Audio: Casey Dué & Mary Ebbott on Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush


We are pleased to share this recent audio conversation (see below) with Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott, during which they discussed their findings on the poetics of ambush in Iliad 10.

During the conversation, they explain why they chose to look at Iliad 1 0 in the light of oral poetics, and examine the evidence for a night ambush as a traditional theme, and how this activity is as heroic as, for example, battlefield fighting in the daytime. They talk about the six sub-themes that form traditional features of night-time ambush in the poetic tradition, drawing on evidence from Iliad 10 and other parts of Iliad, from Odyssey, and from Aeneid. These sub-themes include choosing the best men for the task; the wearing of suitable clothing and choosing appropriate weapons; the ability to endure the conditions; and the importance of return. They answer questions from members of the Kosmos Society (Hour 25), and at the end they invite the community to discuss a question in return:

“If Iliad 10 is about the poetics of the night, what are the poetics of the daytime?”

Please post in the Forum your thoughts, ideas, commentaries and examples about the language, themes, structure, narrative, and traditions associated with heroic activities that take place during the daytime.


An online version of the publication Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush is available free online

Mary Ebbott is Associate Professor and Chair of Classics at the College of the Holy Cross. Casey Dué is Professor and Director of Classical Studies at the University of Houston. They are Editors of the Homer Multitext Project.