Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

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Book Chapter

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One of the most frustrating aspects of Homeric studies is that so little literary material outside the Homeric corpus itself survives to enhance our understanding of the cultural landscape of the period. Recent scholarship suggests that a large and diverse poetic tradition lay behind the figure we refer to as "Homer," but little of it survives. Indeed we have little continuous written Greek for another century. The one exception is Hesiod, who composed two extant poems, the Theogony and Works and Days, and possibly several others, including the Shield of Heracles and the Catalogue of Women. As we shall see, while Hesiodic poetry was not occupied specifically with heroic themes, it was part of the same formal tradition of epic, sharing with Homer key metrical, dialectal, and dictional features.


Postprint version. Published in A New Companion to Homer, edited by Barry Powell and Ian Morris, Mnemosyne: Bibliotheca classica Batava, Supplementum 163 (New York: Brill, 1997), pages 463-488. The author has asserted his right to include this material in ScholarlyCommons@Penn.



Date Posted: 22 September 2006