Placing the Muses: Eumelus fragments 34–35 (West)*

Citation with persistent identifier:

Tsagalis, Christos. “Placing the Muses: Eumelus fragments 34–35 (West).” CHS Research Bulletin 2, no. 2 (2014).

§1 After the work of Will (1955) on the Corinthiaca, the editions by Bernabé (1987), Davies (1988), and West (2003), and the studies by West (2002) and Debiasi (2004), it seems that there is a scholarly consensus with respect to the work of Eumelus. Three poems can be safely attributed to him, the Titanomachy, the Corinthiaca, and the Europia. This master-poet of Corinth must have acquired considerable fame in the archaic period, and it is not a coincidence that much later, when a series of epic poems were incorporated into a canon of Greek epic known as the Epic Cycle, his Titanomachy was included in it. Despite the progress made so far, there are still serious questions to be answered with respect to his poetry, like some puzzling fragments attributed to him. The aim of this article is to explore the meaning, function, and placement of two of them (frr. 34–35 West) dealing with what is considered the departure point of all Greek epic: the Muses. The first one is cited by Clement of Alexandria in Stromateis 6.11.1 (fr. 16 PEG 1 = dub. 2 EGF = 34 GEF):[1]

Εὐμήλου γὰρ ποιήσαντος
Μνημοσύνης καὶ Ζηνὸς Ὀλυμπίου ἐννέα κοῦραι,
Σόλων τῆς ἐλεγείας ὧδε ἄρχεται· “Μνημοσύνης καὶ Ζηνὸς Ὀλυμπίου ἀγλαὰ τέκνα.” (fr. 13.1 IEG)

For when Eumelus wrote
of Mnemosyne and Olympian Zeus nine daughters,[2]
Solon begins his elegy thus: “Shining children of Mnemosyne and Olympian Zeus.”

Clement cites epic authors quite frequently and is considered a fairly reliable source for early Greek epic. Homer, being the most popular poet, is the source for 243 passages, 143 from the Iliad and 100 from the Odyssey.[3] Eumelus is mentioned 5 times, thrice by name (1.131.8, 6.11.1, 6.26.7) and twice as the author of the Titanomachy (Stromateis 1.73.3) and the Europia (Stromateis 1.164.3). Of the three times Eumelus is mentioned by name, in the first two (Stromateis 1.131.8, 6.11.1) the reference is deprived of a fragment amounting only to information about his floruit and type of work. Τhe third time (Stromateis 6.26.7), a verse is cited that is compared to the beginning of an elegy by Solon. The Solonian verse is also given by Crates (fr. 359.1 SH) and Stobaeus 3.9.23 as the first line of a long elegy and was also imitated by an unknown epigrammatist (Kaibel Epigrammata Graeca 1029a). By analogy, Clement’s quotation of a verse by Eumelus within the framework of a comparison with the imitation of this line by Solon, whose adaptation of Eumelus’ verse is guaranteed by other sources, makes Clement reliable as a source. It would have been unlikely for Clement to be comparing two verses, one of which is genuine, but the other is not. In all the other cases included in this section of the Stromateis there is no single example of a forgery.

§2 Contextual evidence points in the same direction. The passage at hand comes from a section of the Stromateis, in which Clement attempts to show that the Greek poets steal from one another. This section falls within Clement’s general attempt to show that Greek thought is subordinate to Jewish thought and that the Greeks in general have appropriated many Jewish ideas. To this end he has devoted a section of Book 6 of his Stromateis to the presentation of multiple examples, according to which when the Greeks do not “steal” from the Jews, they “steal” between themselves. The origins of his long catalogue of Greek poetic (mainly) passages displaying cases of direct imitation of one Greek poet by another must be sought in the Hellenistic period, when Jews began to write in Greek verse. Apart from eponymous works, such as Ezekiel’s Exagoge and Philo’s epic verses,[4] some pseudonymous compositions were circulated, in which Jews reworked authentic fragments of Greek poetry that they adapted to their own purposes by imitating classical models. These pseudonymous fragments together with genuine passages from Greek poets were assembled in collections that circulated as anthologies. Their purpose was not the survival of Greek literature, but the promotion of an apologetic[5] approach in view of which Greek culture owed a lot to Jewish thought or the two of them were in harmony. Such anthologies may have been the source of Clement’s passage in Book 6 of the Stromateis.[6]

