From Hittite to Homer: The Anatolian Background of Ancient Greek Epic

From Hittite to Homer: The Anatolian Background of Ancient Greek Epic

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Mary R. Bachvarova
Cambridge University Press, 3/10/2016
EAN 9780521509794, ISBN10: 0521509793

Hardcover, 690 pages, 24.4 x 17 x 3.7 cm
Language: English

This book provides a groundbreaking reassessment of the prehistory of Homeric epic. It argues that in the Early Iron Age bilingual poets transmitted to the Greeks a set of narrative traditions closely related to the one found at Bronze-Age Hattusa, the Hittite capital. Key drivers for Near Eastern influence on the developing Homeric tradition were the shared practices of supralocal festivals and venerating divinized ancestors, and a shared interest in creating narratives about a legendary past using a few specific storylines: theogonies, genealogies connecting local polities, long-distance travel, destruction of a famous city because it refuses to release captives, and trying to overcome death when confronted with the loss of a dear companion. Professor Bachvarova concludes by providing a fresh explanation of the origins and significance of the Greco-Anatolian legend of Troy, thereby offering a new solution to the long-debated question of the historicity of the Trojan War.

1. Introduction
2. Hurro-Hittite song at Hattusa
3. Gilgamesh at Hattusa
written texts and oral traditions
4. The Hurro-Hittite ritual context of Gilgamesh at Hattusa
5. The plot of the Song of Release
6. The place of the Song of Release in its Eastern Mediterranean context
7. The function and prehistory of the Song of Release
8. Sargon the Great
from history to myth
9. Long-distance interactions
theory, practice, and myth
10. Festivals
a milieu for cultural contact
11. The context of epic in Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Greece
12. Cyprus as a source of Syro-Anatolian epic in the Early Iron Age
13. Cultural contact in Late Bronze Age Western Anatolia
14. Continuity of memory at Troy and in Anatolia
15. The history of the Homeric tradition
16. The layers of Anatolian influence in the Iliad
Appendix. Contraction and the dactylic hexameter.