Part II. Home is the Hero: Embedded Story Space

The traditional narratological division between narrator and character text entered the field of classics via a monograph on Homer. [1] I. J. F. de Jong’s systematic analysis of Iliadic narrative has shown, once and for all, the importance of adopting the basic distinction between διήγησις (narrator text) and μίμησις (character text), which is as old as Plato. [2] But narratology was far from alone in studying these two registers of Homeric poetry. Oralists, for example, had also explored the similarities and differences between διήγησις and μίμησις with respect to such dictional features as noun-epithet formulas, evaluative language, and abstract terms, as well as specific stylistic features and syntax. [3] Not surprisingly, narrator and character text, or simple narrative and speeches, show crucial differences that highlight their functioning on different, yet complementary levels.
Space has barely featured in this respect. This may be because it forms a general category, comprising several smaller sections that operate on multiple levels, such as language, topography, myth, and cognitive representation, and create a complex nexus of associations hard to pinpoint and pigeonhole. Part of the explanation, at least, is also the fact that literary interest in space virtually began in the Romantic period, during which description was considered to be the basic, if not the only, spatial aspect of any worth.
M. Fludernik’s theory of natural narratology, [4] and in particular the notion of experientiality, can be accommodated, mutatis mutandis, to the narrative framework of archaic Greek epic. More significantly, it can help us see focalizers [5] as “cognizers,” that is, as thinking agents whose stored experiences shape their perception of what is going on in the story-world. In other words, despite the fictionality of Iliadic heroes, such as Achilles or Nestor, it is clear that they are treated as independent mental entities, sharing human consciousness but also having personal traits based on their epic biographies. In this light, they exert a certain pressure on the narrator, limiting his ability to define their roles in the epic. Traditional referentiality, [6] a term that aptly describes each hero’s epic input, points to the fact that “each act of perception is carried out by a mind which has previous knowledge, memories, and expectations, all of which play a decisive role in shaping the inner representation of the input data.” [7] Within the universe of oral song, this stock of knowledge, memories, and expectations of individual characters has more or less crystallized in their epic cognizance, that is, in the traditional medium’s awareness and typified expression of their epic personas. At the same time, we would expect the oral tradition represented by our Iliad to have emphasized, highlighted, downplayed, and (re)shaped some of the typical features of any hero’s experiential inventory, in order to make him abide by its particular presentation of the story-world. Odysseus, for example, has a general epic persona, with certain fixed characteristics that can be seen in the entire epic tradition. On the other hand, each song tradition, say the Iliadic, the Odyssean, or the Thesprotian-Telegonian, treats him in a way that suits its plotline and narrative aims. Odysseus’ aspect of “husband,” for example, is positively highlighted only in the Odyssean tradition, whereas it is absent from the Iliadic, and is rather distorted or ironically twisted in the Thesprotian-Telegonian (in which he marries Kallidike, queen of the Thesprotians, and is killed by Telegonos, his son by Circe [8] ).
In the Iliad, the experiential content of individual heroes may belong to their crystallized epic personas, but their particular representation reflects their role in a specific epic tradition. Given that their representation is twofold, in narratological terms, since it comes from both the main narrator and other focalizers—either other characters of the plot or the heroes themselves—the notion of cognizance becomes all the more important.
I will therefore explore the possibility that focalizers in the Iliadic tradition are cognizers, whose accumulated experience allows them to function systematically and coherently as chronotopic agents, that is, as thinking minds that constantly use time not as a separate entity, but always in unison with space. [9] External analeptic and proleptic references [10] by characters are very often—and certainly more frequently than in the epic’s narrative segments—explicitly spatial references, but whereas the external analepses refer to events taking place outside the Iliadic story space, external prolepses are almost equally divided between Trojan War (sack of Troy) and post–Trojan War story space (return to Greece). The embedded story space of the Iliad is marked by the constant mention of absent space, which is of a chronotopic nature.
Given that space encompasses all aspects of time and memory, I will investigate how embedded story space veers in a new direction, looking in particular at the way “terms of geography and spatial perception are dramatically recast to expose spaces that had previously been lost or hidden within the topography of a particular genre or tradition.” [11] By inviting audiences to place the plot of the Iliad within the wider framework of the Trojan War, the storyteller was able to create an all-encompassing vision of the wider space within which it had originated and would end, a space that epic characters would constantly make use of in accessing and citing the entire Trojan War epic tradition.

Spacing Time

Characters of the plot often map the past, present, and future along the spatial axis Greece-Troy. In particular, whereas in the speeches past and future are often translated into the spatial term “Greece,” the present is mainly spatialized through “Troy,” a term I shall soon return to. Additionally, the spatial pair here-there is basically marked by nationality, since the Trojans refer principally to the spatial location of Troy (“here”), [12] whereas the Achaeans think of the past and the future in terms of their past life in or returning to Greece (“there”).
