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Title: 'Antehomerica' : the mythical tradition of the 'Abduction of Helen' and its late Antique reception in Colluthus and Dracontius
Author: Gilka, Marcelina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 0813
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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This is a study of the literary tradition of antehomerica (i.e. the events that led to the Trojan War), and in particular the myth of the Abduction of Helen, from the archaic period up to Late Antiquity. The research aims at tracing the stages in the development of the different accounts, tracking innovations, as well as finding explanations for them. I explore chains of influences between different versions of the story's constituent episodes and, where possible, indicate why an author may have chosen to follow or reject a particular tradition. The texts covered span every period and genre from the Epic Cycle through to late antique Christian chronicles (and occasionally beyond), in both Latin and Greek. Within this, I focus especially on two epyllia which are both entitled The Abduction of Helen and were both composed around 500 AD: the Ἁρπαγὴ Ἑλένης (Harpage) was written by Colluthus of Lycopolis in Egypt in Greek, and the De Raptu Helenae (Romulea 8) by Dracontius from Carthage, Africa, in Latin. Despite their common title and date, the two poems contrast greatly with each other in their treatment of the myth, as they follow different sources; yet shared models can also be found. On the basis of these works, I am able on the one hand to demonstrate some literary continuity from Homer through to the sixth century AD in both the Western and Eastern Empires; on the other hand, in-depth readings of Colluthus and Dracontius allow me to reflect on the ways in which cultural and societal differences, including a Christian world-view, may have contributed to marked changes in the representations of the legend and to departures from the ways in which the material is handled by classical predecessors.
Supervisor: Ogden, Daniel Sponsor: University of Exeter
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available