Homer the Preclassic

Homer the Preclassic

Homer the Preclassic

Homer the Preclassic

Synopsis

Homer the Preclassic considers the development of the Homeric poems-in particular the Iliad and Odyssey -during the time when they were still part of the oral tradition. Gregory Nagy traces the evolution of rival "Homers" and the different versions of Homeric poetry in this pretextual period, reconstructed over a time frame extending back from the sixth century BCE to the Bronze Age. Accurate in their linguistic detail and surprising in their implications, Nagy's insights conjure the Greeks' nostalgia for the imagined "epic space" of Troy and for the resonances and distortions this mythic past provided to the various Greek constituencies for whom the Homeric poems were so central and definitive.

Excerpt

There are two different publication dates for this book: 2009 for the published version that was “born digital” on the website of the Center for Hellenic Studies, and 2010 for the published version as printed by the University of California Press. (The online version contains updated annotations stemming from 2010 and thereafter. These annotations track relevant new debates or discoveries. At II§7 of the online version, for example, corresponding to p. 134 of the printed version, there is an annotation referring to a new debate on the historical value of myths about the so-called “Aeolian Migration.”)

There are many people I want to thank for helping me—so many that I am unable to list them all by name. In general, I express my appreciation to the academic community of the Department of Classics at the University of California in Berkeley, who hosted me as the Sather Professor when I gave my six Sather Classical Lectures in the spring semester of 2002. In particular, I thank Elizabeth Baughan, John Ferrari, Andrew Garrett, Crawford Greenewalt, Mark Griffith, Erich Gruen, Alexander Herda, Robert Knapp, Leslie Kurke, Patricia Larash, Anthony Long, Donald Mastronarde, Stephen Miller, Charles Murgia, Ellen Oliensis, Paul Psoinos, Alain Renoir, Laura Steele, Andrew Stewart. I take this opportunity to thank also all my other colleagues and friends. Seven names stand out: Christopher Dadian, SooYoung Kim, Leonard Muellner, Anita Nikkanen, Jill Curry Robbins, Noel Spencer, and Aliya Williams. My debt to these seven is beyond measure.

Finally, I thank Paul Psoinos for his peerless copy editing, Yue Joy Deng and Jeffrey P. Emanuel for their accurate proofreading, and Valerie Woelfel for her perceptive line drawings.

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