Imagery of childhood from the Homeric Poems

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As the first European literary documents, the Iliad and the Odyssey ensure in the cultural history of the West a unique status, assuming itself since Antiquity as the first foundation of philological and philosophical research, and also as superior literary and artistic model. In the framework of their traditional nature, due to the creative elaboration of generations of aedos, both epics, based on a peculiar technique of production and transmission, articulate in an enigmatic poetic plot threads of mythic narratives and historical realities that modern archaeological investigations confirm. From the poetic testimony of Homer, we will try to analyse the references to childhood. While some occur generically as images of a certain extract of human society, marked by peculiar characteristics, functions and needs, others, supported by peculiar mentions, assume a dramatic functionality in the mythical plot of the two poems, which contributes to their symbolic density. These poetic founding references, plastically reflected in the Greek ceramic art of the classical period, will offer us the pretext not only to better understand the ancient worldview, but also to interpret in it the symbolic expressiveness of the childhood universe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-28
Number of pages20
JournalAthens Journal of Philology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • Homer
  • Iliad
  • Odyssey
  • Childhood
  • Classical ceramic art


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