§3 The context within which the citation is placed is that pertaining to the “borrowing” of an expression or phraseology between (mainly) two or three poets (and rarely prose authors). Within the “template” just described, Clement may well be doing two things: first, he tells us that Solon adapted a verse of Eumelus to an elegy of his,[7] and second, that Solon placed this adapted verse at the very beginning of his elegy in the manner of Eumelus. With respect to the placement of this verse at the beginning of one of Eumelus’ works, we have to admit that Clement’s phrasing is not clear. A lot depends on the function of the verse. Assuming that it is an invocation to the Muses,[8] scholars have thought that Eumelus may have started one of his epics (the Titanomachy or the Corinthiaca)[9] with the verse cited by Clement. If it is not, then it is likely that this verse comes from the Titanomachy, since it would be at home in a genealogy. The fact that this verse is quoted by Clement[10] from whom we also know that Eumelus and Acusilaus wrote on Hesiodic (here meaning “theogonic”) issues points to the Titanomachy. A decisive argument that strongly suggests this possibility is the use of the numeral (ἐννέα). Numbers are unlikely to appear in invocations. In fact the Muses are never referred to by their number in an invocation within an archaic epic proem.[11] The opposite is the case in genealogies, when the offspring of persons X and Z are mentioned by name. I would guess that what must have followed this line in Eumelus’ epic must have been something like ἐξεγένοντο. Soon after, the Muses’ names must have also been mentioned. Two lists with Hesiodic examples of Muse invocations versus genealogical references clarify the above suggestion:


  1. Χαίρετε, τέκνα Διός, δότε ἱμερόεσσαν ἀοιδήν (Theogony 104)
  2. ταῦτά μοι ἔσπετε Μοῦσαι Ὀλύμπια δώματ᾽ ἔχουσαι, / ἐξ ἀρχῆς, καὶ εἴπαθ᾽ ὅτι πρῶτον γένετ᾽ αὐτῶν (Theogony 114–115)
  3. νῦν δὲ θεάων φῦλον ἀείσατε, ἡδυέπειαι / Μοῦσαι Ὀλυμπιάδες, κοῦραι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο (Theogony 965–966)
  4. Νῦν δὲ γυναικῶν φῦλον ἀείσατε, ἡδυέπειαι / Μοῦσαι Ὀλυμπιάδες, κοῦραι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο (Theogony 1021–1022 = Gynaikōn Katalogos 1–2)
  5. Μοῦσαι Πιερίηθεν ἀοιδῆισι κλείουσαι, δεῦτε, Δί᾽ ἐννέπετε, σφέτερον πατέρ᾽ ὑμνείουσαι (Works and Days 1–2)


  1. ταῦτ᾽ ἄρα Μοῦσαι ἄειδον Ὀλύμπια δώματ᾽ ἔχουσαι, / ἐννέα θυγατέρες μεγάλου Διὸς ἐκγεγαυῖαι (Theogony 75–76)
  2. ἄλλοι δ᾽ αὖ Γαίης τε καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἐξεγένοντο / τρεῖς παῖδες μεγάλοι <τε> καὶ ὄβριμοι, οὐκ ὀνομαστοί (Theogony 147–148)
  3. αὗται μὲν Νηρῆος ἀμύμονος ἐξεγένοντο / κοῦραι πεντήκοντα, ἀμύμονα ἔργα ἰδυῖαι (Theogony 263–264)
  4. αὗται δ᾽ Ὠκεανοῦ καὶ Τηθύος ἐξεγένοντο / πρεσβύταται κοῦραι· πολλαί γε μέν εἰσι καὶ ἄλλαι / τρὶς γὰρ χίλιαί εἰσι τανίσφυροι Ὠκεανῖναι, / αἵ ῥα πολυσπερέες γαῖαν καἰ βένθεα λίμνης / πάντη ὁμῶς ἐφέπουσι, θεάων ἀγλαὰ τέκνα (Theogony 362–366)
  5. Μνημοσύνης δ᾽ ἐξαῦτις ἐράσσατο καλλικόμοιο, / ἐξ ἧς οἱ Μοῦσαι χρυσάμπυκες ἐξεγένοντο / ἐννέα, τῆισιν ἅδον θαλίαι καὶ τέρψις ἀοιδῆς (Theogony 915–917)

Whereas in the invocation list the number of the Muses in never mentioned, in the genealogy list there is always a numerical designation of the Muses or other deities.

§4 Before we turn our attention to Eumelus fr. 35 (GEF), we should briefly discuss the authenticity of the verse cited in fr. 34 (GEF), the more so since it has been argued that the attribution to Eumelus is spurious. Wilisch[12] thought that Eumelus’ verse is a standard opening for an epic poem and is at odds with the Europia fragment, in which there are three Muses, daughters of Apollo.[13] Wilisch also claimed that it is too much to accept a different number, parentage, and names for the Muses in two different works of the same author. This is also the sole time that Clement would quote a fragment of Eumelus without explicitly mentioning the work the citation belongs to (cf. ὁ τὴν Τιτανομαχίαν γράψας, ὁ τὴν Εὐρωπίαν ποιήσας).

§5 As far as Wilisch’s first argument is concerned, it is always important to keep in mind that Eumelus may have referred to two separate groups of Muses in two different works of his (the Titanomachy and the Europia), in the manner of Alcman[14] and Mimnermus,[15] who distinguished between the older Muses, daughters of Ouranos and Gaia, and the younger ones, daughters of Zeus. With respect to the second argument concerning the citation policy of Clement, the use of the poet’s name instead of a title-based citation reference of the type ὁ τὴν Τιτανομαχίαν γράψας or ὁ τὴν Εὐρωπίαν ποιήσας is context-determined. The same kind of policy is followed in a fair number of citations in the list he offers in Stromateis 6.5.3–14.8. His aim is here to juxtapose authors, not works. Quoting them by their names is, therefore, crucial.

