Odyssey

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Odyssey




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Presentations text content in Odyssey

Slide1

Odyssey

Slide2

Homer and the Odyssey

Following are some notes on Homer and what scholars call the “Homeric Question,” as well as an introduction to the text. My notes follow for Books 1-10; you are responsible for reading the whole epic, so

read carefully!

Slide3

Homer

I. Homer

-nothing certain is known of his life

-according to tradition he was from Ionia, possibly from Chios or Smyrna

-legend has it that he was blind

Slide4

Homer

II. The “Homeric Question”

-most ancient and modern scholars up to the 18th century assumed that Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey

-Josephus, an ancient historian, is a notable early exception

-in the 18th century, Robert Wood posed the idea regarding oral composition again; F.A. Wolf suggested that Homer composed shorter poems which were later put together into the form that we now have them

-Wolf’s suggestion led scholars to try to separate out the original parts of the poem from later additions = Analyst School

Slide5

Homer

-Other scholars analyzed the actual language of the epics, noting that the Greek of the epics is a combination of

Aeolic

forms (early) and Ionic forms (late), with some Attic forms present as well.

-Historical clues in the text are also problematic since there are artifacts from different time periods.

Examples:

-both bronze and iron are used

-two marriage systems operate

Slide6

Homer

Eclectic conclusion: texts are a mixture of different periods of time as well as dialects

-Unitarian Approach focused on the epic as a whole, on its merits, its design, etc.

Slide7

Homer

III.

Milman

Parry and Albert Lord

-in the 1930s, the work of

Milman

Parry and Albert Lord convincingly demonstrated the oral nature of the Homeric poems.

-they showed that epithets and formulaic lines and passages are the building blocks of the oral poet

-Epithet: noun-adjective group that fits into a particular position of the metrical line.

Examples:

swift-footed Achilles

ox-eyed Hera

rosy-fingered Dawn

much-suffering Odysseus

Slide8

Homer

Oral composition conclusion: the epics are improvisational poetry in many respects, as the oral poet never delivers the same version twice

Slide9

Odyssey

Five [-and-a-half] things:

Author

Homer

Title

Odyssey

Date

Late 8th century

bc

Location

Greece

Language

Greek

Slide10

Odyssey

[textual tradition/edition]

Don't forget: this is a recent translation of recent edition (Stanley Lombardo). Read the intro and the translator's notes. Realize the limitations and the assets this version presents. On the tradition of the text, see pp.

lviii-lix

in

Murnaghan's

introduction.

Slide11

Odyssey

Oral poetry (once again) transmitted to written form coincidentally with the development of writing in the Archaic period; the stories are important enough to be codified into forms in the 6th century in Athens (beginning of the classical period); Alexandrian poet-scholars and text critics divide the books into 24 in the 3rd century; then follows a familiar story about copying and transmission from then till the 1430's; the tradition is rich, though, and includes lots of commentary (

scholia

) from the Alexandrian period through the Late Antique. Manuscripts survive from 500 years after it was first in written form (earliest papyrus evidence from 3rd c.

bc

: found in mummy wrappings) but most of our evidence survives in

handcopied

texts from the 10-15 c (mostly the 15th). A great many MSS survive, more than the 108 that my old OCT uses, but of course some are more or less complete than others (a verse here, a word there, whole books and whole epics in other places).

Slide12

Odyssey

Major literary concerns:

Greek epic and its conventions

Thematic conventions

Gods and men

Heroism

Class

Violence

Glory

Slide13

Odyssey

Literary conventions

Language

Meter

In medias res

Deus ex

machina

Orality

and repetition

Epithets

Slide14

Odyssey

Identity

Nostos

Civilization v barbarism (and attendant anxieties and laws)

Fathers and sons

Women's work v men's work

Xenia

Women in the Odyssey

The king

Slide15

Odyssey

Power of speech, including poetry and song

The trickster

Nekyia

Slide16

Odyssey

The text:

Setting: 13th - 12th c

bc

1.1 Memory (muses); wanderer = POLYTROPON

1.13-16

nostos

1.15 Odysseus named (1.21 in

greek

): delayed identity

1.17, 25 gods and men

1.35: emphasis on the end of Agamemnon &

Aegisthos

(and connection with

Telemachus

cf

315)

1.38 (cf. 1.54): witlessness v discerning / cunning (

metis

) (cf. 1.72)

1.47 etc.: Hermes, Zeus, Athena, be familiar with pantheon

1.68: the pun is there in Greek actually - a poetic translation here et passim

1.75-76 the plot: why Odysseus is off course: book 9; also cf. 1.9 (cattle of Hyperion)

1.91 ff: 2-pronged approach (sympathetic magic): a

Telemachid

and an

Odyssey

Slide17

Odyssey

1.112: Mentis; cf. Mentor book 2

1.115 and many other places - notice the conventions of xenia: 129, 132-33

1.165:

phemius

and song and poetry

1.198: iron (an anachronism: consider history

vis

a

vis

setting and telling)

1.201: xenia and how it works

intergenerationally

1.218 prophecy and augury

1.230ff: it's a wise man who knows his own father: anxiety re women; emphasis on male line

1.266 ruining the house

1.277 ff.: the wily and deadly one - that's the hero we know in Odysseus

1.287: coming into his own; the emphasis on public speech and boldness, which will unfold first with mother then with suitors (

cf

310; 365ff)

Slide18

Odyssey

1.299, 302, 303:

nestor

,

menelaus

(know the figures)

1.328-29 xenia

1.340 hidden identity and epiphany

1.343

nostos

-

autoreflexive

(

cf

390)

