Kleos in a Minor Key: The Homeric Education of a Little Prince

  Petropoulos, J. C. B. 2011. Kleos in a Minor Key: The Homeric Education of a Little Prince. Hellenic Studies Series 45. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Petropoulos.Kleos_in_a_Minor_Key.2011.

6. The End of the Telemachy

The Culmination of Extinction?

“ . . . Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.”

T. S. Eliot “Burnt Norton” (No. 1 of Four Quartets)

If much of the emotional effect of the first 21 books of the Odyssey turns on the relation or rather the heart-rending contrast between Odysseus’ harmonious reign in the past and the dysfunctional, dejected present, the final two books derive their impact from the resolution of ‘time past’ into ‘time future’, to paraphrase T. S. Eliot. Italo Calvino [1] and others before him have well noticed that in keeping with its folk tale scheme Odysseus’ final triumph, like Robin Hood’s, for instance, also ushers in the restoration of a just society: so long as Odysseus will reign, Ithaka will be uniformly prosperous, peaceful, and oblivious to former conflicts, as Teiresias foretells in Odyssey 11.134–137. [2] Moreover, as Calvino crucially observes, in this restored society Odysseus’ “true identity,” like Robin Hood’s, “will be recognised.” [3] Before this happens father and son must strive along parallel courses and finally converge. [4] But, whereas Odysseus’ identity is continuous and intact, if usually latent, needing to be revealed (for instance by his scar in Odyssey 19 or still more melodramatically when he heroically discards his beggar’s disguise in Book 22), Telemachos’ identity is discontinuous and disconnected from that of his father; the prince’s ‘personality’ must evolve until it crystalizes, almost text-like, into the cumulative oral narrative about his ἐξεσίη ‘mission abroad’ that will make up his (admittedly subaltern) {129|130} kleos. [5] (This narrative, in other words, will be based typically on the ‘reports’, which even the suitors will come to hear, about his overseas adventures.)

The Telemacheia is taken up mainly with the prince’s ὁδός ‘journey’, which, as I have argued, resembles an initiatory ‘ordeal’ characteristic of Homeric education. Having passed this conventional Jünglingsprobe, the initiated ephebe can fight confidently at his father’s side in Books 22 and 24. [6] It is the merging of father and son in the latter half of the poem [7] —which I will touch upon shortly—that makes possible Telemachos’ ἀριστεία ‘special period of prowess’, arguably the climax—the πείρατ’ ἀέθλων ‘end of trials’—of the Telemacheia. [8] As I see it, this secondary epic continues even beyond Book 17, which many scholars regard as the ‘end’ of the Telemacheia. The climax is duly registered in Book 24, as I will argue, by the ‘group portrait’ of grandfather, father, and son confirming their continuity as a genos (in the Homeric non-technical sense of ‘family’). How far will this continuity extend? is a question that the poet seems to answer. Finally, another preliminary observation: if the dénouement (λύσις) of the Odyssey has rather the character of a contemplation on the future of the Arkeisiad genos, it is no less clear that in the latter part of the poem the poet is especially self-conscious about age categories and Ithaka’s generational system. The Little Prince’s coming of age, then, reflects closely the poem’s vital thematic and dramaturgic stake in the social significance of age and personhood.

The Expendable Suitors and the Lonely Arkeisiads

The suitors, as a whole, constitute a group of young ὁμήλικες ‘peers’, most of them in their 20s, although a number of them are older (προγενέστεροι ‘older’, Odyssey 24.160; compare 434, 475). [9] Like Telemachos’ crew, who are κοῦροι ‘youths, young men’ one and all (Odyssey 4.652ff.), the μνηστῆρες ‘suitors’ also bear this rather diffuse title (on which see Russo, Fernández-Galiano, and Heubeck 1992:224 ad Odyssey 22.30). Compare, for instance, Antinoos’ ‘epitaph’ at Odyssey 22.29–30: ‘φῶτα κατέκτανες ὃς μέγ’ ἄριστος / κούρων εἰν Ἰθάκῃ’ (“you killed a man who was by far the best / of Ithaka’s young men” [in the words of the other suitors]). As has been noted, despite occasional affinities with the λαοί ‘people’—some of which are rhetorical pretensions, as at Odyssey 22.45–55—these {130|131} youths are in reality distinct from, and usually opposed to, the ‘people’. [10] The suitors’ sameness of age, moreover, is worth exploring briefly; for the terms ὁμηλικίη ‘age group, generation’ and ὁμῆλιξ ‘of the same age, contemporary’, [11] when used of young individuals, arguably connote the education of a specific age group (or class). Compare Iliad 3.175, where Helen regrets having left her ὁμηλικίην ἐρατεινήν, i.e. the group of graceful maidens who almost certainly trained with her in the same chorus. In Odyssey 15.197–198 Telemachos foresees explicitly that the common ὁδός ‘journey’—a radically educational process, as argued in the previous chapter—undertaken by two ὁμήλικες ‘peers’, namely, himself and Peisistratos, will establish a ‘feeling of bondedness’ between them:

‘ἀτὰρ καὶ ὁμήλικές εἰμεν·
ἥδε δ’ ὁδὸς καὶ μᾶλλον ὁμοφροσύνῃσιν ἐνήσει.’
“besides we are of the same age,
and this journey will involve us even further in mental togetherness.”

