Grated cheese fit for heroes

Journal of Hellenic Studies 118:190-191 (1998)
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Abstract

The scene inIliad11 where Nestor's slave Hekamede prepares a restorative κυκεών for his guests in his great cup, which only he can lift when it is full, has often been cited in connection with the skyphos from Ischia, dated toc.735–720 BC, with its verse inscription that alludes to Nestor's εὔποτον ποτήριον. Now that scholarly opinion is increasingly swinging towards a seventh-century dating for theIliad, it seems more prudent than ever to see the Ischia inscription as a reflex not of ourIliadbut of a similar Nestorian drinking episode in earlier epic tradition. His cup, as described, has features of a Bronze Age vessel; and the motif of the mighty goblet is paralleled in the Ugaritic Baal epic, current not later than the fourteenth century.Here I want to consider another element in the scene, namely the grated cheese which Hekamede adds to her posset. I hope to show, by a combination of metrics and archaeology, that this too, even though it cannot be traced back to the Bronze Age, belongs to a traditional account that is many generations older than ourIliad.

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The rise of the Greek epic.Martin L. West - 1988 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 108:151-172.

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