Monday, March 26, 2012

BMCR Review of The Homer Encyclopedia, Three Volume Set

BMCR Review of The Homer Encyclopedia, Three Volume Set
As the general editor Margalit Finkelberg explains in the Introduction, this Homeric Encyclopedia contains 1300 entries divided into three categories: the first one includes approximately 900 entries on personal or geographical names. Both groups cover a wide span of references, the former stretching from the two most important heroes of the Iliad and Odyssey (Achilles is masterfully presented by Seth Schein in a five-column entry— Odysseus receives an equally tight but outstanding treatment by Richard B. Rutherford) to the so-called minor warriors (around 220 Trojans and Achaeans), who enjoy only a passing reference in the epics as victims of the first- rank heroes, and the latter from Odysseus’ fatherland Ithaca and the debate concerning its identification to (the still picturesque) Oitylos in Laconia, as well as the other hapax legomena included in the Catalogue of Ships. The rest of the entries (i.e. the second and the third categories) can be divided on the basis of a diachronic and a synchronic perspective; a ‘synopsis’ (pp. xxxixff.) facilitates the consultation of all items pertaining to a given field or area (a full list of entries appears in pp. viff.). The second category of entries contains everything related to the historical framework (e.g. Mycenaean, Dark and Archaic Age etc.) as well as the Nachleben of Homeric epic (textual tradition, ancient and modern Homeric philology, Nachleben from antiquity to the 20th century, among which I stress those entries dealing with less known topics such as "Reception, in Rabbinic Judaism" or "Reception, Syriac and Arabic"), and also ancient and modern interpretive trends in Homeric scholarship.
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