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Eustathios of Thessalonike: Parekbolai on Homer’s Odyssey 1–2: Proekdosis
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis provides a critical edition of the Parekbolai (“Excerpts”) on the first two rhapsodies of Homer’s Odyssey produced by Eustathios (c. 1115–95), teacher and celebrated orator in Constantinople under the reign of Manuel I Komnenos and later archbishop of Thessalonike, the second city of the Byzantine empire. Its objective is twofold: on the one hand it offers a comprehensive investigation of the textual witnesses and presents a more reliable text than previously accessible, accompanied by an English translation as well as an inventory of sources and parallels in ancient and Byzantine texts; on the other it aims at developing the scholarly understanding of Eustathios’ Parekbolai and their position in the exegetical tradition as well as in their cultural context and educational setting.

The introduction to the edition is divided into four chapters. Chapter One endeavors to define the general nature of Eustathios’ philological works and the conditions under which they were produced and used. It is argued that the gradual accumulation of material and the aim of providing textual items in a form suitable for literary re-use is the key to understanding their textual genesis and functionality.

Chapter Two offer four studies on important aspects of Eustathios’ approach to the epics. The first section deals with the notion of “Homer” that emerges in the Parekbolai. Connections are identified between the conceptualization of the ancient author and twelfth-century ideals of literary artistry. There is a pervasive emphasis on Homer as a technically skillful writer who made use of preexisting written sources and openly strove to foreground his literary virtuosity. The second section concentrates on the ubiquitous interest in rhetorical theory and practice in the Parekbolai. It is stressed that these features are not simply an attempt to evaluate Homer’s art; rather they amount to a systematic analysis and itemization of Homeric eloquence that provides building blocks for active literary imitation. As such we can study them to heighten our perceptiveness to the meaning of allusions and stylistic features in Eustathios’ other works. In the third section we turn to the hermeneutic principles of the Parekbolai. It is argued that a closer attentiveness to the manner in which Eustathios and his peers appropriate the precepts of the Byzantine grammatical and rhetorical traditions can serve to elucidate their approaches to fiction and allegory. The fourth section discusses observations on the customs that form part of heroic life and their ideological implications. It is argued that the interest in these aspects is not of a purely antiquarian nature, but that the access to different standpoints on early history would be useful for writers setting out to broadcast the Hellenic identity of the aristocracy and the relationship between the empire and various other peoples in ever changing strains.

Chapter Three describes and analyses the extant textual witnesses of the Parekbolai on the Odyssey, paying particular attention to the two manuscripts produced by the author or under his authority. On the basis of a codicological analysis it is argued that the “stratigraphy” of one of them (Marc. gr. 460) is the key to understanding the seemingly irregular relationship between the two codices.

Chapter Four elaborates on the theoretical and methodological principles of the present edition, turning to discussions on modern textual criticism in order to formulate a rationale for working with Byzantine scholarly authorial manuscripts.

The introduction is followed by an edition of the Parekbolai on the first two rhapsodies of the Odyssey, accompanied by a critical apparatus, an apparatus commentariorum with sources, parallels and comments on terminology, and by an English translation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, Institutionen för lingvistik och filologi , 2014. , 489 p.
Keyword [en]
Eustathios of Thessalonike, Parekbolai, Homer, The Odyssey, Komnenian literature, authorship, rhetoric, hermeneutics, ideology, codicology, textual criticism
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-211561OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-211561DiVA: diva2:667539
Public defence
2014-01-18, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 14:15 (English)
Available from: 2013-12-19 Created: 2013-11-26 Last updated: 2014-07-21Bibliographically approved

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