§6 The second fragment I would like now to turn my attention to is another Eumelian fragment (fr. 35 GEF), which is quoted by Σ Tzetz. in Hesiod Works and Days p. 23 Gaisford (= cod. barocc. 133v apud Cramer, Anecdota Oxoniensia 4.423–424).[16]

ἀλλ᾽ Εὔμηλος μὲν ὁ Κορίνθιος τρεῖς φησιν εἶναι Μούσας θυγατέρας Ἀπόλλωνος· Κηφισοῦν, Ἀπολλωνίδα, Βορυσθενίδα.

2  Ἀχελωΐδα Hermann, Fowler:[17] Ἀσωπίδα West

But Eumelus of Corinth says there are three Muses, daughters of Apollo: Cephiso, Apollonis, and Borysthenis.

The reference to the Muses is often associated with an epic proem, where a single (e.g. Iliad and Odyssey) or collective (e.g. Theogony, Works and Days, Gynaikōn Katalogos) invocation is to be expected.[18] On the other hand, the numbering of the Muses is never employed in an invocation within the framework of an archaic epic proem. A genealogy is much more likely to have been the right context. A closer look, though, at the context of the citation may be helpful:

ἐννέα εἰσὶν αἱ Μοῦσαι, ὅτι τετράγωνος καὶ στερεὸς ὁ ἐννέα ἐστὶν ἀριθμός. τοιαῦται δὲ καὶ αἱ γνώσεις, διότι ὁ ἐννέα πολλάκις πολλά ἐστιν … ἀλλ᾽ Εὔμηλος μὲν ὁ Κορίνθιος (fr. 35 GEF) τρεῖς φησιν εἶναι Μούσας θυγατέρας Ἀπόλλωνος· Κηφισοῦν, Ἀπολλωνίδα, Βορυσθενίδα. Ἄρατος δὲ ἐν τῆι πέμπτηι τῶν Ἀστρικῶν (fr. 87 SH) τέσσαρας λέγει, Διὸς {τοῦ Αἰθέρος} καὶ Πλουσίας νύμφης· Ἀρχήν, Μελέτην, Θελξινόην καὶ Ἀοιδήν. τινὲς δὲ πέντε αὐτὰς εἶναι φασὶ καὶ ὀνόματα ἔχειν τῶν πέντε αἰσθήσεων. Ἐπίχαρμος δὲ ἐν τῶι τῆς Ἥρας γάμωι (fr. 39 PCG) ἑπτὰ λέγει θυγατέρας Πιέρου καὶ Πιμπληΐδος νύμφης· Νειλοῦν, Τριτώνην, Ἀσωποῦν, Ἑπταπόρην, Ἀχελωΐδα, Τιτόπλουν καὶ Ῥοδίαν. παρὰ δὲ Ἡσιόδωι ἐν Θεογονίαι (915–917) ἐννέα λέγεται εἶναι. Κλειώ, Θάλεια, Εὐτέρπη, Τερψιχόρη, Ἐρατώ, Πολύμνια, Μελπομένη, Οὐρανία καὶ Καλλιόπη. καὶ αἱ μὲν τρεῖς εὗρον τοὺς μουσικοὺς τρεῖς τόνους.

7 Πιμπλιάδος An. Ox. || 8 Τριτώνην codd.: -ίδα Kaibel | Ἑπταπόρην (= An. Ox.) sive -πόλην codd.: Ἑπτάποριν Kaibel | Τιτόπλουν (= An. Ox.) sive Τιπόπ- codd.: Πακτωλοῦν Hermann: Ἐνιποῦν Lobeck: Ἁλιακμοῦν Maass: Τιτωποῦν Bergk: Τιτωνοῦν Kaibel

The Muses are nine because the number nine is squared and solid. Such are its meanings, since nine is often many things … But Eumelus of Corinth says that there are three Muses, daughters of Apollo: Cephiso, Apollonis, Borysthenis. Aratus in Book 5 of the Astronomica says they are four, daughters of Zeus (the Aether) and the nymph Plousia: Arche, Melete, Thelxinoe, and Aoide. Some claim that they are five and that they have the names of the five senses. Epicharmus says that they are seven in number, daughters of Pierus and the nymph Pimpleias: Neilo, Tritone, Asopo, Heptapore, Achelois, Titoplous, and Rhodia. And in Hesiod in the Theogony they are nine: Cleio, Thaleia, Euterpe, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Melpomene, Ourania, and Calliope. And three of them (scil. the Muses) invented the three musical tones.

