Hesiod was a Greek poet thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is regarded as the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject. Ancient authors credited Homer with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars refer to him as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, early economic thought, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping; the dating of Hesiod's life is a contested issue in scholarly circles. Epic narrative allowed poets like Homer no opportunity for personal revelations. However, Hesiod's extant work comprises several didactic poems in which he went out of his way to let his audience in on a few details of his life. There are three explicit references in Works and Days, as well as some passages in his Theogony that support inferences made by scholars; the former poem says that his father came from Cyme in Aeolis and crossed the sea to settle at a hamlet, near Thespiae in Boeotia, named Ascra, "a cursed place, cruel in winter, hard in summer, never pleasant".
Hesiod's patrimony there, a small piece of ground at the foot of Mount Helicon, occasioned lawsuits with his brother Perses, who seems, at first, to have cheated him of his rightful share thanks to corrupt authorities or "kings" but became impoverished and ended up scrounging from the thrifty poet. Unlike his father, Hesiod was averse to sea travel, but he once crossed the narrow strait between the Greek mainland and Euboea to participate in funeral celebrations for one Athamas of Chalcis, there won a tripod in a singing competition, he describes a meeting between himself and the Muses on Mount Helicon, where he had been pasturing sheep when the goddesses presented him with a laurel staff, a symbol of poetic authority. Fanciful though the story might seem, the account has led ancient and modern scholars to infer that he was not a professionally trained rhapsode, or he would have been presented with a lyre instead; some scholars have seen Perses as a literary creation, a foil for the moralizing that Hesiod develops in Works and Days, but there are arguments against that theory.
For example, it is quite common for works of moral instruction to have an imaginative setting, as a means of getting the audience's attention, but it could be difficult to see how Hesiod could have travelled around the countryside entertaining people with a narrative about himself if the account was known to be fictitious. Gregory Nagy, on the other hand, sees both Pérsēs and Hēsíodos as fictitious names for poetical personae, it might seem unusual that Hesiod's father migrated from Asia Minor westwards to mainland Greece, the opposite direction to most colonial movements at the time, Hesiod himself gives no explanation for it. However around 750 BC or a little there was a migration of seagoing merchants from his original home in Cyme in Asia Minor to Cumae in Campania, his move west had something to do with that, since Euboea is not far from Boeotia, where he established himself and his family; the family association with Aeolian Cyme might explain his familiarity with eastern myths, evident in his poems, though the Greek world might have developed its own versions of them.
In spite of Hesiod's complaints about poverty, life on his father's farm could not have been too uncomfortable if Works and Days is anything to judge by, since he describes the routines of prosperous yeomanry rather than peasants. His farmer employs a friend as well as servants, an energetic and responsible ploughman of mature years, a slave boy to cover the seed, a female servant to keep house and working teams of oxen and mules. One modern scholar surmises that Hesiod may have learned about world geography the catalogue of rivers in Theogony, listening to his father's accounts of his own sea voyages as a merchant; the father spoke in the Aeolian dialect of Cyme but Hesiod grew up speaking the local Boeotian, belonging to the same dialect group. However, while his poetry features some Aeolisms there are no words that are Boeotian, his basic language was the main literary dialect of Homer's Ionian. It is probable that Hesiod wrote his poems down, or dictated them, rather than passed them on orally, as rhapsodes did—otherwise the pronounced personality that now emerges from the poems would have been diluted through oral transmission from one rhapsode to another.