Τhe developmental undertones of these passages are strengthened by comparison with the collocation ‘κεκριμένοι καὶ ὁμήλικες’ in Odyssey 24.106–108, Agamemnon’s generalization about the suitors’ collective status. To quote his query to Amphimedon when they meet in Hades:

‘Ἀμφίμεδον, τί παθόντες ἐρεμνὴν γαῖαν ἔδυτε
πάντες κεκριμένοι καὶ ὁμήλικες; οὐδέ κεν ἄλλως
κρινάμενος λέξαιτο κατὰ πτόλιν ἄνδρας ἀρίστους.’
“Amphimedon, what happened to you that you have gone down to the Dark Land,
all select [men] and of the same age? Not any differently [i.e. better]
could one have selected and brought together the best men throughout a city.”

Agamemnon assumes that the select “‘group’ [sc. of contemporaries] must have met their end in some common venture” (Russo, Fernández-Galiano, and Heubeck 1992:372 ad loc.). Elsewhere Odysseus describes this elite collectivity as the ἕρμα πόληος ‘the stone or prop, hence support of the polis’, essentially a nautical metaphor, when he tells his son the following: {131|132}

‘ἡμεῖς δ’ ἕρμα πόληος ἀπέκταμεν, οἳ μέγ’ ἀρίστοι
κούρων εἰν Ἰθάκῃ . . .’

Odyssey 23.121–122

“whereas we have killed off the support of the [ship of] state, [those] who were the best by far
of Ithaka’s young men . . .”

What the two passages just cited may imply is that these ἄριστοι ‘best’ young men, all of them ‘coevals’, had been formally inducted into the status of junior adult at the same time. Anthropologists have established that many village and band societies, particularly in Africa, categorize males by virtue of their social (as opposed to their strictly chronological) age. [
12] Each category is an ‘age-set’ which is given a special name. Thus, for instance, to quote one specialist, “those born between 1900 and 1909 would belong together throughout their lives in one set, and those born between 1910 and 1919 would belong to the next set. At intervals, all the members of a set are initiated at one and the same ceremony and then they move together through a series of roles or occupations.” [13] These roles and occupations, which entail certain duties and responsibilities, signify a specific status or ‘age-grade’, for example, the ‘warrior grade’ or the ‘grade of elders’. [14] Age-set members in, for example, Africa enjoy “a special feeling of solidarity that cut[s] across domestic and lineage kin groups.” [15] On this analogy, the suitors must have belonged, by and large, to the same age-set of ephebes before achieving together the grade of ‘warriors’. [16] In other words, if indeed the wide-ranging African evidence is a reliable guide, these young men were non-kin (a fact which Homer supports e silentio) and ‘contemporaries’ (ὁμήλικες, as Homer reports) in the cultural or ritual sense of having been initiated into manhood over the same span of, say, ten, twelve, or fourteen years. [17] Another defining trait was their feeling of non-kin solidarity, a sentiment that Telemachos (still an initiand in Book 17) cites as ὁμοφροσύναι ‘togetherness of mind, mental harmony’.

The three Arkeisiads, encompassing as they do three living generations, are a quintessentially lone genos ‘family line’. [23] This seeming eccentricity makes for the precarious situation in which Odysseus and his son find themselves, especially from Book 16 onward. Telemachos is a solitary resister from the beginning of the poem, one young man facing a host of other youths. The odds are intractably unfavorable. As he admits to Eumaios (Odysseus has not yet revealed himself to his son): ‘πρῆξαι δ’ ἀργαλέον τι μετὰ πλεόνεσσιν ἐόντα / ἄνδρα καὶ ἴφθιμον . . .’ (“It is painfully hard to achieve anything, being one among greater numbers, / even if a man is brave . . . ,” Odyssey 16.88–99). Then, in response to the beggar Odysseus’ searching and ironical questions and pointed remark (a test, {133|134} really, of his son’s mettle) that if he were in the prince’s place he would fight the suitors to the death even if single-handed (Odyssey 16.105–107), Telemachos self-consciously recites his genealogy, which is endangered, as he puts it exaggeratingly, by foes μυρίοι ‘past counting’:

‘ὧδε γὰρ ἡμέτερην γενεὴν μούνωσε Κρονίων·
μοῦνον Λαέρτην Ἀρκείσιος υἱὸν ἔτικτε,
μοῦνον δ’ αὖτ’ Ὀδυσῆα πατὴρ τέκεν· αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς
μοῦνον ἔμ’ ἐν μεγάροισι τεκὼν λίπεν οὐδ’ ἀπόνητο.
τῷ νῦν δυσμενέες μάλα μυρίοι εἴσ’ ἐνὶ οἴκῳ.’

