By Charles Rowan Beye

Charles Rowan Beye's severely acclaimed interpretive creation to the epic poetry and poets of historical Greece, Rome, and Assyria is the following reprinted in an accelerated moment version with a brand new preface, new bankruptcy on Gilgamesh, and an Appendix of extra examining 1993-2005. for hundreds of years the beginnings of the literary background of the West have been outlined via the Hebrew Bible what most folk name the previous testomony and Homer's epic poems, the Iliad and Odyssey. those texts have been as soon as naively alleged to have occur in most appropriate isolation both as a miracle of divine production or the spontaneous combustion of the 'Greek genius'. The effective movement of phrases down over the millennia to our personal time are such a lot of generations of offspring nonetheless by some means beholden to their preliminary begetters.

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Additional info for Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil with a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems

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N onetheless, the oral theory for the origin of the Iliad and the Odyssey is finally no more than theory. A considerable am ount of empirical evidence taken from contem porary living oral traditions has been assem bled to give it substance. M ost persons im agine on the basis of it that during the M ycenaean period there flourished court poets or bards w h ose principal occupation w as to sing about the exploits of the fam ous and pow erful men of the locale. D em odocus, the singing poet at the court of A lcinous (O d.

The notion of persons m anaging to read long texts w ritten on the materials available at the time, let alone going back and forth in these cum bersom e texts to locate allusions or significant repeated passages, is truly ludicrous. M any w ill object that the auditors I hypothesize here are a group o f people incapable of attending to nuance or subtlety or allusion in poetry, dem eaned by a critic w h o will not grant that they are as intelligent as a hypothetical audience o f readers. This m isses the point entirely.

The Iliad devotes so m uch attention to the inexorable pro­ cesses of the cosm os that one is inclined to see the tw o speeches as conscious representation of tw o aspects of T roy's doom . The exactly repeated lines w ould be a definite m nem onic signal. O n the other hand, one m ay imagine that the first speech inspired the second; that is, the shape and logic of the first m ay have becom e a kind of template for another. The speech to A ndrom ache, once under w ay, began to assum e the shape of the earlier speech possibly because the poet, instinctively realizing that this w as H ector's farew ell to his w ife and that she w ould next appear in the poem as a w id o w , thought of the lines that I have italicized.

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