Two Catalogues of Objects
This chapter examines two passages featuring catalogues of objects or treasure. In the first (Iliad 24.228–37), the poet catalogues the ransom assembled by king Priam to recover the body of Hector. The argument discusses how such a list can have a thematic or narrative dimension. Juxtaposition of this catalogue with other catalogues of Priam’s dead and surviving sons helps to define the extent of his present loss. The second example (Iliad 9.120–57) involves the ransom offered by Agamemnon to Achilles in his attempt to placate that hero. Agamemnon ingeniously transgresses the formal boundaries of the catalogue form to construct a narrative of the Trojan War and to inscribe Achilles within it, in a way that also imposes a particular interpretation on the Iliad itself. Examination of Achilles’ famous refusal of the ransom shows how the hero both recognizes and deconstructs the king’s exploitation of the catalogue form.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.