Pausanias asserted that Boeotians showed him an old tablet made of lead on which the Works were engraved. If he did write or dictate, it was as an aid to memory or because he lacked confidence in his ability to produce poems extempore, as trained rhapsodes could do, it wasn't in a quest for immortal fame since poets in his era had no such notions for themselves. However, some scholars suspect the presence of large-scale changes in the text and attribute this to oral transmission, he composed his verses during idle times on the farm, in the spring before the May harvest or the dead of winter. The personality behind the poems is unsuited to the kind of "aristocratic withdrawal" typical of a rhapsode but is instead "argumentative, suspicious humorous, fond of proverbs, wary of women." He was in fact a misogynist of t
Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus near Santiponce, Spain into a Hispano-Roman family, his father was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian; when Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor before his death. Rome's military and Senate approved Hadrian's succession, but four leading senators were unlawfully put to death soon after, they had opposed Hadrian or seemed to threaten his succession, the senate held him responsible for it and never forgave him. He earned further disapproval among the elite by abandoning Trajan's expansionist policies and territorial gains in Mesopotamia, Assyria and parts of Dacia. Hadrian preferred to invest in the development of stable, defensible borders and the unification of the empire's disparate peoples.
He is known for building Hadrian's Wall. Hadrian energetically pursued personal interests, he visited every province of the Empire, accompanied by an Imperial retinue of specialists and administrators. He encouraged military preparedness and discipline, he fostered, designed, or subsidised various civil and religious institutions and building projects. In Rome itself, he constructed the vast Temple of Venus and Roma. In Egypt, he may have rebuilt the Serapeum of Alexandria, he was an ardent admirer of Greece and sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire, so he ordered the construction of many opulent temples there. His intense relationship with Greek youth Antinous and Antinous' untimely death led Hadrian to establish a widespread cult late in his reign, he suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea. Hadrian's last years were marred by chronic illness, he saw the Bar Kokhba revolt as the failure of his panhellenic ideal. He executed two more senators for their alleged plots against him, this provoked further resentment.
His marriage to Vibia Sabina had been childless. Hadrian died the same year at Baiae, Antoninus had him deified, despite opposition from the Senate. Edward Gibbon includes him among the Empire's "Five good emperors", a "benevolent dictator", he has been described as enigmatic and contradictory, with a capacity for both great personal generosity and extreme cruelty and driven by insatiable curiosity, self-conceit, ambition. Modern interest was revived thanks to Marguerite Yourcenar's novel Mémoires d'Hadrien. Hadrian was born on 24 January 76 in Italica in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica, he was named Publius Aelius Hadrianus. His father was Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, a senator of praetorian rank and raised in Italica but paternally linked, through many generations over several centuries, to a family from Hadria, an ancient town in Picenum; the family had settled in Italica soon after its founding by Scipio Africanus. Hadrian's mother was Domitia Paulina, daughter of a distinguished Hispano-Roman senatorial family from Gades.
His only sibling was Aelia Domitia Paulina. Hadrian's great-nephew, Gnaeus Pedanius Fuscus Salinator, from Barcino would become Hadrian's colleague as co-consul in 118; as a senator, Hadrian's father would have spent much of his time in Rome. In terms of his career, Hadrian's most significant family connection was to Trajan, his father's first cousin, of senatorial stock, had been born and raised in Italica. Hadrian and Trajan were both considered to be – in the words of Aurelius Victor – "aliens", people "from the outside". Hadrian's parents died in 86, he and his sister became wards of Publius Acilius Attianus. Hadrian was physically active, enjoyed hunting. Hadrian's enthusiasm for Greek literature and culture earned him the nickname Graeculus. Trajan married Paulina off to the three-times consul Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus. Hadrian's first official post in Rome was as a judge at the Inheritance court, one among many vigintivirate offices at the lowest level of the cursus honorum that could lead to higher office and a senatorial career.
