With and without you: the νόστοι of Helen and Menelaos and the path to μῆτις

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Νόστος is a prime feature of Homer’s Odyssey. The epic contains many νόστοι and the focus is on the main νόστος by Odysseus. This paper discusses the νόστοι by Helen and Menelaos and how their journeying is presented separately in their story-telling. The purpose for this is to reveal the knowledge gained on their journeys; μῆτις is an important facet of the concept of νόστος in the Odyssey, and therefore Helen and Menelaos adhere to the finite paradigm. An additional purpose is to highlight the κλέος of the individual relating their own νόστος story. Their story-telling reveals they went to the same places, had similar encounters, both gained knowledge, both shifted in voice or shape and both made a return to Sparta. From analyses of this evidence, this paper argues that Helen and Menelaos went on the same νόστος as a joint path to individual μῆτις.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaths of knowledge
Subtitle of host publicationinterconnection(s) between knowledge and journey in the Greco-Roman world
EditorsChiara Ferella, Cilliers Breytenbach
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherEdition Topoi
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783981638486
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameBerlin Studies of the Ancient World
PublisherEdition Topoi
ISSN (Print)2366-6641
ISSN (Electronic)2366-665X

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Homer
  • Homeric epic
  • Odyssey
  • Homeric studies
  • Ancient Greek semantics
  • Helen of Troy
  • Menelaos
  • Helen
  • journeying
  • knowledge

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