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).
 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.
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. 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.
 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.
 See also
- 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).
 External links
- Detailed map of Achaeans and Trojans
- List of geograpical features in the catalogue
- Book II of the Iliadbg:Списък на корабите