Date of Thesis

Spring 2022

Description

The Catalogue of Heroines (Odyssey 11.225-330) presents a thorough corpus of prominent mythological women as Odysseus recounts the stories of each woman he encounters in the Underworld. In this thesis I apply digital humanities tools and methods to the Catalogue of Heroines in order to center ancient women in a discussion of the Odyssey and to determine how the relationships between the heroines contribute to the Catalogue’s overall purpose. First, I examine the history of the digital humanities with particular attention to contributions to the field made by classicists; I identify the need for further digital humanities projects centered around women; and then select the digital humanities methods most applicable to my investigation of the Catalogue: close reading through text encoding and social network analysis. I next develop my own detailed feminist translation of the Catalogue. I then demonstrate how my close reading of the text using Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) standards, and the prosopography I developed through that reading, reveals complex connections, both explicit and implied, among characters and places of the Catalogue. Using my TEI close reading and prosopography, I analyze the genealogies laid out in the Catalogue, revealing how every heroine in the Catalogue is linked to the others. Through the TEI close reading I also demonstrate how the four man-made objects of the Catalogue, ζώνη (girdle), βρόχοs (noose), ἕδνα (bride-price), and χρυσὸs (gold), reveal the ancient Greek stigma surrounding women, sexuality, and fidelity. Finally, I use social network analysis to create a network graph through which I demonstrate that the genealogy of the Catalogue of Heroines isolates and excludes Thebes, demonstrating an anti-Theban bias and favoring the Theban enemy cities of Orchomenos and Athens. Ultimately, by applying these digital humanities methods, I conclude that the Catalogue of Heroines has three distinct purposes: to warn its audience about the infidelity and corruptibility of women; to isolate and condemn Thebes in contrast with other ancient Greek cities; and to elevate Odysseus’ status by tying him to prominent mythological lineages. In these ways, I am presenting new pathways that can assist other classicists to center women in ancient texts.

Keywords

Odyssey, women, TEI, network, catalogue

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Classics & Mediterranean Studies

First Advisor

Stephanie Larson

Second Advisor

Diane Jakacki

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