Before I embark on a detailed examination of the various ramifications and interconnections of this polar space with time and the plot of the Iliad, I would like to linger briefly on the meaning of such broad and rather vague terms as “Greece” and “Troy.” In other words, what do we define as “Greece” and “Troy” within the realm of Iliadic epic? With respect to Greece, the Iliad contains a useful guide: the Catalogue of Ships in Iliad II attempts to put in order the epic memory concerning the various participants in the Trojan War, with special emphasis on their places of origin and their strengths. [13] Leaving aside questions of historical accuracy, the Catalogue of Ships provides a rather thorough overview of the Mycenaean world, with some “later” additions, part of which modern scholars have tried to explain by means of the history and transmission of the Iliadic text.
Despite the fact that a catalogue of the Trojans and their allies is “appended” to the Catalogue of Ships, things are quite different for what we would call “Troy.” The term “Troy” is generally used for the city of Troy (Ilion), the Troad (the broad area around Troy including a number of smaller cities taking part in the war on the Trojan side), and even the Trojan War as a whole. This is of course the modern use of the term, but since it is rather widespread, it is crucial to emphasize the differences between these three uses. Scully, who has meticulously studied the ways Troy is presented in both Homeric epics, believes that its walls, its sacredness, and its populace living within this closed area create the Homeric vision of a city closer to the new polis of Ionian times than to the fortified citadels of the Mycenaean period. [14] Although my focus is different from Scully’s, his three aspects comprising the Homeric vision of Troy will be at the center of my discussion. As I will show, for the characters of the plot, Troy constitutes a space that extends well beyond the physical locality of the city: it embodies a whole set of beliefs concerning social cohesion and survival through time, a common bond keeping a populace together. Space in Troy acquires an almost metaphorical meaning, which in the course of time evolves from the citadel of Ilion to the wider Troad, and eventually to the entire Trojan War. This progressive expansion of the meaning of the word “Troy” shows how time becomes spatialized: first the inner area of the citadel is identified with the wider term “Troy,” then the term absorbs a broader geographical area where Trojan control is exercised, and finally it subsumes the entire poetic tradition developed around this city. The Iliad, therefore, uses “Troy” as what I would call a “flexi-space,” one that shrinks and expands according to contextual factors, to accommodate shifting perspectives on the city, its people, and the war. [15]
Before examining in detail the various places Iliadic characters constantly refer to, I shall offer some statistical data on the spatial differences between narrator and character text, in an attempt to combine the methodological tools of narratological analysis with the emphasis of oral theory on the dictional differences between narrative and speeches. This approach offers a “panoramic” view of what I would call a deep spatial divide between narrator and character speech in its representation of space (see Table 4). [16]

Table 4: Spatial distribution of narrator vs. character text

Greece Narrator Text (NT) Character Text (CT)
Phthia [1] 13
Argos (Agamemnonis urbs) 1 7
Argos (Diomedis urbs) [1] 6
Argos Pelasgicum [1] 0
Argos (Peloponnese/Greece) 0 13
Sparta [1] 1
Ithaka [1] 1
Pylos 2 [1] 10
Mycenae 2 [1] 4
Skyros 1 2
Lemnos 6 [1] 5
Lesbos 1 3
Boeotian Thebes 1 8
Crete [1] 3
Total 22 (22.4%) 76 (77.6%)
Asia Minor Narrator Text (NT) Character Text (CT)
Lycia 2 [1] 19
Hypoplakian Thebes 2 2
Khruse 1 4
Killa 0 2
Arisbe 5 [2] 0
Zeleia 2 [1] 1
Pedasos 1 4
Pedaios/-on 1 0
Thymbre 0 1
Dardania 0 1
Tenedos 2 2
Imbros 3 1
Total 19 (33.9%) 37 (66.1%)
These statistics amply show that characters refer to Greece and Asia Minor much more often than the narrator does (77.6 and 66.1% vs. 22.4 and 33.9%). If we take into account that some of the narrator-text attestations of these places come from the Catalogue of Ships in Iliad II, which belongs to narrator text but constitutes a rather separate subcategory, the difference between narrative and speeches with respect to place-names increases even more, as the percentage of references in narrator text drops to 13.3 percent for Greece and 26.8 percent for Asia Minor. On the other hand, the divergence between narrator and character text with respect to space in the case of Asia Minor place-names may be illusory, since it is mainly due to the inclusion of Lycia. I have decided to include Lycia in the same catalogue with the “wider Troad” both because of the Catalogue of Ships, where Trojans and allies are grouped together, and because Lycia, where Sarpedon and Glaukos come from, is so important for the development of the Iliadic plot. [17] That said, we should bear in mind that Lycia is the only distant place among all the Asia Minor locations. In that sense, it resembles more the “absent” places of mainland Greece and the Aegean that are constantly mentioned by the Achaean heroes. When one takes Lycia out of the picture, and given that the notion of “wider Troy” (the Troad with a few islands) could accommodate with some flexibility all the other places in Asia Minor, the numbers can change drastically, giving a total of seventeen references in narrator text [18] and eighteen in character text—almost perfect equality. In this light it becomes clear that differences between narrator and character text with respect to place-names are significant only when distant locations are involved. In order to explore this important observation further, I will first turn my attention to the limited number of references to place-names in narrator text, including the Catalogue of Ships.