Odyssey 16. 117–121

“For in the following fashion the son of Kronos ‘singled’ our family:
to be a single son Arkeisios begat Laertes,
to be [a] single [son] in turn his father begat Odysseus; and Odysseus,
after begetting me in his palace to be [a] single [son], left me behind and did not even enjoy me.
Against this background, now evil-minded men past counting are in our house.”

The Arkeisiads reach back to four generations, of which three survive in a sea of enemies. (At length, after his father has revealed his identity in the same episode, the prince renders a truthful account of the suitors, enumerating them finitely as his father requested [Odyssey 16.235, 245–253].)

The Prodigal Son and Identity-switching

ὡς δὲ πατὴρ ὃν παῖδα φίλα φρονέων ἀγαπάζῃ
ἐλθόντ’ ἐξ ἀπίης γαίης δεκάτῳ ἐνιαυτῷ,
μοῦνον τηλύγετον, τῷ ἔπ’ ἄλγεα πολλὰ μογήσῃ,
ὣς τότε Τηλέμαχον θεοειδέα δῖος ὑφορβός
πάντα κύσεν περιφύς, ὡς ἐκ θανάτοιο φυγόντα.

Οdyssey 16.17–21

As a loving father emotionally welcomes his son
who has come back from a distant land in the tenth year,—
his only son, his special one, over whom he experiences [sc. experienced] much distress,— {135|136}
so at that moment the excellent swineherd after embracing godlike Telemachos tightly
kissed him, as if he had escaped from death.

The simile, so affecting and at the same time so allusive, recalls the cross-cultural tale of the ‘Prodigal son’ (Luke 15:11–34). [
31] De Jong (2001:389) registers the exchange, albeit temporary, of roles of father and son here: “the son in the simile is cast in the role of Odysseus . . . while the ‘distresses’ [sc. ἄλγεα] which the father in the simile has suffered on account of his son correspond to those of Telemachus during the absence of his father (cf. 4.164 and 16.188–9).” Further, she comments, “This role reversal underscores the similarity between the experiences of Odysseus and Telemachus.” [32] But it may, I think, also be worthwhile to notice the ‘educational’ and encomiastic nuances of the cross-pattern that exalts the prince into a mature figure returned home after a ten-year absence abroad. The simile would indeed have been apter in a strict sense if Odysseus were the one being tearfully welcomed by his son, who has indeed suffered on account of his long absence (as is stated outright a bit later in the same book: Οdyssey 16.188–189). [33] In the event, it is the father figure Eumaios—whom Telemachos affectionately calls ἄττα ‘Papa’ (Οdyssey 16.31) [34] —who welcomes the ‘prodigal son’ back home; but as the simile unfolds, as I noted, the son shifts into a father and the paternal Eumaios into a hitherto helpless son. This unexpected rearrangement of terms can only make full sense in light of the fact that Telemachos has become an adult in the course of his ὁδός ‘journey’. That said, the reversal of roles would have reverberated across nine books—from 16 to 24—during a live performance. [35] The audience would have been able to sense a reprise of Telemachos’ teary welcome by the swineherd in the recognition scene of Odysseus and Laertes. In Book 24 Laertes has, like the surrogate father Eumaios, suffered because of his son’s disappearance (esp. 233); furthermore, Laertes emotionally embraces Odysseus just as the swineherd embraces Telemachos (but goes one better than Eumaios by fainting). These congruities {136|137} would confirm to the audience that in Book 16 the prince has briefly—and flatteringly—become an implicit Odysseus νοστήσας ‘returned home’. [36]

