Monsters in Performance

Marianne Hopman, Northwestern University
Gregory Nagy is well known for his path-breaking work on the performative dimension of archaic Greek poetry. Several of his books, including The Best of the Achaeans, Pindar’s Homer, and most explicitly Poetry as Performance, unravel the rich implications of a fundamental intuition rooted in the fieldwork of Milman Parry and Albert Lord—namely, that the cultural products transmitted to us as the texts of the Iliad and the Odyssey originated in live events grounded in a long tradition of oral poetry. [1] Among his other contributions, Nagy has shown that as long as the objects of artistic activity remained absolutized by the myth, all song and poetry were mimetic, and that mimêsis did not simply involve an “imitation” but rather referred to the re-enactment of mythical events in ritual. [2] Thus, “a Homeric narration or a Homeric quotation of a god or hero speaking within a narration are not at all representations: they are the real thing… From the standpoint of mimesis, the rhapsode is a recomposed performer: he becomes recomposed into Homer every time he performs Homer.” [3] In other words, a song is notionally identical with the story that it tells. Hence in epic diction the term kleos can denote ‘fame’ and ’glory’ (as conveyed by epic poetry) as well as designate the tradition itself, while the term nostos can refer not only to the homecoming of the Achaeans but also to the epic tradition that narrated the homecoming. [4] In keeping with Nagy’s understanding of mimêsis, this essay explores several manifestations of the conceptual identity between performance and story in the Scylla episode of the Odyssey. Specifically, I suggest that Odysseus’ inability to overcome the monster in the diegesis is subtly signified in meta-poetic terms, and that the obstacle to the homecoming is also presented as a challenge to the performance of the nostos song.


The Homeric narrative of Odysseus’ encounter with Scylla is part of the apologoi, a long first-person narrative embedded in the master poem whereby Odysseus retraces his sea wanderings from Troy to the island of the Phaeacians (ix 39–xii 453). Organized as a series of stops made by Odysseus’ fleet on unknown and mysterious islands, the episodes usually result in the death of several crew members, until Odysseus’ fleet is down to one ship after the encounter with the Laestrygones (x 130–132) and finally to one man after the shipwreck off the Island of the Sun (xii 417–425). Coming toward the end of the series, right before the Island of the Sun, the passage through the straits of Charybdis and Scylla is singled out as a particularly difficult moment. Although the magician Circe had explicitly advised Odysseus to accept losing six men to Scylla in order to save the others from Charybdis (xii 108–126), he still attempts to rescue them all and puts on his armor to fight off the monster. Predictably, however, the attempt ends with disastrous results, and Scylla snatches six of Odysseus’ men while his attention is focused upon Charybdis. Retrospectively, the narrator Odysseus describes the sight of six men devoured at the entrance of Scylla’s cave as the most pitiful spectacle of his wanderings (xii 256–259): [5]
Conversely, the wanderings include several moments when both mêtis and speech temporarily disappear. Upon arriving on Circe’s island, as Odysseus confesses his utter disorientation to the crew, his temporary loss of mêtis (x 193) coincides with a loss of speech on the part of the men, who can only ‘wail shrilly’ and lament while ‘nothing practical came from their lamenting’ (x 202). [10] In Book xii, right before the Scylla tale, the Sirens narrative includes remarkably few instances of direct or indirect speech uttered by Odysseus. The episode is initially dominated by the ‘windless calm’ (xii 168–169) that falls as the ship approaches the island and then by the Sirens’ voices, whose ‘clear-sounding song’ (λιγυρήν… ἀοιδήν, xii 183) is first evoked by the narrator Odysseus (xii 181–183) and later quoted in direct speech (xii 184–191). By contrast, Odysseus and his men utter no articulate sound. Odysseus has preemptively cancelled out the power of his own words by putting wax in his companions’ ears and ordering them to disobey should he implore them to set him free (xii 160–164). Subsequently, he gestures and nods rather than speaks to signify his desire to be released from his bonds (xii 192–194). The men manage to escape, but it is thanks to a trick designed by Circe rather than Odysseus. The powerful voice of the Sirens takes away the performative capacity of human speech.
The Scylla narrative pushes that linguistic challenge one step closer to the brink. Neither party uses language to confront the other. From xii 201 to xii 259, the encounter includes only one speech—Odysseus’ protreptic address to his men—which is in fact limited and truncated since Odysseus does not mention Scylla to the crew (Σκύλλην δ’ οὐκέτ’ ἐμυθεόμην, xii 223). As the ship proceeds through the straits, Odysseus never addresses the monster, in contrast to the many words that he utters to confront and deceive the Cyclops. Unlike the Sirens, furthermore, Scylla does not speak either. Throughout this scene, verbal communication is replaced with an awful combination of natural and inarticulate human sounds. The sea ‘roars’ (βεβρύχει, xii 242), the waves crash, the surf ‘thunders’ (δοῦπον, xii 202). The crew drops their oars that loudly ‘splash’ on the water (βόμβησαν, xii 204) and ‘groans’ as they enter the straits (γοόωντες, xii 234). Scylla’s six victims ‘shout’ (καλεῦντες, xii 249) and ‘cry’ (κεκλήγοντας, xii 256). On top of all is Scylla’s voice, to which Circe had prophetically referred as φωνή (xii 86), a term shown by Andrew Ford to refer to the voice as a mere sound or noise. [11] The roar uttered by and surrounding Scylla prevents Odysseus from using speech to confront the monster. The Scylla episode presents us with an image of the retreat of human speech in the face of insurmountable natural forces, as if the obstruction of the straits metaphorically prevented words from passing through human throats.


