Zeus in the Odyssey

  Marks, J. 2008. Zeus in the Odyssey. Hellenic Studies Series 31. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Marks.Zeus_in_the_Odyssey.2008.


The plan of Zeus

In some ancient Greek epics, a Dios boulē ‘plan of Zeus’ helps to motivate and explain the plot. This theme is best known from its appearance at the beginning of the Iliad:

μῆνιν ἄειδε θεά, Πηληιάδεω Ἀχιλῆος,
οὐλομένην ἣ μυρί’ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε’ ἔθηκεν,
πολλὰς δ’ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς ᾌδι προίαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή,
ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε,
Ἀτρείδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.
Wrath: sing it, goddess, wrath of Peleus’ son Achilleus,
destructive, which myriad woes on Achaians placed,
and many strong souls to Hades did send,
heroes’ souls, and the men themselves made plunder for dogs
and for birds a banquet, and a plan of Zeus was reaching fulfillment
from when first they stood apart caught up in strife,
the son of Atreus ruler of men and godly Achilleus.

Iliad 1.1-7

The association of Zeus’ plan with the main plot line here in the proem is, unsurprisingly, predictive: as the Iliad proceeds, the god engineers and maintains the momentum of the Trojan offensive that gives force to Achilleus’ wrath, decides the fates of the major characters, and resolves conflicts that impede dramatic closure.

The Odyssean Zeus, on the other hand, seems reactive rather than proactive, unwilling or unable to control subordinate deities, and generally more remote from the action when measured against his Iliadic counterpart. At the same time, the two seem to differ in what might be termed leadership style. For the Odyssean Zeus acts and speaks in a manner that appears to be, if not more humane, at least less malevolent than that of the Zeus who repeatedly threatens violence against his fellow gods and gleefully pits them against each other in the Iliad. Some rough statistics can help to quantify these impressions. In the main narrative of the Iliad, Zeus has a speaking role in more than a dozen scenes, in which he maintains overall control of events by inducing divine characters to act or to refrain from action, and by sending some dozen omens to mortal characters; at one point, he even lends a hand in battle (Iliad 15.694-695). In all, Zeus’ actions and words make up around 1000 of the Iliad’s approximately 15,000 lines (>6%). In the Odyssey, by contrast, Zeus appears four times in the main narrative; he neither incites nor impedes divine characters, at least overtly; and his direct involvement with mortal affairs is limited to four omens. All told, Zeus’ actions and words make up around 250 of the Odyssey’s approximately 12,000 lines (<2%). [1]

According to the arguments offered in this book, the significance of the differences between the Iliadic and Odyssean “divine apparatus” have been over-emphasized and misunderstood. The specific locution Dios boulē may not appear in the proem of the Odyssey, but I hope to demonstrate that Zeus’ appearances at crucial points help to define the overall structure of the narrative, while the actions of subordinate deities, whether or not they so intend, reaffirm Zeus’ own stated goals. Further, regarding leadership style, the harsher side of Zeus is not unknown to the Odyssey; thus for instance Hermes at one point warns Kalypso to beware the supreme god’s wrath (Διὸς μῆνις, Odyssey 5.146). Conversely, the Iliadic Zeus resembles his Odyssean counterpart in that he never, for all his bluster, has recourse to brute force within the bounds of the narrative.

Viewed from this perspective, the difference between the Iliadic and Odyssean visions of Zeus is not qualitative after all, but a difference of emphasis. Rather than offering mutually exclusive versions of Olympos, the epics each focalize the gods through the lens of the main hero. The Odyssean Zeus is assimilated to the heroics of Odysseus, which favor stratagems and covert action, while the Iliadic Zeus is assimilated to the heroics of Achilleus, which favor direct and forceful action. In other words, the epics offer mutually reinforcing visions of the same Olympos, one that motivates the plot in accordance with Zeus’ wishes. In like manner, Achilleus and Odysseus are not so much opposed as complementary heroes. In neither epic is the former stupid, or the latter cowardly; and in the end Achilleus uses nonviolent means to settle his conflict with Agamemnon, while Odysseus kills roughly as many suitors in the Odyssey as Achilleus does Trojans in the Iliad.

