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Ransom, Revenge, and Heroic Identity in the Iliad - Donna F. Wilson

Ransom, Revenge, and Heroic Identity in the Iliad

Hardcover Published: 27th May 2002
ISBN: 9780521806602
Number Of Pages: 250

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From beginning to end of the Iliad, Agamemnon and Achilleus are locked in a high-stakes struggle for dominance based on their efforts to impose competing definitions of loss incurred and the nature of compensation thereby owed. This typology of scenes involving apoina, or ransom, and poine, or revenge, is the basis of Donna Wilson's detailed anthropology of compensation in Homer which she locates in the wider context of agonistic exchange. Wilson argues that a struggle over definitions is a central feature of elite competition for status in the zero-sum and fluid ranking system characteristic of Homeric society. This system can be used to explain why Achilleus refuses Agamemnon's 'compensation' in Book 9, as well as why and how the embassy tries to mask it. Ransom, Revenge and Heroic Identity in the Iliad thus examines the traditional semantic, cultural, and poetic matrix of which compensation is an integral part.

Industry Reviews

'... this book is an important contribution to the understanding of the Iliad. It will prove useful to all those studying Homeric poetry and society.' Journal of Hellenic Studies 'This book offers a rich feast of theory and literary analysis. Wilson's scholarship is first rate and her analysis, though subtle and with many strands, is clear and coherent ... It is a noteworthy contribution both to the study of power and dominance in Homeric society and to the poetics of the Iliad.' Walter Donlan, University of California, Irvine '... Donna Wilson succeeds brilliantly in untangling an interpretive knot that has bound up the exegesis of the Iliad for centuries. ... [She] provides a sensitive and sophisticated analysis of the cultural poetics of compensation, showing that the crucial terms ... are not major structuring concepts with the Iliad, but within Greek society, and not just static concepts, but ones essentially open to constant rhetorically charged renegotiation.' Richard Martin, Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor of Classics, Stanford University

Preface and acknowledgements
Introduction: compensation and heroic identity
Ransom and revenge: poetics and politics of compensation
Agamemnon and Chryses: between king and father
The quarrel: men who would be king
The embassy to Achilleus: in the name of the father
Achilleus and Priam: between king and father
Unlimited poine: poetry as practice
Index of Homeric passages
General index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521806602
ISBN-10: 0521806607
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 250
Published: 27th May 2002
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.37 x 16.0  x 2.03
Weight (kg): 0.52