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Epic and Rhetoric:
Speech-making and Persuasion in Homer and Apollonius[*]

di Peter Toohey (University of New England, Armidale)



The topic, in a sense, is a bogus one — speech-making and persuasion in Homer and Apollonius. There are speakers and speeches enough in Greek epic, but, at least in Homer and Apollonius, there is little recognizable rhetorical elaboration of the classical kind. This, of course, is understandable in the case of Homer: he was writing before rhetoric was invented. Yet, in the case of the Alexandrian writer of epic, Apollonius of Rhodes (composing after Aristotle and the major orators), the absence of speech-making, thus the absence of "primary" rhetoric is striking.[1] In this paper I intend to look, selectively, at several of the speeches in Homer and in Apollonius.[2] My concern, above all, will be to isolate some of the major contrasts between the speech-making habits of Homer and of Apollonius. We will see, I hope, how "rhetorical" Homer can be. We will also see — and this is perhaps the crux of my paper — why Apollonius may have shown so little taste for primary rhetoric.

For the sake of clarity I ought to anticipate here some of my larger conclusions. I will argue above all that Homer's speeches are exteriorized, that they are positive, outwardly directed, and expectantly ameliorative. Apollonius' prominent speeches, on the other hand, reflect an interiorization typified by hesitancy, inwardly turned anger, guile, and passivity. I believe that this difference (registering shared human attitudes, separated in time, which value the "outer", in Homer's case, or the "inner", in Apollonius' case) exemplifies a basic distinction between the two authors. This is a distinction which can also be detected in other fundamental aspects of their compositions: in their attitudes to heroism and the heroic, to women, to eros, and so forth. I believe that Apollonius' text, as we will see it in its speech-making and persuasion, embodies a change in the "discourse" of epic. It may also embody a change which has overtaken the shared Hellenistic mentalite.[3]


Homer's speeches were not shaped from any clear-cut rhetorical template. How could they have been when rhetoric had not yet been invented? Even so, there seem to be sufficient traces of later rhetorical habits in Homer to justify, however tentatively, our importing aspects of this anachronistic template.[4] Such a procedure, I hope to show, can be useful in some expected, and in at least one unexpected way. On the simplest level rhetorical analysis of Homeric speech-making may demonstrate the deliberation with which these speeches were shaped.[5] It may also demonstrate that there is a continuity between Homer's and later rhetorical practice. More important is that such analysis shows again how vital is the paradeigma for Homer's speeches. This, in its turn, points to the essentially paratactic, oral nature of these utterances.[6] Thus emerges my final, most important point: these speeches, in their oral, paradigmatic, paratactic nature, betray a mind-set noted in other contexts by Ong and by Carothers.[7] Oral, or orally based cultures, they argue, externalize harmful emotions. We will, I hope, see this instanced within the four Homeric speeches to be examined in this essay. These addresses embody no harmful emotions, but three at least are paraenetic, and the fourth may be designed to allay anger. At any rate the address of these Homeric speeches is positive, outwardly directed, and expectantly ameliorative. That, maybe, is hardly surprising. But it will, I suggest, become notable when we come to contrast the speech-making habits of the utterly literate, high-cultured Apollonius. His most prominent speeches (and there are not many of them) offer an approach markedly reflecting that interiorization noted by Ong and Carothers as more typical of the response of literates to harmful emotion.

In the first section of this paper I would like to tease out some of these issues in relation to Homer.[8] I will look briefly at Nestor's four major speeches in the Iliad (all of which might be designated as deliberative: 1.254-84; 7.124-60; 11.656-803; and 23.626-50.)[9] Why Nestor? Being too old to be both a doer of deeds and a speaker of words (compare Iliad 9.443: unlike Achilles or Odysseus) his appeal was based on speech. His words, Homer tells us, were like honey (Iliad 1.247-49).[10] Nestor offers us, furthermore, what is the longest single speech in the Iliad — 11.656-803. His discourse thus provides a very useful indicator of the occasions and of the methods that could be used by a prominent Homeric public speaker.[11]

The first of Nestor's speeches occurs at 1.254-84 — here he buts into the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles to rebuke them, urging that they take his advice.[12] Its structure is as follows:[13]

254-8 (exordium):[14] The Trojans would rejoice if they knew of the dissension amongst the Greeks.

259-61 (prothesis): Be persuaded (pithesthe: 259). I once associated with better men than you, and they listened to me.

261-71 (paradeigma = pistis):[15] Nestor explains how the Lapiths took his advice (were persuaded) when he helped them fight against the Centaurs.

271-74 ( prothesis): They were better than you and they listened to me. Be persuaded (pithesthe: 274).

275-84 (epilogue[16]): Advice for Achilles and Agamemnon: (be persuaded) cease from your anger.

There are five parts to this speech, two of which (for reasons I will outline below) are repeated. What remains may approximate very loosely to the typical structure of a classical speech. 1.254-8 attempt to gain the attention of Nestor's audience, Achilles and Agamemnon; this is the introduction or exordium. The prothesis or specific recommendation, at whose acceptance the speech apparently aims, is repeated at 1.259-61 and 1.271-4: this is not so much a specific recommendation as it is a plea that Achilles and Agamemnon pay heed to Nestor. With his listeners' attention gained, Nestor only then can offer his specific recommendation (reconciliation and a cessation of anger, 1.275-84). I suggest that this recommendation is best understood as an epilogue (if we view an archaic epilogue, as does Van Groningen, simply as the concluding feature of a speech which offers it some form of unity, rather than as something peripheral to its major concerns).[17] The position of this recommendation may be significant: by adding it almost imperceptibly, almost as a pendant to his speech, Nestor may deliberately be attempting to make more palatable and to make more acceptable his blunt advice. The fifth element of this speech, the "example" (or paradeigma), a minor narrative reminiscence (1.261-71), exists in place of the proofs (pisteis) normally adduced in support of the prothesis (and in place of the diegesis which perhaps does not suit Nestor's discursive mode of speaking; in a sense this myth "example" is a `narrative'.) This paradeigma is a proof of a sort, but its logic, like most reminiscence, is wholly implicit. Note, however, that this paradigm is designed to support the recommendation of what I have termed the prothesis, not that of the epilogue.

We could also mention some of the rhetorical techniques utilized by Nestor. Amongst others there is the application of a paradeigma [18] (the story of the Lapiths and Centaurs) and, within that, the vivid listing of famous combatants' names (a real appeal to the past) and the vivid frame for the example provided by the use in anaphora of forms of peithomai ("be persuaded" : 1.259, 1.273 and 1.274); there are other repetitions of words and sound and, in addition, metonymy, antithesis, and litotes.[19] There is personification of a type in the exordium. The epilogue utilizes dramatically the technique of apostrophe. That there are similarities, albeit not overwhelming ones, between this small speech and later oratory is evident. The differences are also marked. The logic of the speech is anecdotal and is deliberately tied to the character of the speaker — the latter surely a crucial point in this literary medium. The speech too is patterned in ring form — something less immediately evident in later rhetoric.[20] But the major points remain to be made. The logic of Nestor's utterance is apparent and is clearly and precisely articulated. It follows a pattern which we will observe in two of the other speeches for discussion. But it is a logic based upon the paradigm, rather than on real proof or pistis.

