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American Philological Association Eratosthenes' Erigone: A Reconstruction Author(s): Friedrich Solmsen Source:

American Philological Association

Eratosthenes' Erigone: A Reconstruction Author(s): Friedrich Solmsen

Source: Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 78 (1947),

pp. 252-275

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

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XX.-Eratosthenes'Erigone:A Reconstruction





The storyof Icariusand Erigonewhichwe read in Nonnus' Dionysiaca in- cludes some featureswhich go back to Eratosthenes'famous poem. These featuresthrowlighton Eratosthenes'Platonism,on his interestin star-myths and in folklore,and on his attitudeto Callimachus. In touchingon the origin of Attic tragedyEratosthenesendorsesa view which while at variance with Aristotle'saccount agreeswith the opinionswhichprevailedamong Hellenistic scholars,critics,and poets.

In an earliervolumeofthese TransactionsI discusseda passage in lamblichus'whichthrowsa good deal oflighton thephilosophical and religiousbeliefsof Eratosthenes. In fact, the passage is a unique testimonyforhis views regardingthe originof the soul and its existencepriorto incorporationin a body. Like Plato in the Timaeus,2Eratosthenesbelievedthat theoriginalabode ofthesouls is the stars or, to put it cautiously,the regionof the stars,whence the souls come downto earthto inhabitbodies; likehisgreatfellow scientistHipparchusof Nicaea, he held animas nostraspartemesse caeli.3 If suchwerehis viewsone can hardlyavoid wonderingwhat connectiontherewas between his belief in a celestial home and originof our souls and his interestin Katasterismoi. For although the attemptsto reconstructhis own work on Katasterismoihave fallenshortof success4it would certainlybe excessivescepticismif

1 Stob. 1.49.39 (378.1 ff.Wachsmuth). Cf. my paper in TAPhA 73 (1942) 192 ff., esp. 201-205. 2 Tim. 41D ff.

3 Plin. NH 2.95.

4For the history of these attempts, among which Carl Robert's Eratosthenis Catasterismorum Reliqiuae (Berlin, 1878) stands out as the most comprehensive, see Georg Knaack, RE s.v. "Eratosthenes," 378 ff. A sceptic might question the authen- ticity of every work or part of a work of the kind that has come down under Eratos- thenes' name or is attributed to him in ancient authorities (including Suidas s.v.

'EparoaOdE'vswhere KaToaT7p,qIptyIobs is commonly changed to KraarrEpLrAgovs), and yet the obvious explanation of the prestige which he enjoys among writers on katasterismoi would be that he had done important work in this field. An alternative explanation would be that he owed his authoritative position to the catasterisms - and pseudo-

catasterisms -

probably wiser to regard the katasterismoi in the poems and the references to Eratos-

thenes in the mythographical literature as pointing to one and the same fact, to wit. his authorship of an important collection.

see p. 255 -

that were included in his Hermes and Erigone, yet it is

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we were to regardhis authoritativepositionin this fieldas having sprungentirelyfromfictitiousattributions. In the paper to whichI have referredI asked what connection mightbe foundbetweenEratosthenes'Platonicbeliefsand hisstudy of Katasterismoi,but could not overcomecertaindifficultieswhich centerin the fact that in Katasterismoiit is not the soul whichis transferredto the sky but rathera personof such and such shape or an animal or even an inanimateobject (e.g., theLyre,the Crown ofAriadne,Argo,theArrow).5 There seemedto be littlehope that thesedifficultiesmightbe resolvedand that it would be possibleto establish a closer and clearer connectionbetween Eratosthenes' labors on Katasterismoiand his beliefin the celestialoriginof the soul. And yet lightfinallycomes froma source to whichone would not readily turn. The Dionysiaca of Nonnus includes in its last book but one the storyof Icarius, the peasant of Icaria to whom Dionysus entrustedthe task of introducingthe vine to Attica.6 In the pursuitof this mission Icarius is slain by his ungrateful countrymen;Erigone, his daughter, decides not to survive her father,and the faithfuldog that has helpedherto findherfather's body dies fromexhaustionunder the tree on which Erigone has hanged herself. Father Zeus, however,takes pity on them and assignsto all three,man, maiden,and dog, a place among the con- stellations. This final episode is reportedby Nonnus in verses whichraise special problemsand requirea wordof explanation. Substantiallythe same storywas treatedby Eratosthenesin his Erigone,thelittlemasterpiecewhichbecause ofitsflawlesstechnique receivesfrom"Longinus" the dubious complimentof a &a iia-vTop

aAwli?yrtop 7ro077,aTnop.7 Scholars who have given theirattentionto

the reconstructionof

this poem8are convinced that the Erigone

I Cf. my paper (cited in note 1) 204 f. and note 61. 6 Dion. 47.34-264. Dionysus arrives from Thebes where he has brought about the catastrophe of Pentheus (books 44-46). The boisterous welcome which the

point of

Athenians give the god (47.1-33) does not belong to the story of Icarius, the

which is that Dionysus' gift is something entirely unknown in Attica. Nonnus here

uses the same colors which he has just applied to the Theban

7v 4X6peuros va'IrT6XtV,verse 34, are also found 44.125; compare

Cf. on 47.1-33 Paul Collart, Nonnos de Panopolis (Cairo, 1930) 257.

story (the words oubeTLS

also 47.1 with 44.123).

7 De subl. 33.5.

8 See esp. Ernst Maass, Analecta Eratosthenica (Berlin, 1883)

59 ff.;cf. also Theodor

Bergk, Kleine Philologische Schriften,2 (Halle, 1886) 202 ff.; Eduard Hiller, Eratos- thenis Carminum Reliquiae (Leipzig, 1872) 94 ff.;Knaack, loc. cit. (above, note 4) 387.