This is a good juncture at which to return to Telemachos’ rehearsal of his precarious lineage, quoted earlier (Οdyssey 16.117–121). The prince’s sparse family tree culminates in the fourth generation; its climax and conclusion—both notions are subsumed by the word τέλος—are Telemachos himself. Indeed, he fears that he may (barring some miracle) be the end of the Arkeisiad line. If the T scholia on Iliad 9.482 are correct in deriving the etymology of τηλύγετος ‘special or favorite [sc. child]’ from the word τέλος ‘end’, the prince is literally, as the above scholia note, ὁ τῆς γονῆς τέλος ἔχων, μεθ’ ὃν ἕτερος οὐ γίγνεται ‘he who finishes or completes the generation, after whom no other is born’. [37] As it happens, his genos ‘family, lineage’, incarnated as it is by three males, wins out in Book 24, as has been remarked. The triumph is facilitated, typically enough, by divine agency (Athena’s and Zeus’ intervention), but it actually is the direct result of the fortress-like compactness of this, the γένος βασιλήϊον ‘royal family’ (Οdyssey 16.401, compare 17.291ff.). [38] The victorious trio—Odysseus, Telemachos, and Laertes—proclaim their family solidarity shortly before the attack on the suitors’ allies:

αἶψα δὲ Τηλέμαχον προσεφώνεεν ὃν φίλον υἱόν·
‘Τηλέμαχ’, ἤδη μὲν τόδε γ’ εἴσεαι αὐτὸς ἐπελθών,
ἀνδρῶν μαρναμένων ἵνα τε κρίνονται ἄριστοι,
μή τι καταισχύνειν πατέρων γένος, οἳ τὸ πάρος περ
ἀλκῇ τ’ ἠνορέῃ τε κεκάσμεθα πᾶσαν ἐπ’ αἶαν.’
Τὸν δ’ αὖ Τηλέμαχος πεπνυμένος ἀντίον ηὔδα·
‘ὄψεαι, αἴ κ’ ἐθέλῃσθα, πάτερ φίλε, τῷδ’ ἐπὶ θυμῷ
οὔ τι καταισχύνοντα τεὸν γένος, ὡς ἀγορεύεις.’
Ὣς φάτο, Λαέρτης δ’ ἐχάρη καὶ μῦθον ἔειπε·
‘τίς νύ μοι ἡμέρη ἥδε, θεοὶ φίλοι; ἦ μάλα χαίρω·
υἱός θ’ υἱωνός τ’ ἀρετῆς πέρι δῆριν ἔχουσι.’

Οdyssey 24.505–515

At once he addressed his beloved son Telemachos:
“Telemachos, now you will learn this yourself—when you have come there, where
the best men as they fight measure themselves— {137|138}
[namely] how not in any way to shame the family of our forefathers, us who since times past
have excelled in warfare and masculinity throughout the whole world.”
To him prudent Telemachos responded:
“You will see, if you wish, dear father, me, in my present mood,
‘not in any way to be shaming your family,’ as you put it.”
So he spoke and Laertes was overjoyed and spoke these words:
“What a day today is for me, dear gods! I really am overjoyed!
My son and grandson are competing over bravery!”

It is minutes before the curtain falls on the action of the poem. This is the last time we will see and hear the Arkeisiads. In its idealizing stylization the vignette conveyed in the verses quoted above is comparable to a ‘graduation photograph’, with the graduate flanked by his two elders. The three stages of life—old age, middle age, and youth—are summarized in this image. [
39] Homer’s group portrait condenses a moment of perfection, and it is the object of the final section of this chapter to elucidate this.

Closure: Joining the Γένος and Making the Grade

‘ὣς ἀνδρῶν γενεὴ ἡ μὲν φύει ἡ δ’ ἀπολήγει.’

Iliad 6.149

“So too one family of men grows and another dies out.”

Archaeologists working at Athens, Lefkandi (Euboia), and elsewhere in Greece have noticed a three-generation limit to the reuse of family tombs, especially in the Geometric and Archaic periods. Carla Antonaccio has linked this {138|139} phenomenon to “a three generation genealogical memory” which in her view points to, as she puts it, “a shallow time depth within lineage structures.” [41] Such a restriction ruled out “long-term ‘ancestor worship,’” she concludes. [42] Striking confirmation of this can be found, for instance, in the Athenian Agora and the Kerameikos. There, a number of stone enclosures, often triangular in plan, “stand near or mark earlier anonymous graves” that date from the sixth and fifth centuries BC. [43] These unroofed structures, enclosed by ‘boundary walls’, were called, fittingly enough, τριτοπατρεῖα. [44] They were essentially shrines used for tomb cult (not ‘worship’) of the family or civic τριτοπάτρεις, the illustrious male ancestors reaching back at least three generations. The famous shrine (heroön) of the early seventh century BC at Eretria actually contains offerings and evidence of sacrifices carried out over cremations of warriors from the period 720–680 BC. This structure, like two other possibly Archaic ἄβατα ‘sacred areas’ in the Lake Quarter in Delos, are almost perfect isosceles triangles in shape and are located at the intersection of three paths or τρίοδοι, described so handsomely by A. B. Cook as “that immemorial rendez–vous of family ghosts.” [45] The Eretrian heroön is situated near the entrance of the civic cemetery; other comparable structures elsewhere are either near a cemetery or adjacent to a public assembly place. [46]

