Notes toward a Traffic in Catalogues

Laura Slatkin
One of the works most widely circulated in antiquity was an extensive hexameter poem that since then has had few admirers or advocates—and not many critics, either. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, largely because of the fragmentary condition in which it has survived to us, discouraged sustained attention, and certainly interpretive speculation, until recent decades. [1] Nothing about the Catalogue is secure: not its date, not its authorship, not its structure, not its title, not how many books it was organized into, not the sequence of the fragments, not whether it was free-standing or attached to another poem (specifically Hesiod’s Theogony), not even whether it was comprised of one poem or more than one.
While, over the past decade, scholarly focus on the intriguing lacunae surrounding the Catalogue has helped to remedy that longstanding deficiency of attention, Gregory Nagy’s pioneering research into the interrelations of the forms, figures, and thematics of early hexameter poetry, has prompted a further set of reflections on this challenging poem. [2] In underscoring the ways in which, in the song culture of early Greece, an audience hears a poem in relation to other poems, Nagy’s work has modeled for us how a sense of the shared and mutually constitutive poetics of oral traditional verse helps us to be more attentive readers, attuned to the way poems of (or shaped by) the archaic period inform and shape each other. [3] To offer a sculptural metaphor: early Greek hexameter poems often take up the “negative space” carved out by other works: as the Odyssey proposes itself implicitly as a kind of companion, critique, and complement of its sister epic, so too we understand the Iliad as a poem working out its titanic logic not only in its “own terms” but over and against those proposed in the Odyssey. [4] Pursuing Greek cultural poetics as a dynamic system, as Nagy’s work invites us to do, we observe the ways in which the Homeric epics respond to and carve out poetic counterspaces in regard to each other; his work emphasizes as well how Homeric and Hesiodic domains were also mutually and differentially (and often agonistically) constituted.
It is useful, then, to consider the Hesiodic Catalogue, and catalogues within Homeric poetry, as situated within a broad system of complementarity and differentiation, by which the Homeric and Hesiodic works both amplify and are associated with specific thematic nodes in a system of poetic interfaces [5] . However fragmentary the Hesiodic Catalogue may be, if we accept the premise that ancient Greek poetry emerges as a complex yet highly organized set of interlocking genres, tropes, and preoccupations, it seems appropriate, however speculative, to read the Catalogue as a poem in dialogue with other poems, both those within the Hesiodic corpus and across the Homeric terrain. [6]
Yet even brief acquaintance with Hesiodic studies makes it clear that there has been a tendency to speak of Catalogue poetry tout court as a fixed genre unto itself. Whereas, in terms of categorization, the Works and Days is rather under-described—readers tend to throw up their hands and say “didactic” poetry or “wisdom literature”—the Catalogue of Women is often over–pinned down, or rigidly classified as a transparent genealogical list, and this contributes to a kind of reification of genre that in turn may limit our sense of its possibilities. [7] But to approach the Catalogue of Women as an element of a broader system of Greek poetics means not acceding too quickly to the wish (on the part of some scholars) to read the poem—or any catalogue—as a simple, self-explicating genealogy. [8]
We would want to put pressure, for example, on a formulation such as Martin West’s: “The ê hoiê device probably came from a post-Hesiodic or para-Hesiodic tradition. Hesiod’s manner, as we see it in the Theogony was to expound his genealogies systematically, more or less generation by generation but with some departures from this principle for reasons of economy. The ê hoiê formula represents a radically different system of arrangement: a simple listing of women who lay with gods, or of families sprung from such women, a ‘catalogue’ in the true sense” (italics mine). [9]
The idea that the raison d’être of early catalogues was to satisfy the audiences’ special taste for genealogies—to provide stories that redounded to the credit of their ancestors, in whose glory they then shared—encouraged treatment of the genre of the catalogue as an isolated phenomenon. While such a predilection may certainly be real, we have been made aware that the recitation of catalogues of genealogies may be ideologically charged (as anthropologists have also long observed); that catalogues may be responsive to social and political change as well as reflective of a negotiation within socio-political arrangements; and that “occasion” is a crucial lens through which to assess the possible functions and meanings of any recitation of genealogy. [10] Genealogies need not be thought of as simple, self-justifying lists in any obvious sense, but may serve a range of purposes. As J.-P. Vernant has observed, in mythic thought every genealogy is an explanation of structure. [11]
The specific occasions in which the Hesiodic Catalogue might have been performed, formed, and re-formed have been the subject of incisive scrutiny in the most recent scholarship on the poem; another interpretive possibility (and my interest here) is to explore how cataloguing might signal its own status of being performed, motivated, of having-been-occasioned.
