The Tradition of the Trojan War in Homer and the Epic Cycle

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JHU Press, 30. apr 2003 - 320 pages

Although the Iliad and Odyssey narrate only relatively small portions of the Trojan War and its aftermath, for centuries these works have overshadowed other, more comprehensive narratives of the conflict, particularly the poems known as the Epic Cycle. In The Tradition of the Trojan War in Homer and the Epic Cycle, Jonathan Burgess challenges Homer's authority on the war's history and the legends surrounding it, placing the Iliad and Odyssey in the larger, often overlooked context of the entire body of Greek epic poetry of the Archaic Age. He traces the development and transmission of the Cyclic poems in ancient Greek culture, comparing them to later Homeric poems and finding that they were far more influential than has previously been thought.

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Contents

VI
3
VII
4
VIII
8
IX
29
X
31
XI
40
XII
43
XIII
45
XIX
139
XX
145
XXI
153
XXII
168
XXIII
173
XXIV
177
XXV
179
XXVI
184

XIV
49
XV
90
XVI
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XVII
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XVIII
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XXVIII
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XXX
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XXXI
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XXXII
275
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Page 122 - The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry ? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Page 143 - Aristotle is allowing the epic poet in general (his italics) his many uO6ot, and the right to compose his 'epic mass' as a whole, chronologically from beginning to end. Any other epic poet (his italics) would have done just that, and that is just what other epic poets did with their own subjects. But Homer's Iliad is not that generic 'Iliad,' and Homer was not just any other epic poet.
Page 121 - Before you die, do good to your friend; reach out as far as you can to help him. Do not miss a day's enjoyment or forego your share of innocent pleasure.
Page 139 - Cypria's account of the death of Troilus might lead naturally to a mention of her fate. But the scholion about Polyxena suggests a complete narrative of her death and burial. That would be too detailed for a prediction by a character, and rather tangential and distracting as a digression by the poet (one might also wonder why a poem designed to introduce the Iliad would be so concerned with post-Iliadic events). A third solution to the problem should not be denied out of hand because it is not compatible...
Page 121 - Give and receive; indulge yourself; you need not expect luxuries in the grave. Man's body wears out like a garment; for the ancient sentence stands: You shall die. In the thick foliage of a growing tree one crop of leaves falls and another grows instead; so the generations of flesh and blood pass with the death of one and the birth of another.
Page 137 - ... mention Briseis and Chryseis at all if it did not know the story of Achilles' quarrel with Agamemnon and subsequent withdrawal from battle. One of the more compelling points made by Kullmann, however, is that Zeus's second plan in the Cypria does not exactly correspond to Thetis' request in the Iliad. In the Cypria the quarrel is part of Zeus's plan, and his purpose is to help the Trojans. In the Iliad, Zeus agrees to a request by Thetis after the quarrel, and the request is to honor her son....
Page 245 - Cf. Ahl and Roisman 16-26, who complain (17) that most critics "in practice if not always in theory" consider Cyclic material to be variations on Homer.
Page xvi - The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd ed., ed. S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 716-17.
Page 152 - A better explanation of such general similarity with minor differences is that the Iliad and the Cypria independently belonged to the same tradition. In that case, correspondence between the two would not necessarily be the result of influence.28 There is some indication that details related to the story of Chryseis and her capture belong to pre-Homeric tradition. The numerous and detailed references in the Iliad to the sacking of cities in the Troad, especially Thebe, suggests that the capture of...

About the author (2003)

Jonathan S. Burgess is an associate professor of classical studies at the University of Toronto.

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