So far so good. We have seen the usefulness of rhetorical classification for this speech: it emphasizes the deliberation of its structure. We have also seen that it exhibits traits shown by later oratory. We have also noted its use of the paradigm as a pistis and of its the postponement of a large portion of its advice into the "epilogue". But before we can pass on to the remaining speeches we ought look a little more in particular at the role of the paradigm, but also at that of the epilogue. Two points need to be made. The first, not unexpectedly, concerns parataxis [21] — something habitually invoked when discussing Homeric epic. Parataxis, of course, designates the simple linking of clauses and phrases by the use of coordinating conjunctions to build sentences. Parataxis functions above all by the uncomplicated use of polarity and analogy.[22] It is not, however, limited to the verbal and syntactic texture. Homer's cumulative narrative is both repetitive and stylized — doubtless the result of the constraints of the oral circumstances of its composition. This is evident not just within the narrative,[23] but within the deployment of themes and thought,[24] in characterization, and within the shape of the poems themselves.[25] This application of parataxis accounts for a number of the characteristics of Nestor's speeches — above all for the paradigmatic nature of the Nestorean pistis and for the loose, pendant-like nature of the epilogue.

Parataxis seems also to provide speeches such as this one of Nestor with their characteristic argumentative and structural mode.[26] Let us briefly reconsider Iliad 1.254-84. This passage exhibits two striking qualities whose origin may reside in the paratactic art of the oral poet. The first is the careful, overall structure of the speech: it is in ring form (hence the repeated prothesis):[27] A (1.254-8: prooemium) — B (1.259-61: prothesis) — C (1.261-71: the paradeigma) — B (1.271-74: prothesis) — A (1.275-84: epilogue). This loose pattern, as I have indicated, is ultimately the product of a paratactic compositional medium. The use of the paradeigma is even more typical of a paratactic way of "explaining" things. Homer likes to juxtapose. It is frequently the case that the connections between these juxtaposed elements are left unstated. That is the case with this "example" (and, to a lesser degree, with the epilogue). Why? To labour at and make obvious such connections is something that is much easier to do in a medium where revision — thanks to the provision of a pen and paper — is more possible. Homer, composing orally and with the haste that implies, could afford no such luxuries.

The second point which I would like to make concerning the paradeigma and the epilogue relates back to the observations of Ong (Orality and Literacy, p.69) and Carothers. The use particularly of the paradeigma, at least in the context of this Nestorean speech, represents a simple means of externalizing, making more manageable, and rendering more acceptable dangerous emotion. The paradeigma offers an indirect and oblique means for making a point. Think again of its aim in this speech. Old Nestor is attempting to dissuade two very powerful and very dangerous young men from their anger. Nestor disapproves of the actions of Agamemnon and Achilles, but he must express this without making too obvious his disapproval. The risks are manifold: he may incur their wrath himself if he is too blunt; or he may merely inflame their anger and set them all the more against one another; or he may insult one party more than the another, so causing assault or withdrawal. In such circumstances the paradeigma becomes an ideal means for blunting and making less offensive the potentially wrathful paraenesis — here appearing in the epilogue of 1.275-84. Ong's and Carothers' simple point is that potentially harmful emotion in oral societies is externalized (in the most extreme instances it may manifest itself in a character's going "berserk" or "running amok"). Harmful emotion must somehow be rendered acceptable — at least in the eyes of society. The means for gaining acceptance, for example, may manifest themselves as a possession-like and inexplicable outburst whose extremity and so called divine origin renders the experience in some way sui generis, hence able to be tolerated.[28] In Nestor's case the "palliative" for his blunt, almost angry message is, I suggest, above all the old man's paradeigma (is this application of the paradeigma the root of Nestor's reputation for honeyed speech?), but also the placing of the key elements of his advice within the "appendage" to his speech, the epilogue. This acts as a means of palliating the simmering anger both of this aged speaker and his youthful, warrior audience.

The second of the speeches appears at 7.124-60 and represents another rebuke (or paraenesis).[29] It is designed to rally the Achaeans — they have been taking a battering at the hands of Hector and the Trojans, and Menelaus has just withdrawn from a challenge to partake in personal combat with Hector. The long speech runs like this:[30]

124-31 (exordium): Peleus would want to die if he heard that the Achaeans were cowering before Hector.

132-5 (prothesis): I wish I were young again (ai gar...heboim: 132- 33).

136-56 (paradeigma = pistis): I once killed Ereuthalion, champion of our opponents. He had the armour of Areithous.

157-58 (prothesis): I wish I were young (eith' hos hebooimi: 157); then I would fight Hector.

159-60 (epilogue): But you all do not want to fight Hector.

The pattern of this speech is remarkable in its similarity to that at 1.254-84. (We are again witnessing a carefully constructed speech.) There is a brief but rousing introduction (7.124-31) balanced by a pithy apostrophe, which acts as the epilogue (7.159-60).[31] Once again the prothesis is repeated (7.132-35 and 7.157-8), but this time its full purport is only apparent on the second statement. There is no diegesis, nor, technically, are their pisteis. The paradeigma seems to do double duty in this regard: it acts as a type of a pistis, but provides, at the same time, a generous, if irrelevant narrative.

Several aspects of this paraenetic speech require stress. The logic of the paradeigma is identical to that of the first of Nestor's speeches. It makes its claim for persuasion on that most popular of rhetorical tropes, an appeal to the past — specifically Nestor's.[32] The speech also evinces the paratactic, oral compositional mode of ring form (ABCBA), stressed also by Kirk (Iliad, II, 24ff.). The pattern operates here as follows: A (7.124-31: exordium), B (7.132-35: prothesis), C (7.136-56: paradeigma = pistis), B (7.157-58: prothesis), A (7.159-60: epilogue). But at the same time the technique used by this speech — the reminiscence — is totally in keeping with the ethos of old Nestor. Reminiscence is a ploy of the powerless,[33] but, and we could emphasize this, the reminiscence occurs as a paradigm. Just as we have seen with the first speech, the need here to make acceptable a dangerous rebuke is acute. Aged Nestor cannot cause Menelaus to loose face and so risk a berserk reaction. Externalization, therefore, explains the function of the paradigm in this speech.

A paradeigma (11.671-761) is also at the heart of Nestor's third speech (11.656-803).[34] In this instance, however, it runs dangerously close to swamping the utterance. Indeed, its presence may be the cause for the frequent, but, as we shall see, unjust accusations made against this speech for formlessness. In this speech, while addressing Patroclus (he has come to find out for Achilles who has returned wounded from battle), Nestor rebukes the indifference of Achilles towards the condition in which the Greeks now find themselves. He contrasts his own conduct as a young man when he fought the Epeians. Here is a breakdown of the shape and content of the address (the comments in square brackets are my paraphrastic expansions):[35]

656-65 (exordium): Achilles is showing no pity for the Achaeans; they are being slaughtered.

666-9 (prothesis): Will Achilles wait until we are all killed? I am no longer strong now [I am not, you are.]

670-761 (paradeigma = pistis): How Nestor led the Pylians to a remarkable victory over the Epeians. [This is what a properly motivated warrior can achieve.]

762-4 (prothesis): That is what I was like. But Achilles is showing no pity for the Achaeans; he will regret this. [I would help the Achaeans if I were young, but I am not; you are.]

765-792 (diegesis)[36]: Had you, Patroclus, heeded the counsel of your father Menoetius and provided Achilles with good advice, things would not have reached this pass. You might yet persuade him.

793-803 (epilogue): If Achilles will not help the Greeks, then you take his armour and help them.

