Podcast of seminar available here

Abstract: The relationship between the Homeric epics and archaeology has been approached through the lens of Homeric archaeology: matching the epics with the archaeological record, and identifying realia of Homer’s heroes. However, a range of new approaches have recently revolutionized the field. Drawing from these approaches, Kotsonas will offer a regional and diachronic analysis of Homeric stories about Crete, an assessment of the reception of these stories by the island’s inhabitants throughout antiquity, and an account of their impact on Medieval to modern literature and art. He finds that Cretan interest in Homer peaks in the Hellenistic period, but also argues for the much earlier familiarity of some Cretans with stories that underlie the Homeric epics. This argument relies on an analysis of the archaeological assemblage of a Knossian tomb of the 11th century BCE, which included a range of arms that is exceptional for both Aegean archaeology and the Homeric epics. In the epics, this equipment is carried only by the Knossian hero Meriones, whose poetic persona can be traced back to the Late Bronze Age on philological and linguistic grounds. Based on this, and on current understandings of performance at death, he argues that the Knossian burial assemblage was staged to reference the persona of Meriones, therefore suggesting the familiarity of some Cretans with early poetry that eventually filtered into the Homeric epics.

Enquiries for this lecture to be directed to Dr Amelia Brown


Forgan Smith