Homer_ Iliad_ and Odyssey

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					Homer, Iliad, and Odyssey

     Eighth century BCE
Review: Minoan and Mycenaen
Review: From Dark Age to Archaic
Classical Period to Alexander
 Greek literature begins with. . .
• Greek literature begins with two
  masterpieces, the Iliad and Odyssey,
• which cannot be accurately dated (the
  conjectural dates range over three
• and which are attributed to the poet
  Homer, about whom nothing is known
  except his name.
   The blind bard Demodocus
• The Greeks believed that he was blind,
  perhaps because the bard Demodocus in
  the Odyssey was blind and seven different
  cities put forward claims to be his
Cithara/ Lyre
      Homer: Oral Tradition
• It was a blurred memory
• (Homer does not remember the writing,
  for example, or the detailed bureaucratic
  accounting recorded on the tablets)
• and this is easy to understand:
• some time in the last century of the
  millennium the great palaces were
  destroyed by fire.

                    Alice Y. Chang            12
 Mycenaean wealth the Dark
• With them disappeared not only the arts
  and skills that had created Mycenaean
  wealth but even the system of writing.
• For the next few hundred years the
  Greeks were illiterate and so no written
  evidence survives for what, in view of our
  ignorance about so many aspects of it, we
  call the Dark Age of Greece.

                   Alice Y. Chang          13
Alice Y. Chang   14
            Dolphin fresco
• A detail of the restored Dolphin fresco on
  the wall of the Queen’s Room in the
  Minoan palace at Knossos.
• The rosette pattern below the dolphins is
  typically Minoan and the whole fresco
  probably dates from the last phase of the
  New palace, around 1450-1400 BCE.

                    Alice Y. Chang             15
  the Trojan War and Mycenaean
• The stories told in the Homeric poems are set
  in the age of the Trojan War, which
  archeologists (those, that is, who believe that
  it happened at all) date to the twelfth
  century B.C.
• Though the poems do preserve some faded
  memories of the Mycenaean Age, as we have
  them they probably are the creation of later
  centuries, the tenth to the eighth B.C., the so-
  called Dark Age that succeeded the collapse
  (or destruction) of Mycenaean civilization.

                      Alice Y. Chang             16
 Iliad and the Ionian landscape
• The Iliad contains several accurate
  descriptions of natural features of the
  Ionian landscape, but his grasp of the
  geography of mainland, especially
  western, Greece is unsure.
   About to the age of writing…
• The two great epics that have made his name
  supreme among poets may have been fixed in
  something like their present form before the art
  of writing was in general use in Greece;
• it is certain that they were intended not for
  reading but for oral recitation.
• The earliest stages of their composition date from
  around the beginnings of Greek literacy—the
  late eighth century B.C.
• The poems exhibit the unmistakable
  characteristics of oral composition.
    the immense poetic reserve
• Of course he could and did invent new
  phrases and scenes as he recited—but his
  base was the immense poetic reserve
  created by many generations of singers
  who lived before him.
• When he told again for his hearers the old
  story of Achilles and his wrath, he was
  recreating a traditional story that had been
  recited, with variations, additions, and
  improvements, by a long line of
Magnificently ordered
• The Iliad and Odyssey as we have them, however,
  are unlike most of the oral literature we know
  from other times and places.
• The poetic organization of each of these two epics,
  the subtle interrelationship of the parts, which
  creates their structural and emotional unity,
  suggests that they owe their present form to the
  shaping hand of a single poet, the architect who
  selected from the enormous wealth of the oral
  tradition and fused what he took with original
  material to create, perhaps with the aid of the new
  medium of writing, the two magnificently
  ordered poems known as the Iliad and Odyssey.
          The Iliad

