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Open AccessArticle

Women as Victims of War in Homer’s Oral Poetics

Institute of Classical, Mediterranean and Oriental Studies, University of Wrocław, 50-451 Wrocław, Poland
Humanities 2019, 8(3), 141;
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 3 June 2019 / Accepted: 31 July 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy)
PDF [353 KB, uploaded 20 August 2019]


The article presents the problem of the empathy felt by the author or authors of the Iliad and Odyssey towards women depicted as victims of war. Understanding of the world in the Homeric poems may be misinterpreted today. Since Homer’s works are a product of oral culture, in order to determine his intentions, it is necessary to look at them from the perspective of the tradition from which they derive. Furthermore, the author of an oral work can be deemed as creative because s/he shapes his/her story through interaction with the listening audience. The different aspects of the relationship of women as victims of war with their oppressors are, therefore, interpreted according to the use of traditional techniques adopted to evoke specific emotions in the audience. View Full-Text
Keywords: oral tradition; Homer; captive-women; Briseis; Andromache; funeral songs oral tradition; Homer; captive-women; Briseis; Andromache; funeral songs
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zieliński, K. Women as Victims of War in Homer’s Oral Poetics. Humanities 2019, 8, 141.

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