But if Garrison, Phillips and Sumner and Mrs Stowe were to be the rhapsodists of the long emancipation struggle, Whittier was its foreordained poet-seer.
Threshold of the textual criticism of Homer and accordingly enters into a full discussion, first of the external evidence, then of the indications furnished by the poems. Having satisfied himself that writing was unknown to Homer, he is led to consider the real mode of transmission, and finds this in the Rhapsodists, of whom the Homeridae were an hereditary school.
Again, the Platonic dialogue Hip parchus (which though not genuine is probably earlier than the Alexandrian times) asserts that Hipparchus, son of Peisistratus, first brought the poems to Athens, and obliged the rhapsodists at the Panathenaea to follow the order of the text, " as they still do," instead of reciting portions chosen at will.
Only that Homer was recited in fragments by the rhapsodists, and that these partial recitations were made into a continuous whole by Peisistratus; which does not necessarily mean more than that Peisistratus did what other authorities ascribe to Solon and Hipparchus, viz.
Of these the first is etymologically correct (except that it should rather be " stitcher of verse "); the second was suggested by the fact, for which there is early evidence, that the reciter was accustomed to hold a wand in his hand - perhaps, like the sceptre in the Homeric assembly, as a symbol of the right to a hearing.3 The first notice of rhapsody meets us at Sicyon, in the reign of Cleisthenes (600-560 B.C.), who " put down the rhapsodists on account of the poems of Homer, because they are all about Argos and the Argives " (Hdt.