Beyond offering a description of the recession of human speech, the Scylla tale may proleptically enact it by presenting us with the paradoxical but fascinating instance of a performance that hints at the possibility of its own dissolution. As the narrator Odysseus reminisces how he donned his armor to confront Scylla, he describes his past action as a lapse of memory (xii 226–230):
As is well known, memory was fundamental to the performance of epic poetry and implied the enactment rather than the recall of a story. [13] The Muses who inspire the poet are daughters of Memory, Mnêmosynê. The verb ‘remember’, μιμνήσκομαι, can be used in archaic poetry in a technical sense as a synonym for singing (see e.g. Iliad II 492; Homeric Hymn to Apollo 160; Homeric Hymn to Apollo 546). [14] Conversely its antonym, the verb λανθάνω ‘forget’, can refer to the absence of consciousness, and hence to the impossibility of singing. The two verbs are paired in a performative sense at the beginning of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo when the performer stresses that he will ‘remember and not forget’ far-shooting Apollo (Homeric Hymn to Apollo 1). Thus, poetic and mnemonic vocabularies overlap in Homeric diction.
The plot of the Odyssey further illustrates this poetic role of memory. [15] Just as the Muse inspires the singer to remember Odysseus’ return (i 1–10), so does Athena ‘remember’ Odysseus (μνησαμένη, v 6) and trigger a plot that demonstrates that Zeus has not ‘forgotten’ him (πῶς ἂν ἔπειτ΄ Ὀδυσῆος ἐγὼ θείοιο λαθοίμην͵ i 65). Both the return and the poem are made possible by an act of memory. In the broader context of the poem, the referential and reflexive applications of the verbs μιμνήσκομαι and λανθάνω frequently overlap, thus raising the possibility that λανθανόμην at xii 227 may carry meta-poetic implications.
The hypothesis of a reflexive significance of λανθανόμην is further supported by phrases connecting memory and performance earlier in the Scylla episode. At the opening of her prophetic advice to Odysseus, Circe makes curious use of the verb μιμνήσκω that may be understood as a reference to Odysseus’ future telling of the story (xii 37–38):

ταῦτα μὲν οὕτω πάντα πεπείρανται͵ σὺ δ΄ ἄκουσον͵
ὥς τοι ἐγὼν ἐρέω͵ μνήσει δέ σε καὶ θεὸς αὐτός.
So all that has been duly done. Listen now, I will tell you
All, but the very god himself will make you remember.

Line xii 38 does not easily lend itself to an interpretation that refers to the adventures. Which theos would remind Odysseus of Circe’s words in the course of his sea travels? On what occasion would it do so? Unlike the Ithacan part of the nostos, the wanderings include few instances of communication between Odysseus and his divine protector Athena. It thus seems easier to understand the line as a reference to Odysseus’ future narrative enactment of the adventures. Several elements support this reading. First, all other Homeric instances of the verb μιμνήσκω in the active voice occur in contexts where one character reminds another not of a specific thing, but of a sequence of actions that is also a traditional story. [16] In addition, the evocation of a god as source of memory parallels the model of poetic inspiration exemplified at the beginning of the catalogue of ships in the Iliad (II 484–492) or the proem of the Theogony (1–115). Under this reading, if Odysseus listens to Circe, then a god associated with poetry, perhaps Apollo, will give him the power to re-enact her advice in a speech or a song, which is indeed what the narrator Odysseus is presently doing. The line therefore self-referentially comments on Odysseus’ narrative performance to the Phaeacians, and by extension on the performance of the bard impersonating Odysseus.

