Indo-European Poetry and Myth

Indo-European Poetry and Myth

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The Indo-Europeans, speakers of the prehistoric parent language from which most European and some Asiatic languages are descended, most probably lived on the Eurasian steppes some five or six thousand years ago. Martin West investigates their traditional mythologies, religions, and poetries, and points to elements of common heritage. In The East Face of Helicon (1997), West showed the extent to which Homeric and other early Greek poetry was influenced by
Near Eastern traditions, mainly non-Indo-European. His new book presents a foil to that work by identifying elements of more ancient, Indo-European heritage in the Greek material. Topics covered include the status of poets and poetry in Indo-European societies; metre, style, and diction; gods and other
supernatural beings, from Father Sky and Mother Earth to the Sun-god and his beautiful daughter, the Thunder-god and other elemental deities, and earthly orders such as Nymphs and Elves; the forms of hymns, prayers, and incantations; conceptions about the world, its origin, mankind, death, and fate; the ideology of fame and of immortalization through poetry; the typology of the king and the hero; the hero as warrior, and the conventions of battle narrative.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 540 pages
  • 163 x 242 x 34mm | 923g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199280754
  • 9780199280759
  • 2,259,297

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Poet and Poesy ; 2. Phrase and Figure ; 3. Gods and Goddesses ; 4. Sky and Earth ; 5. Sun and Daughter ; 6. Storm and Stream ; 7. Nymphs and Gnomes ; 8. Hymns and Spells ; 9. Cosmos and Canon ; 10. Mortality and Fame ; 11. King and Hero ; 12. Arms and the Man ; Elegy on an Indo-European Hero
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Review quote

a virtual compendium of the most relevant material distilled by one of the finest minds to venture into this field * J. S. Sheldon, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society * It is a book for repeated consultation rather than a quick read through...a landmark publication in an area of study whose importance is likely to grow - not only for classics but also for the humanities more generally. * N. J. Allen, Bryn Mawr Classical Review * This written with the grace, style and wit that we have come to expect..the picture that emerges is detailed and consistent...the results are fascinating... West has done a great service in providing an accurate and up-to-date account. * Richard Janko, TLS * Martin West has written the definitive book on Indo-European language and religion...[the] of words is beautifully laid out for us in this important book * London Review of Books * ...the ideal guide in a complex field of learning. * International Review of Biblical Studies * The book deserves a warm welcome. Steady work has gone into the writing of it, and M. L. West's ability to detect analogies and to make comparisons has again been deployed to good effect * G.L. Huxley, Hermathena *
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About M. L. West

The late M. L. West was Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.
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Rating details

79 ratings
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4 25% (20)
3 14% (11)
2 1% (1)
1 4% (3)
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