November 1, 2018 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Norwegian Institute at Athens
Tsami Karatasou 5
Athina 117 42

On November 1 starting at 7 PM, Professor Silvio Bär from the University of Oslo will give a talk titled:

A Gluttonous Strongman and Irascible Stoic: Heracles in Greek Epic from Homer to Nonnus

The talk will take place at the Norwegian Institute at Athens, Tsami Karatasou 5, 5th floor.

The lecture ties in with the launch of Bär’s latest monograph Herakles im griechischen Epos: Studien zur Poetizität und Narrativität eines Helden (Stuttgart 2018):

Like no other character from ancient mythology, Heracles embraces various features and character traits that often heavily contradict each other. For example, we can find the type of the furious and irascible Heracles in tragedy, the gluttonous and bibulous Heracles in comedy, and the abstentious, “Stoic” Heracles in philosophy. The focus of this lecture will be on how Heracles appears as a literary character in Ancient Greek epic from Homer to Nonnus, and how these and other character traits are functionalized in these texts. Although Heracles never assumes the role of a protagonist in any of the surviving Greek epics, it can be demonstrated that he serves specific narrative and/or metapoetic purposes in all of them. Based on the method of narratological character analysis, it is argued that the Heracles figure is particularly apt to serve this end precisely because of its decidedly multifaceted and in large parts contradictory character, and that Heracles’ inherent character inconsistency may be viewed as a paradigm of what can be labelled “mythology’s ability to contradict itself”.

Silvio Bär is Professor of Ancient Greek literature at the University of Oslo. His research interests encompass epic, tragedy, lyric poetry, mythography, the Second Sophistic, intertextuality, narratology, and the reception of antiquity in English literature and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the imperial period epicist Quintus of Smyrna.