Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World 1. Aufl.
Ancient Epic offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to six of the greatest ancient epics – Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Apollonius of Rhodes' Agonautica. Provides an accessible introduction to the ancient epic Offers interpretive analyses of poems within a comprehensive historical context Includes a detailed timeline, suggestions for further readings, and an appendix of the Olympian gods and their Akkadian counterparts
Chronologies viii Map x Introduction 1 1 The Epic of Gilgamesh 14 2 The Context of Homeric Epic 33 3 The Iliad 52 4 The Odyssey 81 5 The Argonautika of Apollonios of Rhodes 106 6 The Context of Roman Epic 125 7 The Aeneid of Virgil 143 8 The Metamorphoses of Ovid 172 Appendix: Chart of Olympian Gods and their Akkadian Counterparts 189 Glossary of Greek and Latin terms 192 Index 193
"[King] also draws connections between the works so the reader can see the epics in the context of their genre and historical period." (CHOICE, February 2010) “Provides a comprehensive idea [of] ancient epic, showing how this literary genre is not only an invaluable cultural asset in itself, but the bearer of messages and values far remote or dead … .The brilliant and dense general introduction identifies the preliminary concepts necessary to address the overall theme of the book … .Truly admirable consistency [and] effort [for] a topic so broad and multifaceted. The fact that the text is addressed to an audience of non-specialists … does not reduce … the scope and importance: on the contrary. Ancient Epic is the result of a well-calibrated balance between methodological rigor [and] accuracy of content … .This volume, which deserves to be considered among the best introductions to ancient epic appeared in recent years, has all the characteristics to … fascinate a very wide number of readers (not necessarily native English speakers) who want to know epic poetry.” (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, February 2010) "If you already enjoy the Classical epics, you should read this to challenge your assumptions. If you aren't familiar with Classical epic, you should read this to learn about the topic. Ancient Epic straddles beautifully the need to provide value for people who have already read the epics and the needs of a reader unacquainted with the genre." (N.S. Gill, About.com)
Katherine Callen King is Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles.
By addressing such eternal themes as heroism, personal responsibility, love, and human mortality, the ancient Greek and Roman epic poems speak to us with an urgency and relevance that transcends the ages. Who among us does not recognize the angry idealism of Achilles, the struggles of Aeneas and long-suffering Odysseus, or the obsessive passion of Medea? The memorable protagonists of the ancient epics grappled with personal and political issues that pervaded archaic history – just as in modern times. And in their heroes' ambitions and imperfections we cannot help but see ourselves. Ancient Epic offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to six of the greatest ancient epics – The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Apollonius of Rhodes's Agonautica. Each of these sweeping epics remains a rich source of literary inspiration and holds treasured positions in our cultural imagination. After introducing readers to the extraordinary Sumerian work that started it all, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Greek and Roman works proceed chronologically, with individual chapters first setting each epic in its proper historical context. Ancient Epic is a passionate homage to a rich literary tradition that remains a powerful source of inspiration for all time and all people.
"Katherine King has given us an immensely valuable volume on the ancient epic. Well-balanced, informative, and perceptive, the work provides a reference and over-view that both students and scholars will read with profit and interest." —Stephanie Nelson, Boston University
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