The Philological Museum/Volume 2/On the Homeric Use of the word Ἥρως

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The Philological Museum, Volume 2
edited by Julius Charles Hare, Connop Thirlwall, & George Cornewall Lewis
On the Homeric Use of the word Ἥρως
2073474The Philological Museum, Volume 2 — On the Homeric Use of the word Ἥρως


The word ἥρως occurs at least 110 times in the Iliad and Odyssey, and once in the hymn to Aphrodite. If we could ascertain the sense in which the author or authors of these poems used it, we should, I am persuaded, be able to apply this knowledge to our enquiries into the state of society in the times to which the poems refer, or at any rate in the times at which the author or authors lived. Besides, I suspect it would throw some light on a very interesting question,—the state of the great national families which ultimately constituted the mixed body of the Greeks, as these families stood at a very early age, though not the earliest known to us in the Greek traditions. The age in question, too, is one which exhibits strong and interesting analogies to particular eras in the history of many other nations; and, besides this, it is an age as to which we have, through the Homeric poems, a very vivid picture of the habits and feelings of those who acted in it; so that the enquiry has a historical and moral, as well as a philological interest.

But unfortunately I must begin by owning that my researches on the subject have not satisfied me. On the one hand, I have been unable to verify some notions which have been adopted by scholars of eminence; and, on the other, I have succeeded in completely overturning four or five hypotheses of my own. That which I shall hereafter submit to the reader is a very vague one, and I have but little confidence in it. If, however, we cannot get at the truth, we may at least get rid of some errors.

I need scarcely remark that, as we are enquiring into the Homeric use of the word, we have nothing to do with the acceptation of it which prevailed in a later time, and which is mythological. Such is the account which Hesiod gives of the fourth race of mankind, himself living, as he says, with the fifth race.

Αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ καὶ τοῦτο γένος κατὰ γαῖα κάλυψε,

αὗθις ἔτ᾽ ἄλλο τέταρτον ἐπὶ χθονὶ πουλυβοτείρῃ

Ζεὺσ Κρονίδης ποίησε δικαιότερον καὶ ἄρειον,

I have given this whole passage, in order to com- prehend the last lines, which exhibit so very striking a contrast to the Hades in which the Homeric heroes are placed^, and which Lucian considers so base a condition of existence^. Menelaus, it is true, had a peculiar fate*^ ; but it seems that he was not to die at all. These notions of the dignity of a preceding race belong to an early state of so- ciety ; and, as civilization advances, more time is conti- nually required to throw the preceding age sufficiently far backward. As men grow more sharpsighted, the distance must be increased in order to produce the mystic effect. When the worship of heroes became a recognized practice, the greater part of them were as early at least as the Tro- jan times. I put out of the question any instance v/here the making a hero of a conteynporary was a mere piece of flattery : any hero so created has of course no mytho- logical rank, properly speaking. Thus the two annual sacri-

^ Od. XI. especiaHy v. 487, foil. 2 Dial. Mort. Achill. et Aiitil. ^ Od. iv. 561. Vol. II. No. 4. K fices offered by the Sicyonians at the tomb of Aratus, as mentioned by Plutarch in his life of Aratus, the sacrifices and honours paid to Brasidas by the Amphipolitans (Thu^ cyd. V. 11.) W9 rjp^h the honours shewn at Calauria to the tomb of Demosthenes (if that be the meaning of the passage in Pausanias, ii. c. 34.) cannot be considered as implying any belief in the mythological character of the object of the ceremony. The latest mythological heroes perhaps were those who fell at Marathon. ^Pausanias says, ^e(iovTai ^e o MapaOcopioi tovtov<$ re^ dl irapa tyjv ^a^tjv aireOavov^ 7]pa)a^ oVo/xa^orT69, kul MapaOwva^ a(p ov rep ^f]/ucp TO ovofxa eari, kol ^HpaKXea. From the company in which we find these heroes, and the legends peculiar to the place, it is clear that they had acquired a mytho- logical rank. Sounds of tumult and battle were nightly heard there by any who had not come for the purpose of listening; and there was a hero Echetlaeus (or, as the name is elsewhere written, Echetlus^), a mysterious champion at the battle of Marathon, like the Dioscuri at the battle of the lake Regillus% or St lago at that between the Spa- niards and Moors ; he also was worshipped at Marathon. In the seventy-first Olympiad we have a hero formally created after this wise"^. One Cleomedes of Astypalaea killed a man at the Olympic games, boxing with him. The Hellanodicse refused him the prize, whereupon he went mad, and, going back to Astypalaea, pulled down a school-house upon the heads of abovit sixty children. At this the people of Asty- palaea were going to stone him ; but he fled into the temple of Athene, got into a chest there, and shut down the lid. The people tried to open it for a long while, and at last forced it, but there was no Cleomedes. They sent to Delphi, to have this explained, and received this response,

YcTTaro? rjpoocov KXeofjifjSrjs * AarvTraXaiev^^ OP Ouaiai^ Ti^aO w^ fxrjKeri Ovy}tov eoVra.

This creation, or canonization, of a hero shews that the mythological rank had by that time (if the storv be really

^ Attic. I. 32. § 4. 5 Pausan. Attic. 1. 15. § 4. 6 Cic. Nat. Deor. in. 5. 11. 12, Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. vi. 13. ^ Pausan. vi. 9. § 3. as old as Pausanias makes it) become defined and technical, like the degree of a Doctor, conferred by royal mandate. The age before the heroes, in Hesiod, is the age of the giants ; afterwards, the heroes themselves had the attribute of great size. Thus Pausanias^ says of Pulydamas, fxeyicTTo^ airavTwv eyeveTo avupcoircov^ TrArju twv rjpoooov KaKovimevooVy Kai €L crj TL aKKo rjv irpo twv rjpcocov uvr]Tov yevo^.

