Two essays about the Epic Cycle

2021.11.22 | By Gregory Nagy

Fresco from Pylos (close-up of a reconstruction), warrior in chariot, ca. 1350 BCE.

Essay One: oral traditions, written texts, and questions of authorship[1]

Introduction to Essay One

1§1. The three parts of the title for Essay One are interconnected topics.

1§1.1. The first part, referring to oral traditions, is all-important, if oral poetry shaped not only the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey but also the epic Cycle. The formulation I have just offered is supported by my main line of argumentation. As we will see, I argue that the oral poetic traditions of the Cycle cannot be divorced from corresponding traditions that we find in the Iliad and Odyssey.

1§1.2. As for the second part of the title, referring to written texts, I must note from the start: there exists no proof for saying that the technology of alphabetic writing was needed for either the composition or the performance of the Homeric poems.[2] Further, in the case of the Cycle, the textual evidence is simply too meager in comparison with the corresponding evidence of the Iliad and Odyssey; so, again, there exists no proof for saying that the composition of epics in the Cycle was somehow dependent on the technology of writing.[3] Quite the contrary, it can be shown that these epics, like the Iliad and Odyssey, did in fact originate from oral traditions.

1§1.3. And now we come to the third part of the title, referring to questions of authorship. As we will see, such questions cannot be addressed in terms of written texts until we address them in terms of oral traditions. That is because, as I will argue, the attribution of authorship to obscure figures such as Arctinus of Miletus and Lesches of Mytilene or to even more obscure figures such as Thestorides of Phocaea can be understood only in terms of oral traditions. And such attributions of authorship, as I will also argue, depended on the idea that Homer was the author of only the Iliad and the Odyssey. That idea, which took final shape only at a relatively later stage in the history of ancient Greek epic traditions, brings us back full circle to what I have already announced as the main line of my argumentation: {59|60} that the oral poetic traditions of the Epic Cycle cannot be divorced from corresponding traditions that we find in the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey.

An earlier meaning for the term ‘cycle’

1§2. Essential for all three topics signaled in the title for this essay is the earliest reconstructable meaning of the word kúklos (κύκλος) as applied to the epic Cycle. In terms of such an application, kúklos refers to all poetry composed by Homer.[4]

1§3. Such a meaning of kúklos as the sum total of Homeric poetry goes back to a metaphorical use of the word in the sense of ‘chariot wheel’. In Homeric diction, kúklos actually means ‘chariot wheel’ (Iliad 23.340, plural κύκλα at 5.722). The metaphor of comparing a well-composed song to a well-crafted chariot wheel is explicitly articulated in the poetic traditions of Indo-European languages (as in Rig-Veda 1.130.6); more generally in the Greek poetic traditions, there is a metaphor comparing the craft of the téktōn (τέκτων) ‘joiner, master carpenter’ to the art of the poet (as in Pindar Pythian 3.112–114).[5]

1§4. Connected with this idea is the meaning of the name for ‘Homer’, Hómēros (Ὅμηρος). This name is a nomen loquens derived from the noun hómēros, to be explained etymologically as a compound *hóm-āros (*ὅμ-ᾱρος) meaning ‘the one who fits/joins together’, composed of the prefix homo– ‘together’ and the root of the verb ar-ar-iskein (ἀρ-αρ-ίσκειν) ‘fit, join’.[6] In terms of this etymological explanation, Hómēros (Ὅμηρος) is a metaphor: Homer is ‘he who fits [the song] together’.[7]

1§5. So, the etymology of Hómēros, in the sense of ‘fitting together’, is an aspect of the overall metaphor of the kúklos (κύκλος) as a ‘chariot wheel’: a master poet ‘fits together’ pieces of poetry that are made ready to be parts of an integrated whole just as a master carpenter or joiner ‘fits together’ or ‘joins’ pieces of wood that are made ready to be parts of a chariot wheel.[8] {60|61}

A later meaning for the term ‘cycle’

1§6. Whereas Homer in earlier times was considered to be the poet of an Epic Cycle that included what we now know as the Iliad and Odyssey, these two epics gradually become differentiated from the Cycle in later times. In the course of such a differentiation, the Iliad and the Odyssey eventually became the only epics that were truly Homeric, while the Cycle became non-Homeric.[9]

1§7. Such a differentiation between the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey on the one hand and a non-Homeric Cycle on the other hand is most clearly visible in sources dating from the fourth century BCE. For example, when Aristotle in his Poetics (1459a) refers to the kúklos (κύκλος) in the sense of ‘Epic Cycle’, he is referring to a body of epic poetry that was explicitly not composed by Homer.[10]

Traditions about the authorship of epics

1§8. In Aristotle’s time as also in still later times, the epics of the Cycle were attributed to poets other than Homer. For example, two epics of the Cycle, known as the Aithiopis and the Iliou Persis, were attributed to an Ionian named Arctinus from the city of Miletus (Proclus summary p. 105.21–22 and p. 107.16–17 ed. Allen). Similarly, the Little Iliad was attributed to an Aeolian named Lesches from the island of Lesbos (p. 106.19–20: his native city is specified as Mytilene); alternatively, the Little Iliad was attributed not to Lesches the Aeolian but instead to an Ionian, Thestorides of Phocaea (scholia for Euripides Trojan Women 822).[11] To be contrasted is the mindset of earlier times, when the entire Epic Cycle had been attributed to Homer.[12]

1§9. The tendency to exclude the Epic Cycle from authorship by Homer is visible already in the second half of the fifth century, as we see from the argument offered by Herodotus (2.116.1–117.1) against the idea that the author of another epic of the Cycle, the Cypria, could have been Homer. What Herodotus leaves unsaid, as I have argued elsewhere, is that he is {61|62} following here an Athenian way of thinking.[13] For Athenians in the fifth century BCE, though not necessarily for other Greeks of that time, Homer was the author of no epic other than the Iliad and the Odyssey. Such a way of thinking, as I have also argued elsewhere, indicates that the repertoire for performing epic at the premier festival of the Athenians, the Panathenaea, was restricted to the Iliad and the Odyssey during the fifth century.[14]

Panathenaic and Panionic contexts for epic performance

1§10. Already in the pre-classical period, there was a tendency to exclude the Epic Cycle from authorship by Homer. During most of the sixth century BCE in Athens, when this city was ruled by a dynasty of so-called tyrants known as the Peisistratidai, the epics of the Cycle were becoming marginalized while the Iliad and the Odyssey were becoming central in the performances of epic at the festival of the Panathenaea.[15] A climactic moment in this process was the establishment of the so-called Panathenaic Regulation in Athens toward the end of the sixth century BCE: the terms of this regulation make it clear that the sole repertoire of epic performance at the festival of the Panathenaea in Athens had by now became the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey.[16]

1§11. So far, we have considered the emerging centrality of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey at the expense of the Epic Cycle in the pre-classical era of epic as performed at the festival of the Panathenaea in Athens during the sixth century BCE. But this emerging centrality can be dated even further back in time. I have in mind here an earlier pre-classical era of epic performance as it evolved at the festival of the Panionia at the Panionion of the Ionian Dodecapolis, in the late eighth and early seventh century. Already at that time, the two central epics performed at the festival of the Panionia were prototypical versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey.[17] As Douglas Frame has shown, a lasting trace of this centrality is the fact that each of these two epics is divisible into six performance units, adding up to twelve performance units representing each one of the twelve cities of the Ionian Dodecapolis.[18] {62|63} Herodotus (1.142.3) lists these twelve Ionian cities in the following order: Miletus, Myous, Priene, Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Clazomenae, Phocaea, Samos, Chios and Erythrae.[19] It is in the historical context of these twelve cities that the centrality of the Iliad and Odyssey and the marginalization of the Cycle can be explained, and it is this Panionic organization of Homeric performance in the late eighth and early seventh century that became the model for the Panathenaic Regulation in Athens in the late sixth century.[20] As I argue at length elsewhere, the Panathenaic Regulation was basically an Ionian tradition imported to Athens from the island state of Chios by way of a corporation of Chiote epic performers known as the ‘sons of Homer’, the Homērídai (‘Ομηρίδαι).[21]

The relativity of Panhellenism in Homeric and Cycle traditions

1§12. To be contrasted with the Panionian prototypes of the Iliad and Odyssey are the two Ionian epics attributed to Arctinus of Miletus, the Aithiopis and the Iliou Persis, which do not fit the broader social framework of the Ionian Dodecapolis but rather the narrower one of Miletus as a single city that had once dominated the confederation of the Dodecapolis but was thereafter gradually eclipsed by other Ionian cities that belonged to that confederation; one of those other cities was the island state of Chios, the home of the Homērídai, which had escaped most of the misfortunes that befell Miletus in the course of that city’s struggles against the Lydian Empire and, subsequently, against the Persian Empire.[22] In terms of this contrast, I need to make two points about such epics as the Aithiopis and the Iliou Persis, both attributed to Arctinus of Miletus:

(1) The contents of such epics belonging to the Cycle tend to be more localized and therefore more conservative than the contents of the Iliad and Odyssey.[23]

(2) Conversely, the contents of the Iliad and Odyssey can be described as more Panhellenic.

The description ‘more Panhellenic’ can be explained in terms of an emerging differentiation between the Cycle on one hand and the Iliad and Odyssey on the other. {63|64} The older aspects of Panhellenic poetry as represented by the epic Cycle were gradually sloughed off by Homeric poetry in a process that could be described as “streamlining.”

1§13. In terms of such an explanatory model, we can account for both the artistic superiority of the Iliad and Odyssey and the archaism of the narratives represented by the Cycle. The older aspects of epic poetry represented by the Cycle kept developing alongside the emerging newer core of the Homeric tradition that became the Iliad and Odyssey. These older Cyclic aspects, more localized than the newer Homeric core, were more fluid and could thus develop for a longer period of time, though the pace of development would have been slower than that of the Iliad and Odyssey. By the time the Cycle reached a point of fixation, its content must have seemed more old-fashioned than the corresponding content of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, even though these two epics must have reached their point of fixation at an earlier time. In other words, the Cycle must have seemed like a case of arrested development by comparison with Homeric poetry.[24]

1§14. My description of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey as relatively ‘more Panhellenic’ in content applies to Hesiodic poetry as well.[25] With reference to both these two forms of poetry, the term ‘Panhellenic’ can be used in a relativized sense, despite the fact that its meaning, ‘common to all Greeks’, is inherently absolutized. In relativizing ‘Panhellenic’, I am merely recognizing a social reality: that the Panhellenization of Homer and Hesiod, just like other aspects of Panhellenism, is not really an absolute. That is to say, Panhellenism cannot be described in absolute terms of universalization. True, there is a totalizing ideology implicit in the term ‘Panhellenic’, but the Panhellenization of Homer and Hesiod was not an absolute. Rather, it was merely a tendency toward a notional absolute.[26] The concept of Panhellenism was in fact relative, and so also the concept of a Panhellenic Homer or a Panhellenic Hesiod was relative. And this relativism resulted from regional variations {64|65} in the appropriation of Homer and Hesiod by the various Greek communities that claimed them as their own.

