By Gilbert Murray
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Additional info for A History of Ancient Greek Literature (19061897)
There is thus no disparagement to the Epic dialect in saying that, as it stands, it is no language, but a mixture of linguistically-incongruous forms, late, early, and primæval. There are first the Atticisms. C. At least, the fragments of Solon's Laws have, on the whole, a more archaic look. But for the purposes of history we must distinguish. There are first the removable Atticisms. A number of lines which begin with ἕως will not scan until we restore the Ionic form η+̋. That is, they are good Ionic lines, and the Attic form is only a mistake of the Attic copyist.
It prescribed a certain order, and it started a tendency towards an official text. It is clear that adherence to the words of the text was not compulsory, though adherence to the 'story' was. It seems almost certain that the order so imposed was not a new and arbitrary invention. It must have been already known and approved at Athens; though, of course, it may have been only one of various orders current in the different Homeric centres of Ionia, and was probably not rigid and absolute anywhere.
As spurious. 2 Grote, Plato, chap. vi. -17- Let us try to see further into it. When was it instituted? Was there really a law at all, or only a gradual process which the tradition, as its habit is, has made into one definite act? As for the date, the establishment of the custom is sure not to be earlier than the last person to whom it is ascribed; that is, it took place not before, but probably after, the reign of Hipparchus. Now, to make the works of the great Ionian poet an integral part of the most solemn religious celebration of Athens, is a thing which can only have taken place in a period of active fraternising with Ionia.