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A. Mast (io-ros). B. Sail (lori'ov). CC. Forestays (irporovot, Od. 2,

425). C'. Backstay (eVii-ci/os, Od. 12, 423). D. Yard (ewUpiov, Od. c, 254)

EE.- Halliards (*aAoi, Od. S , 260, cp. I, 426). FF. Braces (vire"p<u, Od. s, 260).
GG. Sheets (7r65, Od. 5. 260). H. Mast-crutch (;<rro5o(oj, II. 1,434).


1. o-TfLpn- 2. rpoiris. 3,3. orofitVes. 4,4. r-
T)y*eia'Ses. 5, 5. Iicpia (deck), the plur. used because
there is a corresponding deck at the stern.

Fig. 3.
mast. box (drawn on a
larger scale), Od. 2,
424, cp. Od. 19, 3' 7 _





Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford









THE very cordial reception of this School Edition of the
Odyssey, first published in 1870, is a satisfactory proof (if
one were needed) that the fascination of the Story of
Odysseus does not decline as the world grows older.

The excellent English translation by Messrs. Butcher and
Lang, while it has been warmly welcomed for its intrinsic
merits by those who are unacquainted with Greek, seems to
have attracted fresh readers to the original, both in England
and America. But for every hundred who study the first
half of the Odyssey in the Greek, perhaps hardly a dozen
carry their study on to the end.

No doubt there is a peculiar charm in the wanderings of
the hero the charm that calls for fresh editions of the
Arabian Nights, and gives such popularity to Treasure
Island and King Solomon's Mines.

But although in the second half of the Odyssey we leave
fairyland for a narrower field, there is much to compensate
for the change.

We need the course of events that leads up to the Slaying
of the Suitors to complete for us the character of Odysseus,



and to develop the somewhat shadowy sketch of Telemachus
and Penelope, who appear in the early books only to fade
away again till they come to play their parts in the later
scenes. For the full enjoyment of the Poem, it should be
read as a whole.

This new issue of Odyssey I-XII has been carefully
revised and reprinted.

W. W. M.
OXFORD, 1887.




Introduction xi

Plan of Odyssey, Books I XII xix


II 16

HI 31

IV. ....... 48

V 77

VI 94

VII 106

VIII 118

IX 138

X. . 157

XI 177

n XII 199


Sketch of Principal Homeric Forms .... 3

The Metre of Homer 12

Homeric Syntax 14

Notes 19

Index 139


THERE are some eight existing biographies of Homer, but all
equally destitute of historical value. One of them claims to be
by Herodotus, and another by Plutarch, but the earliest of them
cannot date much before the Christian era, whilst most of them
belong to a still later period.

Between the earliest and latest dates assigned to Homer there
is a difference of more than 400 years viz. from the middle
of the eleventh to the latter half of the seventh century B.C.
Herodotus would put him some 400 years before his own time
(cp. Hdt. 2. 53 'H(7i'o8oi> yap KOI "Opqpov f]\iKir]v TfTpaKovioHrt
fTtcri 8oKeca p.ev irpfff^vrfpovs yfvffrdai Kai ov TrXfiotri), which would
bring the date to the middle of the ninth century B.C.

Equally great is the uncertainty about the poet's birthplace, as
the epigram expresses it,

(TITO. TroXftf 8iepiovcnv ir(p\ piuv 'O/n^pov,
Spvpva, 'PoSoy, KoXo'^ow, SaXa/ili/, "loy, "Apyos, 'A$i)j>at.
The Salamis here mentioned is in Cyprus. The names of other
places were from time to time substituted in this list, till there
were not less than twenty claimants for the honour.

The list of cities, and the order in which they occur, possibly
point to the direction in which Epic poetry spread through Asia
Minor and Greece.

In modern times the very existence of Homer, as the single
author of Iliad and Odyssey, has been denied. The two poems
have been regarded as a conglomeration of a number of separate
lays by separate composers, and the name "O/ijjpos has been ren-
dered ' uniter,' or ' compiler,' (from o/iov and upw,) or interpreted
as representing some fictitious personage whom the Homeridae
(or guilds of Epic poets and reciters) claimed as their founder ;


just as the Eumolpidae referred to a mythical Eumolpus, from
whom they derived their position and their name.

