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T.P. Hofmeister: Iris' Role in Iliad 23 ??? ?d??: Observations on Iris' Role in Iliad 23 Timothy P. Hofmeister Condemned by Analyst critics early in this century as either interpolation or at least as evidence of "weakness in narration," the scene of Iris and the Winds in Iliad 23.192-212 has not fared any better through the rest of the century.1 Analysis gave way to Neo-analysis, and to "genetical" investigations.2 In what is the most influential modern treatment of the scene, Kakridis also questioned the scene's intrinsic poetic value and its appropriateness within the context ofPatroklos' funeral. Kakridis' study—chapter ??? of his Homeric Researches—examined the scene for latent signs of other epic material. Kakridis concluded: 1 See C. Hentze, "Das Auftreten der Iris im zweiten, dritten, und fünften Gesänge der Bias," Philologus 62 (1903) 321-38. Hentze wrote: "Die Irisscene in ? aber ist an sich in dem Maße befremdend und enthält so auffallende Züge im Besonderen, daß das Urtheil Kammers aesthet. Kommentar pp. 325 f., welcher darin ein später eingeschobenes Stück sieht, begründet scheint. Es läßt sich glatt ausscheiden: der Schluß von v. 212 ToI S' ?????t? schließt sich an den Anfang von v. 198 ??? te se?a?t? ?a?µe?a? an, ohne daß etwas vermißt wird" (328). By comparison W. Leaf (The Iliad, vol. 2 [London 1902] 468) showed leniency: "We might cut out 198 ???a ... to 212 ?peß?set? ... and so remove this difficulty. On the whole it must be said, however, that in this portion of the book there are no glaring flaws; and such difficulties as exist may if we prefer be put down to the poet's weakness in narration, rather than to expansion in the course of time." 2 For J.Th. Kakridis' analysis consult his Homeric Researches (Lund 1949) 75-83. His conclusions are still widely accepted: see, e.g., S. Schein, The Mortal Hero (Berkeley 1984) 166, note 44. But M. Edwards reasonably objects in "The Conventions of a Homeric Funeral," in Studies in Honor of T.B.L. Webster, vol. 1 (Bristol 1987) 92, note 20. For another example of the "genetical" approach to this scene, see S. Lowenstam, The Death of Patroklos: A Study in Typology, Beiträge zur Klassischen Philologie 133 (Königstein 1981) 150-59. On the term "genetical" see I.J.F. de long, Narrators and Focalizers: The Presentation ofthe Story in the ¡liad (Amsterdam 1987) ix-xii. In a narratological analysis of the Bellerophon-story, de Jong states "that a (text-immanent, synchronic) narratological interpretation of the Homeric text offers a valuable, sometimes indispensable complement to genetical ones. The diachronic and comparatistic interpretations of the Bellerophontes-story had drawn attention to many interesting points, but had treated the Diadic passage itself rather step-motherly" (193). 10Syllecta Classica 2 (1990) I can see only one solution for the problems raised by the scene in ?: certainly not to reject it, as the older Homeric scholars did, but to accept it as a pale imitation of an older original epic (p. 83). Neither Analyst nor Neo-analyst would believe that this scene represented competent, or even authentic, composition by the Homeric poet, because of its "unsuitable tone," and because the dispatch of Iris without divine instruction seemed irregular. But how compelling are these objections? In fact, they do not prompt the same unfavorable response from the critic who is less suspicious of "difference," or variation; one who sees the variation of standard elements (lines, themes, typescenes ), on the contrary, as a fundamental technique of the Iliad-poet, and repetition on several scales as a chief expressive instrument.3 Along such lines Mark Edwards has written recently:4 No one doubts that Homer inherited a powerful tradition of poetry which he adopted or modified in various ways for aesthetic effect, and a comparative study of examples of the same basic scene can identify different treatments of it and suggest reasons for the differences. Is it possible to compare Iris' visit to the Winds to any other scene (or scenes) in the Iliad? Does its composition exhibit modifications which hint, as Edwards suggests...


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