The selection of three as their number has been supposed to refer to the most ancient division of the year into spring, summer and winter, but it is probably only another instance of the Greek liking for that particular number or its multiples in such connexions (three Moerae, Charites, Gorgons, nine Muses).
The ancient Chorizontes observed that the messenger of Zeus is Iris in the Iliad, but Hermes in the Odyssey; that the wife of Hephaestus is one of the Charites in the Iliad, but Aphrodite in the Odyssey; that the heroes in the Iliad do not eat fish; that Crete has a hundred cities according to the Iliad, and only ninety according to the Odyssey; that 7rpoirapotOe is used in the Iliad of place, in the Odyssey of time, &c. Modern scholars have added to the list, especially by making careful comparisons of the two poems in respect of vocabulary and grammatical forms. Nothing is more difficult than to assign the degree of weight to be given to such facts.
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