Text and subtext in an oral medium

In the wake of Parry and Lord, any study of Homeric poetry must take into account the fact that the texts derive from an oral tradition. I will therefore defend at the outset the assertion that the significance of the gods in the Odyssey is revealed in large part through what might be called subtext. By my interpretation, Zeus is depicted in a manner that disguises the “true” extent of his involvement in the story, so that the poem communicates meaning in a way that belies the statistics cited above. Thus the Odyssean Zeus maintains through subtle manipulation a level of narrative control equivalent to that which the Iliadic Zeus exercises through more overt participation in the action.

During a performance of the Odyssey, where neither the composer-singer nor the audience had the opportunity to pause at will or to review, there are obvious limits to the amount of subtext the narrative could be expected to carry. Moreover, the significance of verbal repetition, which provides key evidence in this as in most work within the Parry-Lord paradigm, needs to be viewed within the context of mnemonic and other devices associated with oral composition.

The audiences for whom the Homeric epics were composed and performed, I propose, would have found equally significant the absence of Zeus from the Odyssey proem. Non-Homeric epic in addition to the Iliad offers support for the conclusion that the Dios boulē was an established theme in ancient Greek poetry. Thus Hesiodic epic associates Zeus closely with the plot, not only in the Zeus-centered Theogony (e.g. 465, 572, 653, 730), but also in motivating the heroic deeds of Herakles (Aspis 27-29), as well as those associated with the Trojan War (Works and Days 173a-e; Catalog of Women fr. 204). Zeus likewise incites the Trojan War in an early non-Homeric epic known as the Kypria (38-39 Bernabé, 102-103 Allen). Similarly, in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Zeus engineers the kidnapping of Persephone (9), then negotiates a resolution to the crisis precipitated thereby (313-339).

Further examples will be cited in the course of this book, but these passages offer at least preliminary support for the proposition that the Dios boulē can be considered a traditional, and prominent, theme in early Greek epic. As such, Zeus’ role has at least the potential to serve as the overall unifying principle of the Odyssean narrative.

Homeric vs. non-Homeric and the “facts” of ancient Greek myth

If the plan of Zeus is a traditional theme, however, it is not, by my interpretation, a universal one. Rather, the Dios boulē is specific to a particular class of traditional ancient Greek epics, namely those with a relatively heterogeneous constituency. It is well established that the Iliad and Odyssey were crafted to appeal to “Panhellenic” audiences, that is, ones drawn from across ancient Greece, rather than from a single city or region. Iconographic and other external evidence makes it clear that many individuals among these Panhellenic audiences would have been familiar with heroes such as Achilleus and Odysseus through local, or “epichoric,” traditions. The fully Panhellenic register of the ancient Greek epic tradition, which is represented by the Iliad and Odyssey, as well as the Hesiodic Theogony and Works and Days, thus coexisted with and came to transcend, at least in the manuscript tradition, epichoric versions of similar narratives, which were numerous, known to differing degrees in different parts of Greece, and often conflicting.

Though traditional, then, Panhellenic narratives respond to the emergence of arenas apart from the household (oikos) and community (polis), which provided the main ceremonial, cultic, and casual contexts in which ancient Greeks absorbed their native myths. Thus it appears that the canonical epics were composed for and in performance at festivals that drew elites from across Greece to display themselves, to engage in mock combat in the form of athletic competitions, and to celebrate a shared sense of Hellenicity. These festivals fostered the emergence of a Panhellenic perspective on the story that Greeks found best suited to articulate their shared identity, namely the Trojan War.

According to the model advanced here, Zeus serves to conceptualize Panhellenic narrative paths among epichoric and, as will be discussed momentarily, would-be Panhellenic accounts of the Trojan War. Approached this way, the association of gods with the plot is a common, perhaps universal, feature of traditional ancient Greek epic narratives generally; the identification of the plot with Zeus, on the other hand, represents a specifically Panhellenizing manifestation of this traditional theme.