Narrator Text and the Catalogue of Ships

Of the twenty-two attestations in narrator text of significant place-names pertaining to Greece, nine come from the Catalogue of Ships (CS) (41%). The relevant figures for the Trojan world are nineteen and four respectively (21%). If we compare these figures, it becomes clear that the much more extended Greek part of the Catalogue of Ships represents almost half of important Greek place-names in the Iliad, while the smaller section devoted to the Trojans and their allies (CT&A) contains only one fifth of the total number of place-names in Asia Minor attested in the Iliad. In other words, the narrator (the CS and CT&A excluded) tends to use place-names from the general theater of war (the Troad) much more often than he does Greek place-names. It seems, then, that such a choice may have been conditioned by the subject matter of his epic, which takes place in the Troad. The narrator places himself within the larger setting of the theater of war and adopts the north-to-south perspective of the Achaeans. His manner is more restrained, since he is more focused on the hic (as opposed to the nunc) of his story. [19] The only notable exception on the Greek side is Lemnos, which appears six times in narrator text (once in the CS) and five times in character text. [20] Taking into account that small numerical differences are statistically unimportant, we can see that there is almost perfect equality in the attestation of a place-name in narrator and character text when we are dealing with a non-distant place. Significant numerical differences are observed only for certain distant places (Phthia, Argos, Pylos, Boeotian Thebes, Lycia). In this light, Lemnos is not unique: it forms part of the narrator’s treatment of localities close to the Troad, which he considers part of his greater theater of war. It can be no coincidence that of the five attestations of Lemnos in character text (the CS excluded), [21] three are associated with the good relations between the Achaeans and the local king (Iliad VII 467; XXI 40, 46) and two with Hera’s plan to seduce Zeus (XIV 230, 281). In other words, the narrator treats Lemnos as an integral part of his plot, not as a background space particularly linked with a single hero or a group of heroes, as with Phthia, Argos, Boeotian Thebes, or Lycia. This observation has far-reaching consequences for the role of the narrator. It becomes clear now that he is much more restrained than his characters not only in the use of moral or evaluative terms, as Griffin has shown, [22] but also in his focus on the action itself. In this respect he is much different from his greatest hero, Achilles, who constantly raises himself “beyond the immediate confines of the action” [23] and thinks of distant places, or from Nestor, who regularly contemplates the past by referring to remote areas in mainland Greece.
The CS and CT&A, which depend heavily on spatial memory, are marked by the longest and most detailed concentration of place-names in the Iliad. Thus we see that the presentation of place-names in the poem is strongly polarized: whereas references to various localities are much more common in character speech, the narrator has reserved for himself an almost programmatic and globalizing panorama of geographical locations in the form of an extended catalogue in the beginning of his epic.
Despite the vast bibliography on the CS and CT&A, there has been no systematic attempt to determine how the storyteller uses spatial memory to organize and recall this extended material. The arrangement of the data offered by the CS and CT&A has been treated mainly in terms of the origins of the two catalogues and the question of whether they are a late insertion in the main body of the Iliad. Recently, important studies by Marks and Sammons have shed new light on the way the CS in particular participates progressively in the Iliadic plot: Marks has argued that certain clusters of heroes appear jointly or close to one another in the following narrative on the basis of either their geographical contiguity or their placement in the CS. Sammons has forcefully suggested that some key Iliadic themes, like that of Agamemnon’s preeminence for most of the Iliadic plot and Achilles’ role as the “absent leader,” [24] are programmatically mirrored in the CS. [25] These insights have far-reaching consequences for the interpretation of the role of space within the CS and the CT&A, since they not only indicate that these two catalogues in Iliad II “cross over” to the poem’s narrative, but also point to the use of specific cognitive mechanisms that keep together the programmatic panorama offered by the narrator and the individual embedded spaces thematized by plot agents in character speech. Seen from this perspective, the catalogues suggest that the narrator has used their subject matter not as an “index” but as a “table of contents,” on the one hand (a) turning the sequential arrangement of names into a device that determines the role of some characters in the narrative, and on the other (b) mirroring the external patterning of geographical areas through the function of certain thematized spaces in character speech.
