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18 - The Trojan War in Early Greek Melic, Iambic and Elegiac Poetry (2010)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 December 2021

Ewen Bowie
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

First, some general points. On the one hand the story of the sack of Troy and stories associated with its preliminaries and consequences constituted a large and influential body of mythology shared in divergent versions by a very high proportion of the archaic and classical Greek world. On the other hand it was not the only important nexus of myths that might be recognised in many parts of that world. In some places, e.g. Argos, myths concerning the two expeditions against Thebes were just as important; and in Thebes itself the cycle linking the stories of Laius, Oedipus and the attack on Thebes by Polynices seems likely to have been more important than things Trojan.1 In the Greek West the cities founded in the eighth and seventh centuries might have heard more that could be related to their own history in stories about Heracles, though these were very far from being confined to the West. Other themes which might been expected to have primarily local interest, e.g. the Calydonian boar-hunt, acquired wide popularity; on the other hand the deeds of Theseus rarely seem to have generated interest outside Athens, Attica and some Aegean islands.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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