Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica.

`The sons of the Achaeans who held Argos and walled Tiryns, and Hermione and Asine which lie along a deep bay, and Troezen, and Eiones, and vine-clad Epidaurus, and the island of Aegina, and Mases, —­ these followed strong-voiced Diomedes, son of Tydeus, who had the spirit of his father the son of Oeneus, and Sthenelus, dear son of famous Capaneus.  And with these two there went a third leader, Eurypylus, a godlike man, son of the lord Mecisteus, sprung of Talaus; but strong-voiced Diomedes was their chief leader.  These men had eighty dark ships wherein were ranged men skilled in war, Argives with linen jerkins, very goads of war.’ (6)

This praise of their race by the most famous of all poets so exceedingly delighted the leading Argives, that they rewarded him with costly gifts and set up a brazen statue to him, decreeing that sacrifice should be offered to Homer daily, monthly, and yearly; and that another sacrifice should be sent to Chios every five years.  This is the inscription they cut upon his statue: 

`This is divine Homer who by his sweet-voiced art honoured all proud Hellas, but especially the Argives who threw down the god-built walls of Troy to avenge rich-haired Helen.  For this cause the people of a great city set his statue here and serve him with the honours of the deathless gods.’

After he had stayed for some time in Argos, he crossed over to Delos, to the great assembly, and there, standing on the altar of horns, he recited the “Hymn to Apollo” (7) which begins:  `I will remember and not forget Apollo the far-shooter.’  When the hymn was ended, the Ionians made him a citizen of each one of their states, and the Delians wrote the poem on a whitened tablet and dedicated it in the temple of Artemis.  The poet sailed to Ios, after the assembly was broken up, to join Creophylus, and stayed there some time, being now an old man.  And, it is said, as he was sitting by the sea he asked some boys who were returning from fishing: 

`Sirs, hunters of deep-sea prey, have we caught anything?’

To this replied: 

`All that we caught, we left behind, and carry away all that we did not catch.’

Homer did not understand this reply and asked what they meant.  They then explained that they had caught nothing in fishing, but had been catching their lice, and those of the lice which they caught, they left behind; but carried away in their clothes those which they did not catch.  Hereupon Homer remembered the oracle and, perceiving that the end of his life had come composed his own epitaph.  And while he was retiring from that place, he slipped in a clayey place and fell upon his side, and died, it is said, the third day after.  He was buried in Ios, and this is his epitaph: 

`Here the earth covers the sacred head of divine Homer, the glorifier of hero-men.’

ENDNOTES: 

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Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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