Two Catalogues of Women

Benjamin Sammons

in The Art and Rhetoric of the Homeric Catalogue

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375688
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199871599 | DOI:
 Two Catalogues of Women

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This chapter examines two passages in which characters catalogue women or heroines (Iliad 14.315–28, Odyssey 11.225–329). In the first (Zeus recounts his past erotic conquests), the discussion continues to focus on the divine perspective implied in the catalogue form and how it is undermined, in this case through the humor of the whole episode (Dios apate). In the second case (Odysseus’s catalogue of the famous women he saw in Hades) the emphasis is on how the catalogue reflects the hero’s limitations both as a viewer and as a speaker or poet. These catalogues also have a kind of paradigmatic tendency and threaten to impose a pattern or interpretation on the narrative in which they appear; yet in each case, formal or rhetorical properties of the catalogue distort or undermine that tendency. In both cases, the discussion considers whether Homer interacts directly with a Hesiodic tradition of catalogue poetry.

Keywords: Zeus; Odysseus; heroines; Dios apate; nekyia; Hesiod; Theogony; cosmogony; Ehoiai

Chapter.  20406 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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