Sing, goddess, the rage of Achilles the
            son of Peleus,
    the destructive rage that sent
   countless ills on the Achaeans...
• 伊里亞德是古希臘詩人荷馬的敘事史詩。
• 根據有荷馬史詩人物圖像的花瓶生產時期
• 《伊里亞德》這個書名,是「伊利昂城下
• 《伊里亞德》中幾個星期的活動。史詩以
• 伊里亞德和奧德賽都只是更宏大的敘事詩
第一卷:紛爭、宣言及盟誓     • 依照希臘文版本,
 第二卷:閱軍及誓師        本史詩共有二十四
 第三卷:決鬥           卷。以非詩歌形式
 第四卷:引發戰爭的一箭      翻譯的文本一般都
第五卷:跟神明一同戰鬥的英雄    不會依照原卷數來
 第六卷:城市和荒野之間      分章節。以下是每
 第七卷:戰鬥和城牆        卷題目一覽:
• 第十卷:戰營中的一夜   • 第十七卷:爭奪死去戰士的
  ──一個任務         裝備
  第十一卷:希臘人的的     第十八卷:不死神的盾
  第十二卷:開啟城牆      第二十一卷:人河之爭
  第十三卷:攻船戰       第二十二卷:特洛伊前的失
  第十四卷:神之山的哄     落
  騙              第二十三卷:摯友之死
  第十五卷:風暴之神      第二十四卷:傷痛中所得的

• 由於當時的文字系統未發展成熟,而且相
      The Achaeans—the Hellenes
     (Greeks), Danaans, and Argives
Agamemnon — King of Mycenae; leader      •   Aias (Ajax the
                                             Greater) — son of
  of the Greeks.                             Telamon, with
• Achilles — King of the Myrmidons.          Diomedes, he is
                                             second to Achilles in
• Odysseus— King of Ithaca; the              martial prowess.
  wiliest Greek commander, and hero of   •   Aias (Ajax the
  the Odyssey.                               Lesser) — son of
                                             Oileus, often partner
• Menelaus— King of Sparta; husband          of Ajax the Greater.
  of Helen.                              •   Diomedes— son of
                                             Tydeus, King of
             The Trojan men
• Priam — the aged King of Troy.         •   Aeneas — son of
Hector — son of King Priam; the foremost     Anchises and Aphrodite.
  Trojan warrior.                        •   Deiphobus — brother of
                                             Hector and Paris.
• Paris — Helen’s lover-abductor.
                                         •   Polydorus — son of
• Agenor — a Trojan warrior who              Priam and Laothoe.
  attempts to fight Achilles (Book XXI).
• Dolon—a spy upon the Greek camp
  (Book X).
• Antenor — King Priam’s advisor, who
  argues for returning Helen to end the
  war; Paris refuses.
            The Trojan women
Hecuba— Priam’s wife; mother of Hector,
  Cassandra, Paris, and others.
• Helen— Menelaus’s wife; espoused first to
  Paris, then to Deiphobus.
• Andromache— Hector’s wife; mother of
• Cassandra— Priam’s daughter; courted by
  Apollo, who bestows the gift of prophecy to
  her; upon her rejection, he curses her, and her
  warnings of Trojan doom go unheeded.
• In Greek mythology, Cassandra, "she who
  entangles men"; also known as Alexandra)
  was the daughter of King Priam and Queen
  Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo
  to grant her the gift of prophecy. However,
  when she did not return his love, Apollo
  placed a curse on her so that no one would
  ever believe her predictions.
Painting by Evelyn De
Ajax taking
tondo of a red-figure

  kylix by the , ca.