To pursue this approach, we might turn to an example of catalogue poetry in action: Odysseus’s account of the women he sees in the Nekuia. Odysseus is a strategic singer, a singer whose moves we should pay attention to; if anyone knows how to gratify and win over an audience, offering them what it is they like to hear, it is surely he. The Odyssean “catalogue” can provide us with a way of assessing the possible functions of catalogues in performance. In what way is Odysseus’ “catalogue of women” attuned to his audience? [12] Is it designed to flatter their ancestors? The first member, Tyro, with her connections to Poseidon, might hold a special Phaiakian appeal (and perhaps the same might be said of Iphimedeia). It is less evident, however, how Odysseus might be imagined to be enhancing his audience’s prestige by conjuring the other wives and mothers in his “catalogue”—particularly, Epikastê, Phaidra, Eriphylê.
The heroes associated with or generated by the histories of the women in Odysseus’ “catalogue” are those of an older generation: Neleus, Herakles, Amphion and Zethus—that generation reverted to and celebrated in Nestor’s paradeigmata in the Iliad. Odysseus here signals, by way of the heroes’ wives and mothers, a set of narrative options, invoked in various degrees of expansion or compression, that will open out into the ramifying stories of heroes and beginnings of heroic conflict, especially, though not only, the Theban conflict. If we recall that Odysseus gives a prelude to his “catalogue” of women by introducing his own mother, Antikleia, we might say that what he does with the catalogue is to enhance not necessarily his listeners’ prestige, but his own—to locate himself within the tradition of paradigmatic stories of hero-making and extraordinary heroic endeavor. The account Antikleia gives of Odysseus’s family is the anticipated—and for the moment suspended, or incomplete—capsule version of a heroic genealogy in the making, complete with parents, wife and next generation. [13]
The Odyssey is of course distinctively self-reflexive about its own narrative procedures and performance situations. But even apart from Odyssean meta-narrativity, it is striking that the several specimens of catalogue-poetry embedded in the early hexameter poetry we possess—however seamlessly each may be integrated into its context—all draw special attention to either the performer or the performance situation—or both. Certainly this could be a way of foregrounding its audience as well, but whether (or how) for the sake of their genos is another question. Odysseus’ reference to the open-endedness of his catalogue—

πάσας δ᾽ οὐκ ἂν ἐγὼ μυθήσομαι οὐδ᾽ὀνομήνω,
ὅσσας ἡρώων ἀλόχους ἴδον ἠδὲ θύγατρας
πρὶν γάρ κεν καὶ νὺξ φθῖτ’ ἄμβροτος


“I could wear out the night telling of all the wives …” recalls the second invocation to the Muses prefacing the Catalogue of Ships at Iliad 2.488-490: “not if I had ten tongues and ten mouths … could I tell all the ships that came before Ilion.” Such an emphasis of course underscores the scope or scale of the endeavor, and one reason for this might be the reason scholars have offered, that catalogue poetry requires special mnemonic techniques; [14] another reason might be that narrative choices are being flagged here as well. But also notable is a distinct highlighting of the relationship of the cataloguer to the catalogue: at Iliad 2, the narrator reminds the audience that the Muses were there, but the poet was not. As we shall see below, the performer of the catalogue, and the motivating situation are highlighted as well in the abbreviated (though long enough!) catalogue in Iliad 14—Zeus’ recitation of the roster of his lovers—a demonstration of how, from the standpoint of the maker, a Catalogue of Women gets made.