Marginalizations of the Cycle

1§15. While the Iliad and the Odyssey were becoming centralized and ever more Panhellenic in the pre-classical period, first in the context of the Panionic festival of the Ionian Dodecapolis during the late eighth and early seventh centuries BCE and thereafter in the context of the Panathenaic festival at Athens during the sixth century BCE, the epics of the Cycle were becoming ever more marginalized, even though the basic content of its narratives could still keep on being readjusted to the contents of the Iliad and Odyssey.[27] By the time of the classical period, however, the marginalization of the Cycle had reached a point where no further readjustments could even be possible. By this time, the epics of the Cycle were phased out of the program of the Panathenaea in Athens, leaving the Iliad and Odyssey as the sole representatives of Homeric poetry at that festival.[28]

1§16. The classical version of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey as performed at the festival of the Panathenaea, derived from the pre-classical version as performed at the festival of the Panionia, tended to neutralize any potential incompatibilities with older and more localized epic versions still evident in the Epic Cycle. A case in point is the Panathenaic elision of the hero Scamandrius, who had a role in Ionian as well as Aeolian versions of stories about the capture of Troy: in some of these versions, Scamandrius was a bastard son of Hector, distinct from the son named Astyanax, whose mother was Andromache (scholia for Euripides Andromache 10; see also Strabo 13.1.52 C607).[29] By contrast, the identities of Scamandrius and Astyanax are merged in the Panathenaic Iliad (6.402).[30]

1§17. When it comes to Ionian versions of epic poetry, I have already mentioned as prime examples the pair of epics known as the Aithiopis and the Iliou Persis, both attributed to Arctinus of Miletus. Both of these epics promoted the Ionian traditions of the city of Miletus. Another such example is the Little Iliad attributed to Lesches of Mytilene, which promoted the Aeolian traditions of the island of Lesbos. By contrast, the Panathenaic version of the {65|66} Homeric Iliad tended to neutralize both the Ionian and the Aeolian versions of epic traditions associated respectively with Miletus and Lesbos.[31]

The oral poetics of the Epic Cycle and beyond

1§18. As I have argued so far, the oral poetics of the Epic Cycle cannot be divorced from the corresponding oral poetics of the Iliad and Odyssey. We have not yet considered, however, the characteristics of oral poetry as reflected in the surviving texts attributed to Homer and to the poets of the Cycle—as also to Hesiod. In order to proceed, I need to review the essentials of oral poetic composition, performance, reception, and transmission.[32]

1§19. In any oral tradition, the process of composition is linked to the process of performance, and any given composition can be recomposed each time it is performed. The performer who recomposes the composition in performance may be the same performer who composed it earlier, or it may be a new performer, even a succession of new performers. The point is, such recomposition-in-performance is the essence of transmission in oral traditions. This kind of transmission is the key to a broader understanding of reception. Unlike what happens in literature, where reception by the public happens only after a piece of literature is transmitted, reception in oral traditions happens during as well as after transmission. That is because the process of composition in oral traditions allows for recomposition on each new occasion of performance for a public that sees and hears the performer. In oral traditions, there is an organic link between reception and performance, since no performance can succeed without a successful reception by the public that sees and hears the performer or performers.

The question of textualization

1§20. It has been claimed that the dissemination of Homeric—and Hesiodic—poetry was a result of textualization.[33] In terms of such a claim, which can be applied also to the Epic Cycle, the new technology of alphabetic writing would have been used as early as the eighth century BCE for the purpose of recording and disseminating such poetry.[34] There is simply no evidence, {66|67} however, to indicate that writing had in fact been used for such a purpose in this early period—or for the purpose of actually composing the poetry.[35] The same can be said more generally about the archaic period extending from the eighth through the sixth centuries BCE: even in this later period, there is no evidence for any widespread dissemination of any texts of poetry.[36]

1§21. By contrast, the early dissemination of Homeric, Cyclic, and Hesiodic poetry can be explained in terms of oral poetics.[37] In oral poetry, as I have already pointed out, composition and performance are aspects of the same process. So, when a composition is performed at different times and in different places, it can be recomposed in the process of composition-in-performance. And the ongoing recomposition-in-performance needs to be viewed diachronically as well as synchronically.[38] From a synchronic point of view, the poet who performs a poem can claim to own it as his own composition in the process of recomposing it in performance. From a diachronic point of view, however, the ownership can readily be transferred from poem to poem, from poet to poet. And such transference can promote the dissemination of both the poetry and the name of the poet.

1§22. As for relatively later phases in the dissemination of Homeric, Cyclic, and Hesiodic poetry, the technology of writing finally enters the picture. In terms of reconciling written transmission with earlier oral transmission, however, it is important to distinguish different stages in the writing down of such poetry. These different stages can be formulated in terms of transcript, script, and scripture.[39]

The question of authorship

1§23. The authorship of each epic of the Cycle needs to be viewed in terms of oral traditions. That is because, as I already said at the beginning, the attribution of authorship to obscure figures such as Arctinus of Miletus and Lesches of Lesbos or to even more obscure figures such as Thestorides of Phocaea {67|68} can only be understood in terms of oral traditions. And such attributions of authorship, as I also said at the beginning, depended on the idea that Homer was the author of only the Iliad and the Odyssey. We have already considered the reasons for the evolution of such an idea, but we have yet to consider the actual differentiation of the authors of the Epic Cycle from the authorship of Homer.

1§24. This differentiation of the Cycle from Homeric poetry is reflected in myths about the lives of Homer, Hesiod, and poets of the Cycle. In what follows, I will consider a variety of such myths, concentrating on one myth in particular.

The ‘Life of Homer’ and other ‘Lives of Poets’ as sources

1§25. A primary source for the myths we are about to consider is a body of narratives known as the Lives of Homer. I will consider here two such Lives: one of them is Vita 1, sometimes known as the Herodotean Life, and the other is Vita 2, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, which is sometimes called the Certamen for short.[40] Before I start my analysis, however, I offer here some general observations about the Lives.[41]

1§26. The narratives of these Lives are built from myths, not historical facts, about Homer. {68|69} But these myths can be analyzed as historical evidence for the different ways in which Homeric poetry was appropriated by different Greek communities.[42] In these myths, Homeric poetry is pictured as a medium of performance, and Homer himself is the master performer.

1§27. I analyze such myths as sources of information about the reception and the transmission of oral poetry—as also about the composition and the performance of such poetry. More generally, these myths provide information about the three main topics of my title: oral traditions, written texts, and authorship. The information is varied and layered, requiring a combination of synchronic and diachronic analysis.

A story about Homer and Thestorides

1§28. This story is embedded in the overall narrative of Vita 1, which is the so-called Herodotean Life of Homer. Highlighted in the story are Homer and the poet Thestorides of Phocaea, who is elsewhere credited with the authorship of an epic in the Cycle, the Little Iliad (scholia for Euripides Trojan Women 822).[43] This myth, as we will see, activates the idea of making transcripts as well as scripts of an oral composition in performance, to be followed by the idea of turning such an authentic composition into a kind of scripture.[44]

1§29. According to the story, Homer has been wandering from city to city in Asia Minor, and he has just arrived at the Ionian city of Phocaea:

ἀπικόμενος δὲ ἐς Φωκαίην τῷ αὐτῷ τρόπῳ ἐβιότευσεν, ἔπεα ἐνδεικνύμενος ἐν ταῖς λέσχαις κατίζων. ἐν δὲ τῇ Φωκαίῃ τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον Θεστορίδης τις ἦν γράμματα διδάσκων τοὺς παῖδας, ἀνὴρ οὐ κρήγυος· κατανοήσας δὲ τοῦ Ὁμήρου τὴν ποίησιν λόγους τοιούσδε αὐτῷ προσήνεγκε, φὰς ἕτοιμος εἶναι θεραπεύειν καὶ τρέφειν αὐτὸν ἀναλαβών, εἰ ἐθέλοι ἅ γε πεποιημένα εἴη αὐτῷ τῶν ἐπέων ἀναγράψασθαι καὶ ἄλλα ποιῶν πρὸς ἑωυτὸν ἀναφέρειν αἰεί. Τῷ δὲ Ὁμήρῳ ἀκούσαντι ἔδοξε ποιητέα εἶναι ταῦτα· ἐνδεὴς γὰρ ἦν τῶν ἀναγκαίων καὶ θεραπείης.

Arriving in Phocaea, he [= Homer] made a living the same way as he had before, performing verses [épea] while sitting around in men’s meeting-places [léskhai].[45] During this time there was in Phocaea a man called Thestorides, who taught young people the knowledge of letters [grámmata]. He was not an honest man. When he found out about Homer and his songmaking [poíēsis], he got into a conversation with him and made him the following offer: he said that he [= Thestorides] would guarantee support and subsidy for him [= Homer] if he [= Homer] would be {69|70} willing to have a transcription made [ana-grápsasthai][46] of the verses [épos plural] that he [= Homer] had made [poieîn] and of other verses that he [= Homer] was about to make [poieîn] and attribute them to him [= Thestorides] always. When Homer heard this, he decided that he should do it, since he was lacking even the bare necessities of life and was needy of support and subsidy.

(Vita 1.192–202)

In the logic of the wording in this passage, as we will see, Homer’s own act of composing—in the past, present, and future—does not depend on someone else’s act of writing down his compositions.

1§30. Having accepted the deal offered by Thestorides, Homer stays in Phocaea and ‘makes’ the Little Iliad and the Phocais, but it is Thestorides who has it all written down:

διατρίβων δὲ παρὰ τῷ Θεστορίδῃ ποιεῖ Ἰλιάδα τὴν ἐλάσσω, ἧς ἡ ἀρχή

Ἴλιον ἀείδω καὶ Δαρδανίην ἐΰπωλον,

ἧς πέρι πολλὰ πάθον Δαναοί, θεράποντες Ἄρηος·

καὶ τὴν καλουμένην Φωκαΐδα, ἥν φασιν οἱ Φωκαεῖς Ὅμηρον παρ’ αὐτοῖσι ποιῆσαι. ἐπεὶ δὲ τήν τε Φωκαΐδα καὶ τἄλλα πάντα παρὰ τοῦ Ὁμήρου ὁ Θεστορίδης ἐγράψατο, διενοήθη ἐκ τῆς Φωκαίης ἀπαλλάσσεσθαι, τὴν ποίησιν θέλων τοῦ Ὁμήρου ἐξιδιώσασθαι.

Spending his time in the house of Thestorides, he [= Homer] made [poieîn] the Little Iliad [literally, the ‘Smaller Iliad’], which begins this way:

I sing Troy and the land of the Dardanoi, famed for horses.

Many things for the sake of this land did the Danaoi suffer, those attendants [therápontes] of Ares.

He [= Homer] also made the so–called Phocais, which the people of Phocaea say Homer had made [poiêsai] in their city. And when Thestorides had the Phocais and all his [= Homer’s] other things written down [e-grápsato][47] from Homer, he [= Thestorides] made plans to depart from Phocaea, wishing to appropriate [ex-idiṓsasthai] the songmaking [= poíēsis] of Homer.

(Vita 1.202–10)

1§31. So, we see here that the narrative differentiates two poetic events: (1) Homer ‘makes’ poetry (poieîn) and (2) Thestorides ‘has a transcription made’ of the poetry (grápsasthai). And there are further differentiations. As we see from the narrative, Thestorides plans to depart from Phocaea as soon as he gets his transcript of Homeric poetry. Why? Because he wants to turn the transcript into a script. And why is that? As the narrative continues, the answer becomes clear: Thestorides aspires to be a rival Homer not only as a composer but also as a performer. What Thestorides wants from Homer is a {70|71} script that will enable him to perform the poetry composed by Homer. Only by way of actually performing can Thestorides display the compositions that he claims to be his own. I will now summarize the relevant part of the continuing narrative.[48]

1§32. In Vita 1.210 and following, Thestorides sails from Phocaea to the island of Chios, where he goes about performing (en-deiknúnai, 1.215 and 222) the verses or épea (= épos plural) of Homer as if they were his own. Meanwhile, back in Phocaea, Homer finds out about this misappropriation and angrily resolves to make every effort to travel to Chios in order to set things straight (1.224–5). He lives through many adventures while trying to make his way to Chios (1.225–275). After finally arriving on the island (1.275–276), Homer ‘makes’ (poieîn) new poems there (1.335). Thestorides hears about the presence of the composer and, to avoid being exposed as a pseudo-Homer, that is, as an unauthorized performer who claims the compositions of Homer, he abruptly leaves Chios (1.336–338). Throughout this narrative, the scripted performances of Thestorides are being contrasted with the unscripted compositions of Homer.

1§33. The narrative here makes the motive of the pseudo-Homer explicit: Thestorides intends to appropriate the poetry of Homer by performing it somewhere else, in the absence of Homer. But Homer refuses to let himself become an absent author. As the narrative continues, it becomes clear that Homer’s authorizing presence is essential for any occasion when his compositions are being performed. By contrast, the scripted performances of Thestorides are all unauthorized by Homer. In terms of the narrative up to now, only the unscripted performances of the genuine composer are authorized.

1§34. I continue with my summary of the narrative of Vita 1. While Thestorides is living in the city of the island of Chios, pretending to be Homer, the real Homer is living in the countryside of the island after having arrived there, and he is composing ‘rustic’ poetry like The Battle of the Frogs and Mice (1.332–335); such poetry establishes Homer’s reputation on the island. That is why, when Thestorides hears that Homer is living in the countryside of Chios, he flees from the city of Chios and from the island altogether (1.332–338). Thestorides feared the consequences of a performative confrontation with Homer, because he would then be exposed as a pseudo-Homer.