The Homeric epics deploy a variety of strategies in order to establish common mythological ground for their Panhellenic audiences. To begin with, they draw on and synthesize themes, characters and stories that featured in a significant cross-section of epichoric contexts; thus for example the Homeric gods are those that were worshipped in some form in most or all Greek communities. In addition, the Homeric epics limit their engagement with epichoric themes by virtue of their settings, which are for the most part outside the confines of major population and cultural centers such as Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Corinth. To be sure, the extent of this synthesis remains unclear, owing to the incomplete nature of the evidence for Homeric multiforms and for non-Homeric traditions. Nevertheless, I hope to demonstrate that the available evidence is sufficient to support the case that many of the Odyssey’s narrative choices are informed at least in part by the need to engage with competing myths about Odysseus that were attaining a measure of Panhellenic recognition as the Homeric account was taking shape.

The theoretical basis for these assumptions will be explained and defended presently. First, however, it will be useful to pursue this idea of engagement between Homeric and non-Homeric narrative traditions a little further in order to arrive at a concept that is fundamental to my model for the structure of the Odyssey. To begin with, mutual referentiality among heroic narratives appears to have led to general agreement among most or all traditions regarding the basic story-line of the Trojan War. While individual traditions remained heterogeneous, certain broad “facts” came to obtain across the tradition as a whole: Achilleus dies at Troy, Troy falls, Nestor returns, and so on. In the present case, the performance tradition out of which the Odyssey emerged appears to have arrived at a basic outline according to which Odysseus returns from the Trojan War after misadventures, defeats suitors who infest his household, and, as discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, leaves Ithake again after killing them. Deviation from these “facts” would presumably have elicited from an ancient Greek audience the critical response, “no, that is not how the story goes.”

The attraction of Zeus to the nexus of fate and narrative in Odyssey 5 is, I suggest, representative of the architecture of the narrative as a whole. It is Zeus who ensures that the actions of the characters follow the path ordained by the “facts” of Odysseus’ larger heroic identity. This is not to limit the scope of Zeus’ character to structural themes. In particular his identification with overall narrative structure seems also to have made his character a useful means to enforce upon the Odyssey what is often described as its distinctive “moral” viewpoint. In other words, my model does not rule out the possibility that Zeus serves in the Odyssey to define the relationship between gods and men in terms that are distinct from – though I would prefer “complementary to” – those that are emphasized in the Iliad.

In any case, my reading of the texts and the scholarship has led me to conclude that the “facts” of the Trojan War became established across epichoric traditions during the emergence of fully Panhellenic performance contexts. The Iliad and Odyssey do not define the larger epic tradition, but are defined by it, and the terms of that definition are observed within the narratives through the character of Zeus.

Zeus and narrative choices in the story of Odysseus

This book aims in particular to demonstrate that the artistic achievement, thematic unity, and Panhellenic fitness of the Odyssey derive in large part from its handling of three major narrative choices that emerge from the “facts” of Odysseus’ story. At these inflection points in the Odyssey, Zeus plays a significant role in determining how the hero will proceed, which is to say, in establishing the Homeric “take” on Odysseus.

First, a choice is made between the two main paths for Odysseus’ journey from Troy back to Ithake. One path leads through the “real world” of Greek geography, the other through an “enchanted world” that cannot be mapped onto “real” Greece. The returning Nestor, for instance, takes the former path, visiting Lesbos, Tenedos, and Euboia en route (Odyssey 3.157-192; cf. Nostoi 94 Bernabé, 108 Allen). Odysseus in the Odyssey, on the other hand, spends most of his return voyage in a world of witches and monsters that is unrecognizable to the Greeks (cf. 10.190-192), and therefore divorced from the countless “Odysseus slept here” myths that were part of the local mythology of many Greek cities and regions. Significantly, as discussed in Chapter 2, it is Zeus who in Book 5 engineers Odysseus’ transition back to the real world.

A second major choice in the narrative path of Odysseus-traditions concerns whether Odysseus triumphs over the suitors as the leader of an invasion force, or instead arrives on Ithake alone and employs deception in order to overcome the suitors’ numerical superiority. The Odyssey of course chooses the latter path, but the former, as discussed in Chapter 3, seems to have been followed by many non-Homeric traditions. Nevertheless, the Odyssey betrays awareness of the road not taken, as when Nestor suggests that Odysseus may one day come and punish the suitors “alone or even all the Achaians [with him]” (ἢ ὅ γε μοῦνος ἐὼν ἢ καὶ σύμπαντες Ἀχαιοί, 3.216-217). Here again, it is Zeus who deprives Odysseus of the last of his crew so that he does in fact arrive on Ithake alone (12.415-419).

