Catalogue of Ships

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The Catalogue of Ships (νεῶν κατάλογος; neōn katalogos) is a passage in Book 2 of Homer's Iliad (2.494-759), which lists the contingents of the Achaean army that sailed to Troy. The catalogue gives the name(s) of the leader(s) of each contingent, lists and in some cases describes the settlements in the kingdom represented by the contingent, and gives the number of ships required to transport it to Troy. A similar, though shorter, Catalogue of the Trojans and their allies follows (2.816-877).


[edit] Historical background

In the debate since antiquity over the Catalogue of Ships, the core question has concerned the extent of historical credibility of the account, whether it was written by Homer himself, whether it reflects a pre-Homeric document or memorized tradition, surviving perhaps from Mycenaean times, or whether it is a result of post-Homeric development.<ref>J.K. Anderson, 1995. "The Geometric Catalogue of Ships," pp. 181-191 in Carter and Morris, eds., The Ages of Homer, (Austin: University of Texas Press).</ref> This doubt applied to the entire Iliad and Odyssey is conventionally termed "the Homeric Question."

If taken to be an accurate account, the Catalogue provides a rare summary of the geopolitical situation in early Greece at some time between the Late Bronze Age and the eighth century BC. Following Milman Parry's theory of Homeric oral poetry, some scholars, such as Denys Page, argue that it represents a pre-Homeric recitation incorporated into the epic by Homer.<ref>Page, pp. 132, 134.</ref> A few argue that parts of the recitation, such as the formulae describing places, date as early as the time of the Trojan War in the mid 13th century BC, or possibly before. Others contend that the Catalogue is based on the time of Homer himself in the eighth century BCE and represents an anachronistic attempt to impose contemporary information to events five centuries earlier.[citation needed]

An intermediate theory is that the catalogue developed through a process of accretion during the poem's oral transmission and reflects gradual inclusion of the homelands of local sponsors by individual singers[citation needed]. In the most recent extended study of the Catalogue, Edzard Visser, of the University of Basel, concludes that the Catalogue is compatible with the rest of the Iliad in its techniques of verse improvisation, that the order of the names is meaningful and that the geographical epithets evince concrete geographical knowledge. Visser argues that this knowledge was transmitted by the heroic myth, elements of which introduce each geographical section.<ref>Visser, Edzard, 1997. Homers Katalog der Schiffe (Teubner).</ref> W. W. Minton places the catalogue within similar "enumerations" in Homer and Hesiod, and suggests that part of their purpose was to impress the audience with a display of the performer's memory.<ref>Minton, pp. 292-309.</ref>

The most striking feature of the catalogue's geography is that it does not portray Greece in the Iron Age, the time of Homer. By then an ethnic identity called the Dorians had enveloped western Greece, the Peloponnesus and Crete, while the shores of Ionia were densely populated by a people claiming to descend from families in the now-Dorian regions of Greece.

Instead the catalogue portrays a loose union of city-states ruled by hereditary families under the hegemony of the king of Mycenae. Nearly none of them are Dorian. The Greeks are mainly missing from the shores of Ionia. This political snapshot is undeniably one intended to be of Late Bronze Age Greece. The main historical problem with the catalogue is the extent to which it is.

[edit] The Catalogue

The Greek Catalogue lists twenty-nine contingents under 46 captains, accounting for a total of 1186 ships.<ref>Anyone can count, but this count is taken from J.V. Luce, Homer and the Homeric Age, Harper & Row, 1975, ISBN 0-06-012722-8</ref> Using the Boeotian figure of 120 men per ship results in a total of 142,320 men transported to the Troad. They are named by various ethnonyms and had lived in 164 places described by toponyms. The majority of these places have been identified and were occupied in the Late Bronze Age. The terms Danaans, Argives and Achaeans or the sons of the Achaeans are used for the army as a whole.

