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Article

Herbert Jennings Rose and Jenny March

Nausicaa, in Homer'sOdyssey the young daughter of *Alcinous (1), king of the Phaeacians (see scheria), and Arete. In book 6, moved by *Athena in a dream, she goes to the river-mouth to do the family washing, and is playing ball with her maids when the shipwrecked *Odysseus comes out of hiding and begs her help. He is almost naked, and the maids run away in fear; but Nausicaa, given courage by Athena, stands her ground and promises him her help. She gives him food, drink, and clothing, shows him the way to the city, and advises him on how to behave to her parents. She admits to herself that she would like to marry him, and Alcinous is ready to agree to this (7.311 ff.), but Odysseus is eager to return home to *Penelope. He bids farewell to Nausicaa, assuring her that he owes her his life and will remember her always (8.457–468). According to a later story, she married *Telemachus (Hellanicus, FGrH 4 F 156).

Article

Joseph Farrell

The idea that a writer’s works form the record of a clearly defined career is a familiar but relatively understudied aspect of ancient literary history. In Greek literature, relevant motifs appear already in Homer (in the Iliad, Achilles’ self-referential singing of klea andron (9.189) in combination with Telemachus’s defense of Phemius’s novel, post-Iliadic theme in the Odyssey (1.345–352), and Hesiod (initiated by the Muses at Theogony 22–34 and at Works and Days 650–662 previously victorious—with Theogony?—in a singing contest at the funeral games of Amphidamas). But thinkers of the archaic and classical periods generally considered a poet’s work in a single genre as an expression of his immanent character, and not as the result of a career choice. Beginning with Thucydides and Xenophon, however, retired military men and politicians establish a normative career pattern in the genre of history. But in the Hellenistic period, as poets cultivate expertise in many genres (polyeideia), the career motif begins to come in to view.

Article

A. Sens

The Batrachomyomachia (BM), the “Battle of Frogs and Mice,” is a mock epic poem of slightly more than 300 dactylic hexameter verses, broadly imitating the language and style of Homer. The poem was widely read as a school text in the Byzantine period. As transmitted in the manuscripts, it contains a number of interpolated verses, and the generally problematic character of the textual tradition complicates the assessment of a number of passages. The work has been variously dated, but it is more likely to be the work of the late Hellenistic period than of the early Classical age, since it contains what appear to be allusions to Moschus’s Europa and Callimachus’s Aetia, and its language shows the influence of Latin. References to the poem in the preface to the Silvae of Statius (1 pr.) and in an epigram of Martial (14.183) provide a terminus ante quem in the last decades of the 1st century ce.

Article

A mythic king of the Trojans, son of Dardanus and Batea, and father of Troos. Little is known about the Trojan Erichthonius, apart from what is related in Homer—he was the grandson of Zeus, son of Dardanus and the father of Troos, the progenitor of the Trojans (Iliad20.215-234).1Later elaborations add that his wife is named either Callirrhoe (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1.62.2) Astyoche, and that his siblings alternatively include Ilus (Apollod. 3.12.2) or Zacynthus (Dionys. Ant. Rom. 1.50.3), along with a sister named Idaea (Diod. Sic. 4.43).Fabulously wealthy, he had a beautiful herd of horses with which Boreas mated, producing a line of supernatural horses that could run on the water (Iliad20.215-234, possibly Hesiod, fr. 177, lin. 14 =P. Oxy. 1359 fr. 2, ed. Grenfell–Hun, Oppian Cynegetica 1.225)—and are probably a mythic variant for the supernatural horses that Troos receives from Zeus in exchange for Ganymedes (Apollod.

Article

Laura Miguélez-Cavero

Triphiodorus, who originated from Egypt and lived in the 3rd century ce, was an epic poet and teacher of grammar whose only extant work is The Sack of Troy (691 lines, narrating the final events of the Trojan War).Triphiodorus means “gift of Triphis,” a local deity of Panopolis (modern Akhmim) in Upper Egypt, and was a common name in Panopolis itself and all over Upper Egypt. This and the entry of the Suda (T 1111), calling him an Egyptian, have led to the conclusion that he originated from the area of Panopolis. The Suda actually includes two entries under the same name, the first (T 1111) calling him a poet and grammarian (γραμματικὸς καὶ ποιητὴς ἐπῶν) and attributing to him Marathoniaca (Μαραθωνιακά, on the battle of Marathon, or more likely on Theseus and the Marathonian bull, as in Callimachus’ Hecale), The Sack of Troy.

