Thursday, February 2, 2012

The dog of Orion

In a previous post, I attempted to describe folio 188r of the eleventh-century manuscript of the Iliad known as E4, in order to make some preliminary observations about the manuscript and its relationship to other Medieval manuscripts of the Iliad with scholia. It was a difficult task, even with the help of my colleagues Christopher Blackwell, Mary Ebbott, and Neel Smith. E4 has not been well studied, and it has many features that make it unlike the other manuscripts we have digitized as part of the Homer Multitext. It became clear to me as I was working on it that I could not fully appreciate 188r without understanding its facing page on the left side, folio 187v. I have now had the chance to study 187v in detail, and it has only confirmed my initial impression of the manuscript, that it is an unusual, very likely unique assemblage of text and paratexts that span multiple lines of transmission. The scholia contained on folio 187v, which comment on the text of 188r (containing Iliad 22.1–37), are particularly indicative of the unique character of E4.

Folio 187v is taken up by a hypothesis to book 22, a large selection from Porphyry, and scholia, both with and without lemmata, including comments on the text of the Iliad that is written on 188r. It should be noted from the beginning that there are two separate hands in this manuscript, which both Allen and Erbse deem to be contemporaneous. The first hand has written the hypothesis, the scholia immediately following it, and the text of the poem and paraphrase on the next folio. The second hand has written the selection from Porphyry and the scholia in the margins.

At the top of folio 187v is the excerpt from Porphyry’s Homeric Questions. The following is a transcription, based on visual inspection of the manuscript images and Schrader’s (1880-1882) edition:
ἠγνόησαν οἱ πολλοὶ ὅτι ἡ κλίσις παρ’ Ὁμήρῳ τὴν περιοχὴν σημαίνει, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐσχηματισμένα ἀπ’ αὐτῆς ῥήματα. <ὣς οἱ μὲν κατὰ ἄστυ πεφυζότες ἠύτε νεβροὶ ἱδρῶ ἀπεψύχοντο πίον τ’ ἀκέοντό τε δίψαν, κεκλιμένοι καλῇσιν ἐπάλξεσιν· αὐτὰρ Ἀχαιοὶ τείχεος ἆσσον ἴσαν, σάκε’ ὤμοισι κλίναντες> (Iliad 22.1–4)· λέγει γάρ· περιεχόμενοι τῷ τείχει οἱ Τρῶες, οἱ δ’ Ἀχαιοὶ τὰ σάκη περιέχοντες τοῖς ὤμοις. Οὕτω λύσεις καὶ τὸ <οἵ δ' ἐπὶ ρὴγμῖνι θαλάσσης κυκλίατο> (Iliad 16.67–68)· λέγει γὰρ ὁτι περιεχόμενοι ὑπὸ τῶν Τρώων ἐπὶ ῥηγμῖνι θαλάσσης συνηλάθησαν.  καὶ τὸ <ἠέρι δ’ ἔγχος ἐκέκλιτο καὶ ταχέ’ ἵππω> (Iliad 5.356) δηλοῖ περιείχετο. καὶ τὸ <κεῖθ’ ἁλὶ κεκλιμένη ἐριβώλακος ἠπείροιο> (Odyssey 13.235), κεῖται περιεχομένη. καὶ πάλιν <ὅς δ’ἐν Ὕλῃ ναίεσκε μέγα πλούτοιο μεμηλὼς λίμνῃ κεκλιμένος> (Iliad 5.708) δηλοῖ περιεχόμενος. καὶ <ἀσπίσι κεκλιμένοι> (Iliad 3.135)· περιεχόμενοι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀσπίδων. ἀπὸ τοῦ κλείω· τὸ γὰρ ἀποκλεισθὲν περιέχεται· <οὐδὲ πύλῃσιν εὗρ’ ἐπικεκλιμένας σανίδας> (Iliad 12.120). τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ παρίστησι καὶ τὸ <ἀλλ’ ἐν γὰρ Τρώων πεδίῳ πύκα θωρηκτάων πόντῳ κεκλιμένοι ἑκὰς ἥμεθα> (Iliad 14.739–40), ἀντὶ τοῦ ὑπὸ τοῦ πόντου περιεχόμενοι.

A shortened version of this same excerpt from the Homeric Questions appears on folio 137v of E4 (ad Iliad 16.68 κεκλίατο). The full excerpt appears in two places on the Venetus B as well: folio 214v (ad Iliad 16.68 κεκλίατο) and folio 292r (ad Iliad 22.3 κεκλιμένοι, as here). The comment is part of a larger discussion of the meaning of the word κλίσις in Homer, and Iliad 22.1-4 is cited along with several other passages. The scribe of Ε4 saw that this passage in Porphyry was relevant to the opening lines of 22 (in which the Trojans rest by “leaning” on the walls), and so he copied it here. He links the excerpt from Porphyry to the text of the poem (on folio 188v) by means of a graphical sign, or siglum, which is reproduced in the appropriate place on the other folio. 

