Homer's Trojan Theater: Space, Vision, and Memory in the Iliad

Homer's Trojan Theater: Space, Vision, and Memory in the Iliad

Jenny Strauss Clay

Language: English

Pages: 148

ISBN: 2:00230203

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Moving away from the verbal and thematic repetitions that have dominated Homeric studies and exploiting the insights of cognitive psychology, this highly innovative and accessible study focuses on the visual poetics of the Iliad as the narrative is envisioned by the poet and rendered visible. It does so through a close analysis of the often-neglected 'Battle Books'. They here emerge as a coherently visualized narrative sequence rather than as a random series of combats, and this approach reveals, for instance, the significance of Sarpedon's attack on the Achaean Wall and Patroclus' path to destruction. In addition, Professor Strauss Clay suggests new ways of approaching ancient narratives: not only with one's ear, but also with one's eyes. She further argues that the loci system of mnemonics, usually attributed to Simonides, is already fully exploited by the Iliad poet to keep track of his cast of characters and to organize his narrative.
















river in spate . . . On occasion the hypothetical viewer evaluates or reacts to the action as if he were present, as in this passage praised by Pseudo-Longinus where the direct address “makes the hearer seem to find himself in the middle of dangers” (–n m”ssoiv to±v kindÅnoiv poioÓsa t¼n ˆkroatŸn doke±n str”jesqai [26.1]): ja©hv k ì ˆkm tav kaª ˆteir”av ˆllžloisin Šntesq ì –n pol”m , Þv –ssum”nwv –m†conto. You would say that they were tireless and unwearied As they stood opposite each other in

my left may be your right).10 Critical to our understanding of the Iliad ’s action is the realization that its orientation of right and left remains constant throughout and is always seen from the perspective of a narrator situated in the center of the Greek camp facing the Trojan plain. Thus an Achaean warrior may speak of his location as “to the left of the battle,” but while the narrator can locate Hector “to the left of the battle,” Hector’s comrade Cebriones speaks of the Trojan’s position

opposition to the unmarked aorist.59 The distinction is not confined to the verb forms: in the aorist we usually find individually named warriors and their victims as opposed to the anonymous “they” or “Greeks” and “Trojans” of the generalized activities in the imperfect. This usage, however, does not quite parallel Latacz’s distinction between massed battle (Massenkampf ) and individual encounters (Einzelkampf ), since both usually use the aorist.60 However, as we shall see, in those passages

light, and shimmering vision; and the joyful reaction of the shepherd is surely an expression of the Trojans’ triumphal mood at 15 Cf. 3.10–11, 4.275–80, 13.492–93, and Od. 6.102–106. 8 Introduction their strategic advance. At 10.13, moreover, we learn that they are sufficiently self-assured to be playing music in their bivouac, an overt sign of their ease and self-confidence. But the pleasure of the internal observer also invites the audience to be entranced by the sheer beauty of the scene

Parry’s work and that of his followers nevertheless did not fundamentally alter the coordinates of the Homeric Question that had dominated discussion since the end of the eighteenth century. The focus remained on the composition and the mechanics of the production, whether oral or written, of the Homeric poems. A new interest in the performance and reception of archaic Greek 1 2 The expression o³oi nÓn broto© e«s ì occurs at 5.304; 12.383, 449; 20.287; cf. 1.272 and Od. 8.222. There is no point

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