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The Art and Rhetoric of the Homeric Catalogue$
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Benjamin Sammons

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195375688

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195375688.001.0001

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Two Paradigmatic Catalogues

Two Paradigmatic Catalogues

(p.23) 1 Two Paradigmatic Catalogues
The Art and Rhetoric of the Homeric Catalogue

Benjamin Sammons

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the two places where Homeric speakers string together several paradigmatic tales or exempla in the format of a catalogue (Iliad 5.382–405, Odyssey 5.118–36). It is argued that the striking similarities between the two examples are not coincidental, e.g. that a goddess (Dione or Calypso) speaks to another god about a situation pertaining to a major hero (Diomedes or Odysseus). The choice of divine speakers reinforces the authoritative tone of the catalogue form and suggests its ability to communicate a privileged perspective on history and historical patterns. Yet in each case the speaker’s rhetorical aims, and the catenulate or fragmented structure of the catalogue form itself, distort the overall picture. While speakers may attempt, through paradigmatic catalogues, to impose a pattern or interpretation on the events of the narrative, Homer in each case preserves crucial differences between the catalogue and his own story.

Keywords:   Dione, Calypso, Diomedes, Odysseus, paradigmatic, paradeigma, exemplum

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