This monograph deals with the main problems of the Eleventh Book of the Odyssey (the Nekyia) in the light of recent research. The journey to the underworld is not only troublesome in its composition but also important for its place in the poem, perhaps the most important of the hero’s adventures.
After a brief introduction, which surveys the present state of research and outlines methodology, the book examines in four chapters:
1. The question of the sources (borrowings, influences etc.) from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the Greek catabaseis (those of Heracles, Orpheus, Theseus and Peirithous) and cult practices at the Oracles of the Dead (the Thesprotian Oracle and that of Trophonius in Lebadeia).
2. The relation of our Nekyia to the poem and especially to the apologoi, as it is part of a larger composition, and its themes (journey to the land of the dead, catabasis, nekyomanteia).
3. The problematic parts of the Book and the question of their authenticity, Catalogue of Heroines, Intermezzo and Review of Hades.
4. The concepts of the Afterlife with the two contrasting views about the fate of psyche.
There follows: a conclusion, which gives a summary of the results reached in the discussion of individual topics, select bibliography and the indexes (a Greek index, an index of passages and a general index).