6
Variations on a Theme of Homer

RIVAL DATINGS OF HOMER

In the Life of Homer traditions we find explicit references to the dating of Homer, linked directly to the dating of the Trojan War. In Vita 3a (25–44), which draws upon Book 3 of Aristotle’s Poetics as its source (F 76 ed. Rose), it is said that Homer was conceived by his mother on the island of Ios at the time of the so-called Ionian Migration, led by one Nēleus, son of King Kodros of Athens (3a.25–27).1 In Vita 3b (17–22), we are told that Aristarchus and his followers at the Library of Alexandria likewise assigned Homer’s birth to the time of the Ionian Migration, which Aristarchus dated as happening sixty years after the Return of the Herakleidai, which in turn he dated as happening eighty years after the Capture of Troy. In the same source, Vita 3b (21–23), we are also told that Crates of Mallos and his followers at the Library of Pergamon dated Homer’s birth as happening before the Return, only some eighty years after the Capture of Troy. Such variations in the dating of Homer turn out to be variations in the identity of Homer.

In these two different versions of the Life of Homer, the ultimate point of reference for dating the birth of Homer is the Return of the Herakleidai. The Return is also a point of reference for dating the Bronze Age in general. Following the ultimate “big bang” of the Trojan War toward the end of the Bronze Age, the Return is a second “big bang,” signaling the cultural presence of Doric-speaking Greeks in

1. See Colbeaux 2005:226 on the research of Theagenes of Rhegium (DK B 2) concerning the patris ‘fatherland’ of Homer. West 2003a:309 notes in passing that Ios—not only Smyrna and Chios—figures as the home of Homer already in such sources as Simonides, Pindar, and Bacchylides.

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Homer the Preclassic
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - A Preclassical Homer from the Dark Age 3
  • 1 - Homer and the Athenian Empire 9
  • 2 - Homer outside His Poetry 29
  • 3 - Homer and His Genealogy 59
  • 4 - Homer in the Homeric Odyssey 79
  • 5 - Iliadic Multiformities 103
  • Part II - A Preclassical Homer from the Bronze Age 129
  • 6 - Variations on a Theme of Homer 133
  • 7 - Conflicting Claims on Homer 147
  • 8 - Homeric Variations on a Theme of Empire 218
  • 9 - Further Variations on a Theme of Homer 254
  • 10 - Homer and the Poetics of Variation 273
  • Epilegomena - A Preclassical Text of Homer in the Making 311
  • Bibliography 383
  • Index Locorum 403
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