In India it is a commonplace that the great epic, the Mahābhārata, is a dharma or legal text. It can also be demonstrated not only that there are explicit references to ritual in the epic narrative, but that the narrative sometimes covertly encodes ritual, allowing the audience to experience the narrative on several levels at once. I will suggest that it is possible to read the Odyssey both as a legal and a ritual text and that explicit reference to the rich legal, ritual, and epic materials of ancient India clarifies much that is murky in the Odyssey, given the Indo-European heritage that they both share. The paper focuses on three issues: (1) A legal point: the legal status of Penelope, particularly with regard to her remarriage. Should she remarry, and if so, who has the authority to arrange such a marriage? Both legal and epic materials in Sanskrit treat in detail the situation of a woman whose husband has gone abroad and disappeared. (2) A legal institution: the marital self-choice (svayamvara in Sanskrit) and its relevance to Penelope and the suitors. The self-choice is a common type of marriage for kings' daughters in Sanskrit, in which the princess "chooses" a husband from a group of assembled suitors. Often the "choice" is governed by an act of strength and skill, just as Penelope's marriage contest was. (3) A ritual: the consecration of the king (Rājasūya in Sanskrit) and its relevance to Odysseus' return. Odysseus' return to Ithaka can be read as a covert encoding of a royal consecration ritual similar to the Sanskrit Rājasūya. In particular, the theme of the bow, the importance accorded to Eumaios' pigs, and the narrative of the boar hunt all find their counterparts in the Sanskrit ritual.

[Footnotes]