I can find no traces whatever of this use of the word in the Homeric Poems. They were composed (I do not speak of the hymns) at a time when the heroes were living and acting beings, or so very soon after, that no mystical associations had become connected with the name. There is no passage in them from which a mythological or tradi- tionary dignity must necessarily be inferred : the only ones to which we can apply such notions are the following. Posidaon, on beholding the bulwarks of the besiegers, com- plains:

Tov o TfTOL /cXeo9 hcTTai baov t eTrLKiovaTai rjai^' Tov o eTriXyjaoPTat^ 6 t eyco kul OoTpo9 AttoWooi^ rjpcp AaofxehovTL TroXiacra/uev aOXfjaavTe- H. vii. 451^ — 3.

This passage certainly proves nothing ; all that can be said is, that if we knew, from other sources, that Laomedon was a mythological hero, we should recognise the connection between him and the building of the walls by the gods, as a natural and consistent tradition. But the passage is gene- rally considered to belong to a later time than the body of the Iliad ; and so is the corresponding one at the begin- ning of the 12th book, in which the poet, after saying that the works of the besiegers would not long resist the Trojans, tells us that they were built without due honours being paid to the gods, and that after the destruction of Troy they were swept away by natural convulsions which the gods produced, and, among these, by the overflowing of the rivers ; and there he speaks thus of Simois,

Kal St/Jtoe^s, O0C TToXXa (ioaypia kol TpvCpaXeiac KCLTTTreaov ev KovLrjcri^ Kal rjixtOeijov yevos avopaii/. II. XII. 22 — 3.

This last expression is exactly in the spirit of the passage

8 Pausan. vi. 5. § 1. from Hesiod before cited, and may be added to the other arguments against the genuineness of this part of the Iliad9.

In Phœnix's speech to Achilles, this passage occurs:

ovTvo KOL Tcov TTpocrdev eTrevOo/meOa KXea avopcjov rjpcjooov, IK IX. 524.

Here the i^pooe^ might, or might not, be considered as more than common men : to be the subjects of Kkea^ or ballads of renown, must have been a common expectation with the warriors of Homer : Odysseus hears a kKgos about himself in Phseacia10.

There are two passages in the account given by Odysseus of his visit to Hades, which, in the same way, will suit the hypothesis of an old race of heroes of renown, and somewhat mythological character, but which do not necessarily require it. The first is this:

Hacra? o ovk av €y(v ^vOj^crojuat^ ovo ovo^nrjvct), bcraa^ i^pcocov dXo'^ov^ 'loov rfce OvyaTpa^, Od. xi. S2S,

The second occurs at the end of the scene.

Avrap eywv avTov (Jievov hfXTredoi^^ el tl^ ct hXOot avopwv rjpcoaw^ at ct] to Trpoauev oaovto. KUL vv K eTL irporepov^ 'loov avepa^^ ovs eOeXou irep' ^Qr]aea TieLpiQoov t€, Oewv epiKvdea re/ci^a.] aXa irpiv ewl eOve ay eipe to juvpia veKpwVy rjX^ OeGTrecriri, Od. xi. 62S 6SS.

This is perhaps the strongest passage : the line about Theseus and Pirithous is indeed suspectcB Jldei; but the opposition of the heroes to the vulgar ghosts, eOrea {jLvpta veKpvov^ is re- markable. Lastly, the speech of Antinous to Odysseus, in the Odyssey, when he tells the story of the Lapithae, con- tains the word ^^ ijpcoa^ applied to the Lapithae, who, it might be contended, had a mythological character.

9 Perhaps I ought to allude to the passages where the great feats of strength of some distinguished warriors are spoken of as being such as to require two of the poet's time. Such are II. v. 303. xii. 383. 449. But these seem to me to prove very little, and I much doubt whether we are to infer from them that ordinary men of the Trojan era were meant to be represented as superior to ordinary men of the poet's time. The men of the present time are mentioned merely as furnishing the' most intelligible and familiar units for the calculation.

10 Od. VIII. 73. For a comment on the expression Kea dvSpaiv the reader need only be referred to Mr Frere's very interesting article in the Museum Criticum, Vol. II. p. 243.

11 Od. XXI. 209. These are the only passages I can discover, to which the mythological notion seems applicable; and I think it may be safely asserted that, if we had the word no where else, these would not have been sufficient to establish, or even suggest, such an interpretation. We shall soon find that we must give the title a much humbler meaning. Before going further, I will refer to the interpretations offered by Damm^^. He says it is honoris vocabulum^ and that heroes were to men much as Oeol to Sai/more^* This analogy of ratios comes, in fact, from Eustathius, whose words I transcribe. ^^' Hp(joa<$ tj iraXaia aocbia y€vo9 tl Oeiov elvai co^oCgl^ liecfov Oecov kul avOpojTrwv. Kcu to juev Oeiov (pvXov 669 deov^ oiaipel Kal caiijiova^. . . . toils' oe av9pco7rov<^ et9 xe rjpcoas Kal €t9 avTo tovto avOpcoTTOvs. Kal vTrofjejoT^Kei^ac fX€V (prjai Oeo^^ caijuova^j, dvOpooTrovs oe rjpijocnVy 01/9 Koi e/c Oeiov Kai avOpcoTriuov crc0/uaTO9 (pvvai Xeyovai. Ato Kai 'Hcrto^o9 rit^ideov^ avrov^ XeyGi. This, as I observed before, belongs to an age later than that of the Homeric poems. The heroes, says Damm, were usually of divine blood, but the principal warriors got the name also. " In Homero autem omnes fortes bellatores et viri, si sunt illustres natalibus, dicuntur heroes.'"' He makes dpd-, prayer or imprecation, the theme, and places i^pcos between the words dper}]^ apiaTo^^ and so on, and ea^dpa. He also suggests that it may be derived from one of the following words ; epa^ the earth ; €0^9 ; di^p ; i6i0O9. Some of these he seems to me to have taken from the scholiasts on the passage of Hesiod. Proclus says ^^'QcTTrep ra dWa yevrj awo ttJ^ Trepi avra uXi]^ e/ca- Xccrei;, y^pvaovv Kal apyvpovv^ ovto) Kai tovto airo ttj^ yv^^ hv tjpiOLKOv. ' EjOa yap rj yrj, Kai rjpta ra ywfxaTa' wpoei- prjKe oe otl 6 Z61/9 eKeXevaei/ ' H^aicrroi/,

