the supposed author of the Iliad and Odyssey, the earliest monuments of Greek literature. The several ancient biographies of Homer extant are either legendary or conjectural, and often contradictory, and the narratives of the poems are full of extraordinary incidents, in great part of a mythological character, and of striking discrepancies. Hence various opinions are entertained as to the origin of the poems and the amount of fact or fiction contained in them. G. Curtius, following Mullenholf, conjectures that Homer was a name given to the ideal patron of an association of poets In common use the word meant hostage, hut Duntzer and others suppose that its original meaning was "one who connects or combines," analogous to that of Vyasa (collector), the name given to the compiler or compilers of the Hindoo Vedas and Puranas. Sengebusch identifies it with the name of Thamyris, the Thracian bard. It is noteworthy that the name is repeatedly spoken of by ancient writers as only a pseu-donyme of the poet. Either Homer was himself the "hostage," sent to Chios or Colophon, or it was his father who was surrendered to the Persians. On the island of Ios the name was explained as " follower," supposing that he followed the Lydians when they were compelled to move away from Smyrna, Suidas gives it the signification of " counsellor," and Ephorus dismembers it into "one who does not see," referring to the legend of the poet's blindness. It does not appear, however, that any of these interpretations can fur-nish a clue to the problem whether it is really the name of a person, and whether that person was the author of the Iliad and Odyssey. - Two biographies of Homer have come down to us from antiquity, one of which is attributed to Herodotus and the other to Plutarch. Both have been pronounced forgeries, yet it is probable that they contain the legends relating to the life of the poet current in ancient times. His mother is said to have been Critheis; and one legend represents him to have been born on the bank of the river Meles, near Smyrna, whence the name Melesigenes; according to another, Critheis was married to Mason, king of the Lydians, who brought up her son (the offspring of a da3mon or genius) as his own, whence the name Maeonides. Another legend relates that Homer became a schoolmaster and poet in Smyrna; that he was induced by Men-tes, a foreign merchant, to travel; that while visiting Ithaca he was attacked by a disease in the eyes, which resulted in total blindness; that he composed verses, which he recited wherever he went; that Thestorides, a schoolmaster of Phocaea, carried a copy of Homer's poetry to Chios, and recited it as his own; that Homer followed him thither, and resided long at Bolissos, a town in Chios; and finally, that he died on the little island of Ios, when journeying to Athens. Still another legend declares that the poet on his way to Thebes landed at Ios, and there died of vexation at being unable to solve a riddle propounded to him by some young fishermen, in answer to his question if they had got anything. "As many as we caught," said they, "we left; as many as we did not catch, we carry." The prevailing opinion of antiquity seems to have been that Homer was born in Smyrna, resided for a long time in Chios, and was buried in Ios. Rhodes also is said to have been his home, hut without evidence.
In later times the island of Cyprus also made such a claim. The Cypriotes said that Homer was horn in a field near Salamis, of a girl named Themisto, and that the birth of the great singer had long previously been announced by the Salamine oracles, in verses which they could produce. Athens, Argos, Pylos, and other cities wished likewise to be regarded as Homer's native place. Herodotus places Homer about 400 years before his own time, or in the second half of the 9th century B. C, which is 400 years after the time which he fixes for the Trojan war. The dates assigned to Homer by other ancient writers range from the beginning of the 12th to the beginning of the 7th century B. C. - The principal poems ascribed to Homer are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Among the minor, and evidently of different origin, are the so-called Homeric hymns and the Batrachomyomachia. The Iliad comprises a period of about 50 days of the 10th year of the Trojan war, and narrates the wrath of Achilles and its consequences as far as the death of Hector. Achilles is enraged because Briseis, who had been allotted to him, was taken away and given to Agamemnon; and, angered with all the Greeks, he no longer takes part in the battles with the Trojans. But the misfortunes of his comrades touch his heart, and he at length permits his friend Patroclus to borrow his armor and go out to battle at the head of his Myrmidons. Patroclus is slain by Hector. This event is the central and turning point of the whole epic.
The progress toward it is very gradual and artistic. The cause of the anger is told first. Then, while Achilles is lying in his tent, several scenes of battle are described, which afford an opportunity for introducing the principal heroes of the Greeks, and especially for bringing Diomedes into prominence. The fruitlessness of their efforts and valor heightens their desiro for the aid of Achilles. This furnishes the opportunity for introducing and praising the hero. At last he comes. He has suppressed his anger against the Greeks, and turned it against the Trojans, who have killed his friend. He turns the fortunes of war, and avenges the death of Patroclus by slaying Hector. This portion of the poem has a rapid movement. But Hector's death does not end the Iliad. His body is given up to the Trojans and interred, and Achilles1 wrath is turned to pity for Priam, the aged father of the dead hero; and the poem is thus brought to a peaceful conclusion. The Odyssey describes the return of Ulysses (Odysseus) to his island home. It is a story of 40 days; but within this short period is compressed a mass of events. It is composed of four main divisions.