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included the transformationof Icarius into the constellationof Bo6tes, the Ox-driver,because he had carriedthe wineskinson a cart drawnby oxen,of Erigoneherselfinto the Maiden, and of the dog into Sirius. We shall see that thereis truthas well as error in thissupposition. It has been notedthat thesectionoftheDionysiacawhichtreats of Icariusand Erigonediffersin tone and stylefromthe bulk ofthe epic. For once Nonnus lays aside his thunderand allows us for

a whileto breathemorequietly. It has even been suggestedthat

this episode approximatesthe ethosof a Hellenistic poem.9 An obvious explanationof this change of ethoswould be that Nonnus while composingthis part of his epic was under the influenceof Eratosthenes' famous work. Yet for certain reasons - some of themweighty - scholarshave hithertobeen reluctantto draw this conclusion. We shall considerthese reasonslater; what should be said now is that none of the investigatorshas done justice to the passage in which Nonnus describesthe transplantationto the sky of Icarius,Erigone,and the dog.'0

"FatherZeus had pity,and he placedErigonein thecompany

ofthestarsneartheLion'sback. The rusticmaidholdsan ear of corn;forshe did not wishto carrytheredgrapeswhichhad been herfather'sdeath. And Zeus broughtold Icarios into the star- spangledskyto movebesidehisdaughter,and called himBootes, thePlowman,shiningbright,andtouchingtheWainoftheArcadian Bear. The Dog hemadealsoa fieryconstellationchasingtheHare, in that part wherethe starryimageof sea-faringArgovoyages roundthecircleofOlympos.


is the fictionof the Achaianstory,minglingas usual

persuasionwithfalsehood;but thetruthis: Zeus ourLord on high

ingan ear ofcorn,and neartheheavenlyDog he placeda doglike himinshape,Seiriosoftheautumnas theycall him,and thesoulof Icarioshe combinedwithBootes in the heavens. These are the giftsofCronidesto thevinelandsofAttica,offeringone honourto Pallas and Dionysostogether."

This is indeeda curiouspassage. Nonnusfirstgives us a story, then declares this story to be untrue and proceeds to present

The most recent edition of the fragments will be found in J. U. Powell, Collectanea Alexandrina (Oxford, 1925) 64 ff. 9 Cf. Wilhelm Schmid and Otto Stahlin, Geschichte d. griech. Litteratur,Zweiter Teil, Zweite Halfte (Munich, 1924) 968.

10Dion. 47.246-264. Library) .



used the translation of W.



Rouse (Loeb

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anotherversionas the "true story."" To be sure the rejectionof one versionof a tale in favorof anotherwould be farfromunique in Alexandrianor post-Alexandrianpoetry;12what makes this pas- sage so remarkableis that the firstversionis not characterizedas a 6&yosor a 07tA7,U not introducedby a X&yovocror aciLv,but is simply set forthso that the unsuspectingreader would accept it as Nonnus' own opinion- untilhe reachesverse256 and learnsto his surprisethat what he has read in the last ten versesis a 1/6E3os. As a Katasterismos,only the firstversion(246-255) ringstrue; the second is veryunusual: Zeus did turnthe dog into Sirius,'3yet at the same time assigned the souls (! ) of Icarius and Erigoneto already existingconstellations. This is a very unorthodoxstar-

myth;yetwhileit is absurdas a KaL-aoTa7EpuoYiOsthe conceptionbe-

comesintelligibleand meaningfulifwe recognizeit as thedevice by whichEratosthenesbroughthis own Platonic beliefinto the Attic story of Icarius and Erigone. He allowed the dog to become

11The wordsKai ra j.dv'erXaae ,Iuos 'AXasKos 71L0a'baWreLOC8

qt'L eT,V'yKfpaS' Ta


&-,rUVMoVKTX. (256 ff.) do not allow an alternative interpretation. Maass, who fails to distinguish between the two versions, regards (op. cit. [above, note 8] 100) the words

4Oci5a7rEci, as indicating that Nonnus is reporting a story current in his homeland,

Surely Nonnus could not say more clearly than he does that he is

drawing on a Greek tradition (tq'0as in the meaning of 'usual,' 'wonted' is very common

in his epic). H. J. Rose (in the Notes to the Loeb Translation) comments on our passage as follows: "That the souls of the dead can turn into stars is a doctrine as old

divergent sets

of star-myths."

report TO &?TUrv/ov one would not normally call his procedure a "reconciliation" of con-

says nothing about souls. (This im-

by Paul Capelle, De luna, stellis, lacteo

orbe animarum sedibus [Diss. Halle, 1917] 19 ff.,25.) On the passage cf. TAPhA 73 [1942] 204 f.

12 Cf., e.g., Callim. H. in Jov. 4 ff.,60 ff. Propertius (4.2.1 ff.) rejects some aitia of Vertumnus and expresses his preference for the last version which he tells (19, mendax fama. noces). Ovid Fasti (5.1 ff.) reports divergent aitia for the name of

Maia without indicating a preference. Either method - or both -

to Callimachus' Aetia. Needless to say, Nonnus too repudiates "lies" elsewhere in

his work (e.g. 41.118; with the phrasing of 47.256 f. compare 46.45).

flicting stories. The passage in Aristophanes portant differenceis ignored or overlooked also

i.e. in Egypt.

at least as Aristophanes (Peace 832) and Nonnus uses it to reconcile two

If an author declares one version as Vt6ibos or 7rXcaauaand goes on to

may go back

13 Verse 261 states this fact quite clearly (I do not understand why Rudolf Keydell, 1 [1932] 195, finds difficultiesin this verse; the corruption, of which he makes

overmuch, does not extend beyond an epithet which has been satisfactorily emended). For furtherevidence that the dog of Icarius was, in Eratosthenes' poem, changed into

Sirius see below, note 14.

Evidently, Nonnus (or Eratosthenes) is thinking of Sirius


as a single star. The K6'V of 260 (and 252) is the constellation Canis of which Sirius

is a part (cf., e.g., Hyg. 2.35; 74.9 ff.Bunte). No reference is

(llPOK6,V) although it may be readily admitted that 260 could describe the similarity

between the two heavenly Canes.

will become involved in difficultieswhen dealing with the immediately following verse.

