Skip to comments.An epic battle on Homer's gender
Posted on 07/02/2006 7:46:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Historian and linguist Andrew Dalby is challenging the accepted gender of one of the most influential writers of all time -- the poet who created the Greek epics The Iliad and The Odyssey in the seventh century BC. Dr Dalby said: "There is no direct evidence of the poet's identity and therefore no justification for the customary assumption that the two epics were composed by a man." Women have a long tradition worldwide as makers of oral literature, he said, citing Sappho, the best-known female poet of ancient Greece, and Enheduanna, the woman mentioned on a Sumerian tablet who thus became the first named poet in the world. Dr Dalby, whose study Rediscovering Homer will be published in September, said: "It is possible, even probable, that this poet was a woman. As a working hypothesis, this helps to explain certain features in which these epics are better -- more subtle, more complex, more universal -- than most others." ...Anthony Snodgrass, emeritus professor of classical archaeology at Cambridge University, said The Odyssey could have been written by a woman because it is about "a world at peace in general terms, with domesticity, fidelity ... endurance and determination rather than aggression". But he added: "The idea of a woman writing The Iliad and not being bored out of her mind by the endless fighting and killings is a bit more far-fetched." The issue, he said, lay in whether the same person wrote both poems. "Most of us now believe the same person did."
(Excerpt) Read more at theaustralian.news.com.au ...
Homer is a gentle and misunderstood man who happens to drink Duff beer.
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The Odyssey of HomerThis translation is intended to supplement a work entitled "The Authoress of the Odyssey", which I published in 1897. I could not give the whole "Odyssey" in that book without making it unwieldy, I therefore epitomised my translation, which was already completed and which I now publish in full.
translated by Samuel Butler
The articles title should have been, "An epic battle on Homer's sex?"
Homer knew too much about ships and their workings to have been female. The only way to win this argument is not to argue.
Ain't no woman romance writer going to conceive of the grand epic battle at the end of the Oddyssey....IMHO
But I love how the shooting contest turns into the slaughter of all the bad guys....
Graves's wrote a novel, Homer's Daughter, that proposes that Nausicaa was the author of The Odyssey, basing it on events from her life.
When I reviewed it for a website, seven years ago, I give is a middling review. "This a well-crafted novel, but weak characterizations and lack of any real surprise keep it from being anything special," was how I summarized it. I'm wondering now, how much that was just that it didn't quite measure up to I, Claudius.
So, I guess this idea is a boner?
Uhhh...let's make everybody happy: maybe Homer was gay. /sarcasm
I've always LOVED THE ODYSSEY and the ending is spectacular.
Have you read Graves' HOMER'S DAUGHTER? It's his "take" on a part of THE ODDYSSEY.
What's wrong with being happy and light hearted?
I read many decades ago, when I was a preteen and had bought it for 19 cents, in a remainder bin. It's a first edition and I loved it; however, I was all of 11 or 12 when I read it. LOL
LOL! Well, he WAS Greek, dontcha know...
"Pamela" by Richardson being a prime example.
Women have a long tradition worldwide as makers of oral literature
Am I the only one that sees the contradiction here? Oral tradition identifies a blind male poet called Homer as the author, so I guess the traditional makers and keepers of oral tradition (women) got it wrong.
We're supposed to be in awe of the wisdom and amazing accuracy of oral tradition, except when the liberals want to rewrite it to fit the feminist agenda.
I've read a good bit of Graves, but that's one I missed.
After all these were guys who were intent on forcing her into marriage and they were a direct threat to her children.
Why would having them slaughtered be so unfeminine?
Of all the tales in the world, the Oddyssey is one of my most favorite. I reread it every few years because it is one of the greats.
...anal sex between men and boys was commonplace and accepted...
It would REALLY be a man's "voice", because it would be a male, with dynastic sensibilities, re his son and his kingdom, who would have such concerns.
Yeah, that seems a little goofy to me as well.
I guess no one has found it offensive that he mentions "women" and "oral tradition" in the same sentence. It's so sexist...
Likewise, it is also one of my favorites and I have reread it often, throughout my lifetime.
Because the setting is a guy arrangement. A female POV would have had the guy break into the room and carry her away to safety, not the detailed and careful and wonderful battle scene with Father and Son and faithful retainer whooping butt on the bad guys.
IMHO, of course, based on reading huge amounts of ancient and folk tale material....and lots of more modern stuff as well...
Penelope, for example, is helpless to protect her estate from the guys who came over and ate up her goods every day, and again, even the powerful women in the Oddyssey are all Goddesses, firmly being controlled by the male Gods, and who pay heavy prices when trying to work around them.
Even Helen is mostly passive, the victim of a kidnapping, unable really to do much - she's a very ambivalent figure, more done to than doing.
Clytemnestra steps out of the mold with her murder of Agamemnon and is constantly compared to Penelope. And even Clytemnestra, in taking this action, can't rule in her own right...daughter of a king even so, but has to have Agamemnon's cousin to fulfil the kingly duties.
Cassandra, in many ways a tragic figure, tries to make her own way, but gets Apollo mad at her, and no one credits her for the truth she tells them, and still goes down to death at the hand of another woman because she refused to be what Apollo wanted her to be.
She played them very skillfully.
Is Homer's Gender of any importance to anyone except Homer.
Circe is a witch, because she rules her domain and does so through magic, because otherwise, she has no power.
It is ridiculous for much later generations to speculate about who wrote ancient great works, using the perspective of their own times and completely disregarding the culture/manners of the time such works were written in.
Each to his/her own. Many of us like his books; but, truth to tell, I haven't read then in a very long time.
I've only read the one. I managed to finish it, but honestly there was no hope for me to enjoy it given the way it treated my hero out of time, Octavian. If I had read another of his works before that I may have been a fan. As it is, circumstances are such that I feel a splanchnic reaction to the mere mention of Graves.
Guess it is possible that Homer was female. I personally doubt it.
Possibly he/she was a hermaphrodite. LOL
NOt only that, but women in ancient Greece didn't go around to parties singing ballads. At about 16 years of age a girl would be married off to a man about twice her age, and from that time on, she would be a virtual prisoner in her home, much like Muslim women nowadays in the most conservative areas of Afghanistan. Shopping was done by servants or slaves. The only adult women who would be found out-and-about were prostitutes.
the next thing you know, some "scholar" will have decided Homer was homo........
He's a he.
I realize I'm preaching to the choir, but there is a teachable moment here, albeit on a different topic, namely Logic.
The argument goes:
A. Homer was a creator of oral literature.
B. Some creators of oral tradition are women. ("Women have a long tradition worldwide as makers of oral literature.")
C. Therefore: Homer was a woman.
The basic flaw in this syllogism is "undistributed middle." That is to say, one goes from an absolute statement to a relative one and then makes an absolute conclusion, which can't be warranted.
We are dummies to give this even the time of day, except we all get to sound smart.
What I find curious is that gays are so willing to embrace these relationships, which were pederasty -- essentially unequal and abusive relationships -- as commmonplace and accepted homosexuality, yet complain that pederasty isn't homosexuality when it's applied to modern adult males having sex with boys. They can't have it both ways. Either what the Greeks were doing and what those abusive Catholic priests were doing to boys was homosexual behavior or both aren't. Pick one.
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