Tsagalis, Christos. 2012. From Listeners to Viewers: Space in the Iliad. Hellenic Studies Series 53. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_TsagalisC.From_Listeners_to_Viewers.2012.
Chapter 8. Ecphrastic Space
Table 7: Pictorial seriality in the city at peace
|Section 2||Section 2|
|Panel 1 (city at peace)||Panel 1 (city at peace)|
|Hyperframe 1 (weddings and symposia)||Hyperframe 2 (litigation in the agora)|
|Frame 1: “the loud bride song was arising” (493 πολὺς δ’ ὑμέναιος ὀρώρει)||Frame 1: “a quarrel had arisen” (497–498 νεῖκος / ὠρώρει)|
|Frame 2: “kept up their clamour” (495 βοὴν ἔχον)||Frames 2 and 4: “were speaking up” (502 ἐπήπυον), “who lift their voices” (505 ἠεροφώνων)|
|Frame 4: “women standing each at the door of her court” (495–496 αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες / ἱστάμεναι … ἐπὶ προθύροισιν ἑκάστη)||Frame 3: “the elders / were in session on benches of polished stone in the sacred circle” (503–504 οἱ δὲ γέροντες /εἵατ’ ἐπὶ ξεστοῖσι λίθοις ἱερῷ ἐνὶ κύκλῳ)|
Table 8: Restrained arthrology in the city at peace
|Section 2||Section 2|
|Panel 1 (city at peace)||Panel 2 (city at war)|
|Hyperframe 2 (litigation in the agora)||Hyperframe 1 (walls of a city and plain)|
|Frame 1: “the people were assembled in the market place” (497 λαοὶ δ’ εἰν ἀγορῇ ἔσαν ἀθρόοι) “two men” (498 δύο δ’ ἄνδρες) “were disputing” (498 ἐνείκεον), “one man promised full restitution / …, but the other refused …” (499–500 ὃ μὲν εὔχετο πάντ’ ἀποδοῦναι / … ὃ δ’ ἀναίνετο …)||Frame 1: “sat in their councils” (531 εἰράων προπάροιθε καθήμενοι) “two men to watch” (523 δύω σκοποί), “two herdsmen” (525 δύω … νομῆες) “counsel was divided, whether … or share between both sides the property” (510–511 δίχα δέ σφισιν ἥνδανε βουλή, / ἠὲ … ἢ ἄνδιχα πάντα δάσασθαι)|
|Frame 3: “the elders” (503 οἱ δὲ γέροντες)||Frame 2: “the men with age upon them” (515 ἀνέρες οὓς ἔχε γῆρας)|
|Frame 5: “rushed” (506 ἤϊσσον)||Frame 3: “went out” (516 οἳ δ’ ἴσαν)|
|Frame 6: “two talents of gold” (507 δύω χρυσοῖο τάλαντα)||Frame 4: “These were gold, both, and golden raiment upon them” (517 ἄμφω χρυσείω, χρύσεια δὲ εἵματα ἕσθην)|
|Hyperframe 1 (weddings and symposia)||Hyperframe 2 (river)|
|Frame 3: “flutes and lyres” (495 αὐλοὶ φόρμιγγές τε)||Frame 2: “playing happily on pipes” (526 τερπόμενοι σύριγξι)|
ἐν καλῇ βήσσῃ μέγαν οἰῶν ἀργεννάων,
σταθμούς τε κλισίας τε κατηρεφέας ἰδὲ σηκούς.
large and in a lovely valley for the glimmering sheepflocks,
with dwelling places upon it, and covered shelters, and sheepfolds.
