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Aristotle on the Eagle in Iliad 21.252: On Five Mistaken Homeric Scholia

  • Robert Mayhew (a1)

Abstract

The vast majority of ‘fragments’ for Aristotle's lost Homeric Puzzles come from the Homeric scholia. Like other scholars studying this lost work, I do rely on them. But despite their value, it is important to recognize their limitations. This essay is an attempt to explain a set of Homeric scholia that attribute to Aristotle a surprising claim about the eagle in Iliad 21.252 (namely, that it is a black-boned eagle) and to argue that this attribution is erroneous. I conclude that the reports from these scholia in fact represent a mangling of another, more accurate, source, namely Porphyry's discussion (in his Homeric Questions) of the eagles in the Iliad. Further support for this conclusion comes from relevant passages in Eustathius and other scholia on Il. 21.252, as well as from POxy 221 (the remains of a commentary on Il. 21) and Aristotle's Historia animalium 3.9.

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* . I am grateful to an anonymous referee for the journal for comments that improved this essay, to David Sider for answering my questions about POxy 221 and to Tiziano Dorandi for answering my questions about POxy 221 and Burney MS 86 (fol. 234r).

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Aristotle on the Eagle in Iliad 21.252: On Five Mistaken Homeric Scholia

  • Robert Mayhew (a1)

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