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Stasinus, of Cyprus, poet  

Martin Litchfield West

Poet sometimes named as author of the Cypria (see epic cycle). *Pindar (fr. 265 S.-M.) already knew the story that *Homer gave Stasinus the poem as a dowry. The tale served to reconcile alternative ascriptions.

Article

neoanalysis  

Christos Tsagalis

Neoanalysis is a method of interpreting Homeric poetry that aims to discover the sources of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Like the 19th-century analysts, neoanalysts study the genetic aspect of the Homeric poems, but instead of trying to distinguish different layers or versions (Schichtenanalyse), they seek to identify source material from other poems that preceded the received Homeric epics.

The term “neoanalysis,” coined by Kakridis,1 was invented to describe a method of interpreting Homeric epic that responds to the analytical school which dissected the Iliad and Odyssey into smaller epics in order to arrive at the “proto-Iliad” (Urilias) and “proto-Odyssey” (Urodyssee) as the genuine works of Homer. Like the analytical school, neoanalysis locates poetic inconcinnities, gaps, and narrative fissures in the text, but unlike the analytical school it does not explain them as resulting from the work of different poets who added, omitted, and changed entire scenes and episodes. Instead, neoanalysis argues that these supposed problems can be explained by the transfer of motifs (and, to a lesser extent, of phraseology) from pre-Homeric poetry. Whereas, for the analytical school, poetic quality stems solely from Homeric ingenuity, for neoanalysis it results from the highly creative interaction of Homer with earlier epic poetry.

Article

Achilles  

Jonathan S. Burgess

Achilles is the grandson of Aeacus of Aigina and son of Peleus and the Nerei.d Thetis. He rules the Myrmidons of Phthia in southern Thessaly and is generally considered the best (aristos) of the Greeks in the Trojan War. In Homer’s Iliad he is said to have led fifty ships to Troy (2.681–685). The Iliad’s plot turns on his withdrawal from battle in anger at the Greek commander Agamemnon and his return to take vengeance on Hector for killing his close friend Patroclus. Many episodes in the life of Achilles, including his early life and death at Troy, were popular in Greek and Roman literature and iconography. Summaries of mythological events found in the life of Achilles can be found in the Epitome of Apollodorus and the Fabulae of Hyginus (1st century bce to 1st century ce). Reception of myths about Achilles has continued in post-antiquity.

Article

Epic Cycle  

Jonathan Burgess

Epic Cycle refers to an ancient gathering of thematically linked epics of the Archaic Age on the origins of the gods, the Theban Wars, and the Trojan War. The poems are lost, with few fragments remaining; testimony for their contents and authors. The 9th-century ce Photius provides a general overview. Summaries of the Trojan War epics by Proclus, a 5th-century ce scholar (the date is disputed in modern scholarship), have survived in the manuscript tradition of the Iliad. The contents of the epics were popular throughout Greco-Roman antiquity.Epic Cycle (ἐπικὸς κύκλος) is the term given to a gathering of originally independent epics of the Archaic Age. The poems are mostly lost: less than a hundred and fifty lines of verse survive. Our primary source of information is a concise summary by Proclus of the Trojan war section of the Cycle, preserved in the famous 10th-centuryce manuscript of the .

Article

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Greek epic poet, 2nd/3rd century CE  

Silvio Bär

Quintus Smyrnaeus was a poet of the late 2nd or 3rd century ce, the author of the epic poem the Posthomerica (14 books, 8,786 lines), which covers the narrative lacuna between Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey and thus treats stories that were originally covered by the Epic Cycle. The narrative technique is more episodic and linear than that of the Homeric epics, but it does not lack plot coherence and an overarching design. The language and style is strongly Homericising: vocabulary, syntax, and the use of formulaic phrases resemble that of the Homeric epics to a large degree. At the same time, Quintus’s language is also characterised by Alexandrian traits. In a wider cultural context, Quintus belongs to the same period as the Second Sophistic, and the Posthomerica can be understood as a response to revisionist tendencies against Homer. Scholars debate the question as to whether Quintus still had access to the Epic Cycle and whether he was influenced by Roman authors, especially by Vergil’s Aeneid.

Article

changing landscapes, human impact on  

John Bintliff

The Classical world witnessed many forms of physical landscape change due to long-term and short-term geological and climatological processes. There have also been alterations to the land surface resulting from an interaction between human impact and these natural factors. Cyclical changes in land use, agricultural technology, economy, and politics have continually transformed the rural landscapes of the Mediterranean and the wider Classical world and their mapping, in turn, can shed light on fundamental aspects of ancient society that are not always documented in Classical texts.

As with natural causes of landscape change (see changing landscapes, natural causes of), a useful approach is offered by the chronological framework developed by French historian Fernand Braudel, who envisaged the Mediterranean past as created through the interaction of dynamic forces operating in parallel but on different wavelengths of time: the long term (up to as much as thousands or millions of years, not at all in the awareness of past human agents); the medium term (centuries or more, not clearly cognisant to contemporaries); and the short term (observable within a human lifetime or less).