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Homer and History: Iliad 9.381-4

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image of Mnemosyne

The description of Orkhomenos and Egyptian Thebes in Akhilleus' famous comparison at Iliad 9.381-4 seems to reflect the political and economic climate of the Late Bronze Age, and not the seventh century as Walter Burkert has argued in an influential article (1976). A Mycenaean context is indicated by two factors: (1) the idea that wealth 'goes into' (πoτινíσεται, 9.381) a city fits well with Mycenaean economics, but is individual within the Homeric poems; (2) the history of the thirteenth century explains both the onomastic equation between Egyptian and Boiotian Thebes and the replacement of the latter by the former in the comparison.


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