1§35. By now we have seen that Homer cannot afford to be an absent author. He can be an author only to the extent that his real or notional {71|72} presence authorizes the occasion of performance. In the narrative logic of Vita 1, Homer embodies the ongoing fusion of the composer with the performer. In other words, we see here a poetics of presence, not a poetics of absence.[49]

1§36. I return once more to the story in Vita 1. Once Thestorides has removed himself, Homer moves to the city of Chios, establishing himself as a master performer, and audiences throughout the island become thaumastaí ‘admirers’ of his (1.342).[50] While he stays in the city of Chios, Homer is composing the Odyssey (1.350–352) and the ‘big’ Iliad (1.379–384). Homer’s fame grows exponentially throughout Ionian Asia Minor, and his admirers urge him to tour the Helladic mainland (1.372–376). Though Homer is described as eager to make such a tour (1.376–77), he implicitly stays in Chios for a longer period as he continues to make verses that center on the glorification of Athens (1.378–399). After he finishes these embellishments, Homer can now finally leave Chios and set sail to tour the rest of Hellas (1.400), and he arrives at the island of Samos as a transitional stopover (1.401).

1§37. At this point, there is a bifurcation of the Life of Homer traditions. According to one main version (as narrated in Vita 1), Homer travels from Samos to the island of Ios, and he dies there before he can ever reach the Helladic mainland (1.484–516).[51] To be contrasted is the other main version, as narrated in Vita 2, which tracks Homer’s itinerary through the great Helladic cities of Athens (2.276–278), Corinth (2.286–287), and Argos (2.287–315); after a most successful performance at Delos (2.315–322) he travels to the island of Ios, where he dies (2.322–328).[52]

1§38. Once Homer dies, what will happen to his principle of refusing to let himself become an absent author? If Homer’s authorizing presence is essential for any occasion when his compositions are being performed, who will authorize the performances of Homer once he is dead? My answer is, the authorizers will be the Homērídai, natives of Chios, who are the notional sons of Homer.[53] At the Panathenaea, for example, the performances of Homeric poetry are authorized by the Homērídai of Chios (Platο Ion 530d).[54] To be contrasted are the scripted performances of Thestorides, which are unauthorized by Homer. {72|73}

1§39. Are we to understand, then, that the Homērídai have a script, as it were, of Homer’s compositions? No, they have something more, and that is the scripture of Homer as the one true author, as opposed to the script of Thestorides as the false author. Just as the unscripted performances of the genuine composer were authorized by Homer, so also the performances of his legitimate heirs are authorized by him, authored by him, and the words of this author become scripture for the Homērídai.

1§40. The prototype for such a notional scripture is set up already in the narrative of Vita 1.[55] As we have seen, Thestorides is described as a teacher of grámmata ‘letters’ (1.185, 223). As for Homer, once he is finally established in the city of Chios, he becomes a teacher of épea ‘verses’ (= épos plural; 1.341). This distinction between a teacher of épea and a teacher of grámmata ‘letters’ seems to elevate Homer from his former status as teacher of grámmata in Smyrna—a status he inherits from a character named Phemios (1.50–52). This is not to say, however, that the word grámmata implies, in and of itself, a distinction between written and oral. As we see in an earlier part of the narrative (1.37–38), even the undifferentiated usage of grámmata includes the performing arts, mousikḗ. In Vita 2 as well, we see that Homer himself is again described as a teacher of grámmata (2.16).

1§41. But the fact remains that gráphein ‘write’ is not used either in Vita 1 or in Vita 2 to refer to the composition of poetry by Homer. Homer is said to poieîn ‘make’ whatever he composes, not to gráphein it.[56] This pattern is backed up by the testimony of other sources.[57] In the works of Plato and Aristotle, for example, we see Homer as an artisan who ‘makes’, poieî, and who is not pictured as one who ‘writes’, gráphei.[58] Only in later sources such as Plutarch and Pausanias is Homer finally seen as an author who gráphei ‘writes’ whatever he composes.[59] In such later sources, composition can be metaphorized as written composition, and, at least to that extent, we may think of Homer as a writer. Nevertheless, as we have seen, earlier sources like Vita 1 and Vita 2 simply do not metaphorize performance as an act of performing written texts.[60]

1§42. As we have seen, then, in the story of Homer and Thestorides as narrated in Vita 1, the narration requires the real or notional presence of Homer for authorizing the performance of Homer. And this narrative requirement holds up even in later periods of Homeric reception as narrated in the Life of {73|74} Homer narratives. Even in such later contexts, where the poems attributed to Homer are described explicitly as his own writings, the narrative still requires the notional performance of these poems, and the model performer must still be Homer himself.[61]

Competitions in the performances of epics

1§43. By now we have seen that Thestorides of Phocaea, according to Vita 1, is a pseudo-Homer who claims credit for composing the Little Iliad by virtue of performing this epic, which had actually been composed by the real Homer. Earlier on, however, we had seen that this Thestorides of Phocaea was in other contexts actually credited with the authorship of the Little Iliad (scholia for Euripides Trojan Women 822). How, then, can we explain such different perspectives? The answer is, it all depends on whether Homer was viewed as the author of the Iliad and Odyssey exclusively. In terms of the narrative of Vita 1, this is clearly not the case, since Homer is the author of the Little Iliad as well. Such a Homer, as we have seen, is a pre-classical Homer, and such a poetic figure has to fight off the rival claims of other poetic figures in an ongoing struggle for getting credit as the author of any given epic in the Cycle. By contrast, the classical Homer is the author of only the Iliad and Odyssey as performed at the festival of the Panathenaea in Athens. From such a classical perspective, then, Thestorides of Phocaea may legitimately be viewed as the author of the Little Iliad, since Homer makes no rival claim to its authorship. But here we run into a problem: there do exist other rival claims to the authorship of the Little Iliad. As I will now argue, such rival claims indicate the existence of competing traditions in performing epics like the Little Iliad.

1§44. As we have already seen, the authorship of the Little Iliad is attributed not only to Homer or to Thestorides of Phocaea: according to a rival tradition, it can be attributed to another poet, named Lesches, who originates from the Aeolian city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos (Little Iliad p. 106 lines 19–20 ed. Allen). This Aeolian poet Lesches of Mytilene, according to a myth reported by Phainias of Eresos, who flourished in the fourth century BCE (F 33 ed. Wehrli, by way of Clement of Alexandria Stromata 1.131.6), engaged in a poetic contest with the Ionian poet Arctinus of Miletus, and the contest was won by Lesches the Aeolian. In this case, it is no accident that our source is an author who originated from Eresos. This city, just like the city of Mytilene, is located on the Aeolian island of Lesbos. And the myth reported by Phainias {74|75} about a competition in performance, it can be argued, is an aetiology for the existence of rival epics: Lesches of Mytilene is credited with the authorship of one of these epics, the Little Iliad, while Arctinus of Miletus is the accredited author of two other epics about the Trojan War, the Aithiopis and the Iliou Persis.[62]

1§45. Even the name of Lesches of Mytilene indicates a context of competition in performance. His name Lesches=Léskhēs (Λέσχης) is a nomen loquens, derived from the word léskhē (λέσχη), which as we have already seen means ‘men’s meeting-place’. And we have already seen this word referring to an actual context for the competitive performances of epic by Homer. It was in fact at a léskhē where Homer’s performances of epic had first captured the attention of his poetic rival, Thestorides of Phocaea, who as we have seen went on to steal Homer’s Little Iliad:

ἀπικόμενος δὲ ἐς Φωκαίην τῷ αὐτῷ τρόπῳ ἐβιότευσεν, ἔπεα ἐνδεικνύμενος ἐν ταῖς λέσχαις κατίζων.

Arriving in Phocaea, he [= Homer] made a living the same way as he had before, performing verses [épos plural] while sitting around in men’s meeting-places [léskhai].

(Vita 1.192–194)

1§46. The léskhē, as a place for competitive performances of poetry, is an arena for poetic reception, determining the acceptance or the rejection of the competing poet. At an earlier stage in Homer’s life as narrated in Vita 1, back when his name was not yet Homer but Melēsígenēs, we see our poet performing the same way as he now performs in Phocaea. Back then, Homer’s performances of epic were also in a léskhē ‘men’s meeting-place’. Back then, he was performing in Cyme, which is an Aeolian city just like Mytilene, the city of Lesches. Here is the telling description of Homer’s performance at Cyme:

κατίζων δὲ ἐν ταῖς λέσχαις τῶν γερόντων ἐν τῇ Κύμῃ ὁ Μελησιγένης τὰ ἔπεα τὰ πεποιημένα αὐτῷ ἐπεδείκνυτο, καὶ ἐν τοῖς λόγοις ἔτερπε τοὺς ἀκούοντας· καὶ αὐτοῦ θωυμασταὶ καθειστήκεσαν. γνοὺς δὲ ὅτι ἀποδέχονται αὐτοῦ τὴν ποίησιν οἱ Κυμαῖοι καὶ εἰς συνήθειαν ἕλκων τοὺς ἀκούοντας, …

Melēsígenēs [= Homer] used to sit in the meeting-places [léskhai] of the elders in Cyme and perform [epi-deíknusthai] the verses [épos plural] made [poieîn] by him. With his words he gave pleasure to those who heard him. And they became his admirers [thaumastaí]. But he, knowing that the people of Cyme accepted [apo-dékhesthai] his songmaking [poíēsis], and attracting [hélkein] his audiences into a state of familiarization [sun-ḗtheia]…

(Vita 1.141–146)

1§47. During his stay here in the Aeolian city of Cyme, which is then immediately followed by his stay in the Ionian city of Phocaea, Homer is said to have ‘performed’ (= epi-deíknusthai = ‘made an epídeixis of’) the verses or épea (= épos plural) that he had ‘made’ (poieîn). His audiences, ‘hearing’ (akoúontes) him perform, ‘accepted’ (apo-dékhesthai) his song-making {75|76} (poíēsis). The ‘acceptance’ or reception by the audience is correlated with their familiarization (sun-ḗtheia) to the song-making; this familiarization is in turn correlated with Homer’s drawing power, his ability to attract audiences.[63] The successful reception of Homer here is conveyed by saying that his audiences in the Aeolian city of Cyme became his thaumastaí ‘admirers’ (Vita 1.144).[64] We have already noted earlier this particular way of referring to Homeric reception in Chios  (Vita 1 1.342).

1§48. In sum, Homer’s competitive performances at léskhai ‘men’s meeting-places’ are comparable to the performance of Lesches (or Λέσχεως, as his name is written by Pausanias) of Mytilene in the myth about his competition with the performance of Arctinus of Miletus. And such competition, juxtaposing the Little Iliad of the Aeolian Lesches with the Aithiopis and Iliou Persis of the Ionian Arctinus, is in turn comparable to the ultimate poetic competition between Homer and Hesiod as narrated in Vita 2, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod.[65]

Epilogue

1§49. This study has collected traces of an old poetic rivalry between (1) epics now recognized as belonging to the Cycle and (2) the two epics of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, which were becoming the dominant epic repertoire of the festival of the Panionia already in the late eighth and early seventh centuries BCE. The eventual dominance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey is signaled by the obsolescence of the Cycle in the epic repertoire of the festival of the Panathenaea in Athens during the sixth century BCE, in the era of the Peisistratidai. As we will now see, however, epics of the Cycle were still being performed at that festival even in such a relatively late era.

1§50. In the surviving plot outlines of the Cycle, we see occasional references to distinctly Athenian agenda, indicating that the performance traditions of the Cycle were still alive in Athens during the sixth century.[66] For example, in the case of the Iliou Persis attributed to Arctinus of Miletus, there is mention of the rescue of the mother of Theseus by the Athenian hero’s two sons Akamas and Demophon after the capture of Troy (Iliou Persis, Proclus summary p. 108 lines 10–11 ed. Allen); there is another such mention of these figures in the Little Iliad attributed to Lesches of Mytilene (PEG F 20 via Pausanias 10.25.8).[67] {76|77}

1§51. Still, the obsolescence of the Cycle in Athens is clearly indicated by a significant absence in a set of Athenian narratives about the text of the Iliad and Odyssey. I have in mind here the stories of the so-called Peisistratean Recension.[68] As we read in the most succinct version of these stories (retold in the Suda; the relevant part of the retelling is printed at p. 258 lines 37–43 in the Homeric Lives as edited by Allen 1912), Homer had recited the Iliad and Odyssey in bits and pieces while wandering throughout Asia Minor and beyond, and it was these bits and pieces that Peisistratos of Athens had assembled, thus constituting the integrity of the Iliad and Odyssey as a unified corpus of epic.[69] So, what is the significant absence in such stories about the Peisistratean Recension? It is simply this: the epics of the Cycle are missing. The mythical framework of these stories is limited to the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. There is no room any more for any bits and pieces that may come from cities like Mytilene in Lesbos or from Miletus, once the most dominant of all the cities of the Ionian Dodecapolis. By now, any bits and pieces of the Cycle can safely be attributed to marginal poets of an unrecoverable past, such as Lesches of Mytilene or Arctinus of Miletus. Even that notorious Thestorides of Phocaea can by now be safe, since he will no longer need to be suspected of becoming a pseudo-Homer. {77|–}


Essay Two: Homeric cross-referencing to a Cyclic tradition of performance[1]

Introduction to Essay Two

2§1. What I present here is the second of two interconnected essays about the Epic Cycle. In Essay One (originally Nagy 2015a), I argued that oral poetic traditions shaped not only the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey but also the Epic Cycle. In Essay Two (originally Nagy 2015b) as I present it here, I will argue that Homeric poetry can actually make cross-references to the oral traditions of the Cycle, and that such cross-referencing is itself an aspect of oral tradition. Also, I will explain in due course what I mean when I say cross-referencing.