A similar performative significance may be attached to the middle form of the verb μιμνήσκομαι in Odysseus’ speech to his men before they enter the straits (xii 208–212):

ὦ φίλοι͵ οὐ γάρ πώ τι κακῶν ἀδαήμονές εἰμεν·
οὐ μὲν δὴ τόδε μεῖζον ἔπι κακόν͵ ἢ ὅτε Κύκλωψ
εἴλει ἐνὶ σπῆϊ γλαφυρῷ κρατερῆφι βίηφιν·
ἀλλὰ καὶ ἔνθεν ἐμῇ ἀρετῇ βουλῇ τε νόῳ τε
ἐκφύγομεν͵ καί που τῶνδε μνήσεσθαι ὀΐω.
Dear friends, surely we are not unlearned in evils.
This is no greater evil now than it was when the Cyclops
had us cooped in his hollow cave by force and violence,
but even there, by my courage and counsel and my intelligence,
we escaped away. I think that I will remember these
some day too.

Line 212 is difficult. As L. J. D. Richardson has pointed out, many contemporary interpreters have been influenced by Virgil’s rendering of it as forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit, (‘perhaps one day it will give you pleasure to remember even this’, Aeneid 1.203), a (mis-)translation that adds an element of pleasure absent from Homer. [17] Richardson himself has proposed to take τῶνδε as a reference either to the two facts regarding the Cyclops adventure that Odysseus has just mentioned, or to the qualities listed in line 211, but this interpretation requires understanding the καί of line 212 as copulative and does not do justice to the comparison between past and present implied by the καί ἔνθεν … καί τῶνδε structure. In addition, both Richardson’s and the Virgilian reading require changing the subject of the infinitive verb μνήσεσθαι from first-person singular to second-person plural. Grammatically, it is easier to take τῶνδε as a deictic pointer contrasting with ἔνθεν and to understand that Odysseus is the subject of the infinitive μνήσεσθαι: ‘I think that I will μνήσεσθαι these [present circumstances] too’. While the consolation may seem meager if μνήσεσθαι is simply understood as ‘remembering’, it makes good sense if the verb is taken in the technical sense of ‘performing’: Odysseus would be promising poetic immortality to his crew. Two semantic points further support that reading. First, the line is juxtaposed with a reference to the Cyclops paradigm, which itself has already become a narrative recently told by Odysseus. Second, the only other Homeric instance of the phrase μνήσεσθαι ὀΐω refers to the subject matter of the Iliad—the quarrel of Achilles and Agamemnon that is consubstantial with the poem (Iliad XIX 64). In addition to survival, Odysseus may be promising his crew that they will become the subject matter of a song.

Thus the two occurrences of the verb μιμνήσκω in the Scylla narrative tie memory to future re-enactments of Odysseus’ adventures through speech. Both Circe and Odysseus consider the Scylla adventure from the perspective of a future time when it will have become a past event and thus the possible subject matter of epic performances. This self-consciousness puts Odysseus’ lapse of memory when confronting Scylla in a new light. Since Circe’s instructions have been quoted verbatim by Odysseus and ultimately by the bard, forgetting them amounts to forgetting a part of the poem. Whether deliberate or not, Odysseus’ memory lapse opens a breach in the poetic performance and raises the possibility that the character’s forgetfulness may extend from the content of Circe’s prophecy in Odysseus’ embedded narrative to the performance of the master poet.
At the end of the Scylla episode, the danger that the confrontation with the monster may lead to a performative breakdown is powerfully illustrated by the use of Odysseus’ name. As the ship departs from the straits, we hear the six victims helplessly and desperately crying out to Odysseus (xii 249–50):

… ἐμὲ δὲ φθέγγοντο καλεῦντες
ἐξονομακλήδην͵ τότε γ΄ ὕστατον͵ ἀχνύμενοι κῆρ.
… And they cried out to me and called me
by name, the last time they ever did, in heart’s sorrow.

