Heroes’ Names, Homeric Identities
Author: C. Higbie
Publication date: 1995
Format / Quality: pdf
Size: 4 Mb
Relying on a comprehensive knowledge of Homer and other ancient sources as well as a full command of relevant scholarship, the author employs a combination of linguistic and literary methods to fashion a precise and illuminating acount of the practices of naming in the Homeric poems. In doing so she slights neither the traditional oral patterns of name-giving-that is, their formulaic make-up-nor their rich implications: deriving ·tules for the assigning of names, she also uses those rules to good advantage in deepening the characterizations of many of the most important figures in the Iliad and Odyssey.
Arguing that “naming, identity, and recognition are intertwined and must often be discussed together”, Higbie shows how the mode of identifcation signals one’s place in the social fbric, with or without the addition of a personal history. Likewise, the suspension of customary practices, as in the case of Thersites, who as she notes is lacking not only a ptronymic but also a genealogy aod a place of origin, is the more power and noteworthy because it plays against traditional expectation, calling this rotless individual into question even at the level of (apparently) superficial identifcation. Myriad other issues are examined, among them word-play involving names, the possible evolutionary relationship between epithets and the proper nouns that constitute names in Homer, and the fact that the wonderully complex system of naming is not extended to the gods and goddesses.