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The Cypria (Greek: Κύπρια Kúpria; Latin: Cypria) is a lost epic poem of ancient Greek literature, which has been attributed to Stasinus and was quite well known in classical antiquity[1] and fixed in a received text, but which subsequently was lost to view. It was part of the Epic Cycle, which told the entire history of the Trojan War in epic hexameter verse. The story of the Cypria comes chronologically at the beginning of the Epic Cycle, and is followed by that of the Iliad; the composition of the two was apparently in the reverse order. The poem comprised eleven books of verse in epic dactylic hexameters.

Contents

1 Date and authorship 2 Manuscript tradition 3 Content 4 Reception 5 Editions 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References

Date and authorship[edit] The Cypria, in the written form in which it was known in classical Greece, was probably composed in the late seventh century BCE,[2] but there is much uncertainty. The Cyclic Poets, as the translator of Homerica, Hugh G. Evelyn-White noted[3] "were careful not to trespass upon ground already occupied by Homer," one of the reasons for dating the final, literary form of Cypria as post-Homeric, in effect a "prequel". "The author of the Kypria already regarded the Iliad
Iliad
as a text. Any reading of the Kypria will show it preparing for events for (specifically) the Iliad
Iliad
in order to refer back to them, for instance the sale of Lykaon to Lemnos
Lemnos
or the kitting out of Achilles
Achilles
with Briseis
Briseis
and Agamemnon
Agamemnon
with Chryseis".[4] A comparison can be made with the Aethiopis, also lost, but which even in its quoted fragments is more independent of the Iliad
Iliad
as text. The stories contained in the Cypria, on the other hand, were fixed[5] much earlier than that, and the same problems of dating oral traditions associated with the Homeric epics also apply to the Cypria. Many or all of the stories in the Cypria were known to the composer(s) of the Iliad
Iliad
and Odyssey. The Cypria, in presupposing an acquaintance with the events of the Homeric poem, in the received view thus formed a kind of introduction to the Iliad[6] though there is an overlap in events from the death of Palamedes, including the catalogue of Trojan allies.[7] J. Marks observes that "Indeed, the junction would be seamless if the Kypria simply ended with the death of Palamedes."[8] The title Cypria, associating the epic with Cyprus,[9] demanded some explanation: the epic was said in one ancient tradition[10] to have been given by Homer
Homer
as a dowry to his son-in-law, a Stasinus of Cyprus mentioned in no other context; there was apparently an allusion to this in a lost Nemean ode by Pindar. Some later writers repeated the story. It did at least serve to explain why the Cypria was attributed by some to Homer
Homer
and by others to Stasinus. Others, however, ascribed the poem to Hegesias (or Hegesinus) of Salamis in Cyprus
Cyprus
or to Cyprias of Halicarnassus (see Cyclic Poets). It is possible that the "Trojan Battle Order" (the list of Trojans and their allies, of Iliad
Iliad
2.816-876, which forms an appendix to the Catalogue of Ships) is abridged from that in the Cypria, which was known to contain in its final book a list of the Trojan allies. Manuscript tradition[edit] In current critical editions only about fifty lines survive of the Cypria's original text, quoted by others. For the content we are almost entirely dependent on a prose summary of the Cyclic epics contained in the Chrestomathy attributed to an unknown "Proclus" (possibly to be identified with the 2nd-century CE grammarian Eutychius Proclus, or else with an otherwise unknown 5th-century grammarian).[11] Many other passing references give further minor indications of the poem's storyline. Content[edit] What follows embeds reports of known content of the Cypria in a retelling of the known events leading up to the anger of Achilles. The poem narrates the origins of the Trojan War
Trojan War
and its first events. It begins with the decision of Zeus to relieve the Earth of the burden of population through war, a decision with familiar Mesopotamian parallels.[12] The Theban war of the Seven ensues. The Cypria described the wedding of Peleus
Peleus
and Thetis; in the Judgement of Paris[13] among the goddesses Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite: Paris awards the prize for beauty to Aphrodite, and as a prize is awarded Helen, wife of Menelaus. Then Paris builds his ships at Aphrodite's suggestion, and Helenus foretells the future to him, and Aphrodite
Aphrodite
orders Aeneas
Aeneas
to sail with him, while Cassandra
Cassandra
prophesies the outcome. In Lacedaemon the Trojans are entertained by the sons of Tyndareus, Castor and Polydeuces, and by Menelaus, who then sets sail for Crete, ordering Helen[14] to furnish the guests with all they require. Aphrodite
Aphrodite
brings Helen and Paris together, and he takes her and her dowry back to his home of Troy
Troy
with an episode at Sidon, which Paris and his men successfully storm. In the meantime Castor and Polydeuces, while stealing the cattle of Idas
Idas
and Lynceus, are caught and killed: Zeus gives them immortality that they share every other day. Iris informs Menelaus, who returns to plan an expedition against Ilium with his brother Agamemnon. They set out to assemble the former suitors of Helen, who had sworn an oath to defend the rights of whichever one won her hand. Nestor in a digression tells Menelaus
Menelaus
how Epopeus was destroyed after seducing the daughter of Lycus, the story of Oedipus, the madness of Heracles, and the story of Theseus
Theseus
and Ariadne. In gathering the leaders, they detect Odysseus' feigned madness. The assembled leaders offer ill-omened sacrifice at Aulis, where the prophet Calchas
Calchas
warns the Greeks that the war will last ten years. They reach the city of Teuthras
Teuthras
in Mysia
Mysia
and sack it in error for Ilium: Telephus
Telephus
comes to the city's rescue and is wounded by Achilles. The fleet scattered by storm, Achilles
Achilles
puts in at Skyros
Skyros
and marries Deidameia, the daughter of Lycomedes, then heals Telephus, so that he might be their guide to Ilium. When the Achaeans have been mustered a second time at Aulis, Agamemnon is persuaded by Calchas
Calchas
to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia
Iphigenia
to appease the goddess Artemis
Artemis
and obtain safe passage for the ships, after he offends her by killing a stag. Iphigeneia is fetched as though for marriage with Achilles. Artemis, however, snatches her away, substituting a deer on the altar, and transports her to the land of the Tauri, making her immortal. Next they sail as far as Tenedos, where while they are feasting, Philoctetes
Philoctetes
is bitten by a snake and is left behind in Lemnos. Here, too, Achilles
Achilles
quarrels with Agamemnon. A first landing at the Troad
Troad
is repulsed by the Trojans, and Protesilaus is killed by Hector. Achilles then kills Cycnus, the son of Poseidon, and drives the Trojans back. The Greeks take up their dead and send envoys to the Trojans demanding the surrender of Helen and the treasure. The Trojans refusing, they first attempt an assault upon the city, and then lay waste the country round about. Achilles
Achilles
desires to see Helen, and Aphrodite
Aphrodite
and Thetis
Thetis
contrive a meeting between them. The Achaeans next desire to return home, but are restrained by Achilles, who afterwards drives off the cattle of Aeneas, sacks neighbouring cities, and kills Troilus. Patroclus carries away Lycaon to Lemnos
Lemnos
and sells him as a slave, and out of the spoils Achilles
Achilles
receives Briseis
Briseis
as a prize, and Agamemnon
Agamemnon
Chryseis. Then follow the death of Palamedes, the plan of Zeus to relieve the Trojans by detaching Achilles
Achilles
from the Hellenic confederacy, and a catalogue of the Trojan allies. Reception[edit] The Cypria was considered to be a lesser work than Homer's two masterpieces: Aristotle
Aristotle
criticised it for its lack of narrative cohesion and focus. It was rather a catalogue of events than a unified story. Editions[edit]