The function of this most complex of speeches is usually said to be «a paradigmatic exhortation, offering an example from the past to bolster its argument that Achilles should give up his anger» (Pedrick, Paradigmatic Nature, 55 and n.2). I suggest, however, that this is to misread something which is more clearly designed to persuade Patroclus to enter the war in Achilles' stead. This point is stated outright only at the very end of the speech (11.793-803). On the two previous occasions when Nestor seems to be on the point of stating his purpose (the so-called protheseis at 11.666-9 and 11.762-4), he makes his point almost by misdirection. There we are tempted to interpret Nestor's utterance in light of his other speeches. It is as if he were about to say that, had he been young, there would not be this trouble (a Nestorean leitmotif). The first paradeigma (or pistis) could also be taken this way. What shifts the persuasive balance is what I have termed the diegesis. Its intention is to show how things have reached the state in which they are now (Greeks being slaughtered willy- nilly). The fault is all that of Patroclus and of his bad advice to Achilles. To make amends Patroclus should don Achilles' armour and fight — like Nestor did against the Epeians.

The structure and paratactic logic of this utterance require some elucidation. The speech is, at first sight, built around a very simple ring pattern: A (656-65: exordium), B (666-9: prothesis), C (670-761: paradeigma = pistis), B (762-4: prothesis). But Homer breaks the mould at this point. He could have ended after 11.762-4 with, perhaps, a simple epilogue stating how Nestor would have fought the Trojans, and he could have finalized things with a simple lament on the low fortunes of the Achaeans. He may or may not have gone on to urge Patroclus to reenter the war — I suspect he would not have. The structure of such a speech would have been in ring form. (And the use of the paradeigma as a type of pistis is the sort of paratactic usage to which we have become habituated.) But it is at this very point that the great monologue breaks from the pattern. Instead of providing us with the expected epilogue, Nestor offers us another narrative panel, D (765-792: diegesis), then finally, a conclusion A (793-803: epilogue) to balance the exordium (655-65). This diegesis shifts the logic of the speech away from Nestor and onto Patroclus. It makes immediately apparent that Nestor's narrative was no lament, but something of a moral paradigm which ought be applied to Patroclus. Then follows the epilogue which pulls things together: it urges Patroclus to fight. Note, however, that this epilogue functions much like that of 1.275-84. Placed nonchalantly, almost as an afterthought, yet it supplements and unifies what has been advanced in the protheseis.) It is apparent that this complex speech has been forced to sacrifice the aesthetic niceties of simple ring structure to enable it present a more complex form of logic. But, and I think that we cannot underline this enough, the form of logic is strictly linear and strictly paratactic. It is a form of logic that establishes itself, block-like, by accretion and by juxtaposition. Thus the connection of the paradeigma to its surrounds is one which remains implicit and one which we must extract. Thus too the connection of the diegesis to its surrounds is implicit and one which the listener must extract without assistance (especially of the anticipatory variety) from the narrator.

This address, as I hope my comments and my analysis may have indicated, is a much more sophisticated piece than those we have seen hitherto. This is fitting, for we are at a key juncture in the narrative.[37] This speech, as much as anything else, will precipitate Patroclus' reentry into the war. That in turn will spell Patroclus' death, Achilles' reentry into the conflict, Hector's death, and, eventually, the death (foreshadowed) of Achilles himself. It is fitting that this denouement should be marked by such a grand speech. And grand it is — long, well structured, intensely vivid, and intricate in its persuasive logic. Its logical basis does differ from Nestor's previous discourses — there he told us that had he been young, things would not have been the way there were. Here he does not say that at all. Rather the reverse: he is old now and unable to help as he might have. Therefore a new champion — Patroclus, failing Achilles — is needed. But at the same time we need to note: the persuasive strategy of this speech is as oblique as those we have already seen. Nestor builds his words about reminiscence — first concerning Pylus, then later concerning Peleus' court. The "example", that is, is the preferred pistis. The prothesis is as indirect as ever: it could be paraphrased as «if I were strong now — I am not, but you are. Therefore you should help». But all that Homer allows Nestor to tell us, poignantly, is that he is too old. The understatement is striking, utterly powerful, and completely persuasive.

As yet I have said nothing of the externalization of harmful emotion to which I alluded when discussing the two previous speeches. Once again Nestor uses the paradeigma, and to a lesser extent the epilogue (added pendant-like to the speech) as a means of deflecting offence away from his potentially insulting paraenesis. In this instance, I suppose, though angry he is extremely anxious to avoid arousing the resentment not only of Patroclus, but also of Achilles. This, I might add, also offers a second explanation for the length of the Pylian paradeigma. Its extent is in part the result of the detail of this interlude. This relates to the untimely cattle raid — the cause of some of the trouble for his own folk. That fault is intended to look forward, not so much to Achilles', as it is to Patroclus' fault (his bad advice). In admitting his own blame, Nestor gallantly excuses, partially at least, Patroclus. (This is the type of honeyed generosity we will see Nestor making to Achilles at the funeral games.) That, I suggest, is in part designed to render Patroclus more willing to oblige, but at the same time it exculpates Nestor from the charge of presumption.

The last of Nestor's speeches occurs in book 23. It is quite short and can be dealt with quickly. It occurs during the funeral games for Patroclus (at 23.626-50). The speech is delivered by Nestor in response to Achilles when, presumably out of respect for the age and earlier exploits of the old man, he awards him the fifth prize set aside for the chariot race. The arrangement is as follows:

626 (exordium): Formulaic introduction

627-8 (prothesis): I am not strong now.

629-42 (paradeigma = pistis): Would that I were as strong now (eith' hos hebooimi, 23.629=7.157) as I was at the funeral games for Amarynceus. There I won everything but the chariot race.

643-45 ( prothesis): I am not strong now.

646-50 (epilogue): Nestor thanks Achilles for the gift of the jar.

Nestor, in his use of reminiscence, is nothing if not oblique. This short thank-you reads more as an apology. Nestor seems to be saying in his repeated prothesis (23.627-8 and 23.643-5) that were he strong enough now, then he would have competed and won prizes in his own right, so honouring Patroclus. Evidence of this (here we have the pistis) was his prowess as a young man (23.629-42). This oblique use of the paradeigma, instead of an out-right pistis or diegesis, is a characteristic of the first three speeches. Note that, once again, this address is utterly in keeping with its speaker's characterization. A very nice touch in this regard is Nestor's admission that he did not win the chariot race at the games for Amarynceus — a fine competitor, he tells Achilles with grateful modesty, but not perfect.

The paratactic structure of Nestor's apology mirrors that of the preceding speeches: A (23.626: exordium), B (23.627-8: prothesis), C (23.629-42: paradeigma = pistis), B (23.643-45: prothesis), A (23.646-50: epilogue). Note that, once again, a paradeigma, carrying the weight of the pistis, is placed at the centre and has only an implicit connection made with the surrounding assertions (and observe too that the epilogue in this instance is important, but far less so than in the first and third speeches). The use of the paradeigma is a prime example of a paratactic form of arguing.

I wonder if the use of the paradigm in this utterance does not suggest that there is more to it than mere apology? In the three preceding speeches the paradigm acted as a means for diffusing potentially injurious situations. Perhaps Nestor's characteristic use of the paradeigma points to an underlying unease. Does Nestor betray fear of Achilles? Does he imply that, by not competing, despite his advanced years, he runs the risk of insulting both Achilles and his games for Patroclus. (Is this the type of fear that Priam experienced before Achilles, though cooperative, in their meeting of Iliad 24?) Does, then, this paradigm act as a means of externalizing potentially harmful emotions?