The name that used to convey so much meaning—a powerful signifier uttered in curses or praises by Polyphemus (ix 528–535), Circe (x 325–335), and Odysseus himself (ix 19–21)—has now become an empty sound. [18] Since the Odyssey often presents itself as an extension of Odysseus’ name, the empty cry of Scylla’s victims challenges the possibility and legitimacy of Odysseus’ long tale. The word order of the proem casts the entire performance of the poem as a long development of the word ‘man’ (ἄνδρα, i 1). Similarly, the apologoi of books ix–xii are an extended answer to Alkinoos’ plea that his guest finally reveal his name (viii 550). In earlier scenes, in other words, Odysseus’ name provides the starting point and justification for the story. Conversely, at xii 250, Odysseus’ name is uttered in vain. Its futile and grotesque utterance by the monster’s victims shakes the very foundation of the Odyssean narrative.


As the Scylla narrative self-referentially suggests the possibility of its own dissolution, it simultaneously opens up a space for the performance of other songs: the meta-poetic danger raised by the disruption of speech and memory in the adventure is further confirmed by the irruption of other traditions into Odysseus’ story.
As Circe prepares to describe the adventure awaiting Odysseus after the Sirens, she explains that Odysseus will reach a crossroad. One of the paths goes through the Planctae, which are rocks that not even doves and certainly not ships can traverse. The one exception was the ship Argo (xii 69–72):

οἴη δὴ κείνῃ γε παρέπλω ποντοπόρος νηῦς
Ἀργὼ πᾶσι μέλουσα͵ παρ΄ Αἰήταο πλέουσα·
καί νύ κε τὴν ἔνθ΄ ὦκα βάλεν μεγάλας ποτὶ πέτρας͵
ἀλλ΄ ῞Ηρη παρέπεμψεν͵ ἐπεὶ φίλος ἦεν Ἰήσων.
That way the only seagoing ship to get through was Argo,
Who is in all men’s minds, on her way home from Aietes;
And even she would have been driven on the great rocks that time,
But Hera saw her through, out of her great love for Jason.

The diction constructs the Planctae and the straits of Charybdis and Scylla as parallel dangers. Both involve a narrow path located between cliffs made of smooth stone (πέτραι, xii 59, λὶς πέτρη, xii 64 [Planctae]; πέτρη γὰρ λίς, xii 79 [Scylla]). Amphitrite, who otherwise appears only twice in the Odyssey (iii 91 and v 422), is mentioned in relation to both the Planctae (xii 60) and Scylla (xii 97). In Circe’s version, furthermore, Jason went through the Planctae on his return from the land of Aietes (παρ΄ Αἰήταο πλέουσα, xii 70), just as Odysseus goes through the straits of Charybdis and Scylla on his return from the island of Aietes’ sister, Circe (x 137).

While the Argo micro-narrative invites the audience to compare Jason and Odysseus, its terms already foreshadow the latter’s inability to measure up to the former. The emphasis on the terrible hazard raised by the Clashing Rocks only enhances the fact that the ship Argo crossed them unscathed. The ship’s name is modified by the adjective ποντοπόρος ‘sea-cleaving’ (xii 69), an epithet of appreciation otherwise reserved for the ships of the Phaeacians (xiii 95 and xiii 161), of the Phoenicians and Thesprotians in Odysseus’ Cretan tales (xiv 295 and 339), and of Telemachus (xv 284), but never of Odysseus’ own fleet. Furthermore, Circe’s emphasis on the help that Jason received from Hera sharply contrasts with the absence of Odysseus’ divine protector Athena in this part of the poem, which augurs ominously for his journey. [19] The embedded micro-narrative thus sets up a yardstick for Odysseus’ deeds while already implying that he will not meet the standard set by Jason.
Besides referencing the Argo epos, the Scylla episode includes terms that connote the sub-genre of war poetry epitomized for us by the Iliad. Most strikingly, the description of Odysseus arming himself to face Scylla (xii 226–233) draws on the diction of combat scenes in the Iliad:

καὶ τότε δὴ Κίρκης μὲν ἐφημοσύνης ἀλεγεινῆς
λανθανόμην͵ ἐπεὶ οὔ τί μ΄ ἀνώγει θωρήσσεσθαι·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καταδὺς κλυτὰ τεύχεα καὶ δύο δοῦρε
μάκρ΄ ἐν χερσὶν ἑλὼν εἰς ἴκρια νηὸς ἔβαινον
πρῴρης· ἔνθεν γάρ μιν ἐδέγμην πρῶτα φανεῖσθαι
Σκύλλην πετραίην͵ ἥ μοι φέρε πῆμ΄ ἑτάροισιν.
οὐδέ πῃ ἀθρῆσαι δυνάμην· ἔκαμον δέ μοι ὄσσε
πάντῃ παπταίνοντι πρὸς ἠεροειδέα πέτρην.
… For my part,
I let go from my mind the difficult instruction that Circe
had given me, for she told me not to be armed for combat;
but I put on my glorious armor and, taking up two long
spears in my hands, I stood bestriding the vessel’s foredeck
at the prow, for I expected Scylla of the rocks to appear first
from that direction, she who brought pain to my companions.
I could not make her out anywhere, and my eyes grew weary
from looking everywhere on the misty face of the sea rock.

