I’m currently completing my online transcription of Strabo, and reached XIII.1.36, in which a woman named Hestiaea is mentioned as follows, in toto:
Demetrius cites also Hestiaea of Alexandreia as a witness, a woman who wrote a work on Homer’s Iliad and inquired whether the war took place round the present Ilium and the Trojan Plain, which latter the poet places between the city and the sea; for, she said, the plain now to be seen in front of the present Ilium is a later deposit of the rivers.
I’d never heard of her, and was curious to see if anything else had been said of her, so headed over to Wikipedia; and found an article which called her “Hestiea of Alexandria Troas”, and said by way of prooemium that she wrote influential critical works on the epic poems of Homer, repeating the statement in a section titled “Published Works”, as follows:
During her lifetime Hestiea became an influential critic and grammarian and published her works. Her works of criticism on Homer’s epics were commented on by Strabo in his work Homerica. Specifically, she published a treatise on “the possibility that the War of Troy had occurred in contemporary Ilium”.
This was footnoted with a citation of Charles MacLaren, The Plain of Troy described. . . (1863).
Since the Wikipedia statement was completely wrong, I replaced it by this:
Hestiea is known to us from the following single brief sentence by Strabo in the Geography (XIII.1.16, C599): “Demetrius cites also Hestiaea of Alexandreia as a witness, a woman who wrote a work on Homer’s Iliad and inquired whether the war took place round the present Ilium and the Trojan Plain, which latter the poet places between the city and the sea; for, she said, the plain now to be seen in front of the present Ilium is a later deposit of the rivers.”
— giving my reasons as:
(1) why cite a secondary work instead of the ultimate primary source? (2) no indication that she was famous or influential; (3) the article misunderstood the purport of her work.
to which I could have added that Strabo wrote no work titled the “Homerica“, and that, though plausible from the context, the Alexandria that Hestiaea was from was not certainly the one in the Troad.
Within a few hours I was of course reverted, with the following comment:
Reversed your deletion of material; point (3) that you made is your opinion/interpretation; you can’t just up and delete sourced material from Wikipedia. Do you have evidence to back up your claim that the paper misinterpreted her work or Strabo’s? Another point I want to mention is that Wikipedia’s policies are to discourage original research, which would be an obstacle to basing the article on primary sources, which is what you wanted, if I understood your edit comments correctly. And she’s notable as a rare example of a female Hellenic scholar, giving her some importance in women’s history; reference to Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party installation.
The MacLaren book, by the way, is online at Google, and far from stretching Ms. Hestiaea in the direction Wikipedia took her, is quite sober about her, saying merely this, again, in toto (p61):
“He [Strabo] refers to Hestiea, a lady of Alexandria Troas, who had published criticisms on Homer, and came to the same conclusion [that the Trojan Plain was narrower at the time of the Trojan War].”
The citation of Strabo has become original research, and a clear misinterpretation of the comment on Strabo by a 19c hack takes precedence over Strabo himself, requiring “evidence” to fix. Then we wonder why Wikipedia is such a mess.
The key, of course, is in the political propaganda of Judy Chicago: what is really sacrosanct is the use of Hestiea’s bare name, making her (maybe) more than she was, in order to pump up a feminist agenda. Golly, A Woman In Antiquity Who Wrote.