With respect to (a), keeping track of a large number of characters, especially second-rank figures, must have been a pressing need for the narrator, who to meet this demanding challenge resorted to character clustering on the basis of geographical contiguity. Thus, for example, Meges of Elis, who is placed immediately before Odysseus and his Kephallenians (Iliad II 625–630) is consistently associated in battle with Idomeneus and Meriones (V 43–69) and Thoas (together with Idomeneus and Meriones: XV 300–302), as well as with Odysseus (together with Meriones and Thoas: XIX 239). In other words, Meges’ function in the narrative reflects his position in the CS, since the heroes he is associated with are placed either before him (Odysseus) or after him (Thoas, Idomeneus, and Meriones) in the CS. [26]
As far as (b) is concerned, the larger framework of the two catalogues programmatically points to the use of thematized space in character speech: thus the placement of the contingent of Achilles and the Lycians in the most distant geographical zones (northern Greece and southern Asia Minor respectively) is mirrored in their use of the “coming from afar” motif in the plot of the epic, since both of them complain to those who brought them to Troy (the Atreidai and Hektor respectively) that they have come from afar to fight a war that is not their own. The two catalogues, therefore, inform and feed the plot of the Iliad. It is under this theoretical premise that I propose to explore the following topic: since both the CS and the CT&A refer to a number of geographical “zones,” can we trace and study the particular techniques employed by the storyteller both externally, within the larger scale of each catalogue, and internally, within each zone?
Let us start, then, from the beginning of the CS. Seen from the point of view of cognitive science, [27] catalogues form a special register, heavily based on spatial memory, the fundamental mechanism for activating mental images during the performance of oral song. [28] Catalogues can be of different sorts (genealogical, thematic, of objects), and they can serve various functions (paradigmatic, descriptive, emphatic, etc). According to Pucci’s formulation:
The catalogue, as a speech act, manifests a prowess of memory, and points to poetry as its privileged means. Cataloguing constitutes the supreme distillation of poetry’s capabilities for truth, rigor, order, history, sequentiality: mere names, mere numbers, and no mêtis; or as we would say no connotations, no rhetoric, no fiction. Almost no poem. [29]
Pucci emphasizes the catalogue’s lack of narrative and its almost complete erasure of time and action, the most elementary prerequisites for poetry of any sort. Yet catalogues such as the CS and the CT&A are not mere lists of items added one after the other, [30] but are marked by their succinct organization of information that brings together time and space into one indivisible unit, which is regarded as of such paramount importance that the narrator invokes the Muses and asks for their help in order to perform a task of truly gigantic proportions: [31]
ἔσπετε νῦν μοι, Μοῦσαι Ὀλύμπια δώματ᾽ ἔχουσαι—
ὑμεῖς γὰρ θεαί ἐστε, πάρεστέ τε, ἴστέ τε πάντα,
ἡμεῖς δὲ κλέος οἶον ἀκούομεν, οὐδέ τι ἴδμεν—
οἵ τινες ἡγεμόνες Δαναῶν καὶ κοίρανοι ἦσαν.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ἀρχοὺς αὖ νηῶν ἐρέω, νῆάς τε προπάσας.
Βοιωτῶν μὲν Πηνέλεως καὶ Λήϊτος ἦρχον
Ἀρκεσίλαός τε Προθοήνωρ τε Κλονίος τε,
οἵ θ᾽ Ὑρίην ἐνέμοντο καὶ Αὐλίδα πετρήεσσαν,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
τῶν μὲν πεντήκοντα νέες κίον, ἐν δὲ ἑκάστῃ
κοῦροι Βοιωτῶν ἑκατὸν καὶ εἴκοσι βαῖνον.

Tell me now, you Muses who have your homes on Olympos.
For you, who are goddesses, are there, and you know all things,
and we have heard only the rumour of it and know nothing.
Who then of those were the chief men and the lords of the Danaans?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I will tell the lords of the ships, and the ships numbers.
Leïtos and Peneleos were leaders of the Boiotians,
with Arkesilaos and Prothoenor and Klonios;
they who lived in Hyria and rocky Aulis
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Of these there were fifty ships in all, and on board
each of these a hundred and twenty sons of the Boiotians.
