Heracles in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women

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INTRODUCTION The role of Heracles in the HesiodicCatalogue of Women has been little studied. This is surprising if we consider the potential interest the topic holds for students of Greek epic and tragedy. The present paper suggests that it is well worth having a closer look, not only for the ways in which this might enhance our understanding of Heracles in other texts, but also, more importantly, for what we might learn about the Catalogue itself. I begin with an observation that is likely to strike any reader of the Catalogue of Women as it has been reconstructed by Reinhold Merkelbach and Martin West. Heracles lives his life backwards. The first major fragment that we can place deals with his death and apotheosis (fr. 25), the last one with his birth (fr. 195). In between, we move from the sack of Oechalia (fr. 26) back to that of Pylos (frr. 33–5), Cos (fr. 43a) and Troy (fr. 165). Finally, we arrive at the labours imposed on Heracles by Eurystheus (fr. 190). Then he is born.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Hesiodic Catalogue of Women
Subtitle of host publicationConstructions and Reconstructions
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780511482243
ISBN (Print)0521836840, 9780521836845
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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