Tzetzes’ scholium on Hesiod Works and Days 1 overtly confirms the thesis presented above: neither the number nor the names of the Muses are attested in an invocation to them within an archaic epic proem.[19] Even the examples quoted by Tzetzes from Epicharmus and Aratus abide by the same rule.[20]

§7 If then, the three Muses, daughters of Apollo, were not mentioned in the proem, in what part of the Europia would they have featured? One scenario is, in my view, the context provided by fr. 29 GEF (= 10 PEG 1 = Corinthiaca 7 EGF), in which we are told that in the Europia the Asopid Sinope was abducted by Apollo and transferred to the Pontus. In this light, it is possible that Eumelus may have dealt in some detail with the Asopids. If this was the case, then the reference to Sinope’s abduction by Apollo would have offered him a good opportunity to talk about Apollo’s presence in the northern and southern part of the Black Sea region (Borysthenes and Sinope respectively), while the Hyria and Cephisos pair would have functioned as the starting point of this reference, since both the city and the river are placed in Boeotia. It is perhaps to be noted that we possess solid evidence that Borysthenis and Sinope did appear together at least in one passage discussing climate in connection to geographical location:

Strabo 2.1.16:

ὅπου οὖν οὐδὲ τοῖς ἐν Βοσπόρῳ συγκριτέον τὰ ἐν τοῖς διαριθμηθεῖσι τόποις, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ τοῖς ἐν Ἀμισῷ καὶ Σινώπῃ (καὶ γὰρ ἐκείνων εὐκρατοτέρους ἂν εἴποι τις), σχολῇ γ’ ἂν παραβάλλοιντο τοῖς κατὰ Βορυσθένη καὶ τοῖς ἐσχάτοις Κελτοῖς. μόλις γὰρ ἂν ταυτοκλινεῖς εἶεν τοῖς κατ’ Ἀμισὸν καὶ Σινώπην καὶ Βυζάντιον καὶ Μασσαλίαν, οἳ τοῦ Βορυσθένους καὶ τῶν Κελτῶν ὡμολόγηνται νοτιώτεροι σταδίοις τρισχιλίοις καὶ ἑπτακοσίοις.

Since, therefore, the climactic conditions in the Asiatic regions that I have enumerated are not to be compared even with those at the Bosporus, nay, not even with those at Amisos and Sinope (which places one would call milder in climate than the regions at the Bosporus), those Asiatic regions could hardly be thrown on the same parallel with those about Borysthenes and with the country of the northernmost Celts. In fact, the Asiatic regions could hardly be in the same latitude as the regions about Amisos, Sinope, Byzantium, and Massilia, which are conceded to be thirty-seven hundred stadia farther south than the Borysthenes and the Celts (translation by J.R. Sitlington Sterrett, vol. I, p. 277 LOEB Classical Library).

Another alternative would have been that the Muses, as daughters of Apollo the god of music, would have been related to festivities and merry-making. Such a context may have been provided by a banquet or wedding in which Apollo would have been invited. In an epic featuring the tale of Europa, the famous wedding of Harmonia in which all the gods were invited seems to offer the necessary framework for the inclusion of such a scene. This scenario gains some further plausibility on the basis of the fact that, within the framework of the entire scholium of Tzetzes, the reference to Eumelus’ three Apolline Muses is coupled with the reference to Epicharmus’ seven Muses in the wedding of Hebe, in which the daughters of Pierus and the nymph Pimplias were invited. The comparison with Epicharmus may be quite crucial with respect to this problem, the more so since the awkward names used both for Epicharmus’ seven and Eumelus’ three Muses must have attracted the attention of some author interested in divine names and their etymologies. This author may well have been Apollodorus the Athenian, who treated such matters in his work On Gods (Περὶ θεῶν). In fact, we have at least one other example from this Apollodorus in which he compares the versions offered by Epicharmus and the poet of the Meropis with respect to the provenance of the name Pallas (Παλλάς) for the goddess Athena (P.Köln III 126 [= P.Colon. inv. 5604]).[21] The etymology of Μούσας from ὁμοῦ οὔσας that Epicharmus employed (apud Serv. ad Aen. 1.8: has Musas Siculus Epicharmus non multas, sed ὁμουνούσας dicit) also points to the same source. It is, therefore, possible that Tzetzes’ scholium ultimately goes back to Apollodorus’ work, as Maass has suggested.[22]

§8 There is also a third scenario that was proposed by Hermann almost 200 years ago.[23] Like Maass, Hermann highlighted the fact that among the ancient authors mentioned in Tzetzes’ scholium with respect to the names and number of the Muses only Epicharmus’ and Eumelus’ Muses used river names. But before we turn to this issue, it is imperative to discuss Hermann’s famous emendation of the manuscript reading Ἀπολλωνίδα on the grounds that (a) of the three Muses only the name Apollonis is not based on a river and can hardly point to a specific entity, and (b) it is nonsensical to say that “Apollo had three daughters (the Muses) whose names were Cephiso, daughter of Apollo, and Borysthenis.” Hermann suggested that we should read Ἀχελωΐδα, an emendation that caters effectively for both problems connected to the transmitted reading Ἀπολλωνίδα.[24] There is a lot to support Hermann’s emendation. It is quite possible that we have a corruption that has been caused by the combination of two elements “a mechanical error, arising from the literal similarity of two words, and a mental error, the writer’s thought staying to some word suggested by the context.”[25] In this case, corruption would be due not only to similarity of the two words, but also to the name Apollo in the vicinity. That Ἀχελωΐδα could well feature in such a context is rendered extremely probable by the fact that it is mentioned, again in the accusative, in Epicharmus’ list of seven Muses that follows a couple of lines below. To keep things straight, though, we must say that it is on the same grounds that West, without excluding Hermann’s emendation, has suggested Ἀσωπίδα that is also mentioned in the accusative in the list of Epicharmus’ Muses.[26] This time, though, the transmitted form is not Ἀσωπίδα but the Ionic type Ἀσωποῦν.[27]