Apollonius shows little enthusiasm for direct speech.[38] Our opportunities for viewing his modes of structuring speeches are accordingly limited. For this paper I have selected the admittedly arbitrary figure of thirty lines or longer as constituting a speech that is sufficiently elongated to warrant consideration.[39] There are only eleven such speeches in Apollonius' poem. (This, of course, matches the diminished frequency of direct speech in the Argonautica.) It is, furthermore, striking that of these eleven speeches six do not aim to persuade. They function essentially as conveyors of factual, or, in one instance, of psychological information.[40] (I take persuasion as the sine qua non of the rhetorical occasion.) So there remain only five passages within the Argonautica of thirty of more lines which aim to persuade.[41] (A remarkable feature in a poem of nearly 6,000 lines. Compare Homer (50 percent direct speech), or, even later, Roman epic poets such as Virgil, Lucan, or Statius.[42]) In the pages to follow I intend to examine four of these five passages.[43]

It is possible that there exists a link between Apollonius' lack of enthusiasm for direct speech, for his paucity of long persuasive speeches, and the particular nature of the five extended persuasive speeches. (We will see that these five speeches all constitute pleas or requests for favours.) The answer may perhaps be found in the observation made by Ong in Orality and Literacy (p.69) that literates «often manifest tendencies (loss of contact with environment) by psychic withdrawal». Earlier I suggested that the term "interiorization" captures this attitude.

«Ptolemaic bureaucracy,» it seems to be true to say, «presided over a dramatic increase in the functions of the written word».[44] Literacy and writing in Apollonius' Alexandria, we may deduce, came to dominate the expressive culture of the élite and to displace oral traditions in a profound and hitherto unparalleled manner.[45] Perhaps the very best examples are the remarkable picture poems of Simias (collected by Powell in Collectanea Alexandrina) whose effect is above all reliant upon writing and upon the eye. The Alexandrian Museum offers another stark testimony.[46] Like Simias' poems, it depends wholly on writing. It is also striking that descriptions of the earliest examples of interiorized psychological states seem to date from this period. I have elsewhere argued for the "discovery" in this period of such internalized states as melancholia, depression, boredom, and passive love-melancholy.[47] It is also most striking that such interiorized affective states play an important role in creating the emotional timbre of Apollonius' Argonautica and in creating the characterization of Jason.[48] This strange congruity of a dramatic upsurge in the reliance by the élite on writing and of an "outbreak" of passive affective states reinforces, if not Ong's and Carothers' rather romantic causality, at least the validity of their general observation.

I wonder if it is being too speculative to take things a little further and to suggest a link between the lack of direct speech within the Argonautica and a view of the world — which I believe the Argonautica projects — that envisages experience as something passively registered rather than vigorously acted upon.[49] And further, I wonder if the prevalence of pleas as the rhetorical basis of Apollonius major speeches is not but another symptom of the same outlook?[50] Nestor attempts to control and to ameliorate his world. He disguises what seems to be a barely suppressed anger at those who baulk at this amelioration by means of his paradeigmata and his casual epilogues. In Apollonius' epic major speakers, even one god, seem passively to plead for assistance and for change from forces greater than themselves.

But we are moving too quickly and too far from the speeches. Let us turn now to Apollonius' extended persuasions. In their skeletal form the four speeches I have selected for discussion seem closely to resemble one another. Each possesses an introduction (an attempt to capture the attention of the addressee), a more or less detailed plea for assistance, and, also attached, a promise to perform some type of a service for the addressee (this can be either good or bad, depending on the reasons for the address). [51] The order of these three elements may be varied. (It depends on the self- confidence of the speaker.) And, of course, the amount of detail given to each element will differ. (There may also be an epilogue attached.) Finally, the whole timbre and detail of presentation will be dictated and defined by the personality of the speaker.

Argus is young and seems embarrassed at what he must tell his grandfather, King Aietes (3.320-66). (This is the first of the four speeches.) There is, thus, no clear enunciation of the plea itself (for assistance with and acquiescence in the Argonautic designs). The plea is to be understood. Here is a schema of his speech:

3.320-31 (exordium): address to Aietes.

3.332-49 (plea): request for Aietes' help.

3.350-4 (benefaction): an offer of help to Aietes.

3.355-66 (epilogue): commendation of the Argonauts.

Argus' speech begins with an attempt to gain the goodwill of Aietes. He stresses how the magnanimous heroes of the Argo rescued Argus and his brothers after their shipwreck (3.320-31). Then follows the plea (3.332-49): the Argonauts have come for the fleece, but they do have divine sanction. Now comes the promise of the service which those, for whom the plea is being made, will render the addressee. In this instance the offer is to help Aietes in his war against the Sarmatians (3.350-54). And finally there is an epilogue (but no repetition of the plea). Argus, by detailing the impressive lineage of some of the Argonauts, intends to commend this worthy throng to his uncle. It is perhaps typical of Argus' hesitancy that he utilizes this commendatory epilogue. Our other speakers do not.

We ought compare Argus' address with those of Nestor. The logic is no longer paratactic — by which I mean that this speech is not built up by agglomeration of polar or analogous material. The seams in this speech are papered over in an unhomeric manner. There is, thus, no large scale reliance on ring composition, nor does Apollonius' speaker need to rely on the paradigm. Argus' monologue is a more logical and rationally sequential performance.

These same observations could be made of the second of our four speeches. This is delivered by Jason to Medea (3.975-1007). It is a cool and guileful performance, but one which demonstrates the same basically tripartite structure. Once again we are reading a logically sequenced talk. Even the paradigm (of Ariadne and Theseus, 3.997-1004) has its superficial relevance made explicit (3.1005: «thus even for you from god will there be gratitude...»). The utterance is structured in the following manner:

3.975-79 (exordium): opening address to Medea.

3.980-89 (plea): Jason's plea.

3.990-1007 (benefaction): how Jason will recompense Medea.

Jason begins by emphasizing his own and his crew's worthiness — in the face of which Medea need feel no reticence (3.975-79). The plea itself (3.980-89) requests that Medea honour previous pledges and that she treat Jason as a xeinos (3.986: ironic, given the telling reference to Ariadne within 3.990-1007). The passage climaxes with Jason's plea (3.988-9): «without you I will not surmount my awful labour». Then at once Jason offers recompense (3.990-1007). He will, if successful, sing of the kleos ("glory", 3.992) of Medea all over Greece. She will have a renown like that of Ariadne (3.997ff.). But, it seems, this promise is a ploy — Jason understands the young girl's infatuation and he knows that what she wants is not renown, but the speaker himself. Given this, given the reference to Theseus and to Ariadne (this is a paradeigma), and given our foreknowledge of the abandoning of Ariadne by Theseus, the promise becomes a particularly ironic one. And, I dare say, one that is completely in character with Jason.

It is Medea who makes the next long plea (4.355-90). She is reacting violently to the prospect of being abandoned by the Argonauts as part of a self-serving plan to elude Apsyrtus and the Colchians. This is a particularly powerful and blunt declamation. Yet it still follows the pattern that we have been observing. Its pattern is like this:

4.355-69 (exordium): opening address to Jason.

4.370-75/6 (plea): Medea's plea.

