Christodorus, Ekphrasis 314-350

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There are two principal manuscripts for this text: The Codex Palatinus (Pal.), and the Anthologia Planudea (Plan.) in the Codex Marcianus Gr. 481. The Palatine in particular has several different hands, though they are rarely in conflict in this extract. Ἔμφρονα χαλκὸν Ὅμηρος χαλκὸν Ὅμηρος Waltz, Paton, Boehringer-Boehringer : χαλκὸς Ὅμηρον suggested by Brunck. ἐδείκνυεν, οὔτε μενοινῆς
ἄμμορον οὔτε νόου κεχρημένον, ἀλλ' ἄρα μούνης
φωνῆς ἀμβροσίης, ἀνέφαινε δὲ θυιάδα τέχνην.
ἦ καὶ χαλκὸν ἔχευσεν ὁμῆ ὁμῆ Jacobs, Waltz, Paton : ὁμῇ Boehringer-Boehringer : ὁ μη Pal : ὁμὸν Plan. θεὸς εἴδεϊ μορφῆς·
οὐ γὰρ ἐγὼ κατὰ θυμὸν ὀίομαι, ὅττι μιν ἀνὴρ
ἐργοπόνος χάλκευσε παρ' ἐσχαρεῶνι θαάσσων·
ἀλλ' αὐτὴ πολύμητις ἀνέπλασε χερσὶν Ἀθήνη
εἶδος ἐπισταμένη, τόπερ ᾤκεεν· ἐν γὰρ Ὁμήρῳ
αὐτὴ ναιετάουσα σοφὴν ἐφθέγγετο μολπήν.
σύννομος Ἀπόλλωνι, πατὴρ ἐμός, ἰσόθεος φὼς,
ἵστατο θεῖος Ὅμηρος· ἔικτο μὲν ἀνδρὶ νοῆσαι
γηραλέῳ· τὸ δὲ γῆρας ἔην γλυκύ· τοῦτο γὰρ αὐτῷ
πλειοτέρην ἔσταζε χάριν· κεκέραστο δὲ κόσμῳ  
αἰδοίῳ τε φίλῳ τε· σέβας δ' ἀπελάμπετο μορφῆς.
αὐχένι μὲν κύπτοντι γέρων ἐπεσύρετο βότρυς
χαίτης, εἰσοπίσω εἰσοπίσω Paton : εἰς ὀπίσω Waltz. πεφορημένος, ἀμφὶ δ' ἀκουὰς
πλαζόμενος κεχάλαστο· κάτω δ' εὐρύνετο πώγων
ἀμφιταθείς, μαλακὸς δὲ καὶ εὔτροχος· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἦεν
ὀξυτενής, ἀλλ' εὐρὺς ἐπέπτατο, κάλλος ὑφαίνων
στήθεϊ γυμνωθέντι καὶ ἱμερόεντι προσώπῳ.
γυμνὸν δ' εἶχε μέτωπον, ἐπ' ἀπλοκάμῳ δὲ μετώπῳ
ἧστο σαοφροσύνη κουροτρόφος· ἀμφὶ δ' ἄρ' ὀφρῦς
ἀμφοτέρας προβλῆτας ἐύσκοπος ἔπλασε τέχνη,
οὔτι μάτην· φαέων γὰρ ἐρημάδες ἦσαν ὀπωπαί.
ἀλλ' οὐκ ἦν ἀλαῷ ἐναλίγκιος ἀνδρὶ νοῆσαι·
ἕζετο γὰρ κενεοῖς χάρις ὄμμασιν· ὡς δὲ δοκεύω,
τέχνη τοῦτο τέλεσσεν, ὅπως πάντεσσι φανείη
φέγγος ὑπὸ κραδίην σοφίης ἄσβεστον ἀείρων.
δοιαὶ μὲν ποτὶ βαιὸν ἐκοιλαίνοντο παρειαὶ
γήραϊ ῥικνήεντι κατάσχετοι· ἀλλ' ἐνὶ κείναις
αὐτογενής, Χαρίτεσσι συνέστιος, ἵζανεν Αἰδώς.
Πιερικὴ δὲ μέλισσα περὶ στόμα θεῖον ἀλᾶτο,
κηρίον ὠδίνουσα μελισταγές. ἀμφοτέρας δὲ
χεῖρας ἐπ' ἀλλήλαισι ἀλλήλαισι Paton, Pal. : ἀλλήλῃσι Waltz, Boehringer-Boehringer, Plan. τιθεὶς ἐπερείδετο ῥάβδῳ,
οἷά περ ἐν ζωοῖσιν· ἑὴν δ' ἔκλινεν ἀκουὴν
δεξιτερήν, δόκεεν δὲ καὶ Ἀπόλλωνος ἀκούειν
ἢ καὶ Πιερίδων τινὸς ἐγγύθεν. ἐν δ' ἄρα θυμῷ
σκεπτομένῳ μὲν ἔικτο, νόος δέ οἱ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα
ἐξ ἀδύτων πεφόρητο πολυστρέπτοιο μενοινῆς,
Πιερικῆς Σειρῆνος ἀρήιον ἔργον ὑφαίνων.

The bronze of Homer seemed alive, neither lacking eagerness, nor wanting in mind, but only missing his ambrosial voice; his inspired skill was apparent. Truly the same god [that inspired him] cast the bronze into the shape of the portrait. For in my heart I do not believe that a labouring man cast this, sitting by his forge. But crafty Athena herself built it up, knowing that form in which she once abode. For, inhabiting Homer, she herself uttered the wise song. The companion of Apollo, that divine being Homer, my father, stood with the gods. Though he appeared as an old man, yet his age was sweet, for it endowed him with more grace. He mingled both a reverent and a loving bearing. Glory shone forth from his form. His grey hair fell in bunches over his stooped neck; worn at the back, he let it loose to wave about his ears. And below hung a wide, round beard, both soft and flowing. For it was not pointed, but spread broadly, weaving an adornment for his bare chest, and dear face. He had a bare brow, and upon his hairless forehead sat self-control, the nourisher of youth. Discerning art had modelled both eyebrows jutting out, and not without reason; for his eyes were bereft of light. But he did not resemble a blind man, for grace lived in the barren eyes. As it seems to me, art contrived this so that the unquenchable light of wisdom might be seen by all to stir in his heart. Both humble cheeks were sunk in the grip of shrivelled Age, but on them sat native reverence, companion of the Graces. A Pierean bee wandered about his holy mouth, building a comb dripping with honey. And both hands, placed one atop the other, leant on his poetic staff, just as in life. He inclined his right ear, and seemed to hear Apollo or even one of the Muses nearby. He appeared as one searching in his spirit, his mind borne this way and that from a sanctuary of intertwined plans, weaving the warlike work of the Pierian Siren.

Relevant guides Homer: A Guide to Sculptural Types