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Homer's People
Epic Poetry and Social Formation


Part of Cambridge Classical Studies

  • Date Published: June 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521066419

£ 28.99

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the role and character of Homer's people, laoi, in Homeric story-telling, arguing that Homeric poetry is crucially concerned with the people as a basis for communal life. Both The Iliad and The Odyssey are read as sustained meditations on the processes involved in protecting and destroying the people. The investigation draws on a wide range of approaches from formulaic analysis to the study of early performance contexts. From a close reading of the Homeric epics, Homer's people emerge as a community without effective social structures. When this is viewed from the perspective of Homeric performances in the polis, a contrast between Homer's laoi and the founding people of ritual emerges. While the former typically perish, the survival of the latter is secured by the establishment of successful institutions.

    • Was the first major study of this topic
    • Fresh insights into the contribution made by Homer's poems to life in the Greek city-state
    • Detailed study of both The Iliad and The Odyssey
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… a very good book that breaks much new ground.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521066419
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Laoi in early Greek hexameter poetry
    2. Homer's people
    3. Laos epic in performance
    Appendix A. Epic formulae
    Appendix B. Ritual formulae.

  • Author

    Johannes Haubold, University of Durham

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