He served as a military tribune, first with the Legio II Adiutrix in 95 with the Legio V Macedonica. During Hadrian's second stint as tribune, the frail and aged reigning emperor Nerva adopted Trajan as his heir, he was transferred to Legio XXII Primigenia and a third tribunate. Hadrian's three tribunates gave him some career advantage. Most scions of the older senatorial families might serve one, or at most two military tribunates as a prerequisite to higher office; when Nerva died in 98, Hadrian is said to have hastened to Trajan, to inform him ahead of the official envoy sent by the go
Ancient accounts of Homer
The ancient accounts of Homer include many passages in archaic and classical Greek poets and prose authors that mention or allude to Homer, ten biographies of Homer referred to as Lives. Establishing an accurate date for Homer's life presents significant difficulties. No documentary record of his life is known to have existed other than his writings of the Odyssey, as well as the Iliad. All accounts are based on tradition. Only one explicit date exists. Herodotus maintains that Hesiod and Homer lived not more than 400 years before his own time not much before 850 BC. Herodotus admits, he was not sure of the dates of some of the poets believed in his time to have been earlier, but he relies on the priestess of Dodona in asserting that they were later. Modern opinion is. A less opinionated indirect date does exist. Artemon of Clazomenae, an annalist, gives Arctinus of Miletus, a pupil of Homer, a birth date of 744 BC. Received opinion dates him between 750 and 700 BC, but West dates the composition of the Iliad to the period 680-650 BC, with the composition of the Odyssey being still.
There are 10 known extant lives of Homer. Eight of these are edited in Georg Westermann's Vitarum Scriptores Graeci minores, including a piece called the Contest of Homer and Hesiod; the longest Life of Homer is written in the Ionic dialect, claims to be the work of Herodotus, but is spurious. In all probability it belongs to the 2nd century AD, fruitful beyond all others in literary forgeries; the other lives are not more ancient. The lives preserve some curious short poems or fragments of verse attributed to Homer, the so-called Epigrams, which used to be printed at the end of editions of Homer, they are numbered. These are recognized as popular rhymes, a form of folklore to be met with in most countries, treasured by the people as a kind of proverbs. In the Homeric epigrams the interest turns sometimes on the characteristics of particular localities, for example and Cyme, Mt Ida; some may be fragments of longer poems. The fact that they were all ascribed to Homer means that they belong to a period in the history of the Ionian and Aeolian colonies when Homer was a name which drew to itself all ancient and popular verse.
Again, comparing the epigrams with the legends and anecdotes told in the Lives of Homer, one can hardly doubt that they were the chief source from which these Lives were derived. Thus Epigram 4 mentions a blind poet, a native of Aeolian Smyrna, through which flows the water of the sacred Meles. Here is doubtless the source of the chief incident of the Herodotean Life, the birth of Homer, named Son of the Meles to conceal a scandalous affair between his mother and an older man, appointed her guardian; the epithet Aeolian implies high antiquity, inasmuch as according to Herodotus, Smyrna became Ionian about 688 BC. The Ionians had their own version of the story, a version which made Homer come out with the first Athenian colonists; the same line of argument may be extended to the Hymns, to the works of the so-called Cyclic poets, the lost early epics some of which formed the Epic Cycle and Theban Cycle. Thus: The hymn to the Delian Apollo ends with an address of the poet to his audience; when any stranger comes and asks, the sweetest singer, they are to answer with one voice, "the blind man that dwells in rocky Chios.
Thucydides, who quotes this passage to show the ancient character of the Delian festival, seems to have no doubt of the Homeric authorship of the hymn. Hence we may most account for the belief that Homer was a Chian; the Margites, a humorous poem which kept its ground as the reputed work of Homer down to the time of Aristotle, began with the words, "There came to Colophon an old man, a divine singer, servant of the Muses and Apollo." Hence doubtless the claim of Colophon to be the native city of Homer, a claim supported in the early times of Homeric learning by the Colophonian poet and grammarian Antimachus. The poem called the Cypria was said to have been given by Homer to his son-in-law Stasinus of Cyprus as dowry; the connection with Cyprus appears further in the predominance given in the poem to Aphrodite. The Little Iliad and the Phocais, according to the pseudo-Herodotean life, were composed by Homer when he lived at Phocaea with a certain Thestorides, who carried them off to Chios and there gained fame by reciting them as his own.