A third major inflection point comes after Odysseus kills the suitors. A number of non-Homeric realizations of this part of his story issue in what I shall describe as a “political” solution to the problem of the suitors’ deaths, as a result of which Odysseus is driven from Ithake and undergoes another series of adventures. In the Odyssey, by contrast, Zeus devises a fantastic deus ex machina response to the problem and thereby denies the possibility of significant “post-Odyssey” adventures for the hero, though here again, as discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, the Odyssey alludes to non-Homeric options.

Method and theory

I should make clear at this point precisely what I mean by “tradition.” In this book, “a tradition” is a narrative or practice that is the cultural possession of a self-constituted group of ancient Greeks. By the “ancient Greek epic tradition,” on the other hand, I refer to the phenomenon of narrative poetry in its various epichoric, proto-, and fully-Panhellenic contexts, while “Odyssey-tradition” refers to the notional, though irrecoverable, sequence of compositions-in-performance through which the Homeric text evolved. “Odysseus-tradition,” by contrast, refers to all potential versions of Odysseus’ story that were handed down in traditional contexts, including but not limited to written and oral performances as well as such sources as vase paintings. I should also apologize here in advance for a useful, though inelegant shorthand. It is in order to avoid assumptions inherent in using “Homer” as the agent responsible for the Homeric epics that I have recourse to such formulations as “the Odyssey engages with non-Homeric traditions,” where “the Odyssey” to refers to the text as we have it.

In arguing that the Odyssey engages with the expectations of the Homeric audience, however, I do not wish to raise the specter of naive auditors of Homeric poetry. It is difficult if not impossible to reconstruct the historical circumstances in which significant numbers of ancient Greeks were hearing Panhellenic discourse for the first time. For the purposes of this book, a crucial point is that the Odyssey was not the only, or necessarily even the primary, source through which ancient Greeks heard about Odysseus.

Chapter summaries

Part I of this book, Chapters 1-3, develops to a synoptic view of Zeus’ role in the overall structure of the Odyssey. Zeus’ appearances as a speaking character in the Odyssey are presented in a formalized way, in divine councils, which are a species of “type scene,” and I consider each of these in turn; a typological analysis of these scenes is offered in Appendix 2. I find particular significance in the fact that the distribution of Odyssean divine councils correlates with the boundaries of the three narrative sequences, and to the Odyssey’s major narrative “choices,” described above. I hope to demonstrate that Zeus’ actions, or rather words, in the council scenes define and connect these sequences – Telemachos’ voyage, or, as ancient critics termed it, the Tel emachia, Books 1-4; Odysseus’ return, or Nostos, Books 5-13 (including the Apologoi, Odysseus’ adventures in Books 9-12 that lie outside the main narrative); and Odysseus’ killing of the suitors, or Mnesterophonia, Books 14-24.

In Chapter 1, “Oresteia and Odyssey,” I argue that the germ of each of the Odyssey’s three major sequences is embedded in Zeus’ account of Aigisthos, Agamemnon and Orestes, with which the main narrative of the Odyssey commences. I conclude that Zeus’ account of the Oresteia provides a thematic template by prompting Athene to propose a plan based on character-equivalencies that align Agamemnon, Klytaimnestre, Aigisthos and Orestes with Odysseus, Penelope, the suitors, and Telemachos.

In Chapter 2, “Ogygie to Ithake,” I examine how Zeus’ interactions with Athene and Hermes in Book 5 program the final stage of Odysseus’ return and motivate his Apologoi. Fulfillment of Zeus’ plan for Odysseus is made to depend on the unwitting action of Poseidon, who like Athene is manipulated into serving the Dios boulē. At the end of this sequence, Zeus further uses Poseidon in order to establish the Odyssey’s relationship to epichoric traditions concerning the Phaiakes.

Chapter 3, “End(s) of the Odyssey,” explores the settlement of the conflict between Odysseus and the suitors on Ithake. Here Zeus plays the crucial role of establishing narrative closure in a manner consistent with the Odyssey’s Panhellenic perspective. Zeus’ answer to the problem of reciprocal violence on Ithake severs connections to epichoric traditions relating to Odysseus’ “post-Odyssey” life, but it also emerges organically from themes introduced in the Oresteia-paradigm and reified throughout the plot. In the process, I offer what I believe to be a conclusive refutation of the argument that Odyssey 24 is non-Homeric.