Recapitulating the arguments developed in Essay One

2§2. In the Introduction to Essay One, I already highlighted the earliest recoverable meaning of the word kúklos (κύκλος) in contexts referring to the Epic Cycle. In such contexts, I argued, kúklos refers to all poetry composed by Homer.[2] Such a meaning of kúklos as the sum total of Homeric poetry goes back, I argued further, to a metaphorical use of the word in the sense of ‘chariot wheel’. In Homeric diction, kúklos actually means ‘chariot wheel’ (Iliad 23.340, plural κύκλα at Iliad 5.722). The metaphor of comparing a well-composed song to a well-crafted chariot wheel is explicitly articulated in the poetic traditions of Indo-European languages (as in Rig-Veda 1.130.6); more generally in the Greek poetic traditions, there is a metaphor comparing the craft of the téktōn (τέκτων) ‘joiner, master carpenter’ to the art of the poet (as in Pindar Pythian 3.112–114).[3]

2§3. Connected with this idea of kúklos as a chariot wheel is the meaning of the name for ‘Homer’, Hómēros (Ὅμηρος). This name is a nomen loquens derived from the noun hómēros, to be explained etymologically as a compound *hóm-āros (*ὅμ-ᾱρος) meaning ‘the one who fits/joins together’, composed of the prefix homo– ‘together’ and the root of the verb ar-ar-iskein (ἀρ-αρ-ίσκειν) ‘fit, join’. In terms of this etymological explanation, Hómēros (Ὅμηρος) is a metaphor: the poet Homer is ‘the one who fits [the song] together’—as if the song were ‘the Cycle’ in the sense of a kúklos or ‘chariot wheel’. Homer as the master poet ‘fits together’ pieces of song that are made ready to be parts of an integrated whole just as a master carpenter or joiner ‘fits together’ or ‘joins’ pieces of wood that are made ready to be parts of a chariot wheel.[4]

2§4. But the metaphorical world of Homer extends beyond song, as we see from the meaning of hómēros as ‘hostage’. A hómēros in the sense of a ‘hostage’ is notionally ‘the one who {15|16} fits [people] together’.[5] This meaning can be connected with a myth that aetiologizes the figure of the poet Homer himself as a hostage who is blinded by the Lydians because he displays his solidarity with the Greek-speaking people of Asia Minor.[6] So, the notion of integrity that is built into the art of Homer as ‘the one who fits [the song] together’ extends to the society that is integrated by this art, since Homer is also ‘the one who fits [people] together’. It is in the context of such a societal metaphor for the name Hómēros that we can appreciate the relevant analysis of this name by Marcello Durante: he argues that Greek Hómēros is cognate with the Indic noun samaryám, which refers to an ‘assembly’ of people engaged in various contests, including poetic competitions.[7] I compare here the semantics of the Greek noun agṓn, derived from the root ag‑ of the verb ágein as it is used in the compound formation sun-ágein, which means ‘bring together, assemble, gather’.[8] Basically, an agṓn is a ‘bringing together’ of people; and the occasion of such a ‘bringing together’ is a ‘competition’. This meaning, ‘competition’, is still evident in the English borrowing of a compound formation involving the word agṓn, that is, antagonism. We can see a comparable idea embedded in the meaning of the Latin word that gives us the English borrowing competition: basically, the meaning of Latin com-petere is ‘to come together’, and to come together is to compete.[9]

2§5. In terms of my explanation, Homer in earlier times was considered to be the poet of an Epic Cycle that included what we now know as the Iliad and Odyssey, but these two epics gradually became differentiated from the Cycle in later times.[10] In the course of such a differentiation, the Iliad and the Odyssey eventually became the only epics that were truly Homeric, while the Cycle became non-Homeric.

2§6. Such a differentiation between the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey on the one hand and a non-Homeric Cycle on the other hand is most clearly visible in sources dating from the fourth century BCE. For example, when Aristotle in his Poetics (1459a) refers to the kúklos (κύκλος) in the sense of ‘Epic Cycle’, he is referring to a body of epic poetry that was explicitly not composed by Homer.[11]

2§7. In what follows, I will argue that such a differentiation is already happening inside Homeric poetry as we know it. That is, Homeric poetry differentiates itself from Cyclic poetry, which is figured as an older tradition of poetry. And this differentiation is indicated, as we will see, by way of cross-references to what I call a Cyclic tradition of performance.

The process of cross-referencing in Homeric poetry

2§8. To explain what I mean by cross-referencing in Homeric poetry, I start by returning to an argument I first presented in a 1979 book, The Best of the Achaeans. What I argued there was that the mechanics and the esthetics of Homeric cross-referencing are compatible with oral poetics—and do not depend on the technology of writing. Here is my basic formulation: “When we are dealing with the traditional poetry of the Homeric (and {16|17} Hesiodic) compositions, it is not justifiable to claim that a passage in any text can refer to another passage in another text.”[12] I have added italics here to emphasize the inapplicability of the word “text.”[13] What is happening is a process of cross-referencing not from one text to another text but from one tradition of composition-in-performance to another such tradition.

The first song of Demodokos

2§9. For a premier example, I highlight from Odyssey 8 a Homeric retelling of the first of three songs sung by Demodokos, the blind singer of the Phaeacians. And this retelling, as I will argue, is a Homeric cross-reference to a Cyclic tradition of composition-in-performance. Here, then, is the text of the first song of Demodokos as retold in Homeric poetry:

|72 αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ πόσιος καὶ ἐδητύος ἐξ ἔρον ἕντο, |73 Μοῦσ’ ἄρ’ ἀοιδὸν ἀνῆκεν ἀειδέμεναι κλέα ἀνδρῶν, |74 οἴμης, τῆς τότ’ ἄρα κλέος οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἵκανε, |75 νεῖκος Ὀδυσσῆος καὶ Πηλεΐδεω Ἀχιλῆος, |76 ὥς ποτε δηρισαντο θεῶν ἐν δαιτὶ θαλείῃ |77 ἐκπάγλοις ἐπέεσσιν, ἄναξ δ’ ἀνδρῶν Ἀγαμέμνων |78 χαῖρε νόῳ, ὅ τ’ ἄριστοι Ἀχαιῶν δηριόωντο. |79 ὣς γάρ οἱ χρείων μυθήσατο Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων |80 Πυθοῖ ἐν ἠγαθέῃ, ὅθ’ ὑπέρβη λάϊνον οὐδὸν |81 χρησόμενος. τότε γάρ ῥα κυλίνδετο πήματος ἀρχὴ |82 Τρωσί τε καὶ Δαναοῖσι Διὸς μεγάλου διὰ βουλάς. |83 ταῦτ’ ἄρ’ ἀοιδὸς ἄειδε περικλυτός· αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς …

|72 When they had satisfied their desire for drinking and eating, |73 The Muse impelled the singer to sing the glories [kléos plural] of men, |74 starting from a thread [oímē] [of a song] that had at that time a glory [kléos] reaching all the way up to the vast sky. |75 It was the quarrel [neîkos] of Odysseus and Achilles son of Peleus, |76 how they once upon a time [pote] fought at a sumptuous feast of the gods, |77 with terrible words, and the king of men, Agamemnon, |78 was happy in his mind [nóos] that the best of the Achaeans [áristoi Akhaiôn] were fighting. |79 For [gar] thus had oracular Phoebus Apollo prophesied to him, |80 at holy Delphi, when he [Agamemnon] had crossed the stone threshold |81 to consult the oracle. For [gar] then [tote] it was that the beginning of pain [pêma] started rolling down [kulíndesthai] |82 upon both Trojans and Danaans [= Achaeans], all on account of the plans [boulaí] of great Zeus. |83 These things, then, the singer sang, whose fame goes far and wide. As for Odysseus …

Odyssey 8.72–83

2§10. This first of three songs performed by Demodokos in Odyssey 8 is evidently an epic. And, as we will see later, the third of his three songs is likewise an epic, while the second song is a hymn, in the sense that it is morphologically parallel to what we know as the Homeric Hymns. As for the first and the third songs, I will argue that these epics are morphologically parallel to the epics of the Cycle.

2§11. Further, I will argue that the first song of Demodokos is not only an epic: it is also a micro-Iliad, merely 10-odd verses in length, to be contrasted with the macro-epic that we know as the Homeric Iliad, which is 15,000-odd verses in length.

2§12. As we start to consider the details of this micro-epic as embedded in Odyssey 8, we can immediately see some obvious similarities with the details of the Iliad as they are narrated at the very beginning of that macro-epic:

– Just as Agamemnon and Achilles quarrel in the macro-epic of the Iliad (1.6–7), so also Odysseus and Achilles quarrel in the micro–Iliad as retold in the Odyssey (8.75–77). {17|18}

– Just as the events following the quarrel of Agamemnon and Achilles are linked with the boulḗ ‘plan’ of Zeus in the Iliad (1.5), so also the events following the quarrel of Odysseus and Achilles are linked with that same supreme god’s boulaí ‘plans’ in in the micro-Iliad of the Odyssey (8.82). These grand divine plans are somehow co-extensive with the overall plot of each epic.

– Just as the god Apollo is involved in the story about the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles in the Iliad (1.8–12), the same god is involved also in the story about the quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles in the micro–Iliad of the Odyssey (8.79–81).

The prophecy of Apollo

2§13. I focus here on the role of the god Apollo as the formulator of the divine plans of Zeus in the micro-Iliad of the Odyssey (8.79–81). This formulation takes the form of a prophecy spoken to Agamemnon by the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi (again, 8.79–81). As I reconstruct this prophecy, the Oracle had said something like this to Agamemnon: ‘When the two heroes who are the best of the Achaeans get into a quarrel at a feast, then you will know that Troy will be conquered’. In what follows, I will work on backing up this reconstruction.

Odysseus and Achilles as the best of the Achaeans

2§14. When the Oracle of Apollo refers at verse 78 in the micro-Iliad of Odyssey 8 to the two quarreling heroes as ‘the best of the Achaeans’, áristoi Akhaiôn, which heroes are meant? The answer is built into the micro-narrative: as we see at verse 75, these two quarreling heroes are Odysseus and Achilles. The quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles, I argue, must have had something to do with their dual status as ‘the best of the Achaeans’.

2§15. This dual status is built into the macro-narratives of the Iliad and the Odyssey. As we can see from these narratives, Achilles is the best of the Achaeans in the Iliad, and Odysseus is the best in the Odyssey. From the standpoint of Greek civilization writ large, this title ‘best of the Achaeans’ is all-important, since the ‘Achaeans’—also known as ‘Argives’ and ‘Danaans’—are figured as the Homeric prototypes of the historical Greeks.

2§16. The complementarity of these two heroes Achilles and Odysseus as ‘the best of the Achaeans’ in the Iliad and the Odyssey respectively depends on the complementarity of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey as epics. Here is the way I describe such a complementarity in a book I produced on the overall subject of the ancient Greek hero:

A central theme unites the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey: as we see from the pervasive use of the title áristos Akhaiôn ‘best of the Achaeans’ in both epics, Achilles emerges as the rightful owner of this title in the Iliad while Odysseus earns the same title in the Odyssey.[14]

2§17. In Chapter 2 of my 1979 book The Best of the Achaeans, I analyzed the main passages in the Iliad and Odyssey that show the complementary roles of Achilles and Odysseus as ‘the best of the Achaeans’. But there is more to it, much more:

Underlying the complementarity of the Iliad and Odyssey and of the main heroes of these two epics is an element of competition. The kléos or epic glory of Achilles in the Iliad is competitively contrasted with the kléos of Odysseus in the Odyssey.[15] {18|19}

The quarrel between the best of the Achaeans

2§18. The complementarity that links the epic of Odysseus in the Odyssey and the epic of Achilles in the Iliad is actually dramatized in the quarrel between ‘the best of the Achaeans’ as prophesied by the Oracle of Apollo in the micro-Iliad of the Odyssey (8.79–81). As I argue in Chapter 2 of The Best of the Achaeans, this quarrel centered on one single all-consuming question: how to conquer Troy? Would this conquest be achieved through heroic intelligence, as championed by Odysseus, or through heroic strength, as championed by Achilles?