The name Thestorides occurs in Epigram 5. A similar story was told about the poem called the Capture of Oechalia, the subject of, one of the exploits of Heracles, it passed under the name of Creophylus of Samos, a friend or a son-in-law of Homer, was sometimes said to have been given to Creophylus by Homer in return for hospitality. The Thebaid was confidently counted as the work of Homer; as to the Epigoni, which carried on the Theban story, there was less certainty. These indications render it probable that the stories connecting Homer with different cities and islands grew up after his poems had become known and famous in the new and flourishing colonies of Aeolis and Ionia; the contention for Homer, in short, began at a time when his real history was lost, he had become a sort of mythical figure, an anonymous hero, or personification of a great school of poetry. An interesting confirmation of this view from the negative side is furnished by the city which ranked as chief among the
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the other Homeric epic; the Odyssey is fundamental to the modern Western canon. Scholars believe the Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia; the poem focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca, his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed Odysseus has died, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage; the Odyssey continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe the original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an aoidos a rhapsode, was more intended to be heard than read; the details of the ancient oral performance and the story's conversion to a written work inspire continual debate among scholars.
The Odyssey was written in a poetic dialect of Greek—a literary amalgam of Aeolic Greek, Ionic Greek, other Ancient Greek dialects—and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter. Among the most noteworthy elements of the text are its non-linear plot, the influence on events of choices made by women and slaves, besides the actions of fighting men. In the English language as well as many others, the word odyssey has come to refer to an epic voyage; the Odyssey has a lost sequel, the Telegony, not written by Homer. It was attributed in antiquity to Cinaethon of Sparta. In one source, the Telegony was said to have been stolen from Musaeus of Athens by either Eugamon or Eugammon of Cyrene; the Odyssey begins after the end of the ten-year Trojan War, Odysseus has still not returned home from the war because he angered the god Poseidon. Odysseus' son Telemachus is about 20 years old and is sharing his absent father's house on the island of Ithaca with his mother Penelope and a crowd of 108 boisterous young men, "the Suitors", whose aim is to persuade Penelope to marry one of them, all the while reveling in Odysseus' palace and eating up his wealth.
Odysseus' protectress, the goddess Athena, requests to Zeus, king of the gods, to allow Odysseus to return home when Odysseus' enemy, the god of the sea Poseidon, is absent from Mount Olympus to accept a sacrifice in Ethiopia. Disguised as a Taphian chieftain named Mentes, she visits Telemachus to urge him to search for news of his father, he offers her hospitality. Penelope objects to Phemius' theme, the "Return from Troy", because it reminds her of her missing husband, but Telemachus rebuts her objections, asserting his role as head of the household; that night Athena, disguised as Telemachus, finds a crew for the true prince. The next morning, Telemachus calls an assembly of citizens of Ithaca to discuss what should be done with the suitors. Telemachus is scoffed by the insolent suitors by their leaders Antinous and Leiocritus. Accompanied by Athena, he departs for the Greek mainland and the household of Nestor, most venerable of the Greek warriors at Troy, who resided in Pylos after the war.
From there, Telemachus rides overland, accompanied by Nestor's son Peisistratus, to Sparta, where he finds Menelaus and Helen, who are now reconciled. While Helen laments the fit of lust brought on by Aphrodite that sent her to Troy with Paris, Menelaus recounts how she betrayed the Greeks by attempting to imitate the voices of the soldiers' wives while they were inside the Trojan Horse. Telemachus hears from Helen, the first to recognize him, that she pities him because Odysseus was not there for him in his childhood because he went to Troy to fight for her and about his exploit of stealing the Palladium, or the Luck of Troy, where she was the only one to recognize him. Menelaus, meanwhile praises Odysseus as an irreproachable comrade and friend, lamenting the fact that they were not only unable to return together from Troy but that Odysseus is yet to return. Both Helen and Menelaus say that they returned to Sparta after a long voyage by way of Egypt. There, on the island of Pharos, Menelaus encountered the old sea-god Proteus, who told him that Odysseus was a captive of the nymph Calypso.