Yet it need not do so and any such interpretation

made to Canis Minor

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Sirius'4yet in the case of human beingsinsistedthat theirpsychai wereassignedto the constellationwithwhichtheyhave an affinity. Thus the passage presentsus with the solution of the problem whichwe formulatedat the beginningof this paper. We cannot be quite sureofwhatEratosthenesdid in hisworkon Katasterismoil5 but may well believe that in that work he collected ratherthan correctedpopulartales about personsand thingsthatwerechanged intoconstellations. In hisErigone,however,he refusedto acquiesce in the popularversionand presented,insteadofit, a new and more enlightenedstoryin whichfolklore,Platonism,and his own poetic imaginationare curiouslyfusedand blended. Of the passages in Plato's TimaeuswhichinspiredEratosthenes one has been adduced by Rudolf Keydell in his comprehensive

analysis of Nonnus:16 the demiurgeavoTI-Yas To'r-rav &lvlXev gvxas

o-Lap!O.ovs -oZs aoTpots,



Ka&T77hv -rpos Z'Kao-7-ov.l7


haps equally importantpassage is foundslightlylater in the same

section. KacLo .'v

ev' 7-0'v rpoo-71KOvTa


3lo'VS, IraXlv d's Trv TOV

u'VVVO6OVrOpEVOIEL O'lK?10L0V a'rpov

3lOv evbalLOPoa Kal




Following Eratosthenes, Nonnus gives us in 260 the reason why the dog of Erigone was placed close to the heavenly Dog. This reason is the dog's EtbosjUop47s. In the case of human beings their etbos q2vXjs would be important in determining their star or constellation. 14 Probably Fratosthenes did not take stock in the Pythagorean doctrine concern- ing transmigration of souls fromhuman bodies into those of animals. In this point he appears to disagree with the Timaeus, in which Plato tries to make sense of this doc-

trine (42c,

Maass, op. cit. (above, note 8) 87 ff. Maass rightly considers these references as

echoes of Eratosthenes' poem and also stresses the fact that Sirius, although frequently mentioned in poets earlier than Eratosthenes, is yet by none of them related to the story of Icarius. However, since Maass does not believe that Nonnus in 47.257 ff. depends on the Erigone he regards the mention of Sirius in 259 ff. as a mistake of Nonnus who ought to have spoken of Canis Minor. I have already said that Maass failed to distinguish the two versions which we findin 246-264.

91E). For referencesin Ovid and Statius to Sirius as the dog of Icarius see

According to a statement in codex Venetus B (after schol. in

II. 22.29) Eratosthenes gave EvTO7s EauVToU KaraXo'yols the orthodox version of Icarius'

and Erigone's Katasterismos. KaraXoyot would be an acceptable title forEratosthenes'

work and I should be glad to credit this information. Yet so much spurious material on Katasterismoi went under the name of Eratosthenes that statements of the kind

must be treated with extreme scepticism.

15 See above, note 4.

Cf. Albert Rehm, Hermes 34 V1899) 267.

16 AC

1 (1932)


17 Tim. 41D.

Compare this passage with Nonnus 47.257 ff.

The words KaIl avv?O@71are missing in FY and Stobaeus and should perhaps

be omitted (cf. F. M. Cornford, Plato's Cosmology [London, 19371 144

would introduce an "astrological"

Plato (see Phaedr. 252c ff., although there too the piesence of this motif has been


motif which cannot be considered quite alien to

18 42B.

n. 1).

2, vf0Os

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shouldbe noticedthatbothpassages occurin theearlycosmological sectionof the Timaeus whichprovidedthe basis forEratosthenes' own philosophicand mathematicalspeculationsthatwereembodied in his Platonicus and furnishedthe foundationof much of his mathematical,geographical,and musicologicalthought.'9 Keydell's referenceto the Timaeusis fundamentallysound. He was, however,mistakenin thinkingthat Nonnus himselfwas in- fluencedby thisdialogue. NeitherKeydell nor any otherstudent of Nonnus has seriouslyattempted to prove that Nonnus was familiarwith the Timaeus, or that he was interestedin Plato's cosmology,or theoryof the soul or in any possible connection betweenthe souls and the stars. Whatevertheorieshave been put forwardabout Nonnus' Neoplatonic leaningsor about his convic- tions regardinga celestial home of the soul are foundedentirely upon our passage.20 MoreoverKeydell explicitlyadmits and it would indeed be difficultto deny-that Nonnus has a definite interestinKatasterismoioftheorthodoxtype2'and thatthepassage underdiscussionis unique; and yet he insiststhat this unique and unorthodoxidea mustbe "sein Eigentum." One would thinkthat if a poet has Platonic convictionsor believes in the returnof the soul to the starsan epic offorty-eightbooks would offerhimample opportunitiesforcomingforwardwithsuch views. Eratosthenes, on the otherhand, was a Platonist,did study the Timaeus very carefully,did believein a celestialhomeofthe souls,and did incor- porate Platonic motifsin his poems.22 The idea thatZeus assigned the soul of Icarius to Bootes has no place in Nonnus' religiousout- look but formsan organicpartof Eratosthenes'schemeofthought. The passage in Nonnus definesthe fate of souls somewhatmore preciselythan lamblichus'report. It confirmsour conjecturethat the "finerbodies" (Xew6Torepa oc4,uara) which, according to lam- blichus,Eratosthenesassignedto the souls as theirhome,23are the stars.

19 Cf.

20 See

my paper cited in note 1. esp. Viktor Stegemann, Astrologie und Universalgeschichte,Studien u. Inter-

pretationen zu den Dionysiaka (21roLXeia,Heft 9 [Leipzig, 1930]) 241, who adduces what he considers parallels in Neoplatonic vitae. In none of the passages which he cites

have I been able to find anything remotely parallel to our verses in Nonnus.

21 Loc. cit. (above, note 13) 195. Cf. Stegemann (above, note 20) 57 ff.and passim. Only in one other passage (1.254) does Nonnus regard the HapOivos as Erigone (not,

to be sure, as the home of her soul).

41.213; see Stegemann 61). 22 For his Hermes see my paper (note 1) 211 ff. 23 See note 1.

Elsewhere he knows her as Dike (6.249; cf.

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It is temptingto thinkthat Eratostheneshimselfmentionedthe popular versionand rejectedit and that Nonnus correctshis first

versionbecause he foundit in Eratosthenesset forthand corrected.24 All that I wouldassertis thatifEratosthenescorrecteda traditional storyhe musthave done it in a moreelegantfashionthanNonnus.


