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Theban Epics

by Malcolm Davies Center for Hellenic Studies
Pub Date:
12/2014
ISBN:
9780674417243
Format:
Pbk 166 pages
Price:
AU$43.99 NZ$43.47
Product Status: In Stock Now
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In antiquity, the story of the failed assault of the Seven against Thebes ranked second only to the Trojan War. But whereas the latter was immortalized by Homeras Iliad, the account of the former in the epic Thebais survives only in fragments preserved in later authors. The same is true of the Oedipodeia and Epigoni, which dealt respectively with events leading up to the Sevenas campaign and with the successful assault on the city in the next generation. The Thebais was probably the most important of the threeacertainly more and longer fragments of it have survivedaand it has been alleged that its recovery would tell us more about Homer than any comparable discovery.
Paradoxically, these fragments suggest very un-Homeric content and style (in particular its detail of the hero Tydeus forfeiting immortality by gnawing on the head of a dying enemy). The same is true of the epic Alcmaeonis, named after one of the Epigoni, whose few surviving fragments pullulate with un-Homeric features. Malcolm Davies provides the first full commentary on all four epicsa fragments. He attempts to set them in context and examines whether artistic depictions of the relevant myths can help reconstruct the lost epicsa contents.
Malcolm Davies is a Tutorial Fellow in Classics at St. John's College, University of Oxford.