Criticism and Rework of Homeric Narrative in Dio's Trojan Discourse

  • Giampiero Scafoglio


Dio Chrysostom, in his Trojan Discourse (Speech 11) rewrites the story of the Trojan War in a new and different way (with Trojans’ victory over Greeks, the murder of Hector by Achilles, and so on), in contrast with the tale of the Iliad and under the pretense of an historical reconstruction. He preys on Homeric narrative techniques (such as the selective and motivated plot of the Iliad, and the first-person tale in the Odyssey), in order to disprove the traditional version of the legend and to pave the way for a new view. Dio takes a metaliterary and intertextual approach to Homeric epics, insofar as he criticizes and deconstructs their narratives (bearing in mind Homeric criticism by Aristotle and by Alexandrine grammarians), in order to rebuild the story anew. He also provides a specimen of generic crossing, since he frames an epic subject in the context of a prose speech that belongs to epidictic oratory and that simulates some historiographical practices.