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By Alfred Heubeck, Stephanie West, J. B. Hainsworth

This 1st e-book of a observation compiled via a world group of students comprises an advent discussing past learn at the Odyssey, its relation to the Iliad, the epic dialect, and the transmission of the textual content.

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Extra resources for A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey, Volume 1: Introduction and Books I-VIII

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It is possible that it was the poet of the Odyssey himself who sent the hero of the Trojan epic on his journey into fairyland, ascribing to him adventures which were originally connected with others, characters now nameless, perhaps from folk-tales, old seafarers’ yarns, or even pre-Homeric poetry. 51 I f it was indeed our poet who enriched the traditional picture of Odysseus with new elements which initially belonged somewhere else we can perhaps guess what led him to take this bold step. T h e plan of the poem required that Odysseus should return home very late, or almost too late, but a decade o f wandering on a journey from T roy to Ithaca— which, though not without peril, is not an extraordinary undertaking— is only plausible if Odysseus strays into far-off lands, from which he cannot return to the world o f men unless the gods give him their help.

II. epos -njs 7AiaSos, vno 8e [IttaiOTptLTOv TtTaxOai (is t t } v TTOtyaiv. ) ' 2 There is an obvious danger of over-simplification in attempting comparisons, but it is clear that editors of the Mbelungenlied, the Chanson de Roland, the medieval Greek epic of Digenis Akritas, and, outstandingly, the Mahabharala face a far more complex task than the editor of Homer. See further H. Brackert, Beitrage zur Handschriftenkritik des Nibelungenliedes (Berlin, 1963), 169 f f , J. Bedier, La Chanson de Roland comrruntie (Paris, 1927), 65 f f , S.

Now the time has come for the son’s conscience to awaken and we are prepared for this, we have long expected it. During the days Odysseus spends with Eumaeus— it is unnecessary to enquire what he does during that time— Telem achus tears himself away from Sparta and reaches Ithaca after an uneventful journey. A t last father and son meet at Eumaeus’ farm; their journeys and their search are over. 48 So much for the poet’s technique. I hope that we have not been too far o ff the mark in stressing its continuity with epic tradition and in trying to understand and interpret the Odyssey against the back­ ground o f earlier oral poetry and in particular the Iliad.

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