Next follow several scholia, written across the full length of the page. These too are connected to the text of the poem by means of sigla (more on which below). After these scholia, the (two) hypotheses begin, with a title written in crimson ink: ὑπόθεσϊς τῆς χι ὁμήρου ῥαψωδίας

The hypotheses are followed by more scholia, which are contained within the same text block as the hypotheses. These scholia differ from the surrounding scholia in that they have lemmata. Very significantly, both of the scholia with lemmata recorded in this text block can also be found in A in some fashion. Let’s look at them more closely. 

First, we find in crimson ink ὅν τε κύν’ὠρίωνα followed by a lengthy mythological note, whose content is attributed to Eratosthenes, the third head of the library of Alexandria (c. 235–c. 270). The following is a transcription of the note, for which I have worked closely with the image of the manuscript folio, as well as the editions of Heyne (1834) and Van Thiel (2000)
Τὸν ἀστρῶον κύνα οὕτως ἔφη. ἔνιοι δέ φασι τόνδε τὸν κατηστερισμένον κύνα, οὐκ Ὠρίωνος, ἀλλὰ Ἠριγόνης ὑπάρχειν, ὃν κατηστερισθῆναι διὰ τοιαύτην αἰτίαν. Ἱκάριος γένει μὲν ἦν Ἀθηναῖος ἔσχε δὲ θυγατέρα Ἠριγόνην, ἥτις κύνα νήπιον ἔτρεφε. ξενίσας δέ ποτε ὁ Ἱκάριος Διόνυσον, ἔλαβε παρ’ αὐτοῦ οἶνόν τε καὶ ἀμπέλου κλῆμα. κατὰ δὲ τὰς τοῦ θεοῦ ὑποθήκας, περιῄει τὴν γῆν προφαίνων τὴν τοῦ Διονύσου χάριν, ἔχων σὺν ἑαυτῷ καὶ τὸν κύνα. γενόμενος δὲ ἐντὸς τῆς πόλεως, βουκόλοις οἶνον παρέσχε. οἱ δὲ ἀθρόως ἐμφορησάμενοι, οἱ μὲν εἰς βαθὺν ὕπνον ἐτράπησαν, οἱ δὲ περιλειπόμενοι νομίσαντες  θανάσιμον εἶναι τὸ πόμα πλήσσοντες ἐφόνευον τὸν Ἱκάριον. μεθ’ ἡμέραν δὲ νηψάντων αὐτῶν καταγνόντες ἑαυτῶν εἰς φυγὴν ἐτράπησαν. ὁ δὲ κύων ὑποστρέψας πρὸς τὴν Ἠριγόνην, δι’ ὠρυγμοῦ ἐμήνυσεν αὐτῇ τὰ γενόμενα. ἡ δὲ μαθοῦσα τὸ ἀληθὲς, ἑαυτὴν ἀνήρτησε. νόσου δὲ ἐν Ἀθήναις γενομένης, κατὰ χρησμὸν Ἀθηναῖοι τόν τε Ἱκάριον καὶ τὴν Ἠριγόνην ἐνιαυσιαίαις ἐγέραιρον τιμαῖς. οἳ καὶ καταστερισθέντες, Ἱκάριος μὲν Βοώτης ἐκλήθη, Ἠριγόνη δὲ παρθένος. ὁ δὲ κύων τὴν αὐτὴν ὀνομασίαν ἔσχεν. Ἱστορεῖ Ἐρατοσθένης ἐν τοις ἑαυτοῦ καταλόγοις.

This note is also found with some variations on the Venetus A manuscript, though it is not included in Erbe’s edition of the scholia (because Erbse excludes the mythological scholia or “D” scholia from his edition). It is also found in the Venetus B, but in the later, 12th or 13th century set of scholia on that manuscript. (Hence it postdates the construction of E4.) 

