Tzetzes, Life of Hesiod (p. 5 Gaisford = p. 47 Wilamowitz = p. 112 Jacoby)
1 Ἡσίοδος σὺν τῶι ἀδελφῶι Πέρσηι παῖς ἐγεγόνει Δίου καὶ Πυκιμήδης, Κυμαίων Αἰολέων, πενήτων ἀνθρώπων· οἳ διὰ τὸ ἄπορον καὶ τὰ χρέα τὴν ἑαυτῶν πατρίδα Κύμην ἀφέντες μεταναστεύουσιν ἐπὶ τὴν Ἄσκρην, χωρίον τῶν Βοιωτῶν δυσχείμερον καὶ κακοθέρειον, περὶ τοὺς πόδας κειμένην τοῦ Ἑλικῶνος, κἀκεῖ κατοικοῦσι.
1 Hesiod, together with his brother Perses, was a child of Dius and Pycimede, from Aeolian Cyme, poor people, who, because of their lack of resources and debts, left their fatherland Cyme and moved to Ascra, a Boeotian town with harsh winters and oppressive summers, lying at the foot of Mt Helicon, and there they settled.
2 τοιαύτηι δὲ πενίαι τῶν ἀνθρώπων συνεσχημένων, συνέβη τὸν Ἡσίοδον τοῦτον πρόβατα ἐν τῶι Ἑλικῶνι ποιμαίνειν. φασὶ δ’ ὡς ἐννέα τινὲς ἐλθοῦσαι γυναῖκες καὶ δρεψάμεναι κλῶνας ἐκ δάφνης Ἑλικωνίτιδος αὐτὸν ἐπεσίτισαν, καὶ οὕτω σοφίας καὶ ποιητικῆς ἐμπεφόρητο.
2 The people being thus constrained by poverty, it happened that this Hesiod was tending his flocks on Helicon. They say that nine women approached him and plucking branches from a laurel on Helicon gave them to him to eat and thus he was filled with wisdom and poetic talent.
3 ἀλλὰ τὰ μέχρι μὲν τούτων ἀτρεκῆ τε καὶ ἀληθέστατα, ὅτι παῖς ὁ Ἡσίοδος Δίου καὶ Πυκιμήδης καὶ ὡς κατὰ τὸν Ἑλικῶνα ἐποιμαίνε· τὰ δ’ ἐντεῦθεν μεμυθηγόρηται καὶ ἀλληγορικώτερον λέλεκται. ἢ γὰρ ἐν τῶι ποιμαίνειν περὶ τὸν Ἑλικῶνα ἐνόμευε καὶ καθευδήσας ὁ Ἡσίοδος ὄναρ εἶδεν ἐννέα γυναῖκας δάφνας αὐτῶι ψωμιζούσας (ἐδήλου δὲ τὸ ὄναρ πάντως ὡς πικρίας καὶ πόνων μετεσχηκὼς τῆς παιδεύσεως ἀειθαλῆ γεννήσει ποιήματα), ταῦτα τοίνυν ὁ Ἡσίοδος ἢ ὄψει ὀνείρων τεθεαμένος καὶ διυπνισθεὶς καὶ τὸ ποιμαίνειν ἀφεὶς καὶ πόνοις ἑαυτὸν ἐνδοὺς καὶ μαθήμασι τὴν τῶν ὀνείρων ἐπίλυσιν ἐξεπέρανεν, ἢ περὶ τὸν Ἑλικῶνα ποιμαίνων ἐγρηγορὼς καὶ ἄυπνος ὢν σύννους τε πρὸς ἑαυτὸν γεγονὼς καὶ πρέποντα νοῦν ἐσχηκὼς ἀποδιδράσκει μὲν τὸ εὐτελὲς καὶ ποιμενικὸν καὶ σκληρόβιον καὶ προσδραμὼν τῆι παιδεύσει καὶ πόνοις ἐγκαρτερήσας μεγάλην καρποῦται τὴν εὔκλειαν, καὶ βίβλους τοσαύτας ἐξεπονήσατο, ἃς ἐγὼ Μουσῶν τε καὶ γνώσεως ἐπίσταμαι ψώμισμα καὶ δάφνας λάλους Ἑλικωνίτιδας, ἑλισσομένας ἁπανταχοῦ καὶ θαλλούσας καὶ κηρυττούσας τὸν πρὶν μὲν οἰκτρόβιον καὶ ἀφανῆ νομέα ποιμνίων, νῦν δ’ ἡμίθεον χρηματίσαντα δι’ ἀρετῆς καὶ παιδεύσεως…
