Anonymous, Life of Homer 3 (Vita Scorialensis ΙΙ / Vita Homeri V)
m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus
1 Ὅμηρος ὁ ποιητὴς πατρὸς μὲν ἦν Μέλητος, μητρὸς δὲ Κριθηίδος, τὸ γένος κατὰ μὲν Πίνδαρον Fr. 264 Snell-Maehler Σμυρναῖος, κατὰ δὲ Σιμωνίδην Eleg. 19.1 Χῖος, κατὰ δ’ Ἀντίμαχον Fr. 130 Wyss καὶ Νίκανδρον Fr. 14 Schneider Κολοφώνιος, κατὰ δὲ Βακχυλίδην Fr. 48 Snell καὶ Ἀριστοτέλην τὸν φιλόσοφον Fr. 76 Rose Ἰήτης, κατὰ δ’ Ἔφορον FGrHist 70 F 99 καὶ τοὺς ἱστορικοὺς Κυμαῖος, κατὰ δ’ Ἀρίσταρχον καὶ Διονύσιον τὸν Θρᾶικα Ἀθηναῖος. τινὲς δὲ καὶ Σαλαμίνιον αὐτὸν εἶναί φασιν, ἄλλοι δ’ Ἀργεῖον, ἄλλοι δ’ Αἰγύπτιον ἀπὸ Θηβῶν.
2 τοῖς δὲ χρόνοις κατὰ μέν τινας πρὸ τῆς τῶν Ἡρακλειδῶν ἐγένετο καθόδου, ὥστε ἕνεκεν τούτου γινώσκεσθαι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τοὺς ἐπὶ Ἴλιον στρατεύσαντας· τὰ γάρ ἀπὸ τῶν Τρωικῶν ἐπὶ τὴν κάθοδον τῶν Ἡρακλειδῶν ὀγδοήκοντα ἔτη. τοῦτο δὲ ἀπίθανον ὑπάρχει· καὶ γὰρ αὐτὸς ὁ Ὅμηρος ὑστεροῦντα πολλοῖς χρόνοις ἑαυτὸν ἀποδείκνυσι λέγων·
ἡμεῖς δὲ κλέος οἶον ἀκούομεν οὐδέ τι ἴδμεν. Hom. Il. 2.486
τινὲς δὲ λέγουσιν αὐτὸν τῆς Ἰωνικῆς ἀποικίας ἀπολείπεσθαι ἔτεσιν ἑκατὸν πεντήκοντα.
3 οὐδὲν δὲ αὐτοῦ θετέον ἔξω τῆς Ἰλιάδος καὶ τῆς Ὀδυσσείας, ἀλλὰ τοὺς Ὕμνους καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν εἰς αὐτὸν ἀναφερομένων ποιημάτων ἡγητέον ἀλλότρια καὶ τῆς φύσεως καὶ τῆς δυνάμεως ἕνεκα. τινὲς δὲ αὐτοῦ φασιν εἶναι καὶ τὰ φερομένα δύο συγγράμματα, τήν τε Βατραχομυομαχίαν Βατραχομυομαχίαν m: Μυοβατραχομαχίαν m καὶ τὸν Μαργίτην.
4 τὰ δὲ ποιήματα αὐτοῦ τὰ ἀληθῆ σποράδην πρότερον ἀιδόμενα Πεισίστρατος Ἀθηναῖος συνέταξεν, ὡς δηλοῖ τὸ φερόμενον ἐπίγραμμα Ἀθήνησιν ἐπιγεγραμμένον ἐν εἰκόνι αὐτοῦ τοῦ Πεισιστράτου. ἔχει δὲ ὧδε· Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.2, AP 11.442
τρίς με τυραννήσαντα τοσαυτάκις ἐξεκύλισε ἐξεκύλισε m: ἐξεδίωξε m, Anth. Pal.
δῆμος Ἐρεχθῆος Ἐρεχθῆος pler. m, Anth. Pal.: Ἐρεχθειδῶν m καὶ τρὶς ἐπηγάγετο ἐπηγάγετο pler. m: ἐπεσπάσατο m,
τὸν μέγαν ἐν βουλαῖς Πεισίστρατος, ὃς τὸν Ὄμηρον
ἤθροισα σποράδην τὸ πρὶν ἀειδόμενον.
ἡμέτερος καὶ ἐκεῖνος ὁ χρύσεος ἦν πολιήτης,
εἴπερ Ἀθηναῖοι Σμύρναν ἐπωικίσαμεν.