TrepiKXvTOV OTTL TayjLCTTa yaiav voet (pvpeiv.

referring to the 60th line of the '^Epya Kal rjinepat. Tzetzes says as follows : ^^Uptjoe^ XeyovTai rj ctTro Tr}^ hpas^ rjyovv t^s 7^9, KaTd ^idXeKToV e^ >}9 7ra9 dvOpcowo^ 7]p(o^ dv Xe^^Oeir],

12 V. //>a)s. 13 Ad 11. A. p. 17—135 36.

14 Schol. Hes."E. /earn. 15H.

15 Schol. in Hes."E. AcarH. 158. ^H CLTTO Tov aepos' at f/v')(aL yap tcou dyaOcou avupcvTrwv CLoXvyelcTai acoiJidrcov Kaff KWriva^^ tov depa TrepntoXovaaif €(popw(TL Tct TrjSe. '^H CLTTO Tfj? * ApeTjjs^ (^S (prjcTiu ' 0p(p€vs* (Al9. 63.)

yirjTepa o rjpaxjov ' ApeTYJv airaTepOe kKvovt€^

'H airo Tf]^ epdaeco^ Kal [xc^eco^ twv Oecov' Xrjpovai yap on o Oeoi OvrjTals yvvai^l lunyvvuxevoi^ Kal apopaai Oeai^ eiroiovv TO TWV rjpcooDv yevo^. Damm also suggests that the Latin herus^ and the German herr^ come from the same root : I am told that the real root exists in the Sanscrit sūras.

Whatever the etymology of the word may be, I think I shall shew that even the most extensive interpretation here given to it is too confined.

Wachsmuth says that the hero is every one who in any way stands out from the mass, as, for instance, even a herald ^^ Even this depends upon what the mass is. Is it the mass of the army before Troy ? or the mass of man- kind ? in the latter case, every one mentioned might be a hero ; for he probably would be mentioned for something remarkable in him, something worth mentioning.

The persons who are called heroes in Homer comprehend the following mixture. Laomedon^^, Alcathous the son in law of Anchises^^, Eurypylus the leader of the Cetians^^, Adrestus ^^ the commander of the Trojan auxiliaries from Adrestia, Agastrophus ^^ the son of Paeon, Menoetius^^ the father of Patroclus, Peneleos ^^ the leader of the Boeoti, Cebriones^^ the charioteer of Hector, Deiphobus^^, Laertes % Machaon% Helenus^®, Demodocus^^ the bard at the court of Ithaca, Meriones^^, Agamemnon ^^, Protesilaus ^^, Pirous^^ the leader of the Thracians, Menelaus^, ^neas^" Sthenelus^^, Leitus^^ one of the leaders of the Boeotians, Diomedes^, Odysseus ^^, Eurypylus^^ the commander of the troops from

