Week 6 - Odyssey - Books 1-4

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Published on 15 Aug 2012
School
UTSG
Department
Classics
Course
CLA160H1
Professor
Lecture #6 Page 1
Week Six - Odyssey 1-4
Monday, February 08, 2010
Introduction to the Odyssey
o Date: 700-650 BC
Absolute date of composition is not known
Not known whether it was written before or after the Odyssey, usually thought to be
the later (contested)
Also not known if this predates Hesiod
Dating is based on linguistic evidence
Seems that the Odyssey does use slighter later linguistic forms that the Iliad
o Authorship
Composed by the same poet as the Iliad?
Probably not
Widely accepted in antiquity that one person composed both
However, there were a few dissenting voices
Same author view has been seriously challenged in modern scholarship
Long history as part of the Homeric Question
First seriously questioned by a Wolf, a German scholar in 1795
Most scholars are now inclined to the view that the two poems were composed
by different poets
Authorship clouded by the oral nature of the poems
Theories:
Held that the author of the Odyssey was a woman BUT this seems unlikely to be
true
No external evidence one way or the other
Have internal evidence, the poem itself suggests male authorship
All the bards in the poems is a man
The poet has a view of poetry as a male occupation
o Relationship between the Iliad and the Odyssey
Even if written by different poets, the Odyssey is still very closely related to the Iliad
Within the broad oral tradition of Greece during LHIIIC
Similarities:
Use the same sort of composition techniques
Use of formulaic language in both, identical formulas
Use of type scenes as well
Differences:
The Odyssey uses different vocabulary for everyday items
e.g.) bowls, tables
One thing used to suggest a different author
Also used to suggest that it was written at a different time or at a different
place where they and slightly different terms
Over the course of one person's lifetime could vocabulary change?
Never refers directly to any event in the Iliad
No event described in the Iliad is described in the Odyssey
Hard to know what to make of that
Would be surprising if the same poet composed both because of this
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Document Summary

Introduction to the odyssey: date: 700-650 bc. Absolute date of composition is not known. Not known whether it was written before or after the odyssey, usually thought to be the later (contested) Also not known if this predates hesiod. Seems that the odyssey does use slighter later linguistic forms that the iliad: authorship. Widely accepted in antiquity that one person composed both. However, there were a few dissenting voices. Same author view has been seriously challenged in modern scholarship. Long history as part of the homeric question. First seriously questioned by a wolf, a german scholar in 1795. Most scholars are now inclined to the view that the two poems were composed by different poets. Authorship clouded by the oral nature of the poems. Held that the author of the odyssey was a woman but this seems unlikely to be true. No external evidence one way or the other. Have internal evidence, the poem itself suggests male authorship.

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