In my paper I shall investigate the meaning of three specific quotations of Homeric poems made by Herodotus. In 2.112, during his inquiries in Egypt about the ancient Pharaoh Proteus, the historian sees a temple devoted to the Foreign Aphrodite, whom he assumes to be Helen, Menelaus’ wife. He asks his sources, the Egyptian priests, when Helen stopped by them, in order to confront the indigenous tradition with the poetic one told by Homer. Herodotus cites two passages from the Odyssey and one from the Iliad: he aims to demonstrate that Homer knew the same version of the story that the priests relate, but chose to overlook it as not suited to his own poetry. Modern commentators have suggested to delete the Odyssey quotations as a gloss, because of their lack of relevance for Herodotus’ purpose. However, it seems possible to propose a different perspective, if one supposes that the three quotations do not just confirm the priests’ tale. In my opinion, these quotations – and the entire episode as a whole – play an important role in Herodotus’ attempt to connect the ancient Egyptian past to the Greek past and, by other means that I shall also consider, to insert the former into a temporal framework which would result fully understandable to a fifth century audience. Homeric quotations evoke the mythical heritage that Herodotus shares with his public and allow him to establish an appropriate ground for understanding, which rests on the interaction between myth and history. The re-contextualisation of what we may call the epic memory into the new cultural frame represented by the Herodotean work reveals how Homeric quotations serve as narrative devices: they are not re-handled, but conformed to the needs of historiographical discourse and its condition of enunciation.