Iliad II 484–510
The CS is a complex and concise catalogue, for although its rubric is straightforward, it is basically subdivided into two (occasionally three) items in each entry. As early as Iliad II 493, the poet defines his rubric as “lords of the ships and all the ships numbers” (ἀρχοὺς αὖ νηῶν ἐρέω, νῆάς τε προπάσας); [32] he then proceeds to describe the individual items, which are developed into two-level entries, one for each leader and one for the number of ships. By making constant reference to geographical location, the CS clearly follows a geographical blueprint, [33] although “no entry begins with a relative marker such as ‘to the north, south of there.’” [34] This last observation is accurate, but I think it overstates the notion of “geographical orientation” to require the narrator to use distinct and clear directional markers. But what if the storyteller sees the topography of Greece and of Asia Minor in his mind’s eye as a spatial diptych, that is, as both a tour and a map, in which geographical contiguity applies to the internal “sections” he creates, whereas the external arrangement of the sections is based on his attempt to create a structural bridge between the CS and the CT&A? To explore this possibility, let us take into account the following remarks:
  1. The storyteller’s overarching principle (1) is to begin from core regions, determined by the nature of each catalogue. Since the CS reflects the movement of the ships and troops from the various regions of mainland Greece and the islands to Aulis, the core region is Aulis. Likewise in the CT&A: the gathering of all the allies at Troy means that the core region is Troy.
  2. The storyteller has decided first to divide each catalogue into smaller sections, and then to follow the principle (2) of geographical contiguity both internally, within each section, and externally, in the transition from the CS to the CT&A. If principle 1 and principle 2 are combined, then he has to end the CS with northern Greece, since it is closest to the core area (Troy) of the CT&A that will come first in the second catalogue.
  3. According to principle 1, he begins the CS with Aulis in Boeotia and follows a clockwise movement, based on geographical contiguity, towards Orkhomenos, Phokis, Lokris, Euboea, Athens, and Salamis (Iliad II 494–558). That this is the end of a smaller zone within his first section is indicated by the fact that though he still operates on the principle of geographical proximity, he changes the way he tours this specific area. He first moves to the south (southern Argolid), then to the north (northern Argolid), then to the southeast (Laconia), southwest (Pylos), central (Arcadia), and northwest Peloponnese (Elis) (Iliad II 559–624). He now moves on to a third zone within this same section by following a counterclockwise movement: Doulikhion, Kephallenia, and Aetolia (Iliad II 625–644). At this point, the narrator’s mental tour of section 1 is complete.
  4. The storyteller now makes a huge leap from Aetolia to Crete, in the southern Aegean, and then moves counterclockwise toward the eastern islands of Rhodes, Syme, Karpathos, and Kos (Iliad II 645–680). This discontinuity has been called unavoidable, [35] but for the wrong reason. In my view, it is a by-product of the ensuing discontinuity with northern Greece. As I have just argued, the latter is a discontinuity only if the CS is seen independently of the CT&A. When examined as a spatial diptych, the placement of Thessaly at the very end of the CS makes perfect sense. The narrator is employing the principle of economy, according to which geographical contiguity will enhance spatial memory only if used at the lowest cognitive cost.
  5. In northern Greece, the storyteller moves first to Pelasgian Argos and then goes northeast (Phthiotis, Pelasgiotis, Magnetis); he now changes direction and turns toward the northwest (Hestiaiotis), then southeast (Thessaliotis) and northeast (Perrhaibia); a surprising turn off course towards the west (Aenienis) is explained by the fact that in this and the following location the narrator is mainly touring the courses of the rivers Titaressos (on the west) and Peneios (on the east). The entire section ends with Peleion in the northeast, the closest point for the mental leap to the beginning of the CT&A that will soon follow (Iliad II 681–759). Having paved the way so as to decrease the cognitive cost of passing from one mental map to another, the storyteller is now ready to move on to the CT&A.
  6. The CT&A is divided into four zones, which belong to two larger sections. The first section covers a vast area in the north, stretching from Europe to the Pontos region, while the second stretches toward the south. The first section includes three geographical zones. The storyteller begins, as he did in the CS, with the core region of Troy, following a counterclockwise course from Ilion to Zeleia, the Propontis, the southwestern Hellespont, and Pelasgian Larisa (Iliad II 816–843). He then moves northwest to Europe, touring areas on the basis of geographical contiguity: the Thracians, the Kikones, and the Paiones (II 844–850). The third and last zone of this northern section contains a leap toward the northeast, to Asia, again according to geographical contiguity. The narrator seems to be touring areas as they appear on a map: first the Paphlagonians, then the Halizones (II 851–857). One can see that it is the combination of geographical contiguity and beginning with the core region that determines the mental blueprint adopted by the storyteller in the CT&A; that is, just as in the CS.