2§19. In terms of the quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles as the best of the Achaeans, only one of them deserves that title if the conquest of Troy were the only measure of superiority. But the poetry of epic awards this title not by way of measuring the successes that these two heroes achieved by way of their predominant heroic qualities, namely, strength in the case of Achilles and intelligence in the case of Odysseus. After all, Achilles failed to capture Troy with his heroic strength. As for Odysseus, although he used his heroic intelligence—even trickery—in inventing the Wooden Horse, which was the key to the capture of Troy by the Achaeans, this success did not win for him the title of the ‘best of the Achaeans’ in the Iliad. Rather, Odysseus earned that title by becoming the main hero of the Odyssey, just as Achilles earned the same title by becoming the main hero of the Iliad.[16]

2§20. For the disguised Odysseus, who is listening to the micro-Iliad performed by Demodokos in Odyssey 8, the outcome of the prophecy once spoken by the Oracle of Apollo is already a foregone conclusion, viewed from hindsight. Odysseus as the champion of heroic intelligence has already succeeded where Achilles as the champion of heroic strength had failed. Odysseus has already lived through the Iliad, as it were, and so he must know that he can take credit for the conquest of Troy. Nevertheless, this accomplishment of Odysseus does not and cannot qualify him to be ‘the best of the Achaeans’ in the Iliad: and that is because the kléos or epic ‘glory’ that Odysseus earns in the Odyssey cannot be the Iliad, which means ‘tale of Troy’ (Ilion is the other name for Troy). The Iliad establishes Achilles as the central hero of the story of Troy, even though he failed to capture the city.[17] Because of the Iliad tradition, as I argue in The Best of the Achaeans, “the kléos of Odysseus at Troy was preempted by the kléos of Achilles.”[18]

2§21. To pursue the argument further:

The kléos that Odysseus should get for his success in destroying Troy is elusive, by contrast with the kléos that Achilles gets in the Iliad, which is permanent. So, Odysseus cannot afford to dwell on his success at Troy, because the kléos he may get for that success will become permanent only if it extends into the kléos that he gets for achieving a successful homecoming.[19]

2§22. And the fact is, when Odysseus is listening to the micro-Iliad of Demodokos in Odyssey 8, he is still uncertain of ever achieving a successful homecoming. That is why he feels sadness, not delight, to hear the retelling of an Iliadic story in the micro-epic of Odyssey 8 (83–92). As I argue, such an Iliadic retelling can never guarantee for Odysseus the kléos that he hopes to achieve in order to become, ultimately, the best of the Achaeans in the Odyssey.

2§23. I elaborate on this idea of an underlying competition between Achilles and Odysseus—and even between the Iliad and the Odyssey—in the new Preface for the second edition of {19|20} The Best of the Achaeans, published in 1999, twenty years after the first. Here is a synopsis of what I say in that Preface: although Odysseus could claim credit for the destruction of Troy by way of his intelligence, since he invented the Trojan Horse, his epic kléos or ‘glory’ as áristos Akhaiôn ‘the best of the Achaeans’ in the Odyssey depends not on what he did at Troy but on what he will do in his own epic by way of achieving a safe nostos or ‘homecoming’.[20]

Cross-referencing in the first song of Demodokos

2§24. That said, I will now argue that the verses in Odyssey 8.72–83 can be read as an Odyssean cross-reference to an Iliadic tradition.[21] I emphasize that I say tradition, not text. And I say “a tradition,” not “the tradition.” Further, as I will argue, such an Iliadic tradition corresponds to what we know about the content of the Epic Cycle.

2§25. I start the argumentation by focusing on the expression tote gar ‘for then it was…’ at verse 81, where the gar ‘for’ refers back to the time of the neîkos ‘quarrel’ at verse 75, not to the time of Agamemnon’s consultation of Apollo’s oracle at verse 79. The pêma ‘pain’, prophesied by Apollo at verse 81, originated at the precise moment when the neîkos ‘quarrel’ erupted between Odysseus and Achilles, as signaled at verse 75. Metaphorically, as we see at verse 81, the pain kulíndeto ‘started rolling’ at that moment. This wording at verse 81, I argue, cross-refers not only to the mention of the quarrel at verse 75 but also to the precise moment of that quarrel: “By virtue of cross-referring to a specific point in epic time, the wording tote gar ‘for then it was…’ at verse 81 cross-refers also to a specific point in a notionally total and continuous narration extending into the current narrative.”[22] What we see at work here is “the essential notion, inherent in oral poetic traditions, of a total and continuous narration, of which any given performance is but a part.”[23] The tote ‘then’ of verse 81 is a precise cross-reference to the pote ‘once upon a time’ of verse 76.[24] The tote ‘then’ {20|21} marks a “return to the time-frame introduced by the earlier temporal adverb [pote].”[25]

The idea of cross-referring, by way of performance, to something already known

2§26. In terms of my argumentation, such a return to an earlier time-frame is a matter of performance, not just composition. To put it another way, the cross-reference represented in this story-within-a-story is performative as well as compositional. To put it yet another way, the blind singer Demodokos is being represented here as cross-referring by way of performance.

2§27. Precisely because the “return” to the time-frame is performative, it can work not only from the present to the past but also from the present to the future. As I show in the book Homeric Responses, the prophecy of an event in the plot of Homeric narration can “repeat” in advance the wording of that given event.[26] In the case of Odyssey 8.79–81, where we see a prophecy of Apollo about a future quarrel between Achilles and Odysseus, I interpret this prophecy in the context of a framing performance where the event that is prophesied is understood as a retelling of a story that is already known at the moment of the framing performance—although this story is not yet known by the character who hears the prophecy. In other words, the “return” to the time-frame of the quarrel can be previewed by “retelling” it in advance.[27]

Viewing the epic plots both prospectively and retrospectively

2§28. There is an overt connection between the plot of the epic micro-narrative at Odyssey 8.72–83 and the plot of the epic macro-narrative as we see it at work in our Iliad. I focus here on the word pêma ‘pain’ at Odyssey 8.82, imagined as some colossal boulder that has just started rolling downward from the towering heights above, heading straight toward a doomed population down below at ground zero. This doomed population includes the Achaeans as well as their enemies, the Trojans.

2§29 Such a pêma ‘pain’ signals an Iliadic theme, which can be summarized as follows: “Achilles is a pêma for the Trojans when he is at war and a pêma for the Achaeans both when he withdraws from war and when he dies.”[28]

2§30. In our Iliad, this pêma ‘pain’ is realized in the death of Patroklos, killed by Hector with the active help of Apollo, which prefigures the “offstage” death of Achilles, killed by Paris with the active help of Apollo:

|685 Ἀντίλοχ’ εἰ δ’ ἄγε δεῦρο διοτρεφὲς ὄφρα πύθηαι |686 λυγρῆς ἀγγελίης, ἣ μὴ ὤφελλε γενέσθαι. |687 ἤδη μὲν σὲ καὶ αὐτὸν ὀΐομαι εἰσορόωντα |688 γιγνώσκειν ὅτι πῆμα θεὸς Δαναοῖσι κυλίνδει, |689 νίκη δὲ Τρώων· πέφαται δ’ ἄριστος Ἀχαιῶν |690 Πάτροκλος, μεγάλη δὲ ποθὴ Δαναοῖσι τέτυκται.

|685 Antilokhos! Come, so that you may learn |686 of the catastrophic news, which should never have happened. |687 I think you already see, and you understand, |688 that a god is letting roll [kulíndein] a pain [pêma] upon the Danaans [= Achaeans], |689 and that victory belongs to the Trojans; {21|22} the best of the Achaeans has been killed, |690 Patroklos, that is; and a great loss has been inflicted on the Danaans [= Achaeans].

Iliad 17.685–690

2§31. Menelaos[29] has just announced here to Antilokhos the ghastly news that Patroklos has been killed by Hector. And then Menelaos goes on to speak about a similar fate awaiting any other mortal who dares to do what Patroklos has just done by fighting Hector. Like Patroklos, such a mortal would be undertaking a confrontation not only with Hector but also with Apollo himself:

|98 ὁππότ’ ἀνὴρ ἐθέλη πρὸς δαίμονα φωτὶ μάχεσθαι |99 ὅν κε θεὸς τιμᾷ, τάχα οἱ μέγα πῆμα κυλίσθη.

|98 Whenever a man willingly, in defiance of a superhuman-force [daímōn], fights a mortal |99 whom a god honors, surely a great pain [pêma] rolls down [kulíndesthai] upon him.

Iliad 17.98–99

2§32. Patroklos has been killed because, by fighting Hector, he has dared to confront Apollo and has thus prefigured Achilles, who will also fight Hector in the Iliad and who will thus in his own turn confront Apollo at some future point in time, beyond the Iliad. But now, unlike Achilles in the future, Menelaos will not dare to confront Apollo (Iliad 17.100–101).

2§33. On the basis of the two Iliadic passages that I have just quoted, we can better appreciate the significance of the first song of Demodokos in Odyssey 8.72–83 as a cross-reference to a central Iliadic theme:

Like some colossal boulder that has just broken loose from the heights above, the pain [pêma] is now rolling precipitously and inexorably downward, heading straight at the doomed Iliadic warriors below. This powerful metaphor of epic doom, resonating through the fine-tuned words of Homeric song, evokes the grand images that link the first song of Demodokos with the ultimate song of Achilles, the Iliad.[30]

2§34. In the first song of Demodokos, Odyssey 8.72–83, we are looking at a micro-narrative framed by the macro-narrative of the overall Odyssey. In this micro-narrative, we see the oracular god Apollo engaged in the act of prophesying the macro-narrative of the Iliad. But I prefer here to say not “the Iliad” but “an Iliad.” Such an Iliad is re-enacted in Odyssey 8.72–83, which I view as a micro-Iliad framed by the macro-Odyssey. And this micro-Iliad is ominously encapsulated in a single word, pêma ‘pain’, referring to a superhuman force that threatens to crush not only the Trojans but also the Achaeans as the heroic ancestors of Hellenism (Odyssey 8.81–82).

Combining diachronic with synchronic perspectives

2§35. I have been viewing here the phenomenon of Homeric cross-referencing from a diachronic as well as a synchronic perspective.[31] From a diachronic perspective, which is by nature evolutionary in outlook, the actual sequencing of themes in the oral poetics of composition-in-performance becomes a tradition in and of itself.[32] Such a tradition affects the phenomenon of cross-referencing. Once the sequencing of Homeric “episodes” becomes a tradition in its own right, it stands to reason that any cross-referencing from one {22|23} episode of the sequence to another will also become a tradition. Accordingly, Homeric cross-referencing needs to be viewed not only synchronically but also diachronically.

2§36. When I say diachronically here, I have in mind the fact that any cross-reference that we find in our two-dimensional text of Homeric poetry did not just happen once, at one time in one performance, but at countless times in countless reperformances within the three-dimensional continuum of a specialized oral tradition. The resonances of Homeric cross-referencing must be appreciated within the larger context of a lengthy history—and prehistory—of repeated performances.[33]

2§37. From the standpoint of oral poetics in general, the referent of a reference is not restricted to the immediate context but extends to analogous contexts heard in previous performances.[34]

Another interpretation, based on the idea that Homeric poetry can refer to something that could never have existed before

2§38. By contrast, some have interpreted the story-within-a-story at Odyssey 8.72–83 as an ad hoc invention, an Augenblickserfindung.[35] Bryan Hainsworth’s commentary on the Odyssey accepts such an interpretation, further describing this story-within-a-story as an “allusion” that is “invented to meet the needs of the moment.”[36]

2§39. I disagree with this formulation. It is unnecessary, I contend, to posit such an ad hoc invention out of nothing. I counter-argue that “the needs of the moment” here are actually being met by way of cross-referring to traditional themes that are part of the oral poetics of composition-in-performance.