Incidentally, Telemachus learns the fate of Menelaus' brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and leader of the Greeks at Troy: he was murdered on his return home by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. The story shifts to the suitors, who have only just now realized that Telemachus is gone. Angry, they kill him as he sails back home. Penelope overhears their plot and worries for her son's safety; the second part recounts the story of Odysseus. In the course of his seven years in captivity of Calypso on the island of Ogygia, she has fallen in love with him though he has spurned her offer of immortality as her husband and still mourns for home, she is ordered to release him by the messenger god Hermes, sent by Zeus in response to Athena's plea. Odysseus builds a raft and is given clothing and drink by Calypso; when Poseidon learns that Odysseus has escaped, he wrecks the raft but, helped by a veil given by the sea nymph Ino, Odysseus swims asho
Homer is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms, it focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary; the Homeric Question – concerning by whom, when and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composed – continues to be debated. Broadly speaking, modern scholarly opinion falls into two groups. One holds that most of the Odyssey are the works of a single poet of genius; the other considers the Homeric poems to be the result of a process of working and reworking by many contributors, that "Homer" is best seen as a label for an entire tradition.
It is accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. The poems are in Homeric Greek known as Epic Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries. Most researchers believe that the poems were transmitted orally. From antiquity until the present day, the influence of the Homeric epics on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music and film; the Homeric epics were the greatest influence on education. Today only the Iliad and Odyssey are associated with the name'Homer'. In antiquity, a large number of other works were sometimes attributed to him, including the Homeric Hymns, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, the Little Iliad, the Nostoi, the Thebaid, the Cypria, the Epigoni, the comic mini-epic Batrachomyomachia, the Margites, the Capture of Oechalia, the Phocais; these claims are not considered authentic today and were by no means universally accepted in the ancient world.
As with the multitude of legends surrounding Homer's life, they indicate little more than the centrality of Homer to ancient Greek culture. Many traditions circulated in the ancient world concerning Homer. Modern scholarly consensus is; some claims were repeated often. They include that Homer was blind, that he was born in Chios, that he was the son of the river Meles and the nymph Critheïs, that he was a wandering bard, that he composed a varying list of other works, that he died either in Ios or after failing to solve a riddle set by fishermen, various explanations for the name "Homer"; the two best known ancient biographies of Homer are the Life of Homer by the Pseudo-Herodotus and the Contest of Homer and Hesiod. The study of Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating back to antiquity. Nonetheless, the aims of Homeric studies have changed over the course of the millennia; the earliest preserved comments on Homer concern his treatment of the gods, which hostile critics such as the poet Xenophanes of Colophon denounced as immoral.
The allegorist Theagenes of Rhegium is said to have defended Homer by arguing that the Homeric poems are allegories. The Iliad and the Odyssey were used as school texts in ancient Greek and Hellenistic cultures, they were the first literary works taught to all students. The Iliad its first few books, was far more intently studied than the Odyssey during the Hellenistic and Roman periods; as a result of the poems' prominence in classical Greek education, extensive commentaries on them developed to explain parts of the poems that were culturally or linguistically difficult. During the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, many interpreters the Stoics, who believed that Homeric poems conveyed Stoic doctrines, regarded them as allegories, containing hidden wisdom; because of the Homeric poems' extensive use in education, many authors believed that Homer's original purpose had been to educate. Homer's wisdom became so praised that he began to acquire the image of a prototypical philosopher. Byzantine scholars such as Eustathius of Thessalonica and John Tzetzes produced commentaries and scholia to Homer in the twelfth century.
