Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer

Barbara Graziosi writes:

We have no sure knowledge about who composed Homeric poetry, when, where, how or for what purpose. The ‘Homeric question’ easily becomes a long list of questions about different possible contexts, sources of influence, modes of composition, locations, performances, audiences, scribes and readers. Two types of evidence can be used to investigate the historical background: written sources (the Homeric poems themselves, as well as those by his near contemporary Hesiod) and the archaeology of early Greece. In Travelling Heroes Robin Lane Fox tries to bring together texts and objects to shed light on the real-life travellers who, he believes, shaped the worldview represented in early Greek epic. He starts with Hera’s flight and asks where the traveller in Homer’s simile might have gone, and what he might have seen. His book offers a bold analysis of early Greek travel and poetry.

(LRB 27 August 2009)

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