Nonnus' firstversionincludesone or more echoes of


as it is quite

possible that Nonnus in presentingthis

versionfollowedwhat one may call the mythologicalvulgata26it is probablywiserto resisttheidea thathe foundan explicitcorrection ofa populartale embodiedin the Erigone. The passage on whichwe have concentrateddoes notnecessarily createa presumptionthatNonnusfollowedEratosthenes'treatment also in otherpartsofthe story.Afterall, the onlypassage in which we have foundhimin thedebt of Eratostheneshas everycharacter- istic of an "afterthought";if Nonnus derived the orthodoxKaTra-

STTEpLLOS fromanothersourcewouldit notbe reasonableto think

that thissourceratherthan Eratostheneswas his principalmodel? Copies of Eratosthenes'poems must have been raritiesat Nonnus' timeand althoughhe clearlyhad a well stockedlibraryat his dis-

24 Cf. note 15.

Maass' efforts(op. cit. [above, note 8] 124 ff.) to prove that the

Katasterismoi of Icarius and Erigone were unknown before Eratosthenes are not fully

successful although it stands to reason that the entire story was not widely known.


case qualifications in the light of our results.

However, only one of them

view that Eratosthenes was the inventor of the Katasterismoi needs in any

25 These echoes were noticed by Maass, op. cit. 101.

can be regarded as certain (Nonnus 47.251 f. depends on Arat. 92 f.), and Maass overstated his case when he said omnia quae de Sirio attulit (Nonnus) ex Arati carmine desumpsit.

26 Keydell, Gnomon 11 (1935) 601 discusses a number of instances in which Nonnus -and other poets of his time - rely primarily on the "Vulgartradition" but at the same time use a poetic work to "enliven the narrative." Nonnus may well have relied primarily on a mythological handbook. Maass, op. cit. 70 ff.,gives a good sur-

vey of the authors who tell the story of Icarius and Erigone.

appears that only Hyginus in his Astronomica relates Icarius' viticultural experiments; yet he too knows an alternative version which is close to the vulgata (see pp. 259 f.). Again, it seems quite evident that the mythographical tradition is unanimous in ignor- ing the peculiar Platonic turn which Eratosthenes had given to the transfiguration in the sky of Icarius and Erigone; the common version is simply that Icarius became B63otes,Erigone the Maiden. If we believe - as I think we may with confidence that it was Eratosthenes who made the story popular it may surprise us that his most characteristic innovation should have been generally abandoned. Yet it is after all easy to understand that Hellenistic compilers of myths had no use for his Platonic subtleties and that they brought the story down to the level of an ordinary Katasteris- mos. How incongruous and utterly out of keeping with the rest of his work it would be if Hyginus, instead of telling us that Icarius and Erigone became transformed into constellations, taught us that their "souls" were "joined" to these constellations.

From this survey it

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posal27it is conceivable that he founda copy of the Erigoneonly afterhe had workedout his own account of the storyand that he contentedhimselfwith adding the postscriptto the finalepisode. We shouldindeedbe compelledto take thisview ifwe believedthat Ernst Maass,28 the only scholar who has given us an elaborate reconstructionof Eratosthenes'poem,had fullysucceededin prov- ing his point, to wit that Nonnus' source forthe storyof Icarius and Erigonewas a poemin whichEratosthenes'narrativehad been thoroughlyremolded. Maass' argumentsare acute; his theory that Hyginusin his Astronomica29reproducesthe principalevents ofEratosthenes'poemis intrinsicallyplausibleand hardlyanywhere open to criticism.30His treatmentof Nonnus is howevervitiated by some oversightswhichwill be presentlydiscussed,and, in addi- tion, suffersfrom an inadequate appreciation of Nonnus' own creative power. Since recent monographshave shown the way toward a juster appraisal of Nonnus' originalityand his poetic methods,3'we may confidentlyattributeto Nonnus himselfsome departuresfromEratostheneswhichMaass insistedon tracingback to his hypotheticalsource. Maass observed correctlythat Hyginus' chapter on Erigone embodies two differentversionsof the story;as a matterof fact Hyginushimselfis at pains to distinguishthem.32 In one Icarius

27 Cf. R. Keydell in RE s.v. "Nonnus" 914, on the extent of Nonnus' familiarity with Hellenistic poetry. Serious consideration has of late been given to the possi- bility that Nonnus knew Roman poets (Virgil, Ovid, Claudianus); see Julius Braune, Nonnus und Ovid (Greifswald, 1935), and for a report on furtherstudies of the ques-

tion, R. L. Lind in the Introduction to the Loeb Translation

fails to mention the dissentient opinion of Paul Maass, ByzZ 35 (1935) 385.

(p. xxiv note a.).


28 Analecta Eratosthenica (see note 8) 96 ff.,102 ff.

29 2.4 p. 34.24-36.21 Bunte. For the reconstructions of Maass and others see above, note 8. 30 The intrinsic probability rests on the following considerations: (1) The account

includes a quotation from the Erigone (35.10). (2) Eratosthenes' poem was famous

and although he did not "invent" the tale (cf. G. Knaack, RE s.v. "Eratosthenes" 387, and esp. Rudolf Pfeiffer,Kallimachosstudien [Munich, 1922] 104 ff.) it may be said with confidence that the subject was treated in no other work of comparable fame. (3) It was in all probability Eratosthenes who combined the Cean tradition about Sirius and the need for appeasing him with the Attic story about Icarius and Erigone

(Hyg. 37.12 ff.; see again Pfeiffer110

their simple way of life,the attachment

the aitia and katasterismoiare the stuffof which an Hellenistic epyllion would be made. 31 See especially Paul Collart, Nonnos de Panopolis (Cairo, 1930); Rudolf Keydell,

Hermes 62 (1927) 393 ff.and AC 1 (1932) 173 ff.

ff.). (4) The unsophisticated characters and of the girl to her father and of the dog to both,



cit. (see note 8) 60 ff.,70 ff. See esp. Hyg. 35.12 f.; 19 f. Bunte.