Eustathius's commentary on the Iliad alone is massive, sprawling nearly 4,000 oversized pages in a twenty-first century printed version and his commentary on the Odyssey an additional nearly 2,000. In 1488, the Greek scholar Demetrios Chalkokondyles published the editio princeps of the Homeric poems; the earliest modern Homeric scholars started with the same basic approaches towards the Homeric poems as scholars in antiquity. The allegorical interpretation of the Homeric poems, so prevalent in antiquity returned to become the prevailing view of the Renaissance. Renaissance humanists praised Homer as the archetypically wise poet, whose writings contain hidden wisdom, disguised through allegory. In western Europe during the Renaissance, Virgil was more read than Homer and Homer was seen through a Virgilian lens. In 1664, contradicting the widespread praise of Homer as the epitome of wisdom, François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac wrote a s
Martin Litchfield West
Martin Litchfield West, was a British classical scholar. He wrote on ancient Greek music, Greek tragedy, Greek lyric poetry, the relations between Greece and the ancient Near East, the connection between shamanism and early ancient Greek religion, including the Orphic tradition; this work stems from material in Akkadian, Hebrew and Ugaritic, as well as Greek and Latin. In 2001, West produced an edition of Homer's Iliad for Teubner, accompanied by a study of its critical tradition and overall philology, entitled Studies in the Text and Transmission of the Iliad. In addition to the Near-Eastern connection, in 2007 he wrote on the reconstitution of Indo-European culture and poetry, its influence on Greece, in the book Indo-European Poetry and Myth. In recognition of his contribution to scholarship, he was awarded the Order of Merit in 2014. West was born in Hampton, the son of Catherine and a civil engineer, Maurice West. After graduating from St Paul's School, he proceeded to Balliol College, he married a fellow scholar Stephanie Pickard in 1960 at Nottingham, after meeting her at a lecture given by Eduard Fraenkel at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
He became a junior research fellow at St John's College from 1960 to 1963, where he produced his first work, an edition of Hesiod's Theogony. From the mid-sixties he took especial interest in the relation of Greek literature to the Orient, over several decades, culminating in his masterpiece The East Face of Helicon, defended his view that it derives significant influences and inspiration from Near Eastern literature, he took up a position as tutorial fellow at University College, a position he filled from 1963 to 1974. In 1973 he became the second youngest person to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy, at the age of 35, he obtained a chair at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, which he held from 1974 until 1991, when he became a fellow of All Souls College. A distinguished Hellenist, he however declined to campaign for the maintenance of a chair at London University. West died in 2015 in Oxford at the age of 77. Fellow Oxford academic Armand D'Angour paid tribute to him as "a man of few words in seven languages."
2000: Balzan Prize for Classical Antiquity 2002: Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies from the British Academy. 2007: A book of essays on ancient Greek literature written for West on his 70th birthdayWest was a DPhil and DLitt of Oxford University, was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, a Corresponding Member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften, Göttingen, a Member of the Academia Europaea, London. HM The Queen appointed him a Member of the Order of Merit in the 2014 New Year Honours. Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford Professor of Greek, University of London Fellow and Praelector in Classics, University College, Oxford Jr. Woodhouse Research Fellow, St. John's College, Oxford Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1971, xv + 256 pp.. G. Teubner 1973, 155 pp.. G. Teubner 1990, x + 406 pp. ISBN 3-519-07450-8 Ancient Greek Music, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992, xiii + 410 pp ISBN 0-19-814897-6. G. Teubner 1996, 48 pp. ISBN 3-519-07554-7 The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997, xxvi + 662 pp. ISBN 0-19-815042-3 Studies in the text and transmission of the Iliad.
München: K. G. Saur 2001 304 pp. ISBN 3-598-73005-5 Indo-European Poetry and Myth. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007 480 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-928075-9 The Making of the Iliad: Disquisition and Analytical Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011 441 pp. ISBN 978-0-199-59007-0 The Making of the'Odyssey', Oxford University Press 2014. ISBN 978-0-198-71836-9 Hesiod, Theogony, ed. with prolegomena and commentary by M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1966, xiii + 459 pp. Fragmenta Hesiodea, ed.: R. Merkelbach et M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1967, 236 pp. Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 1: Archilochus. Hipponax. Theognidea, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1971, revised edition 1989, xvi + 256 Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 2: Callinus. Mimnermus. Semonides. Solon. Tyrtaeus. Minora adespota, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1972, revised edition 1992 x + 246 pp. Sing me, goddess. Being the first recitation of Homer's Iliad, translated by Martin West, London: Duckworth 19
An epigram is a brief, interesting and sometimes surprising or satirical statement. The word is derived from the Greek: ἐπίγραμμα epigramma "inscription" from ἐπιγράφειν epigraphein "to write on, to inscribe", the literary device has been employed for over two millennia; the presence of wit or sarcasm tends to distinguish non-poetic epigrams from aphorisms and adages, which may lack them. The Greek tradition of epigrams began as poems inscribed on votive offerings at sanctuaries – including statues of athletes – and on funerary monuments, for example "Go tell it to the Spartans, passersby...". These original epigrams did the same job, but in verse. Epigram became a literary genre in the Hellenistic period developing out of scholarly collections of inscriptional epigrams. Though modern epigrams are thought of as short, Greek literary epigram was not always as short as examples, the divide between "epigram" and "elegy" is sometimes indistinct. In the classical period, the clear distinction between them was that epigrams were inscribed and meant to be read, while elegies were recited and meant to be heard.