Odysseus pauses in his recitation, but asserts that he could extend his “catalogue of women” at length—“so many wives and mothers of heroes” did he see. His Phaiakian audience does not appear to take this as an invitation to solicit family references; they respond instead to the opportunities for heroic narrative. When Alkinoos urges Odysseus to resume his tale, he requests a warrior-hero story (specifically the Trojan story, as background for Odysseus’s adventures): he asks Odysseus to move from the famous wives and mothers to the heroes of the Iliad, to amplify and give voice to those whom Demodokos had introduced in Book 8. And Odysseus resumes after the proposed pause by producing his fellow-warriors—just as though they had been the very next wraiths to appear before him in the underworld. [15] So here a catalogue is a route to a different kind of song; in this case, it begins and ends with the warrior-hero story. The “catalogue of women,” in other words, is not a self-enclosed or closing moment, but modulates back into the domain of the heroic.
Yet the residue of Odysseus’ “catalogue of women” persists, or surfaces again, in the conversation among heroes that follows. For if the women he describes evoke an earlier phase of heroic traditions—Neleus, Herakles, and others—the figure who would bring his catalogue of them into the present is the woman who should follow Leda, whom Odysseus glimpses and identifies: her own daughter, Clytaemnestra. But Clytaemnestra cannot appear because her son has not yet (so to speak) sent her down there. Yet in Odysseus’ exchange with Agamemnon, there is a preview of coming attractions: Clytaemnestra will take her place with Eriphylê, Phaidra, and other double-dealing wives of ill repute.
The question that this conversation about Clytaemnestra, anticipated by Odysseus’ questioning of Antikleia, leads to is a crucial one: will Penelope be like her—will she be, in Hesiodic terms, hoiê? And this is the possibility, or ambiguity, that hovers over much of the Odyssey, leaving open the suggestion that the poem might turn in a different direction and have an Oresteia-like outcome. [16] For Odysseus and for Penelope herself, the question that is suspended is broader—not simply whether Penelope could turn out to be another Clytaemnestra, but whether she could be like Tyro or Alkmene, or Maira (about whom the scholia say that Zeus slept with her lanthanôn)? Could she belong among the chaste women of the Hesiodic Catalogue, the faithful wives—not deceiving but deceived—whom an immortal took to bed? It is this possibility that underlies Odysseus’ suspicion about his bed, when he claims that only a god could have moved it. Could Penelope be hoiê—like one of those women innocently seduced by a god? [Od.24.194-202] If we think of a catalogue, then, as a set of possible narratives, of “potential performances,” as Leonard Muellner puts it, [17] a catalogue might offer a genealogy of narrative traditions (not spelled out, simply alluded to), each of which could be developed in a number of ways—either in the mode of heroic epic, of an Iliadic or Theban or Argonaut (Kalydonian boar hunt) kind, or in a Theogonic direction.
Implicit in the “catalogue” of Odyssey 11, then, is a set of comparisons or alternative paradigms relative to Penelope—a structure that also returns us to the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women. If the Odyssean catalogue also exemplifies how a catalogue can bring us to alternate narrative paradigms or matrices, we can approach the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women as another, paradigmatic pursuing of a narratological invitation. The Hesiodic Catalogue is not just a Catalogue of Women and offspring—it is a catalogue about a paradigmatic traffic in women and the practices of wooing. The Iliad and Odyssey elaborate the consequences of the wooing of Helen, but Hesiodic poetry reaches back to explain how wooing originates.
