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Les silences d’Homère

David-Artur Daix 1 
1 Cultures de l’écrit
AOROC - Archéologie et Philologie d'Orient et d'Occident : UMR 85-46
Abstract : The Iliad and the Odyssey often keep silent : first, about each other ; but also about many Trojan War episodes, which we know thanks to the surviving fragments of the Epic Cycle and the rest of the ancient Greek literature ; about the most wondrous and fantastic aspects of those stories and their characters ; last, about the lessons which lie at the heart of the Hesiodic tradition, but which seem strangely absent, at least explicitly, from the Homeric compositions. To explain Homer’s silences in those matters, many critics call upon the poet’s ignorance. Taking sides, more or less strongly, in the debates which are still going on today about the « Homeric question » and setting in time both the world painted by the Homeric epics and the creation of those works itself, they establish what Achilles’ poem did, or did not, know about Memnon, Penthesilea or Neoptolemus ; what the Odyssey knew about the Iliad and vice versa ; what the Cyclic poems are « worth » and what role they play in that scheme of things ; what Homer and his heroes understood about the concepts of justice and morality ; last, what sophistication one can, or can’t, expect to find in compositions created in such and such manner at such and such time. Yet, there is another possible explanation for all those silences. Rather than make them out to be the products of Homer’s many supposed forms of ignorance, why not consider that they may be deliberate and proceeding from essentially « literary » intentions ? That explanation, which, without denying the oral and traditional origins of the Homeric compositions, relies on their profound originality, on the level of both content and form, also allows us to better understand their relationship to each other, as well as to the Epic Cycle and to the Hesiodic poems.
Keywords : Homer
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David-Artur Daix. Les silences d’Homère. Revue des Etudes Grecques, [Paris]: [Association pour l'encouragement des études grecques en France], 2013, 126, pp.289-344. ⟨10.3406/reg.2013.8139⟩. ⟨hal-01546638⟩



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