3 Up to this point only is the story accurate and very true, namely, that Hesiod was the son of Dius and Pycimede and that he tended his flocks on Helicon. But what follows has been told mythically and rather allegorically. For either, in the course of his shepherding, Hesiod was tending his flocks around Helicon and, having fallen asleep, had a dream that nine women were feeding him with laurel (and the dream showed in every way that if he took part in the bitterness and toil of education he would bring forth poems that would bloom forever), so either Hesiod saw these things in a dream vision and having woken up, abandoned his shepherding and gave himself over to toil and study, bringing the dream to fulfilment. Alternatively, whilst shepherding his flock around Helicon, being awake and sleepless and deep in thought about himself, and because he had a distinguished mind, he fled the humble and harsh life of a shepherd and, turning to education, after enduring much toil, enjoyed great fame and finished a great many books, which I know to be morsels of the Muses and chattering laurels from Helicon, turning about in all directions and blooming and proclaiming the inconspicuous herdsman of flocks who formerly had a pitiful life, but is now styled semi-divine because of his excellence and his learning…
4 συνηκμακέναι δ’ αὐτὸν οἳ μὲν Ὁμήρωι φασίν, οἳ δὲ καὶ Ὁμήρου προγενέστερον εἶναι διισχυρίζονται. καὶ οἱ μὲν προγενέστερον εἶναι τοῦτον Ὁμήρου διισχυριζόμενοι ἐν ἀρχαῖς εἶναί φασι τῆς Ἀρχίππου Ἀρχίππου… Ἀρχίππος Goettling: ἀρξίππου … ἄρξιππος M ἀρχῆς, Ὅμηρον δὲ ἐν τῶι τέλει· ὁ δὲ Ἄρχιππος See previous note. υἱὸς ἦν Ἀκάστου, ἄρξας Ἀθηναίων ἔτη λεʹ· οἱ δὲ συγχρόνους αὐτοὺς εἶναι λέγοντες ἐπὶ τῆι τελευτῆι τοῦ Ἀμφιδάμαντος τοῦ βασιλέως Εὐβοίας φασὶν αὐτοὺς ἀγωνίσασθαι καὶ νενικηκέναι Ἡσίοδον, ἀγωνοθετοῦντος καὶ κρίνοντος Πανίδου Πανίδου M: Πανήδου Jacoby τοῦ βασιλέως τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ Ἀμφιδάμαντος καὶ τῶν υἱῶν Ἀμφιδάμαντος, Γανύκτορός τε καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν.
4 Some say that he flourished at the same time as Homer, some even affirm that he was older than Homer. Those who affirm that he was older than Homer say that he lived at the beginning of Archippus’ rule, whereas Homer lived at the end of it. Archippus was the son of Acastus and ruled the Athenians for thirty five years. But those who affirm that they were contemporaries say that they competed at the funeral of Amphidamas, the king of Euboea, and that Hesiod won, the contest being set up and judged by the king, Panidus, brother of Amphidamas, and Amphidamas’ sons, Ganyctor and the others.
