The Cypria: Reconstructing the Lost Prequel to Homer's Iliad
D M Smith
(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Aug. 10, 2017)
In Classical times, the story of the Trojan War was told in a series of eight epic poems known as the Epic Cycle, of which only the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer survive to the present day. The first poem in the sequence was the Cypria, which described the early years of the war from Eris’ casting of the golden apple at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, to Paris’ abduction of Helen, the sacrifice of Iphigenia, Odysseus’ treacherous murder of Palamedes, and finally, the enslavement of Briseis and Chryseis, which sowed the seeds of the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon in the Iliad.The Cypria is now lost, but the myths it once contained are known from a number of later writings. In an ambitious exercise in literary back-breeding, editor D. M. Smith attempts to reconstruct the lost prequel to Homer’s Iliad from the available material. Included are excerpts from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Apollodorus’ Bibliotheca, Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis and Colluthus’ The Rape of Helen, as well as lesser known documents such as Dictys Cretensis Ephemeris Belli Trojani, and the Excidium Troiae — a medieval summary of a lost Roman account of the Trojan War, discovered among the papers of an 18th century clergyman in the 1930s. This eclectic melange of Greek and Latin texts has been carefully edited and arranged in accordance with the known chronology of the Cypria, thus allowing readers to trace the story of this vanished epic as a continuous narrative for the first time in over a thousand years.