This book examines the figure of the returning warrior as depicted in the myths of several ancient and medieval Indo-European cultures. In these cultures, the returning warrior was often portrayed as a figure rendered dysfunctionally destructive or isolationist by the horrors of combat. This mythic portrayal of the returned warrior is consistent with modern studies of similar behavior among soldiers returning from war. Roger Woodard's research identifies a common origin of these myths in the ancestral proto-Indo-European culture, in which rites were enacted to enable warriors to reintegrate themselves as functional members of society. He also compares the Italic, Indo-Iranian and Celtic mythic traditions surrounding the warrior, paying particular attention to Roman myth and ritual, notably to the etiologies and rites of the July festivals of the Poplifugia and Nonae Caprotinae and to the October rites of the Sororium Tigillum.
Roger Woodard is the Andrew van Vranken Raymond Professor of the Classics and Professor of Linguistics at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York. His many published books include The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology; Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult; Indo-European Myth and Religion: A Manual; Ovid: Fasti (with A. J. Boyle); The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages; Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer: A Linguistic Interpretation of the Origin of the Greek Alphabet and the Continuity of Ancient Greek Literacy; and On Interpreting Morphological Change: The Greek Reflexive Pronoun.
Preface; 1. People flee; 2. And Romulus disappears; 3. At the shrines of Vulcan; 4. Where space varies; 5. Warriors in crisis; 6. Structures: matrix and continuum; 7. Remote spaces; 8. Erotic women and the (un)averted gaze; 9. Clairvoyant women; 10. Watery spaces; 11. Return to order; 12. Further conclusions and interpretations.