Some elegies could be quite short. All the same, the origin of epigram in inscription exerted a residual pressure to keep things concise when they were recited in Hellenistic times. Many of the characteristic types of literary epigram look back to inscriptional contexts funerary epigram, which in the Hellenistic era becomes a literary exercise. Many "sympotic" epigrams combine sympotic and funerary elements – they tell their readers to drink and live for today because life is short. Any theme found in classical elegies could be and were adapted for literary epigrams. Hellenistic epigrams are thought of as having a "point" – that is, the poem ends in a punchline or satirical twist. By no means do all Greek epigrams behave this way. Since their collections helped form knowledge of the genre in Rome and later throughout Europe, Epigram came to be associated with'point,' because the European epigram tradition takes the Latin poet Martial as its principal model. Greek epigram was much more diverse, as the Milan Papyrus now indicates.
A major source for Greek literary epigram is the Greek Anthology, a compilation from the 10th century AD based on older collections, including those of Meleager and Philippus. It contains epigrams ranging from the Hellenistic period through the Imperial period and Late Antiquity into the compiler's own Byzantine era – a thousand years of short elegiac texts on every topic under the sun; the Anthology includes one book of Christian epigrams as well as one book of erotic and amorous homosexual epigrams called the Μοῦσα Παιδικἠ. Roman epigrams owe much to their Greek contemporaries. Roman epigrams, were more satirical than Greek ones, at times used obscene language for effect. Latin epigrams could be composed as inscriptions or graffiti, such as this one from Pompeii, which exists in several versions and seems from its inexact meter to have been composed by a less educated person, its content makes it clear how popular such poems were: Admiror, O paries, te non cecidisse ruinis qui tot scriptorum taedia sustineas.
I'm astonished, that you haven't collapsed into ruins, since you're holding up the weary verse of so many poets. However, in the literary world, epigrams were most gifts to patrons or entertaining verse to be published, not inscriptions. Many Roman writers seem to have composed epigrams, including Domitius Marsus, whose collection Cicuta was named after the poisonous plant Cicuta for its biting wit, Lucan, more famous for his epic Pharsalia. Authors whose epigrams survive include Catullus, who wrote both invectives and love epigrams – his poem 85 is one of the latter. Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requires. Nescio, sed fieri sentio, et excrucior. I hate and I love. Maybe you'd like to know why I do? I don't know, but I feel it happening, I am tormented. Martial, however, is considered to be the master of the Latin epigram, his technique relies on the satirical poem with a joke in the last line, thus drawing him closer to the modern idea of epigram as a genre. Here he defines his genre against a critic: Disce quod ignoras: Marsi doctique Pedonis saepe duplex unum pagina tractat opus.
Non sunt longa quibus nihil est quod demere possis, sed tu, disticha longa facis. Learn what you don't know: one work of Marsus or learned Pedo stretches out over a doublesided page. A work isn't long if you can't take anything out of it, but you, write a couplet too long. Poets known for their epigrams whose work has been lost include Cornificia. In early English literature the short couplet poem was dominated by the poetic epigram and proverb in the translations of the Bible and the Greek and Roman poets. Since 1600, two successive lines of verse that rhyme with each other, known as a couplet featured as a part of the longer sonnet form, most notably in William Shakespeare's sonnets. Sonnet 76 is an excellent example; the two line poetic form as a closed cou