§9 Having discussed Hermann’s emendation, we can now return to the core of his suggestion pertaining to the poetic function of Eumelus’ reference to the three Muses daughters of Apollo under the names of Cephiso, Achelois, and Borysthenis. Let us begin with Achelois and its exact meaning and role within the context of such a reference. The following passage by Pausanias (10.8.9–10) is of utmost importance to this issue:

Πανύασσις δὲ ὁ Πολυάρχου πεποιηκὼς ἐς Ἡρακλέα ἔπη θυγατέρα Ἀχελῴου τὴν Κασταλίαν φησὶν εἶναι. λέγει γὰρ δὴ περὶ τοῦ Ἡρακλέους·[28]

Παρνησσὸν νιφόεντα θοοῖς διὰ ποσσὶ περήσας
ἵκετο Κασταλίης Ἀχελωΐδος ἄμβροτον ὕδωρ.

ἤκουσα δὲ καὶ ἄλλο τοιόνδε, τὸ ὕδωρ τῇ Κασταλίᾳ ποταμοῦ δῶρον εἶναι τοῦ Κηφισοῦ. τοῦτο ἐποίησε καὶ Ἀλκαῖος ἐν προοιμίῳ τῷ ἐς Ἀπόλλωνα· βεβαιοῦνται δὲ οὐχ ἥκιστα οἱ Λιλαιεῖς, οἳ ἐς τοῦ Κηφισοῦ τὴν πηγὴν πέμματα ἐπιχώρια καὶ ἄλλα ὁπόσα νομίζουσιν ἀφιᾶσιν ἔν τισιν εἰρημέναις ἡμέραις, καὶ αὖθις ἐν τῇ Κασταλίᾳ φασὶν αὐτὰ ἀναφαίνεσθαι.

Panyassis, the son of Polyarchus, who has composed epic verses on Heracles says that Castalia is the daughter of Acheloos; for he says with respect to Heracles: 

Having crossed on his swift feet snowy Parnassos
he reached the ambrosial water of Castalia, daughter of Acheloos.

I have heard another account, that the water was a gift to Castalia by the river Cephisos. This version has been told by Alcaeus (fr. 307c Voigt) in the proem of his poem to Apollo. The Lilaeans confirm it strongly, who throw on certain specific days cakes made in this region and other things they ordained by use, and they say that these things show up again in Castalia.

Panyassis’ couplet from his Heraclea makes the spring Castalia in Delphi a daughter of the Acheloos. This piece of information becomes all the more fascinating if we consider the possibility that this is not the river Acheloos but an alternative name for the Oceanus (also considered to be a river by the Greeks),[29] as it is the case with another fragment of Panyassis.[30] There is also another account with respect to the spring Castalia that is not restricted to a local source, since it is also attested in Alcaeus.[31] This means that it goes back to a period preceding the composition of the Europia and, therefore, possibly known to Eumelus. According to this version, the Phocian/Boeotian Cephisos is associated with Apollo, since the river has given to the spring Castalia its water as a gift. The fact that Castalia and Cephisos are singled out as rejoicing for the return of Apollo from the land of the Hyperboreans[32] indicates that the river Cephisos and the spring Castalia may have constituted a pair of interrelated watery elements representing one part of Apollo’s annual “life cycle.” This line of thought ties in well with Eumelus’ identification of the third Muse by the name Borysthenis. Let us not forget that there are multiple cultural and political links between the neighboring regions of Phocis and Boeotia that have no doubt facilitated this kind of connection. Mount Parnassos and the river Cephisos constitute two landmarks around which the Greeks created an entire nexus of associations pertaining to the relevant geographical areas. As for the northern location of the river Borysthenes, we can easily postulate that it must have delineated the god’s winter sojourn.