Online editions (English translation):

Fragments of the Cypria translated by H.G. Evelyn-White, 1914 (public domain) Fragments of complete Epic Cycle
Epic Cycle
translated by H.G. Evelyn-White, 1914; Project Gutenberg edition Proclus' summary of the Epic Cycle, omitting the Telegony translated by G. Nagy, 2000

Print editions (Greek):

A. Bernabé 1987, Poetarum epicorum Graecorum testimonia et fragmenta pt. 1 (Leipzig) M. Davies 1988, Epicorum Graecorum fragmenta (Göttingen)

Print editions (Greek with English translation):

M.L. West 2003 (ed., trans.), Greek Epic Fragments from the seventh to the fifth centuries BC Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA) pp. 64–107 ISBN 0-674-99605-4 Online

See also[edit]

Eris (mythology) Apple of Discord

Notes[edit]

^ Herodotus
Herodotus
(ii.117) refers to it. ^ "An indication that at least the main contents of the Cypria were known around 650 BCE is provided by the representation of the Judgement of Paris
Judgement of Paris
on the Chigi vase" (Burkert 1992:103). On the proto-Attic pitcher of ca. 640 BCE called the Chigi "vase"[permanent dead link], Paris is identified as Al[exand]ros, as he was apparently called in Cypria. ^ In his Preface to Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica ^ Ken Dowden, "Homer's Sense of Text" The Journal of Hellenic Studies 116 (1996, pp. 47-61). p 48, noting that the observation had been made by Eric Bethe, in Homer: Dichtung und Sage II: Odysee, Kyklos, Zeitbestimmung, 1922:202. ^ W. Kullmann's term Faktkanon, the "canon of facts" is useful in distinguishing fixed narrative content— the list and sequence of facts— from fixed, canonic texts. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911: "Stasinus" ^ Pinder 1995. ^ Pinder 1995, p. 2. ^ Burkert, (Burkert 1992:103) noting Mesopotamian parallels, concludes "these observations must then point to that epoch when Cyprus, though rich and powerful, was still formally under Assyrian domination". ^ Recorded in John Tzetzes' Chiliades xiii.638. ^ The Chrestomathy itself was preserved in the ninth-century Patriarch Photios' renowned Bibliotheca or Myriobiblon, codex 239. ^ Burkert 1992: 101-04. Compare Atra-Hasis. ^ Paris is called Alexandros in quotations of Cypria and in the surviving synopsis. ^ "In the Cypria, Nemesis was Helen's mother, born after Zeus raped the goddess, who had done her best to escape him." Scodel, Ruth (2008). "Stupid, Pointless Wars". Transactions of the American Philological Association. 138: 219–235. doi:10.1353/apa.0.0009. 

References[edit]

Marks, J. (December 2001). "The Junction between the Kypria and the Iliad". Phoenix. 56 (1/2). doi:10.2307/1192467.  Burkert, Walter; Pinder, Margaret E. (1995). The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-64364-2.  F.G. Welcker, Der epische Cyclus, oder Die homerischen Dichter Bonn : E. Weber, 1849-65. D.B. Monro, Homer's Odyssey, books XIII-XXIV Appendix to his edition of Odyssey, xiii–xxiv. (1901) Thomas W. Allen, "The Epic Cycle," in Classical Quarterly (January 1908, and following issues)

v t e

Epic Cycle

Cypria Iliad Aethiopis Little Iliad Iliupersis Nostoi Odyssey Telegony

v t e

Works related to Homer
Homer
in antiquity

Attributed to Homer

Batrachomyomachia Cercopes Cypria Epigrams (Kiln) Epigoni Homeric Hymns Iliad Little Iliad Margites Nostoi Odyssey Capture of Oechalia Phocais Thebaid

About Homer

Ancient accounts of Homer Contest of Homer
Homer
and Hesiod Life of Homer
Homer
(Pseud

.