Reconstructing the Epic: Cross-readings of the Trojan Myth in Hellenistic Poetry

Series: Hellenistica Groningana (v.14)
The Trojan war inspired a multifaceted mythological tradition which evolved through a variety of artistic devices - oral and written poetry, prose, iconography. In the open system of Trojan war narratives, Homer represents the dominant line, while the cyclic, lyric and tragic poets offer a host of alternative versions. Reconstructing the Epic builds on the premise that the reception of the Trojan myth by the Hellenistic avant-garde reflects their aesthetic and ideological distancing from the elevated genres of the past, particularly the epic. The book monitors the various stages of this modernistic reaction to the literary tradition: the avoidance of the Trojan muthos as narrated in the Homeric epics; the rewriting of the Trojan stories which derive from the Epic Cycle, lyric and dramatic poetry; the incorporation of Trojan episodes into idylls, elegies and epyllia; and the working out of a new Trojan myth recounting, among other things, how the archetypal war hero, Achilles, is eventually transformed into an ardent lover.