The famous bard of the Odyssey, who according to the fashion of the heroic ages delighted the guests of king Alcinous during their repast by singing about the feats of the Greeks at Troy, of the love of Ares and Aphrodite, and of the wooden horse.1 He is also mentioned as the bard who advised Agamemnon to guard Clytemnestra, and to expose Aegisthus in a desert island.2
Eustathius describes him as a Laconian, and as a pupil of Automedes and Perimedes of Argos. He adds that he won the prize at the Pythian games and then followed Agamemnon to Mycenae. One story makes Odysseus recite Demodocus' song about the destruction of Troy during a contest in Tyrrhenia.3
Later writers, who look upon this mythical minstrel as an historical person, describe him as a native of Corcyra, and as an aged and blind singer,5 who composed a poem on the destruction of Troy (Ἰλίου πόρΔησις), and on the marriage of Hephaestus and Aphrodite.6 Plutarch7 refers even to the first book of an epic poem on the exploits of Heracles (Ἠρακλεία). But all such statements are fabulous; and if there existed any poems under his name, they were certainly forgeries.
- Homer. Odyssey viii, 62 ff.; xiii, 27.
- ibid. iii, 267; Eustathius on Homer, p. 1466.
- Ptolemaeus Hephaestus, 7.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece iii, 18.7.
- Ovid. Ibis, 272.
- Plutarch. De Musica, 3; Eudocia, p. 407; Photius. Bibliotheca, p. 152 (ed. Bekker).
- On Rivers, 18.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.