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Title: The Hesiodic Aspis : introduction and commentary on vv. 139-237
Author: Mason, Henry Charles
ISNI:       0000 0004 5623 6389
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is concerned with the pseudo-Hesiodic Aspis, also known as the Scutum or Shield of Herakles (Heracles). It is divided into two halves: the Introduction, consisting of four chapters, is followed by detailed line-by-line commentary on a portion of the Greek text. Chapter I surveys the evidence for the poem's origins and dating before moving on to its scholarly reception since Wolf. It then argues that, for a proper understanding of the Aspis, the methodologies of oral poetics must be balanced with an awareness of its responses to fixed texts (in particular the Iliad). Chapter II examines the author as a poet within the oral tradition, focussing on: narrative style and structuring; type-scenes; similes; poetic ethos; the poem's position relative to the Hesiodic corpus; the use of formular language; and the growth of the poem in the author's hands. These problems are most fruitfully approached by taking account of the interplay of tradition on the one hand and of allusion to specific texts on the other. Wider points about the advanced stages of the oral tradition also emerge; in particular, from an analysis of narrative inconsistencies in the Aspis it is suggested that writing played a role in the poem's composition. Chapter III positions the poet within the literary tradition: his interactions with other songs and tales are sometimes sophisticated engagements of a kind more often detected in Hellenistic and Roman poetry. The presentation of the protagonist of the Aspis evinces the poet's skilful handling of myth, here manipulated for political purposes. Chapter III concludes with a survey of the poem's reception in early art and in literature up to Byzantine times. In Chapter IV the central section of the poem, the description of Herakles' shield (vv. 139-320), is examined in detail, both in relation to the Homeric Shield of Achilles and within the context of the Aspis. The second half of the thesis comprises a critical edition of and lemmatic commentary on vv. 139-237.
Supervisor: Rutherford, Richard B. Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Epic poetry ; Greek--Criticism ; Textual ; Epic poetry ; Greek--History and criticism