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The Art and Rhetoric of the Homeric Catalogue$
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Benjamin Sammons

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195375688

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195375688.001.0001

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Three Catalogues of Suitors

Three Catalogues of Suitors

(p.197) 5 Three Catalogues of Suitors
The Art and Rhetoric of the Homeric Catalogue

Benjamin Sammons

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes as its starting-point the relative anonymity of the suitors of Penelope, and examines three passages of the Odyssey (16.245–53, 18.291–301, 22 passim) in which a catalogue of the suitors might be expected but is produced only partially or imperfectly. It is argued that the poet is disinclined to catalogue the suitors because they are unworthy of having their names preserved in poetic memory, even as exemplary villains. Each of the examples is a variation on the traditional heroic catalogue that ironically undercuts the suitors’ own pretensions to heroic dignity. It is suggested further that in some of these passages, the Odyssey alludes to or imitates the Iliad.

Keywords:   Odysseus, Telemachus, Penelope, suitors, mnesterophonia

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