Several phrases give the passage a distinctively Iliadic ring. The verb θωρήσσω (xii 227) occurs forty-two times in the Iliad but only three times in the Odyssey. The phrase κλυτὰ τεύχεα (xii 228) and its variant τεύχεα καλά occur twenty-seven times in the Iliad, but only five times in the Odyssey. κλυτὰ τεύχεα is constructed four times with the verb καταδύω or δύω in the Iliad (V 435, VI 504, XVI 64, and XVIII 192), but only once in the Odyssey. More specifically, the passage offers a compressed version of a fundamental component of the Iliad: the arming scene whereby a hero dons his armor before going to fight. [20] The verb θωρήσσω and the noun τεύχεα occur in collocation when Menelaus arms himself to defy Hector (Iliad VII 101–103, a passage that also includes the verb καταδύω), and when Achilles arrays the Myrmidons to follow Patroclus (XVI 155). In other words, Odysseus dons his armor in the same manner as Greek chieftains do at Troy. Yet by the end of the episode, the victory belongs to Scylla rather than to Odysseus. The monster catching the six men is compared to an angler hauling fish (Odyssey xii 251–256), a simile that describes Patroclus performing his aristeia in Iliad XVI 406–408. Not only does Odysseus fail to fight with Scylla, but the simile constructs her rather than him as a warrior performing his aristeia. Odysseus’ eagerness to fight ends up in a parodic duel where the monster, rather than the hero, assumes the triumphant position.

While the references to non-Odyssean traditions emphasize Odysseus’ failure to defeat Scylla, they may also put the nostos song at risk. Performance is a zero-sum game in bardic practices, where the performance of one song signifies the silencing of another. In the Iliad, the story of Thamyris, whom the Muses stopped from singing as he returned from Oichalia, a city closely associated with Heracles (II 594–600), suggests the existence of a competition between the Iliad and a Heracles epic. In Odyssey i, Telemachus emphasizes that the latest song is always the most popular among audiences (i 351–352). In Odyssey xii, the song of the Sirens that immediately precedes the Scylla story powerfully illustrates such performative antagonism and anxieties. As Pietro Pucci has shown, the Sirens’ song follows the diction of the Iliad. [21] The lethal effect of their song therefore frames the performance of the Iliad as a danger for the performance of the Odyssey. [22]
The possibility that non-Odyssean diction could be perceived as a challenge to the Odyssean performance is confirmed by the collocation of intertextual allusions and performative phrases. Line xii 227, the lapse of memory whose meta-poetic connotations have been discussed in the previous section coincides with the irruption of Iliadic diction. Similarly at xii 70, the allusion to the Argonauts and the Argonautic tradition is associated with performative language. In her description of Jason’s successful crossing of the Planctae, Circe calls Argo πᾶσι μέλουσα, ‘who is in all men’s minds’ (xii 70). As has often been noted, the phrase recalls Odysseus’ self-introduction to the Phaeacians at the beginning of the apologoi (ix 19–20):

εἴμ΄ Ὀδυσεὺς Λαερτιάδης͵ ὃς πᾶσι δόλοισιν
ἀνθρώποισι μέλω͵ καί μευ κλέος οὐρανὸν ἵκει.
I am Odysseus son of Laertes, known before all men
For the study of crafty designs, and my fame goes up to the heavens.

At the beginning of the apologoi, the fact that Odysseus is an ‘object of interest’ (μέλω) to ‘all men’ (πᾶσι ἀνθρώποισι) makes him a suitable topic for epic (κλέος) and legitimates the bard-like performance of the apologoi that occupies the next four books. [23] The fact that Argo is πᾶσι μέλουσα in Odyssey xii puts it on par with Odysseus and suggests that the epic tradition of the Argonautica has a legitimate claim to be performed as well. [24] The diction implies that instead of completing her prophecy about Odysseus’ adventures, Circe may well launch into a song about the Argonauts and thus endanger both Odysseus’ homecoming and the song that celebrates it. With the competition between the heroes Jason and Odysseus extending to the epic performances celebrating them, the Scylla episode represents a moment when the Odyssean performance contemplates the possibility of its own dissolution.

