Friday, April 19, 2013

He said that they were all genuine

Before many days had passed, I accosted the poet Homer, when we were
both disengaged, and asked him, among other things, where he came
from; it was still a burning question with us, I explained. He said he
was aware that some derived him from Chios, others from Smyrna, and
others again from Colophon; but in fact he was a Babylonian, generally
known not as Homer but as Tigranes; but when later in life he was
given as a homer or hostage to the Greeks, that name clung to him.
Another of my questions was about the so-called spurious books; had he
written them or not? He said that they were all genuine: so I now knew
what to think of the critics Zenodotus and Aristarchus and all their
lucubrations. Having got a categorical answer on that point, I tried
him next on his reason for starting the "Iliad" with the wrath of
Achilles. He said he had no exquisite reason; it just came into his
head that way.

--Lucian, True History

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