Universiteit Leiden

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Swift-footed Achilles in the Second Millennium BCE

Thursday 17 May 2018
Forum Antiquum
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
Vossiuszaal (second floor)


This presentation will explore the long oral epic tradition in which the Homeric Iliad was composed, and speculate about what the Iliad might have looked like during the Greek Bronze Age, hundreds of years before the crystallization of the poem into the form in which we now know it. A focus of the lecture will be Achilles’ traditional epithet “swift-footed.” What story is this epithet telling, and how does it affect our understanding of this important character and the larger poetic tradition from which he emerges? It will be argued that earlier Iliads may have featured a more ambush oriented or “special operations” style of warfare, as opposed to the face-to-face battles we now find in our Iliad.

About the speaker

Casey Dué is a professor at the University of Houston, Texas. Dué is interested in Homeric poetry and the oral tradition. Together with Mary Ebbott, she founded the Homer Multitext Project.

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