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Homer's Trojan Theater

Homer's Trojan Theater argues for the centrality of vision in Homeric poetics and its importance both for the poet in constructing, and for his audience in comprehending, the course of his narrative. The Iliad's battle scenes, which take up a third of the poem, pose an exceptional challenge to a narrator. Of the 360 named characters, 232 are warriors killed or wounded, yet the poet is remarkable in his ability to keep his characters on the battlefield straight (the instances of Homer's nodding are strikingly rare). The action, the project contends, is conceived in spatial terms and visualized in the "mind's eye" of the narrator. The poet in turn is able to translate his vision into words with such vividness and clarity that his audience can for its part imaginatively re-envision the Trojan plain on which the heroes fought and died. This project takes the text of the Iliad as its script, paying particular attention to spatial indications such as for example "left" and "right," and attempts to reconstruct the activity on the battlefield with the help of digital technology.

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