5 ἐξηρωτηκέναι γὰρ αὐτοὺς πολλὰ πρὸς ἀλλήλους φασὶ δι’ ἐπῶν αὐτοσχεδίων καὶ ἀποκρίνασθαι καὶ πᾶσι τὸν Ὅμηρον τὰ πρωτεῖα λαμβάνειν· τέλος τοῦ βασιλέως Πανίδου εἰπόντος αὐτοῖς τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν ἐαυτῶν ἐπῶν ἀναλεξαμένους εἰπεῖν, Ὅμηρος μὲν ἄρχεται λέγειν τοῦτο τὸ χωρίον ἀπὸ πολλῶν ἐπῶν ἀρξάμενος ὄπισθεν
ἀσπὶς ἄρ’ ἀσπίδ’ ἔρειδε, κόρυς κόρυν, ἀνέρα δ’
ψαῦον δ’ ἱππόκομοι κόρυθες λαμπροῖσι
νευόντων· ὣς πυκνοὶ ἐφέστασαν ἀλλήλοισι,
καὶ περαιτέρω τούτων. Ἡσίοδος δὲ τῶν “Πληιάδων Ἀτλαγενέων ἐπιτελλομενάων” ἀπάρχεται καὶ ὁμοίως Ὁμήρωι προβαίνει μέχρι πολλοῦ τῶν ἐπῶν. καὶ πάλιν ἐπὶ τούτοις οἱ παρεστῶτες πάντες τῶν ἐλλογίμων καὶ στρατιωτῶν τὸν Ὅμηρον ἐστεφάνουν, ὁ δὲ Πανείδης ἔκρινε νικᾶν Ἡσίοδον ὡς εἰρήνην καὶ γεωργίαν διδάσκοντα καὶ οὐ καθάπερ ῞Ομηρος πολέμους καὶ σφάγια.
5 For they say that they asked one another many questions by way of extempore verses and that they gave replies and that, in all respects Homer had the upper hand. But when, finally, king Panidus instructed them to pick out and recite the finest of their own verses, Homer began to recite the following passage, leaving out many previous lines:
Shield pressed on shield, helmet on helmet, man on man, and horse-hair helmet plumes touched bright helmet-bosses of nodding men, so close did they stand to each other.
and on from those verses. But Hesiod began from the verse ‘at the rising of the Pleiades, born of Atlas’ and, like Homer, continued for many verses. Once again, at this, all the leading men and soldiers who were present awarded Homer the crown, but Paneides judged that Hesiod was the victor, on the grounds that he taught peace and farming and not wars and slaughter like Homer.
6 ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μέν εἰσι ληρήματα τῶν νεωτέρων καὶ πλάσεις τῶν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἐρωτημάτων καὶ τῶν ἐξ Ὁμήρου παρεκβεβλημένων ἐπῶν καὶ ὑπ’ ἐκείνου δῆθεν ῥηθέντων. Ὅμηρος γὰρ ὁ χρυσοῦς, ὡς ἐγὦιμαι μᾶλλον δ’ ἀκριβεστάτως ἐπίσταμαι, πολύ τε παλαιότερος Ἡσιόδου ὑπῆρχε, καὶ εἰ πρὸς τοὺς θρυλλουμένους ἐκείνους θεοὺς ἔριν ἐστήσατο λόγων, καὶ κατὰ τούτων ἂν τὰ πρωτεῖα καὶ τοὺς στεφάνους ἠνέγκατο.
ἀλλ’ ἴσως ὁ ἕτερος Ὅμηρος ἦν ὁ τῶι Ἡσιόδωι ἰσόχρονος, ὁ τοῦ Εὔφρονος παῖς ὁ Φωκεύς, ὁ καὶ τούτωι τὴν ἔριν στησάμενος, κἂν τὰ ἔπη τοῦ θείου ἐκείνου ἀνδρὸς τῆι ὁμωνυμίαι πεπλανημένοι λέγειν τοῦτον ἐπλάσαντο. Ὅμηροι γὰρ πολλοὶ γεγόνασιν ἕτεροι ζήλωι τοῦ παλαιοῦ τὴν κλῆσιν λαμβάνοντες· καὶ γὰρ καὶ τοῦ Φωκέως Ὁμήρου τούτου ἕτερος ὑπάρχει νεώτερος Ὅμηρος. οὗτος ὁ νεώτερος Ὅμηρος ἦν παῖς Ἀνδρομάχου τῶι γένει Βυζάντιος, ὁ τὴν Εὐρυπυλίαν Εὐρυπυλ(λε)ίαν Byz.: εὐρυπολίαν M ποιήσας. τὸν παλαιὸν δ’ Ὅμηρον Διονύσιος ὁ κυκλογράφος FGrHist 15 F 8 φησὶν ἐπ’ ἀμφοτέρων ὑπάρχειν τῶν Θηβαϊκῶν στρατειῶν καὶ τῆς Ἰλίου ἁλώσεως. ἐκ τούτου οὖν λογίζομαι τοῦτον τοῦ Ἡσιόδου εἶναι τετρακοσίων ἐτῶν προγενέστερον.
