Homer the Rhetorician: Eustathios of Thessalonike on the Composition of the Iliad by Baukje van den Berg (Assistant Professor of Byzantine Studies, Assistant Professor of Byzantine Studies, Central European University)
Homer the Rhetorician is the first monograph study devoted to the monumental Commentary on the Iliad by Eustathios of Thessalonike, one of the most renowned orators and teachers of the Byzantine twelfth century. Homeric poetry was a fixture in the Byzantine educational curriculum and enjoyed special popularity under the Komnenian emperors. For Eustathios, Homer was the supreme paradigm of eloquence and wisdom. Writing for an audience of aspiring or practising prose writers, he explains in his commentary what it is that makes Homer's composition so successful in rhetorical terms. This study explores the exemplary qualities that Eustathios recognizes in the poet as author and the Iliad as rhetorical masterpiece. In this way, it advances our understanding of the rhetorical thought of a leading intellectual and the role of a cultural authority as respected as Homer in one of the most fertile periods in Byzantine literary history.