• Even Heracles Had to Die: Homeric ‘Heroism’, Mortality and the Epic Tradition

    Author(s):
    Elton Barker (see profile) , Joel Christensen
    Date:
    2014
    Group(s):
    Ancient Greece & Rome
    Subject(s):
    Classical Greek literature, Mythology
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    npm17
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6DG8Q
    Abstract:
    Our purpose in this chapter is not to try to reconstruct the lost epics of Heracles but rather to use the conceptual framework of interformularity and intertraditionality to explore the ways in which the Iliad represents Heracles and makes his tradition speak to the concerns of this narrative. We begin by sketching out the antiquity of Heracles in myth and assessing its resonance in the fragmentary and extant poetry from the archaic period. After establishing Heracles’ independent existence outside Homer, we explore how speakers in the Iliad relate – and relate to – the accomplishments of this hero, in trying to make sense of or influence their situations. Finally, we consider how Heracles’ appearances in the Iliad communicate the poem’s sustained engagement with Heracles traditions through the adaptation of traditional structures and the manipulation of formulaic language. This analysis helps us reconsider Achilles’ curious statement as part of an agonistic process by which the Iliad appropriates and marginalizes a hero ill fit to its tale.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal Article
    Pub. DOI:
    https://doi.org/10.1515/tc-2014-0014
    Journal:
    Trends in Classics
    Volume:
    6
    Start Page:
    249
    End Page:
    277
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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