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From the Homeric scholia, which reflect primarily the reportage of the Aristarchean scholar Didymus, we can see that there were basically two kinds of khariesterai texts of Homer (Nagy 2004:87-109):

(1) the editions of two pre-Aristarchean editors of Homer, namely, Zenodotus of Ephesus (third century BCE) and Aristophanes of Byzantium (second century BCE), as well as other texts derived from even earlier figures such as Rhianos of Crete (third century BCE) and Antimachus of Colophon (fifth/fourth centuries BCE)
(2) the so-called politikai or “city editions” stemming from Massalia (Marseille), Chios, Argos, Sinope, Cyprus, and Crete.

Variants stemming from the khariesterai or “more refined” manuscripts of Homer are found not only in the medieval scholia but also in the textual tradition of the medieval period. That is because these variants had infiltrated the textual tradition of the vulgate as transmitted into the medieval period. In Homer the Classic , here is how I account for such infiltration (Nagy 2009:20):

Although Aristarchus conformed to the standard of the Koine, later generations of Aristarcheans preferred a different standard, attributed to Aristarchus himself. [...] In the case of horizontal textual variations [in other words, in variations occurring within the same verse], [...] the variant wordings as reported by Aristarchus in his commentaries could easily infiltrate the base text, actually ousting the wordings inherited by the Koine. Such is the state of affairs already in the time of Didymus. By his time, in the first century BCE, the authority of wordings found in the Koine had already given way to the authority of variant wordings preferred by Aristarchus himself—wordings originally confined to the master’s hupomnēmata “commentaries.” For Aristarcheans like Didymus, the preferred readings of Aristarchus became more significant than the received readings of the Koine. Such a shift from the Koine standard to an Aristarchean standard is a source of confusion for editors of the Homeric scholia—and even for editors of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey .

Since the variants stemming from manuscripts described as khariesterai tend to be divergent from each other, not only from the manuscripts described as koinai , they can be assigned to a relatively earlier phase in the development of the Homeric oral tradition, since the degree of variation that we see in these variants is not likely to have existed in phases later than the classical Athenian phase. So it would be safe to think of most variants stemming from the khariesterai as pre-Koine. In any case, these variants are non-Koine.

Besides the non-Koine variants that we have considered so far, there is a sizable number of other such Homeric textual variants to be found in (a) quotations of Homeric passages as found in ancient literary sources and (b) fragments of papyrus texts of Homer found in Egypt, especially those texts that date back to a period of time extending from the late fourth century BCE through the third century CE.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Online humanities scholarship: the shape of things to come. OpenStax CNX. May 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11199/1.1
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