Article

epic  

Philip Hardie

At the summit of the ancient hierarchy of genres, epic narrates in hexameter verse the deeds of gods, heroes, and men The authority of Homer, the name given to the composer of the Iliad and the Odyssey, ensures that the forms and conventions of the Homeric poems are determinative for the whole of the Greco-Roman tradition of epic. From an early date, the production and reading of epic poems was accompanied by intensive scholarly and critical activity. Over the centuries, numerous epics were written on both legendary and historical subjects, as the genre responded to changing aesthetic and ideological conditions. In Rome, Virgil’s Aeneid successfully established for itself an authority comparable to that of the Homeric poems, and all later Latin epics place themselves within a Virgilian tradition. Epic in Greek and Latin continues to flourish in late antiquity, when Christian writers appropriate its forms to propagate their own messages and praise their own heroes.

Article

thymos  

Douglas Cairns

Thymos (or thumos), cognate with Indo-European words meaning “smoke,” is one of a number of terms in Greek which associate psychological activity with air and breath. In the Homeric poems, thymos is one of a family of terms associated with internal psychological process of thought, emotion, volition, and motivation. Though the range of the term’s applications in Homer is wide, that in itself gives us a sense of the unity of cognitive, affective, and desiderative processes in Homeric psychology. No post-Homeric author can rival that range, but something of the richness of the Homeric conception of thymos as an interrelated set of motivations re-emerges in Plato’s conception of the tripartite soul in the Republic and the Phaedrus. Plato’s thymos represents a pared-down model of human agency typified by one central desire or aim in life but also exhibiting whatever further capacities of persons are necessary to enable it to pursue that aim in interaction with the other elements of the personality. As in Homer, the metaphorical agency of Plato’s thymos does not detract from the notion of the individual as the real centre of agency.

Article

Christopher Gill

The notion of “self” is a non-technical one, bridging the areas of psychology and ethics or social relations. Criteria for selfhood include psychological unity or cohesion, agency, responsibility, self-consciousness, reflexivity, and capacity for relationships with others. “Self” is a modern concept with no obvious lexical equivalent in Greek (or Latin); the question therefore arises of the relationship between the modern concept and ancient thinking, as embodied in Greek literature. Three approaches to this question can be identified. One focuses on the idea that there is development within Greek literature towards an understanding of the self or person as a cohesive unit and bearer of agency and responsibility. Another approach sees certain aspects of Greek literature and philosophy as prefiguring some features of the modern concept of self. A third approach underlines the difference between the Greek and modern thought worlds in the formulation of concepts in this area, while also suggesting that Greek ideas and modes of presenting people can be illuminating to moderns, in part because of the challenge posed by their difference. These approaches draw on a range of evidence, including psychological vocabulary, characterization in Greek literature, and Greek philosophical analyses of ethical psychology. There are grounds for maintaining the credibility of all three approaches, and also valid criticisms that can be made of each of them.

Article

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

Richard Hunter

Greek discussion of unified organic form, as both a biological principle and a literary virtue, has been very influential in Western criticism. What survives before late antiquity of that Greek tradition as applied to literature is, however, relatively sparse; crucial above all are the Homeric poems and ancient discussion of them, together with some passages of Plato and Aristotle. The fact that the bulk of later surviving criticism derives from rhetorical teaching, heavily indebted to the Isocratean tradition, means that much greater prominence is given to the closely related ideas of variety (poikilia) and the avoidance of monotony over the course of a long work, and to the arrangement and ordering (taxis) of narrative than to “unity”; there is no standard term for “unity” in Greek criticism.Homer announces the subject of the Iliad as the wrath of Achilles, which wrought terrible destruction upon the Greeks, but, however dominant the story of the wrath and its consequences, the scope of the poem is clearly not limited to that subject. Reflection upon the Iliad stands at the beginning and the heart of ancient discussion of unity, and it is the Iliad that shows why “unity” and “variety” are entirely compatible in ancient criticism.

Article

Steven J. Green

The Ilias Latina is a short poem composed in Latin hexameter that retells Homer’s Iliad. It is generally attributed to Baebius Italicus and dated to c. 54–65 ce. The analysis of the poem reveals how the Homeric Iliadic material has been reimagined to fit Roman, post-Virgilian and Neronian sensibilities, and to showcase the human emotions underlying the Trojan War.The Ilias Latina is a poem composed in Latin hexameter that retells Homer’s Iliad in 1,070 verses. Most commonly referred to as Ilias Latina [Latin Iliad], a title coined by Emil Baehrens in his 1881 edition, the manuscripts refer to the poem variously as Epitome Iliados Homeri [Epitome of the Iliad of Homer], Liber Homeri [Book of Homer], or Homerus (de bello Troiano) [Homer (concerning the Trojan war)]. It is popularly attributed to Baebius Italicus, following the manuscript Vindobonensis Latinus 3509 [Bebii Italici] and taking note of an apparent acrostic created (with small emendation) from the first letter of the opening and closing eight verses of the poem: .

Article

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 .