Line Ethnic Identity No. of Ships Captains<ref>The dramatic time of the catalogue is early in the war; the place, the shores of the Troad. Captains of those contingents outside the time and place of the catalogue are parenthesized; they are not in the catalogue.</ref> Settlements
Tabular Catalog<ref>The Anglicised spellings and diacritical marks of the names in the table are as they are in Britannica, Great Books of the Western World, Volume 4. The order of contingents is that of the catalogue.</ref>
II.494 Boeotians 50 of 120 men each (First led by Thersander, then by:) Peneleōs, Leïtus, Arcesilaus, Prothoënor and Clonius Hyria, Aulis, Schoenus, Scolus, Eteonus, Thespeia, Graia, Mycalessus, Harma, Eilesium, Erythrae, Eleon, Hyle, Peteon, Ocalea, Medeon, Copae, Eutrēsis, Thisbe, Coronea, Haliartus, Plataea, Glisas, Thebes, Onchestus, Arne, Midea, Nisa, Anthedon
II.511 Minyans 30 Ascalaphus, Ialmenus Aspledon, Orchomenus
II.517 Phocēans 40 Schedius, Epistrophus Cyparissus, Pytho, Crisa, Daulis, Panopeus, Anemorea, Hyampolis, river Cephissus, Lilaea
II.527 Locrians 40 Ajax the Lesser Cynus, Opoüs, Calliatus, Bessa, Scarphe, Augeae, Tarphe, Thronium
II.537 Abantes of Euboea 50 Elephenor Chalcis, Eretria, Histiaea, Cerinthus, Dium, Carystus, Styra
II.546 Athenians 50 Led first by Menestheus (then by later by Acamas and Demophon, the sons of Theseus) Athens
II.557 men of Salamis 12 Telamonian Ajax Salamis
II.559 Argives/Achaeans 80 Diomedes with subordinates Sthenelus and Euryalus Argos, Tiryns, Hermione, Asine, Troezene, Eїonae, Epidaurus, Aegina, Mases
II.569 No name given. 100 Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, supreme commander Mycenae, Corinth, Cleonae, Orneae, Araethyrea, Sicyon, Hyperesia, Gonoëssa, Pellene, Aegium, Helice
II.581 Lacedaemonians 60 Menelaus, brother of Agamemnon, husband of Helen Pharis, Sparta, Messe, Bryseae, Augeae, Amyclae, Helos, Laas, Oetylus
II.592 No name given. 90 Nestor Pylos, Arēne, Thryum, Aipy, Cyparisseis, Amphigenea, Pteleum, Helos, Dorium
II.603 Arcadians 60 Agapenor Cyllene, Pheneus, Orchomenus, Rhipae, Stratie, Enispe, Tegea, Mantinea, Stymphelus, Parrhasia
II.615 Epeans of Elis 40 Amphimachus, Thalpius, Diōres, Polyxenus Buprasium and the lands enclosed by Hyrmine, Myrsinus, Olene, Alesium
II.624 Men of Dulichium 40 Meges Dulichium, Echinean Islands
II.631 Cephallenians 12 Ulysses, same as Odysseus Ithaca, Neritum, Crocylea, Aegilips, Samos, Zacynthus (islands with mainland opposite)
II.638 Aetolians 40 Thoas Pleuron, Olenus, Pylene, Chalcis, Calydon
II.645 Cretans 80 Idomeneus, Meriones Cnossus, Gortys, Lyctus, Miletus, Lycastus, Phaestus, Rhytium, others up to 100
II.653 Rhodians 9 Tlepolemus Lindus, Ielysus, Cameirus
II.671 Symians 3 Nireus Syme
II.676 No name given. 30 Pheidippus, Antiphus Nisyrus, Crapathus, Casus, Cos, Calydnian Islands
II.681 Pelasgians, Myrmidons, Hellenes, Achaeans 50 Achilles (later by Neoptolemus) Pelasgic Argos, Alos, Alope, Trachis, Phthia, Hellas
II.695 No name given. 40 Protesilaus, later by Podarces Phylace, Pyrasus, Iton, Antrium, Pteleum
II.711 No name given. 11 Eumelus Pherae, Boebe, Glaphyrae, Iolcus
II.716 No name given. 7, with 50 oarsmen each who were also archers Philoctetes, later by Medon Methone, Thaumacia, Meliboea, Olizon
II.729 No name given. 30 Podalirius, Machaon, two sons of Asclepius Tricca, Ithome, Oechalia
II.734 No name given. 40 Eurypylus Ormenius, Hypereia (fountain), Asterius, Titanus
II.738 (Lapiths, "race of Mars") 40 Polypoetes, Leonteus Argissa, Gyrtone, Orthe, Elone, Oloösson
II.748 Enienes, Peraebi 22 Guneus Cyphus, Dodona, banks of the Titaresius
II.756 Magnetes 40 Prothoüs About the Peneus and Mt. Pelion

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes


[edit] References

  • J.K. Anderson, 1995. "The Geometric Catalogue of Ships," pp. 181-191 in Carter and Morris, eds., The Ages of Homer, (Austin: University of Texas Press).
  • Austin, J. N. H. 1965. Catalogues and the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad, (Berkeley: University of California Press).
  • Page, D.L., 1959. History and the Homeric Iliad (Berkeley: University of California Press).
  • Visser, Edzard, 1997. Homers Katalog der Schiffe (Teubner).

[edit] External links

fr:Catalogue des vaisseaux

Catalogue of Ships

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