[Footnotes]
1
Jamison 1994.
2
J. A. B. van Buitenen 1973
1975
1978.
3
MDŚ V.148
BDS II.3.45
VDS V.3
ViSmr 25.13.
4
Jamison, forthcoming.
5
Nagler 1990b, esp. 231ff.
7
Gortyn (11.45ff.)
Willetts 1976
8
Insler 1988.
9
Kālidāsa, Ragh XVI.4
10
GDS 18.17
KA III.4.28
11
Kangle 1972, ad loc.
KA III.4.37
12
KA (III.4.31-36)
13
Od. 2.89, 106-107
S. West in Comm I, 51 and 136f., ad 2.89
15
Agelaos, in 20.328ff.
16
Kane points out (1974, 613).
Doniger and Smith 1991. ad loc.
17
VDS 17.77
20
Thieme 1963
KlSch. 447
21
NārSmr XII.96
Jamison 1996b.
22
Kane, 1972, 613
23
E. Benveniste (1969, 239-44).
24
Jamison 1996a, V.C.
25
MDŚ V.156-62
MBh 1.146.34, etc.
26
Thieme, 1963, §§ 11-18 "Wiederheirat der Frau. punarbhu"
Lariviere 1991.
27
S. West (Comm. I, 58)
West (59)
Marquardt 1985
Hoekstra (Comm. II, 233, ad 15.16-17)
Foley 1995.
28
Gor. III.17ff.
Willetts 1967, 41
29
Schmidt 1987, 8 1.
30
Jamison 1997.
31
MBh I.68.11
32
MBh III.68.14-15
34
A. W. v. Schlegel's remarks (Indische Bibliothek I, 1820, 98f.)
Winternitz 1908, 325.
H. C. Kellner, Das Lied von Kdnige Nala (1885).
Schmidt (1987)
35
Comm. I, 56 with n. 14
Katz 1991
Felson-Rubin 1994
Cohen 1995
Schein 1996.
Vernant 1973, 68
Gresseth 1979
n. 28
Nagler 1996, 155 n. 30
Nagler (1990a, 349
1990b, 233)
36
Germain 1954
Chapitre premier, "Un rituel royal des steppes: L'arc de la royauté et les 'mariages au concours' " (11-54).
Page's treatment (Page 1973, Appendix: "The arrow and the axes" [93-113])
Walcot 1984
Gresseth 1979
Schwarz (1966)
37
Schmidt 1987, 94-96
Insler 1989
Jamison 1996a, 238-39.
38
Rama in Rāmāyaṇa I.65-66
below, nn. 45, 55, 79.
n. 45 below
Thomas 1964, 24
39
Schmidt 1987, 78-80
Jamison 1996a, 237-39.
41
MBh 1.175-76
42
Germain 1954, 32
S. West (Comm. 1.57-58)
Hdt. VI
n. 55 below
43
MBh 1.21 1.23
above n. 38
44
Schmidt 1987 passim (esp. 76, 84-89, 92-93, 100-102, 106-107).
45
MBh 1.96, V.170
Jamison 1996a, 219ff.
Sītā and Rāma (R 1.65-66)
vīryaśulkā R I.65.17; 66.23
I.65.17-20
I.66.8-17
Fausbøll 1891, 425-27
49
MBh I.180.1
50
V.170.13, 171.2
MBh V.173.5
51
ViSm 24.23
52
Gresseth 1979, 82 and n. 28.
Russo, in Comm. III, 104-105
Vernant (1973, above n. 35)
55
Ragh. VI
Od. 11.287-97, 15.226-42
Eur. Iphg. in Aul. 49ff.
Hdt. VI.122, interpol.
Schmidt 1987, 93ff.
Vernant 1973, 68ff.
Herodotus (VI. 126-31)
56
MBh 1.175-67 (Draupadī)
III-10 (Damayantī).
57
I.176.16-24 (Draupadī)
III.54.3-4 (Damayantī).
58
I.176.29-30, (Draupadī)
III.54.8 (Damayantī).
Y. 53.3
RV I. 124.8
Mayrhofer, 1995
59
I.176.36, 177.1-21 (Draupadī)
III.54.10 (Damayantī)
I.96.6 (Ambā and her sisters)
XII.4.11 (Citrāṇgada's daughter).
60
I.176.34-35
I.176.11-12
61
I.179.22 (Draupadī)
III.54.26 (Darnayantī).
Insler 1989.
63
S. West (Comm. I, 57)
65
"Enfin ... le jeune fille apparait en public, comme Pénélope se montre aux prétendants" (16).
66
Hölscher 1966
Felson-Rubin 1996, 173-75
1994, 28-29
Murnaghan 1995, 70-71
Foley 1995, 111 n. 22
Zeitlin 1995, 140-41
68
Page 1973.
69
Germain, 16, 26.
70
Page 1973, 93-113
P. Brain and D. D. Skinner 1978
P. Walcot 1984
M. Fernández-Galiano, Comm. III, 133-47.
71
R I.65-66
72
Morris 1997, 621-22
West 1997, 432.
Patroklos (Il. 23.850ff.).
74
MBh I.178.15
Od. 21.184-85
75
Draupadī: MBh. 1.179.22
Damayantī: MBh III.54.26.
Insler 1989.
Ragh VI.80, 83-84.
76
Smith 1992, 123.
79
Germain, 26.
MBh I.96, V. 170
MBh XII.4
MBh I.211ff.
MBh III.54
R I.65.21-25
Ragh VII.34ff.
Kuntī I.105.1-3
80
I.180.3-4
I.180.8
81
I.179.21
Jamison 1996a, V.B.4.
82
Jamison 1996a, V.B.3-4
1994.
Il. 23.539ff.
83
Jamison 1996a, IV.E.1
84
Jamison 1996a, IV.E.1, V.B.6.
Hara 1974.
85
Introduction to Mahābhārata Book II, The Book of the Assembly Hall [revised version of van Buitenen 1972]
86
Heesterman 1957.
87
MŚS IX. 1.3.11
VārS̈S III.3.2.36
MS IV.4.3 (53:5ff.)
TB 1.7.6.7-8
ĀpŚS XVIII.14.10
BŚS XII.9 (99:14)
KŚS XV.5.15-18
ŚB V.3.5.27-30
88
MŚS IX.1.3.12
KŚS XV.5.15-17
ŚB V.3.5.27.
89
Falk 1984
Jamison 1996a, III.E.5.
90
Jamison 1996a, III.C.1.
91
ĀpŚS XVIII.16.14-16
MŚS IX.1.4.27-29
MS IV.4.6 (57: 17)
ŚB V.4.2.8-9
KŚS XV.6.10-11.
92
TB I.7.8.7
ĀpŚS XVIII.16.14.
94
Comm. III, ad 21.311-53.
97
MS IV.4.5
MŚS IX.1.3.25-29
VārŚS III.3.4.2-5
98
ĀŚS XVIII.17.8
TB I.7.9.3
MS IV.4.5
MŚS IX.1.3.29
99
Nagler 1990a, 349-50.
100
MS IV.4.5
VārŚS III.3.4.6-7
ĀpŚS XVIII.17.10-11.
101
Od. 19.357
102
Eumaios and the oxherd in 21.217ff.
Laertes in 24.328ff.
Eurykleia to Penelope (verbally, of course, not physically) in 23.73ff.
Nagler 1990b, 233-34.
103
TB I.7.9.4
MŚS IX.1.4.6
MS IV.4.6
ŚB V.4.3.19
ĀpŚS XVIII.17.1
KŚS XV.6.23
VārŚS III.3.3.11.
104
Iliad 11
Il. 11.414ff.
Od. 19
105
TS VI.2.42-43
MS III.8.3
KS XXV.2.
Macdonell 1897, 41.
Kuiper 1950
Kuiper 1991, 16ff.
106
Kuiper points out (1950, 13)
107
RV VIII.77.10.
109
Watkins 1996.
110
VS 24.40
MS III.14.21.
I.125.23
111
MS (III.8.3)
114
Watkins 1981, 243-46.
115
MŚS IX.1.3.8-9
KŚS XV.5.3-14
ŚB V.3.5.20-25
MS IV.4.3 (52: 12)
ĀpŚS XVIII. 14.1-4.
116
Morris (1987, 621)
117
BŚS XII.15 (108: 16)
MŚS IX.1.4.20-24
VārŚS III.3..3.23ff.
MS IV.4.6
TB 1.7.10.5
ĀpŚS XVIH.19.1-6
ŚB V.4.4.6
KŚS XV.7.13-20.
118
Comm. I ad loc.

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