The discussion of these points in their various bearings forms
the so-called Homeric Question, the chief stimulus to which, in
modern days, was given by the publication of the ' Prolegomena
ad Homerum ' (1795), by F. A. Wolf, Professor of Philology in

The position which he sought to establish may be thus repre-
sented :

I. The Homeric poems were not originally composed in the
complete and elaborate form in which we now possess
them, for,

(A) They are too extensive to have been composed and
transmitted without the use of writing, which only came
into vogue with the introduction of prose composition.

(B) There was no inducement to a poet to compose such
extensive works, unless he could have readers as well as

(c) Before the time of Peisistratus these poems did not

exist as a whole.

(D) There are many traces of later interpolations and of
the piecing together of different parts, and many con-
tradictions and inconsistencies.

2. Both poems were probably formed out of short popular
lays, each of which dealt only with a single action or
adventure. These lays were communicated by oral trans-
mission only, and were recited to the accompaniment of
the lyre (ccttfapjj). By and by, these lays were combined
into groups, more or less comprehensive, and, long after-
wards, we*e united by one man (called, in virtue of his
task, Homerus) into a complete whole, which was first
committed to writing by Peisistratus. In process of time
the text was emended by the so-called, Diasceuastae, and
finally fixed by Aristarchus the Grammarian of Alexandria,
in the present form.
These views of F. A Wolf were taken up and pushed still


further by Professor Lachmann, of Berlin, who applied them to
the examination of the Iliad. He professed to detect in the
poems sixteen (or reckoning in the last two books, eighteen)
separate lays, by different authors and without any mutual con-
nection. Each lay, originally complete in itself, was afterwards
expanded, till after many years of oral transmission (greatly faci-
litated by the work of the Homeridae and other guilds of poets
and reciters) the whole was thrown into its present shape by the
recension of Peisistratus.

This view is a distinct advance upon that of Wolf. It simply
drops the notion of a Homer altogether, and regards the separate
portions of the poem not as so many popular lays, but as dis-
tinct compositions of different poets. A new theory was pro-
pounded by Grote in his History of Greece. Like a house,
the original plan of which is gradually extended by subsequent
additions, the Iliad is regarded by him as consisting of an earlier
Achllle'u (to which belong libb. i, 8, 11-23; the 23rd and 24th
being later), and an Iliad proper, consisting of libb. 2-7, and 10.
Both these portions seem to him as the work of the same genera-
tion, the latter being somewhat later, and possibly by a different
author. The ninth book is a later composition. Modern criti-
cism has dealt similarly with the Odyssey, and professes not only
to detect many interpolations and discrepancies in the text,
but to find in it two distinct Epic poems woven more or less
closely together, viz. a lelemachla and an Odysscia (vid. Die Tele-
machie, Hennings, Leips. 1858).

But as the ' Homeric Question ' implies discussion and contro-
versy, we are prepared to find a strong party of scholars on the
other side, supporting the view of the unity of authorship, if not
of the personal existence of Homer. They would answer the
positions laid down by Wolf as follows. They reply to

i. (A) There were many persons in classic times who
knew the Homeric poems by heart, as Niceratus (Xen-
oph. Symp. 3. 5), and the Greeks of Olbia on the Pontus
(Dio. Chrys. 33). The poems of the Icelandic Skalds
have been preserved for more than 200 years by oral
transmission ; and the songs of the national bards of the


Kalmuck Tatars sometimes last a whole day long.
When writing was an uncommon art, memory was far
stronger (pvrjw /uotxro/z^Tcap, Aesch. P. V. 461), but it is
at least open to doubt whether Wolfs view of the late
introduction of writing into Greece is not overstated.

(B) Such poems offered sufficient inducement to bring vast
audiences together, who could listen and applaud with
delight and without weariness.

(c) This statement is directly denied. An Iliad existed as
a whole before the First Olympiad (776 B.C.) The
arrangements made by Solon for the recitations at the
Panathenaea presuppose a certain definite form of Iliad
and Odyssey. The task of Peisistratus was restoration,
not creation. He did not produce a combination that
had not existed previously, but he settled it anew
after it had been disturbed by the uncertainties of oral
transmission. His was not so much a literary as a
political act.

