A Companion to Ancient Epic by John Miles Foley

By John Miles Foley

"For people who find themselves drawn to Greek and Roman epic, the e-book is a treasure-house of greatest variety.... The editor and the writer either deserve compliment for a truly nice volume." (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society)

"Blackwell's significant other to historical Epic does simply what the identify indicates: it accompanies readers on trips of exploration during this large (in each feel) box. simply as importantly, the spouse will express new readers why they could are looking to immerse themselves in those poems.... the numerous highlights during this significant other show the worth of asking students to write down for non-specialists. That activity offers a stimulus for brand spanking new degrees of concentration and readability; even rules and fabrics that could be wide-spread turn into clean back after they are provided in such succinct distillations." (Bryn Mawr Classical evaluate)

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E. dactylic hexameter); at considerable length; with many episodes; through a combination of narrative and character speeches and using elevated vocabulary and unusual words (1459b9–18). ’’ A second important implication of choosing tragedy as his model is that the spirit of competitive dramatic production in Athens infiltrates Aristotle’s own analysis. The habit of making value judgments must have been normal for Athenians of several generations, accustomed as they were to see one playwright each year awarded first place at the Dionysiac festival, by the decision of a citizen panel.

The usefulness of such a broadened class, within Greek tradition, becomes clear when we look once again at the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. The audiences for both epics surely obtained additional meanings from the way in which these poems drew on material with an oblique connection to their more obvious ‘‘heroic’’ themes. Just as the Odyssey can be seen as expanding itself by way of the poetry of shamanic quest, the Iliad can be observed complicating its plot through the inclusion of a quest and trickster figure, Odysseus.

If the first rule of the comparative method is to know what to compare, there will always be the chance that we do not know enough: that our initial selection of epic-like material from India, Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia somehow omits highly important poetry or prose that a Eurocentric mindset, raised on classical epic, cannot grasp as relevant. Even to divide verbal art into ‘‘poetry’’ and ‘‘prose’’ might turn out to be misleading, from the standpoint of non-western traditions (as Dennis Tedlock and others have argued, focusing on Native American works).

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