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From Hittite to Homer
The Anatolian Background of Ancient Greek Epic

$176.00 (C)

  • Date Published: April 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521509794

$ 176.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book provides a groundbreaking reassessment of the prehistory of Homeric epic. It argues that in the Early Iron Age bilingual poets transmitted to the Greeks a set of narrative traditions closely related to the one found at Bronze-Age Hattusa, the Hittite capital. Key drivers for Near Eastern influence on the developing Homeric tradition were the shared practices of supralocal festivals and venerating divinized ancestors, and a shared interest in creating narratives about a legendary past using a few specific storylines: theogonies, genealogies connecting local polities, long-distance travel, destruction of a famous city because it refuses to release captives, and trying to overcome death when confronted with the loss of a dear companion. Professor Bachvarova concludes by providing a fresh explanation of the origins and significance of the Greco-Anatolian legend of Troy, thereby offering a new solution to the long-debated question of the historicity of the Trojan War.

    • Links together in a new way the four sets of data used to discuss the prehistory of Homeric epic: Akkadian epic, Hittite texts, Mycenaean material culture, and early Iron Age material culture
    • Focuses not only on parallels between texts, but also on how these parallels came about: mechanisms of contact, motivations for borrowing
    • Combines historical and literary approaches to the question of the origin of the Iliad, providing a new solution to the long-debated question of the historicity of the Trojan War
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… very user-friendly. … this work is highly recommended.' Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

    '… this volume fills a perceived gap, is appropriate for a wide scholarly audience, and will ideally stimulate deeper conversation within scholarship concerning the pre-classical traditions of Greek literature.' Scripta Classica Israelica

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521509794
    • length: 690 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 182 x 35 mm
    • weight: 1.49kg
    • contains: 27 b/w illus. 5 maps 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Hurro-Hittite song at Hattusa
    3. Gilgamesh at Hattusa: written texts and oral traditions
    4. The Hurro-Hittite ritual context of Gilgamesh at Hattusa
    5. The plot of the Song of Release
    6. The place of the Song of Release in its Eastern Mediterranean context
    7. The function and prehistory of the Song of Release
    8. Sargon the Great: from history to myth
    9. Long-distance interactions: theory, practice, and myth
    10. Festivals: a milieu for cultural contact
    11. The context of epic in Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Greece
    12. Cyprus as a source of Syro-Anatolian epic in the Early Iron Age
    13. Cultural contact in Late Bronze Age Western Anatolia
    14. Continuity of memory at Troy and in Anatolia
    15. The history of the Homeric tradition
    16. The layers of Anatolian influence in the Iliad
    Appendix. Contraction and the dactylic hexameter.

  • Author

    Mary R. Bachvarova, Willamette University, Oregon
    Mary R. Bachvarova is Professor in the Department of Classical Studies at Willamette University, Oregon. She was trained both in classics and in the languages and cultures of Anatolia and the Near East. She is the co-editor, with B. J. Collins and I. C. Rutherford, of Anatolian Interfaces: Hittites, Greeks and Their Neighbours (2005). She has also written a new translation of Hurro-Hittite narrative songs in the recently published Ancient Mediterranean Myths: Primary Sources from Ancient Greece, Rome, and the Near East, edited by C. López-Ruiz (2013).

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