Anonymous, Life of Homer 2 (Vita Scorialensis I / Vita Homeri IV)

How to quote this translation

M = reading of the whole MS tradition
m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus


1 Ὅμηρος ὁ ποιητὴς υἱὸς ἦν κατὰ μέν τινας Μαίονος καὶ Ὑρνηθοῦς, κατὰ δ’ ἐνίους Μέλητος τοῦ ποταμοῦ καὶ Κριθηίδος νύμφης. ἄλλοι δ’ αὐτοῦ τὸ γένος εἰς Καλλιόπην τὴν Μοῦσαν ἀναφέρουσιν. φασὶ δ’ αὐτὸν Μελησιγένη ἢ Μελησιάνακτα κεκλῆσθαι, τυφλωθέντα δ’ αὐτὸν ὕστερον Ὅμηρον κληθῆναι· οἱ γὰρ Αἰολεῖς τοὺς τυφλοὺς ὁμήρους καλοῦσιν.

2 πατρίδα δ’ αὐτοῦ οἳ μὲν Σμύρναν, οἳ δὲ Χίον, οἳ δὲ Κολοφῶνα, οἳ δ’ Ἀθήνας λέγουσιν. περιιὼν δὲ τὰς πόλεις ἦιδε τὰ ποιήματα· ὕστερον δὲ Πεισίστρατος αὐτὰ Πεισίστρατος αὐτὰ m: αὐτὰ Πεισίστρατος m συνήγαγεν, ὡς τὸ ἐπίγραμμα τοῦτο δηλοῖ· Anon. Vita. Hom. 3.4, AP 11.442

τρίς με τυραννήσαντα τοσαυτάκις ἐξεδίωξε ἐξεδίωξε pler. m, AP: ἐξεκύλισεν m
δῆμος Ἐρεχθειδῶν Ἐρεχθειδῶν pler. m: Ἐρεχθῆος m, AP καὶ τρὶς ἐπηγάγετο ἐπηγάγετο m, AP: ἐπεσπάσατο m,
τὸν μέγαν ἐν βουλαῖς Πεισίστρατον, ὃς τὸν Ὅμηρον
ἤθροισα σποράδην τὸ πρὶν ἀειδόμενον·
ἡμέτερος γὰρ ἐκεῖνος ὁ χρύσεος ἦν πολιήτης,
εἴπερ Ἀθηναῖοι Σμύρναν ἐπωικίσαμεν.

3 φασὶ δ’ αὐτὸν ἐν Ἴωι τῆι νήσωι διὰ λύπην ἀποκαρτερήσαντα τελευτῆσαι διὰ τὸ μὴ λῦσαι τὸ ζήτημα τὸ ὑπὸ τῶν ἁλιέων αὐτῶι προτεθέν. ὃ μὲν γὰρ ἐπιστὰς ἤρετο· Cert. 18, Procl. Vit. Hom. 5, Tzetz. Exeg. in Il. 37, Anon. Vit. Hom. 3.5

ἄνδρες ἀπ’ Ἀρκαδίης ἁλιήτορες ἁλιήτορες M, Anon. Vit. Hom. 3.5: θηρήτορες Cert. 18, Procl. Vit. Hom. 5, Tzetz. Exeg. in Il. 37, ἦ ῥ’ ἔχομέν τι;

οἳ δ’ ἀπεκρίναντο· 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. 3.5, Ps.-Plut. Vit. Hom. 1.4, Suda s.v. Ὅμηρος

ὅσσ’ ἕλομεν λιπόμεσθ’, ὅσσ’ οὐχ ἕλομεν φερόμεσθα.

ἐπιγέγραπται δὲ ἐν τῶι μνήματι αὐτοῦ οὕτως· 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. 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 The poet Homer was the son, according to some, of Maeon and Hyrnetho, according to others, of the river Meles and the nymph Critheis; others trace his lineage back to the Muse Calliope. They say that he was called Melesigenes or Melesianax, but he became blind and was subsequently called Homer: for the Aeolians call the blind homeroi.

2 Some say that his birthplace was Smyrna, others Chios, others Colophon, and others Athens. He sang his poems as he travelled around the cities; later, Pisistratus assembled them, as the following epigram shows:

Three times I was tyrant; as many times the people descended from Erechtheus chased me away; and 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.

3 They say he died on the island of Ios, having starved himself to death in grief because he was unable to solve a conundrum put to him by fishermen. For, going up to them, he asked:

Fishermen from Arcadia, have we caught anything?

And they answered:

All that we caught we left behind, all that we did not catch we carry with us.

His memorial bears the following inscription:

Here the earth covers the sacred head, adorner of warrior heroes, divine Homer.

Relevant guides Homer