4.376-90 (benefaction): Medea's threat.

It begins with a type of an exordium, designed to rivet the attention of the addressee, Jason (4.355-69). Medea does not seek his goodwill, so much as she seeks to encourage his sense of obligation. Has Jason, she asks, forgotten his oaths? Has he forgotten how she has abandoned and betrayed for him her family? This proem climaxes with a devastatingly simple declaration of Medea's utter dependence on Jason: she has become his daughter, wife, and sister (4.368-9). The plea itself is blunt (4.370-75/6). Medea demands Jason either save her or forthwith kill her. In the other three passages, the plea is linked with a promise of some sort of a benefaction made on behalf of the addressee. Here the reverse is the case (4.376-90). If betrayed, Medea threatens malefaction. Here she avers that the sort of home-coming she will face (if betrayed), will match that of Jason. As an oath-breaker Hera will not allow him happiness, and Medea herself will call down the avenging Furies. This is the most vehement, assertive and unreferential of addresses (a leisurely paradigm would diminish its force). In that sense it might be thought to reflect the exteriorized world I have sought to demonstrate of Nestor. Recall, however, that though angry, this speech still represents an act that is built upon a sense of powerless and helplessness (that amechanie to which I will refer shortly). Medea is angry with perfidious Jason. But, one senses, her anger is also self- directed. As a woman and as a barbarian she cannot shape or control the course of things. That is being done for her by the treacherous Jason.

If the vehemence of Medea's plea catches much of the violence of her character (at least as it is seen in Argonautica 4), then Hera's long plea to Thetis for help with the Argonauts (4.783-832) admirably mirrors her scheming and guileful nature. The tripartite schema is present in this speech, but it is ordered in character with the nature of its speaker — and to stress the purport of the speech. We could represent it as follows:

4.783-90 (exordium): Hera's address to Thetis.

4.790-815 (benefaction): How Hera helped Thetis find a husband.

4.815-32 (plea): Help Jason past Scylla and Charybdis.

The introduction (4.783-90) emphasizes to Thetis how Hera esteems Jason, how she has helped Jason in the past, but how now he faces Scylla and Charybdis. Then comes mention of the benefaction (4.790-815). This was something performed by Hera for Thetis in previous time. Here she stresses that she cherished Thetis in the past — even to the point of selecting for her the best of possible husbands, Peleus, one of the Argonauts. Hera also underlines that Achilles, Thetis' son, is destined in the Underworld to marry Medea. The plea comes powerfully last (4.815-32). Hera requests that Thetis remember her benefactions and help Peleus — but above all Jason — to pass the dangerous Scylla and Charybdis unharmed.

Hera's recounting of how she found for Thetis a husband comes close to the sort of paradigm we have become used to in Nestor's speeches. Yet the differences are marked, for in Hera's speech the reminiscence tells us of both speaker and addressee. Its connection, like that of Ariadne to Medea in the previous speech, is quite obvious. When Nestor's paradigms confuse, it is precisely because we do not know how to place the addressee within the picture. Hera's plea, despite its being uttered by a god, still reflects that interiorized world of Argus, Jason, and Medea.[52]

These, then, are four of Apollonius' five longest "persuasive" speeches — not long at all by Homeric standards. Why Apollonius has chosen to privilege these particular utterances is not easily settled. We could say of them, and of those six other essentially descriptive speeches, that they do occur at crucial junctures in the narrative.[53] We ought, however, to reaffirm that clear and deliberate structure is a feature of each of them. Each exhibits the three basic features (introduction, plea, and reference to a benefaction) whose order seems to be dependent on the purpose of the address and on the character of the speaker. This last point is of some importance: as was the case for Homer, speeches here do reflect the temperament of the person delivering them. But — and this point cannot be underlined enough — despite Apollonius' obvious skills at speech-making, he offers few specimens. Given his salutary poetic abilities, this absence of direct speech must be taken as a deliberate choice.

Why? I have already suggested one answer. There may be another. This, I believe, resides in that overpowering sense of estrangement and amechanos amplakie ("hapless accident", 1.1053-4) which is so much a feature of the Apollonian world- view.[54] It is as if, in this most pessimistic of creations, Apollonius is deliberately attempting to stress the gulf or fracture that exists between deeds and words, between reality or actualization (even things themselves — the sphere of deeds) and planning or intention or even human understanding (the sphere of words).[55] Deeds, we could paraphrase, are not the result of human planning (words, that it to say, or ratiocination), but of uncontrollable chance (amechanos amplakie). To emphasize this powerlessness Apollonius frequently denies his characters clear voice. And further, when he does allow them voice it is to call for assistance and for change from forces greater than the speakers and thus to register that passivity, that powerlessness, that fracture between intention and realisation which is so much a feature of the world of the Argonautica.

The theme of the gulf between reality and planning is a common one in this poem. Its simplest instance is offered by Phineus' long prediction (2.311- 407: a speech which I have mentioned above). His words do not reveal all of the deeds or explanations to explain the deeds to be performed by the Argonauts. He does not, for example, predict that Jason and his company will meet the sons of Phrixus on the island of Ares; nor does he explain why this must be. When he narrates how the Argonauts will manage to pass the Symplegades, he does not point out that this will be achieved with the help of Athena. Nor, of course, does Phineus tell the Argonauts that key piece of information, how to return from Aea to Iolcus.[56] Another grim example of the disjunction between deeds and words is provided by the seer Idmon at the time of the launching of the Argo (1.440- 447). He foresees, indeed predicts his own death, but is powerless to effect its outcome by his own actions. Compare the disastrous events in Cyzicus (1.936ff.). The Argonauts, blown back at night to the land of king Cyzicus where they had recently enjoyed hospitality, fought the Cyzicenes and unwittingly killed the young king (1.1012-52). "Hapless accident" (amechanos amplakie, 1.1053-4), rather than words or human understanding, seems to rule human conduct. Thus too the loss of Heracles (1.1172ff.: he was accidentally left behind amongst the Mysians). Into the same complex should be placed the motiveless, but, for the Argonauts, the utterly depressing deaths of Idmon (2.815-34) and Tiphys (2.851-63) in the land of the Mariandyni. Or, in book 4, the deaths in North Africa of Canthus and Mopsus (4.1485-536), whose demise may ultimately be traced back to the loss of Heracles. This list could be continued. But it would, I suspect, serve only to reiterate the point.[57] The gulf between words and reality (or planning) is one of the key themes of the poem.

Is it not fitting, therefore, that at key junctures, Apollonius seems to deny — sometimes his characters, sometimes his readers — insight into the planning, the words, and the speeches that will reflect intention? By denying us knowledge of their intention (or by providing an incomplete account of this) Apollonius makes clear the amechanie to which his unheroic world is so subject. The absence of primary rhetoric, therefore, is not just another feature of the poem (a feature which undoubtedly is responsible for the unjustifiably low opinion in which the Argonautica used to be held),[58] it is a key aspect which allows us to establish a valid reading of the poem.


