7
Conflicting Claims on Homer

THE TOMB OF ACHILLES AND
THE TOPOGRAPHY OF THE TROAD
The Aeolians had their own motives for claiming the territory of Sigeion as their very own Iliadic space. The tomb of the hero Achilles was understood to be located in Aeolian territory, specifically in the environs of Sigeion. As we are about to see, the Aeolians connected this poetic territory, this Iliadic space, with epic references to the tomb of Achilles. And so too did the Athenians. Such conflicting claims on Iliadic space stemmed from conflicting claims on Homer himself.In order to make this argument, I need to start by returning to two points I stressed earlier:
1. The city of Mytilene in Lesbos was supposedly representing all Aeolic-speaking Hellenes when it claimed the Iliadic territory of Aeolian Sigeion.
2. The motive of the Athenians in counterclaiming for themselves the territory of Sigeion was predicated on this previous claim of the Mytilenaeans.

So far, I have noted that the territory of Sigeion was understood to be the site of the tomb of Achilles. But there is more to it. Achilles was worshipped as a cult hero at this tomb. Both the tomb and the hero cult of Achilles in the vicinity of Sigeion in the Troad had been for the Aeolians a metonymy for the Iliad—that is, for their epic tradition about the Trojan War. The objective of the Athenians was to appropriate for themselves a comparable metonymy.

There is a plethora of external evidence about the status of Achilles as a cult hero.1

1. Shaw 2001 gives a survey.

-147-

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Homer the Preclassic
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - A Preclassical Homer from the Dark Age 3
  • 1 - Homer and the Athenian Empire 9
  • 2 - Homer outside His Poetry 29
  • 3 - Homer and His Genealogy 59
  • 4 - Homer in the Homeric Odyssey 79
  • 5 - Iliadic Multiformities 103
  • Part II - A Preclassical Homer from the Bronze Age 129
  • 6 - Variations on a Theme of Homer 133
  • 7 - Conflicting Claims on Homer 147
  • 8 - Homeric Variations on a Theme of Empire 218
  • 9 - Further Variations on a Theme of Homer 254
  • 10 - Homer and the Poetics of Variation 273
  • Epilegomena - A Preclassical Text of Homer in the Making 311
  • Bibliography 383
  • Index Locorum 403
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