Glaukus

The first “famous” man of Pityos: a humble shepherd named Glaukos (8th century BC)

The reference of the historian Pseudo-Herodotus in the 2nd century BC to Pitios introduces us to the first “famous Pityan” in history, the shepherd Glaukos. Homer’s journey to Chios is analyzed by Pseudo-Herodotus and in particular in chapters 20-27 in the work, which has survived with various titles, the most widespread being “About Homer’s Genesis and Life”.

Adventures of Homer in Chios

The prevailing version says that Homer, disembarking from Erythraea in Chios with a company of fishermen, reached a coast, perhaps in the present-day area of Daskalopetra, in Vrontados. Some Homeric scholars, however, place the authentic stone of his teaching in Koila, in the so-called “Scholiopetra”. This area is located about 6 kilometers northeast of Pityos, on the border of its vast pastures and neighboring Kydianta, above the ancient port of Delfini.

There, in his future teaching location, that is, one night he stayed on the beach and the next day,  he climbed the mountain (he probably means Aipos, even if it is not specified), and wandered around until he reached a village called Pityos. (“As he was marching and wandering he reached a village called Pitys.” Pseudo-Herodotus).

There, as he was sleeping at night under a pine tree, a pine cone fell on him and woke him up. It is even said that, startled and astonished, he exclaimed: “Oh beloved mountains, are you stalking me, too?” **

Meeting with Glaukos

Afterwards Homer walked in the woods and reached the stall of a local shepherd, Glaukos, who saved him from the fury of his dogs. Glaukos was amazed and impressed at how this blind man managed to get there and asked him to tell him about his wanderings. After hearing his sufferings, he took pity on him and hosted him in his stable.

The next day Glaukos went to Volissos and informed his master, whose name was Chios, about the blind man who amazed him enormously. Even though Lord Chios considered Glaukos a fool to collect and feed the crippled, he agreed to see the stranger. However when he met Homer he was impressed by his way of speaking and his knowledge, he found him skilled and experienced and convinced him to become the tutor of his children. In this way, Glaukos contributed to Homer’s stay in Chios or spending a long period of his life on the island so that it is connected with the great minstrel.

This is what the biographer closest to the epic poet’s time describes about Homer’s passage through Pityos. Years ago this characteristic description and reference to Pityos was engraved on a marble stele, opposite “Makelos”, by the Society of Homeric Studies. Thus Pityos is part of the so-called “Homeric Question”.

In addition, George Heilas in his monumental record of Pityan landmarks that he published in 1988 is mentioning some names of places near Pityos, that strengthen the connection of the village with the Homeric issue: Paris kremos, Ari krema, etc. He considers that the area called “Martinos” near the village is the point where Glaukos met Homer.

NOTES

* Pseudo-Herodotus: author of the 1st or 2nd AD. century (perhaps Hermogenes the Smyrnaean or Cephalion the Gergithius) who used (“borrowed”) the name of Herodotus.

* *It is assumed that the toponym Flori at the 17th kilometer of the Chios-Pityus provincial road arose from the paraphrasing of this Homeric phrase, (O beloved mountains are you stalking me too? “Beloved mountains” = “Filia Ori” in Ancient Ionian dialect).