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CLAS 104 (37)
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Department
Classical Studies
Course
CLAS 104
Professor
Ronald Kroeker
Semester
Spring

Description
HomerWehavealreadylookedatsomeoftheleaduptotheTrojanWarintheMycenaeansagaThestoriessurroundingtheTrojanwarwereperhapsthemostimportantintheGreekworldandfromthe8thcenturyBCthestoryoftheTrojanwarrecountedmostprominentlyinHomersIliadwastoldandretoldaroundtheGreekworldInexaminingthestoryoftheTrojanwarwearegoingtospendalotoftimetalkingabouttheIliadattributedtoHomerbutwewillalsolookoutsideofthisworkLetmebeginhoweverbylookingabitatHomerthesupposedauthoroftheIliadandtheOdysseywhichwewilllookatinthenextEssentialElementTheancientsknewverylittleaboutHomerancientbiographiesdoexistbutlittleofwhatwefindinthesecanbeconsideredfactThefigureofHomerinantiquityasmuchperhapsascertainGreekheroesbecamemythologizedOneanonymousancientbiographerforexampletellsusthatHomerdiedwhenhecouldnotworkouttheriddleofsomeArcadianfishermanAllthatwecaughtweleftbehindallthatwemissedwecarrytheanswerisliceClearlywearenottobelievemuchifanythingwhichwehearintheseaccountsTheonlyaspectofthevariousaccountswhichwemightwanttoplacesomefaithinisHomersapparentconnectionwithIoniainNorthernAsiaMinorThetwogreatepicstheIliadandOdysseyarewrittenintheGreekIonicdialectandthereisgoodreasontoconnectthecompositionofthesepoemswiththatareaButwecannotbecertaineventhatasinglecomposerexistedIthaslongbeenrecognizedthatthestoryoftheTrojanwarwastoldacrossmanygenerationsinanoraltraditionInthiswayevenifweimagineasinglecomposertohaveputtogethertheIliadaswehaveittodaywemustacceptthatthestoryistheresultofatraditionofculturaltransmissionandinventionratherthantheworkofasinglecomposerThisrecognitionoforalcompositiontheoryandalongtraditionoforalpoetrywhichpredatedthecompositionintheoriginalsenseofthewordaputtingtogetheroftheIliadaswehaveitinperhapsthelate8thor7thcenturiesisparticularlyimportantinexplainingcertain
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