Let us examine again this conversation (Odyssey 24.505ff.). Odysseus’ words to his son are the standard paternal command not to shame one’s forebears in battle, that is, to measure up to their prowess. In the prelude to his command (verses 506–507) Odysseus first spells out the experiential aspect of what lies immediately ahead for his son (Odyssey 24.506: ‘ἤδη μὲν τόδε γ’ εἴσεαι αὐτὸς ἐπελθών’ [“now you will learn this yourself—when you have come there . . .”]). Then he generalizes that through such hands-on experience (compare again 24.506: αὐτὸς ‘yourself’ and ἐπελθών ‘having come’ [i.e. to the battlefield]) men ‘κρίνονται ἄριστοι’, literally, “separate themselves, hence measure themselves” (Odyssey 24.507). [50] The last phrase, ‘κρίνονται ἄριστοι’, recalls the description, already cited, of the suitors as κεκριμένοι καὶ ὁμήλικες ‘select and of the same age’ in Odyssey 24.107 and as ἄριστοι ‘best’ in Odyssey 23.121–122. Kεκριμένοι ‘select, picked’ implies Agamemnon’s supposition that the suitors had already earned the title of aristoi in battle or battle-like experiences, all of them having advanced to the warrior-grade. Developmentally and also ritually most of them are, in fact, a grade ahead of Telemachos. The substance of Odysseus’ προτροπή ‘exhortation’ can be found in verses 508–509. Compare the words Hippolochos spoke to his son Glaukos before sending him to war. As Glaukos recalls, indirectly quoting his father,

‘πέμπε δέ μ’ ἐς Τροίην, καί μοι μάλα πόλλ’ ἐπέτελλεν,
αἰὲν ἀριστεύειν καὶ ὑπείροχον ἔμμεναι ἄλλων,
μηδὲ γένος πατέρων αἰσχυνέμεν . . .’

Iliad 6.207–209

“And he sent me to Troy, and sternly instructed me
always to be best and to be superior to others,
and not to shame the family of our forefathers . . .”

The conceit informing such statements is that genealogy, [
51] in the first instance, naturally endows one with courage and imposes an obligation to excel in battle {141|142} (ἀριστεύειν). [52] The typical warrior will assume, “I can and must fight according to the example of my forefathers,” thus identifying with his γένος ‘family, genealogy’. Οdysseus does precisely this when he invokes his πατέρων γένος ‘family of forefathers’ in one breath (Odyssey 24.508) and then expressly appropriates his ancestors’ ἀλκή ‘valor’ and ἠνορέη ‘masculinity, manhood’ in another (Odyssey 24.509). Now ἠνορέη, as Graziosi and Haubold have shown, is generally a positive quality. [53] In the Iliad the term is mentioned usually in conjunction with other virtues and connotes the state of being a man, a kind of masculinity that might prove socially beneficial if tempered by considerations of cooperation among equals on the battlefield. At Odyssey 24.509, its only attestation in that poem, ἠνορέη refers retrospectively to the Arkeisiads’ renowned track record of bravery (compare 24.509: πᾶσαν ἐπ’ αἶαν ‘throughout the whole earth’, for the extent of this renown). Haubold and Graziosi also remark that the degree to which Telemachos exemplifies this quality “is something still to be proven,” for he “remains first and foremost a son, not a full-grown man” despite having participated in the πόλεμος ‘war’ (as Homer calls it) waged against the suitors. [54]

In his response Telemachos self-consciously echoes his father’s injunction almost verbatim: ‘oὔ τι καταισχύνοντα τεὸν γένος, ὡς ἀγορεύεις’ (Odyssey 24.512) echoes ‘μή τι καταισχύνειν πατέρων γένος’ (Odyssey 24.508). Whether “with a touch of scorn” or not, [55] the prince signals to his father that he is quoting him. [56] But instead of repeating in his asseveration Odysseus’ πατέρων γένος ‘our fathers’ genos’, [57] Telemachos says τεὸν γένος (‘your genos’). [58] He admits by implication that he is not a full-fledged member of his father’s genos. This variation in wording confirms, I believe, Graziosi and Haubold’s diagnosis, which I cite again: “Telemachus remains first and foremost a son, not a full-grown man fighting a war among other men on the battlefield.” [59] It remains for Telemachos, the last in line, to display ἠνορέη ‘masculinity’ in his own right, in a proper Iliadic battle (as opposed to the unusual indoor fighting of Book 22). This he promptly and spectacularly does (in verses 525–530) alongside his father and grandfather; the dynamic duo Odysseus and Telemachos would have decimated the enemy, the poet tells us, had Athena not intervened to stop the fighting (Odyssey 24.531–532). {142|143} So it is not until the very end of the poem that Telemachos proves himself truly worthy of his father’s genos and is integrated de facto into it as a full-grown man. [60]