In Iliad IX, Achilles famously reports that his mother Thetis told him of a choice between two destinies, the one entailing a short life but unfailing fame, the other a long but obscure life (410–416). The alternative rests on the ideological assumption that epic poetry offers a form of immortality that can make up for the loss of physical life, to the extent that Achilles and the other warriors are ready to die in order to be integrated into the medium. [25] If the argument supported in this paper is correct, the Scylla episode confirms the high level of self-consciousness displayed in Iliad IX but explores its flip side, showing how Odysseus’ failure to confront Scylla like an adversary on the battlefield may challenge the performance of the Odyssey. Ultimately, however, the apologoi allow Odysseus to convince the Phaeacians to convoy him home in spite of the prophecy that one day Poseidon will bury their city under a mountain in punishment for such behavior (viii 564–569). Just as Odysseus’ difficulties in the diegesis eventually enhance his capacity for survival, the hinted threats to the performance itself ultimately highlight its continuity, rhetorical power, and ability to transform sufferings into a homecoming.


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[ back ] 1. Nagy 1999 [1979]; Nagy 1990; Nagy 1996.
[ back ] 2. Nagy 1990:42–45; Nagy 1996:59–86.
[ back ] 3. Nagy 1996:61.
[ back ] 4. Nagy 1974:244–255; Nagy 1999:97n2.
[ back ] 5. Here and throughout the chapter, I quote the Odyssey in the edition of Peter von der Mühll and draw on the translation by Richmond Lattimore.
[ back ] 10. Segal 1994:98.
[ back ] 11. Ford 1992:177. Among other examples, Ford shows how the Theogony implicitly contrasts Typhoeus’ multiform voices (φωναί, Theogony 829) to the orderly, Olympian-sanctioned singing (αὐδή, Theogony 31, 39, 97) of the poet (Ford 1992:190–191).
[ back ] 13. On memory as enactment rather than just recall of a song, see Bakker 2002:71.
[ back ] 14. Moran 1975:198.
[ back ] 15. On the double role of memory in the énoncé and énonciation of the Odyssey, see Pucci 1987:19–22.
In Iliad I, Achilles urges Thetis to remind (μνήσασα, I 407) Zeus of the help that she gave him at the time when Hera, Poseidon, and Athena wanted to bind him. In Iliad XV, Zeus tells Hera that he will remind (μνήσω, XV 31) her of how he hung her in punishment for the labours that she had inflicted onto Heracles. In Odyssey iii, Telemachus reminds (ἔμνησας, iii 103) Nestor of the Trojan War, which prompts the old man to give a compressed version of the Iliad and of the nostoi of several heroes. In Odyssey xiv, Eumaeus begs the disguised Odysseus not to remind him (μηδέ με τούτων/ μίμνῃσκ΄, xiv 168–169) of the possibility that his master may return.
[ back ] 17. Richardson 1954. For the idea that contemporary interpretations of Homer have been shaped by the later epic tradition in general and Virgil in particular, see for instance Martindale 1993:6.
[ back ] 18. On the significance of Odysseus’ name for the Odyssey plot, see Dimock 1956; Austin 1972.
[ back ] 19. On Athena’s absence from the apologoi and the possibility that she may be angry at Odysseus, see Clay 1983.
[ back ] 20. On typical scenes in Homer, see Arend 1933. On arming and battle scenes, see Edwards 1992, with bibliography. On the sequence of arming scene and aristeia, see Mueller 2009:92–93.
[ back ] 21. Pucci 1979 and Pucci 1987:209–213.
[ back ] 22. Nagy 1999:xiin. to §17.
[ back ] 23. Odysseus’ resemblance to a bard is emphasized by Alkinoos at xi 368. On the continuity between Odysseus and the master poet of the Odyssey, see Martin 1989 and Ford 1992.
[ back ] 24. The scholium to xii 70 glosses the phrase πᾶσι μέλουσα with the fact that Argo is known to all because of its kleos. Since kleos can be used in epic diction to designate the epic tradition itself (Nagy 1974:244–255), the sentence may refer not only to the renown of Argo, but also to the epic tradition about it.
[ back ] 25. For a detailed discussion of the notion of immortality as given by epic poetry, see Nagy 1999:174–210.