SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

J.E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship, Vol. I, Chapter 2:

The Study of Epic Poetry

Homer and the Rhapsodes – Solon

“The earliest poems of Greece supplied the Greeks with their earliest themes for study, for exegesis, and for Homer and literary criticism. From about 600 B.C. we have definite proof of the recitation of the Homeric poems by rhapsodes in many parts of the Greek world, — at Chios, at Delos, at Cyprus, at Syracuse, at Sicyon, and in Attica. The recitations in Attica were probably connected with the festivals of Dionysus at Athens and with a similar festival at Brauron; and, by an ordinance of Solon, the date of whose archonship is 594 B.C., the rhapsodes were required to recite consecutive portions of the Homeric poems, instead of selecting isolated passages. The effect of this ordinance would be not merely to cause the competition to be…

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