§10 Whether the Cephisos related to the Castalia spring is the Boeotian or the Phocaean Cephisos (Eumelus may have thought that it is the Sicyonian one flowing under the Corinthian Gulf and resurfacing in Phocis),[33] the conclusion is unmistakable: there was a link between one Cephisos and the spring Castalia, which is—of course—closely associated with Apollo’s Delphic oracle. In this light, the name Achelois may be pointing to the spring Castalia, with Acheloos meaning Oceanus, as in Panyassis, since all rivers are the sons of Oceanus and Tethys (Hesiod Theogony 337–345).[34] We can now suggest a possible explanation for Eumelus’ selection of river names for the three Muses as daughters of Apollo. The key point here is that the daughters’ names are interwoven with their father’s annual life-cycle.[35] Both Epicharmus and Eumelus’ lists of Muses were accomodated to the genres of comedy and epic respectively, and both Muses’ names and parentage were in agreement with the poem’s plotline. All said and done, the last scenario renders it possible that the three Muses, daughters of Apollo in Eumelus’ Europia, were associated with the watery element and must have been linked to their father’s annual life-cycle. In this light, it is tempting to suggest an alternative placement of this reference within the epic’s plotline, according to which the reference to Apollo and his three daughters, among whom there is one connected to Delphi, may have been placed in the context of fr. 28 GEF (apud Clement Stromateis 1.164.3):[36]

ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ τὴν Εὐρωπίαν ποιήσας ἱστορεῖ τὸ ἐν Δελφοῖς ἄγαλμα Ἀπόλλωνος κίονα εἶναι διὰ τῶνδε·

ὄφρα θεῶι δεκάτην ἀκροθίνιά τε κρεμάσαιμεν
σταθμῶν ἐκ ζαθέων καὶ κίονος ὑψηλοῖο.

The author of the Europia, too [scil. like the author of the Phoronis],[37] records that Apollo’s statue at Delphi was a pillar, by these verses:

In order to hang up for the god a tithe and first offerings
from his holy standing-posts and tall pillar.

§11 I hope that this presentation has shed some light on two fragments of uncertain placement within the corpus of Eumelian poetry. Given the paucity of the material available, the inherent problems pertaining to the edition and interpretation of Greek epic fragments, and various caveats stemming from issues of transmission, I have tried to be as attentive as possible, opting for suggestions based on balance and analogy. If my method has something to recommend it, I dare say, it is that it is holistic, i.e. it attempts to take into consideration as many aspects of the information that is available to us and formulate only scenarios that make sense, hypotheses based on clear and unprejudiced reasoning. This is perhaps a legitimate way to avoid both the Scylla of ignorance and the Charybdis of “know-it-all.” In the words of Gottfried Hermann:[38]

Est quaedam etiam nesciendi ars et scientia. Nam si turpe est nescire, quae possunt sciri, non minus turpe est, scire se putare, quae sciri nequeunt.


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* I would like to thank Malcolm Davies for reading this piece. I am grateful to him for all his suggestions and improvements. I also thank Professors Richard Martin, Gregory Nagy, and Anthony Snodgrass for their comments.

[1] PEG 1 = Poetae Epici Graeci, pars prior, ed. A. Bernabé; EGF Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. M. Davies; GEF Greek Epic Fragments, ed. M. L. West.

[2] For this translation, see the analysis below.

[3] See van den Hoek 1996:231 (numbers based on Stählin’s index in GCS).

[4] On Clement’s use of Philo in the Stromateis, see van den Hoek 1988.

[5] See Zeegers-vander Vorst 1972:31–44.

[6] See Charlesworth 1983:821.

[7] On metaphrasis, see Kassel 1981:11–18.

[8] This is a typical way for starting a poem; see e.g. Hesiod Theogony 1; Plato Euthydemus 275d.

[9] See West 2002:128n98. The Europia has to be excluded, since there Eumelus refers to the three Muses, daughters of Apollo, with the rather exotic names Cephiso, Achelois, and Borysthenis (fr. 17 PEG 1 incertae operis = 2 dub. EGF = 35 GEF incertae sedis). It is unlikely that Eumelus would have given two different numbers for the Muses in the same poem; on this point, see Marckscheffel 1840:239, who follows Hermann 1827:301.

[10] Stromateis 6.26.7.

[11] For a much later (and quite rare) attestation of an invocation to the Muses in an epic proem containing a reference to their number, see Naevius Bellum Punicum fr. 1: novem Iovis concordes filias sorores.

[12] Wilisch 1875:39. Wilisch’s arguments are in line with the views of those who think that typical phraseology pertaining to a cult ἐπίκλησις has become crystallized through oral performance; see Kranz 1967:30; see also Noussia-Fantuzzi 2010:140, who points to Hymni Orphici 76.1–2 (Μνημοσύνης καὶ Ζηνὸς ἐριγδούποιο θύγατρες / Μοῦσαι Πιερίδες) and IG XII 7.95 starting off with a verse identical to the initial one in Solon’s elegy to the Muses. On the Muses’ number and/or parentage, see Hesiod Theogony 52–54, 915–917; Homeric Hymn to Hermes (4) 429–430; Alcman PMGF frr. 8.9, 28; PMG 941 = Terpander fr. ͦ8 (Gostoli); Pindar Isthmian 6.74–75, Pae. 6.54–58; Plato Theaetetus 191d; Crates 359.1 SH; Lyrica Adespota fr. 20.1–3 (p. 191 CA); [Apollodorus] Bibliotheca 1.2.3; [Plutarch] De musica 1132a; Hymni Orphici 76.1–2, 77.1–2; AP 7.8.5–6 (= Antipater, HE 232–233). On this topic, see Noussia-Fantuzzi 2010:140; Vergados 2013:510 on 429–430.

