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Early Greek Hexameter Poetry


  • Page extent: 159 pages
  • Size: 234 x 156 mm
  • Weight: 0.24 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9781316608883)

This is the first book to give an introduction to all genres of early Greek hexameter poetry; not only heroic legend and the origins of the gods, but also wisdom literature, genealogy, oracles, and epigraphy. It introduces both apprentice and expert readers to the extant poems and to the fragments of some lost poems. Some useful tools can be found here which do not exist anywhere else: a list of all known early hexameter inscriptions; a catalogue of evidence for 'cropping and splicing' of poems in ancient editions; an index of the editions of over a hundred fragmentary poets and poems. This book offers the most up-to-date research on literary criticism and literary form, mythology and genre, language and metre, and performance and music.

• Covers all genres of early Greek hexameter verse, from epic to epigraphy • Features resources unavailable elsewhere including catalogues of early hexameter inscriptions, and an index of editions of fragmentary poets and poems • Accessible to both apprentice and expert readers


Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. The Poems: 1. The Hesiodic works and days; 2. The Hesiodic theogony; 3. The Hesiodic catalogue of women; 4. The Hesiodic shield; 5. The Homeric hymns; 6. The epic cycle; 7. Oracle collectors (chresmologoi); 8. Epigraphy; Part II. Genre: 9. Large-scale: overarching topics and themes; 10. Medium-scale: sub-themes and major structural features; 11. Small-scale: tropes and stylistic features; Part III. Tradition and Legend: 12. Unrecorded traditions; 13. Hexameter and the formula; 14. Pre history of the epic tradition; Part IV. Performance: 15. Musical instruments; 16. Rhythm; 17. Pitch and melody; 18. Performance context; Part V. Fragments: 19. Introduction to fragments; 20. Examples of fragments; 21. How to approach a fragmentary text; 22. Vestigial fragments; Part VI. Relationship between Poems: 23. Modern scholarship: neoanalysis and other 'systemic' interpretations; 24. Ancient transmission: cropping and splicing; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.


'The overall standard of the book is very high, the language clear, the discussion balanced, and the ratio between theory and examples from various passages of early Greek hexameter poetry is apt. Especially useful are the sections about the criteria usually put forward in order to take a stance in matters of authorship or dating, and their limits, as well as those on linguistics and on the relationships between poems. The account of why epic poets retained some Aeolic formulae is very clear.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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