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Die «Ilias» und Argos

Ein Beitrag zur homerischen Frage


Oliver Wehr

Oliver Wehr stellt in seinem Buch die These auf, dass die Ilias in der Gestalt, wie wir sie kennen, für einen Vortrag im Umfeld von Argos konzipiert ist. Beweise findet er im Epos selbst. In der Ilias tritt Diomedes wie ein Doppelgänger des Achilleus auf. Kaum hat dieser sich im Zorn zurückgezogen, springt Diomedes als Ersatz ein. Die prominente Rolle, die der Held aus Argos damit übernimmt, war in der epischen Tradition nicht für ihn vorgesehen. Sie konterkariert zudem die Mēnis-Handlung, indem der Rückzug des Achilleus lange ohne Folgen bleibt. Die Aristie des Diomedes erweist sich als das Kernstück einer umfangreichen Überarbeitung der Ilias, die offenbar dem Ziel dient, den Helden der Argiver aufzuwerten.
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The Iliad is usually considered the prime example of a Panhellenic poem, as it supposedly adopts a universal point of view with no preference for any particular locality or local tradition. In the present book, however, I suggest that, despite its evident appeal to a Panhellenic audience, the Iliad displays a striking local bias. Especially when it comes to Diomedes, the poet draws on local Argive and Corinthian traditions and endorses them at the expense of more established or, as one might say, Panhellenic versions of the Trojan myth. By transferring Diomedes from Aetolia to Argos, the poet of the Iliad contradicts what must have been the Panhellenic epic mainstream, as evidenced by the remnants of the Epic Cycle. Instead, he chooses to promote a local variant which also informed the Argive-Corinthian epic Alcmaeonis.

In earlier epic tradition about Troy, Diomedes seems to have played only a secondary role. His impressive performance in the Iliad and, above all, his remarkable aristeia in book 5 come as a surprise. They do not square easily with the proem’s invitation to the Muse to sing of the wrath of Achilleus and its consequences for the Greeks. In addition, Zeus explicitly promises to Thetis in Book 1 that he will make the Greeks suffer for dishonouring her son. Instead, what happens is that, before the Greeks have any chance to miss their most important hero, Diomedes takes the stage. As a result of his aristeia, the Trojans are, according to...

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