Quintus of Smyrna’s Posthomerica

A Study of Heroic Characterization and Heroism


Author: Tine Scheijnen
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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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.
"Im Mittelpunkt stehen Betrachtungen über das episch- heroische Heldenbild, und diese werden durchgehend mit der Methodik des intertextuellen bzw. intratextuellen Vergleichs durchgeführt (...) Sprachlich ist das Buch mit einer Sorgfalt gestaltet, die man selten in Werken mit so umfangreichen griechischen Zitaten findet" - Thomas Gärtner, in: BMCR 2019.06.46
"The book offers an introduction to the Posthomerica, Homeric reception in the epic, and current debates in Quintus scholarship. Scheijnen extensively references the views of other scholars, always making sure to define her own position on the matter in question. (...) Scheijnen’s monograph is a product of the new road in Quintus Studies that accepts the presence of a versatility of ideological frameworks and frictions between different perspectives within the text. The analysis convinces one that Quintus is not just trying to be an alter Homerus but writes a literary work of his own, shaping the rich Trojan tradition in new ways that pose exciting questions for further exploration." - Baukje van den Berg, in: Medioevo greco 19 (2019)
"Die Verfasserin hat mit diesem Band eine willkommene Ergänzung zur Quintus-Forschung geleistet. (...) In kritischer Auseinandersetzung mit der bisherigen Forschungsliteratur zu den Posthomerica – sie hat die einschlägige Sekundärliteratur äußerst sorgfältig zusammengestellt – hat sie, mit Schwerpunkt auf dem literarischen Einfluss der homerischen Epen auf Quintus Smyrnaeus, in Bezug auf die Charakterisierung der Helden der Posthomerica viele Themen klargestellt und aufschlussreich behandelt." - Georgios P. Tsomis, in: Plekos 21 (2019)
"To begin: this is a beautifully produced and splendid book. Scheijnen provides a quasi-commentary on extensive sections of the epic, such that her book admirably encourages a constant reengagement with the text. (...) If there is a supreme virtue to Scheijen's book, it is her comprehensiveness. (...) In fine, those who already delight in Quintus' epic will be thrilled anew by Scheijnen's masterful work. Those who want to know more about the author of the "things Homer didn't tell" cannot do better for a reliable, well-documented introduction to the poem's major themes. Lastly, those who despise Quintus as an author scarcely to be bothered with would do well to let Scheijnen convince them otherwise. (...) Scheijen deserves first place for her reliable, sympathetic and detailed treatment of one of the last great surviving epics of antiquity." - Lee Fratantuono, Ohio Wesleyan University, in CJ-Online 2020.10.08.
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.