My research looks at how archaic Greek poetry uses specific phonic devices – collections of sounds within phrases in a text that give meaning to the audience above and beyond their literal meaning – in order to guide the audience in their reception of the text. Specifically looking at the Homeric corpus, I consider how, through this use and repetition of specific sounds, the audience are conditioned to direct their attention or their reaction in specific ways and how the text itself is sufficient to establish this reaction.
By comparing and contrasting with extended mythological narrative in the Ancient Near-East, with particular focus on the Enûma Eliš and the Gilgamesh tablets, this research demonstrates that while some techniques are common between Greek and Mesopotamian literature, the differences demonstrate key aspects of the approach to mythological narratives within each culture. The amount of influence of Mesopotamian culture on the Greek world has been a source of much academic intrigue in the past century. By taking the same analytical approach to each literature in isolation and comparing the results, it is possible to develop our approach to comparative studies. The main aim is to demonstrate that while some elements of mythology may have passed from the Near-East to the Greek world, the fundamental differences in approach between the Greek and Babylonian mind-set can drastically alter how they are presented or interpreted. While comparative mythology may not be able to prove a direct link between the Near-East and Greece, a comparative approach is capable of improving our understanding of both literatures, revealing functions and nuances that have yet been identified.