16 Hellen. Alt. i. Th. i. Abth. § 16. 17 II. VIII. 453. 18 II. XIII. 428. i9 Od. xi. 520. 20 II. VI. 63. 21 II. XI. 339. 22 II. XI. 770. 23 II. XIII. 92. 24 II. XVI. 781. 25 II. XXII. 298. 26 Od. 1. 188. 27 II. IV. 200. 28 II. XIII. 582. 29 Od. VIII. 483. 30 II. XXIII. 893. 3» II. i. 102. 32 II. II. 708. 33 II. II. 844. 34 II. ijj 377^ 35 II. V. 308. 36 II. V. 327. 37 II. vj 35 38 11. X. 154. 39 11. XI, 483. ^0 n. XI. 810. 11. 736. 071 the Homeric use of the word Upeo^. 79 Ormenius, Asius^^ who leads one of the five parties against the walls of the Greeks, Idomeneus^^, Achilles ^^5 Autome- don^^ his charioteer, Pisistratus^^ son of Nestor, Telemachus^% Alcinous^^ king of the Phaeacians, Echeneus^^ a Phaeacian yepcov^ Phidon ^^ the king of the Thesprotians, Mulius ^^ the herald from Dulichiuni and attendant of Amphinomus, Alitherses*^^ and iEgyptius^^ speakers in the agora of the Itha- cans, Phaedimus^^ king of the Sidonians. These are nearly all who are mentioned by name. It is true that all these are persons of considerable distinction ; but those who were mentioned by name could not but be of some distinction. I think we shall soon see that the distinction, if any, which entitled a man to the appellation, must have been a very slight one. But I will, in the first place, admit that there are some instances in which it might be contended that the word is used as an intentional appellation of honour. Nestor exhorts the warriors 'Q (piXoi^ fjpcoe^ Aavaol^ Oepairovre^* Aprjo^. II. vi. 67. Ajax in another place uses the same words ^^. Zeus is said to make Agamemnon eKirpeire ev TroXKolat kol g^o'^ov rjpcoecrariVy IL 11. 483. There are other instances in which the excelling above heroes might be said to be put as a sort of a fortiori case ^^ Dolon calls Odysseus hero ^^^ not knowing him ; it may be said that this was in deprecation. When Apollo is inciting JEneas to fight Achilles, he says ripcjos, aXX a^e, Kal crv Oeol^ aleiyeverricnu et'^eo* Kal oe ere (paat Alo^ Kovprj^ A(ppodiTrj(^ eKyeyafxev^ KeTvo^ oe '^epeiovo^ e/c Oeov eariv- Od. xiv. 97^'- But, to pursue the same kind of argument as before, all these passages are also consistent with the interpretation of the word 4» 11. XII. 95. ^2 II. XIII. 384. ^3 II. XXIII. 824. 44 II. XXIV. 474. 45 Od. IV. 415. 46 Od. XIV. 312. 47 Od. VI. 303. 48 Od. XI. 342. 49 od. xiv. 317. 50 Od. XVIII. 423. 51 Od. 11. 157- ^^ Od. 11. 15. 53 Od. IV. 617. ^^ II. XV. 733. 55 II. II. 579. II. XXIII. 645. II. XVIII. 56. 437. Od. iv. 268. 56 II. X. 416. 57 To these might be added the 25th and 88th lines of the 24th book of the Odyssey ; but there appears to me no doubt that the first 204 lines of that book are spurious. 80 On the Homeric use of the word Uncos'. in a humbler and commoner sense; so that from these alone we should not have derived the notion that it was an epithet of distinction. In the passages which I shall now cite, the application seems much more indiscriminate. One or two of them, taken alone, might be strained to a more confined sense ; but I think, when viewed together, they make strongly against the notion that the term implied much distinction, at any rate in the Iliad. Asius, the Trojan ally, says — ov yap eY^'y €(paixr}v rjpcva^ Ayaiov^ < / GyYjGeiv r}ixeT€pov ye juevo^ Kai '^eipa^ aaiTTOv^ — II. XII. 165. where he seems to speak of the Greeks simply. So Menelaus says to the Trojans, vvi^ avT ev prjvaiv jueveatveTe TrovTOTropoicriv TTvp oXoou (iaXeeiv^ Krelvai h' fjpcoas A-^aiov^. II. xill. 628. So Zeus says to Apollo, aWa (TV y ev -^^eLpecxcn Xa/3' alyi^a Ovacravoecrcrav^ Tr)v fxak eTTiaaeicov^ <po(ieeiv ijpooa^ 'Avaiou^. II. XV. 229. Accordingly Apollo tells Hector, Tpexj^co fjpcioa^ 'A^aroJs. II. xv. 26I. Again, Tpwaiv eXireTO 6v,ao^ ei/l crrrjOecraiv eKaarov vrja^ evLTTpriaeLVy Kreveeiv ff ijpwas 'A'^^aiov^. II. xv. 701. When Zeus is exerting himself in behalf of the Trojans, and Posidaon in behalf of the Greeks, the expression is, to) c a^,(pk (ppoveovre ^vco Kpovov vie Kparaico avopaaiv ^pweaai Terev^eTOv aXyea Xvypa. II. XIII. 345. In all these passages the word might be taken for the warriors generally : we can scarcely believe it to be confined to the chiefs, or the owners of chariots, an opinion I at one time entertained: at any rate they suggest no such notion. But there are three passages in the Iliad, in which the heroes are spoken of as forming the crTiYes^ the ranks. When Apollo carries off ^neas from Achilles, TToXXd^ ce (jTiya^ ripcowv^ TroXXaV Se Kal 'lttttwv Aivelw VTrepaXrOf Oeov airo x^^P^'S opoma^. II. xx. 326. 071 the Homeric use of the word Hjoo)?. 81 Athene's spear too is said to be that T(o oajuprjCFL ari'^a^ dvopcou 'Bpijocop. II. V. 746. VIII. 390. which words are also found in the Odyssey, i. 100. Here it cannot be argued either that crr/^e? rjpioodv means a select body, or signifies ranks in 01 over which were chiefs called ijpcoe's- Let us see the other uses of the same word, espe- cially with a genitive. The lion, pressed by the av^pe^ Oripevral^ is described as ^^ aTi')(a9 dv^pcov TreiprjTt^w}^. Compare this with the de- scription of Hector, in another passage. Kai p €U€A€v prji^aL crTi-^a^ avopoov^ Treipy^TiCcoVy >7 ct] ireL(TTov ofxiAOV opa Kai Tev^e apicfTa aW ovo 0)9 cvvuTo p}]^ai^ fxaka irep fueveaivcoV' Gyov yap TTvpy^ihov aprjpoTe^ .... 0)9 Aaraot TjOo5a9 {xevov e,u7reooi/ ovo ecpejoovro. II. XV. 615. Observe also the following; line : prj^afxevo^ lAavawv irvKiva^ aTiya'^ acFTno'Taoov. II. XIII. 680. The main bulk of the host standing about Machaon is thus described : a/uCpL ce jiXLV KpaTepai crTiye^ aairiaTawv Xacov^ 01 ol kirovTo Tpi^^i]^ e^ 'iirirofioToio^ II. iv. 201 : and there is a similar passage with regard to Pandarus'^^. Soon after, ^^ To<ppa o eirl Tpwcov GTiye^ rjXvQov dcnriaTacov, which occurs in another place ^^ The whole bulk of the two hosts, in a very picturesque passage, where they are halted to listen to Hector's challenge, is called (jTiye^ irvKvai^^^ and again ^^^ GTL')(e^ ' A'^^aioov re Tpcouov re. This is quite enough to establish, what perhaps I might have assumed without proof, that ijpoooov cTiye^ are not a select body, and that the Yjpu)€<$ make up the (jT/;>^e9, such being the force of the genitive in every instance adduced. I do not see therefore how we can stop short of inferring that the ripooes through- out the Iliad, are neither more nor less than the dv^pe^ daTTLCTTal^ the great body and bulk of the host. •^s 11. XII. 47. ^9 11. IV. 91. CO 11. IV. 221. ^' H. XI. 412. C2 11. viT. no. ^' 11. VII. f)5. Vol. II. No. 4. L 82 On the Homeric use of the word HjOa)9- In the great assembly convoked in the nineteenth book of the Iliad, those who are summoned are the ripiae^. et? dyoprjv Kokeaa^ ijpwa^ A-x^aiov^^ v. 34 ; and again 5 waev r]pwa^ Ayaiov^* v. 41. Now the whole host seem to have come together — iravTes doWiaOrjaav A')^aLOL^ v. 54 — even those who belonged merely to the naval force, and to the administration of the stores ^^. Agamemnon addresses this assembly as 7]poo€9 Aaraoi^^» There is no reason therefore to believe that those who attended the dyoprj were in any way a select party, or caste, in the Iliad^ though they seem to be identical with the rip(jt)€^. The whole ao^^^ is convoked in the first book. Assuming this, we shall find that the rjpooe^ comprehended ranks of which the distinctions were to a certain degree re- cognized. Before the dyoprj in the second book there is a select council — fiovXr] oe TrpwTov fkeyaOvfxwv tCe yepovTwv, v. 53. The breaking up of this meeting, and the summoning of the general assembly, are thus described : 0)9 apa (poovrjaa^ (iovKr}^ e^ ^PX^ veeaOai- oi o e7raveGTY}(rav^ ireidovTo t€ Troi/uevi Xacov^ (TKYiTTTov'^ot f3acni]€^' eireaaevovTo ce Xao/. v. 84. These Xaol are afterwards called by Agamemnon, as in the other instance, ^^ rjpcoe^ Aavaoi This assembly also is a mixed one : the heralds marshal them, and they come to- gether, not to discuss, but to listen to their betters. evi^ea oe (j(p€a<^ KfjpvKe^ poo(jovTe<$ eprjTvov^ cittot avT7]% a^oiar , dKovaeiav oe AiorpeCpecov (ia(nr}(jt)v* v. 98. And we have a distinction drawn between the ^^ (iaaLkrja kuI