In the first Ulysses dwells with Calypso on the isle of Ogygia, far from his home, where the suitors of his wife Penelope threaten the ruin of his fortune. Tele-machus, his son, now on the threshold of manhood, resolves to oppose their designs, and, counselled by Minerva, undertakes a journey to Pylos and Sparta to seek his father. In the second part Ulysses leaves Ogygia, arrives in the land of the Phaeacians, to whom he narrates his adventures, and goes to Ithaca. The third part details the plan of vengeance which Ulysses and his son resolved upon in the house of a faithful servant, the shepherd Eumaeus, and which is executed in the fourth and last division. The Odyssey, like the Iliad, is centred in one person and one event - Ulysses and his return and vengeance. Its action, however, is more complicated, through Telemachus's journey. - Two views are held by modern scholars on the nature of the contents of the Iliad and Odyssey. One is that the destruction of Troy (Ilium) was an actual historical event, which took place either before the AEolian migration, or in connection with it.
The first to give a scientific basis to this view was Voleker, in Die Wanderungender aiolischen Kolonien nach Asien als Veranlassung und Grundlage der Geschichte des trojanischen Krieges (1831). The other, which has found a defender in E. Curtius, makes the narrative of the Iliad not that of the legendary destruction of a certain town, but the recollection of the deeds of the Achaeans, who were descendants of Pelops, Agamemnon, and Achilles, who contended with the Dardanians, from whom they conquered a new territory. Blackie, a recent and strenuous advocate of the traditional theory, in his "Homer and the Iliad" (1806), expresses his belief " that there was a kingdom of Priam, wealthy and powerful, on the coast of the Dardanelles; that there was a great naval expedition undertaken against this Asiatic dynasty by the combined forces of the European Greeks and some of the Asiatic islanders, under the leadership of the king of Mycenae; that there was a real Achilles, chief of a warlike clan in the Thessalian Phthiotis, and a real quarrel between him and the general-in-chief of the Hellenic armament; that this quarrel brought about the most disastrous results to the Greek host, in the first place, and had nearly caused the failure of the expedition; but that afterward, a reconciliation having been effected, a series of brilliant achievements followed, which issued soon after in the capture of the great Asiatic capital." Bishop Thirlwall in his " History of Greece " rejects all belief in the detailed narratives of the Iliad and the Odyssey, while he affirms that " the incidents cursorily noticed in these poems were exhibited in full mythical garb in other epics." Grote says in regard to the Trojan war that, " as the possibility of it cannot be denied, so neither can the reality of it be affirmed." Max Muller says that "it would be mere waste of time to construct out of such elements a systematic history, only to bo destroyed again sooner or later by some Niebuhr, Grote, or Lewis." The theory in his "Lectures on the Science of Language," second series (1804), that " the siege of Troy is a repetition of the daily siege of the east by the solar powers, that every evening are robbed of their brightest treasures in the west," has found an exhaustive commentary in the "Mythology of the Aryan Nations," by G. W. Cox (1870), in whose "History of Greece " (1874) the subject is treated in the same spirit.
While the Trojan war is thus divested of all historical character, Gladstone reiterates in his "Juventus Mundi" (1869) what he said in his "Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age" (1858), namely, that the Iliad and the Odyssey are emphatically histori-cal poems; and in his "Homer's Place in History" (1874), building on Egyptological researches, as Chabas's chapter on Les nations connnes aux Egyptiensen l'antiquite liistorique (1873), and Lenormant's Les premieres civilisations (1874), he thinks there is room for the presumption that the capture of Troy occurred in the 14th century B. C. For the attempts ! made to identify the site of Troy, including the recent excavations by Dr. Schliemann, sec-Troy. - The discussion of the origin of the Homeric poems turns principally on the theory which, since the publication of Wolf's famous Prolegomena (1795), is known as the Wolfian theory. It maintains that the Iliad is made up of a number of songs which first existed as detached poems, handed down from generation to generation by a school of rhapsodists or professional minstrels; the poems were thus not the work of one man, and possibly not the product of any one age - a conclusion grounded partly on the absence of writing until long after the time when these poems first came into existence, and partly on the contradictions of the poems themselves.
This opinion had to some extent been entertained before Wolf by Vico, Casaubon, Perrault, lledelin, Bentley, Wood, and other scholars; but their views were outweighed by the current opinion of Homer's personality. Since the day of Wolf the question has been amply discussed by the greatest scholars of all lands, but without resulting in a definite conclusion. In 1866 F. A. Paley attempted to prove that the Greek lyric, tragic, and comic poets either knew nothing or exceedingly little of our Iliad and Odyssey, or at least preferred to draw their material from other poems. Some hold that, in order to prove that these poems have from the first been known in their entirety, and that therefore the Greeks had only one Homer, it must be shown that they were from the first written poems. Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire, in his recent Iliade d'Homere traduite en vers francais, attempts to establish that the Homeric age possessed the art of writing; but against this opinion it has been argued that facilities for writing would lead rather to the rise of contemporary chroniclers than to the practice of writing down poems. Many historians doubt therefore that poems were written centuries before the time of Herodotus, and also that the Greeks had any written literature before the Persian wars.
