Joachim Camerarius, a German classicist and theologian, was the first scholar to write a comprehensive commentary on the first two books of the Iliad. Originally published in Strasbourg in 1538 and 1540 respectively, they were the first attempt to write a true commentary before the one by the French poet, Jean de Sponde, published in 1583. In his notes, Camerarius offered a basic grammatical analysis of the text, along with some references to later authors and some antiquarian details, but with very little mention of allegory, the typical tool of medieval exegesis. If Camerarius occasionally followed the allegorical method, he could also dismiss it with skepticism. Overall, Camerarius’s goal was to show the ethical value of Homer and to determine the moral principles of the Greek world, all represented in Homer’s epics. And in order to reach a wide audience, he included a Latin translation of these two books.
Friedrich August Wolf