The Telemachos we see in the exchange of verses 505ff. is, I suggest, a Telemachos on the verge of coming fully into his own as a man possessed of ἠνορέη ‘manhood’. In these verses the prince experiences some sort of symbolic induction into his genos, and the event is rendered most meaningful by the fact that it is overseen by his father and proud grandfather. It is pointless to speculate whether the poet is deliberately alluding to an actual practice or custom that an Archaic audience would have readily recognized. [61] In the Classical period, at any rate, an Athenian would have thought that Homer was conveying something of wider social importance in these verses. Telemachos’ words, in particular, would have called to mind the beginning of the so-called ‘ephebic oath’, described by Dover as the “most comprehensive oath which an Athenian swore in his life” on being inducted into the status of ephebe at the age of 19 or 20. [62] The Athenian youth swore, “I will not shame the sacred arms . . .” [63] Of course the Athenian would have spoken in civic terms, while Telemachos speaks as a member of an aristocratic family. [64] What is beyond doubt is that the three-cornered conversation at the end of Book 24 espouses the ideal of family continuity across three generations, an ideal that can be corroborated by such evidence as the Archaic τριτοπατρεῖα or enclosures for burials of three generations. Showing ἠνορέη ‘masculinity’ in a spectacular outdoor battle, Telemachos becomes, by Odyssey 24.530, a man fully grown and ‘graduates’ to the grade of warrior. [65] He has upheld his genealogy by outgrowing his Homeric role of Little Prince. Like his genealogy, Telemachos has come to the end of the line. [66] {143|}


[ back ] 1. Calvino 1999:14.

[ back ] 2. Cf. Zeus’ concluding performative utterance at Odyssey 24.482, by which he ordains Ithaka’s future; but it is a future that is limited to Odysseus’ lifespan.

[ back ] 3. Calvino 1999:14.

[ back ] 4. See the preceding chapter.

[ back ] 5. See Chapters 1 and 3; cf. the discussion of Telemachos as νήπιος in Chapter 4.

[ back ] 6. For his lack of self-confidence in lone combat (before meeting Odysseus), compare Odyssey 16.71–72.

[ back ] 7. For his newly won confidence after being reunited with his father, compare Odyssey 20.313–319.

[ back ] 8. Cf. Odyssey 23.248ff.: ‘οὐ γάρ πω πάντων ἐπὶ πείρατ’ ἀέθλων / ἤλθομεν’ (Odysseus to Penelope).

[ back ] 9. For the suitors’ youth, see Odyssey 20.361, 24.106–107 with Dawe 1993:839 ad loc.; Odyssey 21.94–95 (Antinoos remembers Odysseus from his childhood, hence he must be at least 25); also Odyssey 21.179, 184, 361, 401 (they are νέοι); Odyssey 24.457 (they are παῖδες).

[ back ] 10. Haubold 2000, esp. 110–125; Chapter 4 above.

[ back ] 11. For the almost interchangeable terms ὁμηλικίη and ὁμῆλιξ in the Iliad and Odyssey, see Beekes 2010(I):515, s.v. ἧλιξ and especially Russo, Fernández-Galiano, and Heubeck 1992 (n16 below). For the moment I note that both terms may be taken either in an individual sense = ‘contemporary’, as in American English ‘classmate’, or in a collective sense = ‘group of contemporaries’, as in ‘the Class of 1980’; cf. the Classical Athenian ἡλικία = ‘(military) call-up group’ and n65 below.

[ back ] 12. Mair 1965:51; Orme 1981:150.

[ back ] 13. Orme 1981:150; italics mine.

[ back ] 14. Mair 1965:51.

[ back ] 15. Harris 1987:190, citing the instance of East African pastoralists; italics mine.

[ back ] 16. On ὁμήλικες as an ‘age-group’, see Stanford 1958 ad Odyssey 24.107ff., also Russo, Fernández-Galiano, and Heubeck 1992:258 ad Odyssey 22.209 (ὁμηλικίη) and n17 immediately below.

[ back ] 17. Αlthough it is not explicitly stated, the discussion in Russo, Fernández-Galiano, and Heubeck 1992 of the semantic shift of the noun ὁμηλικίη (from the abstract ‘sameness of age’ to the less abstract ‘of the same age-group’ to the concrete ‘peer, contemporary’) shows what a relative notion ‘sameness of age’ is, something which the African evidence bears out.

