The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of Homer by Jonathan GottschallThe Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of Homer by Jonathan Gottschall

The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of Homer

byJonathan Gottschall

Hardcover | April 21, 2008

Pricing and Purchase Info

$120.41 online 
$122.95 list price
Earn 602 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Homer's epics reflect an eighth-century BCE world of warrior tribes that were fractured by constant strife; aside from its fantastic scale, nothing is exceptional about Troy's conquest by the Greeks. Using a fascinating and innovative approach, Professor Gottschall analyses Homeric conflict from the perspective of modern evolutionary biology, attributing its intensity to a shortage of available young women. The warrior practice of taking enemy women as slaves and concubines meant that women were concentrated in the households of powerful men. In turn, this shortage drove men to compete fiercely over women: almost all the main conflicts of the Iliad and Odyssey can be traced back to disputes over women. The Rape of Troy integrates biological and humanistic understanding - biological theory is used to explore the ultimate sources of pitched Homeric conflict, and Homeric society is the subject of a bio-anthropological case study of why men fight.
JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL is Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Washington and Jefferson College. He co-edited (with David Sloan Wilson) The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (2005) and has published numerous articles seeking to bridge the humanities-sciences divide.
Title:The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of HomerFormat:HardcoverDimensions:236 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.79 inPublished:April 21, 2008Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521870380

ISBN - 13:9780521870382

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Rebuilding Homer's Greece; 2. A short ethnography of Homeric society; 3. Why do men fight? The evolutionary biology and anthropology of male violence; 4. What launched the 1,186 ships?; 5. Status warriors; 6. Homeric women: re-imagining the fitness landscape; 7. Homer's missing daughters; 8.The prisoner's dilemma and the mystery of tragedy; Conclusion: between lions and men.

Editorial Reviews

"Though serious in its purpose of advancing knowledge, The Rape of Troy is also powerfully literary. Gottschall became imaginatively absorbed in the Homeric poems, and through the often virtuoso quality of his interpretive rhetoric, he enables the reader to share in his responsiveness to Homer's poetry. When we speak of criticism that "impresses us with the power, richness, and responsiveness of the critic's mind," it is to criticism of this quality that we refer." Joseph Carroll, University of Missouri, Style, forthcoming