By Neil Croally and Roy Hyde (editors)
Classical Literature: An creation offers a sequence of essays on the entire significant authors of Greek and Latin literature, in addition to on a few writers much less frequently learn. An introductory bankruptcy offers info on vital normal themes, corresponding to poetic metres, patronage and symposia. The literature is installed ancient context, and the fabric is prepared chronologically, but additionally via style or writer, as applicable; every one part or bankruptcy has feedback for extra studying. The e-book levels from Homer to the writers of the later Roman Empire, and incorporates a thesaurus, a chronology of literary and political occasions, and beneficial maps exhibiting the origins of historic writers. the gathering could be crucial for college students and others who need a dependent and informative advent to the literature of the classical international.
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Extra info for Classical Literature: An Introduction
On the whole, however, thinking in terms of expediency or ease of composition is a very limited way in which to reflect critically on the richness of the Homeric poems. Repetition, lists, digressions It has been estimated that about a fifth of the lines in the Homeric poems involve repetition, whether of individual words, short phrases or longer passages. Sometimes these repeated passages may rest a performer’s memory or offer an audience relief, but there may be method behind the poet’s choice: throughout the books of fighting in the Iliad, for example, one hears the thud of falling bodies in an alliterative refrain at the start of a line, doupe¯ sen de peso¯ n, ‘and he fell with a thud’ (Il.
Then on Ithaca we briefly meet the father of Antiphus, one of the men killed and eaten by ‘the savage Cyclops in his hollow cave’ (Od. 19–20). In other words, the audience’s Homer 37 expectations are aroused long before the storytelling begins, which leaves scope for dramatic irony: we know that Odysseus will blind the Cyclops, but not how or why. The story seems well established before the version we find in Odyssey 9, which might explain why a key detail like the fact that the Cyclops has only one eye is never made explicit.
In conclusion, we simply do not know when the poems were first written down or how long after their composition. The first specific references to a written text are from the tyranny of Peisistratus of Athens (560–27) whose library, presumably consisting of rolls of papyrus or leather, Xerxes is said to have removed to Persia when he sacked Athens in 480. Peisistratus or his son Hipparchus is credited with systematizing the text of Homer for performance by rhapsodes at Athens’ great festival, the Panathenaea and, as we saw at the start of this chapter, most people in classical Athens experienced the Homeric poems aurally rather than by reading them.