The meadow (νομόν) is not expanded but spatially overdetermined: it is located “in a lovely valley” (ἐν καλῇ βήσσῃ), and the sheep placed in it are “tied” to “dwelling places” (σταθμούς), “covered shelters” (κλισίας … κατηρεφέας), and “sheepfolds” (σηκούς). Instead of presenting his audience with a narrative snapshot of the meadow, the narrator accumulates spatial references from the same thematic family as those in the previous panel. I would argue that the following panel shares the same pattern in its introductory formula, but not the brevity or the thematic range of content, as a result of oral correction. The storyteller begins to visualize a scene that shares the same or equivalent thematic content with the previous one (cattle), but soon decides to cut it short and move on to a different visualization. His initial task was to strengthen the effect of the previous panel by doubling it,  but he soon opted for a different goal. It is, of course, intriguing to wonder what may have changed his mind. The storyteller may have realized that the only images he could easily recall were so similar to the ones just presented in the previous panel that there was no room for variation, and therefore decided to undertake a wholesale shift in his topic. Using the same introductory formulaic pattern that was still very active in his mind, he tried to correct his false start and moved on to what is perhaps the crowning image of the whole shield, the dancing-floor. His grouping of images between the two panels may have been cancelled, but it has left traces of the very process by which it came into being.
- the snapshots lack a single center or focus
- most of the snapshots involve multiple actors 
- they are based, mainly but not solely, on scenes from peaceful life
- they pertain to public, not private life
- they are, with minor exceptions, characterized by the absence of names of any sort 
- most of the figures, humans, animals, and gods depicted on them are in motion 
- they begin in medias res
- they remain unfinished and suspended: there is no end in these short stories 
- they are characterized by simile-like deixis and syntax (use of the indicative; no optative or generalizing subjunctive)
- they are organized mainly by parataxis (the number of secondary clauses is very limited)
- the snapshots contain information representing the narrator’s own interpretation of what is depicted on the shield; the storyteller breaks the time perspective of the snapshots by referring to past and future events 
The story grammar of the snapshots  is a spatial one: mini-maps of spatial references are combined with mini-tours  that reveal “abortive mini-narratives,”  or to put it differently, the narrator’s mind, together with his moving subjects, moves from one visual shot to another, verbalizing them on the spatially juxtaposed sections or parts of the shield. This ecphrasis needs to be approached within the framework of oral storytelling and the techniques employed by storytellers within the context of the performance. Any attempt to reconstruct the shield of Achilles is off the mark, for the simple reason that it misses the illusion on which the visual imagery of the ecphrasis is being built. The shield of Achilles is governed by the same rules as a simile of gigantic proportions:  it functions like a visual gallery,  presenting multiple images that the storyteller’s rich imagination has created by means of spatial memory. There is no single thread or pattern running through these images, because we are not dealing with a script in cognitive terms (that refers to both form and content), but with a story grammar that refers only to form. In fact, the duplication that marks most of the snapshots included in the shield results from the fact that in oral storytelling “repeated pairings of ideas or words are noted as one way the individual words acquire traditional meanings within their genre.”  Duality is a form of pairing, and pairing, at the most elementary level, is a sort of spatial association. The narrator does not divide each of the shield’s central sections into two narrative snapshots; he duplicates visual images, and thereby associates and groups them together: a pictorial list has no clear structure; it is the associative imagination of the storyteller that imposes one.  The storyteller in this case uses the same technique he employs in the Homeric similes,  with one important addition. Here the slide from description into narrative  is similar to the shift from a simple comparison to a developed, extended simile. It is the workings of visual memory that enhance this smooth glide, and in particular it is spatial memory that creates this rich visual panorama of the shield. The individual narrative snapshots of the shield are all, more or less, drawn from the rich pictorial storehouse that also furnishes the similes,  and they are based on equivalent devices of spatial memory. What is new in the shield of Achilles is that the accumulation of mental pictures is organized not simply according to an associative pattern (as in simile-chains), but as successive pictures placed on successive levels of the shield. This ecphrastic gallery is a spatial tour of the world of the poet’s imagination, a visit to a mental museum where listeners are turned into spectators and the poet’s mind’s eye is visually indexed on the massive shield of his chief hero Achilles.