The Catalogue of Women contains genealogies, of course, but they are genealogies with narrative content and a discernible deep structure, however incomplete our knowledge of its sequence continues to be. The Catalogue of Women is not simply a series of interlocking genealogies: it is a poem about the creation of human genealogy—the preconditions for lineage and the end of human/divine genealogy. We might say that the Catalogue of Women is a poem about kinship structure (and kinship as finally limited to the mortal)—it appears as a sequence, but it iterates a paradigm, repeatedly: at the level of the wooing episode, certainly, but also at the level of the formula, ê hoiê.
In terms of its own narrato-logic, the Catalogue of Women relies on another narrative structure than the epic of war or that of homecoming or that of work: it proceeds by way of offering paradigms in series, which are signaled and conjoined by the formula ê hoiê. ê hoiê is in itself an invitation to compare, and is in a systematic relation to other such invitations to compare, as in Zeus’ catalogue in Iliad 14, and, as suggested above, in the Odyssey—will Penelope be like her, or like her? ê hoiê establishes both the similitude among women—the case of women, the comparability of women, their parallel location in the structure of wooing—but it also establishes the possibility of women being unlike, in ways to be elaborated in narrative: in what ways is Atalanta like Helen, or like another heroine? The women of the Catalogue of Women are alike in that they are wooed, in that they are objects of exchange; yet they are as unlike as their various fortunes in epic and tragedy also reveal them to be. For the audience of the Catalogue of Women, every iteration of ê hoiê could point elsewhere—to other narrative unfoldings.
In its paradigmatic iteration of wooing junctures, the Catalogue of Women proposes two outcomes: successful wooing, or dying, as Atalanta’s father Schoineus warns Hippomenês. It is notable that heroic adventure in the Hesiodic Catalogue aims at successful exchange of women; this is, so to speak, what the poem wants. Wooing is aligned with adventure in the Catalogue of Women—while wooing and adventure appear as alternatives in the Iliad: thus Achilles contemplates his alternatives, death in war and kleos, or returning to Phthia and a peaceful wooing at home. Focusing on wooing as a paradigm, as the Catalogue of Women insists that we do, allows us to see how the Homeric and Hesiodic poems differently evaluate the elements of what we might call a cultural syntax: in the Catalogue of Women, a hero woos and either wins or dies; in the Iliad, a hero dies or woos. The Odyssey’s hero woos, wins, and brings about the death of the other suitors.
Leonard Muellner encourages us to consider what telos an archaic poem has in mind—in an insightful discussion of the Theogony, he suggests that its telos is the creation of procreation. [18] The Catalogue of Women is concerned to arrive at and facilitate the conjunctions that will generate heroes and heroic stories; it is also concerned to eliminate the hemitheoi, and to account for the separation of men and gods. [19] Certain kinds of traffic—between men, in women—will continue in human culture; other kinds—between gods and mortal women—will cease. In this way, then, the Catalogue of Women is Hesiodic in its concern to explain what has “come to be”—an explanatory propulsion less explicit, perhaps, than in the Works and Days, but nevertheless as powerful, if we consider frag. 204 on the wooing of Helen, which gives an aetiology of the Trojan War.
That which the Homeric poems take for granted is what Hesiodic poetry is always instituting. Homeric poetry does not institute: it assumes that things have been instituted (war, wooing, adventure, death, sacrifice, heroes). Hesiodic poetry institutes, explains, and ordains: the separation of gods and men, the creation of woman, the traffic in women, heroic genealogy. We might say that the Hesiodic and Homeric poems take up each other’s aporias. If we consider what each Hesiodic poem institutes in the cultural order, in this way we see how the Hesiodic corpus dynamically generates the possibilities of Homeric epic. The Works and Days institutes sacrifice, human exchange, and more profoundly a double genealogy of epic: its own epic of work and sociable competitive exchange aligned with good strife; whereas the bad strife generates war and by extension, though not named, the epic of war. The Catalogue of Women’s representation of wooing and its place in the human economy makes clear that although sex takes place across orders of being, wooing remains within them. [20] In the human framework, it must be pursued by other means than violence and deception—with gifts, for example. Violence and deception are the prerogative of divine lovers of mortal women, as the Hesiodic catalogue suggests.