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actually plants the vine which he received from the hands of Dionysus and onlyafterthe firstharvesthas been gathereddoes he set out to impartthewonderfulnewgiftto his countrymen. In the otherversionhe immediatelyplaces wineskins(whichhe probably receivedfromthe god) upon his cart and sets out on his mission.33 Maass held that the formerversionwas Eratosthenes'. In this he was doubtlesscorrect;forit is one of the fewindisputablefacts about his poem that in it a goat broke into the vines, wrought havoc amongthemand that the countrypL-opleof Icaria performed dances (choroi) around this goat which constitutethe aition of Attic tragedy.34 It is fromthis part of the poem that Hyginus

actuallyquotesa verse:'IKaptol OO6L 1rpCTo irep'7pa&yovCp X^oavro.35

The plantingofthevine,the destructionofsome vinesby thegoat, and the originof tragedyare closelyconnectedparts of the same episode,and as Eratosthenestold the storyofthe goat it would not be reasonable to doubt that in his poem Icarius actually planted the vine.

In Nonnus, Icarius does not botherabout viticulture.

He evi-

dentlygets fromDionysus a sufficientquantityof wine to be able at once to distributeit amonghis neighbors. The neighborsimme- diately enjoy the new drink,experiencethe pleasant sensations that commonlyaccompanyit,yet aftera shortwhilewhenthewine has gone to theirheads rushupon and kill Icarius.36 Events follow

upon one anotherin quick succession. There can be no doubt that Nonnus' account divergesconsiderablyfromthat of Eratosthenes. At firstglance the discrepanciesmay indeed suggestthat he was not familiarwiththe poem - or ignoredit - whenhe constructed the plot ofhis own story. We would howevermake a seriousmistakeifwe accepted this conclusion;in factwe shouldbe guiltyofthesame oversightswhich as I have said vitiate Maass' examinationof Nonnus. Why does Dionysus in Nonnus' poem decide on his arrivalin Athensto enter

33 Hyg. 34.24 ff.; 35.12. It is with the second version that the other authorities

forthe story of Icarius agree; see note 26. The scholium in Ov. Ibin 609 which mentions Icarius' vinea is probably based on Hyginus (cf. Maass 60 n. 4). 34 See the final section of this paper.

35 35.10 f. See frg. 22 Powell, XXXII


Hiller, op. cit. (note 8)

105 ff.,

reconstructed the text of this fragment from manuscripts of Hyginus whose readings

are not yet available.

H. in J. 52, in Dian. 240 f. - which Eratosthenes appears to have imitated. Frg. 26

Powell (XXXI

He rightlyrefers (ibid. 106) to two passages in Callimachus -

Hiller) is likely to belong to the same section of the Erigone.

36 47.70-147.

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Vol. lxxviii]



thehouse of Icarius? Because Icarius "excelledthe othercountry-

menin plantingnew sortsoftrees."37 Shortlyafterwardswhenthe old man has had his firsttaste of the new drinkand is in the right state of mindto become a convertto the serviceof Dionysus "the


hospitabletable and taughthim the art of makingthemgrow,by breakingand ditchingand curvingthe shoots around the soil."38

ForthwithIcarius impartsthisnew art to his countrymen,teaching

presented(to him) shootsof vine in returnforhis

them olVo4brovs OvwrfKOILas ALoVVaov.

At the same time39he offers

themmanycups of sweetwinewhich,we know,provehis own un- doing. Nothingcomes of the distributionof vines. The stage is set foran experimentin viticulturebut Nonnusdoes notreportthe developmentsto whichit leads; he does not entertainus withthe storyof the goat. Neitherdoes Nonnus say that Icarius put the wineskinson an ox-drivencart and travelledwithit acrossAttica. Thus it is clear that he "follows" neitherof the two versionswhich Hyginus em- bodied but also that he knew that version in which Icarius was bidden to introducethe vine. This, we know,had been Eratos-

thenes' story. Nonnus has telescopedthis versionbut not elimi- nated everytrace of those developmentswhichhe did not care to report. We shouldnot forgetthat thegod himselfis the "hero" of his epic (which Aristotlewould class with the epics writtenirept eva40),and that everythingthathappenedto Icariusor hisdaughter

to say nothingof his dog -

constitutesan interruptionof the

storywhichtellsof Dionysus' triumphs. In the last books of the Dionysiaca these triumphsconsistin his defeatofreactionariesand teetotalerswho oppose the new cult as well as in some eroticcon- quests. The culturalinterestsof the god fall somewhatshortof classical standardsand we can hardlyblame Nonnus forhis reluc- tance or inabilityto regardthe creationof tragedyas anotherof Dionysus' gloriousachievements.

37 Verses35 f.

38 Verses 66 ff-

39 The logical sequence of events would seem to be that Icarius gave his friends wine to drink and when they enjoyed it tried to induce them to take up vine-planting. What we read in Nonnus (70-75) is a kind of hysteronproteron,the result of his telescop- ing the story. He does not intend to come back to the planting, and the developments which he is to report arise from the drinking in which the countrymen indulge; there- fore Nonnus puts their drinking second.

40 Poet. 8, 1451A.16 f.

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Nonnus has not the patience to deal with the details of vine- planting and grape-gathering.41 His epic is not writtenin the idyllicvein; we shall presentlysee that he himselfintroducedinto the storyof Icarius and Erigone the episode in whichthe ghost of the slain old man appears to the girl in her dream. The ghost "stretchedout his hands and pointedout the woundson the newly mangledlimbsforherto see."42 Hardly a genrepicture. And yet it is truethat thestoryas told by Nonnus has preserved - in parts at least - somethingof the ethosof a Hellenistic epyllion. We have pointed out that the episode of Dionysus' receptionin the homeof Icarius includesthe vine-motifwhichmusthave played an importantpart in Eratosthenes'poem. Here ifanywhereNonnus followsthe narrativeof Erigone. He has preservedthe pauper


theHellenisticmotifso familiarto us from

Callimachus'Hecale and fromOvid's storyofPhilemonand Baucis. Icarius "entertainedthe lord of noble garden-vinesat his frugal board." Nor need we hesitate to attributeto Eratosthenes the charmingfaux pas which Erigone commitswhen she triesto offer thegod ofwinea drinkofgoat's milk. "But Dionysuscheckedher and handed to the kindlyold man skinsof curetroubleliquor. He took in his righthand and offeredIcarius a cup of sweet fragrant wineas he greetedhimwithfriendlywords."44 Later on, "the girl pouredno moremilkbut reachedher fathercup aftercup of wine until he was drunken."45 Far be it fromus to question Nonnus'

41 Cf. H.

42 47.155 f.

