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2018.08.16 | By Gregory Nagy

§0. Working on A sampling of comments on the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, I have made revisions, concentrating on the should fill some gaps in my evaluation of Homeric poetry. Here I emphasis on a set of revisions centering on the Muse that is invoked by the Master Narrator in Iliad1, at the exceptionally start of the epic. What caused these specific revisions in the initially place was a question I was asking myself: why does this singular Muse in Iliad1 gain re-invoked in Iliad2 as a set of multiple Muses? I have no solution as of yet, however at least the revisions I have made in my comments suggest towards a hoped-for answer from the re-invoked Muse herself. The illustrations that I have preferred for my article right here are suggestive of the answer I am hoping for: maybe the singular Musage is Calliope, magnificent mom of Orpheus. I am not the first, and I will sucount not be the last, to argue that Calliope is the originating Muse of the Iliad, however my reasoning, but tentative, has actually its own merits, I think.

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The medium for the analysis of Homer here is imagined as a codex, not as a scroll: compounding of anachronisms. “Calliope, Musage of Epic Poetry” (1620). Giovanni Baglione (1566–1643). Image through Wikimedia Commons.

§4. I pertained to my second particular comment for now, on I.02.761, wbelow the topic headings incorporate, aacquire, “re-invocation of Muse(s).” Unlike what we watch at I.02.484, Ι.11.218, I.14.508, I.16.112, where the Moffers are invoked as plural goddesses, the Musage below at I.02.761 is invoked as a singular goddess. And the Musage is of course singular likewise at the beginning of the Iliad, I.01.001, and at the start of the Odyssey, O.01.001. Similarly in the First Track of Demodokos, O.08.73–82, which is featured as a proto-Iliad, tright here is a singular Muse that inspires the singer of tales at the start of his performance, at O.08.073. I think that the self-awareness right here in invoking a singular Muse hregarding perform with the singularity of the subject at I.02.760–770, because the topic in this case is Achilles. The Muse is asked for a solution to the Iliadic question: who is the ‘best of the Achaeans’? The answer of the Musage is that Achilles is the best. He is the singularity of the Iliad as epic, simply as Odysseus is the singularity of the Odyssey as epic. That is why, I suspect, Calliope is the perfect singularity of a Musage for these notionally singular heroes of two singularly important epics. After all, Calliope is the Musage of Epic.

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§5. I uncover it pertinent right here to point out my dispute in Homer the Preclassic 345 around Calliope as the Musage of kings (Hesiod Theogony 79–93). Similarly, as I argue there, Orpheus was once the singular poet of monarslrfc.org, but his condition was degraded in the Athenian phase of Homeric reception.