6 But this is the idle talk of more recent men and fabrications of the questions that they asked one another and of the verses extracted from Homer and allegedly spoken by him. For golden Homer, as I believe, or rather, as I know very precisely, was much older than Hesiod, and if he had set up a contest of words against the very gods of old he would have carried off first prizes and crowns against even them.
But perhaps the <story is about the> other Homer, the Phocian, son of Euphron, who was indeed a contemporary of Hesiod and also entered into a contest with him. It seems that, having been misled by the fact that <the two Homers> shared a name, they might have fashioned the tale that he spoke the verses of that godlike man. For there have been many other Homers who took the name in emulation of the ancient one. Indeed, there is another one younger even than Homer the Phocian. This younger Homer was the son of Andromachus, a Byzantine by birth, the composer of the Eurypylia. Dionysius, who wrote The Historical Cycle, says that the ancient Homer lived at the time of both the Theban wars and of the capture of Troy. On the basis of this, I calculate that he was older than Hesiod by four hundred years.
7 Ἀριστοτέλης γὰρ ὁ φιλόσοφος, μᾶλλον δ’ οἶμαι ὁ τοὺς πέπλους συντάξας, ἐν τῆι Ὀρχομενίων πολιτείαι Στησίχορον τὸν μελοποιὸν εἶναί φησιν υἱὸν Ἡσιόδου ἐκ τῆς Κτιμένης Κτιμένης Westermann: Κτημένην M: Κλυμένην Wyttenbach (coll. schol. Op. 271) αὐτῶι γεννηθέντα τῆς Ἀμφιφάνους καὶ Γανύκτορος ἀδελφῆς, θυγατρὸς δὲ Φηγέως Φηγέως edd.: φύγεως M. ὁ δὲ Στησίχορος οὗτος σύγχρονος ἦν Πυθαγόραι τῶι φιλοσόφωι καὶ τῶι Ἀκραγαντίνωι Φαλάριδι.
7 For Aristotle the philosopher, or rather, I think, the one who composed the Peploi, says in the Constitution of Orchomenus that Stesichorus the melic poet was the son of Hesiod, born to him from Ctimene, the sister of Amphiphanes and Ganyctor and daughter of Phegeus. But this Stestichorus was a contemporary of Pythagoras the philosopher and Phalaris of Acragas…
8 … οἳ δ’ Ὁμήρου τετρακοσίοις ὑστερίζοντα ἔτεσι, καθά φησι καὶ Ἡρόδοτος (2.53) Herodotus says nothing of the sort! συνεγράψατο δ’ ὁ τοιοῦτος Ἡσίοδος βίβλους ιςʹ, Ὅμηρος δὲ <ὁ> <ὁ> Goettling παλαιὸς ιγʹ.
8 Some say that he was younger than Homer by four hundred years, as Herodotus also says. And this Hesiod wrote sixteen books, but the ancient Homer wrote thirteen.
9-10 τελευτᾶι δ’ ὁ Ἡσίοδος ἐν Λοκρίδι τοιουτοτρόπως. μετὰ τὴν νίκην, ἣν αὐτὸν νενικηκέναι φασὶν ἐπὶ τῆι τελευτῆι Ἀμφιδάμαντος, εἰς Δελφοὺς ἐπορεύθη. καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῶι οὑτοσὶ ὁ χρησμός·
ὄλβιος οὗτος ἀνήρ, ὃς ἐμὸν δόμον ἀμφιπολεύει,
Ἡσίοδος, Μούσηισι τετιμένος ἀθανάτηισι·
τοῦ δή τοι κλέος ἔσται ὅσον τ’ ἐπικίδναται
ἀλλὰ Διὸς πεφύλαξο Νεμείου κάλλιμον ἄλσος·
καὶ γάρ τοι θανάτοιο τέλος πεπρωμένον ἐστίν.