The Works and Days, then, gives us an aetiology of exchange, of human culture itself. From this angle, we see that the Catalogue of Women shares the symbolic logic the Works and Days installed; in this light, we might say that the Catalogue of Women begins (as far as we can tell) with Pandora, because before the introduction of women there were, so to speak, no stories—feasting with the gods, yes, but no conflict and no narrative. Stories begin when women do. We can also see, from another angle, that the Catalogue of Women is in a sense parallel to the Works and Days, in its interest in conducting us from the traffic of gods with women—the condition of heroic genealogy—to the more mundane traffic of men with women: from the Iliad, we might say, to the Odyssey.
The Odyssey, structuring its hero’s return in terms that focus on the sexual and marital order under siege in his household, is the great narrative of human courtship, of wooing and re-wooing, of wooing successful and vexed: in order to reestablish himself both as king and as lord of his estate, Odysseus must win his wife once again. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, with its account of the aristocratic practice of competing for a bride (and thereby a network of relatives, allies, and enemies) through a decisive contest among suitors, clarifies some aspects of this Odyssean project. Whether and in what way it is legitimate and proper for the suitors to woo Penelope—their behavior as suitors—is posed as a problem through which the poem demonstrates the norms of xeinia. That winning a wife requires gifts and competition (as elaborated in the Catalogue of Women)—is assumed; an index of the dissolute breaches of civility by Penelope’s suitors is their disregard for proper courtship, as she complains, at 18.274.
The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women shows us that not only women, but suitors, may be compared, according to their prowess and their wealth. It is a sign of Penelope’s suitors’ contempt for the civilized institution of courtship that, rather than compete with each other, they are hardly distinguishable one from another, forming a kind of amorphous gang. In a perverse version of the oath given to Tyndareus by the suitors of Helen—to stand as a cohort in support of whoever among them becomes her husband—Penelope’s suitors band together to destroy her husband.
As the Hesiodic Catalogue illustrates, typically the bride’s father arranges the contest and confers his daughter on the victor. [21] In the absence of her father, and in an inspired masterstroke that answers to the complexity of her uncertain marital status, Penelope will choose the man who can wield Odysseus’ bow; she arranges to give herself away. By putting his own weapon in Odysseus’ hands, Penelope lets him recapitulate the role of successful suitor of his own wife and take a just revenge on his would-be usurpers all at once. [22]
The Odyssey’s virtuosity is such that it manages to make the unlikely courtship of a middle-aged, motherly Queen by an aging beggar into high romantic drama, finally showing her to resemble the much-wooed Helen only in her desirability. It also offers its hero a chance to demonstrate his warrior prowess in an aristeia so brilliant—one fighter against so many adversaries—that it may even trump the Iliad. [23] We may see here how the Odyssey‘s narrative of distinctively human remarriage redistributes and reconfigures the elements of disguise and violence associated with divine-mortal seduction in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women.
Much as the Catalogue of Women enriches our sense of the material the Odyssey draws from, it also allows us to appreciate additional dimensions in Zeus’ most humanized moment—his attempt to use a Catalogue of Women as an instrument of wooing, as Hera is successfully seducing him. This use and abuse of a catalogue, in its local dramatic moment and in its status as rhetorical resource in turn illustrates the narratological potential of catalogues within epic, as we note that Zeus’ wooing of Hera takes over, and temporarily reverses, the plot of the epic.