440-430 BC,
       Cassandra 'syndrome
• The Cassandra metaphor (variously
  labelled the Cassandra 'syndrome',
  'complex', 'phenomenon', 'predicament',
  'dilemma', or 'curse'), is a term applied in
  situations in which valid warnings or
  concerns are dismissed or disbelieved.
      Nostos— homecoming
• occurs seven times in the poem (II.155,
  II.251, IX.413, IX.434, IX.622, X.509,
• thematically, the concept of homecoming is
  much explored in Ancient Greek
  literature, especially in the post-war
  homeward fortunes experienced by
  Atreidae, Agamemnon, and Odysseus (see
  the Odyssey), thus, nostos is impossible
  without sacking Troy — King
  Agamemnon’s motive for winning, at any
    Richmond Lattimore translates:
• For my mother Thetis the goddess of silver feet
  tells me
  I carry two sorts of destiny toward the day of
  my death. Either,
  if I stay here and fight beside the city of the
  my return home is gone, but my glory shall be
  but if I return home to the beloved land of my
  the excellence of my glory is gone, but there
  will be a long life
  left for me, and my end in death will not come
  to me quickly.
           timê –respect, honor
• the concept denoting the respectability an
  honorable man accrues with accomplishment
  (cultural, political, martial), per his station in life.
• In Book I, the Greek troubles begin with King
  Agamemnon’s dishonorable, unkingly behavior —
  first, by threatening the priest Chryses (1.11), then,
  by aggravating them in disrespecting Achilles, by
  confiscating Bryseis from him (1.171).
• The warrior’s consequent rancor against the
  dishonorable king ruins the Greek military cause.
        Kleos— glory, fame
• is the concept of glory earned in heroic
• for most of the Greek invaders of Troy,
  notably Odysseus, kleos is earned in a
  victorious nostos (homecoming), yet not for
  Achilles, he must choose one reward, either
  nostos or kleos.
• In Book IX (IX.410–16), he poignantly tells
  Agamemnon’s envoys—Odysseus, Phoenix,
  Ajax— begging his reinstatement to battle
  about having to choose between two fates
       The Wrath of Achilles
• His personal rage and wounded soldier’s vanity propel
  the story — the Greeks’ faltering in battle, the slayings
  of Patroclus and Hector, and the fall of Troy. In Book I,
  the Wrath of Achilles first emerges in the Achilles-
  convoked meeting, between the Greek kings and
  Calchas, the Seer. King Agamemnon dishonours
  Chryses, the Trojan Apollonian priest, by refusing with
  a threat the restitution of his daughter, Chryseis —
  despite the proffered ransom of “gifts beyond count”;
  [12] the insulted priest prays his god’s help — and a
  nine-day rain of arrows falls upon the Greeks.
    Zeus’s divine intervention
• After that, only Athena stays Achilles'
• He vows to never again to obey orders
  from Agamemnon.
• Furious, Achilles cries to his mother,
  Thetis, who persuades Zeus’s divine
  intervention — favouring the Trojans—
  until Achilles' rights are restored.
    Hector kills Patroclus.
• Meanwhile, Hector leads the Trojans to
  almost pushing the Greeks back to the
  sea (Book XII);
• later, Agamemnon contemplates defeat
  and retreat to Greece (Book XIV).
• Again, the Wrath of Achilles turns the
  war’s tide in seeking vengeance when
  Hector kills Patroclus.
• Aggrieved, Achilles tears his hair and
  dirties his face; Thetis comforts her
      Moirae  Fate, destiny
• propels most of the events of the Iliad.
• Once set, gods and men abide it, neither
  truly able nor willing to contest it.
• How fate is set is unknown, but it is told
  by the Fates and Seers such as Calchas.
  Men and their gods continually speak of
  heroic acceptance and cowardly avoidance
  of one’s slated fate.
Aeneas survives the Trojan War
• Divinely-aided, Aeneas escapes the
  wrath of Achilles and survives the
  Trojan War.
• Whether or not the gods can alter
  fate, they do abide it, despite its
  countering their human allegiances,
  thus, the mysterious origin of fate is a
  power beyond the gods.
               the Three Fates
• Fate implies the primeval, tripartite division of
  the world that Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades
  effected in deposing their father, Cronus, for its
• Zeus took the Air and the Sky, Poseidon the
  Waters, and Hades the Underworld, the land of
  the dead — yet, they share dominion of the
• Despite the earthly powers of the Olympic
  gods, only the Three Fates set the destiny of
