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Ares-Like Menelaus: A Study of the Internal Formulae in the Iliad

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2020, 77(1), pp.41-56
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.77.1.202002.41
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : January 17, 2020
  • Accepted : February 12, 2020
  • Published : February 28, 2020

Joon Seok Lee 1

1한국방송통신대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the Iliad, Menelaus is notably frequently connected with the epithets derived from Ares. Indeed, they ornament his name twenty-nine times whereas no one else is the subject of such an epithet more than twice in the Iliad. The Parryists have tried to explain this unexpected combination based on the traditional ‘stock epithets’ which go with a name in the formulaic phrases which are the building blocks of oral poetry. But it is not the only possible explanation. In that there is a discrepancy between his will to fight and the outcome of battle, Menelaus bears an uncanny resemblance to Ares in the Iliad. Both Ares and Menelaus are determined to take their family matters into their own hands, but are harshly rebuked for their recklessness by their own siblings. At last they have no choice but to put up with humiliation. Menelaus is Ares-like in that he shares frustration and humiliation with Ares in the Iliad. Thus, ἀρήΐος/ἀρηΐφιλος is eptheton significans, not ornans.

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