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Ransom, Revenge, and Heroic Identity in the Iliad

Overview

From beginning to end of the Iliad, Agamemnon and Achilleus are locked in a high-stakes struggle for dominance in which they attempt to impose competing definitions of rightful leadership, using competing definitions of loss incurred and the nature of the compensation owed. A typology of scenes involving apoina or "ransom" and poine or "revenge" is the basis of Donna Wilson's detailed anthropology of compensation in Homer, which she locates in the wider context of agonistic ...
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Overview

From beginning to end of the Iliad, Agamemnon and Achilleus are locked in a high-stakes struggle for dominance in which they attempt to impose competing definitions of rightful leadership, using competing definitions of loss incurred and the nature of the compensation owed. A typology of scenes involving apoina or "ransom" and poine or "revenge" is the basis of Donna Wilson's detailed anthropology of compensation in Homer, which she locates in the wider context of agonistic exchange.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book offers a rich feast of theory and literary analysis. Wilson's scholarship is first rate and her analysis, though subtle and with many strands, is clear and coherent...It is a noteworthy contribution both to the study of power and dominance in Homeric society and to the poetics of the Iliad." Walter Donlan, University of California, Irvine

"...Donna Wilson succeeds brilliantly in untangling an interpretive knot that has bound up the exegesis of the Iliad for centuries...[She] provides a sensitive and sophisticated analysis of the cultural poetics of compensation, showing that the crucial terms...are not just major structuring concepts within the Iliad, but within Greek society, and not just static concepts, but ones essentially open to constant rhetorically charged renegotiation." Richard Martin, Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor of Classics, Stanford University

"...a truly remarkable book that effectively eludidates the poetics of compensation practiced by the heroes of the Illiad. The book will likely change the way many readers understand the character of Achilles and read and interpret the Illiad." BMCR

"A book all Homerists will have to know and that makes an abiding contribution to the understanding of the poems. Even those who disagree with the use it makes of its own discovery will be grateful for the help it provides in their own thinking." Classical Bulletin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521032780
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: Compensation and Heroic Identity 1
Ch. 1 Ransom and Revenge: Poetics and Politics of Compensation 13
Ch. 2 Agamemnon and Chryses: Between King and Father 40
Ch. 3 The Quarrel: Men Who Would Be King 54
Ch. 4 The Embassy to Achilleus: In the Name of the Father 71
Ch. 5 Achilleus and Priam: Between King and Father 109
Ch. 6 Unlimited Poine: Poetry as Practice 134
App. 1 Catalog of Compensation Themes 147
App. 2 Arrangement of Compensation Themes 179
Notes 183
Abbreviations 215
References 217
Index of Homeric Passages 229
General Index 233
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