The relationship between the Homeric epics and archaeology has long suffered mixed fortunes, swinging between 'fundamentalist' attempts to use archaeology in order to demonstrate the essential historicity of the epics and their background, and outright rejection of the idea that archaeology is capable of contributing anything at all to our understanding and appreciation of the epics. Archaeology and the Homeric Epic concentrates less on historicity in favor of exploring a variety of other, perhaps sometimes more oblique, ways in which we can use a multidisciplinary approach – archaeology, philology, anthropology and social history – to help offer insights into the epics, the contexts of their possibly prolonged creation, aspects of their 'prehistory', and what they may have stood for at various times in their long oral and written history. The effects of the Homeric epics on the history and popular reception of archaeology, especially in the particular context of modern Germany, is also a theme that is explored here. Contributors explore a variety of issues including the relationships between visual and verbal imagery, the social contexts of epic (or sub-epic) creation or re-creation, the roles of bards and their relationships to different types of patrons and audiences, the construction and uses of 'history' as traceable through both epic and archaeology and the relationship between 'prehistoric' (oral) and 'historical' (recorded in writing) periods. Throughout, the emphasis is on context and its relevance to the creation, transmission, re-creation and manipulation of epic in the present (or near-present) as well as in the ancient Greek past.
About the Author
John Bennet is the Director of the British School at Athens, and Professor of Aegean Archaeology at the University of Sheffield.
Table of Contents
List of Contributors
Susan Sherratt and John Bennet
1 Homer, the Moving Target
2 The Will to Believe: why Homer Cannot be ‘True’ in any Meaningful Sense
3 Dream and Reality in the Work of Heinrich Schliemann and Manfred Korfmann Johannes Haubold
4 Homeric Epic and Contexts of Bardic Creation
5 Remembering and Forgetting Nestor: Pylian Pasts Pluperfect?
Jack L. Davis and Kathleen M. Lynch, with a contribution by Susanne Hofstra
6 In the Grip of their Past? Tracing Mycenaean Memoria
7 Heroes in Early Iron Age Greece and the Homeric Epics
Alexander Mazarakis Ainian
8 Gilgamesh and Heroes at Troy: Myth, History and Education in the Invention of Tradition
9 History and the Making of South Slavic Epic
Margaret H. Beissinger
10 'The National Epic of the Modern Greeks'? – Digenis Akritis, the Homeric Question, and the Making of a Modern Myth
Ο Γκίλγαμες στην Τροία/Gilgamesh at Troy (a very short epic)