2§40. In Hainsworth’s commentary, although he speaks of an “allusion” that is “invented” in Odyssey 8.72–83, we find that he accepts the traditionality of at least one of the themes in this Homeric passage:

Yet the exaltation of Odysseus into an opponent of Achilles (he has no such stature in the Iliad) is not without significance. Achilles was the last and greatest of those heroes who solved their problems by excess of violence: Odysseus represents a newer idea (though we might see the germ of it in Odysseus’ rational admonition of the impatient Achilles in [Iliad] 19.155–83), probably congenial to many in the Homeric audience, the cool opportunist, valiant but prudent, and not ashamed to stoop to conquer.[37]

2§41. But here too I see problems with the wording, which makes it appear as if the differentiation between the characters of Achilles and Odysseus were merely the result of an afterthought that could take shape only within the narrative of the Odyssey as we have it. I ask: why assume that the Odyssey is the source for a “new” kind of hero? As I have shown in The Best of the Achaeans, the differentiation between Achilles and Odysseus as alternative types of heroes is already at work within the narrative of the Iliad.[38]

Yet another interpretation

2§42. Here I consider a theory advanced by Martin West in his book on the Epic Cycle.[39] This theory concerns the reference in Odyssey 8.75–77 to the quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles. The quarrel, as we have seen at verses 79–81, was prophesied by the Oracle of {23|24} Apollo to Agamemnon when that hero went to Delphi for a consultation. According to West, this prophecy by the Oracle is meant as a reference to the narrative about the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles as transmitted in the text of our Iliad, not to any narrative about a quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles. Here is how West formulates his theory:

Apollo had apparently prophesied that when the best of the Achaeans quarreled, victory over Troy would follow not long after. In Demodokos’ song Agamemnon rejoices when at a sacrificial feast a quarrel breaks out between Odysseus and Achilles. But the oracle must have been invented with a view to the quarrel of Agamemnon and Achilles in the Iliad. It is possible that this oracle came in the Cypria. The Odyssey poet substitutes Odysseus for Agamemnon because Odysseus is in Demodokos’ audience.[40]

2§43. In terms of this theory, the original reference made by the Oracle must have been a textual reference. That original reference, supposedly contained in the text of a composition stemming from the Epic Cycle, was then revised by “the Odyssey poet” in the text of Odyssey 8.72–83 as we read it, and the revised reference must have been likewise a textual reference. In the text of Odyssey 8.75–77 as we read it, “the Odyssey poet” supposedly “substitutes” Odysseus for Agamemnon, thus creating an “invented” oracle. The invented oracle, as a text, refers to a quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles, whereas the original oracle, as a text, refers to the well-known quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles.

2§44. In terms of this theory, the “invented” oracle must have been misunderstood by Agamemnon. As I have already noted, the oracle must have said something like this to him: ‘When the two heroes who are the best of the Achaeans get into a quarrel at a feast, you will know that you will conquer Troy.’ Later on, when Agamemnon sees Odysseus and Achilles quarreling with each other at a feast, he now thinks that the Oracle must have been prophesying a quarrel between these two heroes, but, supposedly, Agamemnon is making a mistake here: he should have recognized that the Oracle had prophesied instead a quarrel between himself and Achilles, not between Odysseus and Achilles.

2§45. I will now argue against this theory proposed by West, who cites nowhere my own work on Odyssey 8.72–83. And I will also argue against the very idea that Agamemnon was making a mistake here in thinking that the two heroes whom he sees quarreling with each other, described as ‘the best of the Achaeans’ in the wording of the prophecy as retold at Odyssey 8.78, were in fact Odysseus and Achilles.

A Homeric distinction between knowing who you are and claiming to know who you are

2§46. If Agamemnon were really mistaken in interpreting what the Oracle had meant in referring to ‘the best of the Achaeans’, he would have thought of himself as most qualified for this title ‘best of the Achaeans’. And, if in fact the Oracle did not name any names in referring to ‘the best’, why would Agamemnon not have thought of himself as at least one of the two best? The answer, as I will now argue, is that Agamemnon actually knows that he is not one of the two best. And he actually knows that Odysseus and Achilles are the two very best.

2§47. That is what Agamemnon knows, I argue. But his claims contradict what he knows. After all, as we see from the narrative of the Iliad, Agamemnon does in fact claim to be the very best of the Achaeans. That claim is made in the context of the quarrel between {24|25} Agamemnon and Achilles at the very beginning of the Iliad. In the course of that quarrel, Agamemnon claims that he, not Achilles, is the supreme hero. At Iliad 1.91, where Achilles is speaking to his mother Thetis, this supreme hero himself is quoted as saying that the king Agamemnon eúkhetai ‘claims’ to be the best of the Achaeans; then, at 2.82, Nestor likewise is quoted as saying that Agamemnon eúkhetai ‘claims’ to be the best.

2§48. Agamemnon may claim to be the best of the Achaeans, but he knows better. He knows for a fact that he is not the best of the Achaeans, despite his claims and the posturing that backs up his claims. Even in the past, back when he consulted the Oracle at Delphi, Agamemnon must have already known for a fact that Odysseus and Achilles were ‘the best of the Achaeans’. Agamemnon would know this, but he could admit it only to himself. He would not and could not admit to his fellow Achaeans the idea that Odysseus and Achilles were both better than he was.

2§49. Such an interpretation would explain why Agamemnon at Odyssey 8.78 feels happiness inside his nóos ‘mind’. So, he is happy in his thinking only. In other words, he does not share his thinking with the rest of the Achaeans by expressing it in public. Rather, Agamemnon keeps his thoughts to himself. If he shared with the rest of the Achaeans his thinking about Odysseus and Achilles as the best of them all, he would forfeit his own claim to be the very best Achaean himself.

2§50. When Agamemnon at Delphi is happy in his own mind to learn about his future conquest, he does not yet know that he will achieve this conquest without the primary help of Achilles, who champions the might of a warrior. Instead, the primary help will come from Odysseus, inventor of the Trojan Horse. As we have seen, this hero champions the guile of a trickster—and, throughout the Odyssey, Odysseus is a primary exponent of thinking clever thoughts in his nóos or ‘mind’. So, since the conquest of Troy will be achieved by way of a trickster’s stratagem and not by way of a warrior’s might, the reference to the nóos or ‘mind’ of Agamemnon at Odyssey 8.78 becomes an indirect sign of the envy that this hero must have felt all along toward Achilles. Agamemnon is acting in character, thinking thoughts that anticipate failure for the might of Achilles and success for the guile of Odysseus. And, I repeat, Agamemnon would not be expressing in public what he feels in private: he would be keeping his invidious feelings inside his nóos.

Summing up the idea of diachronic as well as synchronic cross-referencing

2§51. As I have argued, a cross-reference from the micro-Iliad of Odyssey 8.72–83 to a macro-Iliad cannot be explained as a static situation where one text has simply referred to another text. Rather, we see here a dynamic process where one tradition of composition-in-performance is referring to another such tradition. Moreover, the cross-referencing is diachronic or evolutionary, not just synchronic. Here is the way I originally described such a process:

An Iliad composed by Demodokos would have been a poem with a structure more simple and more broad, with an Achilles who is even perhaps more crude than the ultimately refined hero that we see emerging at the end of our Iliad. I have little doubt that such an Iliad was indeed in the process of evolving when it was heard in the Odyssey tradition which evolved into our Odyssey. Demodokos had heard the kléos and passed it on in song.[41] {25|26}

How the first song of Demodokos anticipates the third song

2§52. So, when the micro-Iliad of Odyssey 8.72–83 cross-refers to a macro-Iliad, this macro-Iliad is not really our Iliad. As I will now argue, this alternative macro-Iliad is an epic that can best be described as Cyclic, not Homeric, and this Cyclic macro-Iliad will actually get restarted later on in Odyssey 8. That is, the macro-Iliad that is prophesied in the first song of Demodokos will be retold in the third song of Demodokos.

2§53. The third song of Demodokos, as retold at verses 499–533 of Odyssey 8 and as introduced at verses 485–498, is an epic that narrates how Troy was captured by way of intelligence, even guile, and not by way of heroic strength. This is the story of the Wooden Horse, which was of course the invention of Odysseus himself as a supreme master of guile. This story is morphologically parallel to an epic composition known as the Iliou Persis, belonging to the Epic Cycle and traditionally attributed to Arctinus of Miletus (plot summary by Proclus pp. 107–108 ed. Allen).

2§54. To back up what I just said, I refer in general to my Sather Lectures of 2002 at the University of California in Berkeley, as written up in twin books entitled Homer the Classic and Homer the Preclassic.[42] In these two books, I have argued at length and in detail that the third song of Demodokos and the Cyclic Iliou Persis are cognate epics, and that the Odyssey, by way of retelling the third song of Demodokos, is actually cross-referring to a Cyclic tradition of epic that is recognizably distinct from the Homeric tradition represented by the Odyssey. Limitations of time and space prevent me from reviewing here my full argumentation, and I confine myself to an epitome of only those arguments that relate most directly to my current inquiry concerning the relationship between the first and the third songs of Demodokos.

2§55. The connectedness between the first and the third songs of Demodokos is already signaled by the word oímē at Odyssey 8.74, which refers to the ‘thread’ or ‘threading’ of what is pictured metaphorically as the ‘weft’ or ‘plot’ of the first song of Demodokos. For the semantics of oímē as ‘weft’ or ‘plot’, we may compare the French word trame, which means both ‘weft’ and ‘plot’.[43] That is, the oímē is the ‘thread’ of a story. More important for now, the genitive case of oímē here means that the singer starts ‘from’ a given thread of a given story: in other words, we see the starting thread of the story about to be told. Most important, the syntax of this expression about the oímē corresponds to the meaning of a word that is directly linked to the word oímē. That word is prooímion (Attic phroímion), which I think is actually derived from oîmos / oímē and means, metaphorically, the ‘initial threading’.[44] What the syntax indicates, then, is that the singer is starting his epic performance by performing a prooímion. Or, to put it metaphorically, the singer starts from the initial threading of the web to be woven.

2§56. The connectedness of this prooímion to the overall epic performance of Demodokos is signaled by the narrative that follows the retelling of the first song of Demodokos:

|83 ταῦτ’ ἄρ’ ἀοιδὸς ἄειδε περικλυτός· αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς |84 πορφύρεον μέγα φᾶρος ἑλὼν χερσὶ στιβαρῇσι |85 κὰκ κεφαλῆς εἴρυσσε, κάλυψε δὲ καλὰ πρόσωπα· |86 αἴδετο γὰρ Φαίηκας ὑπ’ ὀφρύσι δάκρυα λείβων. |87 ἦ τοι ὅτε λήξειεν ἀείδων θεῖος ἀοιδός, |88 δάκρυ’ ὀμορξάμενος κεφαλῆς ἄπο φᾶρος ἕλεσκε |89 καὶ δέπας ἀμφικύπελλον ἑλὼν σπείσασκε θεοῖσιν· |90 αὐτὰρ ὅτ’ ἂψ ἄρχοιτο καὶ ὀτρύνειαν ἀείδειν |91 Φαιήκων οἱ ἄριστοι, ἐπεὶ τέρποντ’ ἐπέεσσιν, |92 ἂψ Ὀδυσεὺς κατὰ κρᾶτα καλυψάμενος γοάασκεν. {26|27}

|83 These things, then, the singer sang, whose fame goes far and wide. As for Odysseus |84 he took hold of his great purple cloak in his powerful hands |85 and he pulled it over his head, veiling that face of his with its comely looks, |86 since he felt shame in front of the Phaeacians as tears started flowing from beneath his brows. |87 And whenever the divine singer would leave off the singing, |88 he would wipe away the tears as he removed the cloak from his head, |89 and, holding up a drinking cup, he would offer a libation to the gods. |90 But then, whenever he [= the singer] started singing all over again, urged to do so |91 by the best of the Phaeacians, since they took delight [térpesthai] in the words of his song, |92 Odysseus would veil his head and start crying all over again.

