We believe in a great poet as the author of the _Iliad_ and the
_Odyssey--but not that Homer was this poet_.
The decision on this point has already been given. The generation that
invented those numerous Homeric fables, that poetised the myth of the
contest between Homer and Hesiod, and looked upon all the poems of the
epic cycle as Homeric, did not feel an aesthetic but a material
singularity when it pronounced the name "Homer." This period regards
Homer as belonging to the ranks of artists like Orpheus, Eumolpus,
Daedalus, and Olympus, the mythical discoverers of a new branch of art,
to whom, therefore, all the later fruits which grew from the new branch
were thankfully dedicated.
And that wonderful genius to whom we owe the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_
belongs to this thankful posterity: he, too, sacrificed his name on the
altar of the primeval father of the Homeric epic, Homeros.
Up to this point, gentlemen, I think I have been able to put before you
the fundamental philosophical and aesthetic characteristics of the
problem of the personality of Homer, keeping all minor details
rigorously at a distance, on the supposition that the primary form of
this widespread and honeycombed mountain known as the Homeric question
can be most clearly observed by looking down at it from a far-off