Where does all of this leave us? In a position, I hope, to be able to draw together a few tentative conclusions. From my brief survey of Nestor's speeches within Homer's Iliad and of some of the longer speeches in Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica, it is possible to affirm that both poets display an unexpected level of structure and of elaboration in their addresses. Whether this structure and elaboration ought be linked with later rhetoric is another question. It appears, from this cursory survey, that Homer's speeches, more elaborate and more structured than those of Apollonius, anticipate more elements associated with later rhetoric. It follows, accordingly, that Homer is more fond of speech-making and of direct speech than Apollonius. Notwithstanding this Homeric "modernity", Homer's oral products are profoundly paratactic — something that could not be said of either later rhetoricians or of Apollonius. Homer leaves the links between the portions of his speeches implicit; Apollonius tends to spell them out. This was especially notable in the case of the Homeric paradeigma. My final point — perhaps the most important — is that Homer's exteriorized speeches are positive, outwardly directed, and expectantly ameliorative. Apollonius' prominent speeches, on the other hand, reflect an interiorization typified by hesitancy, inwardly turned anger, guile, and passivity.

Why these changes? I have suggested two causes, one outside the control of Homer or Apollonius, the other likely reflecting a deliberate choice on the part of Apollonius. The involuntary mechanism may have been literacy. As Ong and Carothers suggest, literacy seems to be associated with interiorization.[59] Apollonius, as a result, becomes a victim of the very capacity which makes his sentimental, anachronistic enterprise possible. The voluntary mechanism may have been amechanie. Apollonius, by avoiding direct speech, may be attempting to point to a gulf between words and deeds, between planning and reality, a gulf that is so typified by Jason amechaneon.

I would like finally to return to this notion of literacy. The comparisons I have suggested highlight one notable, albeit not unvarying difference between oral and written epic:[60] that is a striking avoidance of direct speech. This characteristic persists in Greek written epic. It does not in Roman epic (which, curiously enough, is probably the result of the Roman taste for rhetoric). It is of far more importance, however, that these comparisons highlight a striking aspect of a change in the Greek discourse of the Hellenistic period. This could, as I have been attempting to demonstrate, easily be associated with the dramatic rise in literacy within this period, and the possibly related change in the way of seeing and expressing things thus ushered in. I suspect, however, that while writing does indeed shape literary expression,[61] such an aetiology, in this case at any rate, is too reductive. We do seem to witness a change from an affective exteriorization of strong emotion to an interiorized one. Writing must inevitably play its part in this causality. But, surely, only a part. The origins of such a way of registering and evaluating human experience, like those of comparable passive affectivities such as melancholia, are always manifold. It is more important to mark the appearance of such novel ways of seeing things, than it is to provide aetiologies.


[*] This essay originally appeared in Ian Worthington (ed.), Persuasion: Greek Rhetoric in Action, London, 1994, 153-75. It is repeated here with modifications and revisions. I would like to thank Mark Golden, David Konstan, and Ian Worthington for assistance with various drafts of this piece, and, for his very helpful criticism, I would also like to acknowledge Professor Michael Gagarin. My most sincere gratitude to Professor Emanuele Narducci for being willing to reprint my essay in Arachnion.

[1] Rhetoric may manifest itself on matters pertaining to the oratorical occasion ("primary" rhetoric) or it may also embrace the «generic and stylistic commonplace» (I take the phrase from William H. Race, Aspects of Rhetoric and Form in Classical Greek Hymns, «GRBS», 23(1982), 5-14). The distinction between "primary" and "secondary" rhetoric is made by George A. Kennedy, Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times, Chapel Hill, 1980, 4ff. Exemplary on both forms is R.G.A. Buxton, Persuasion in Greek Tragedy: A Study of Peitho, Cambridge, 1982.

[2] Much could be said of later Greek epic, particularly Quintus Smyrnaeus and Nonnus. Direct speech in both is not high (24% and 36%), but secondary rhetoric is pronounced. The introduction to Francis Vian, Quintus de Smyrne: La Suite d'Homere: Tome I, Livres I-IV, Paris, 1963 is useful on this matter. Francis Vian, Nonnos de Panopolis: Les Dionysiaques: Tome I: chants I-II, Paris, 1976, xlix and xxi notes the importance of Menander the Rhetor (see D.A. Russell and N.G. Wilson, Menander the Rhetor, Oxford, 1981); Menander is applied to Greek and Roman poetry (including epic) by Francis Cairns, Generic Composition in Greek and Roman Poetry, Edinburgh, 1972. The application of the ecphrasis is a particularly important example of secondary rhetoric: see Andrew Sprague Becker, Reading Poetry through a Distant Lens: Ecphrasis, Ancient Greek Rhetoricians, and the Pseudo- Hesiodic "Shield of Heracles", «AJP», 113(1992), 5-24.

[3] Such a claim runs against what is becoming a new orthodoxy in Hellenistic literary studies: to claim to demonstrate the continuity between this period and those, especially Homer's, that preceded. A fine exemplar of this school of criticism is R.Hunter, The "Argonautica" of Apollonius: Literary Studies, Cambridge, 1993. Many of these issues of change and continuity and periodization (within literary, cultural, historical, and archaeological studies) are to be canvassed in Golden and Toohey, (eds.), Constructing the Past: Historicism, Periodization and the Ancient World, London, forthcoming.

[4] Kennedy (Classical Rhetoric, 9-15, and The Art of Persuasion in Greece, Princeton, 1963, 35-40), stresses a number of the similarities between Homeric rhetoric and the classical form. See especially M.W. Edwards. The "Iliad": A Commentary, V, Cambridge 1991, 55-60. There is also A.J. Karp, Homeric Origins of Ancient Rhetoric, «Arethusa», 10 (1977), 237-58 and Thomas Cole, The Origins of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece, Baltimore, 1991, 33-46.

[5] Oliver Taplin, Homeric Soundings: The Shaping of the "Iliad", Oxford, 1992, 175, speaks of the `apparent aimlessness' of this speech. He wishes to correct such a view.

[6] Taplin, Homeric Soundings, 12, vehemently disputes that the Iliad is paratactic — in the sense used by Notopoulos, Parataxis in Homer, «TAPA», 80 (1949), 1-23. He believes — and I wholly concur — that the Iliad is an organic whole. That the epic is built from seemingly discrete building blocks does not render it inorganic. What matters is surely the deliberation and care with which the building blocks are arranged.

[7] So Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, London, 1982, 69 who cites in support J. C. Carothers, Culture, Psychiatry, and the Written Word, «Psychiatry», 22 (1959), 307-20.

[8] On Homer's speeches see Dieter Lohmann, Die Komposition der Reden in der Ilias, Berlin, 1970; G.S. Kirk, The "Iliad". A Commentary, II, Cambridge, 1990, 28-35; Kennedy, Art of Persuasion, 35-40 (with bibliography); and C.J. Larrain, Struktur der Reden in der Odysee 1-8, Hildesheim, 1987. Kirk also cites P. Friedrich and J. Redfield, Speech as Personality Symbol: The Case of Achilles, «Language», 54 (1978), 263-88, and, on the same lines, J. Griffin, Homeric Words and Speakers, «JHS», 106<(1986), 36-57 (criticized by I.J.F. de Jong, Homeric Words and Speakers: An Addendum, «JHS», 108 (1988), 188-9.

[9] Brief discussion in Kirk, Iliad,II, 250-1.

[10] Characteristics discussed, with bibliography, by K. Dickson, Kalkhas and Nestor: Two Narrative Strategies in Iliad 1, «Arethusa», 25 (1992), 327-358.

[11] Some important recent studies of narrative and narrators in Homer are I. J.F. De Jong, Narrators and Focalizers: The Presentation of the Story in the "Iliad", Amsterdam, 1987, Michael Lynn-George, "Epos": Word, Narrative and the "Iliad", London, 1988, and Richard P. Martin, The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the "Iliad", Ithaca, 1989.