(D) Contradictions and discrepancies may tell as much for
the poet as against him. We accept them in Virgil,
Dante, and Shakespeare, although the works of these
poets were all written down from the very first. The
poet is carried away by his own thought; he cannot
descend to all the minutiae of detail. But while it is
impossible to regard the Homeric poems as a mosaic
work, however perfect the joints, it is likely enough that
in course of transmission many lines or whole scenes
may have crept into the text or have been designedly

The claimants for unity of authorship answer thus to
2. The Greek tragedians and Plato were strangely de-
ceived in accepting as a poetic whole this mechanical
combination of various lays ; and those moderns who
parade their long list of discrepancies forget to assign
due importance to the remarkable uniformity and con-
sistency that run through the various characters of the


poems. It is not denied that Homer is indebted to
tradition and to existing songs for many of the ad-
ventures of his heroes and for the general sketch of
their characters : but to use this material and weave it
into a harmonious Epic is the highest task of genius.
That it is necessary to assign a different author to Iliad and
Odyssey was the decision of some of the older critics, e.g.
Xenon and Hellanicus, circ. 100 B.C. Those who supported
this view were called Xw/xfovrer or ' separators.' They based
it upon various differences, both in matter and in language,
between the poems ; and the list of these has been largely ex-
tended by modern critics. Among the most evident we may
mention that in the Iliad (18. 382) the wife of Hephaestus is
Charis, in the Odyssey she appears (8. 274) as Aphrodite. Neleus
in the Odyssey has three, in the Iliad twelve sons. Neoptolemus
is but a child in the Iliad, a young warrior in the Odyssey. The
Dioscuri are mortals in the Iliad; in the Odyssey they are
deified. The Gods of the Iliad live on the Mysian Olympus,
the sovereignty of Zeus is hardly acknowledged. In the Odyssey
the Gods live in a supramundane region and Zeus is unquestioned
arbiter. In the two poems the state of society is different. The
Iliad represents the feudal system in its strictest form ; in the
Odyssey the kings consult their people in a parliament, and the
great chieftains, such as Menelaus, are not only fighting men,
but merchants. As to differences between the language of the
two poems, it may be said that there is a far greater number of
abstract words in the Odyssey, and that the same word has
not always the same meaning in the two poems. But in attempt-
ing to establish any argument from the language, it would be
necessary to take in the whole question of the place of compo-
sition, and the probable changes which the text may have
undergone at the hands of the early critics and editors.

It is likely enough that Epic poetry developed itself from the
songs of the priests when celebrating their rites ; as, for example,
the Pierians in Thrace had their mythic poets, Orpheus, Linus,
Thamyris, Musaeus, whose hymns are still quoted or alluded to.
At any rate, there can be no doubt that the Iliad and Odyssey do


not present themselves to us as first attempts in Epic poetry ;
their finish and perfection point to the climax rather than to the
commencement of art. This view is corroborated by the allusion
in the Homeric poems to other bards, such as Phemius in
Ithaca, and Demodocus at the Phaeacian court, besides those
mentioned in Od. 3. 267 and 4. 17 ; by the allusions to the ad-
ventures of heroes and heroines, which must have been recorded
in other Epics, and which were evidently familiar to the hearers
of the Homeric poems. A vast mass of these Epic legends, on
the story of Thebes, the fate of Troy, and many other popular
tales, were collected by the Alexandrian critics, and the collection
was called f'mxos KVK\OS. The Greek tragedians found most of
the subjects of their dramas in the poems of the Epic Cycle.
They must have been of varying merit ; some, no doubt, fit to
compare with Iliad and Odyssey; others, of later date, mere
imitations of earlier Epic, composed to fill up some gap in the
continuity of the whole story. Such an author must Horace's
Serif tor cjdiciu (A. P. 136) have been. The Trojan legend is
completed in eight epics,

i. Ta Kwrpia (eirrf) by Stasinus. The poem began with the first

cause of the Trojan war, the apple of Discord flung down

at the banquet that celebrated the nuptials of Peleus and

Thetis ; and the story is continued up to the beginning of

a. The Iliad.

3. Aldiomsy by Arctinus, narrates the appearance on the scene

of war of Penthesilea, who came to help the Trojans and
was slain by Achilles. It also records the prowess and death
of Memnon, chieftain of the Aethiopians and son of Eos.

4. 'iXiar fiucpa, by Lesches, tells of the glories of Odysseus,

and begins with the contest between him and Ajax for the
possession of the arms of Achilles.

5. 'iX/ov IT t pa-is, by Arctinus, describes the fall and sack of

Troy, the wooden horse, the sacrifice of Polyxena, &c.

6. Ndoroi, by Agias of Troezen, recount the adventures of

the Greek chieftains on the homeward voyage from Troy.

