Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Classics

Supervisor

Kathryn Mattison

Co-Supervisor

Paul Murgatroyd

Language

English

Committee Member

Evan Haley

Abstract

The epic hero Diomedes is, in my opinion, considered a marginal hero, as he is relegated to a backbench in ancient Greek thought and ideology. I examine why this is the case, considering his role and impact in Homer's Iliad. Greek society valued its epic heroes beyond the words of the poets, yet some heroes received much more attention that others as central characters in tragedy and iconography, consequently regarded as favourites by mass audiences. I believe that examining a marginal hero like Diomedes is important in order to understand why Greek culture generally disregarded some warriors in favour of others, especially in the case of Diomedes, who displays heroic virtues more evidently than several other heroes who have received more attention. Overall Greek attitudes toward him offer an intriguing perspective on the epic heroes and the ways in which the Greeks idealized them. An examination of Greek literary, visual, and religious spheres of influence effectively aid in determining the reasons behind this phenomenon. In summary, this work attempts to understand Greek attitudes towards a hero who has received very little scholarly attention. The concept of the epic hero requires analysis of even the most neglected characters; one cannot understand Odysseus, Achilles, or Hector without examining Diomedes, who has a notable role in the very same tradition as the aforementioned heroes.

McMaster University Library