  • €^o')(^ov (xvopa and the ^^ Si^/ulov dvSpa.

It may perhaps strike some one, that this is the common (BovXrj and eKKXrjaia of later Greece ; and no doubt it repre- sents the state of things in which such assemblies sometimes originate : however they are not here two deliberative bodies, 6^ See vv. 42—45. ^s n, y^j^ yg^ ce n. j. 54, ^7 II. II. 110. C8 II. IT. I8n. ^^ II. II. 198. On the Homeric use of the word Hjowj. 83 but first a special meeting of chiefs aiding the general with their counsel, and then a full meeting of the whole host, to hear the result and receive communications. The ayoprj in the first book has more the appearance of a deliberative assembly : we may perceive however that they are summoned to try if there is any one in the whole army who has had intelligence either by revelation or dream '^ In the Odyssey too, those who are called to the ayoprj in Ithaca, are termed {jpcoe^'^K '^ Alitherses and '^ ^gyptius, who speak there, are called heroes. But in the Odyssey I think I discover a rather more aristocratical character in the ay oprj. It is evidently deliberative ; yet its principal business seems to be to receive intelligeiice. Thus iEgyp- tius, after saying that there has been no ayopri since the departure of Odysseus, goes on : vvv C€ Ti^ WO riyGipe'-i Tiva y^petw Toaov ik€l f]€ pecov avcpoov^ rj oi irpoyeveaTepoL eicnv ; r}e TLv ayyeXifjv GTpaTov cKAvev ep-^ojueuoLo^ r]v ^ YjiULLv aa<pa etVot, ore Trporepo^ ye ttvOolto ; rf€ TL CYjixiov aXko 7n(pavaK€TaL rjo ayopevei ; il. 28. Telemachus says that they are of the same rank, or at any rate comprehend some of the same rank^ as the suitors ; for he calls the suitors Tijov avopoov (piXoL v^e^^ o evOahe y eialv apicTTOi, ii. 51. The suitors are opposed by Mentor, in the assembly, aXAw ^Yjixoy^^ still a part of the assembly. Telemachus asks this assembly to supply him with a ship and crew '^. In the Phaeacian city, Odysseus admires avTtov rjpwcov ayopa^ Kai re/^ea /xa/CjOa, Od. vii. 44, as if the assembly and the bulwarks belonged to the heroes peculiarly. Echeneus, a Phaeacian yepwv^ who feasts with king Alci- nous, is called hero ^^. If it be true, that the ripwe^ and the assemblies in Ithaca are more select than those in the Iliad, there would in reality 70 II. I. 62. "^i Od. I. 272. 72 Od. II. 157. See also Od. xxiv. 451. 73 Od. II. 15. 74 0(i. II. 239. "' Od. ii. 212, 7^^ Od. VII. 155. Od. XI. 342. 84 On the Homeric use of the word Hjows- be no inconsistency. If there was a predominant tribe^ or caste, their predominance would appear at hon^e, amid the mixed population. But when the armed force^ consisting principally or entirely of the predominant race, was abroad, and on service, the distinction would of course disappear, because there would, no longer be a mixture. The prin- cipal difficulty Avhich meets one, in attempting to establish the distinction, is that there are few or no traces of the subordinate caste. Wachsmuth has attempted '"^ to point out some distinctions of rank, and successfully ; but he makes out, I think, nothing below the Stj/ulo^^ excepting of course servants or slaves. Now the Srjfxo^^ as I think I have shewn, comprehended the rjpooe^^ and constituted the ayoprj ; and indeed I do not feel satisfied that ^rj^o^ in Homer signifies plebs : it seems rather to mean populus, in the old Roman sense, which Vico"^, I believe, first pointed out ; a view which Niebuhr ^^ has completely confirmed. There are numerous passages in which the word fjpco^ is applied, without meaning, so far as I can discover, any thing more than a common title, like gentleman in our language ; or at least in which nothing can be supposed to be desig- nated emphatically by it. Such is the passage where Me- nelaus repulses Adrestus, who is begging for his life. o o airo €U€V wauTO yj^^pi YjpOd * Acp7](TTOV. H. VT. 63. Such is that where Alcinous desires Telemachus to attend to his words, ■ o(ppa Kai a(p eiirv}^ r]p(jowVy oTe Kev aols eu /ueyapotatv caivvrj irapa crrj t oXoyjLo^ kol aolat TCKeaaiv. Od. VIII. 241. where rjpcoe^ are simply those on visiting terms with Telemachus. It is assumed that those to whom he would tell it would be rjpuoa^^^ but the word is not used for the purpose of pointing this out. I could cite a great many 77 HeUen. Alt. i. Th. i. Abth. § 16. Beil. 8. to i. Th. i. Abth. 78 See Principi di Scienza Nuova. Ed. Milan. 1801. Vol. i. p. 77. Vol. 11. p. 97, 197, 224. Compare also Vol. 11. p. 123, 163, 174. 73 Roman History i. pp. 417—420, Oil the Homeric use of the ivord ^poo^. 