The Moirae, as
depicted in a
16th century
            the three Moirae
• Clotho ("spinner") spun the thread of life
  from her distaff onto her spindle.
• Lachesis ("allotter" or drawer of lots)
  measured the thread of life allotted to each
  person with her measuring rod.
• Atropos ("inexorable" or "inevitable",
  literally "unturning.” sometimes called
  Aisa) was the cutter of the thread of life.
  She chose the manner of each person's
  death; Her Roman equivalent was Morta
Classical images illustrating
           the Iliad.
   Repertory of outstanding painted
    vases, wall paintings and other
   ancient iconography of the War of
Trojans and
illustration from
the Vergilius
       Book One and Book Two
• Book 1: After nine years of the Trojan War,
  King Agamemnon seizes Briseis, Achilles’s
  war-concubine, for having relinquished
  Chryseis; dishonoured, Achilles wrathfully
  withdraws; the gods argue the War’s
• Book 2: Testing Greek resolve, Agamemnon
  feigns a homeward order; Odysseus
  encourages the Greeks to pursue the fight;
  see the “Catalogue of Ships” and the
  “Catalogue of Trojans and Allies”.
• Of the two poems the Iliad is perhaps the
• Its subject is war;
• its characters are men in battle and
  women whose fate depends on the
  the Achaeans v.s. the Trojans
• The war is fought by the Achaeans against
  the Trojans for the recovery of Helen, the
  wife of the Achaean chieftain Menelaus;
• the combatants are heroes who in their
  chariots engage in individual duels before
  the supporting lines of infantry and
• The comparison of Patroclus to an angler
  emphasizes another aspect of battle, its
• ▸ noun: a fisherman who uses a
  hook and line
  ▸ noun: a scheming person;
  someone who schemes to gain an
  ▸ noun: fishes having large
  mouths with a wormlike filament
  attached for luring prey
• The great champion of the Trojans,
  Hector, fights bravely, but reluctantly.
• War, for him, is a necessary evil, and he
  thinks nostalgically of the peaceful past,
  though he has little hope of peace to come.
        Hector and Achilles
• We see Hector, as we do not see Achilles,
  against the background of the patterns of
  civilized life—the rich city with its
  temples and palaces, the continuity of the
• The duel between these two men is the
  inevitable crisis of the poem, and just as
  inevitable is Hector’s defeat and death.
            Hector’s death
• At the climactic moment of Hector’s
  death, as everywhere in the poem,
  Homer’s firm control of his material
  preserves the balance in which our
  contrary emotions are held;
• pity for Hector does not entirely rob us of
  sympathy for Achilles.
The Funeral of Hector
            War and Peace
• This tragic action is the center of the
  poem, but it is surrounded by scenes that
  remind us that the organized destruction
  of war, though an integral part of human
  life, is still only a part of it.
• The yearning for peace and its creative
  possibilities is never far below the surface.
The Shield
of Achilles
• These two poles of the human condition—
  war and peace, with their corresponding
  aspects of human nature, the destructive
  and the creative—are implicit in every
  situation and statement of the poem, and
  they are put before us, in symbolic form,
  in the shield that the god Hephaestus
  makes for Achilles, with its scenes of
  human life in both peace and war.
• Whether these two sides of life can ever be
  integrated, or even reconciled, is a
  question that the Iliad raises but cannot
• a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was
• He was the god of technology, blacksmiths,
  craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals,
  metallurgy, fire and volcanoes.
• Hephaestus was lame, which gave him a
  grotesque appearance in Greek eyes.
• He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and he
  was worshipped in the manufacturing and
  industrial centers of Greece, particularly in
  Athens. The center of his cult was in Lemnos.
• Mentor was an old friend of Odysseus. To him
  Odysseus entrusted his household when he
  joined the coalition that sailed against Troy.
• Athena, assuming several times the shape of
  Mentor , became the guide of Odysseus' son
  Telemachus, giving him prudent counsel. Since
  then, wise and trusted advisers have been
  called "mentors".
and Mentor

• The Iliad

 By Homer

 Written 800 B.C.E

 Translated by Samuel Butler

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