this sounds bizarre, and i don't
find co-incidental patterns interesting, but i haven't heard about this before and i'm wondering if anyone here has heard about this and whether it's been generally approved/rejected:
i'm just reading The Homer of Aristotle
by D Margoliuoth, Oxford 1923 who says that there was a practice of all Greek tragedians, mentioned in Diogenes Laertius, of inserting cryptic signatures in the tragedies to prove their authenticity. It then sets out for each of the plays of Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus, re-arrangements of the letters in the first 8 lines (grouped into 4 sets of 2 lines) which contain the following messages:
lines 1, 2: the signature, containing the author's name or identifying description,
3, 4: the chronogram, containing the olympiad number in which the play was composed,
5, 6: the homage to Athena,
7, 8: the admonition, ironically warning the reader not to look for further codes after the 6th line.
i could type out some of the codes: there's pages of them: but they're all set out in the book. at first glance they appear quite convincing: much more believable than the "homer codes" in the next chapter...
the author says that the tragedians' practice developed from the codes at the start of homer's!?! works... a tradition which italicus did in fact perpetuate, recording his name into his latin translation of the iliad. the iliad code (which comes from re-arranging the first 2 letters, then the 2nd 2 letters, &c of each line: that's why this code seems a bit empty to me) is short enough that i can type it out now (as the people queueing to use the computers here in this public lib scowl on):
[face=SPIonic]9Omh/rou 0Ih/ta' o1p' e0ci/llwn o3rwn,
w} ou]le dai=mon, dhi/aj e0nanti/aj,
th=i du/se h[it' e1dute pe/nqh 0Orfe/wj:
mi/mn' u3daq', a#pte d' oi[a pu=r ai1aj ce/naj.
a#yw d' 0Axillhi\j xa/rij Troi/hi du/w:
Danaoi/ te dh\ sa& t' h0u\j w} Ai0ne/a te/kea
di/x' e1llax' e1rg'. ei0 d' 1Erisi klei=' eu] poi/eon,
o3 t' )Aqhnai/hj boulai=j x' e3lhij ske/yeu te/loj.[/face]
...which the author translates (1923-style):
Into the voice of Homer of Ios, "expelling" [referring to the etymology of Apollo] from the bounds,
O gracious deity, the contrary fiends,
Enter even as you entered the laments of Orpheus;
Waters stopped, like fire they kindled strange lands.
Let me, the Achilleis, a gift to Troy, kindle two;
Of the Danai and thy children, brave Aeneas,
The allotted lands are sundered. And if I have
composed with skill takes for the powers of Strife,
Consider what tribute tho wilt take for the counsels of Athene.
There's also one for the Odyssey...
So i was wondering if people have heard about this, or whether it's just a re-construction out of nothing (this definitely seems more likely for the homer codes than for the tragedy codes, which were attested in ancient times and are consistent across all the plays). the homer codes seem a bit forced for homer's (simpler) language...
btw, since the authorship of the "Rhesos" isn't clear: the old critics apparently thought it was by sophocles; today it's ascribed to euripides but peck mentions that the authorship is unclear:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... d%3Drhesus
this is a bit interesting: the signature code in the first 2 lines suggests that it's by sophocles: the author re-arranges the lines to form:
[face=SPIonic]a!llass' a!kroin g' a!rrht' e0poi=n tragwidi/aj
stre/f' e1ph su\ d' e1kleg' e)k Kolwnh=qe/n g' e1bhn[/face]
which is translated by the author as:
Substitute unspoken words for the topmost couplet of the tragedy:
Twist the words and pick out: I started from Kolonos.
i'll mention again that i'm not
pushing this as a theory: just passing it on because it's a bizarre theory which i haven't heard mentioned before, to do with the books i'm reading.