκατὸν τῆς Ἰώνων ἀποικίας· Ἀπολλόδωρος FGrHist 244 F 63 δὲ μετὰ ὀγδοήκοντα.
5 ἐκαλεῖτο δ’ ἐκ γενετῆς <Μελησιγένης> <Μελησιγένης> Lascaris (μελισσογενής) ἢ Μελησαγόρας, αὖθις δ’ Ὅμηρος ἐλέχθη κατὰ τὴν Λεσβίων διάλεκτον ἕνεκεν τῆς περὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς συμφορᾶς· οὗτοι γὰρ τοὺς τυφλοὺς ὁμήρους λέγουσιν. ἢ διότι παῖς ὢν ὅμηρον ἐδόθη βασιλεῖ, ὅ ἐστιν ἐνέχυρον. τυφλωθῆναι δ’ αὐτὸν οὕτω πως λέγουσιν· ἐλθόντα γὰρ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀχιλλέως τάφον εὔξασθαι θεάσασθαι τὸν ἥρωα τοιοῦτον ὁποῖος προῆλθεν ἐπὶ τὴν μάχην τοῖς δευτέροις ὅπλοις κεκοσμημένος· ὀφθέντος δὲ αὐτῶι τοῦ Ἀχιλλέως τυφλωθῆναι τὸν Ὅμηρον ὑπὸ τῆς τῶν ὅπλων αὐγῆς· ἐλεηθέντα δὲ ὑπὸ Θέτιδος καὶ Μουσῶν τιμηθῆναι πρὸς αὐτῶν τῆι ποιητικῆι. ἄλλοι δέ φασι τοῦτο αὐτὸν πεπονθέναι διὰ μῆνιν τῆς Ἑλένης ὀργισθείσης αὐτῶι διότι εἶπεν αὐτὴν καταλελοιπέναι μὲν τὸν πρότερον ἄνδρα, ἠκολουθηκέναι δ’ Ἀλεξάνδρωι· οὕτως γοῦν < . . . > Wilamowitz West indic. lac. ὅτι καὶ παρέστη αὐτῶι, φησίν, νυκτὸς ἡ ψυχὴ τῆς ἡρωίνης παραινοῦσα καῦσαι τὰς ποιήσεις αὑτοῦ, < . . . > εἰ τοῦτο ποιήσοι †πρόσχοι† †πρόσχοι† Wilamowitz· τὸν δὲ μὴ ἀνασχέσθαι ποιῆσαι τοῦτο.
6 ἀποθανεῖν δὲ αὐτὸν λέγουσιν ἐν Ἴωι τῆι νήσωι ἀμηχανίαι περιπεσόντα, ἐπειδήπερ τῶν παίδων τῶν ἁλιέων οὐχ οἷός τε ἐγένετο αἴνιγμα λῦσαι. ἔστι δὲ τοῦτο· Cert. 18, P.Mich. inv. 2754 ll. 2-3, Ps.-Hdt. Vit. Hom. 35, Procl. Vit. Hom. 5, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3, Anon. Vit. Hom. 3.5, Ps.-Plut. Vit. Hom. 1.4, Suda s.v. Ὅμηρος.
ἅσσ’ ἕλομεν λιπόμεσθ’, ἅσσ’ οὐχ ἕλομεν φερόμεσθα.
καὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῶι τάφωι ἐπιγέγραπται ἐπίγραμμα τοῦτο· Cert. 18, P.Mich. inv. 2754 ll. 11-12, AP 7.3, Ps.-Hdt. Vit. Hom. 36, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3, Anon. Vit. Hom. 3.5, Ps.-Plut. Vit. Hom. 1.4, Suda s.v. Ὅμηρος, Tzetz. Exeg. in Il. 37
ἐνθάδε τὴν ἱερὴν κεφαλὴν κατὰ γαῖα καλύπτει,
ἀνδρῶν ἡρώων κοσμήτορα θεῖον Ὅμηρον.
Life of Homer
1 I think it is difficult – indeed impossible – to confidently and categorically claim a particular origin or city for Homer; rather, it is necessary to recount the cities that contend for his birth, and to declare the poet’s disputed lineage.
2 Anaximenes, Damastes and Pindar the lyric poet make him a Chian, and so does Theocritus in his Epigrams; Damastes even says that he was born in the tenth generation from Musaeus. Hippias and Ephorus, by contrast, make him a Cymaean; Ephorus even traces his lineage back to Chariphemus, who colonised Cyme. Timomachus and Aristotle say that he was from the island of Ios. According to Antimachus he was a Colophonian, according to Stesimbrotus of Thasos a Smyrnaean, according to Philochorus an Argive, and according to Callicles, from Salamis in Cyprus. Aristodemus of Nysa maintains that he is a Roman on the basis of certain customs that are found only among the Romans, on the one hand from the game of pessoi, and on the other from the way in which inferiors rise from their seats when superiors arrive. These customs are still preserved among the Romans. Others have asserted that he was an Egyptian because he represents the heroes kissing one another on the mouth, as is customary among the Egyptians.
3 According to Stesimbrotus, his father was Maeon son of Apelles; his mother, Hyrnetho or Cretheis. According to Dinarchus he was Crethon, according to Democrines Alemon; according to most authors, Meles, the river in Smyrna which flows over a short distance before emptying itself at once into the adjacent sea. Aristotle states that the people of Ios record that Homer was born from a demon who danced with the Muses.
4 Concerning the time of his floruit, the following is said. Heraclides makes him older than Hesiod; Pyrander and Hypsicrates of Amisos make them contemporaries. Crates of Mallos says that he flourished sixty years after the Trojan war; Eratosthenes, one hundred years after the Ionian migration; Apollodorus, eighty.
5 He was called from birth Melesigenes or Melesagoras, but later on he was named Homer in the Lesbian dialect because of the misfortune that befell his eyes – for the Lesbians call the blind homeroi. (Alternatively, he received the name) because, when he was a child, he was given to the king as a homeros, that is a hostage. They say that he became blind in the following way: when he went to the tomb of Achilles, he prayed that he might see the hero just as he was when he proceeded to battle adorned in his second set of armour. When he saw Achilles, Homer was blinded by the gleam of his armour; but Thetis and the Muses, feeling pity for him, honoured him with the gift of poetry. Others say that he suffered this affliction as a result of Helen’s rage, since she was angry at him for saying that she had left her first husband and followed Alexander; so then, <…> says that the soul of the heroine actually came to him in the night, urging him to burn his poems, <…> if he were to do this, †he would excel†. But he could not tolerate to do so.
6 They say he died on the island of Ios after finding himself at a loss, since he was not able to solve the riddle of the young fishermen. It goes like this:
What we caught we left behind, what we did not catch we carry with us.
And on his tomb the following epigram is inscribed:
Here the earth covers the sacred head, adorner of warrior heroes, divine Homer.