85 more instances of this kind -^ ; but I will merely mention a passage or two where the phrase avTap 6y rjpo)^ occurs, meaning merely he. Diomedes hits ^neas with a stone, avrap oy fjpco^ earrj ywc, cpiircov. II. v. 308. Sthenelus, having driven off the horses of ^neas, returns to Diomedes : avrap oy rjpco^ (i. e. Sthenelus) WV iTTTTCOl/ eTTijSa^ K, T. X- II. V. 327- In the Dolonia, the party go to the tent of Diomedes : avrap oy rjpw^ €v^ II. X. 154. The Trojans attack Odysseus : avrap oy fjpo)^ aLcracov w '^yyj^i a^vvero vrjKee^ rj/uLap- II. xi. 483. Deiphobus receives in his shield the spear of Merionesj which is broken. f/ » avrap oy rjpw^ a|/ erapcov €19 eOi^o^ e'^di^ero* II. xiii. 164. Agamemnon gives Meriones a spear, avrap oy fjpco^ Tavj3i(i) KYipvKL didov irepiKaXXe^ aedXov. II. xxiii. SQ6, I think this phrase does not occur in the Odyssey. But it seems impossible that the word so used should mean more than he^ that person., that soldier. The next enquiry which suggests itself, is whether the title is confined to a particular tribe or nation of Greeks. It certainly is not so confined. I have already cited several cases in which the phrase r}pwe<^ 'Ayaiol occurs^^ We find the same term applied to the Aai^aoi. In one passage they are put in apposition with the 'Apyeloi^^. ISlearcvp o Apyeioiaiv eKCKXero /uaKpov avcras* Q (pi-Xoi, rjpcoe^ /avaoi, depairovre^ 'Aprjo^- II. xix. 78. II. 256. XV. 733. II. 110. 80 II. XI. 339. II. IV. 200, where Machaon is called hero ; he was called (pwTa at line 174. II. iii. 377. H. vi. 35. II. vi. 61. II. xiii. 384. II. xni. 575. IL XIII. 788. Od. IV. 21. Od. iv. 303. Od. vii. 303. Od. x. 516. 81 11. XII. 65. II. XIII. 629. II. XV. 230, 261, 702. H. xix. 34, 41. Od. i. 272. Ili XV. 219. Od. XXIV. 68, probably spurious. 82 II. VI. 66. 86 On the Homeric use of the word '^Hpcos. I mention this indiscriminateness in the application, be- cause, although in the two poems the general host of the Greeks is called indifferently by the words 'A^atoi, ' Apyeioi^ /avao^ yet the last two names are never applied to the people of Ithaca, or the predominant caste there, if such there be, while 'Ayaiol is very often so applied. • It is, I think, highly probable that the 'A^atoJ were a predominant race in Ithaca in the Homeric times. But in fact, as we have already seen in many instances, the title rjpw^ is not confined to the allied Greeks. We have seen it applied to the Phaeacians, a people who stand in a strange and scarcely intelligible relation to the Greeks of the Homeric times. Their royal family ^^ is the third generation from the Gigantes ; and Alcinous says that the gods shewed themselves to them, not disguised in human form, but in their own pro- per shapes, eireL acpicriv eyyvOev el/xeF, (hcnrep Kf/cXcoTre? T€ kuI aypia <pua TLyavTcoi^. Od. VII. 205. Their ships carried Rhadamanthus on his visitation to Tityus, Tai^iov vLov^^ ; these ships are instinct with motion and know- ledge^^; and the country and city seem a sort of fairy land. Adrestus, the commander of the Trojan allies from '^^ Adres- tia, Apsesus, Pityia, and mount Teria, is called a hero ^' ; and the same word is applied to a^^ Cetian (probably a Mysian, see schol. on Od. xi. 520, and Strabo, xiii. 6l5, 6.), to Trojans in many instances, to a Thracian, to a Thesprotian, and to a Sidonian. I before mentioned that the Lapithae are called heroes ^^ One cannot therefore be surprised that Greeks who were not on the Trojan expedition, such as Telemachus^^ and Pisistratus^^ should be called so. Before I mention the hypothesis which I propose to suggest, I will recapitulate the conditions which it ought to satisfy, as well as I can collect them from the instances of the use of the word already brought forward. I will first observe that, in weighing any conjecture as to the origin of «3 Od. VII. 56. sqq. ^* Od. vii. 324. 85 Qd. viii. 559. 86 11. II. 828. «^ II. VI. 63. ^« See above pp. 7B, 71^. ^^ Od. xxi. 299. so Od, tv. 21. ^' Od. III. 415. On the Homeric use of the word Hjoco?. 87 the wordj we are to recollect that it is a substantive ; and therefore we cannot treat it like such words as jueyciOvixoi or even 'nriroKopvcfTri^^ of which it may he said that, from being distinguishing epithets at first, they came into common use, to amplify the diction and give it a dignified tone. We never could have had avTap bye ixeyadvixo^^ or avTap 6y iTTTro/cojOi/cr- Ti]S) as we have avrap oy rjpio^. 1. The title ought to be common to the whole Xao? at Troy, all the av^pe^ dcnncTTai^ whether ^avaol or 'A^caol ; I think we may also add 'ApyeToi^ on the strength of the passage cited in note 82. 2. It ought to be applicable to other fighters, or, in some character or other, to the Lapithae, and to the Trojans generally. 3. It ought to be applicable to men of consequence, who were not Greeks or Trojans, as kings, princes, people of the ruling rank, where such a rank can be found. It ought to include, if not all the people of Ithaca, the 'A-^aiol or ruling rank there. Rank is a safer word than caste. 4. I think we may add that, however wide its ap- plication, the word is never applied when the general eff*ect of the sentiment is contempt. 