[13] On the number and parentage of Muses, see Mayer RE 16:688–691; on non-canonical numbers of Muses, see Fowler 2013:79–80.

[14] PMGF 5 fr. 2 col. ii, 28–29; see also Alcman PMGF 67 (apud Diodorus Siculus 4.7.1: περὶ δὲ τῶν Μουσῶν ἐπειδήπερ ἐμνήσθημεν ἐν ταῖς τοῦ Διονύσου πράξεσιν, οἰκεῖον ἂν εἴη διελθεῖν ἐν κεφαλαίοις. ταύτας γὰρ οἱ πλεῖστοι τῶν μυθογράφων καὶ μάλιστα δεδοκιμασμένοι φασὶ θυγατέρας εἶναι Διὸς καὶ Μνημοσύνης. ὀλίγοι δὲ τῶν ποιητῶν, ἐν οἷς ἔστι καὶ Ἀλκμάν, θυγατέρας ἀποφαίνονται Οὐρανοῦ καὶ Γῆς) and PMGF 68 (apud Σ in Pindar’s Nemean 3.16b [3.43 Drachmann]: ὁ μὲν Ἀρίσταρχος Οὐρανοῦ θυγατέρα τὴν Μοῦσαν δέδεκται καθάπερ Μίμνερμος [fr. 13 IEG] καὶ Ἀλκμὰν ἱστοροῦσι].

[15] Fr. 13 IEG (apud Pausanias 9.29.4: Μίμνερμος δέ, ἐλεγεῖα ἐς τὴν μάχην ποιήσας τὴν Σμυρναίων πρὸς Γύγην τε καὶ Λυδούς, φησὶν ἐν τῷ προοιμίῳ θυγατέρας Οὐρανοῦ τὰς ἀρχαιοτέρας Μούσας, τούτων δὲ ἄλλας νεωτέρας εἶναι Διὸς παῖδας).

[16] Fr. 17 PEG 1 = dub. 2 EGF = 35 GEF.

[17] See Fowler 2013:79–80.

[18] On how Greek and Roman epics begin, see Romeo 1985; solely on Greek proems, see Race 1992:13–38; on proems in archaic Greek epic, see Lenz 1980.

[19] Only their mother Mnemosyne is mentioned by name in a proem; see Plato Euthydemus 275d. See also e.g. Solon 13.1 IEG: Μνημοσύνης καὶ Ζηνὸς Ὀλυμπίου ἀγλαὰ τέκνα (shining children of Mnemosyne and Olympian Zeus).

[20] On the different number of Muses (three, four, five, seven, eight, and—of course—nine), see RE 16, s.v. ‘Musai’, cols. 688–691 (Mayer).

[21] See SH 903; in a later publication Lloyd-Jones (1984:141–149 = 21–29) changed his mind and accepted the opinion of those scholars who dated the Meropis to the archaic period; see Henrichs 1975:23, 1977a:124–125, 1977b:69; Führer 1977:42; Sherwin-White 1978:48n96; Kramer 1980:24–25; Bernabé PEG 1:131–135.

[22] Maass 1892:214.

[23]  Hermann 1827:302–303.

[24] See Hermann 1827:300–301He has been followed by Marckscheffel 1840:239.

[25] Fraenkel 1950:655n1; see also Davies 1991b:156–157 on Soph. Trach. 555–556.

[26] West 2002:128; 2003:251n27.

[27] On the formation of accusatives in –ουν for feminine nouns in –ω (e.g. Ἰοῦν, Λητοῦν, Μητροῦν, Σαπφοῦν etc.), see Headlam 1922:106 on 2.98.

[28] Heracleia fr. 2 PEG 1 = 15 EGF = 2 GEF = 15 Matthews.

[29] See Hilpert-Greger 1996:72. On ancient testimonia designating Acheloos as ‘water’ par excellence or as the oldest Greek river, see the apparatus fontium in Σ Hom. Il., vol. V, pp. 166–167 (Erbse).

[30] Heracleia fr. 31 PEG 1 = dub. 3 EGF = 13 GEF = 28 Matthews (apud ‘Ammonius’ in Iliad 21.295 [P.Oxy. 221 ix 8; v. 93 Erbse]): [Σέ]λευκος δὲ <τὸν αὐτὸν Ὠκεανῶι τὸν Ἀχελῶιον εἶναι Πανύασσιν ἀποφαίνει λέγοντα> ἐν ε´ [Ἡρ]ακλείας· “πῶ̣[ς] δ᾽ ἐπορ[εύθ]η̣ς ῥεῦμ᾽ Ἀ[χ]ε̣λ̣[ω]ΐου ἀργυ[ρο]δίνα, / Ὠκεανοῦ ποταμοῖ̣ο̣ [δι᾽] εὐρέος ὑγ[ρ]ὰ κέλευθ̣α;” (‘Seleucus in the fifth book of his Heracleia shows that Panyassis says that Acheloos is the same with Oceanus: “And did you cross the stream of silver-swirling Acheloos, through the watery ways of the broad river Oceanus?”’); see also Eustathius Commentarii ad Homeri Iliadem pertinentes 1367.60–63 (vol. 4, van der Valk).

