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Lobby 2. Welcome Main Community Discussion Board topic #90504
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Subject: "The origins of Homer's Odyssey?" Previous topic | Next topic
Mesg #90504 "The origins of Homer's Odyssey?"
Author Weird Jim     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Jun 13th 2002
6262 posts
Date Sat Mar-03-12 06:13 PM
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Mon Mar-05-12 03:25 PMby Weird Jim

Just before Christmas I downloaded and read the histories of Heredotus. I did skip a lot, being mainly interested in events and less so in personalities and their antecedents etc. I found one of the early events interesting from another perspective other than event history. He tells about an unnamed leader of a group of what I will call seagoing pirates and robbers. Caught at the eastern end of the Mediterranean by a storm, their ship was blown to Egypt carrying a kidnapped woman and a large amount of stolen booty (treasure). The Egyptians seized the woman and the treasure and allowed the pirates to go free.

Then Herodotus mentions Homer's Odyssey and claims it was based on this story. Instead of Helen being a willing companion of Paris (Is that the name I want?) a woman is kidnapped, and her pursuing husband is not so much worried about her, but is after recovering the contents of his treasury that the pirates have stolen. He then goes on to claim that the thieves did not gain refuge in Troy because Priam would never have risked his city for them, and if they had been there would have turned them over to Menelaus. That's the way I remember it from one read.

So did Homer take that story as a base and turn it into a romance because the real story did not fit into the pattern of tales appreciated by everyday people?

Is there a pattern to fiction that thrills people? Rather than rapist robbers as main characters do people prefer romantic lovers being pursued by angry husbands who don't care so much for stolen wealth as for errant wives who run off with handsome lovers. Is this basic pattern of fiction still what people want and read, and will to great a deviation from it lead to rejection? Is this what authors prefer to write?

Any thoughts?

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960

  

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Mesg #90520 "RE: The origins of Homer's Odyssey?"
Author l_clausewitz     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list Click to send message via ICQ
Author Info Member since Jan 02nd 2005
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Date Wed Mar-07-12 01:03 PM
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In response to Reply # 0

Of course, like any historian, Herodotus could simply have had his pet theory. Besides, while I haven't read that part of the Histories, I'm pretty sure the story in question was the Iliad rather than the Odyssey.

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Mesg #90523 "RE: The origins of Homer's Odyssey?"
Author Weird Jim     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Jun 13th 2002
6262 posts
Date Wed Mar-07-12 07:26 PM
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In response to Reply # 1

Wed Mar-07-12 07:35 PMby Weird Jim

>Of course, like any historian, Herodotus
>could simply have had his pet theory.
>Besides, while I haven't read that part of
>the Histories, I'm pretty sure the
>story in question was the Iliad
>rather than the Odyssey.

I don't think so. While I couldn't tolerate the Iliad because of a certain repetitiveness, I understand it deals more with the Seige of Troy and Achilles epic battle with Hector and his desecration of Hector's body by using his chariot to drag it around outside the walls of Troy. I think it leaves off after the fall of Troy. What Herodotus is talking about is the wanderings of the vessel after it had been hit by the storm. Possibly I wrote my post wrongly.

Anyway, whichever, my point was that readers like 'nice' heroes .

And yes, Herodutus had his own ideas, one of them being that melting snow couldn't possibly be the cause of the Nile flooding yearly as everyone knows that snow does not fall in the Summer

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960

  

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Mesg #90536 "RE: The origins of Homer's Odyssey?"
Author l_clausewitz     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list Click to send message via ICQ
Author Info Member since Jan 02nd 2005
2646 posts
Date Wed Mar-14-12 12:26 AM
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In response to Reply # 2

>I don't think so. While I couldn't
>tolerate the Iliad because of a certain
>repetitiveness, I understand it deals more
>with the Seige of Troy and Achilles epic
>battle with Hector and his desecration of
>Hector's body by using his chariot to drag
>it around outside the walls of Troy. I
>think it leaves off after the fall of
>Troy. What Herodotus is talking about is
>the wanderings of the vessel after it had
>been hit by the storm. Possibly I wrote my
>post wrongly.

The Odyssey was just about Odysseus's voyage home after the Trojan War was properly over, though, so it didn't involve Paris or Helen or the rest of them. I guess if Herodotus wasn't writing about the Iliad then it must have been about the Trojan Cycle as a whole; there are several epic poems in the series (especially the ones dealing with the earlier events and the prelude to the war) that haven't survived the ravages of time.

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Mesg #90538 "RE: The origins of Homer's Odyssey?"
Author Weird Jim     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Jun 13th 2002
6262 posts
Date Wed Mar-14-12 01:01 PM
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In response to Reply # 3

What I was trying to say is that, according to Herodotus, Homer adapted legend to the needs of dramatic poetry. The story was his starting point according to Herodotus and could be an example of how to adapt present day stories.


Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960

  

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