Odyssey 8.83–92

2§57. The epic singing of the first song of Demodokos in Odyssey 8, once it gets started by the prooímion as indicated by the syntax at verse 74, keeps getting restarted. Whenever the performer ‘leaves off’, as indicated by the word lḗgein at verse 87, he keeps on ‘restarting’ the epic, as indicated by the wording aps árkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90. The continual restarting creates the effect of an endless narrative: the epic performance of the first song of Demodokos seems to have no end in sight.[45]

2§58. The context of the word lḗgein at verse 87 of Odyssey 8 indicates a recurrent ‘leaving off’ from the performance, followed by a recurrent starting up at the point where the performance had last left off: every time Demodokos leaves off performing his epic, he comes right back to ‘restarting’ it where he last left off, as we see from the context of the expression aps árkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90.[46]

2§59. But then, at Odyssey 8.98–99, Alkinoos the king puts a temporary stop to the ongoing performance that I have been describing as the first song of Demodokos. In the book Homer the Preclassic, I examine in some detail what happens next in Odyssey 8: to summarize here in the shortest form possible, I will say only that the Homeric narrative now proceeds to restart the performance of Demodokos by connecting his first song with the second song, and the second with the third.[47] The second song of Demodokos, at verses 266–366 of Odyssey 8, appears significantly different in form and in content from both the first and the third songs. But this second song, which is neatly 100 verses long, is still part of an ongoing continuum of singing that gets started already in the first song, continues into the second, and continues further from there into the third. In Homer the Preclassic, I argue that such a continuum is metaphorized by way of the word húmnos at verse 429 of Odyssey 8, and that the meaning of this metaphorical word can be translated roughly as the ‘web’ of song.[48] In other words, I argue that the word húmnos here, referring metaphorically to the ‘web’ of the singing performed by Demodokos, applies to all three of his songs in Odyssey 8—as if they constituted a single ongoing narrative. And this visualization of a continuous narrative as a húmnos in the sense of ‘web’ is already signaled by the word oímē at Odyssey 8.74, which as I argued refers to the ‘thread’ or ‘threading’ of what is pictured metaphorically as the ‘weft’ or ‘plot’ of the first song of Demodokos.

2§60. In the short term, the word húmnos at verse 429 in Odyssey 8 refers to the upcoming third song of Demodokos, which is the epic about the Wooden Horse as retold at verses 499–533 of Odyssey 8. In the long term, however, the singing that goes into this third song is an ongoing húmnos, driven forward by the device of hymnic metábasis.

2§61. In the two books Homer the Classic and Homer the Preclassic, I have used this term metábasis as a short-hand way of referring to the uses of the verb metabaínein, which means {27|28} ‘shift’—or, literally, ‘step ahead’—in the Homeric Hymns. Most significantly, the same verb is also used at Odyssey 8.492, where Odysseus challenges the blind singer Demodokos to metabaínein ‘shift forward’ (μετάβηθι) in his ongoing performance and thus to restart the act of narration at a later point in the narrative. This later point starts with the story that tells about the capture of Troy by way of creating the Wooden Horse, that famous invention of Odysseus.[49]

2§62. Demodokos responds to the poetic challenge of Odysseus. He performs a metábasis, which will connect the first song of Demodokos with the third, as if the third were a direct continuation of the first. In terms of this continuation, it is as if the second song did not exist. And yet, the continuation from the first to the third song is hardly direct. In terms of the metábasis, the point where this continuation starts cannot be expected to match the point where the continuity had first been interrupted. That was back at Odyssey 8.98–99, when Alkinoos had stopped the first song of Demodokos, which as we have seen was an ongoing epic performance that kept restarting until Alkinoos stopped the continuum. The objective of the metábasis is to move ahead and shift forward to a new starting point, and this new starting point is to be situated further ahead than the previous stopping point. As I argued in Homer the Classic, the narrative device of metábasis enables the performer to move forward the point of restarting the epic narration. In other words, metábasis moves forward the recycling of the epic. And such a use of metábasis is compatible with the poetry represented by the Epic Cycle. By contrast, however, metábasis is incompatible with the poetry represented by the epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey as transmitted at the Panathenaic Festival of Athens in the late sixth century and thereafter, where each successive performer is required to continue the epic performance at exactly the same point where the prior performance left off.[50]

2§63. Odysseus calls for the metábasis at Odyssey 8.492 (μετάβηθι) in response to the wish expressed by Alkinoos, at 8.429, that Odysseus should ‘take delight’ – térpesthai – in hearing ‘the húmnos of the singing’ on the occasion of the feasting (δαιτί τε τέρπηται καὶ ἀοιδῆς ὕμνον ἀκούων). The feasting will continue and the húmnos will move forward. And what will make the húmnos move forward is the metábasis. But the singing that follows the metábasis, which is the singing of the third song of Demodokos, will not delight Odysseus after all: this third song, like the first song that was sung by that singer, causes pain for the hero, not delight. During the singing of the third song, only the king notices the hero’s pain (532–533), just as he had been the only one in the audience to notice it during the singing of the first song (94–95). Just as Alkinoos had stopped the singing of the first song (98–99) he now stops the singing of the third (537). And the reason he gives for stopping the third song is that the kháris of the singing, that is, the pleasurable beauty it offers, has not pleased his guest: the idea is conveyed by the verb derived from kháris, that is, kharízesthai (538). It is imperative, the king continues, that everyone at the ongoing feast—especially the yet-unnamed guest of honor—should ‘take delight’, and the word that is used here to express the delight is once again térpesthai (542). It was this same programmatic word that was used earlier to describe the expected response of the audience to the third song of Demodokos: Odysseus as the guest of honor must ‘take delight’, térpesthai, when he listens to the húmnos at the feast (429). Moreover, the same word térpesthai was used even earlier to describe the response of the general audience to the first song of Demodokos: as they listen to the singing, they ‘take delight’ (here too térpesthai, at  line 91), and they keep on urging the singer to ‘restart’ his singing, aps árkhesthai (90), every time Demodokos ‘leaves {28|29} off’ singing, lḗgein (87). So the ongoing performances of Demodokos are being driven by the imperative of pleasing the audience: the listeners must continue to ‘take delight’, térpesthai.[51]

2§64. But the third song of Demodokos is now causing pain for Odysseus, even though it was he who had called on the singer to start at the point where the singer had started the third song in the first place. The third song is making Odysseus dissolve into tears all over again, just as he dissolved into tears when he heard the first song. When he hears the epic of the third song of Demodokos, Odysseus is described as feeling ákhos ‘sorrow’—indirectly (530) as well as directly (541). This description, as we will now see, signals the form of the epic that is being performed by Demodokos in the third song and, retrospectively, in the first song as well.[52]

2§65. The first and the third songs of Demodokos represent a general epic form, exemplified by the epics of the Epic Cycle, which becomes a foil for the special epic form that will be narrated thereafter by Odysseus—a form exemplified by the epics that we know as the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. In the twin book Homer the Preclassic, I focus on the Homeric form of the narration by Odysseus.[53] Here I focus on the form of the Epic Cycle.[54]

2§66. The first song of Demodokos in Odyssey 8, as we have already seen, keeps on restarting, and, each time it restarts, Odysseus sheds tears all over again: the continually restarted outpouring of tears is expressed by the wording apsgoân ‘lament again and again’ at verse 92, which parallels the wording that expresses the continual restarting of the first song of Demodokos, aps árkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90. Then, in the third song, a connection is established with the first song, as if the third directly followed the first. By way of this connection, the third song will now appear to be a new restarting of the first, which was continually being restarted until Alkinoos stopped it (98–99). The sorrowful themes in the first song are now being recycled in the third song, by way of ring composition. When Odysseus hears the third song, he literally ‘dissolves’ into tears (522 tḗkesthai). The hero pours forth ‘a tear’ (dákru / dákruon at 522 / 531) all over again. The wording ἐλεεινὸν … δάκρυον εἶβεν ‘he poured forth a piteous [eleeinón] tear’ (531), with reference to the third song, recycles by way of ring composition the earlier wording δάκρυα λείβων ‘pouring forth tears’, with reference to the first song (86). The third song of Demodokos has thus shifted from the ‘delight’ of the second song—as expressed by the word térpesthai (368)— back to the pain of the first song. The ring composition of epic themes centering on pain connects the first and the third songs, creating the effect of a cycle.[55]

How the prophecy in the first song of Demodokos anticipates the events narrated in the third song

2§67. What is it about the first song of Demodokos that keeps on making Odysseus dissolve into tears? The answer is to be found in the formal parallelism that links the hero’s continually restarted outpouring of tears, as expressed by the wording apsgoân ‘lament again and again’ at verse 92, with the poet’s continually restarted epic, as expressed by the wording aps árkhesthai ‘start again and again’ at verse 90. The restartings point back to the starting point of the first song, the beginning of the epic, as retold in Odyssey 8.73–83: that beginning is said to be the pḗmatos arkhḗ ‘beginning {29|30} of the pain’ at 8.81, and that primal pain is equated with the story of the Trojan War. That ‘beginning’, which leads inexorably to the Trojan War, is equated with what is prophesied by Apollo at 8.79–81—and with what is planned by Zeus at 8.81.[56] As I argue in Homer the Preclassic, the plot of the epic is being equated here with the prophecy of Apollo about the plan of Zeus.[57]

2§68. The plot of this epic comes to fulfillment in the third song of Demodokos, as retold in Odyssey 8.499–533. This plot, as I have argued, corresponds to the plot of the epic about the conquest of Troy, known today as the Iliou Persis, an integral part of the Epic Cycle.[58] {30|-}


Bibliographical Abbreviations

BA = Nagy 1979, 2nd ed. 1999 (The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry)

DELG = Chantraine 2009 (Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque: histoire des mots)

EH = Nagy 2006 (“The Epic Hero”)

FGH = Jacoby 1923–1958 (Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker)

GMP = Nagy 1990b (Greek Mythology and Poetics)

H24H = Nagy 2013 (The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours)

HC = Nagy 2008|2009 (Homer the Classic)

HPC = Nagy 2009|2010 (Homer the Preclassic)

HQ = Nagy 1996b (Homeric Questions)

HR = Nagy 2003 (Homeric Responses)

HTL = Nagy 2004 (Homer’s Text and Language)

MoM = Nagy 2015 (Masterpieces of Metonymy: From Ancient Greek Times to Now)

MW = Merkelbach and West 1967 (Fragmenta Hesiodea)

PEG = Bernabé, A., ed. 1987- (Poetarum Epicorum Graecorum Testimonia et Fragmenta)

PH = Nagy 1990a (Pindar’s Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past)

PMG = Page 1962 (Poetae Melici Graeci)

PP = Nagy 1996a (Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond)

PR = Nagy 2002 (Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music: The Poetics of the Panathenaic Festival in Classical Athens). 3rd ed. Nagy 2021.10.01.

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Chantraine, P. 2009. Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque: histoire des mots, ed. J. Taillardat, O. Masson, and J.-L. Perpillou. With supplement “Chroniques d’étymologie grecque,” ed. A. Blanc, Ch. de Lamberterie, and J.-L. Perpillou, 1–10. Paris.

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Nagy, G. 2009. “Hesiod and the Ancient Biographical Traditions.” The Brill Companion to Hesiod, ed. F. Montanari, A. Rengakos, and Ch. Tsagalis, 271–311. Leiden. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hlnc.essay:Nagy.Hesiod_and_the_Ancient_Biographical_Traditions.2009.

Nagy, G. 2009|2010. Online|Printed. Homer the Preclassic. Sather Classical Lectures 67. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Nagy.Homer_the_Preclassic.2009. Paperback 2017. Berkeley and Los Angeles.

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[1] Essay One was originally published (separately from Essay Two) in The Greek Epic Cycle and its Ancient Reception: A Companion, ed. Marco Fantuzzi and Christos Tsagalis, pp. 59-77. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. An earlier online version of Part One: https://chs.harvard.edu/curated-article/gregory-nagy-oral-traditions-written-texts-and-questions-of-authorship/. That earlier version is superseded by the revised version here. In this revised version, as also in the earlier online version, the page-numbers of the original printed version are indicated within “curly” brackets (“{“ and “}”). For example, “{69|70}” indicates where p. 69 of the printed version ends and p. 70 begins. These indications will be useful to readers who need to look up references made elsewhere to the original printed version.

[2] HQ 29–31; PH 18. For an alternative view, see West 2011.

[3] For an alternative line of argumentation, see West 2013.

[4] For more on this earlier sense of kúklos (κύκλος) with reference to all poetry composed by Homer, see Pfeiffer 1968:73 and HC 38.

[5] BA 297–300, interpreting the evidence assembled by Schmitt 1967:296–298.

[6] Chantraine DELG under the entry ἀραρίσκω. For an alternative explanation of the meaning of Hómēros, see West 1999:372. For a commentary on this explanation, see HPC 60n1 Further comments in Essay Two.

[7] BA 296–300.

[8] PP 74–75. See also HPC 254–264. Further comments in Essay Two.

[9] HPC 69-70.

[10] HPC 320.

