Homer's People: Epic Poetry and Social Formation

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 6, 2000 - History - 240 pages
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This is the first study to examine in detail the role and character of Homer's people (Greek laoi) in Homeric story-telling, arguing that Homeric poetry is crucially concerned with the people as a basis for communal life. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey are read as sustained meditations on the processes involved in protecting and destroying the people. The investigation draws on a wide range of approaches from formulaic analysis to the study of early performance contexts.
  

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Contents

Laoi in early Greek hexameter poetry
14
Shepherd of the people
17
Privilege and obligation
20
An epic ideal
24
The failed ideal
28
Social structures
32
An incurable imbalance
35
Negative reciprocity
37
The people at the end
125
The group dies for its leader
126
The leader kills his group
137
Conclusion
143
Laos epic in performance
145
Some preliminary considerations
147
Homers people outside Homer
152
Similarities
153

Society and the stone
40
The people of the Achaeans
43
Conclusion
45
Homers people
47
The theme
48
Agamemnon
52
Achilles
68
Hector
83
The people at the end
95
Conclusion
98
Laoi in the Odyssey
100
The theme
102
Laoi and companions
104
Laoi and suitors
110
Differences
160
The founding people
163
Leos ritual
173
Ritual formulae
174
A festival of institutional progress
183
Laos epic in performance
188
Conclusion
195
Epic formulae
197
Ritual formulae
202
Bibliography
203
General index
218
Index of passages cited
225
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Johannes Haubold is Leverhulme Senior Lecturer in Greek Literature at Durham University, and director of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East. He is the author of Homer's People: Epic Poetry and Social Formation (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and has edited Plato and Hesiod (2010) together with George Boys-Stones. With Barbara Graziosi he has written articles on Homer and Greek lyric poetry, and Homer: The Resonance of Epic (2005). His next book is based on the Stanford Memorial Lectures he delivered in Dublin in 2008, and will be entitled Greece and Mesopotamia: Dialogues in Literature.

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