5. The hypothesis must be compatible with the cir- cumstance that the word afterwards disappeared from common use, and became mythological. Had I succeeded in extracting a satisfactory explanation of the word from the Homeric poems, I might, as I suggested at the beginning, have applied it to our speculations on the state of society, and the relations, of the different Greek tribes in the Homeric age. Having failed to do this, I can only have recourse to the inverse method. I have already illustrated it, as far as I can, from the manners and habits of the Homeric time. Let us now take a very short view of the state in which the Greeks then stood, as to their con- stituent national families. We know of nothing earlier in Greece than the preva- lence of the Pelasgians, unless indeed we are to except the Upoa-eXrjuoL of Aristotle, mentioned by the scholiast upon Aris- tophanes Among the Homeric Greeks, I assume the name 92 Nub. 397. (Kuster.) 88 On the Homeric use of the word VLpa)^. 'ApyeioL to be due to the old Pelasgian race; for *^Apyo^^ in Argolis had a citadel Larissa, which is known to be a Pelasgian name. The Pelasgian Argos in Horner^* is a part of Thessaly. '^Apyo^^ according to Strabo, signifies a plain in later writers, irapa Toh vewrepoi^^^ '^ but he says that the name is Thessalian or Macedonian. It is probably Pelasgian, for it signified the plain round Larissa in Thessaly '^^. In Pausanias^' we read of a plain called '^Apyos in Arcadia, the retreat of the old Pelasgian race. The next period is that of the colonists from beyond sea, when the ^Tvaproi avSpe^ (a Lelegic tribe, I believe) founded Sparta ^^, settled in Boeotia^-*, and when other tribes of Leleges and Cares settled all along the coasts. One set of immigrants often overpowered another, of which there are plentiful traditions ; as^ in the case of the Leleges, we have the legend of the ^TrapTol avSpe^ springing from the earth, from the dragon's teeth ^^^ ; of the Leleges springing from the earth when Deucalion threw the stones there ^^^, and- so on. Among these colonists were the Danai, from Egypt^ if we follow the old tradition. Then we have the state of things described by Thucy- dides ^^^ : EXXtjvo^ ce kul twv iraiooov avTov ev Ttj ^OimTL^L La')(i)GavT(jL>v^ Kai e tt ay oixevvov avTov^ eir coCpeXeLa e? Tas aXXa^ 7roXa9, K. T. X. Thucydides attributes to this the use of the name EXXr}ve%^ which came by degrees to comprehend all the Greeks, but which required a considerable time to win its way. The name ' A'^aiol had gained an earlier preeminence, and probably retained it till the return of the Heraclidse. 93 Strabo viii. 370. ix. 440. 9^ n, jj^ ggj^ ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ 95 VIII. 37I5 2, where see Eustath. as cited by Casaubon, and see further Kruse Hellas. Vol. i. chap. v. p. 437. not (160.) 96 Strabo ix. 431. 97 Arcad. viii. 7. § 1. 98 Eustath. II. B. fol. 294. 99 Strabo ix. 401. Schol. Eurip. Phceniss. 674. 969. (Beck.) ioo The meaning of the serpent, in this and other traditions, is whimsically com- mented upon by Vico, P. S. N. 11. p. 128. &c. Perhaps in the story of Cadmus it means merely the old nobility overpowered by the Phoenicians. The reader will recollect the ocpi^ olKovpd? of the Athenian citadel. See Aristoph. Lvsist. 759. and Herod, viii. 41. Compare Larcher's note on Herod, i. 160. (not. 358.) Pausanias conjectured that Ericthonius might be represented by the snake sculptured in the Par- thenon, which was near the spear of Athene, i. 24. 7. »"' Hesiod. fragm. xi. 102 j^ ^^ On the Homeric use of the word Hows'. 89 The 'A^aioJ are mentioned with the M.vpiuLi^ove^ anc EX- Xrive^^^^ as the soldiers of Achilles, the inhabitants of the Pelasgic Argos, of Phthia, Hellas, &c. The prevalence of this name^^ was owing, it seems, to the good fortune or su- perior courage of the band of adventurers who became masters of Argos and Lacedaemon. According to the leo-end found in Pausanias^^^ Archander the son of Ach^eus (Hero- dotus ^^^ makes him the son of Phthius and grandson of Achaeus), and Architeles, came to Argos from the Phthiotis, and married respectively Scaea and Automate the dauo-hters of Danaus. Archander had a son called Metanastes. The family became so powerful, that the people of Argos and Lacedaemon received the name of 'Aj^moi. Pausanias says that /avao was then a name confined to the people of Argos. Strabo^^^ says that Ach^us himself came to La- conia; elsewhere ^^^ he says that the Achsei of the Phthiotis came with Pelops to the Peloponnesus, and held Laconia. The story is also told in Apollodorus ^^^. These o-enealo-^ gies are no further important, than as shewing the early national opinions as to the relations of the different tribes. Ap-^avSpo^ and 'Ap^LTeXrj^^ of course, are words designatino- the leaders of bands of adventurers, such as those spoken of in the passage of Thucydides. We know that TeXea was the technical name, in the Homeric times, for bands of sol- diers ^^^. The legend of the companions of Demaratus, Eu- cheir and Eugrammus ^^^, who brought the plastic art to Italy, according to Pliny, exhibits much such another deri- vation of name. The word MeTavdari^^ also explains itself, as Pausanias perceived ^^^. Perhaps AvTojudrr] and 2/cma '03 II. II. 684.

