The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of Homer / Edition 1

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Overview

Homer's epics reflect an eighth-century BCE world of warrior tribes that were fractured by constant strife; aside from its fantastic scale, nothing is exceptional about Troy's conquest by the Greeks. Using a fascinating and innovative approach, Professor Gottschall analyses Homeric conflict from the perspective of modern evolutionary biology, attributing its intensity to a shortage of available young women. The warrior practice of taking enemy women as slaves and concubines meant that women were concentrated in the households of powerful men. In turn, this shortage drove men to compete fiercely over women: almost all the main conflicts of the Iliad and Odyssey can be traced back to disputes over women. The Rape of Troy integrates biological and humanistic understanding - biological theory is used to explore the ultimate sources of pitched Homeric conflict, and Homeric society is the subject of a bio-anthropological case study of why men fight.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Gottschall escorts us to the rich but sparsely inhabited borderland between anthropology, biology, and literary analysis, where he has found gold. The Rape of Troy is an original and important contribution to all three of these fields, and a very good read in addition.” --Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University

“The Rape of Troy is, above all, a brilliant little book – so brilliant that I wish it were less little. It crackles with intellectual vigor, academic rigor, and the prospect of triggering a revolution in research at the intersection of anthropology, biology, and literature…..[Gottschall’s] account of “Homeric tragedy” rises to a level of sanguinary poetry that might make Cormac McCarthy envious.” --David Barash, University of Washington, Journal of Human Biology

“There is no way to get bored with Gottschall. He has written a small masterpiece of evolutionary-literary analysis. Only someone with such a thorough knowledge of Homer and Homeric scholarship as he has could do this. This ability to marry disciplines with confidence and authority is rare and should be cherished….For a Homeric moment let us be free to wonder and applaud.” --Robin Fox, Rutgers University, Evolutionary Psychology

"This is a fine book in a vigorous style with a delightfully fresh take on an old story. The best book on Homer I’ve read in years." --Barry Powell, Department of Classics, University of Wisconsin

"A rare combination of literature and science, The Rape of Troy presents an innovative study of the world of Homer from the perspective of evolutionary theory. The results are striking, highly readable and guaranteed to provoke much thought on an always topical and urgent question: what are the causes of violence?" Hans van Wees, University College London, Author of Status Warriors and Greek Warfare: myths and realities.

“Though serious in its purpose of advancing knowledge, The Rape of Troy is also powerfully literary. Gottschall became imaginatively absorbed in the Homeric poems, and through the often virtuoso quality of his interpretive rhetoric, he enables the reader to share in his responsiveness to Homer’s poetry. When we speak of criticism that “impresses us with the power, richness, and responsiveness of the critic’s mind,” it is to criticism of this quality that we refer.” Joseph Carroll, University of Missouri, Style, forthcoming

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521870382
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Gottschall is Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Washington and Jefferson College. He co-edited (with David Sloan Wilson) The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (2005) and has published numerous articles seeking to bridge the humanities-sciences divide.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments (or, the fate of Thersites)

Introduction 1

1 Rebuilding Homer's Greece 11

2 A short ethnography of Homeric society 27

3 Why do men fight? The evolutionary biology and anthropology of male violence 40

4 What launched the 1,186 ships? 57

5 Status warriors 81

6 Homeric women: re-imagining the fitness landscape 100

7 Homer's missing daughters 119

8 The Prisoner's Dilemma and the mystery of tragedy 140

Conclusion: Between lions and men 160

Appendix Dating Homeric society 166

Notes 173

Works cited 198

Index 218

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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!

    Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!

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