Metaphors and Multiforms at the Center for Hellenic Studies

Publications and Resources

New in Online Publications

Graeme D. Bird
Multitextuality in the Homeric Iliad: The Witness of the Ptolemaic Papyri

Graeme Bird examines a small group of early papyrus manuscripts of Homer’s Iliad, known as the Ptolemaic papyri, which, although fragmentary, are the oldest surviving physical evidence of the text of the Iliad, dating from the third to the first centuries BCE.
These papyri have been described as “eccentric” or even “wild” by some scholars. They differ significantly from the usual text of the Iliad, sometimes showing lines with different wording, at other times including so-called “interpolated” lines that are completely absent from our more familiar version. Whereas some scholars denigrate these papyri because of their “eccentricity,” Bird analyzes their unusual readings and shows that in fact they present authentic multiforms characteristic of oral performance.

Also Available in Online Publications

Homer Multitext Project

The Homer Multitext project, the first of its kind in Homeric studies, presents the textual transmission of the Iliad and Odyssey in a historical framework. It offers free access to a library of texts and images, a machine-interface to that library and its indices, and tools to allow readers to discover and engage with the Homeric tradition. To view the texts use the Manuscript Browser. (We suggest using Firefox or Safari, both freely available.)
For discussion of how the numbering of similes in the Venetus A can help us reconstruct something about both the process of creating the manuscript, and the sources available to the scribes who worked on it, see this September 2011 post by Holy Cross student Christine Roughan: Composition of the Venetus A: numbered similes.

Concepts of the Hero Course

As part of its educational mission, CHS offers free access to a distance learning course taught by Center Director Gregory Nagy. Concepts of the Hero in Greek Civilization provides an engaging introduction to the major themes of ancient Greek myth, cult, and poetics. All readings are in translation and include the epics of Homer, seven tragedies, two Platonic dialogues, and the dialogue On Heroes by Philostratus. We invite you to learn more about this course and our current theme by exploring the selected resources below. Then access all the content from 2010 via our recent blog post on kleos@CHS.
From 2011
Proseminar 2: discussion of Iliad Scroll 1, lines 524-530 (High Res Video | Audio)
Proseminar 8: discussion of Agamemnon, lines 1370-1398 (High Res Video | Audio)
(Please note: High resolution video is better for downloading, lower resolution video is optimized for viewing in browser window.)