Contest of Homer and Hesiod


The Contest of Homer and Hesiod (Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi, or simply Certamen) is a Greek narrative that expands a remark made in Hesiod's Works and Days to recount an imagined poetical agon between Homer and Hesiod, in which Hesiod bears away the prize, a bronze tripod, which he dedicates to the Muses of Mount Helicon. A tripod, believed to be Hesiod's dedication-offering, was still being shown to tourists visiting Mount Helicon and its sacred grove of the Muses in Pausanias' day, but has since vanished.

The site of the contest is set in Chalcis in Euboea. Hesiod tells (Works and Days 650-59) that the only time he took passage in a ship was when he went from Aulis to Chalcis, to take part in the funeral games for Amphidamas, a noble of Chalcis. Hesiod was victorious; he dedicated the prize bronze tripod to the Muses at Helicon. There is no mention of Homer.

In Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi the winning passage that Hesiod selects is the passage from Works and Days that begins "When the Pleiades arise..." The judge, who is the brother of the late Amphidamas, awards the prize to Hesiod. The relative value of Homer and Hesiod is established in the poem by the relative value of their subject matter to the polis, the community: Hesiod's work on agriculture and peace is pronounced of more value than Homer's tales of war and slaughter.

Read more about Contest Of Homer And Hesiod:  Manuscripts, Modern Edition

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Contest Of Homer And Hesiod - Modern Edition
... Allen's Oxford Classical Text of Homer (1912) ... in the briefest of sketches of the poets' lives, their parentage and birth, and the contest itself ... It consists of challenges and riddles that Hesiod poses, to which Homer improvises masterfully, to the applause of the on-lookers, followed by their recitation of what they considered their best ...

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