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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2018

War as a spectacle in the Iliad


War as a spectacle "Gaze, vision and visuality": the subject of this volume indicates a major interest in visual perception in Greek literature. As none of these terms corresponds to a Greek proper word, at least in the archaic period I am concerned with, it seems difficult to approach this very wide field. For a general overview, I will therefore use the notions developed by Alex Purves in her recent book, Space and Time in Greek Literature (Cambridge, 2010), and in Michael Squire's introduction of the recent volume Sight and the Ancient Senses (Abingdon, 2016). Since neither book deals with Greek language concerning sight, I will rely on some lexical remarks, starting with the lexical entries regarding Homer's attempt to understand what "to see" means for the Archaic period. I will thereafter follow the gazes of the characters and the narrator in the Iliad, intending to show how the dramatic tension increases until the meeting between Priam and Achilles in Book 24, where I analyse the reciprocity of the gaze through the ambiguity of a famous simile. The dramatic tension of the passage owes much to this mirror effect, 1 and shows that Homeric language concerning gaze does not reflect a merely physical process, but also induces a high level of emotion. The central role that sight plays in Homer is well proven by the number of links between seeing and living; as several Homeric formulas indicate, to see means to live, and conversely to lose sight means to die. 2 Taking Aristotelian terminology as her point of departure, Purves (2010, 1-64) shows that Homer, the "perfect surveyor", 3 aims for an "Eusynoptic Iliad". In my own course, following the Iliad from Achilles' anger to Hector's lusis, I will try to adopt a "bird's-eye view", borrowing the expression from de Jong and Nünlist 2004b,
Le récit de l'Iliade est étudié comme "vu" par un regard, à partir d'une analyse du langage homérique de la vision.
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hal-04228311 , version 1 (11-10-2023)



Françoise Létoublon. War as a spectacle in the Iliad. Alexandros Kampakoglou & Anna Novokhatko. Gaze, Vision, and Visuality in Ancient Greek Literature, De Gruyter, pp.3-32, 2018, Trends in Classics Suppl. 54, ⟨10.1515/9783110571288-002⟩. ⟨hal-04228311⟩


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