Part II of this book, Chapters 4-6, seeks to identify the implications of and possible motivation for the construction of Zeus’ role in the manner proposed in Part I. The relationship between non-Homeric Odysseus-traditions is examined from the perspective of arenas in which epichoric and proto-Panhellenic traditions may have arisen and interacted with one another, thereby giving rise to influential perspectives on Odysseus with which the canonical narrative was in a sense compelled to engage.

In Chapter 4, “After the Odyssey,” I argue that a fundamental distinction between the Odyssey and non-canonical Odysseus-traditions is that the latter construct “real world” narrative options for the resolution of the conflict with the suitors, while the Homeric narrative relies on divine intervention as planned and orchestrated by Zeus. By comparing the Odyssey’s “false” visions of its hero’s return with non-Homeric accounts, I make the case that west Greece was a locus of especially vigorous epichoric Odysseus-traditions. Specifically, I explore the possibility that a very non-Homeric Odysseus may have become familiar to many Greeks through performance traditions on Ithake, in Epirus, and at the Olympian festival in Elis, which traditions the Homeric account again confronts and attempts to de-authorize.

In Chapter 5, “Nestor’s Nostoi,” I analyze another nostos-narrative, the one told by Nestor in Odyssey 3. Nestor’s Nostoi, I argue, betrays a traditional singer’s way of thinking about epic composition, specifically about the relationship between a performable narrative and the larger epic tradition. Nestor emerges as an analog of the Homeric narrator, and hence of composers in the Homeric tradition. I conclude that Nestor organizes the Trojan War story into discrete narratives that bear comparison to the Iliad and Cyclic epics, and I devote particular attention to Nestor’s deployment of a divine apparatus that is thematically equivalent to the one in the main narrative of the Odyssey.

In Chapter 6, “Divine Plan and Narrative Plan,” I contextualize my findings about the relationship between Zeus and the plot of the Odyssey in terms of oral composition, the emergence of Panhellenic traditions, and the worship of Zeus in ancient Greece. Zeus’ supremacy in the ancient Greek epic tradition, I propose, is an artifact of Panhellenic performances. Consulting the fundamental work of Albert Lord, I argue that the Dios boulē corresponds to large-scale structuring themes in South-Slavic and other oral traditions. In order to corroborate this assertion, I review concisely the evidence for Zeus-worship in pre-Classical Greece, and conclude that Zeus was uniquely suited to preside over Panhellenic narratives.

I hope to show that the unfolding of Zeus’ divine plan creates a narrative plan through the controlled negotiation of narrative choices. Within the narrative, these choices are identified with the conflicting aims of gods who are, at least in the canonical epics, subordinate to Zeus. Choices authorized by the chief god align the narrative with, or distance it from, various traditions among which the canonical epics developed. Thus Zeus’ harmonization of the conflicting aims of Athene and Poseidon in the Odyssey can be seen as a metaphor for the Odyssey’s own composition. In like manner as Zeus manipulates and cajoles others into making their aims coextensive with his own, the Odyssey finesses the competing claims of parallel traditions, according as much recognition and authority to each as its own thematics allow.


[ back ] 1. See Appendix 1 for a tabulation of the passages on which these figures are based.

[ back ] 2. Thus for instance N. Richardson IC 6:330 ad 24.525-6; P. Rose 1992:94; Burkert 1985:122; Kullmann 1985:5-7; Lloyd-Jones 1971:28-32; Fränkel 1962:1-6; Kirk 1962:159-178; Dodds 1951:32-33.

[ back ] 3. Odysseus’ delaying tactics are also singled out by Athene as key to his successful return (13.333-337). For the suppression of Odysseus’ name in the proem, see de Jong 2001:7 ad 1.1; Cook 1995 18-21; Race 1993:91-92; Pedrick 1992:45-46; Clay 1983:26-29; Rüter 1969:34-35, 47. For Scodel 1999b:93, Odysseus’ “evasiveness” in the Odyssey generally implies that “[audience] members must be expected to tolerate narrative that is not immediately transparent;” cf. Fenik 1974:41-43.