43 47.39.

J. Rose's note (see above, note 11) on 17.83 ff.

Cf. Plin. NH

22.86 (frg. XXVIII Hiller, 34 Powell); see also Paneg. in

Mess. 7 ff.; cf. Maass, op. cit. (note 8) 106. However, in the description of the cena

Nonnus must have left out some of the details; for Pliny speaks of a vegetable whose Greek name is TK6Xviuos ( = limonia). Eratosthenes seems also to have described how Icarius kindled the fire in his f3avvos (kitchen stove?; frg. XXVII Hiller, 24 Powell).

44 Verses 41 ff. At this juncture Icarius receives the wine-skins; later when he has drunk the wine the god presents him with vine shoots, and teaches him how to take

care of them.

the point of planting the vines. This is the reason why Nonnus here (41 ff.) follows

the vulgata in which Icarius was not bidden to plant vines but received wine skins

with which he could immediately start on his mission.

that Nonnus took the vines from the Erigone and the wine skins from the vulgata we can understand why in his account Icarius receives the wine skins before he has even tasted the wine. It would be more satisfactory that he should receive them after he has enjoyed his drink, yet because it is at that stage that Dionysus gives him the vines, Nonnus decided to bring in the &TJKO in an earlier part of his narrative.

If I am correct in thinking

Icarius will need the wine skins (see verse 75) because he never comes to

45 Verses 60 f. Of two fragments of Eratosthenes which relate to the drinking and the effectsof wine Powell includes only one (25 = XXIX Hiller) among the frag- ments of the Erigone. This is probably wise caution; see on the other fragment

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Vol. lxxviii]



superlativecraftsmanshipin describingscenesofdrunkennessor to denythathe had ample opportunityto employand becomefamiliar withtheepic vocabularyfordrunkenrevelryand Dionysiac dances, and yet it is perhapsnot fancifulto detect in the engagingverse which shows us the old man as b6xpmos,a,Lf'XLK7OS, EpLacaVXsELxyos

AXloTwvan echoofEratosthenes'neaterdiction.46

Icarius is not the only character in Nonnus who entertains

Dionysusat a

bands across Asia Minor, Dionysus meets the mountain-dweller Bronguswho livesa solitaryand primitivelifein "a house thatwas no house."47 Here too thegodis madewelcomeat the 6-yrjrpa7ri_Nl,

again he is offeredmilk,again he keeps his hostfromofferinghima

repast - though he does not refusethe milk in this

and again he presentshimwitha drinkofwine,and in the end, to show his gratitudefor the hospitable reception,teaches him the art of vine-growing,giving him not indeed samples of vine but evdforpvv 0irW'p?fv,which must mean grapes.48 This time Nonnus indicateshis sourceas plainlyas is possiblein epic style. Brongus' conduct,he tellsus, is an "imitation"ofMolorchuswhoentertained Heracles when he set out to fightthe Nemean lion.49 This story had been treatedby Callimachusin hisAetia.50 How, then,are we

frugalboard. In Book XVII, whileleadinghis roving

instance -

(36 Powell, XXXIV Hiller) Wilamowitz, NGG 1894, 20. The case for

#aOi'v &Kp?7CTr rie'v,ova Te'y-yo6Mevos)is in fact considerably stronger; for it is an essential

point of the story that Icarius and later on his fellow countrymen drink &Kp7rTos,the mixing of wine with water being evidently unknown at this stage (cf. Nonn. 47.108). Incidentally, while it is typical of Eratosthenes' poetic manner to echo a verse of Alcaeus (frg.94 Diehl; I have no suggestion to offerabout the verse in Suidas s.v. re&y-ye) he would scarcely have done so had he not been familiar with medical theories which countenanced the view that drink goes - in part at least - into the lungs; cf. Plut. Conv. disp. 699A, Stoic. rep. 29. It is interesting to notice that Eratosthenes here again agrees with Plato's Timaeus (70c; cf. TAPhA 73 [1942] 192 ff.). On Plato's

view cf. F. M. Cornford, Plato's

was rejected by so outstanding an authority as Erasistratus (Plut. Conv. disp. 698B) and was held up by Chrysippus as a warning example of what may happen if a philos- opher tries his hands at empirical science (Plut. Stoic. rep. 29, 1047B ff.). It is, how- ever, not quite certain that these two men had made known their opinions before Eratosthenes wrote his poem.

frg. 25 (Kal

Cosmology (London, 1937) 284 note

1. Plato's notion

46 47.63.

47Dion. 17.37-42.

48 Ibid. 42 ff.;see esp. 60, 43, 46, 48, 72 ff.,81 ff. 49Verses 52 ff.,56.

60 In the third book, as I assume Richard Reitzenstein has proved (I have not seen his paper in Ind. Lect. Rostoch. 1890/91). Cf. Wilamowitz, SPAW 1914, 225; Carl Robert in Preller-Robert, GriechischeMythologie (Zweiter Band, 4th ed., Berlin, 1920-

1928) 442.

See also Ernst Maass, Hermes 24 (1889) 522 f.

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to explain the similaritiesbetween the storyof Brongus in Book XVII and that of Icarius in Book XLVII? Does Nonnus compete withhimself? Or has he put some featuresof theErigoneinto the storyof Bronguswhichowed its fundamentalinspirationto Calli- machus? In recommendingeitherof these explanationswe would ignorethe fact that the poet Eratostheneswas a pupil of Calli- machusand that in describingthe simpleand friendlyreceptionof Dionysusin the homeof Icarius he was traversingthesame ground as his masterhad coveredin the Hecale5'as well as in the storyof Molorchus. In a situation of this kind a Hellenisticpoet would be anxious to show his ingenuityby improvingupon the phrasing of his precursor,by givingnew turnsto identicalepisodesand ges- tures as well as new meanings to old turns. We can see that Eratosthenesdid proceedthus. When Dionysus preventsErigone fromofferinghim milk the gestureis the same as that by which Heracles keeps Molorchusfromslaughteringforhimhisonlyram,52 but the reason and significanceof the gestureare new. Again in Book XVII Dionysus explains to Brongus that not milk but wine dispelsman's cares,whilein Book XLVII he teaches Icarius that not the corn of Demeter but "the wine-bearinggrape is the healer of human pain!"53 Nonnus uses similar diction - not entirelyhis own, I believe54-because the plots offered"parallels." These parallels,we may reasonablyassume, reflectthe PiXosof Eratos- theneswhofeltconfidentthathe couldkindlenewsparksevenwhere the lightof Callimachushad shone. IfwebelievethatCallimachus had describedhow Molorchuswas convertedfrommilkto winewe see moreclearlywhat was Eratosthenes'ambitionwhenhe worked on the episode in the home of Icarius. To be sure,hithertoit has