[31] See the following note.

[32] See Alcaeus fr. 307c Voigt (apud Him. Or. 48.10 lines 5–31): ἐθέλω δὲ ὑμῖν καὶ Ἀλκαίου τινὰ λόγον εἰπεῖν, ὃν ἐκεῖνος ᾖσεν ἐν μέλεσι παιᾶνα γράφων Ἀπόλλωνι. ἐρῶ δὲ ὑμῖν οὐ κατὰ τὰ μέλη τὰ Λέσβια, ἐπεὶ μηδὲ ποιητικός τις ἐγώ, ἀλλὰ τὸ μέτρον αὐτὸ λύσας εἰς λόγον τῆς λύρας. ὅτε Ἀπόλλων ἐγένετο, κοσμήσας αὐτὸν ὁ Ζεὺς μίτρᾳ τε χρυσῇ καὶ λύρᾳ, δούς τε ἐπὶ τούτοις ἅρμα ἐλαύνειν – κύκνοι δὲ ἦσαν τὸ ἅρμα – εἰς Δελφοὺς πέμπει <καὶ> Κασταλίας νάματα, ἐκεῖθεν προφητεύοντα δίκην καὶ θέμιν τοῖς Ἕλλησιν. ὁ δὲ ἐπιβὰς ἐπὶ τῶν ἁρμάτων ἐφῆκε τοὺς κύκνους ἐς Ὑπερβορέους πέτεσθαι. Δελφοὶ μὲν οὖν, ὡς ᾔσθοντο, παιᾶνα συνθέντες καὶ μέλος, καὶ χοροὺς ἠιθέων περὶ τὸν τρίποδα στήσαντες, ἐκάλουν τὸν θεὸν ἐξ Ὑπερβορέων ἐλθεῖν· ὁ δὲ ἔτος ὅλον παρὰ τοῖς ἐκεῖ θεμιστεύσας ἀνθρώποις, ἐπειδὴ καιρὸν ἐνομοθέτει καὶ τοὺς Δελφικοὺς ἠχῆσαι τρίποδας, αὖθις κελεύει τοῖς κύκνοις ἐξ Ὑπερβορέων ἀφίπτασθαι. ἦν μὲν οὖν θέρος καὶ τοῦ θέρους τὸ μέσον αὐτό, ὅτε ἐξ Ὑπερβορέων Ἀλκαῖος ἄγει τὸν Ἀπόλλωνα· ὅθεν δὴ θέρους ἐκλάμποντος καὶ ἐπιδημοῦντος Ἀπόλλωνος θερινόν τι καὶ ἡ λύρα περὶ τὸν θεὸν ἁβρύνεται. ᾄδουσι μὲν ἀηδόνες αὐτῷ ὁποῖον εἰκὸς ᾆσαι παρ’ Ἀλκαίῳ τὰς ὄρνιθας· ᾄδουσι δὲ καὶ χελιδόνες καὶ τέττιγες, οὐ τὴν ἑαυτῶν τύχην τὴν ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἀγγέλλουσαι, ἀλλὰ πάντα τὰ μέλη κατὰ θεοῦ φθεγγόμεναι· ῥεῖ καὶ ἀργυροῖς ἡ Κασταλία κατὰ ποίησιν νάμασι, καὶ Κηφισὸς μέγας αἴρεται πορφύρων τοῖς κύμασι, τὸν Ἐνιπέα τοῦ Ὁμήρου μιμούμενος. βιάζεται μὲν γὰρ Ἀλκαῖος ὁμοίως Ὁμήρῳ ποιῆσαι καὶ ὕδωρ θεῶν ἐπιδημίαν αἰσθέσθαι δυνάμενον.

[33] See Eustathius Commentarii ad Homeri Iliadem pertinentes 275.18–19. (vol. 1, van der Valk): ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἄλλος Κηφισσὸς διὰ Φωκέων ῥέων, φασί, καὶ ἐμβάλλων εἰς τὸν Κορινθιακὸν κόλπον; Σ in Pind. Pae. 6.7a (apud P.Oxy. 841): ἐπεὶ διὰ χαλκῶν λεοντο̣χα[σμα]τίων ῥεῖ εἰς αὐτὴν (τὴν Κασταλίαν) ὁ Κηφισός. On Cephisos flowing into Lake Copais, see Iliad 2.522; Pindar Pythian 4.46.

[34] On Achelois meaning ‘daughter of Acheloos’, see Eustathius Commentarii ad Homeri Iliadem pertinentes 938-9.67–69 (vol. 3, van der Valk).

[35] There is a well-known principle of naming children after a parent’s qualities or experiences; see e.g. Neoptolemus and Telemachus in Homer or Manto in the cyclic Epigonoi.

[36] = Fr. 12 PEG 1 = 2 EGF.

[37] See Phoronis fr. 4 PEG 1 = 3 EGF = 4 GEF.

[38] 1827:288.