© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/156852510X456156 Mnemosyne 63 (2010) 353-380 brill.nl/mnem Th e Poetics of exôleia in Homer Renaud Gagné University of Cambridge, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA, UK email@example.com Received: September 2008; accepted: November 2008 Abstract Th e notion of delayed generational punishment, or ancestral fault, has a long his- tory in Greek literature. Th e identiﬁ cation of its earliest attestations in the Archaic period is contested, especially its presence in Homeric poetry. Th is paper aims to show that delayed generational punishment does indeed appear in Homer, where it is, however, conﬁ ned to one context: the great oath of exôleia of Iliad 3.298-301 and 4.155-65. Th e institutional and ritual context of the generational oath is essential to understanding this earliest Greek attestation of ancestral fault, and making sense of the idea’s larger signiﬁ cance for narrative perspective, divine jus- tice, and temporal order in the Homeric epic. Keywords Homer, Iliad , oath, curses, exôleia , ancestral fault, inherited guilt Delayed generational punishment, what the Greeks called ‘ancestral fault’, was a distinct idea within Greek culture. 1) Th e theme of children punished by the gods for the crimes
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2010
Keywords: ancestral fault; Iliad; inherited guilt; exôleia; Homer; curses; oath
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