[ back ] 4. The synonymy of the most common of these terms is clear from passages such as Odyssey 5.113-114, where it is Odysseus’ αἶσα to escape death away from Ithake and μοῖρα for him to return. Literature on “fate” in the Homeric epics is extensive; I have consulted in particular Erbse 1986:259-293 and Kullmann 1985; for the Iliad specifically, Nagy1979:81-82 §25n2; Schadewaldt 1966:152-155; Whitman 1958:228-230; for the Odyssey, Danek 1998:74-75, 188-193; Hölscher 1988:199-202; Rüter 1969:64-76. Ehnmark 1935:74-85 evaluates “pre-Parry” views of the subject.

[ back ] 5. M. Edwards’s formulation (1987:136) covers the range of meanings: “fate, of course, is the will of the poet, limited by the major features of the traditional legends” (emphasis added). Cf. Richardson 1990:193-196.

[ back ] 6. Representative arguments for tripartite structure in Louden 1999:1-25; Bowra 1962:43-44; Heubeck 1954:36-53; for other approaches to large-scale structures in the Odyssey, see Tracy 1997:365-379 and Thalmann 1984:51-56.

[ back ] 7. Rousseau’s work has been brought to a broader audience by Gregory Nagy; cf. 2002:63-66, where Nagy’s own work on the Dios boulē, also mostly relating to the Iliad, is summarized. That work has informed my reading of the Dios boulē theme in the Odyssey; I note in particular Nagy’s 1979:81 argument that “the Will of Zeus” is “the self-proclaimed ‘plot’ of our Iliad;” cf. 333-336, and similar argumentation in 2003:58-59, 1990b:15, 221-222.

[ back ] 8. Pucci 1987:41-43, with the conclusion that, even were the priority of the Iliad or Odyssey established as historical fact, “the specularity of polemic gestures . . . would remain untouched . . . since by a sort of après coup the second text’s reading would enforce this specularity on the earlier text.” This approach echoes such earlier work as Conte 1986:40-95; Thalmann 1984:75-76; Ong 1982:132-135; and Nagy 1979:42-58, and has been developed by e.g. Cook 1995:3-4 and Lowenstam 1993:1-12.

[ back ] 9. Pucci 1987:38-39.

[ back ] 10. For an overview of Analyst and Neo-Analyst achievements, cf. Kullmann 1991; Nagy 1996:133-134, 1990a:72; M. E. Clark:1986.

[ back ] 11. Slatkin 1991:108, citing Lang 1983; cf. Lowenstam 1993:1-12; for a text-based approach see A. Edwards 1985:5-9.

[ back ] 12. The range of critical opinion advocating this view of the Cycle is well represented by Carlier 1999:101-104; Dowden 1996:48; Latacz 1996:75, 89; Scaife 1995:171-172; Taplin 1992:85n4.

[ back ] 13. Nagy 1990a:70.

[ back ] 14. Presented most fully in Nagy 1990a:70-81.

[ back ] 15. My reasons for accepting as largely accurate our most comprehensive testimony on the non-Homeric Trojan War epics, that of the probably fifth-century CE Neoplatonist, Proklos, are summarized in Marks 2005:13-14; for a more skeptical view, see e.g. Burgess 2001:26-27.

[ back ] 16. Cf. Nagy’s discussion (1996:50-56) of relative degrees of Panhellenicity in the context of comparative evidence for the diffusion of various Indic epic traditions; see discussion in Chapter 4. My terminology was developed independently of Malkin’s 1998:117 “proto-pan-Hellenic” category; I note however that his application of the term to the Polis Bay site on Ithake (for which see also Chapter 4) complements on the level of cult my conception of the Cyclic narratives: in each case, local traditions transcend their origins, but fail to reach a truly broad constituency across the Greek-speaking world.

[ back ] 17. Note that the emergence of Panhellenic discourse can thus be explained as either the evolution of one epichoric tradition to a position of authority over others, or as the synthesis of parallel traditions in a Panhellenic context.

[ back ] 18. For the evolution of ancient views of Homer, see Graziosi 2002:55-62, 193-200; M. West 1999.

[ back ] 19. My understanding of the “Homeric audience” has been informed in particular by Thalmann 1998:291-305; Stehle 1997:174-177; and Gentili 1988:3-23.