[12] Aspects of this speech are discussed in Dickson, Kalkhas and Nestor, 339 ff.

[13] My schema and wording are based upon M. M. Willcock, A Companion to the "Iliad", Chicago, 1976, 9-10. Compare Lohmann's (Die Komposition, 224n18) rather complex analysis. He includes my prothesis within the same subdivision as the paradeigma.

[14] I use these terms guardedly — in particular the notions of the prothesis and the exordium. In the Homeric context they hardly approximate real rhetorical divisions. They may offer, however, a sense of the "rhetorical" structure of these speeches. On the divisions, see Aristotle, Rhetoric 1414aff. See also B.A. Van Groningen, La composition litteraire archaique grecque, 2nd. ed., Amsterdam, 1960, 62ff. (using the terms exordium and epilogue).

[15] Aristotle, Rhetoric 1393a, points out that the example (paradeigma) is a type of proof (one of the two main ones along with the enthymeme). He notes that one type of example is a narration of past events. Kennedy, Classical Rhetoric, 9-15 and Art of Persuasion, 35-40, notes that Homer is weak at arguing from proof (pistis).

[16] On the term "epilogue" in early Greek literature see Van Groningen, La composition, 70ff.

[17] This is the sense in which it is used for early Greek poetry by Van Groningen, La composition, 76: «un veritable procede unificateur». The fully-fledged epilogue had not of course developed in Archaic Greek literature.

[18] On the following points see Kennedy, Art of Persuasion (Index) and Classical Rhetoric, 12-14.

[19] See Edwards, Iliad, V, 55-7.

[20] I say less immediately evident with due caution. Ian Worthington has vigorously argued for the presence of detailed ring composition within the work of Dinarchus (and elsewhere). See, amongst others, Greek Oratory, Revision of Speeches, and the Problem of Historical Reliability, «C&M», 42 (1991), and A Historical Commentary on Dinarchus: Rhetoric and Conspiracy in Later Fourth-Century Athens, Ann Arbor, 1992.

[21] Which typifies oral epic. Hypotaxis (subordination) typifies the written product. The arguments on parataxis have often been rehearsed — see, for example, Peter Toohey, Reading Epic: An Introduction to the Ancient Narratives, London, 1992, chapter 1 (with brief bibliography). Note again Taplin, Homeric Soundings, 12.

[22] Hermann Fraenkel, Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy, trans. Moses Hadas and James Willis, Oxford, 1975, 525-7, is useful on this matter.

[23] Paratactic stylisation is evident within the narrative, for example, in the case of some battle scenes. These are often highly stylized, repetitive, even formulaic events. (They are well analysed by Bernard Fenik, Typical Battle Scenes in the "Iliad": Studies in the Narrative Techniques of Homeric Battle Descriptions, Hermes Einzelschriften 21, Wiesbaden, 1968.) They seem capable of insertion, seemingly unaltered, in a variety of contexts. When they are, they are added paratactically.

[24] Parataxis often produces what some call the "situational parallel" — for example the simple analogy drawn in the Odyssey between the house of Agamemnon and that of Odysseus (1.32-44). Such parallels are added analogously, almost anecdotally to their narrative. They remain organic.

[25] The Iliad and the Odyssey both exhibit a compositional style which links or juxtaposes large narrative blocks. Typical patterns of arrangement are ring form (A-B-C-B-A) and "spiral form" (A-B-A-B). These devices may shape the individual passage or the poem as a whole. Whitman (Homer and the Heroic Tradition, New York, 1965, 249ff.) believes that the Iliad is arranged in ring form. Thalmann (Conventions of Form and Thought in Early Greek Epic Poetry, Baltimore, 1984, 52) believes the Odyssey is shaped in a spiral (A-B-C-A-B-C). See also Edwards, The "Iliad", V, 45-8.

[26] See, for example, Seth L. Schein, The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's "Iliad", Berkeley, 1984, 33, on ring composition in Iliad 24.599- 620 (the story of Niobe) and M.N. Nagler, Spontaneity and Tradition: A Study in the Oral Art of Homer, Berkeley, 1974, 191ff., on ring composition between speeches within a book.

[27] On ring composition in Homer see Edwards, Iliad, V, 44-8 (with bibliography).

[28] Agamemnon's apology is a fine example of this sort of thing — see Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational, Berkeley, 1968, chapter 1. Compare Therseites at Iliad 2.225-42. His blunt, paradigmless speech incurs an immediate and wrathful response from his audience.

[29] Aspects of the role of Nestor in this book are discussed in M. Davies, Nestor's Advice in Iliad 7, «Eranos», (1986), 69-75.

[30] My analysis is based on Willcock, A Companion, 77-8, and on Lohmann, Die Komposition, 27-8.

[31] In this instance, however, the epilogue does not fill out the advice of the protheseis.

[32] See S.Perlman, The Historical Example, Its Use and Importance as Political Propaganda in the Attic Orators, «SH», 7 (1961), 150-66 on one aspect of the appeal to the past.

[33] Compare Phoenix (Iliad 9.434-605): his paradeigmata are remarkable in their detail. Phoenix, of course is also old. But his social standing (he had been Achilles' tutor), did not offer him the right of being a doer of deeds and a speaker of words. Words — without the implicit sanction of social standing — were all he could offer. Were he too direct in his utterance, maybe he could have suffered the same fate as Therseites (Iliad 2.211-77).

[34] This speech has been discussed by Victoria Pedrick, The Paradigmatic Nature of Nestor's Speech in Iliad 11, «TAPA», 113 (1983), 55-68 (bibliography at 54 n. 1 and 54 n. 2).

[35] Here I depart from Willcock, A Companion, 132-3. The rhetorical analysis is tendentious, but the imputed logic and the persuasive technique behind it is surely not. Detailed (but confusing) analysis of this speech in Lohmann, Die Komposition, 70-75 (and 263-71) whose over-all breakdown is: I: 656-764: com- plaint against Achilles; II: 765-791: Advice to Patroclus; III: 792-801: concluding view and alternative possibility. Edwards, The "Iliad", V, 47, has some comments on this speech.

[36] Dickson, Kalkhas and Nestor, 341ff., also uses the term of Nestor's speeches.

[37] I note the caution of Kirk, The "Iliad", II, 251: «the facile idea that length and elaboration necessarily reflect structural or emotional importance should be treated with caution». In this instance length and elaboration do seem precisely to mirror structural and emotional importance.

[38] Vian, Quintus, xxxix, has some interesting statistics (his source, which I have not yet seen, is G.W. Elderkin, Aspects of the Speech of Later Greek Epic, Baltimore, 1906). He notes that direct speech accounts for 50% of the text of Homer, 29% of Apollonius, 24% of Quintus Smyrnaeus, and 36% of Nonnus. R.Hunter, The "Argonautica" of Apollonius: Literary Studies, Cambridge, 1993 (citing G.Highet, The Speeches in Vergil's "Aeneid", Princeton, 1972, 302) notes that while 47% of Virgil's Aeneid is in direct speech, only 29% of Apollonius' text reflects this practice. Vian thinks that the statistic for Homer explains what Aristotle at Poetics 1448b 35 meant by attributing dramatic characteristics to Homer. Compare Hunter, 139.

