<<<
>>>

Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica

Page: 143

After this he composed the "Odyssey" in twelve thousand verses, having previously written the "Iliad" in fifteen thousand five hundred verses 3705. From Delphi, as we are told, he went to Athens and was entertained by Medon, king of the Athenians. And being one day in the council hall when it was cold and a fire was burning there, he drew off the following lines:

'Children are a man's crown, and towers of a city, horses are the ornament of a plain, and ships of the sea; and good it is to see a people seated in assembly. But with a blazing fire a house looks worthier upon a wintry day when the Son of Cronos sends down snow.'

From Athens he went on to Corinth, where he sang snatches of his poems and was received with distinction. Next he went to Argos and there recited these verses from the "Iliad":

'The sons of the Achaeans who held Argos and walled Tiryns, and Hermione and Asine which lie along a deep bay, and Troezen, and Eiones, and vine-clad Epidaurus, and the island of Aegina, and Mases,—these followed strong-voiced Diomedes, son of Tydeus, who had the spirit of his father the son of Oeneus, and Sthenelus, dear son of famous Capaneus. And with these two there went a third leader, Eurypylus, a godlike man, son of the lord Mecisteus, sprung of Talaus; but strong-voiced Diomedes was their chief leader. These men had eighty dark ships wherein were ranged men skilled in war, Argives with linen jerkins, very goads of war.' 3706

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

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

After he had stayed for some time in Argos, he crossed over to Delos, to the great assembly, and there, standing on the altar of horns, he recited the "Hymn to Apollo" 3707 which begins: 'I will remember and not forget Apollo the far-shooter.' When the hymn was ended, the Ionians made him a citizen of each one of their states, and the Delians wrote the poem on a whitened tablet and dedicated it in the temple of Artemis. The poet sailed to Ios, after the assembly was broken up, to join Creophylus, and stayed there some time, being now an old man. And, it is said, as he was sitting by the sea he asked some boys who were returning from fishing:


<<<
>>>