  7. Having toured a vast area in the north, the storyteller now moves toward the south. He first follows a course toward the Musoi in the southwest, then to the Phrygians in the southeast, and the Maiones further south (Iliad II 858–866). His mental journey continues further south with the Carians and southeast to the Lycians (867–877). In this case section and zone coincide, since the storyteller uses a single technique of mental “navigation”: in contrast to the previous section on the north, in which he used two different techniques (counterclockwise and linear progression), he now follows a single path as he moves almost vertically toward the south.
  8. The CS and CT&A form a spatial diptych, based not only on their sharing the same organizing principles (beginning from the core region, geographical contiguity, and low cognitive cost) but also on their symmetrical arrangement: both emphasize their beginning and end, to which they devote the largest amount of textual space: CS core region (sixty-four verses)—CS last section (seventy-eight verses), and CT&A core region (twenty-seven verses)—CT&A last section (twenty-two verses); both use water in the form of a gulf, sea, or river as the outer limit of each section: in the CS, these are Khalkis in Aetolia, Karpathos/Kos in the eastern Aegean, and Peneios in northern Greece; the CT&A has the river Halys in the land of the Halizones (implicit in their name as well as in the place-name Alybe) [36] and the river Xanthos in Lycia at the very end. Symmetry and analogical arrangement, together with the organizing principles discussed above, strongly indicate that space plays a major role in the structure of both catalogues, which must be examined not separately but as belonging to a spatial diptych. Juxtaposition, concatenation, and seriality [37] have all played their roles in the internal organization of the two catalogues.
The CS contains 29 entries referring to 43 leaders, 1186 ships, and 152 place-names. The sheer size of this material, however, obscures the different levels on which these data operate: the entries refer to textual size and classification, the leaders (at least some of them) to the characters of the plot, the ships and the place-names to the movement of the various smaller flotillas from the individual homelands to Aulis, [38] where the gathering of the army took place. This cluster of information reflects the dual nature of the CS, pointing to both the past and the present. In the words of Sammons, [39]
The mention of ships and many hometowns in the catalogue transforms what would be a static list into a dynamic image of movement; not only the movement of the army before Troy, but the movement of the army from Greece.
The much smaller CT&A, which contains sixteen entries referring to the twenty-seven leaders and nineteen place names, is devoid of any reference to ships, since the Trojans are fighting in their own country and their allies have all come to Troy by inland routes, though for some of them, such as the Carians and the Lycians, a sea journey would not have been unthinkable. In this way, the lack of a previous gathering of the Trojans and their allies contrasts with the mustering of the Achaean army at Aulis. On the other hand, place-names, which are also used in this smaller catalogue, indicate that they form the main linking mechanism between the two catalogues on the level of structure. Statistics may also be of help here: the ratio between individual homelands and number of leaders is for the CS 28.3 percent (152:43) and for the CT&A 142.1 percent (19:27). [40] These numbers show that while in the CS multiple place-names are associated with the area controlled by a given leader, in the CT&A multiple leaders are often associated with a given place-name. The Boeotian and Phrygian entries of the CS and the CT&A respectively show this feature clearly: whereas in the Boeotian entry (Iliad II 494–510), twenty-nine place-names are linked to five leaders (493–494), in the Phrygian entry (862–863) the relevant numbers are one place–name and two leaders. Before considering the significance of this disparity, we should also keep in mind another divergence between the two catalogues, in the ratios between specific geographical features of the various homelands, like rivers or mountains, and regions (= entries). [41] The CT&A displays a higher proportion of geographical features or references per entry than the CS, the relevant figures being for the former 12:16 (133.3%), and 35:29 (82.9%) for the latter.
These data should be interpreted with caution, the more so since they are based on two different groups (leaders and regions). Since the CT&A is marked by higher percentages of place-names per leader and geographical features per region than the CS, it is clear that place-names and geographical features tend to cluster more in the CS than in the CT&A. In other words, place-names and geographical features are presented in groups more often in the CS than in the CT&A. Given that both place-names and geographical features are spatial markers, [42] it seems that the narrator has employed them in clusters so that he can exploit them more effectively as cues to recall of material. The fact that the CS is much more extended in comparison to the CT&A (CS: 266 verses, 29 entries referring to 43 leaders, 1186 ships, 152 place-names, and 35 geographical features or references; CT&A: 61 verses, 16 entries referring to 27 leaders, 19 place-names, and 12 geographical features or references) is reflected, in my view, in the more dense clustering of spatial features that ease the mnemonic process for the storyteller. Low cognitive cost and readiness for data recall, especially in a catalogue context that represents a storehouse of names and numbers, have determined a number of structural and organizing choices by the storyteller in the arrangement and presentation of their material.