Paley has expressed his conviction that no such literature existed in the time of Pindar; and the subject has been further examined by Tennell, in a paper on "The First Ages of a written Greek Literature " (" Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society," 1868). When people neither wrote nor read, the only way that poems could be made known was by recitation; and as it cannot be supposed that the whole of the Iliad and Odyssey could be recited on ordinary occasions, recourse is had to hypothesis. Poems were recited in historical times at Athens at the festival of the Panathenasa, and there were contests of rhapsodists at Sicyon, Syracuse, Epidaurus, Orchomenus, Thespiae, Acrrephia, Chios, Teos, and Olympia. Such contests are alluded to in the Homeric account of the Thra-cian poet Thamyris, whom the muses struck blind at Dorium because he had boasted that he was able to contend even with them. It has therefore been supposed that such poems as the Iliad and Odyssey were recited at festivals by several rhapsodists in succession, and Nitzsch believes that such recitations lasted more than one day. But, as Ihne says, the subject of the rhapsodists is one of the most complicated and obscure of all.
Ancient writers agree in ascribing to Pisistratus the merit of having first committed the Homeric poems to writing, and an old Latin scholium, translated from the Greek of Tzetzes and discovered by Ritsehl in a manuscript of Plau-tus at Rome, gives the names of Onomacritus, Zopyrus, Orpheus, and the corrupted name of Concylus, as those of the four poets who assisted Pisistratus. It seems that before him Solon had undertaken to make such a compilation. The Alexandrian critics, however, do not even notice the Pisistratic recension among the many manuscripts of the Homeric poems which they had before them, and Payne Knight and others have inferred from their silence that they either did not possess it or esteemed it of no great authority; which could not have been the case if it had been, as is alleged, the prime originator of Homeric unity. There is evidence that the contemporaries of Pisistratus considered his labors valuable, and that from the Attic manuscript other cities, even Chios, had copies made.
Besides that of Chios, Alexandria possessed manuscripts from Argos, Crete, Cyprus, Massilia, and Sinope; also another called probably from a predominance of AEolic forms. Other copies were known by the names of the persons who made them, as the famous one made by Aristotle for Alexander the Great. An important epoch in the history of the Homeric poems opened in Alexandria, where they were revised by the most celebrated men of learning, as Zenodotus of Ephesus, Aristophanes of Byzantium, and above all by Aristar-chus of Samothrace, whose recension is the most esteemed by modern critics, though all we have of it consists of short fragments scattered through scholia. Aristarchus's edition became the basis of all subsequent ones, and hence it may be accepted that, generally speaking, the text of the Homeric poems such as it has come down to us, and the division of each poem into 24 rhapsodies, are his work. Aris-tarchus was opposed in his criticisms and explications by Crates of Mallus, the founder of the Pergamene school of grammar. The writings of Aristonicus, Didymus, Nicanor, and Herodian seem to have been the sources of the Venetian scholia, published for the first time by Villoison in 1788, through which it was hoped to restore the edition of Aristarchus. The old editions of Homer, as well as the manuscripts, are of little value for the restoration of the text.
The first printed edition appeared in 1488, but until the time of Wolf only about seven critical editions had been made. With Wolfs Prolegomena, published in 1795, prefixed to the second edition of his Homeri et Homeridarum Opera, begins the modern period of Homeric criticism. The advocates of the Wolfian theory infer from the history of the Homeric text that the original unconnected songs composing the Iliad and Odyssey were collected and combined by Pisistratus. The work of these critics consists in eliminating from the Homeric text the spurious verses, and accounting for the probable causes of the interpolations. Those who believe in the original unity of the poems are, however, not unwilling to admit that in the long period of the preservation of the Homeric text numerous interpolations may have been made. These interpolations, as they are admitted by the conservative school, have been ranged in five groups in Rammer's work entitled Die Einheit der Odyssee nach Widerlegung der Ansichten von Lachmann-Steinthal, Kochly, Hennings, und Kirchhoff dargestellt (1873). The first group comprises those which carry out the original plan, but nevertheless modify it by additions and introductions of new themes; they are the largest of all, mostly found in the second part of the Odyssey, and in part have a high poetical value.
