The Fall of Troy in Early Greek Poetry and Art

The Fall of Troy in Early Greek Poetry and Art

The Fall of Troy in Early Greek Poetry and Art

The Fall of Troy in Early Greek Poetry and Art

Synopsis

Greek myth-makers crafted the downfall of Troy and its rulers into an archetypal illustration of ruthless conquest, deceit, crime and punishment, and the variability of human fortunes. This book examines the major episodes in the archetypal myth--the murder of Priam, the rape of Kassandra, the reunion of Helen and Menelaos, and the escape of Alnelas--as witnessed in Archaic Greek epic, fifth-century Athenian drama, and Athenian black- and red-figure vase painting. It focuses in particular on the narrative artistry with which poets and painters balanced these episodes with one another and interwtined them with other chapters in the story of Troy.

Excerpt

In the formulaic diction of the Iliad the theme of persis, destruction, is often intertwined with the theme of nostos, the return to the fatherland which will follow the conquest of the city. In a strikingly alliterative line of book 1, for example, Chryses wishes the Achaians success in sacking Troy and returning home: 'to pound the polis of Priam and arrive safely home' (ἐκπέρσαι Πριαμοιο πόδιν, εὐ+̑ δ' οε+̥καδ' ίκέσΘαι -- 1. 19). Persis and nostos are again juxtaposed within a single line when Agamemnon in book 2 recalls Zeus' promise of victory and return: 'who solemnly promised me

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