Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date



Within this thesis I argue that the Iliad and Odyssey, as representatives of sub-genres within the larger archaic Greek epic tradition, engage in a shared agonistic discourse with one another in order to demonstrate that the hero of each epic is superior to that of its competitor. In order to trace this agonistic discourse, I examine the manner in which each epic employs the terms thumos, 'heart,' and gaster, 'belly,' to define itself in opposition to its competing epic sub-genre. Traditionally scholars have considered the Odyssey the more recent of the two epics and, thus, relying upon the Iliad. However, I contend that both epics are the products of competing performance traditions, such that we may find not only that the Odyssey is in agonistic competition with the Iliad, but that the Iliad is itself competing with the Odyssey.


Homer, Iliad, Odyssey, Performance Studies, Greek Epic

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Garcia Jr., Lorenzo

First Committee Member (Chair)

Garcia Jr., Lorenzo

Second Committee Member

Cyrino, Monica

Third Committee Member

Brau, Lorie