1.375-6 women's work v men's;

telemachus

lord of the house

1.404ff

antinous

and his sass

1.452: notice

eurykleia

; and other women in the Odyssey

Slide19

Odyssey

Book 2: understand the importance of

ekklesia

; speech; role of king;

Book 3: understand the importance of Mentor / Nestor / Peisistratus

Slide20

Odyssey

4.125 ff women's names and importance of women in Odyssey

4.151:

helen's

self-opinion: shameless

4.192: weeping: the ethos of the epic hero

4.233: drugs, especially in the hands of women (

cf

Circe etc; here analgesic); also attendant ethnography with Egyptian and other eastern exotica

4.265 etc Odysseus' trick with Helen in troy; cf. the horse, etc. (cf. 298: she's wily too)

4.313 iron again

4.325: innermost chamber: all speaks to anxiety of place and civilization:

cf

end of the epic, etc

4.327:

repitition

of dawn and rosy fingers (epic convention and epithet)

Slide21

Odyssey

4.368 emphasis on athletics

4.378 what a line: the gods never allow us to forget them - how often is that true in this epic?

4.413: again with the doubt of the father

4.439: shepherd: cf.

Polyphemus

4.458 dawn

4.480 etc. notice emphasis on metamorphosis cf. wiles

4.536ff - long excursus on Agamemnon; notice 561ff the

odyssean

version of his death (

cf

Aeschylus)

4.599: the reason to marry Helen

4.606 dawn

Slide22

Odyssey

5.1 dawn again

5.8 still? (epic convention) - the end of

telemachid

, and now we get the odyssey

5.10, 14 the king & father (and she's talking to Zeus after all)

5.40 etc: why it's good to be

odysseus

:

kleios

- glory

5.50: caduceus and other phallic symbols

5.55 etc: notice epic similes: comparatively rare in the odyssey (cf.

iliad

)

5.66 women's work even among goddesses cf.

circe

and even

athene

5.70 ff interesting: catalog

5.102 the relationship between gods and men

5.118 sexual politics among gods and among goddesses with mortals: dawn with

tithonous

; interesting nod to

ortygia

(

asterie

)

Slide23

Odyssey

5.184 the oath by the

styx

- why powerful?

5.190 iron

5.211 ff the gulf between gods and men - or at least between goddesses and women - beauty v domestic assets - relation to

nostos

5.227: made sweet love. brown-chicken-brown-cow!

5.330 epic simile

5.335

ino

: an interesting history w

cadmus

5.371, 397, 435, 493 epic simile

Slide24

Odyssey

6.40 laundry: women's work

6.49 dawn

6.101, 240 epic simile

6.148: the

odyssean

technique: soft and winning speech

6.186: the asset of marriage; relationship to

nostos

6.212:

xenoi

6.229

pudicitia

6.235 epic convention: the class: the beauty

6.331 the patron

athene

Slide25

Odyssey

Book 7: understand the importance of xenia and athletics,

odysseus

glory in the discus;

Book 8: understand the importance of

demodocus

' song about

ares

and

aphrodite

and the attendant connections with the

tbemes

of men and women, rape of

helen

, etc.; hidden identity of Odysseus, etc.

Slide26

Odyssey

8.516: bards are revered

8.564-565, 585 weeping again: the ethos of the hero

8.570 etc. epic simile

8.595-6 xenia again; plain truth, no trick (cf.

Polyphemus

)

Slide27

Odyssey

9.21 identity:

i

am

odysseus

,

laertes

' son

9.37

nostos

9.62: #1

Cicones

9.85: #2 Lotus eaters

9.103: #3 Cyclopes

9.104-112: lots on civilization v barbarism; xenia; law & relationship to gods

9.116 etc. goats (and sheep) and virgin land: the pastoral ideal

9.146: (et passim): more dawn

9.153: 12 ships

9.168-172: more xenia,

civ

, barbarism, etc.

9.182ff: what price barbarism (no society)

9.206: ditto

9.219-220: ditto

Slide28

Odyssey

9.246-247: the Cyclops' assumptions

9.258ff: the same issues

9.274:

i

knew all the tricks

9.280 ff:

homophagia

9.288: outrage

9.321: glory from

athene

9.330: fate: whom

i

would have chosen

9.348-9: irony: he doesn't WANT anyone to meet him

9.360ff:

Noman

:

cf

the rest of the identity delay thru the piece etc.

9.368 the Cyclops' gift

Slide29

Odyssey

9.380-392: the phallic, the similes, the anachronism - a lot going on there

9.405: some kind of trick

9.410: again, what price loner

9.418, 421: as if

i

could be so stupid;

i

wove all sorts of wiles

9.450: apostrophe to a ram

9.463 theft

9.474; 478-479: rubbing it in, and citing xenia the while

9.492, 498 again?!?!: the hero's heart

9.511-513:

vis

vs

mens

Slide30

Odyssey

10.2 #4 Aeolus (an interesting figure)

10.26 bag o winds

10.86 cursed by the gods

10.95 #5

Laestrygonians

(and more

homophagia

10.135: like giants

10.149: 11 ships destroyed

10.153 #6

Aeaea

and Circe and the relationship to

Aeetes

10.237-242: Circe weaving

10.253-257: more drugs

10.280 v 10.315: sword on shoulder at first, highlighting the phallic nature of drawing it from close to the thigh & the point with Circe

Slide31

Odyssey

10.295 helped by

hermes

after all

10.322 anxiety about emasculation

10.325

moly

10.345: grabbed knees

10.352 you must be

od

of many wiles

10:355 sex for trust

10.442-444

nostos

and its relationship to civilization

10.460

Eurylochus

and leadership: kingship

10.488-493 a year? think about home (

nostos

again)


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