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Homer's 'Battle of the Frogs and Mice' and the Meaning of Parody

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What did parody mean to the Greeks and what does Greek parody mean to us? This paper sets out to establish what parody, or parodia, meant for the Greeks, and the extent to which audience response to parody differed during the Greek period from the later usages it inspired. For the Greeks, parody indicated a specific literary form rather than a technique. This discussed, I shall then turn to examine the only surviving example of this form, the Battle of Frogs and Mice (Batrachomyomachia), supposedly written by Homer. This firstcentury Greek poem poses scholars a variety of questions. It also provide us with an insight into a lesser studied period of Greek literature, as it engages both with a long, complex and varied history of Greek epic, and with the tradition of animal fables. As the audience attempts to identify the different parodies, the identity and literary associations of the characters becomes more complex.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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