7. The Odyssey.


8. TrjXeyoveia, by Eugammon, narrates the death of Odysseus
through the misadventure of Telegonus, his son by Circe.

The Homeric poems were recited by Rhapsodists, whose
name seems to refer not to the joining together of separate
songs, but to the even flow of the Epic Hexameter, unbroken
by stanza or antistrophe. Cp. Hesiod. Fragm. ev veapois vpvois
pd-^avres doiSrjv. In later times, they wore a distinguishing
costume, viz. a long flowing cloke of crimson when they were
reciting from the Iliad; of blue, when they declaimed the
Odyssey. The Kidapfi or 4>op/uy|, an instrument of four strings,
was used for the accompaniment, which consisted in a prelude
(di/a/3oXq), a few chords struck during the recitative, as we should
now call the vocal part, and a tune again at the end of the
performance. As much uncertainty was introduced into the
text by the Rhapsodists, and the order of events was lost by
careless recitation, each Rhapsodist perhaps knowing only one or
two divisions of the poems (called /5a\^<a8/at), Solon ordered
that the Rhapsodists should recite e viropoXfjs, which seems to
mean, ' according to cue, or hint,' thereby keeping the proper
sequence of the story ; not, for example, to recite the dpitrreia
of Diomed after the death of Hector. Hipparchus, son of
Peisistratus, similarly enjoined the recital of the poems without
break at the Panathenaea, and if one Rhapsodist was unequal
to the task, another should be ready to take up the recitation
where the first left off (e vn-oAj^ews).

The recension of the text made by Peisistratus, in which he
doubtless accommodated the language more or less to the familiar
forms in use in his time, was the basis of all future recensions,
though the original was lost during the Persian war. Many
different editions (eicSdo-ets) were produced ; some, the work of
individual scholars (ai /car' ai>8pa), others, the publications of
cities where Epic poetry was the fashion (at Kara TroAei?)* But
the text had been greatly disturbed by capricious interpolates
and emenders (Siaovcfvacmu), and the aim of the Alexandrian
critics was as far as possible to reproduce the text of the Peisis-
tratidean recension. Such a critical edition was called 8i6pda>a-is.
The library founded at Alexandria by Ptolemy Soter (283 B.C.),


and enlarged by his son, was said to contain 400,000 books. The
most famous of the librarians were, Zenodotus, to whom we owe
- the present division into books of Iliad and Odyssey, Aristophanes
of Byzantium, and Aristarchus from Samothrace. The last-
, mentioned scholar, the most famous name in Homeric criticism,
^prepared first an edition of Homer with a commentary (uTro/ii^a);
/then he composed dissertations on special points ((rvyypaV/iara),
(and again edited both Iliad and Odyssey. On the margin of
/both editions were the critical marks (o^/ieia), the use of which
Aristarchus had learned from his master Aristophanes of By-
zantium. The obelus -> denoted a spurious line ; the astericus
^ pointed out that the line was repeated elsewhere ; the two
marks together showed that such a repetition was erroneous.
The 8(7rA) KaGapa >- implied that the verse had been discussed by
him elsewhere, or explained by the light of some other passage ;
the StTrA?) Trepita-TiynevT] )f- expressed dissent from the reading of
Zenodotus ; the antisigma } denoted that the order of the lines
was inverted.

The so-called Scholia are mainly excerpts from Homeric trea-
tises by Herodian, Nicanor, Didymus, and Aristonicus, and the last
{of the commentators is Eustathius^ bishop of Thessalonica, in the
twelfth century, whose voluminous TrapeK/SoXol ds rffv
CU 'Q8v<rafiav we still pOSSCSS.



IN the tenth year after the taking of Troy, and the twentieth
after his first departure from home, we find Odysseus still far
from Ithaca, completing the seventh year of his detention in the
isle of Ogygia in the far west, where Calypso, who had rescued
him from shipwreck in the third year of his wanderings, still
keeps him against his will. Meanwhile, in Ithaca, the faithful
Penelope is beset by importunate suitors who devour the sub-
stance of the absent Odysseus : and the young Telemachus is an
unwilling but helpless witness of their insolence. At this point,
Athena, the constant protectress of Odysseus, protests at the
council of the Gods, in the absence of Poseidon, against such
injustice done to her hero. It is decided to despatch Hermes
the messenger, to bid Calypso dismiss her prisoner-guest and
send him on his voyage home. Athena, taking the form of
Mentes, an old friend of Odysseus, goes to Ithaca, where she
counsels Telemachus to turn the suitors out of his house, and
to visit Nestor and Menelaus in hope of hearing tidings of his
lost father. (B. II) Next day Telemachus summons an assembly
and issues his orders to the suitors, who treat him with brutal
contempt, and refuse his request for a ship to carry him to
Nestor's home at Pylos. But Athena, this time in the person of
Mentor, procures one for him and gets together a crew. Only
the old nurse Eurycleia is entrusted with the secret, and at night
Telemachus starts, accompanied by Mentor, for Pylos, which he
reaches next day, (B. Ill) and finds Nestor and all his household
engaged in a solemn sacrifice to Poseidon. Nestor, recognising
in Mentor the goddess Athena, as she suddenly disappears from
the banquet, pours a libation in her honour, and next morning
makes a splendid sacrifice. Nestor tells Telemachus all he
knows, but it is little to the purpose, so he sends his guest on to