The Metaleptic Aspect of Ecphrasis
- the narrator takes the role of a narratee, who hears the song from a deity or deities, the Muses (Iliad II 484–486 ἔσπετε νῦν μοι, Μοῦσαι Ὀλύμπια δώματ’ ἔχουσαι— / ὑμεῖς γὰρ θεαί ἐστε, πάρεστέ τε, ἴστέ τε πάντα, / ἡμεῖς δὲ κλέος οἶον ἀκούομεν, οὐδέ τι ἴδμεν—; Odyssey i 1 μοι ἔννεπε, i 10 εἰπὲ καὶ ἡμῖν)
- the view of a group of characters is presented by means of τις
- direct address to a character (e.g. Menelaos, Patroklos, Eumaios) 
- third-person imaginary spectator
- a character’s words point explicitly to the story-world, but implicitly to the world of the narrator and the narratees
- implicit presentation of a character’s viewpoint
- evaluative comments (νήπιος, σχέτλιος) or judgmental words (οὐλομένην)
- rhetorical questions (what should I say first and what last?)
- if-not situations (X would have happened if it were not for person Y)
- the narrator acknowledges that he has orchestrated a specific outcome in the plot (Iliad XXII 328–329)
ἀνθρώπων πολέων θαυμάσσεται, ὅς κεν ἴδηται.”
man out of many men shall wonder at, when he looks on it.”
This “other man out of many men” is an intriguing expression, the more so since he is left nameless. Given that similar phrasing was employed in another passage where a character “announces the text in the text,” as de Jong has neatly put it,  Hephaistos’ words seem to refer only to the narratees’ world, rather than that of the characters. First, let us examine a similar passage:
ἀνθρώποισι πελώμεθ’ ἀοίδιμοι ἐσσομένοισιν.”
we shall be made into things of song for the men of the future. “
Helen’s words will undoubtedly make the narratees think of the Iliad itself, a song that will present the κλέος and the fate of heroes like Hektor and women like Helen. By entering a different narrative level, Helen, a character with such a profound role in the Trojan myth in general, announces the Iliad within the Iliad.
ἄντην εἰσιδέειν, ἀλλ’ ἔτρεσαν· αὐτὰρ Ἀχιλλεύς
ὡς εἶδ’, ὥς μιν μᾶλλον ἔδυ χόλος, ἐν δέ οἱ ὄσσε
δεινὸν ὑπὸ βλεφάρων ὡς εἰ σέλας ἐξεφάανθεν·
τέρπετο δ’ ἐν χείρεσσιν ἔχων θεοῦ ἀγλαὰ δῶρα.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ φρεσὶν ᾗσι τετάρπετο δαίδαλα λεύσσων,
αὐτίκα μητέρα ἣν ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα·
to look straight at it. They were afraid of it. Only Achilleus
looked, and as he looked the anger came harder upon him
and his eyes glittered terribly under his lids, like sunflare.
He was glad, holding in his hands the shining gifts of Hephaistos.
But when he had satisfied his heart with looking at the intricate
armour, he spoke to his mother and addressed her in winged words.
The contrast between the multitude of Myrmidons, who are terrified of the armor and do not dare to look at it, and Achilles, who alone marvels at his divine weapons, is not only striking but also puzzling.  The Myrmidons’ fear is left unexplained, which becomes even more strange given that there are no monsters or other fearful creatures depicted on the shield. Why, then, are the Myrmidons terrified and shy away from looking at the divine armor? The answer can be better expressed by two other, related questions: why is it that Achilles alone admires the shield,  and why is the making of the shield flanked by both Hephaistos’ words pointing to an anonymous admirer and by Achilles’ marveling at the it?
ἀμφὶς ἀριζήλω· λαοὶ δ’ ὑπολίζονες ἦσαν.
beautiful and huge in their armour, being divinities,
and conspicuous from afar, but the people around them were smaller.
χρυσείη περ ἐοῦσα· τὸ δὴ περὶ θαῦμα τέτυκτο.
though it was gold. Such was the wonder of the shield’s forging.