[11] Allen 1912:126.

[12] HQ 38, 89–91; relevant comments by Burgess 2001:15, also 200 n44.

[13] HPC 75–78.

[14] PR 9-35.

[15] HPC 320; PH 72.

[16] HPC 22–28, with reference to such primary passages as Plato Hipparchus 228b-c, Dieuchidas of Megara, FGH 485 F 6 (via Diogenes Laertius 1.57), Lycurgus Against Leokrates 102.

[17] HPC 22.

[18] Frame 2009:550–621, who shows that each one of these twelve performance units corresponds to four rhapsōidíai (ῥαψῳδίαι) ‘rhapsodies’ or ‘books’ of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey as we know them (‘books’ 1–4, 5–8, 9–12, 13–16, 17–20, 21–24).

[19] Commentary in HPC 216-217.

[20] HPC 22.

[21] HPC 59–65, 68–69, 95–96; 313.

[22] HPC 322–324.

[23] HPC 321.

[24] PH 73.

[25] Nagy 2009:275.

[26] HQ 38–40.

[27] PH 72.

[28] HPC 320–321.

[29] HPC 67–68, 70, 71–722, 80–82, 85, 321–322, 323.

[30] HPC 204–206.

[31] HPC 147–217.

[32] What follows is an abridged version of the formulation in Nagy 2009:282–283.

[33] For example, Most 2006a:xxxiv–vi.

[34] Most 2006a:xx–xxii.

[35] On the poetics of epigrams, which are attested already in the 8th century BCE, see HQ 14, 35–36: it is argued there that the poetry of epigrams shows a clear separation between the processes of composing and inscribing.

[36] HQ 34–37.

[37] What follows is a summary of the argumentation in HQ 38-47 and Nagy 2009:281–287, relying on the fundamental work of Parry (collected writings first published in 1971) and Lord (1960/2000).

[38] On the distinction between synchronic and diachronic approaches to the analysis of a given structure in the study of oral poetics: HR 1, with reference to Saussure (1916:117).

[39] PP 110–113 and HC 5.

[40] I offer the following system for referring to these Lives, with page numbers as printed by Allen 1912:

Vita 1 = Vita Herodotea, 192-218
Vita 2 = Certamen, 225-38

There is now also another system for numbering the Lives, introduced by West 2003. For a new edition of Vita 1 and Vita 2, see Colbeaux 2005. In the case of the Certamen, I must add, it draws extensively from a lost work, the Mouseion of Alcidamas, who flourished in the first half of the 4th century BCE.

[41] The next two paragraphs are based on HPC 30.

[42] I make a similar point about Lives of Poets traditions in general: see BA ix.

[43] The analysis that follows recapitulates my earlier analysis in HPC 37-42 of the story of Thestorides in Vita 1. For another study of this story, see Cassio 2003, whose interpretations differ from mine.

[44] Earlier, I have already drawn attention to these terms transcript, script, and scripture, with reference to PP 110-13 and HC 5.

[45] The setting for Homeric performances here, λέσχαι ‘men’s meeting places’, is relevant to the argumentation that follows.

[46] I interpret the middle aorist of ἀνα-γράφεσθαι here as ‘have [somebody] transcribe’, where the grammar does not specify who will initiate the transcription; at a later point in the narrative, it becomes clear that it is Thestorides who initiates the transcription (Vita 1.208 ὁ Θεστορίδης ἐγράψατο ‘Thestorides had [the poems] transcribed’); see HPC 38.

[47] So, here we see, as I anticipated in the previous note, that the prospect of ana-gráphesthai (ἀνα-γράφεσθαι) ‘have [somebody] transcribe’, as formulated in the original deal, has now become a done deal as Thestorides proceeds with the act of gráphesthai (γράφεσθαι) ‘having [someone] transcribe’ the poetry of Homer.

[48] HPC 38–39.

[49] HPC 32–33. By contrast, Graziosi 2002 argues for a poetics of absence.

[50] This word thaumastaí (θαυμασταί) refers to Homeric reception throughout Vita 1: see HPC 37, 48–51.

[51] Commentary in HPC 64.

[52] Commentary in HPC 46–47.

[53] HPC 28.

[54] HPC  61–62.

[55] HPC 38–39.

[56] HPC 33-47; Nagy 2004.

[57] HPC 31–32.

[58] Plato Phaedo 94d, Hippias Minor 371a, Republic 2.378d, Ion 531c-d. Also, Aristotle On the Soul 404a, Nicomachean Ethics 3.1116a and 7.1145a, On the Generation of Animals 785a, Poetics 1448a, Politics 3.1278a and 8.1338a, Rhetoric 1.1370b, Historia Animalium 513b. For an early example of poieîn with Homer as subject, see Herodotus 2.53.2.

[59] Plutarch On Affection for Offspring 496d, Table Talk 668d; Pausanias 3.24.11, 8.29.2.

[60] HPC 33.

[61] HPC 33.

[62] PH 19n10; 28 n61;74–75.

[63] On the implications of ‘reception’ inherent in the word apodékhesthai ‘accept’, see PH 217–218, 221–222.

[64] HPC 36–37.

[65] PH 76.

[66] HPC 320.

[67] Debiasi 2004:132n58; 207; for further examples of such Athenian accretions, see Burgess 2001:152, 247n75.

[68] For a collection of stories about the Peisistratean Recension, with analysis, see HPC 314–325.

[69] Commentary on this summary in HPC 317–318.


[1] Essay Two was originally published (separately from Essay One) in Studies on the Greek Epic Cycle, ed. Giampiero Scafoglio, pp. 15–31. Pisa/Roma: Fabrizio Serra, Editore, 2015. In the revised version here, the page-numbers of the original printed version are indicated within “curly” brackets (“{“ and “}”). For example, “{15|16}” indicates where p. 15 of the printed version ends and p. 16 begins. These indications will be useful to readers who need to look up references made elsewhere to the original printed version.

[2] I have further comments on kúklos in HPC 255-256, based on a more extensive analysis in PH 70-81. See also Pfeiffer 1968:73 and HQ 38. For further thoughts on kúklos, see West 2013:22-23. I agree with West 2013:1, 8 that Proclus, who is the main source for tracking the plot-outlines of the Cycle, is to be dated to the second century CE.

[3] BA 296–300, interpreting the evidence assembled by Schmitt 1967:296–298.

[4] PP 74-75.

[5] Chantraine DELG under the entry ἀραρίσκω.

[6] HPC 254–264.

[7] Durante 1976:194–197, as cited already by Nagy in 1979 (BA 296); also cited 20 years later by West 1999:372, 375-376, who offers his own explanation based on the argumentation of Durante. I comment in detail on West’s explanation in HPC 60. See also Debiasi 2012:474n21, who points out that West’s explanation can be reconciled with the etymology that I propose.

[8] H24H 8b§4.

[9] PH 136–137.

[10] HPC 69-70.

[11] HPC 320.

[12] BA 40.

[13] Rutherford 1991-1993:42 adds different italics to my formulation, thereby distorting it: “When we are dealing with the traditional poetry of the Homeric (and Hesiodic) compositions, it is not justifiable to claim that a passage in any text can refer to another passage in another text.”

[14] H24H 9§12.

[15] H24H 9§13.

[16] H24H 9§12.

[17] H24H 9§14.

[18] BA 40–41.

[19] H24H 9§14.

[20] BA xvi-xviii = §§27-33. Also HR 7–19.

[21] There is an earlier version of my relevant argumentation in BA 22.

[22] HR 14, recapitulating BA xvii = §30. For an analysis of the syntax that drives the wording of verse 81, see Pelliccia 1985:185–186n18: “Nagy [BA 1979] … understood line 81 τότε γάρ [‘for then it was…’] to refer back to the time of the νεῖκος [‘quarrel’], with the γάρ [‘for…’] clause [of verses 79-80] taken as an isolated parenthetical aside reporting events prior to the quarrel. R. Fowler [1983:125] called this ‘a shaky interpretation of Greek,’ and corrected it thus: ‘The second γάρ depends on χρησόμενος (for successive γάρ’s in Homer cf. J.D. Denniston [1954] p. 58); lines 81–82 thus imply that troubles are already besetting Agamemnon, probably at Aulis.’ – But the matter is not so simple. Fowler is referring to Denniston’s entry on ‘successions of γάρ clauses or sentences, each clause dependent on the previous one’ (loc. cit.); he does not mention Denniston’s entry six pages later (64f.) on ‘successive γάρ’s [that] have the same reference,’ nor the comment within that entry (65): ‘We must distinguish from the above passages others in which the first γάρ clause is parenthetical, and the references in the two γάρ clauses are therefore not parallel’ (citing Od. 20.30506 [sic]). The arguments from γάρ are therefore inconclusive.” Although the views of Pelliccia as quoted here can be used to support what I say about the Homeric text, I cannot guarantee that he would agree with my overall interpretation of Odyssey 8.72–83. Although I am sure that he values, as I do, the importance of text-based and language-based argumentation, I am less sure that he appreciates my treatment of the Homeric text here and elsewhere as a reflex of an oral tradition. I can say this because I know him well enough: there was a time when he was my colleague at Harvard University, from 1985 to 1989.

[23] HR 14-15, recapitulating BA xvii = §30(n2). By italicizing notion, I am stressing that the continuity and the totality are merely notional and not necessarily “real” for the empirical observer on the outside looking in, as it were. For comparative evidence on notional totality, see Flueckiger 1996:133-134. See also HQ 77–82.

[24] Here are some relevant observations by Pelliccia 1985:185-186n18: “It might further be argued against Nagy that τότε in 81 most naturally refers to what immediately precedes it; but in fact it can with equal ease refer back to ποτε [‘once upon a time’] in 76; cf. [Hesiod] Th. 58-68, where between correlated ὅτε (58) and τότε (68) there intervenes a passage (63-67) whose time reference is completely different from that of the correlated clauses: τότε here serves (as per Nagy it does in Od. 8.75–82) to dismiss the parenthesis (corresponding to 79–81 in Od. 8) and to return to the time-frame introduced by the earlier temporal adverb with which it is correlated. This point has been repeatedly misconstrued by W. J. Verdenius [1972] 225-60; 247 esp.” The italics here are mine. Pelliccia (ibid.) adduces further examples, quoting from West 1985:129: “In Th. 68 τότε is resumptive, looking back to the account of the Muses’ birth in 60 after the digression on their present-day activities.” I must add here: the scholia to Odyssey 8.75 claim that the quarrel between Achilles and Odysseus took place after the killing of Hector.

[25] I am quoting again the italicized part of the formulation by Pelliccia in the preceding footnote.

[26] HR Chapter 1.

[27] HR 15.

[28] Nagy 1979:64. This theme is linked to the name of Achilles, which can be explained morphologically as *Akhí-lāwos ‘he who has ákhos [“pain”] for the lāós [“host of fighting men”]’.

[29] “Agamemnon” has been corrected to “Menelaos” in ed. 2 of BA (Nagy 1999:63n).

[30] Nagy 1999:xviii §32.

[31] On the terms synchronic and diachronic, I follow the working definitions formulated by Saussure 1916:117: “Est synchronique tout ce qui se rapporte à l’aspect statique de notre science, diachronique tout ce qui a trait aux èvolutions. De même synchronie et diachronie désigneront respectivement un état de langue et une phase d’évolution.”

[32] As we saw in the definition given by Saussure, quoted in the previous note, a diachronic perspective is evolutionary. See also HQ 77-82.

[33] HQ 82. BA xii-xiii = §§16-18.

[34] HQ 82n53.

[35] Marg 1956:21.

[36] Hainsworth 1988:351.

[37] Hainsworth 1988:351. At the end of this statement, he refers to Rüter 1969:247-254 (also to BA 42-58).

[38] BA 45-49.

[39] West 2013.

[40] West 2013:98.

[41] BA 65. I have added italics in order to highlight “evolving” and “evolved.” As we saw in the definition given by Saussure, quoted earlier, a diachronic perspective is evolutionary. See also HR 19–20.

[42] HC, HPC.

[43] PR 79. See also HC 2§290.

[44] HC 2§92.

[45] HC 2§292.

[46] HC 2§295.

[47] HPC 80-96.

[48] HC 2§302.

[49] HC 2§303.

[50] HC 2§304.

[51] HC 2§305.

[52] HC 2§306.

[53] HPC 96-102.

[54] HC 2§307.

[55] HC 2§308.

[56] HC 2§309.

[57] HPC 101.

[58] HC 2§§328–330. See also Burgess 2001:199n34.



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