Menelaus in Sparta, and gives him his youngest son Peisistratus
for a companion. The next night sees them at Pherae at the
house of Diocles, and the second evening brings them to Sparta,
where they find Menelaus celebrating the marriages of his son
and daughter (B. IV). Menelaus had not long reached his own
home, having spent eight years in wandering after the fall of
Troy, visiting Phoenicia and Egypt. Helen recognises Tele-
machus from his likeness to his father, the mention of whose
name calls up so many sad memories that all are dissolved in
tears till Helen calms them with some soothing opiate. Next
day Telemachus brings news of his lost father from Menelaus, who
tells him the revelation made to him by Proteus, that Odysseus
is detained in the isle of Ogygia. Telemachus determines to
return home at once, and rejects the invitation to a longer stay :
but without describing his further movements, the story suddenly
transports the reader to Ithaca, where the suitors have dis-
covered that Telemachus is gone, and are plotting to waylay
him on his return. Their design is betrayed by Medon to
Penelope, who is heartbroken by the news; but Athena com-
forts and reassures her in visions of the night. Meanwhile
the suitors place their ship near the isle of Asteris to intercept

At the opening of B. V we find a second assembly of the Gods,
In which Athena again presses her request that Zeus should send
Hermes to Calypso's home in Ogygia.

This is now performed, and Calypso dismisses Odysseus and
furnishes with provisions the raft which he had built. On
the eighteenth day after his departure from Ogygia he sights
the land of the Phaeacians, when Poseidon spies him, raises
a tempest, and wrecks his boat; but Odysseus is saved by
swimming, thanks to the magical scarf which Ino Leucothea
gives him.

For two days and two nights he is adrift, and then he finds a
landing-place in the estuary of a river, and lies down to sleep in
the shelter of a wood. Next morning (B. VI), Nausicaa, daughter
of the Phaeacian king, in obedience to a vision, goes with her
maidens to wash the linen of the household in the river. Odys-


seus is awoke by the voices of the maidens, and presents himself
as a suppliant to Nausicaa, who gives him raiment, and directs
him how to find her father's palace, and how to seek relief from
her mother. Odysseus (B. VII) enters the palace unseen, by
the aid of Athena, and marvels at the splendour of the house and
gardens. Then he makes his way to the queen, and the mist
which had concealed him melts off, and he stands revealed before
all present. He is welcomed ; and Arete the queen listens to
the story of his shipwreck and his meeting with her daughter
Nausicaa. Next day (B. VIII) Alcinous calls an assembly, in
which it is resolved to send Odysseus safely home. At the games
which follow, Odysseus astounds all the spectators by his strength
and skill in throwing the quoit. Demodocus the bard sings to
them of the loves of Ares and Aphrodite, and then changes his
subject to the story of the wooden horse of Troy. Odysseus is
melted to tears by these bygone memories ; and when Alcinous
notices his distress and asks him who he is, he discloses his name
and parentage (B. IX) and begins the story of his adventures.
The conflict with the Ciconians ; the visit to the Lotophagi ; the
destruction of the cruel Polyphemus, the visit to Aeolus (B. X)
and its disastrous result ; the destruction of his fleet by the Lae-
strygonian giants, are all recounted in order. Then he tells of
his visit to Circe's isle, of his restoration of the comrades whom
the witch had turned to swine, and of his preparation for a
voyage to the realm of Hades. (B. XI) Arrived there he in-
vokes the dead ; learns of his coming fortunes from Teiresias,
holds converse with his mother, and sees the forms of departed
heroes and noble dames, and witnesses the punishment of Tityus,
Tantalus, and Sisyphus. Then in terror he hastily sets sail again
for Circe's isle (B. XII), and leaving her once more he escapes

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