From Hittite to Homer: The Anatolian Background of Ancient by Mary R. Bachvarova

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By Mary R. Bachvarova

This publication offers a groundbreaking reassessment of the prehistory of Homeric epic. It argues that during the Early Iron Age bilingual poets transmitted to the Greeks a collection of narrative traditions heavily relating to the single came upon at Bronze-Age Hattusa, the Hittite capital. Key drivers for close to japanese impression at the constructing Homeric culture have been the shared practices of supralocal fairs and venerating divinized ancestors, and a shared curiosity in growing narratives a couple of mythical previous utilizing a couple of particular storylines: theogonies, genealogies connecting neighborhood polities, long-distance go back and forth, destruction of a well-known urban since it refuses to unlock captives, and attempting to conquer dying whilst faced with the lack of a pricey significant other. Professor Bachvarova concludes by means of delivering a clean clarification of the origins and value of the Greco-Anatolian legend of Troy, thereby supplying a brand new option to the long-debated query of the historicity of the Trojan battle.

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Open] the lid of its secret, [lift] up the tablet of lapis lazuli and read out all the misfortunes, all that Gilgameš went through! Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh i 7–28 (trans. George 2003: 539) 1 | Introduction Status quaestionis Scholars of the ancient world have long since recognized that the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh has striking parallels with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. But, how could Greek poets have learned of the legendary deeds of the third-millennium Mesopotamian king? And, why were the Greeks interested in a story like his or in any of the other Near Eastern stories that have been shown to have influenced the poetry of Homer and Hesiod?

See Bryce (2005: 125–6), Hawkins (1997). An inscription on a silver bowl refers to an event from the Old Kingdom, but see Chapter 13, 347–8, on the bowl. Also note that a Syrian cylinder seal has turned up in Level Ib of Kanesh, with three hieroglyphic Luwian signs carved on it (Collon 1987: 57, No. 233), and two more signs are found on a clay vessel from the same level (Hawkins 2011a). See Hawkins (2000) for an edition with translation and discussion of the Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions.

The last has striking similarities to the plot of the Iliad. I show that this genre shares formulas and type scenes with Homeric epic, and that it exhibits the kind of variation expected of oral-derived literature. I argue further that the genre crossed from Hurrian into Hittite by the same sort of mechanism seen for the Serbian–Albanian epic tradition and for Central Asian epic: bilingual bards. It is possible to determine or at least surmise that some of the texts were performed at festivals, while others were used as mythical exempla in rituals and prayers, providing means and motivations for the incorporation of foreign epic traditions first by the Hittites and then by the Greeks.

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