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The Tradition of the Trojan War in Homer and the Epic Cycle Paperback – December 17, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; New Ed edition (December 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080187890X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801878909
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A lively and venturesome study of the relationship between the Homeric epics and the largely lost Cyclic poems... A very interesting and accessible book.

(S. Douglas Olson Religious Studies Review)

This is a bracingly skeptical treatment of some important issues... A fresh, engaging exercise in heterodox scholarship.

(Greece and Rome)

[Jonathan Burgess] has firmly established the case that the Cyclic epics should be regarded as more authoritative representatives of Greek tradition about the Trojan War than the poems of Homer... Essential reading for everyone seriously interested in Homer and Greek epic tradition.

(Margalit Finkelberg Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

The Iliad and the Odyssey continue to be translated anew, and noticed when they are. Less widely noticed [is] other poetry about the Trojan War... The range and argument of the book make it valuable to any with an interest in what we call Homeric, and indeed, in ancient traditions generally.

(Virginia Quarterly Review)

Both the author's remarkable knowledge of previous scholarship on the topic and his eminently moderate and well-balanced approach make this volume a most valuable resource for approaching this complex field, and it immediately becomes indispensable for the study of Homeric and early non-Homeric epic.

(Mark W. Edwards Phoenix)

Anyone who has a serious interest in Homer and the Greek epic tradition should find this a valuable and thought-provoking book.

(Mike Chappell Journal of Classics Teaching)

A well argued book that packs a great deal of scholarship and insight into less than two-hundred pages. It deserves careful and repeated reading.

(D.M. Carter Polis)

About the Author

Jonathan S. Burgess is an associate professor of classical studies at the University of Toronto.


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Hall on November 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has an interest in the Homeric epics, the Trojan War, ancient Greek mythology and culture, should read this book. It's an academic product, so the argument is detailed and sometimes complicated. But Burgess writes very clearly and presents his case in a masterfully logical process that builds on an enormous amount of textual, scholarly, critical, and artistic evidence. The notes are a treasure trove of previous scholarship. I wanted to learn more about the literary and mythological context of the Iliad and the Odyssey. I came away with a much greater understanding of the composition of the Homeric poems as well as the other (now lost) works of the ancient Greek oral tradition. Rarely have I read a book that answered so many of the questions that I brought to it, and left me so confident in the fairness of the author's scholarship.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Alvaro Lewis on September 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Truly, here is a very exciting book. The author clearly, in three long chapters (with appendices) discusses the Trojan War in the evidence of the Epic Cycle and its relation to the Homeric poems. The author has brought together philology, history, archaeology and good sense here. He shares bright arguments and suggestions in these pages that provoke thought for those interested specifically in the poems of Homer or in epic generally. Far from stealing the sparkle of the Homeric poems, this book provides the best discussion I have read of the variant threads of the stories of the Trojan War current in the age of the oral composition of the Iliad and Odyssey. It seemed so improbable that such magnificent, encyclopedic poems would stridently bound from the dark, poetic silence of the early Greek Mediterranean. Burgess shows that they didn't and that already at the time of the composition of the Homeric poems there existed a bounty of versions of the Trojan War that bore no direct relation to the poems of Homer as we know them. I recommend this timely book (timely, for it seems there is enough research to be thoroughly convincing, to me,) to teachers of Homer, early Greek culture and epic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Loomis on October 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was everything I was looking for when I first saw it. As someone who is very interested in mythology, I have been interested for some time in the now lost Epic Cycle. This book looks at the connection between the cycle, and the deeper, oral tradition that the author believes Homer used for his masterpieces. Unlike other books on the subject, this book is not obsessed with comparing the cycle to Homer, and treats it with respect in its own right. Definately an interesting read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jared L. Gibbs on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is well written, although a complex book for any one that does not know the Homeric and Epic Cycles, and for me personally nearly unreadable. Mainly to me I don't read for the scientific explanation or how things do and don't fit together, I'm a fan of the Aeneid, which is not part of either cycle nor should it be, but just a expansion of the story, as I feel all of the stories are, and not to be picked apart and dissected. Just simply to enjoy the story, if you pick at it too much it looses that flavor. This is a great book for a scholar, but in my opinion not for the average reader, there is no synopsis of the epic cycle, unless you count a page and a half that gives a very brief account. Please remember none of the stories from the "Epic Cycle" still exist to our knowledge, but the Iliad and the Odyssey do.
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