The CS and the CT&A are good examples of the transformation of time into space. Their lack of subordination, [43] which is best seen in the complete absence of any temporal markers, the most elementary prerequisite of all narrative, is coupled with multiple spatial pointers, making possible a “double view” of past and present, which are translated into “there” and “here.” By touring the various locations and regions from which the Achaean and Trojan armies come, the two catalogues programmatically participate in the unfolding of the Iliadic plot. In placing the kingdoms of Achilles and the Lycians at the end of both catalogues, the Iliadic tradition epitomizes in the register of space an important part of the plot’s dramatization.
Finally, one of the catalogue’s striking features is its comprehensiveness, its bold aim to achieve a totality that the Iliadic song excludes by its very nature and thematic scope. [44] One is entitled, of course, to interpret this feature of the two catalogues within the wider framework of other devices by which the narrator is able to offer his audience a panoramic view of the entire Trojan War. In fact, it may be seen as forming an integral part of a whole nexus of mechanisms, such as anachronies (analepses and prolepses), intertextual associations with other song traditions, references to the history of prized objects, and even, through the extended ecphrasis on the shield of Achilles, mental vistas of imagined (but not fantastic) worlds. At the same time, the alleged “totality” of the CS and the CT&A stands at odds with the viewpoint of the Iliadic song tradition, which artfully entertains the possibility of an alternative tradition of “pure information,” of completeness, only to undercut it. The CS and the CT&A embody in a truly emblematic way an epic otherness, and at the same time an idealization of epic song, [45] in which the tradition would abide by the rules of a comprehensive presentation of the past. By undermining such a tradition, the Iliad promotes its own poetic credo: a song highlighting selectivity instead of comprehensiveness, dramatic cohesion instead of episodic sequence, a single underlying narrative thread instead of multiple plot lines, a tragic thrust moving steadily towards its painful resolution instead of impressionistic scenes and warrior exploits, and finally a thought-provoking, self-conscious look at its own subject matter, the heroes and the heroic world, instead of a pompous glorification of heroic deeds.


[ back ] 1. I have borrowed the first part of the title from Martin’s influential article “Home is the Hero: Deixis and Semantics in Pindar’s Pythian 8,” published in Arethusa 2004:343–363. De Jong 1987a.
[ back ] 2. Plato Republic 3.392c–394b. Plato distinguishes between three types of narration (διήγησις): “single” (ἁπλῆ), “effected through impersonation” (διὰ μιμήσεως γιγνομένη), and “effected through both” (δι’ ἀμφοτέρων). See de Jong 1987a:2–5.
[ back ] 3. See Griffin 1986:36–57.
[ back ] 4. 1996; 2000; 2003; 2003b; 2008.
[ back ] 5. I.e. characters whose own point of view is presented.
[ back ] 6. See Foley 1991:24; Danek 2002; Tsagalis 2008b:123, 154, 187–188.
[ back ] 7. Margolin 2003:282.
[ back ] 8. On this episode, see Tsagalis 2008b:63–90 with all the relevant bibliography.
[ back ] 9. See Bakhtin 1981; Riffaterre 1996:244–266.
[ back ] 10. On the narratological terms prolepsis and analepsis, see Genette 1980:35–36; Reichel 1994:47–98; Bal 1997:84; de Jong 2001:xi, xvi; de Jong et al. 2004b:xv, xvii–xviii.
[ back ] 11. Purves 2002:134–135.
[ back ] 12. πρὶν ἐλθεῖν υἷας Ἀχαιῶν is uttered either by the narrator (Iliad XIII 172, XXII 156) or by Achilles (IX 403), never by the Trojans.
[ back ] 13. On the Catalogue of Ships, see Visser 1997 and Brügger et al. 2003.
[ back ] 14. See Scully 1990:81–99.
[ back ] 15. I have coined the term “flexi-space” on the model of “flexi-narrative,” for which see Jones 2005:585–589.
[ back ] 16. In the case of narrator text (NT), bracketed numbers indicate that the given place-name is attested in the Catalogue of Ships, whereas unbracketed numbers designate the rest of NT in the Iliad.
[ back ] 17. See chapter 4, below.
[ back ] 18. After omitting the references to Lycia in the Catalogue of Ships.
[ back ] 19. This observation accords with Griffin’s point that narrator language is more apt to let words or terms from the storyteller’s own time slip into the text (1986:37–38).
[ back ] 20. On the Trojan side, Arisbe, Zeleia, and Imbros are more often attested in narrator than in character text, but since the numerical difference is small, I will not examine them in detail.
