The World of Odysseus

The World of Odysseus

M. I. Finley

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: B000J35D14

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The World of Odysseus is a concise and penetrating account of the society that gave birth to the Iliad and the Odyssey--a book that provides a vivid picture of the Greek Dark Ages, its men and women, works and days, morals and values. Long celebrated as a pathbreaking achievement in the social history of the ancient world, M.I. Finley's brilliant study remains "as indispensable to the professional as it is accessible to the general reader"--a fundamental companion for students of Homer and Homeric Greece.
Preface by Mark van Doren

Initiation in Ancient Greek Rituals and Narratives: New Critical Perspectives

Hellenistic and Biblical Greek: A Graduated Reader

Socrates: A Man for Our Times

The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece












stones, the pottery, and the metal objects unearthed by archaeologists. In­ tricate analysis of the remains and of place names has demon­ strated that people speaking the Greek language, but ignorant of the art of writing, first appeared on the scene about 2000 B.C. Where they came from originally no one knows. In Plato’s day, some fifteen hundred years later, they were to be found scat­ tered over a tremendous territory from Trebizond near the eastern end of tho Black Sea to the Mediterranean

respect for the past, a traditional gift is very near indeed to an obligation.” 22 No single detail in the life of the heroes receives so much atten­ tion in the Iliad and the Odyssey as gift-giving, and always there is frank reference to adequacy, appropriateness, recompense. “But then Zeus son of Cronus took from Glaucus his wits, in that he exchanged golden armor with Diomedes son of Tydeus for one of bronze, the worth of a hundred oxen for the worth of nine oxen.” 23 The poet’s editorial

among those who were not men of games, living in the interstices of society, who traveled in many-benched ships and trafficked. Yet there is no single word in cither the Iliad or the Odyssey that is in fact a synonym for “merchant.” By and large, the provisioning of the Greek world with whatever it obtained from the outside by peaceful means was in the hands of non-Greeks, the Phoeni­ cians in particular. They were really a trading people, who sailed from one end of the known world to the other,

sheep, or while they were defending their city and their women?” * In so permanently hostile an environment the heroes were permitted to seek allies; their code of honor did not demand that they stand alone against the world. But there was nothing in their social system that created the possibility for two com­ munities, as such, to enter an alliance. Only personal deviccs were available, through the channels of household and kin. The first of these was marriage, which served, among other things,

bingcn: Mohr, 1931), Chapters 1-2, with which the present volume is in closer agreement. On the Phoenicians and other peoples who impinged on the world of Odysseus, and their economic relations, sec F. M. Heichelbeim, Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Altertums, volume 1 (Leiden: Sijthoff, 1938), Chapter 5, to be issued in a revised and enlarged English version by the same publisher during 1954. By far the best studies of labor are two articles by Andre Aymard, “L’ldde de travail dans la Grece

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