[ back ] 18. Ηaubold 2000:140–141; also Chapter 4 above. Scheid-Tissinier 1993:17, 20–22 stresses, by contrast, that the deadly conflict in fact pits two different groups of budding warriors, namely Telemachos’ ‘contemporaries’ and the suitors. The wholesale eviction or liquidation of an entire group of youths by another group within a city has, she notes, parallels in Archaic Sparta and Athens and subsequently in other Greek city-states.

[ back ] 19. Haubold 2000:139.

[ back ] 20. Cf. Haubold 2000:141.

[ back ] 21. Haubold 2000:141, 143.

[ back ] 22. Haubold 2000:143.

[ back ] 23. Also cf. Odysseus’ maternal grandfather Autolykos, whose name may mean ‘Lone Wolf’ (see Chapter 5 above).

[ back ] 24. This repetition takes up Odysseus’ defiant μοῦνον ἐόντα in Odyssey 16.105. Note also the triple anaphora of τίκτω/τεκών, the ‘begats’ typical of actual genealogies.

[ back ] 25. In a lecture delivered at the Triennial Conference at the University of Cambridge in July 2005.

[ back ] 26. Lüthi 1976:61; Lüthi 1947, discussed in Χατζητάκη-Καψωμένου 2002:137.

[ back ] 27. Cf. Odyssey 16.300–301, 309–310: father tests son, son declares his determination. They then join forces.

[ back ] 28. De Jong 2001:385.

[ back ] 29. For this term, see Baldick 1990, s.v. ‘hypallage’: “a figure of speech by which an epithet is transferred from the more appropriate to the less appropriate of two nouns, [e.g.] . . . ‘If Jonson’s learnèd sock be on.’”

[ back ] 30. De Jong 2001:389 ad loc.

[ back ] 31. So Wöhrle 1999:114–115. I may add a crucial difference between Homer and Luke: in the Odyssey the long-lost son is an only son (Οdyssey 16.19: μοῦνον τηλύγετον, on which see below), whereas Luke’s returning son has a (virtuous) brother waiting for him.

[ back ] 32. De Jong 2001:389. Also cf. the simile in Οdyssey 5.394–399 in which Odysseus tellingly becomes a son overjoyed at his father’s deliverance from illness; as de Jong 2001:144–145 remarks ad loc., Odysseus is also implicitly the suffering father here.

[ back ] 33. Οdyssey 16.188–189: ‘ἀλλὰ πατὴρ τεός εἰμι, τοῦ εἵνεκα σὺ στεναχίζων / πάσχεις ἄλγεα πολλά . . .’

[ back ] 34. Εumaios calls the prince ‘φίλον τέκος’ (Οdyssey 16.25).

[ back ] 35. See Nagy 2003:16: “the resonances of Homeric cross-referencing must be appreciated within the larger context of a long history of repeated performances . . . the referent of a reference is not restricted to the immediate context but extends to analogous contexts heard in previous performances” (italics mine).

[ back ] 36. These congruities are also cited by West 1997:436.

[ back ] 37. So also Plutarch Moralia 94 A; see Vasilaros 2004:137–8 for bibliography and brief discussion and compare Beekes 2010 (II): 1479, s.v. τηλύγετος (‘latecomer’, sch. T on 9.482).

[ back ] 38. Cf. also γένος βασιλεύτερον in Odyssey 15.533. See n41 below.

[ back ] 39. Cf. the three-tiered Chigi vase (seventeenth century BC), featuring “the most successful portrayal of hoplite tactics that has survived” in the words of Murray 1993:130; in the lowest of the three bands on the olpê short-haired adolescent παῖδες are shown hunting rabbits, a junior activity; in the middle band we note slightly older males, with long hair, of whom five are hunting a lion, a conventional heroic adult activity; in the topmost band (still older?) hoplites march into battle.

[ back ] 40. Graziosi and Haubold 2003:72–73.

[ back ] 41. Antonaccio 1993, esp. 63; to her bibliography (69n76) add: Lemos 2002, esp. 188 (at Protogeometric Lefkandi “members of the lineage or kin group were buried together”); Kitto 1951:18 (Homeric genealogies extend “up through three generations, then comes a god”); Thomas 1992:112 (the three to four generation limit to oral historical traditions in the Greek polis); hence, e.g., cf. Iliad 13.449–453 (Idomeneus’ lineage); 14.113–118 (Diomedes’ lineage); also cf. the Hesiodic Myth of the Five Generations, which are actually four if we exclude the intercalated genos of demigods. The phrase ‘ἐς δεκάτην γενεήν’ (see Odyssey 14.325, 19.294) is an exaggeration and does not upset the theory about a three to four generation upper limit. Nor does Theoklymenos’ prophecy at Odyssey 15.533–535 (‘ὑμετέρου δ’ οὐκ ἔστι γένος βασιλεύτερον ἄλλο / ἐν δήμῳ Ἰθάκης, ἀλλ’ ὑμεῖς καρτεροὶ αἰεί’), which dictated as it was by the soothsayer’s need to flatter his host Telemachos, he subsequently replaces by a totally different prophecy (Odyssey 17.154–161).