  • o*t Since the present Essay was written, I have endeavoured to explain the view

here taken, in an article in the Quarterly Journal of Education, Vol. ii. No. v. p. 87. 105 vii. 1. § 3. 106 II. 98. 107 viii. 383. 108 viii. 365. ^09 p. 27. ed. Heyn. 110 II. XI. 730. xviii. 298. VII. 380, if the line be genuine. See Wachsmuth Hel. Alt. Beil. 14. to i. Th. i. Abth. Arnold's note on Thucyd. i. 58, and the review of it in the Quarterly Journal of Education, No. vii. 111 Plin. H. N. XXXV. 43. See also Niebuhr, Roman History i. 369. (ed. 3.) 112 MeT-ai/ao-Trjs was probably a term of reproach imposed by the earlier inhabitants. Achilles says, II. ix. 647. Mi/jfo-o/Ltat, CU9 fx' d<TV(pt]ou ev 'ApyeloLCTLU epe^cv 'At^ci^t;?, wrrc-i tlu dTijinjTOV ficrapccan-iju. Vol,. II. No. 4. M may have some meaning also. The story of the marriage may or may not be true; yet, no doubt, the history of the times of the Condottieri would furnish analogies. The origin of the sovereignty of the Sforzas over Milan was owing to the marriage of the great leader of the free companions, Francesco Sforza, with Bianca Visconti, as may be seen in the sixth book of Machiavelli's Italia. The great kingdom of Argos, over which the Achaei presided, seems to have retained its relations with the tribes of the North, and other countries without the Isthmus. Traces of this perhaps are to be found in the legends of the persecution of Hercules by Eurystheus, of the wars of Thebes, and of an Acrisius king of Argos, who arranged the constituency of the Amphityonic Council. Wachsmuth[1] conceives that this last mentioned tradition can be accounted for only by supposing that something which took place after the return of the Heraclidae had become mixed up with the more ancient mythology[2]. But it may have been an institution controuled by the monarch of the great kingdom of Argos in the South, as the confederation of the Rhine was by Napoleon[3].

This brings us to the monarchy of the Atridas. I conjecture therefore that (Greek characters) may be the name which designated the warriors of those roving bands, whose prevalence in Greece was so common, according to Thucydides, and who were the founders of the kingdom the monarch of which headed the confederation against Troy. It may originally have been confined to the chiefs; but my hypothesis is that it ultimately belonged to every member of the band. We will now recur to the five conditions proposed, and see whether this hypothesis will fall in with them. The first condition agrees with it well enough; every body admitted into the ranks on a military expedition would acquire the title.

As for the second condition, the word, in the mouths of this race, might easily come to signify a soldier.

The third condition is rather less manageable. Yet, in the conflicts and struggles which gave extension, first to the On the Homeric use of the word Hpcos. 91 Achaean, and then to the Hellenic name, it is clear that the members of these bands must have learnt to consider them- selves as the superior and predominant caste. And the ap- plication of their own title to any one whom they respected, would follow naturally enough. In Lydgates story of Thebes, Amphiaraus is called the bishop Amphiorax, and the warriors are termed knights ; and one can easily understand how ballads of the age of the Crusaders came to represent the Saracen warriors as knights, and how the Moors were so represented in Spanish ballads. It may be worth while to remind the reader of a passage in Ivanhoe, where a leader of a band of free companions gives an account of the marriages of the tribe of Benjamin ^^^ : -^ How, long since in Palestine, a deadly feud arose between the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of the Israelitish nation ; and how they cut to pieces well nigh all the chivalry of that tribe; and how they swore by our blessed Lady, that they would not permit those who remained to marry in their lineage ; and how they became grieved for their vow, and sent to consult his holiness the Pope how they might be absolved from it ; and how, by the advice of the Holy Father, the youth of the tribe of Benjamin carried off from a superb tournament all the ladies who were present, and thus won them wives without the consent either of their brides or their brides'* families/ There is less difficulty in understanding the presence of the ijpcoe^ in the dyoprj- The army of a pre- dominant tribe is, in early times, the assembly : in fact the array is the assembly, whether at home or abroad ; and when inferior castes are admitted to higher political privileges, in the early history of nations, it is almost always, by their being admitted to bear arms. The comitia ceiituriata are a very remarkable instance of this. Another illustration is furnished by the testamentum in procinctu, which was a will made be- fore the general assembly^ whether on military service or not. See Niebuhr Roman History i. 473. It seems to have been originally no more than a particular form of the testamentum in comitiis calatis. See Heinec. Antiq. Syntagm. ii. Tit. X. XI. XII. ^ 1, 2j 3, 4. »^^ Chap, XVI. The fourth condition would be fulfilled by a natural consequence of the same feeling. The soldiers of these free bands would feel respect for the title, and would hardly employ it when they wanted to abuse one another.

As to the disappearance of the common use of the word, we must recollect that the race which supplanted the Ἀχαιοὶ, however nearly allied to them by blood, was altogether alien and hostile to them at the time. The manner in which the Ἀχαιοὶ were driven up into Ægialia, shews clearly that the Heracleid invaders made what is called clean work. There is nothing remarkable therefore in the disappearance of the word from common use: neither is it strange that, when the new settlers began to look back for stories of glory and feats of arms, their attention should fall, almost as a matter of course, upon that generation whose exploits had been perpetuated, either by the greatest of poems ever composed, or by the noblest collection of legends which the world has ever seen.

Even if these conditions are satisfied, the hypothesis still rests upon very slight evidence. They are not sufficiently inconsistent at first sight, to make it very remarkable that a hypothesis should be capable of being shaped into conformity with all of them. However, it may be said that it is a hypothesis which has no improbability a priori: such people as composed these bands did exist, we know; it is likely that they should have a peculiar name; and we find, I think, no other name for them.

I have only to add that I have taken the whole of the Iliad and Odyssey as safe authority. If we believe them to be the work of a great number of poets, the evidence as to the use of any word found in them generally, or of any habits appearing consistently throughout, is still stronger than if we consider the whole as the work of a single author.

T. F. E.

  1. Strabo IX. 420.
  2. Helen. Alt. i. Th. i. Abth. § 24.
  3. The (Greek characters), as is remarked in p. 86, were also established in Ithaca.

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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