On not remembering Tydeus: Diomedes and the contest for Thebes

Barker, Elton and Christensen, Joel (2011). On not remembering Tydeus: Diomedes and the contest for Thebes. Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici, 66(1) pp. 9–44.

URL: http://www.libraweb.net/articoli.php?chiave=3042&r...


In book four of the Iliad Agamemnon criticises Diomedes for not living up to the standards of his father, Tydeus, one of the original seven against Thebes. This paper explores how the language and themes used by Agamemnon shed light on the Iliad’s relationship to, and representation of, its rival Theban tradition. Focusing on the ways in which Agamemnon’s praise of Tydeus resonates with key ideas that recur elsewhere in the Greek hexameter epic corpus, we explore the tension between Agamemnon’s Theban tale and the context in which it is embedded, with a view to showing that its praise of individual exceptionality is discordant with the Iliad’s underlying interest in collective survival and group action. Such potential disharmony marginalises the appropriated Theban material and subordinates it to the aims of the Iliad, a phenomenon that encourages reflection on the relationship between the Homeric epics and the pasts presented within them.

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