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Homer in Greece from the End of Antiquity 1: The Byzantine Reception of Homer and His Export to Other Cultures

from Part III - Homer in the World

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2020

Corinne Ondine Pache
Affiliation:
Trinity University, San Antonio
Casey Dué
Affiliation:
University of Houston
Susan Lupack
Affiliation:
Macquarie University, Sydney
Robert Lamberton
Affiliation:
Washington University, St Louis
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Summary

This article traces the literary genres through which knowledge of Homer was communicated throughout the Byzantine period. Centos were a vehicle through which the taste for Homerizing diction and versification were diffused. Likewise, texts in languages that closely engaged with the grammar and rhetorical structure of Greek (Syriac, Georgian) indicate acquaintance with those verses of Homer that were frequently used in Greek as grammatical and rhetorical examples. Varying degrees of acquaintance with Homeric plots and heroes are evident in several medieval literatures (Latin and various Western European vernaculars, but also Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavic). The richest path for such diffusion of Homeric knowledge is found in translations of world chronicles, where Homer’s royal figures regularly appear as part of a universal history of kingship. In addition, allegorical readings of Homeric stories (equating Homeric figures with cosmic elements or qualities of the human soul) were widely diffused in philosophy and the natural sciences.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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