[39] The cut-off point at thirty is arbitrary. That it illustrates the brevity of Apollonian speech-making is, however, obvious. Nestor's speech in Iliad 11 is nearly 150 lines long. I note in the Argonautica only twelve speeches of a length between 20-29 lines: 1.675-96; 2.468-89; 2.1047-67; 2.1123-33; 3.56-75; 3.171-93; 3.401-21; 3.891-911; 3.1079-1101; 3.1120-30; 4.1031-52; and 4.1073-95.

[40] The six non-persuasive speeches are: 1.793-833: to allay Argonautic suspicions concerning the absence of the Lemnian males, Hypsipyle states her falsehood and then invites the Argonauts to stay; 2.311-407: Phineus details the route which the Argonauts must take to reach Colchis; 2.774-810: Lycus relates his relations with Heracles and his reasons for wishing to send his son, Dascylus, on board the Argo; 3.771-801: a "psychological" monologue outlining Medea's conflicting emotions; 3.1026-62: Medea explains how Jason must conduct himself during the trials; 4.257-93: Argus predicts the route the Argonauts should take from Aea.

[41] These are: 2.209-239: Phineus requests help from the Argonauts; 3.320-66: Argus attempts to convince his uncle, Aietes, to welcome the Argonauts; 3.975-1007: Jason requests Medea's help in gaining the Golden Fleece; 4.355- 90: Medea requests Jason not to abandon her to Apsyrtus; 4.783-832: Hera endeavours to persuade Thetis to assist the Argonauts past Scylla and Charybdis.

[42] Virgil, Aeneid 1, for example has 1.229-53 (Venus' plea to Jupiter), 1.257- 96 (Jupiter's response), Venus' description of Carthage to Aeneas (1.335-70), Aeneas' reply (1.372-401), Ilioneus' address to Dido (1.522-58), and so on. Compare Lucan Civil War 1 (think of Caesar's speech to his troops at 1.299- 351) or Statius' Thebaid 1 (Oedipus, 1.56-87, Jupiter, 1.214-47, Juno 1.250- 82, Adrastus 1.498-510, Adrastus 1.557-672 (Linus and Coroebus), Adrastus 1.682-720).

[43] I omit 2.209-239 primarily for reasons of space. The speech is, however, a less striking example and, perhaps, a less well structured example of what the other four attempt.

[44] William V. Harris, Ancient Literacy, Cambridge, Mass., 1989, 128. He also notes on p. 325: «The Hellenistic Greeks, in particular those who ruled and administered the Ptolemaic empire, developed the bureaucratic uses of writing far beyond what had been known in the classical era». He also notes (p.329) a lift in literacy from 10- 15% during the fifth and fourth centuries to an "early modern" scale in some Hellenistic cities of 30-40%. That this literacy may have been confined to the elite is suggested p.116-146 passim (The Hellenistic State and Elementary Education).

[45] Apollonius' eponymous city of Rhodes seems to have been an especially enthusiastic proponent of literacy. Harris, Ancient Literacy, 130f. discusses its elementary education foundations.

[46] Harris, Ancient Literacy, 125: «The library was to be comprehensive, and therefore in a sense a giant retrospective of all Greek thinking — and of barbarian thinking too, which could be accepted, if not absorbed, since it could now be put into the unthreatening form of written Greek translations».

[47] Some Ancient Notions of Boredom, «ICS», 13 (1988), 151-164; Some Ancient Histories of Literary Melancholia, «ICS», 15 (1990), 143-163; Love, Lovesickness, and Melancholy, «ICS» ,17.2 (1992), 265-86.

[48] See Toohey, Acedia and eros in Apollonius Rhodius (Arg. 3.260-299), «Glotta», 70 (1992) 114-22 and Literary Melancholia. A recent defence of Jason's amechanie is by S. Jackson, Apollonius' Jason: Human Being in an Epic Scenario, «G&R»,39 (1992), 155-62.

[49] So Toohey, Reading Epic, chapter 4, and Acedia and eros.

[50] Hunter, The "Argonautica" of Apollonius, 144ff. produces a fascinating discussion of the use of indirect speech in the Argonautica. His conclusion is that the technique foregrounds the «powerful poet, controlling a complex pattern of competing voices» (p.151). Hunter also notes that in the case of some speeches that «indirect speech is associated with secrecy and planning» (p.145). Secrecy and planning, I would suggest, go very well with the pervasive passivity of so much of this poem.

[51] Race, Aspects of Rhetoric, might profitably be consulted on the "rhetoric" of these pleas. They preserve the three key elements, as he argues, of the Greek hymn: an arche (the "beginning" or exordium), the establishment of charis (in my terms the "promise" or "benefaction"), and the request (the plea itself).

[52] H. Fraenkel, Noten zu Argonautika des Apollonios, Munich, 1968, 536, stresses that Hera's agitation is reflected in this passage.

[53] Even so there are many other points in the narrative when we might have expected some form of extended speech-making. Here are some random examples: when the Argonauts, before embarking, choose a leader (1.317-62); on Lemnos (1.609ff.) Jason's leave- taking would have provided an excellent place for a very dramatic (or at the worst bathetic) address; or Cyzicus: why not have Cleite lament the death of her husband before committing suicide (1.1063-5)? speeches might have marked out the deaths of Idmon and Tiphys (instead Jason is amechaneon, 2.885-93).

[54] On "estrangement" see D.C. Feeney, The Gods in Epic: Poets and Critics of the Classical Tradition, Oxford, 1991, chapter 2. On amechanos amplakie, Toohey, Reading Epic, chapter 4, passim.

[55] Cole, The Origins of Rhetoric, notes (basing himself on K. von Fritz, Noos and noein in the Homeric Poems, «CP», 38(1943), 79-93) that «there is no gulf between the world of thought and that of reality in the Homeric age». The absolute reverse is the case in Apollonius.

[56] This is Feeney's argument in The Gods in Epic. Ian Worthington suggests to me that Phineus' omissions may be the result of Apollonius' desire not to detract from the surprise of later events.

[57] I am profoundly indebted to Feeney (The Gods in Epic, chapter 2), who focuses on the role of the divine in the Argonautica and on human perception of the divine (humans are like words, the gods like deeds or reality). Between these spheres, argues Feeney, is a pronounced disjunction (p.76).

[58] It is significant that book 3, the most popular section of the Argonautica, has the highest incidence of direct speech. The figures are approximately as follows: book 1, 20%; book 2, 26% (without Phineus' long speech, 33% with); book 3, 40%; book 4, 26%.

[59] Literacy is not always registered as an unambiguously positive achievement. Ong's work, for example, is suffused with a romantic nostalgia for the preliterate world. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. A. Sheridan, Harmondsworth 1991, 190, points to some of the ways that writing can be used for controlling and for the maintenance of power. For Jesper Svenbro, Phrasikleia: An Anthropology of Reading in Ancient Greece, trans. J. Lord, Ithaca, 1993, writing is a most phallocentric activity. The association in feminist thought of writing with patriarchal dominance is almost too commonplace to require citation.

[60] Walter J. Ong, Interfaces of the Word: Studies in the Evolution of Consciousness and Culture, Ithaca, 1977, passim, Orality and Literacy, passim, and Jack Goody, The Interface between the Written and the Oral, Cambridge, 1987, (note p.263-4), are useful on this matter.

[61] See Ong, Interfaces of the Word, Orality and Literacy, Goody, The Interface, and The Domestication of the Savage Mind, Cambridge, 1977.

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Last technical revision June, 9, 1995.

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