al Cf. the testimoniaand frgs. 15-38 of this poem in Ida Kapp, Callimachi Hecalae Fragmenta (Diss. Berl., 1915) 14 ff., 22 ff. In the Introduction Miss Kapp refers brieflyto Molorchus and concludes, apud Callimachum similitudinem aliquam inter Molorchi et Hecalae hospitalitatem intercessisse (p. 10, note 27).

52 The most important testimoniumfor the story is Probus

in Verg. Georg. 3.10;

for a full list see Robert as cited in note 50.

passage Nonnus has suppressed the motif of the "only ram." 53 Compare 17.74-80 with 47.45-55.

See Nonn. 17.48; 47.41.

In the former

54 I do not venture an opinion about the words bito, yfpoV, rT6& &Xpov which are

found in 17.74 as well as 47.45.

"epigram" whose elegance suggests to me that Nonnus did not proceed too violently

when he adapted Eratosthenes' thought to a differentmetre. At 17.74-80 the an-

Callimachus could cer-

tainly do better.

in both passages; at 47.52 the

tithesis between milk and wine is not brought out so well -

At 47.53-55 Dionysus'

speech ends with a very neat

A reference to Ganymede is found

introduction of this motif is decidedly infelicitous since it interfereswith the contrast

between Demeter's gift and that of Dionysus. Nonnus likes to refer to Ganymede.

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Vol. lxxviii]



notbeensupposedthatHeraclesintroducedhishostto thepleasures of wine and viticulture;in fact the question what rewardHeracles gave Molorchus forhis generoushospitalityseems never to have been raised.55 Are we safein basingour answeron Nonnusand on the relationwhichwe seem to perceivebetweenhis sourcesin two differentbooks? Fortunatelywe findsupportelsewhere. Statius has a referenceto the sacra CleonaeivinetaMolorchi,56fromwhich we may inferthat Heracles did not in vain pointout to Molorchus the advantages of wine over milk- and also that Callimachus' storyincludednot only the aition of the Nemean wreathbut also that of vine-growingin the regionof Cleonae.57 We returnto the story of Icarius as told by Nonnus. The episodes which describe Icarius' dealings with his countrymen, their initial enthusiasmand later - rather sudden - change of

mood, and

Icarius' own violentdeath agree substantiallywith the

version in

Hyginus which Maass regards as a summaryof the

Erigone,yetnoneofthedetailscould withconfidencebe claimedfor


In Nonnusitis theghostoftheslain IcariuswhoinformsErigone ofherfather'sfate.59 Collartand Keydell60have correctlyobserved thatthisapparitionand thelengthyspeechofthe"soul" to Erigone

must be Nonnus' own inventions;Nonnus uses this "Homeric" motifalso in his story of Actaeon.6" It is also correctthat the

56 See Wilamowitz, Robert, and Maass as cited in note 50, also J. Pley in RE s.v. "Molorchus." [Correction: for another gift, see Pap. Oxyrh. 2169 (18.53).]

The passage although occasionally mentioned (e.g. by Robert)

56 Theb. 4.159.

seems to have received little attention.

Molorchus when he entertained Heracles was a "Winzer" ("Bauer und Winzer"). He derives this idea from a - rather dubious - etymology of his name. The reflec- tions of Callimachus' story in the mythographic literature give no support to Robert's

view. Note well the word sacra in Statius.

Robert (see note 50) to be sure does say that

[See, however, Pap. Oxyrh. 2169.]

57 It stands to reason that materially, too, Molorchus' new occupation proved a

success. Some details remain uncertain. I find no difficulty in supposing that Heracles on his expedition against the Nemean lion carried an &OKo'S of wine, but did

he have grapes as well? Brongus plays the Pan's pipe forhis host (17.68 ff.).Molorchus

may well have done the same.

Eratosthenes probably took greater care to explain how the

original enthusiasm of the countrymen gave way to violent rage. Nonnus contents himself with a very briefindication of the reason for this change (118).

For Dionysus people normally dance.

68 Verses 70-147.

59 Verses 148 ff.

60 Collart, op. cit. (above, note 31) 258; Keydell, AC 1 (1932) 194.

61 Dion. 5.412 ff. (compare the

anaphora of '-ypEO416 f. with 47.111 f.). Collart

(loc. cit.) also refersto 26.1 ff.,which I should not consider as very closely parallel to our passage.

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largerpart of the girl's ensuing lament is taken froma work in which it formedpart of a differentsituation; forit expressesun- certaintyabout her father'sdeath ratherthan knowledgeof his death.62 That this workwas Eratosthenes'poem would be prob-

able even if this part of the lament did not include the question:

"Is he (Icarius) teachinga neighborto plant the young shoots of his fairvintage"?63 Why did Erigone in Eratosthenesleave her home and go in searchofherfather? We may take it that he had stayedaway for

a longtime;in factHyginussays cumeumnonredirevideret.64Yet Hyginus tells us also - in the same account - that Icarius' dog

(which seems to

have been his constant companion) returnedto

Erigone. Canis vestemeius (scil.ofErigone) tenensdentibusperducit ad cadaver.65As the dog is at the end of the story turned into Siriusit is onlylogicalto assume thathe had a functionin the story. In all Alexandrianpoem the dog could be certainto be handled withsympathyand care. Nonnus,however,had littleuse forthe Hellenisticpet; he eliminatedthe dog completelyfromthe early and centralepisodesofthe story. To fillthegap he resortedto the gruesomeghost-motif.Only when he approaches the finalstage does he realizethathe needs thedog and allows himall ofa sudden to make his appearance in the story.66 The sentencein whichthis happens is followedby the descrip- tionofErigone'ssuicide. Whenshe has died Nonnusreturnsto the dog. The dog keptfaithfulwatchunderthe treeon whichErigone had hanged herself;he "chased panthers and lions" and finally

pointed out "with mute gestures" (vevl'aaoL a0G6y-yoLot) Erigone's body to some passers-bywho took it down and gave it burial.67 In thisburial the dog cooperatedby diggingup and scatteringthe earth with his feet. Details of this kind are characteristicof Alexandrianpoetryand anyone who reads these seventeenlines68 will probablyagreewithme that the tone and spiritof the original

62 Cf. Keydell, loc. cit. (note 60) 194. applies to verses 196-204, not to 193-195.

Keydell makes clear that his observation

63 Verses 196-198.

64 2.4; p. 36.4 Bunte.

