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Verhasselt, Gertjan and Mayhew, Robert (11. November 2021): Porphyry and ancient scholarship on Iliad 10.252-253: Edition, translation and discussion. In: Trends in Classics, Vol. 13, No. 2: pp. 437-500 [PDF, 1MB]

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In Iliad 10, Odysseus claims that ‘more night has passed | than two parts, but still a third part remains’ (252-253). This gave rise to a Homeric problem, which received a great deal of attention from ancient scholars: If more than two parts of the night have passed, how can a third part remain? The main source for a variety of solutions to it is a lengthy discussion written along the perimeter of three pages of Venetus B, an important manuscript of the Iliad. The source of this text is almost certainly Porphyry’s Homeric Questions. Porphyry presents six different solutions, including those of Apion, Chrysippus and Aristotle (this last a fragment from his lost Homeric Problems), as well as a discussion of Odysseus as astronomer. The present paper includes: a critical edition of this text based on a fresh inspection of the manuscript, yielding new readings; an English translation; notes to the text; and an interpretive essay. The paper demonstrates the limitations of earlier editors of the text, and the hope is that it will serve as an example of how properly to approach and present the fragments of Porphyry’s Homeric Questions. It also turns out that, for quotations from the Iliad and Odyssey, Porphyry often does not provide the text attributed to him in the recent Homer editions of West.

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