The purpose of this book is to contribute to the appreciation of the linguistic, literary and contextual value of Homeric personal names. This is an old topic, which famously interested Plato, and an object of constant scholarly attention from the time of ancient commentators to the present day.
The book begins with an introduction to the particularly complex set of factors that affect all efforts to interpret Homeric names. The main chapters are structured around the character and action of selected heroes in their Homeric contexts (in the case of the Iliad, a heroic war; the Odyssey chapter encompasses more than one planes of action). They offer a survey of modern etymologies, set against ancient views on names and naming, in order to reconstruct (as far as possible) the reception of significant names by ancient audiences and further to shed light on the parameters surrounding the choice and use of personal names in Homer. An Appendix touches on the underexplored career of Homeric personal names as historical names, offering data and a preliminary analysis.