The second group consists of those which extend the poem, but have little or no poetical value. The third are editorial interpolations which attempt to establish a stronger connection between a loose theme and the preceding portions by introducing preparatory verses; the fourth, interpolations which enlarge on certain scenes, and are probably due to the loquacity of rhapsodists, but are out of taste and poor in thought; the fifth, interpolations due to a thoughtless introduction of Homeric verses in a wrong connection. Grote supposes that the Iliad consisted originally of a comparatively small poem on the exploits of Achilles, which he calls the Achilleid, and that the other portions of the Iliad were not included in the first plan of it. He sums up the controversy with a statement which probably all critics of the Homeric poems are ready to accept: "For, in truth, our means of knowledge are so limited, that no man can produce arguments sufficiently cogent to contend against opposing preconceptions. . . . We have nothing to teach us the history of these poems except the poems themselves.
Not only do we possess no collateral information respecting them or their authors, but we have no one to describe to us the age in which they originated; our knowledge respecting contemporary Homeric society is collected exclusively from the Homeric compositions themselves. We are ignorant whether any other or what other poems preceded them, or divided with them the public favor; nor have we anything better than conjecture to determine either the circumstances under which they were brought before the hearers, or the conditions which a bard of that day was required to satisfy." - ' Recent works on the grammar and vocabulary of the Homeric text are : Forstemann, Bemer-kungen uber den Gebrauch des Artikels bei Homer (Salzwedel, 1861); Butmann, Lexilogus, oder Beitrage zur griechischen Worterklarung, hauptsachlich far Homer und Hesiod (2 vols., 5th ed., Berlin, 1864); Classen, Beobach-tungen fir den homerischen Sprachgebrauch (Frankfort, 1867); Seiler, Vollstandiges Grie-chisch-Deutsches Worterbuch uber die Gedichte ' des Homeros und der Homeriden (7th ed., Leipsic, 1872). Critical works on questions connected with the origin and contents of the Homeric poems are: Nitzsch, Die Sagenpoesie der Griechen (Brunswick, 1852); Hoffmann, Ho-merische Untersuchungen (Clausthal, 1857-'9); Kochly, De Iliadis Carminibus Dissertationes (Zurich, 1857-'9), and De Odysseoe Carmini-bus Dissertationes (1862-'3); Kirchhoff, Die homerische Odyssee und ihre Entstehung, Text und Erlauterungen (Berlin, 1859); Bergk, Emendationes Homericm (Halle, 1859-61); Na-gelsbach, Homerische Theologie (2d ed., Nuremberg, 1861), and Anmerkungen zur Ilias (3d ed., 1864); Bonitz, Ueber den Ursprung homerischer Gedichte (2d ed., Vienna, 1864); Lachmann, Betrachtungen uber Homers Ilias, mit Zusatzen ton Moritz Haupt (Berlin, 1865) ; La Roche, Die homerische Textkritik im Alter-thum (Leipsic, 1866) ; Baletta,
(London, 1867); O. Meyer, Quoestiones Homericoe (Bonn, 1868); Duntzer, Die Home-rischen Fragen (Paderborn, 1874). Several of these works have been translated into English. As the Homeric poems are considered not only a principal source of the Grecian mythology, but also of the earliest history of the Greeks, and as their influence upon the general culture of that people was immense, they are fully discussed in the histories of Greece by Thirlwall, Grote, Curtius, and Cox ; and also in works on the history of Greek literature, as those by Mure, K. O. Muller, and Nicolai. As poetical productions and models of the epic art, they have been treated and liberally borrowed from by eminent writers of all civilized nations. Among the best editions of the Homeric poems are those of Heyne, Wolf, and Bothe. More recent editions have been published by Barmlein (Leipsic, 1854), Sengebusch (Leipsic, 1855-'6), Bekker (Bonn, 1858), Charles Anthon (New-York, 1858), Baumeister (Leipsic, 1860), Hoffmann (Clausthal, 1864), Ameis (Leipsic, 1865-'8), F. A. Paley (London, 1866), Hermann (Leipsic, 1866), Duntzer (Paderborn, 1866-'7), Faesi (Berlin, 1867), La Roche (Leipsic, 1867-8), Hayman (London, 1867), G. Dindorf (Paris, 1868), and V. II. Koch (Hanover, 1868-'9). Among translations of Homeric poems may be mentioned those in German by Voss (first published in 1780, in constant demand; last ed., 1873), Uschner (Berlin, 1862), Ehrenthal (Hildburghausen, 1865), Carlowitz (Dresden, 1868), and Wiedasch (Stuttgart, 1869); in French by Dugas-Montbel (Paris, 1853), Bignan (1853), Pessonneaux (1861), and Feillet (1865); in English by Chapman, Pope, Cow-per, Munford (1846), Newman (1856), Wors-. ley and Conington (1861-'5), Dean Alford (1861), Simcox (1865), Lord Derby (1865), Herschel (1866), Merivale (1869), and W. C. Bryant (1870-71).