Penelope, Clytemnestra and the challenges of military homecomings (Dr Emma Bridges, Institute of Classical Studies)

5:00pm - 6:00pm / Tuesday 19th March 2019 / Venue: Seminar Room 10, Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Classics and Ancient History Seminar Series
  • Add this event to my calendar
    (?)

    When you click on "Add this event to my calendar" your browser will download an ics file.

    Microsoft Outlook: Download the file, then you may be able to click on "Save & Close" to save it to your calendar. If that doesn't work go into Outlook, click on the File tab, then on Open, then Import. Select "Import an iCalendar (.ic or vCalendar file (.vcs)" then click on Next. Find the .ics file and click on OK.

    Google Calendar: download the file, then go into your calendar. On the right where it says "Other calendars" click on the arrow icon and then click on Import calendar. Click on Browse and select the .ics file, then click on Import.

    Apple Calendar: download the file, then you can either drag it to Calendar or import the file by going to File > Import > Import and choosing the .ics file.

This paper will examine one aspect of the relationship of mythical warriors’ wives with their husbands: the reunion process which takes place after a soldier returns from war. It will ask whether we can gain fresh insight into the ancient representations of Penelope and Clytemnestra – one famed for her fidelity, the other notorious for her betrayal of her absent husband – if we compare their stories with the experiences of ‘military spouses’ in contemporary society. While Book 23 of the Odyssey might be seen to present in microcosm many of the elements of the reunion process – encompassing Penelope’s disbelief, denial, suspicion and eventual joy – experienced by those in a military marriage today, by contrast, the traditions relating to Clytemnestra and Agamemnon act as a grotesque distortion of a successful homecoming.