[ back ] 42. Antonaccio 1993:65.

[ back ] 43. Antonaccio 1993:58.

[ back ] 44. Antonaccio 1993:58.

[ back ] 45. Cited by Bérard 1970:60.

[ back ] 46. Bérard 1970:56–69 (full treatment with parallels); Ducrey et al. 2004:172–175 on the Eretria heroön.

[ back ] 47. Bérard 1970:68–69.

[ back ] 48. Antonaccio 1993, esp. 48.

[ back ] 49. Bérard 1970:69 apropos of the talisman-like quality of a heroön.

[ back ] 50. Cf. Russo, Fernández-Galiano, and Heubeck 1992:415 ad loc.: “‘measure themselves’ in battle.” Leaf and Bayfield 1962:312 on the verb κρίνεσθαι at Iliad 2.385 note the “primary idea of separation” (their italics) that leads to contrasting and “measuring themselves” presumably in relation to the enemy.

[ back ] 51. Cf. Iliad 5.253–254: ‘οὐ γάρ μοι γενναῖον ἀλυσκάζοντι μάχεσθαι’ (Diomedes to Sthenelos).

[ back ] 52. As I note in Chapter 3 where I follow others, genealogy raises the Homeric hero’s statistical chances of excelling in battle and legitimates his efforts at ruling, but ultimately the touchstone of his overall excellence is his δύναμις, his ‘bigman ability’, to use the anthropological term.

[ back ] 53. Graziosi and Haubold 2003, esp. 62–63, 71–73, to which this paragraph is indebted.

[ back ] 54. E.g. Odyssey 24.475; see Graziosi and Haubold 2003:72–73.

[ back ] 55. So Stanford 1958:429 ad loc., who renders ὡς ἀγορεύεις as ‘as you phrase it’.

[ back ] 56. The echo is obvious even if we adopt Dawe’s alternative (1993:867) ‘in the way that you say’ (= ὡς ἀγορεύεις), which would modify καταισχύνοντα.

[ back ] 57. But cf. e.g. Dawe’s translation (1993:867) ‘your fathers, us who . . .’

[ back ] 58. ‘ἐμὸν γένος’ would have been possible metrically, but Telemachos, as I will note, has not yet been fully incorporated in his father’s γένος.

[ back ] 59. Graziosi and Haubold 2003:73; italics mine.

[ back ] 60. Graziosi and Haubold 2003 do not envisage this development.

[ back ] 61. Elsewhere in the Odyssey Homer seems clearly to echo marriage-song and custom (see Chapter 4) as well as educational practice (in the anagnorisis of Odysseus by Laertes in Odyssey 24, see Appendix III). As de Jong 2001:562 ad Odyssey 23.296 and others have argued, the poet plays up the reintegration of Odysseus in society through his ‘remarriage’ to Penelope. As for his reintegration into patriarchy in the anagnorisis in Odyssey 24, see Wöhrli 1999:111ff., to which I add Appendix III.

[ back ] 62. For the text with discussion, see Tod 1985:303–306; Dover 1974:250; Siewert 1977:102–12. Νote that Telemachos at 20 was still an ephebe by Athenian standards.

[ back ] 63. Οὐκ αἰσχυνῶ τὰ ἱερὰ ὅπ/λα . . .

[ back ] 64. But note the similar tripartite schema mirrored in the ephebic oath itself: the ephebe receives the ‘fatherland’ from his forefathers and swears to pass it on in his turn ‘greater and better’ to his descendants. For πατρίδα ‘fatherland’, cf. Odysseus’ phrase ‘πατρίδα γαῖαν’ at Odyssey 24.322.

[ back ] 65. In Classical Athenian terms he has passed scrutiny at the level of local deme and Athenian Boulê (cf. the formal terms ἀνὴρ γίγνεσθαι, δoκιμάζεσθαι εἰς ἄνδρας, etc.); but he has also become a hoplite and young adult (νέος) belonging to a given military ἡλικία (οr call-up group): cf. Garland 1990:180–185 for the Athenian evidence.

[ back ] 66. Now he is a man and no longer a Nebenfigur; he has as much a place in the Odyssey as a fully adult Harry Potter would have in the novels of J. Rowling. Cf. Martin 1993:222–240, esp. 240, for a metapoetic interpretation of the end of the Odyssey: Telemachos’ failure to tell his own story symbolizes the end of a poetic tradition.