[ back ] 21. The Iliad refers to Lemnos in the Catalogue of Ships (II 722) as the place where Philoktetes was bitten by a snake and subsequently abandoned, whereas in the Cypria (§33 Kullmann = 144–146 Severyns = Allen 104.21–23) the incident with the snake takes place in Tenedos, and only then is Philoktetes left in Lemnos. The version offered by the Cypria presupposes that the Achaean fleet went back from Tenedos to Lemnos.
[ back ] 22. 1986:37–40.
[ back ] 23. Griffin 1986:56.
[ back ] 24. Stanley 1993:19; Sammons 2010:188–193.
[ back ] 25. 2010:181.
[ back ] 26. See Marks 2012:107; the author carefully reminds us of the caveats of this approach: “proximity in the Catalogue is only one of several tendencies that underlie the relationships among Iliadic characters.”
[ back ] 27. See Ryan 2003:214–242.
[ back ] 28. See Bal 19972:147; Minchin 2001:73–99.
[ back ] 29. Pucci 1996:21.
[ back ] 30. See Sammons 2010:9. On catalogues in Homeric poetry, see Beye 1964:345–373; Powell 1978:255–264; Edwards 1980:81–105; Barney 1982:191–192; Thalmann 1984:25–26; Minchin 1996:4–5, 2001:74–76.
[ back ] 31. See also Tsagalis 2010a:323–347.
[ back ] 32. See Marks 2011:101–112.
[ back ] 33. Various theories have been put forward concerning the way the Catalogue of Ships proceeds with respect to the geographical placement of the Greek troops. See Brügger et al. 2003:153–154, with a summary of previous bibliography.
[ back ] 34. Sammons 2010:14n31.
[ back ] 35. Jachmann 1958:184–185.
[ back ] 36. See Brügger et al. 2003:281 on Iliad II 857.
[ back ] 37. Contrast, for example, Aratus’ Phaenomena, which belongs to written literature, in which the poet constantly employs directional markers to describe the constellations of the zodiac. In this case and very much unlike the Homeric storyteller, Aratus is following a map of the sky based on two works of Eudoxus of Cnidus in prose, the Phaenomena and Enoptron.
[ back ] 38. Giovannini (1969:23–50) argues that the arrangement of locations in the CS reflects the political reality of the archaic period and not the Mycenaean past. See also Kullmann 1993:132–138. For criticism of Giovannini’s other thesis that the CS reflects the itineraries of Delphic θεωροί (1969:53–71), see Kirk 1985:183–186.
[ back ] 39. 2010:154.
[ back ] 40. For the relevant numbers, see the tables in Brügger et al. 2003:146, 264. My only difference with them concerns the Lycian contingent, whose Ortsname is given (Iliad II 877 τηλόθεν ἐκ Λυκίης) in the manner of the Halizones (Iliad II 857 τηλόθεν ἐξ Ἀλύβης), and in which there is only one (not two, as indicated in the list offered by the commentary) geographical feature (Iliad II 877 Ξάνθου ἄπο δινήεντος). As a result, the total number for place-names and geographical features or references in the CT&A should be corrected to nineteen and twelve respectively.
[ back ] 41. Geographical features should be examined in reference to regions (= entries) and not with respect to place-names, since there are cases where a geographical feature is given but not the relevant place-name.
[ back ] 42. The fact that place-names are used as mnemonic “tags” can be seen in their increased numbers in the core regions placed at the beginning of the two catalogues. The greater the number of spatial tags, the stronger the mental links created (fifty-five and nine place-names for the core areas of the CS and the CT&A respectively). Seen from this angle, the increased number of place-names (twenty-nine) from Boeotia, which is placed first in the entire CS, shows both how strong the initial mental tag must be for such an extended and demanding mnemonic undertaking as the CS and how ignorant of the reality of performance are arguments of interpolation; see Visser 1997:359.
[ back ] 43. The emphasis on the ordering of the troops reflects the arrangement of data in the narrator’s mind. The two catalogues with their extremely limited narrative element (e.g. the Thamyris digression), their linear progression, and their almost algebraic tone mirror the narrator’s organization of material on a cognitive level. Place-names distributed on a notional map of Greece and Asia Minor are deftly employed as the mnemonic GPS guiding him in the arrangement of his material. As the leaders κοσμοῦσι “organize” their troops, so the narrator κοσμεῖ “organizes/arranges” his catalogues by using spatial features as mnemonic hooks, on which he hangs an impressive accumulation of names and numbers.
[ back ] 44. See Sammons 2010:79, who observes that a purely catalogic poem like the Catalogue of Women must have aimed (very much unlike the Iliad) at “something like a comprehensive vision of mythological history.”
[ back ] 45. See Pucci 1996:5–24; Sammons 2010:20.