ὁ δὲ τὴν ἐν Πελοποννήσωι Νεμέαν φυγὼν ἐν Οἰνόηι τῆς Λοκρίδος ὑπ’ Ἀμφιφάνους καὶ Γανύκτορος, τῶν Φηγέως παίδων, ἀναιρεῖται καὶ ῥίπτεται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὡς φθείρας τὴν ἀδελφὴν ἐκείνων Κτημένην, ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη Στησίχορος· ἐκαλεῖτο δ’ ἡ Οἰνόη Διὸς Νεμείου ἱερόν. μετὰ δὲ τρίτην ἡμέραν ὑπὸ δελφίνων πρὸς τὸν αἰγιαλὸν ἐξήχθη τὸ σῶμα μεταξὺ Λοκρίδος καὶ Εὐβοίας, καὶ ἔθαψαν αὐτὸν Λοκροὶ ἐν Νεμέαι τῆς Οἰνόης. οἱ δὲ φονεῖς αὐτοῦ νηὸς ἐπιβάντες ἐπειρῶντο φυγεῖν, χειμῶνι δὲ διεφθάρησαν.
9-10 Hesiod died in Locris in the following way. After the victory which they say that he won at the funeral of Amphidamas, he journeyed to Delphi and received this oracle:
Blessed is this man, who attends my house, Hesiod, honoured by the immortal Muses. This man’s fame will spread as far as the dawn. But beware the beautiful grove of Nemean Zeus: for there the end of your mortal life has been fated.
And he, fleeing Peloponnesian Nemea, was killed in Oinoe in Locris by Amphiphanes and Ganyctor, the sons of Phegeus, and thrown into the sea, on the grounds that he had seduced their sister Ctemene, from whom Stesichorus was born. But Oinoe was called the shrine of Nemean Zeus. Three days later, his body was brought ashore by dolphins between Locris and Euboea and the Locrians buried him in Oinoean Nemea. His murderers tried to flee, boarding a ship, but they perished in a storm.
11 Ὀρχομένιοι δ’ ὕστερον κατὰ χρησμὸν ἐνεγκόντες τὰ Ἡσιόδου ὀστᾶ θάπτουσιν ἐν μέσηι τῆι ἀγορᾶι καὶ ἐπέγραψαν τάδε· Cf. Paus 9.38.10
Ἄσκρη μὲν πατρὶς πολυλήιος, ἀλλὰ θανόντος disticha inverso ordine M: corr. Byz.
ὀστέα πληξίππου γῆ Μινύης πληξίππου…Μινύης M: Πληξίππων…Μινυῶν Paus. 9.38.10 κατέχει
Ἡσιόδου, τοῦ πλεῖστον ἐν Ἑλλάδι κλέος ἐστίν
ἀνδρῶν κρινομένων ἐν βασάνοις βασάνωι Cert. 14 West (=253 Allen), Paus 9.38.10. σοφίης.
ἐπέγραψε δὲ καὶ Πίνδαρος· Arist. fr. 565 Rose
χαῖρε δὶς ἡβήσας καὶ δὶς τάφου ἀντιβολήσας,
Ἡσίοδ’, ἀνθρώποις μέτρον ἔχων σοφίης.
11 Later on, the Orchomenians fetched the bones of Hesiod in accordance with an oracle and buried them in the middle of the agora, writing the following epitaph:
Ascra, rich in cornfields, was his fatherland, but now that he has died, the land of the Minyans, drivers of horses, holds his bones: Hesiod, whose fame is greatest in Greece, when men are judged on the touchstone of wisdom.
And Pindar wrote this epitaph:
Hail, you who twice were young and twice met a grave, Hesiod, having the measure of wisdom for men.