The humor in the Dios Apatê is generally considered to derive from its display of the gods’ “human weaknesses,” [24] or better, from the disparity between their recognizably mortal foibles and the cosmic grandeur of the hieros gamos. Yet the Catalogue of Women helps us to see—in the whole episode and in Zeus’ catalogue in particular—a richer texture of reference and of irony both in its meta-relation to mythological material and in the resonance of its allusions to cosmic conflict and the structure of separate orders of being. Zeus becomes a suitor. Like Hippomenes, Zeus is in the position of trying to succeed with his (apparently) reluctant bride; like Odysseus, he wishes to win his wife again. Yet—no gifts, no contest, but no deception or violence or disguise either—only a catalogue that refers to his deceptions and disguises (e.g. with Danae), the kind of catalogue that a Hippomenes and an Odysseus could show up in. Deception and disguise here are not, as so often, Zeus’ technique, but Hera’s—and indeed in her preparation for seducing Zeus she resembles no one so much as Pandora, her attractiveness an endowment donated to her in concrete form by Aphrodite. Zeus’ series of “not even’s” (oude’s) produce a priamel [25] —and their effect is to encourage Zeus to outdo himself, as Hera surpasses his previous lovers in desirability.
Zeus’ catalogue is a virtual mise en abîme of catalogic reflexivity: a catalogue of seduction offered for seduction, by one unwittingly seduced. It is also a spectacularly, albeit peculiarly, motivated catalogue. We see here, as previously discussed, how catalogues appear within epic as motivated genealogies, or as motivated rosters. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women is motivated, we might say, by the larger, much elaborated requirements of early Greek cultural poetics: to work out systematically, from different angles, complementarily and differentially, the cultural logic of the world of gods, men, and heroes.
If no genre can exist in isolation, it is also true that poems within a genre, say lyrics, or “catalogues,” are themselves often interdiscursive. A genre cannot be heard by itself; nor can it even be heard within itself as a monolithic discourse. In the Iliad, the myth Hera invents as part of her scheme to seduce Zeus—that she is on her way to reconcile Tethys and Okeanos to get them to go back to sleeping together—recalls a time before concern for mortals and their struggles, a time before (we might say) the world of mortal division and exchange instituted by the Works and Days. That we can even begin to hear (again) such complex resonances within and across poems (catalogues and otherwise) is a tribute both to the brilliant co-articulations of archaic Greek poetry but also to those who, like Gregory Nagy, have rigorously retuned our ears.


[ back ] 1. Critical neglect has begun to be remedied in recent years by Ian Rutherford’s important article, “Catalogues of Women: Formulas, Voice and Death in Ehoie-Poetry, the Hesiodic Gunaikon Katalogos and the Odysseian Nekuia,” in Matrices of Genre, ed. M. Depew and D. Obbink, (Cambridge MA: 2000) 81-96 and Richard Hunter’s edited volume, The Hesiodic “Catalogue of Women”: Constructions and Reconstructions (Cambridge: 2005), which have prompted a new level of exploration and stimulated both provisional new questions and further controversies.
[ back ] 2. 2 See Nagy’s oeuvre from Comparative studies in Greek and Indic meter (Cambridge, MA: 1974), The Best of the Achaeans (Baltimore: 1979), and Pindar’s Homer (Baltimore: 1990), to “Hesiod and the Ancient Biographical Traditions,” The Brill Companion to Hesiod, ed. F. Montanari, A. Rengakos, and Ch. Tsagalis (Leiden, 2009), 271–311.
[ back ] 3. See Nagy’s oeuvre from The Best of the Achaeans to “Hesiod and the Ancient Biographical Traditions,” The Brill Companion to Hesiod, ed. F. Montanari, A. Rengakos, and Ch. Tsagalis (Leiden, 2009), 271–311. A useful set of reflections on these operations that aligns with Nagy’s approach is offered in Cohen, R. “History and Genre,” New Literary History, Vol. 17, No. 2, Interpretation and Culture (Winter, 1986), 203-218. “[S]ince each genre is composed of texts that accrue, the grouping is a process, not a determinate category. Genres are open categories. Each member alters the genre by adding, contradicting, or changing constituents, especially those of members most closely related to it. The process by which genres are established always involves the human need for distinction and interrelation.” 204.
