Egypt and the Odyssey : Homeric dialogues with Egyptian travel literature

  • Maxwell Stocker

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis investigates the relationship between Homer’s Odyssey and the Egyptian tradition of travel literature from the second millennium BC. It is a comparative exploration of portrayals of displacement, exile, and homecoming in two of the premier travel poems of the ancient Mediterranean world: the Tale of Sinuhe and the Odyssey. It explores the multifaceted parallels between these two poems in both dialogic-comparativist and historical-transmissional terms, and it shows that there is an extraordinarily wide range of macrolevel and microlevel parallels suggesting direct cross-cultural influence between the Tale of Sinuhe and the Odyssey. The Introduction discusses the methodological background to this project and the cross-disciplinary gap in scholarship which it fills, as well as the historical, archaeological, cultural, and literary context in which these poems emerged. I explore the parallels between these poems in their beginnings and displacement episodes in Chapter 1, and in their portrayals of exile and homecoming in Chapter 2. In the Conclusion, I discuss the wider context of the project, fruitful avenues for future research, and the ramifications of the findings of this thesis for current understandings of these poems across multiple disciplines.
Date of Award29 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorThomas Edward Henry Harrison (Supervisor)


  • Homeric studies
  • Egyptology
  • Middle Egyptian literature
  • Odyssey
  • Comparative literature

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  • Full text embargoed until
  • 24th April 2028

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