Indo-European Poetry and Myth

Paperback | December 13, 2008

byM. L. West

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The Indo-Europeans, speakers of the prehistoric parent language from which most European and some Asiatic languages are descended, most probably lived on the Eurasian steppes some five or six thousand years ago. Martin West investigates their traditional mythologies, religions, and poetries,and points to elements of common heritage. In The East Face of Helicon (1997), West showed the extent to which Homeric and other early Greek poetry was influenced by Near Eastern traditions, mainly non-Indo-European. His new book presents a foil to that work by identifying elements of more ancient,Indo-European heritage in the Greek material. Topics covered include the status of poets and poetry in Indo-European societies; metre, style, and diction; gods and other supernatural beings, from Father Sky and Mother Earth to the Sun-god and his beautiful daughter, the Thunder-god and otherelemental deities, and earthly orders such as Nymphs and Elves; the forms of hymns, prayers, and incantations; conceptions about the world, its origin, mankind, death, and fate; the ideology of fame and of immortalization through poetry; the typology of the king and the hero; the hero as warrior,and the conventions of battle narrative.

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The Indo-Europeans, speakers of the prehistoric parent language from which most European and some Asiatic languages are descended, most probably lived on the Eurasian steppes some five or six thousand years ago. Martin West investigates their traditional mythologies, religions, and poetries,and points to elements of common heritage. In...

M.L. West is Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:544 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.24 inPublished:December 13, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199558914

ISBN - 13:9780199558919

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Poet and Poesy2. Phrase and Figure3. Gods and Goddesses4. Sky and Earth5. Sun and Daughter6. Storm and Stream7. Nymphs and Gnomes8. Hymns and Spells9. Cosmos and Canon10. Mortality and Fame11. King and Hero12. Arms and the ManElegy on an Indo-European Hero

Editorial Reviews

"It is a book for repeated consultation rather than a quick read through...a landmark publication in an area of study whose importance is likely to grow - not only for classics but also for the humanities more generally." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review