[ back ] 4. On the complementarity of the Iliad and Odyssey, see especially The Best of the Achaeans, chs. 1 and 2.
[ back ] 5. For preliminary suggestions on genre complementarity, see Slatkin, “Genre and Generation in the Odyssey” in Mêtis 1.2 (1986) 259–268 (repr. In The Power of Thetis and selected essays (Cambridge, MA and Washington, D.C.: 2011) 157–166; and see again Cohen, “History and Genre”: “Genres do not exist by themselves; they are named and placed within hierarchies or systems of genres, and each is defined by reference to the system and its members. A genre, therefore, is to be understood in relation to other genres, so that its aims and purposes at a particular time are defined by its interrelation with and differentiation from others.” 207.
[ back ] 6. For an illuminating reading of Homeric and Hesiodic poetry in dialogue, see as well Muellner, L. The Anger of Achilles: Mênis in Greek Epic (Ithaca, NY: 2004).
[ back ] 7. See the argument against narrow conceptions of genre, and of epic in particular, in Nagy, G. “Epic as Genre,” in Epic traditions in the contemporary world: the poetics of community, ed. Beissinger, M. J. Tylus, and S. L. Wofford (Berkeley: 1999) 21–32. D. Yatromanolakis, in Greek Ritual Poetics, ed. Roilos, P. and D. Yatromanolakis (Cambridge MA and Washington, D.C.: 2003), 43–59, also cautions us against exactly that kind of reification, when he discusses the use and abuse of generic categories in relation to the poetry of Sappho. As he observes, all too often genre categories can be superimposed as analytic categories, borrowing from the poem what they would seem to lend to it: thus, for example, those lyrics called “cult songs” are read into ritual occasions; in the case of the Hesiodic poem, we regularly find the simple appellation “catalogue.”
[ back ] 8. Ian Rutherford’s essay (2000) has been important for subsequent explorations of the possible relationships between the serial thrust of the genealogical catalogue and the paradigmatic logic of the ê hoiê within the larger poem: he characterizes these relationships as a kind of tension between “centripetal” and “centrifugal” forces in the poem, the genealogical force winning out. Irwin, E., “Gods among men? The social and political dynamics of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women”, in R. Hunter (ed.), The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Constructions and Reconstructions (Cambridge: 2005) 35-85 suggests rather that the ê hoiê did not atrophy and indeed that the tension between these elements is precisely constitutive of the cultural and ideological work the Catalogue could do.
[ back ] 9. West, M.L. The Hesiodic catalogue of women: its nature, structure, and origins (Oxford: 1985).
[ back ] 10. Nagy, for example, proposes a hearing of the Catalogue in conjunction with the Theogony as part of the Hesiodic repertoire at the Panathenia; he highlights as well “the coexistence of Homeric and Hesiodic poetry in Athens during the era of the Peisistratidai in the sixth century BCE,” which “helps explain a strikingly close parallelism in the way these two distinct sets of poetry systematize the twelve Olympian gods as a subset of all the other gods.” (Nagy, 294, 295, in “Hesiod and the Ancient Biographical Traditions,” The Brill Companion to Hesiod, ed. F. Montanari, A. Rengakos, and Ch. Tsagalis [Leiden, 2009]), 271-311). Another perspective is offered by Irwin, E., “Gods among men?” Oriented specifically to occasion, performance situation, and ideology, she argues for sympotic poetry as the crucial context and occasion, arguing “that subject matter, linguistic detail, and formal elements of the poems align the Catalogue more closely to sympotic poetry and the worldview it promoted than to canonical archaic epea” (37).
