Quintus of Smyrna’s Posthomerica

A Study of Heroic Characterization and Heroism


Quintus of Smyrna’s Posthomerica (3rd century C.E.) is of great literary value to the field of Greek epic. It is a stylistic imitation of Homer and recounts what Iliad and Odyssey have left untold of the Trojan War. Tine Scheijnen offers the first linear study of this still little-known poem. Progressing from book 1 to 14, she focusses on key issues such as Homeric similes and characterization of heroes (especially Achilles and his son Neoptolemus). Ideologically, Quintus engages in a critical way with Homer, but possibly also Vergil, Triphiodorus and tragedy. Scheijnen’s work can be read as a thorough introduction to Quintus’ Posthomerica, while also offering new insights into Homer reception, the conception of heroes and heroism in Greek epic.
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Biographical Note

Tine Scheijnen, PhD (2016), Ghent University, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Literary Studies (Greek section) of that university. She studies the characterization of heroes and the construction of heroism in late antique and medieval literary texts.

Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgements Figures and Tables
1 Introduction  1.1  About the Posthomerica  1.2  Focus: Homeric Heroes and Heroism  1.3  Approach: Characters between Tradition and Plot Structure

Part 1 Heroic Characters

2 Penthesilea and Memnon: Two Ways to Fight Achilles  2.1  PenthesileaExcursus: Thersites  2.2  Parallel Compositions  2.3  Memnon  2.4  Towards Posthomerica 3: a Sealed Fate
3 The Death and Inheritance of Achilles  3.1  Achilles: Iliadic power  3.2  Ajax: Achilleic power  3.3  Odysseus: the Power of Speech  3.4  Towards a Posthomeric Future: Who Will Win?
4 Neoptolemus, a New Aeacid in the Field  4.1  Great Expectations  4.2  Meet the Son of a Father  4.3  Overview: What’s in a Name?  4.4  Towards the Sack … Rival Killed; What’s Next?

Part 2 Heroism and the Sack of Troy

5 Reconsidering Heroic Tactics  5.1  Change of Plan, Recipe for Disaster?  5.2  Heroes, May the Force Be with YouExcursus: Neoptolemus in Triphiodorus  5.3  When a Plan Comes Together
6 Suffering Trojans, Victorious Achaeans  6.1  Terror in the Streets  6.2  The Gift of Mercy  6.3  Why Sack a City?  6.4  Towards Book 14: Unfinished Business
7 Heroic and Divine Power  7.1  The Morning After  7.2  The Holy Father  7.3  Stormy Weather  7.4  The End towards the Odyssey
Conclusion: Worthy of the Aeacids?
Bibliography Index


Readers interested in getting a first introduction to Quintus’ Posthomerica, as well as advanced students and scholars concerned with Homer reception, heroic characterization and late antique epic in general.