A potentially very significant variation is recorded in this note on E4. What is significant about this note is not actually its content, but its lemma. The reading ὅν τε κύν’ὠρίωνα does not match the corresponding text of the poem on folio 188v of E4, nor is it found in any other manuscript, all of which read κύν’ὠρίωνος (“the dog of Orion”). In fact κύν’ὠρίωνα does not make much grammatical sense, though we could take the two accusatives, somewhat awkwardly, to be in apposition to one another (“the dog, Orion”). The Venetus Α scholia, however, record another discussion of this phrase, this one about the proper division of the words:
ὅντε κύν’ ὠρίωνος ὁ Σιδώνιος ὑφ’ ἓν ἀναγινώσκει. ἄμεινον δὲ κατὰ παράθεσιν, ὅτι οἱ κύνες πολλάκις ὀνομάζονται μετὰ τῶν κτητόρων, οἷον Κέρβερος Ἅιδου, Ὄρθρος Γηρυόνου, Ἄλκαινα Ἀκταίωνος· οὕτως κύνα Ὠρίωνος. τῷ δὲ κυνηγετικὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι καὶ πλησίον κατηστέρισαν τὸν κύνα.
“The dog of Orion”: The Sidonian reads it as one [word]. But it is better to read it as two, because dogs are often named with their owners, such as Kerberos of Hades, Orthros of Geryon, Alkaina of Aktaion; likewise the dog of Orion. Inasmuch as he was fond of hunting they also made his dog in the constellation next to him. 
Dionysius Sidonius was an Aristarchean scholar who seems to have been very familiar with the methods and scholarship of Aristarchus. (See Nagy 2009: 151–152.) In this comment he seems to be arguing for a reading, perhaps known to Aristarchus, that represents κύν’ὠρίωνος as one word. The only way that such a one-word reading could work grammatically would be if the word were in the accusative case: that is to say, something like κυνωρίωνα. Is it possible that the source from which the scribe of E4 was copying his scholia with lemmata had this other reading? Could such a reading have been corrupted by the influence of the genitive in other sources, so that instead of κυνωρίωνα we find in E4 κύν’ὠρίωνα (divided into two words)? If so, E4’s lemma here would be the sole witness to preserve what seems to be an ancient variation that was being discussed in antiquity. 

The other scholion recorded in this text block, also with a lemma in crimson ink, also has an interesting link to the A manuscript. 
Εἶσϊ τὴν ἑώαν ἀνατολὴν. ἅνεισιν ἀνατέλλει.
A version of this comment is found in several other manuscripts of Homeric so-called D scholia, including the 9th century manuscript Z (= Romanus, Bibl. Naz. Centr. Gr. 6 + Matrit. B. N. 4626), but it is not in B, T, C, or Ge. In the Venetus A, however, ανεισιν ἀνατελλει is written here in semiuncial script above εἶσιν. 
Detail from folio 282v of the Venetus A

This link is now a second indication that the scholia with lemmata in E4 are drawn from a tradition with ties to the Aristarchean scholarship that we find in the Venetus A. 

In the left margin and at the bottom of the folio, surrounding the text block containing the hypothesis and these scholia are additional scholia. These scholia, like those above the hypothesis, do not contain lemmata, and are clearly drawn from other sources. The first two of these scholia are preceded by a siglum in the outer margin, while the final three are preceded by Greek numerals (in the form of letters of the alphabet). The numbered scholia correspond to the numbered scholia in B, E3, and C. The scholia connected to the text with sigla contain material from the so-called “D” scholia. These scholia can also often found in B, but in the second, later hand of B. 

It is clear that the E4 brings together many different sources, which are used selectively and in combination. This is significant because it shows us that the Homeric scholia and other Homeric paratexts cannot be easily defined or placed in a neat stemma. Scribes clearly had a variety of sources available to choose from when constructing a manuscript. We should likewise assume that the text of the Iliad itself was collated in various ways as each manuscript was constructed.  While many scribes may have simply copied an exemplar, we know that they often compared what they were copying to other exemplars and made changes, or else recorded variations in the margins. This practice is especially clear in the Venetus A (on which see Allen 1889). In its text and scholia E4 may well preserve vestiges of the scholarly controversies of antiquity that survive nowhere else.

References cited in this post

Allen, T.W. 1899. “On the Composition of Some Greek Manuscripts: The Venetian Homer.” Journal of Philology 26: 161-181.

Allen, T. W.  1931a
--> . Homeri Ilias  I-III.  Oxford.

Dué, C., ed. 2009.  Recapturing a Homeric Legacy: Images and Insights from the Venetus A Manuscript of the Iliad. Cambridge, MA and Washington, DC.

Erbse, H., ed. 1969-1988. Scholia Graeca in Homeri Iliadem I-VII. Berlin.

Heyne, C. G., ed. 1834. Homeri Ilias cum brevi annotatione curante C.G. Heyne; accedunt scholia minora passim emendata, necnon Heraclidis Allegoriae Homericae. Oxford.

Nagy, G. 2009. “Traces of an Ancient System of Reading Homeric Verse in the Venetus A.” In Dué 2009a: 133–158.

Schrader, H., ed. 1880-1882. Porphyrii quaestionum Homericarum ad Iliadem pertinentium reliquiae. Leipzig.


  1. This post is a very interesting study about homeric texts and their interpretation! Thank you for this.
    I beg your pardon: ἀλλ’ ἐν γὰρ Τρώων πεδίῳ πύκα θωρηκτάων πόντῳ κεκλιμένοι ἑκὰς ἥμεθα is Iliad 15.739. 40, not 14.739. 40. Thank you for patience!

  2. Thanks! The error is in Schrader but I have corrected it here. - CD