65 Ibid. 36.10.

66 Verses 219 ff.

67 Verses 229 ff.

68 229-245.

Eratosthenes was fond of dogs; in his 'AvTrepvVs a dog likewise helps

to detect a murder (see frg. 19 Powell; Bergk, op. cit. [above, note 8] 219).

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Vol. lxxviii]



have not been entirelylost. The language is, of course,Nonnus'


rexv-,.ovorapo439 and even the moving lines which speak of "the weightof sorrow"whichthe wayfarers"carryundertheirheart"70 give us only a faintimpressionof Eratosthenes' gthosand style. Evidently,the dog whomNonnus so long ignoredhas finallycome into his storywith a vengeance,forcingthe author to deal fora whilewithan uncongenialsubjectand makingthe contrastbetween

his roaringstyleand the finesseofthe originalconceptionpainfully obvious.

A summaryofthosepartsofEratosthenes'poem whichNonnus

does not faithfullyreproducewill be in place. In presentingit we

relylargely - and withoutmisgivings -

which as we have

already said rests primarilyon the account in

on Maass' reconstruction

Hyginus. Icarius undertookto introduceDionysus' gift. After he had planted his vines and theyhad grownin size, a goat broke into them and destroyeda part of the vineyard. The goat was caught-presumably by Icarius-and made to expiate its sacri- lege. The details of this expiationmust be reservedforthe final sectionof this paper but it may even now be said that all of them

redoundin majoremBacchi gloricam.Afterthe firstvintage Icarius placed the wineskinson his ox-cartand went about Attica (this musthave been recountedsince otherwisetherewould be no cause forthe associationof his psychewith Bootes). On this expedition Icariuswas accompaniedbyhisfaithfuldog.72 He gave hiscountry- men generousportionsof his wine. We need not doubt that (as Hyginusand Nonnus report)73the peasants wereat firstdelighted withthe new drink. Later, however,theirmood changed,because when some of themhad drunktoo much and falleninto a heavy sleeptheotherssuspectedIcariusofpoisoningthem.74 They rushed upon Icarius and slew him. The dog returnedto Erigone, who forthwithwent in search of her father'sbody. The dog - as we know,vestemeius tenens- led herto the place wherethe murderers

69 Verse239.

70 Verses 242 f.; Kat' tvvrs

&vP&paAteP 64kL rapac.

72 Cf. Hyg. 2.4; p. 36.6 ff.

/LeOk7rwVr 7roKapLoVy


Ypyo'P P


73 Cf. Nonn. 47.76 ff.,104 ff.;see also Hyg. 2.4; 35.14 f.,a passage in whichwe should probably incorporatethe conjecturesof Wilamowitzapud Robert, op. cit. (above, see note4) 77. 74 Cf. Hyg. 2.4; 35.17. For Nonnussee above, note39.

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had thrownIcarius' bodyinto a ditch.75 There followedErigone's suicide and the watchingof the dog under the tree on which she had hangedherself. In theend thedog too died,whetherfromgrief or exhaustionand lack of food I do not know. Now "Zeus pitied them"and all threeweretransferredto theskyin themannerwhich at the beginningof this paper we have shownto be characteristic of Eratosthenes. The returnof the souls to theircelestialhome mighthave pro- videda good conclusionforthepoem,yetthereare strongarguments which suggestthat Eratosthenes'interestin aitia led him to add two furtherstories. Erigone's death createdamong Attic girlsan

epidemicof suicideswhichdid

conformitywith an oracle created the "feast of swings" -

not subside until the Atheniansin


77XTts or acdcpa

in honorofErigone.76The otherstorytakes us

to the island of Ceos. There the murderersof Icarius had found refuge,the inhabitantsmakingno attemptto call themto account. To punish the Ceans forthis negligence,Sirius - i.e. the dog of Icarius,as soon as he had been changedinto the star - turnedhis scorchingrays upon the island, destroyingthe crops and creating diseases among the people. When kingAristaeusapproached his fatherApollo forhelp he was bidden to make a special atonement forthe death of Icarius and also to ask Zeus to send coolingwinds (acLi-r'OaL) fora spelloffortydays duringwhichthescorchingpower ofSiriusis mostdestructive.77A special priesthoodwas set up for the purpose of appeasing Sirius. Since Hyginus includes both storiesin hisaccountofIcarius,sincealso theAttic"day" ofErigone is mentionedin Callimachus Aetia,78and since referencesto the priesthoodare foundin Callimachusas well as in ApolloniusRho-

Hyginus (35.19) reports

two versions; one agrees with Nonnus', the other says interfectumin puteum dejecerunt.

This latter version belongs to the account which Maass regards as a reliable summary of the Erigone.



75 In Nonnus (47.141-147)

the murderers bury Icarius.

76 Uti tabula interposita pendentes funibus se jactarent (Hyg. p. 37.6).

1930, 4.12

note 30) 102.

Callim. frg. 8.3 Pfeifferand also Pfeiffer,Kallimachosstudien (see

the feast see Ludwig Deubner, Attische Feste (Berlin, 1932) 118 ff.; M. P. Nilsson,


254 ff. Curiously enough, Deubner (ibid. 119, note 2) thinks it possible that before

Eratosthenes the Athenians knew Erigone only as daughter of Aegisthus and that it was Eratosthenes himselfwho made her the daughter of Icarius. This idea is unten- able since in the fragment of Callimachus (see above) which Deubner himself quotes