Object structure

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Homeric Catalogues Between Tradition and Invention

Subject and Keywords:

reception of Homer   vase-paintings   catalogues   speaking-names   oral culture   orality   Homer   Iliad   Hesiod   Theogony   Apollodorus   Virgil   Hyginus   Nereids


This contribution aims at showing how a traditional list of namescould be varied by poets with the addition of new ones sharing thesame features, with a special focus on the Nereids’ names. A comparisonbetween the catalogue of Nereids in the Iliad (XVIII 39–49) and theone in the Theogony (Theog. 243–264) shows that whilst some namesare traditional and some others seem to be invented ad hoc, they allconvey relaxing images (sea, nature, beauty, or gifts for sailors). This listof names did not become a fixed one in later times either: inscriptionson vase-paintings of the 5th century preserve names different than theepic ones. Even Apollodorus (I 2, 7) gives a catalogue of Nereids derivedpartly from the Iliad and partly from the Theogony, with the additionof some names belonging to another group of deities (the Oceanids)and other forms unattested elsewhere but with the same features ofthe epic ones. A further comparison between a catalogue of Nymphsin the Georgics (IV 333–356) and its reception in the work of Higynusproves that adding new names to a traditional list is a feature not onlyof oral epic poetry, but also of catalogues composed in a literate culture.





Date issued:


Resource Type:


Detailed Type:

czasopisma (wydawnictwa ciągłe)


ISSN 2449–8181



Rights holder:

Copyright by Instytut Studiów Klasycznych, Sródziemnomorskich i Orientalnych, Pracowania Badan nad Tradycja Oralna, 2016