[ back ] 11. Vernant, Mythe et Pensée chez les Grecs (Paris: 1983) “Pour la pensée mythique, toute généalogie est en même temps et aussi bien l’explicitation d’une structure; il n’y a pas d’autre façon de rendre raison d’une structure que de la presenter sous la forme d’un récit généalogique.” 22.
[ back ] 12. For a discussion of the Odyssey’s address to both the inner and outer audiences of this episode, see Doherty, L. Siren Songs Gender, Audiences, and Narrators in the Odyssey (Ann Arbor: 1995), chs. 2 and 3.
[ back ] 13. E.g. καὶ Χλῶριν εἶδον περικαλλέα, τήν ποτε Νηλεὺς / γῆμεν ἑὸν διὰ κάλλος, ἐπεὶ πόρε μυρία ἕδνα, / ὁπλοτάτην κούρην Ἀμφίονος Ἰασίδαο, / ὅς ποτ’ ἐν Ὀρχομενῷ Μινυείῳ ἶφι ἄνασσεν: / ἡ δὲ Πύλου βασίλευε, τέκεν δέ οἱ ἀγλαὰ τέκνα, / Νέστορά τε Χρόμιον τε Περικλύμενόν τ’ ἀγέρωχον (Od.11.281–286).
[ back ] 14. See especially Minchin, E. Homer and the Resources of Memory: Some Applications of Cognitive Theory to the Iliad and the Odyssey (Oxford: 2001).
[ back ] 15. αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ ψυχὰς μὲν ἀπεσκέδασ’ ἄλλυδις ἄλλῃ / ἁγνὴ Περσεφόνεια γυναικῶν θηλυτεράων, / ἦλθε δ’ ἐπὶ ψυχὴ Ἀγαμέμνονος Ἀτρεΐδαο 11.385–387.
[ back ] 16. On Penelope’s alternatives and ambiguities, see Katz, M. A. Penelope’s Renown: Meaning and Indeterminacy in the Odyssey (Princeton: 1991) and Felson-Rubin, N., Regarding Penelope: From Character to Poetics (Princeton: 1994). On other possible outcomes for the Odyssey, see also West, S. “An Alternative Nostos for Odysseus,” Liverpool Classical Monthly 6–7 (1981) 169–75; Sacks, R. “Ending the Odyssey: Odysseus Traditions and the Homeric Odyssey” paper presented at the Columbia University Seminar in Classical Civilization, 1982.
[ back ] 17. The Anger of Achilles, 52.
[ back ] 18. Ibid, 58.
[ back ] 19. See the valuable discussion in Clay, J.S. “The beginning and end of the Catalogue of Women and its relation to Hesiod” in Hunter R. ed., The Hesiodic “Catalogue of Women, 25–34.
[ back ] 20. See Osborne, R. “Ordering women in Hesiod’s Catalogue” in Hunter R. ed., The Hesiodic “Catalogue of Women” 5–24, on the status of women’s beauty as narrative engine, as well as the helpful discussion of the logic of wooing in Cingano, E. “A catalogue within a catalogue: Helen’s suitors in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women (frr. 196–204)” op. cit. 118–152.
[ back ] 21. Examples, in addition to the contest for Atalanta in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, include the chariot race for Hippodameia in Pindar, Olympian 1, and the contest for Cleisthenes’ daughter in Herodotus 6.128–33.
[ back ] 22. The discussion here follows Slatkin, L. “Homer’s Odyssey”, ch. 22 in A Companion to Ancient Epic, ed. Foley, J.M. (Oxford: 2005).
[ back ] 23. See Slatkin, L. “Homer’s Odyssey,” op. cit.
[ back ] 24. Janko, R. The Iliad: A Commentary: Volume 4, Books 13–16 (Cambridge: 1992) 168.
[ back ] 25. For a valuable analysis of Zeus’ priamel here, and the formal features of Homeric catalogues more generally, see Sammons, B. The Art and Rhetoric of the Homeric Catalogue (Oxford: 2010).