Some sixty times in the Iliad and Odyssey, the narrator describes a sequence of events with the climactic phrase, "And now X would have happened, had not Y intervened." Though some recent studies have begun to focus on this narrative technique, a fuller accounting of its properties remains desirable, as many of the passages where it is employed are quite significant to the overall construction of the plots. I have termed the phenomenon pivotal contrafactuals. The present study argues that the composer achieves three general narrative benefits by employing this device. First, it is a method for emphatically changing the direction of the plot (hence the adjective "pivotal"). Second, it allows the narrator to confer added emphases of various kinds upon the events he describes. Third, the narrator often uses the construction to make an editorial comment upon the character on whose behalf the intervention occurs. Intriguingly, Homer appears to link some pivotal contrafactuals together through various means. Some occur as equivalent elements in different multiforms of a common type scene. Some occur in different narratives describing the same event. These latter raise the possibility that divine intervention of which he is unaware occurs in Odysseus's narrative of his wanderings. Finally, I suggest that a passage at the beginning of the Catalogue of Ships, which has attracted various interpretations, is a modified pivotal contrafactual.

[Footnotes]

[Footnotes]
1
Narrators and Focalizers: The Presentation of the Story in the Iliad (Amsterdam, 1987) 68- 81.
2
"Unreal Conditions in Homeric Narrative," GRBS 30 (1989) 5-26
3
De Jong notes (among others) Bassett, The Poetry of Homer (Berkeley, 1938) 100ff.
Kullmann, Das Wirken der Götter in der Ilias (Berlin, 1952)
Reinhardt, Die Ilias und ihr Dichter (Göttingen, 1961)
Fenik, Typical Battle Scenes in the Iliad (Wiesbaden, 1968).
Edwards, Homer: Poet of the Iliad (Baltimore, 1987)
G. S. Kirk, The Iliad: A Commentary I (Cambridge, 1985).
Shipp, Studies in the Language of Homer, 2d ed. (Cambridge, 1972)
L. Bassett, La syntaxe de l'imaginaire: Étude des modes et des negations dans l'Iliade et l'Odyssée, Collection de la Maison de l'Orient Mediterranéen no. 20, Série Philologique 2 (Lyon, 1989)
James Morrison's "Alternatives to the Epic Tradition: Homer's Challenges in the Iliad", TAPA 122 (1992) 61-71
Stewart Flory, "Thucydides' Hypotheses about the Peloponnesian War," TAPA 118 (1988) 43-56, esp. 48-49.
5
De Jong's figures for the Iliad (2.155-56; 3.373- 75; 5.22-23, 311-13, 388-90, 679-80; 6.73-76; 7.104-8, 273-75; 8.90-91, 130-32, 217-18; 11.310- 12, 504-7, 750; 12.290-93; 13.723-25; 14.258-59; 15.121-27, 458-62; 16.698-700; 17.70-73, 319- 23, 530-31, 613-14; 18.151-52/165-67, 397-99, 454-56; 20.288-91; 21.211-12, 544-45; 22.202-4; 23.154-55, 382-84, 490-91, 540-41, 733-34; 24.713-15)
infra, nn. 7, 13
Odyssey figures are my own: 4.363-65, 441-44, 502-3, 5.426- 27, 436-37; 7.278-80; 9.79-80; 11.565-66, 630-33; 13.383-85; 14.32-33; 16.220-21; 21.128-29, 226-27; 23.241-42; 24.41-42, 50-52, 528-30.
6
Il. 2.488, 5.22, 6.52-54, 11.504, 12.290, 13.676, 14.258, 15.459, 17.613, 18.397, 21.177-79, 22.202
Od. 13.383, 24.41
Il. 8.130, 11.310
Il. 6.52-54, 21.177-79
Od. 13.384
Smythe, Greek Grammar (Cambridge, 1920) 437
Basset (supra, n. 3) 220ff.
7
Lang (14, 21ff.)
Ameis-Hentze (Leipzig, 1908)
Od. 7.280
Basset (supra, n. 3: 220ff.)
8
Il. 2.155, 488; 3.373; 5.22, 311, 388; 8.130, 217; 11.750; 12.290; 14.258; 15.121, 458; 16.698; 17.70, 319; 18.165, 397, 454; 20.288; 21.211, 544; 22.202
Od. 4.363, 441, 502; 5.426, 436; 13.383; 23.241; 24.41, 528
Od. 7.278 and 9.79
9
Morrison (supra, n. 3: 67)
10
DeJong 70.
11
Whitman's Homer and the Heroic Tradition (New York, 1965) 194-96.
16
Fenik (supra, n. 3), 39.
17
Od. 1.35
18
Il. 20.288ff.
Hektor, Il. 7.104
Hektor's hands, Il. 8.90
Troy, Il. 16.698
Od. 5.436
Od. 21.128-29
20
Kirk's commentary on Il. 5.9-11.
21
Ibid.
22
Il. 5.679; 21.211; 23.154, 733; 24.713
Od. 16.220, 21.226, 23.241.
Il. 7.273; 15.121; 17.530; 18.397; 23.382, 490, 540
Od. 24.41.
De Jong (77)
Il. 7.273-76; 17.530-32; 23.154-55, 490-91, 733-34, 24:713-15
25
Janko's commentary on 13.673-837
26
Fernández-Galiano's introduction to Book 21 in the Heubeck et al. commentary (Ox- ford 1992)
27
Iliad 15.458-62
29
Edwards (infra, n. 34) 47ff.
Fenik (supra, n. 3) 159; etc.
31
Fenik (supra, n. 3) 24.
32
Ibid. 51.
33
Martin Mueller (apparently borrowing the term from Paul Ricoeur), The Iliad (London, 1984) 151, 152, 156, 157, 158.
34
Mark W. Edwards, "Topos and Transformation in Homer," in J. M. Bremer, Homer: Beyond Oral Poetry: Recent Trends in Homeric Interpretation (Amsterdam, 1987) 50.
36
Moulton, Similes in the Homeric Poems (Göttingen, 1975) 128-34
Foley, "'Reverse Similes' and Sex Roles in the Odyssey," Arethusa 11 (1978) 7-26.
Od. 5.395ff.
38
De Jong 151-60
40
Odys- seus, 11.565ff., 630ff.
41
Whitman, (supra, n. 11) 298
Il. 2.846 and 17.73
42
Quintus Smyrnaeus 14.419ff.
43
Odyssey at 4.499ff.
Quintus Smyrnaeus 13.422
(n. 42), 14.419ff.
44
Clay, The Wrath of Athene (Princeton, 1983)
45
Kirk's commentary on 2.488, 491-93
De Jong 48
46
Il. 5.311, 388.
47
Richard Sacks, The Traditional Phrase in Homer: Two Studies in Form, Meaning and Interpre- tation (Leiden, 1987) 1
"Homer as Oral Poet," HSCP 72 [1968] 1-46
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