5 πλανηθέντα δὲ τὸν Ὅμηρον ἐν Ἰθάκηι πολύν φασι διατρῖψαι χρόνον· καὶ πολλὰς χώρας ἀμείψαντα ἐν Ἴωι τῆι νήσωι τελευτῆσαι ἐκ τοιᾶσδε αἰτίας. καθημένου γάρ ποτε τοῦ Ὁμήρου ἐν αἰγιαλῶι, τυφλοῦ αὐτοῦ ὄντος, αἰσθέσθαι ἁλιέων παρερχομένων, πρὸς οὓς εἶπεν· Cert. 18, Procl. Vit. Hom. 5, Tzetz. Exeg. in Il. 37, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3
ἄνδρες ἀπ’ Ἀρκαδίης ἁλιήτορες ἁλιήτορες M, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3: θηρήτορες Cert. 18, Procl. Vit. Hom. 5, Tzetz. Exeg. in Il. 37, ἦ ῥ’ ἔχομέν τι;
τοὺς δὲ ἀποκριθέντας εἰπεῖν· Cert. 18, P.Mich. inv. 2754 ll. 2-3, Ps.-Hdt. Vit. Hom. 35, Procl. Vit. Hom. 5, Anon. Vit. Hom. 1.6, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3, Ps.-Plut. Vit. Hom. 1.4, Suda s.v. Ὅμηρος
ὅσσ’ ἕλομεν λιπόμεσθ’, ὅσσ’ οὐχ ἕλομεν φερόμεσθα.
τὸ δὲ λεγόμενόν ἐστι τοιοῦτον· ἐπειδὴ γὰρ οὐδὲν ἦσαν ἔχοντες τότε ἐξ ἁλείας, ἐφθειρίζοντο, καὶ οὓς μὲν ἔλαβον ἐκ τῶν φθειρῶν φονεῦσαι καὶ μὴ ἔχειν, οὓς δὲ οὐκ ἔλαβον ἐν τῆι ἐσθῆτι περιφέρειν. οὐ νοήσας δὲ τὸ λεγόμενον, ἀπὸ θλίψεως ἐτελεύτησεν ἐν Ἴωι τῆι νήσωι. ἔθαψαν δὲ αὐτὸν μεγαλοπρεπῶς οἱ Ἰῆται, χαράξαντες ἐπὶ τῶι τάφωι τὸ ἐπίγραμμα τοῦτο, παρ’ αὐτοῦ ζῶντος ἔτι γεγραμμένον εἰς αὑτόν· Cert. 18, P.Mich. inv. 2754 ll. 11-12, AP 7.3, Ps.-Hdt. Vit. Hom. 36, Anon. Vit. Hom. 1.6, Anon. Vit. Hom. 2.3, 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.
1 The poet Homer’s father was Meles, his mother, Critheis. According to Pindar he was a Smyrnaean by birth; according to Simonides a Chian, according to Antimachus and Nicander a Colophonian, according to Bacchylides and Aristotle the philosopher a citizen of Ios, according to Ephorus and the historians a Cymaean, according to Aristarchus and Dionysus Thrax an Athenian. Some even report that he was a Salaminian, others an Argive, and others an Egyptian from Thebes.
2 As for his chronology, according to some he was born before the return of the Heraclids, so that he could have known those who fought at Troy: for there were eighty years between the Trojan War and the return of the Heraclids. But this is unbelievable; indeed, Homer himself shows that he was born many years later when he says:
We only hear the report, and do not know anything.
Some say that a hundred and fifty years separate him from the Ionian migration.
3 Nothing should be ascribed to him besides the Iliad and the Odyssey; the Hymns and the rest of the poems attributed to him should be considered the works of other poets both on account of their nature and their power. Some say that the two works in circulation, the Batrachomyomachia and the Margites, are also his.
4 The authentic poems of Homer, which were previously sung piecemeal, were arranged by Pisistratus the Athenian, as is shown by the famous epigram inscribed on the statue of Pisistratus in Athens. It goes as follows:
Three times I was tyrant; as many times the people of Erechtheus overthrew me; three times they brought me back: Pisistratus great in counsel, who assembled the poems of Homer, which were previously sung piecemeal; for that golden man was our fellow citizen, if indeed we Athenians founded Smyrna.
5 They say that Homer spent a long time in Ithaca in the course of his wanderings; and having visited many places in turn, he died on the island of Ios for the following reason. Once, while sitting on the shore, blind as he was, he perceived some fishermen approaching and said to them:
Fishermen from Arcadia, have we caught anything?
And in reply they said:
All that we caught we left behind, all that we did not catch we carry with us.
The meaning of this statement is as follows: because on that occasion they had caught nothing from their fishing, they deloused themselves, and the lice that they had caught, they killed and did not have anymore, whereas those that they had not caught they were carrying around in their clothes. Having failed to understand their words, he died from despair on the island of Ios. The people of Ios gave him a magnificent funeral and engraved on his tomb this epigram, which he had written for himself when he was still alive:
Here the earth covers the sacred head, adorner of warrior heroes, divine Homer.