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Published on February 12, 2008

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Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Iliad, Books 10-22 The Mythological History of Troy The Homeric Simile The Iliad, Books 10-22: Overview and Analysis Grammar 3: Pronouns, Prepositions and Conjunctions INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Mythological History of Troy the early history of the Trojans is unclear in Greek myth we hear of some early but obscure founding fathers, e.g. Tros, Dardanus the story comes into focus only in Priam’s lifetime (the Trojan War) INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Mythological History of Troy Priam is married to Hecuba with whom he has 19(!) children plus 81 other children by concubines Priam’s “100 sons and daughters” is proverbial in Greek myth among his children by Hecuba is Paris who is also called Alexander INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Mythological History of Troy Paris as a baby was abandoned because an oracle predicted he would bring about the fall of Troy this sort of population control is called “exposure,” a common practice in antiquity without birth control, it was the only option available to many who could not keep a child for some reason INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Mythological History of Troy by leaving the child in the wild without killing it, its blood was seen not to taint the hands of those who exposed it after all, the gods could save it if they wished to and in myth, they often do -- with tragic consequences like Priam’s INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Mythological History of Troy the rest of the story of Paris’ early life was told by the Greek tragedian Euripides in his play Alexander (now lost) but a synopsis of the tragedy has recently been found see INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Chapter 4.III.A Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Mythological History of Troy another child of Priam and Hecuba is Cassandra, the mad prophetess Apollo loved her and, in exchange for her favors, he promised her the gift of foresight she agreed but after he had shown her the future, she refused him INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Mythological History of Troy he could not now take away her foresight since she had already seen the future so Apollo took from Cassandra the ability to be persuade others that what she says is really going to happen INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Mythological History of Troy as a result, she pleads with her fellow Trojans not to fight the Greeks because she knows Troy will lose the Trojan War and be destroyed but no one believes her thus she goes mad INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Homeric Simile the simile is one of the hallmarks of Homer’s style a simile is an explicit comparison of two things, using “like” or “as” e.g. my teacher drinks like a fish and, because of that, he looks like Ramses II, like Ramses II does now! INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Homeric Simile Fallen on one side, as on the stalk a poppy falls, weighed down by showering spring, beneath his helmet’s weight his head sank down. Iliad 8.306-8 (the death of Gorgythion) the flower and the dying hero bend over in a like manner both have colorful tops: one has a flower and the other a crested helmet INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Homeric Simile Fallen on one side, as on the stalk a poppy falls, weighed down by showering spring, beneath his helmet’s weight his head sank down. Iliad 8.306-8 (the death of Gorgythion) but the flower and the hero are more different than alike: man vs. plant dying in battle vs. growing in the rain noisy dirty battlefield vs. serene rainfall INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic The Homeric Simile this sort of union of opposites is called oxymoron literally in Greek, “sharp-blunt” e.g. a bittersweet love a deafening silence a sophomore (“smart fool”) INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Bks 10-15 Books 10-15 are often called the “battle books” a seemingly endless sequence of death and mutilation the Greeks are better fighters but Zeus keeps supporting the Trojans so things go nowhere but to Hades INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) in a famous passage from Book 14 known as the Dios Apate (“the Seduction of Zeus”), Hera decides to matters in hand if she cannot stop her husband from his foolish Trojan-loving ways, at least she can distract him briefly this will allow her supporters and agents to work behind Zeus’ back INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) among her supporters is the god Sleep who reluctantly agrees to help her turn the tide of battle in the Greeks’ favor but to turn Zeus’ eye from battle will take some powerful force of attraction and that can only mean one thing: sex! because, . . . what do men do after sex? INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) but this cannot be sex with some nymph or mortal woman! it has to be a legal and legitimate liaison! after all, Hera is the goddess of marriage and cannot condone “fooling around” her only choice, then, is to seduce her own husband! INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) this means she needs professional help Hera goes to Aphrodite for assistance and advice that is, some sort of “marital aid” Aphrodite lets Hera borrow her “girdle” wearing this garment makes any female irresistably attractive to males INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) Hera puts on Aphrodite’s girdle and sets out she drives her chariot to Mt. Ida near Troy where Zeus is sitting on the hillside watching the war below she parks the chariot out of sight and approaches him deferentially like a good, obedient wife INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) Hera swept on to Gargaron, Ida’s crest, and there Zeus, lord of cloud, saw her arrive. He gazed at her, and as he gazed desire veiled his mind like mist, as in those days when they had first slipped from their parents’ eyes to bed, to mingle by the hour in love. INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) He stood before her now and said: “What brings you down from Olympos to this place? The chariot you ride is not in sight.” The Lady Hera answered him in guile: “I go my way to the bourne of Earth, to see Okeanos, from whom the gods arose, INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) and Mother Tethys. In their distant hall they nourished me and cared for me in childhood. Now I must see them and compose their strife. They live apart from one another’s bed, estranged so long, since anger came between them. As for my team, it stands at Ida’s base ready to take me over earth and sea. INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) On your account I came to see you first, so that you will not rage at me for going in secret where Okeanos runs deep.” The lord of cloud replied: “But you may go there later, Hera. Come, lie down. We two must give ourselves to love-making. INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) Desire for girl or goddess in so wild a flood never came over me! Not for Ixion’s bride who bore me that peerless man Peirithoos; or Danae with her delicious legs, illustrious Perseus’ mother; or Europa, daughter of Phoinix, world-renowned, INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) who bore me Minos and magnificent Rhadamanthys; Semele and Alkmene, Theban ladies -- one bore the rugged hero Herakles, the other Dionysus, joy of men -- or Demeter, the queen, in blond braids; or splendid Leto; or yourself! INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) No lust as sweet as this for you has ever taken me!” To this the Lady Hera in her guile replied: “Most formidable son of Kronos, how impetuous! Would you lie down here on Ida’s crest for all the world to see? INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) Suppose one of the gods who never die perceived us here asleep and took the story to all the rest? I could not bear to walk directly from this love-bed to your hall, it would be so embarrassing. But if you must, INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) if this is what you wish, and near your heart, there is my own bedchamber. Your dear son, Hephaistos, built it, and he fitted well the solid door and doorjamb. We should go to lie down there, since bed is now your pleasure.” But the lord marshall of stormcloud said: “No fear INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) this act will be observed by god or man, I shall enshroud us in such golden cloud. Not even Helios could glimpse us through it, and his hot ray is finest at discerning.” At this he took his wife in his embrace, and under them earth flowered delicate grass and clover wet with dew; then crocuses . . . INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Dios Apate (Book 14.263-348) note that, when Zeus is trying to say how attractive Hera is, he recites a long list of his infidelities and illegitimate progeny Hera cannot be too pleased to hear that in her response, then, she counters by mentioning Hephaestus, one of Zeus’ few legitimate children but her list cannot be nearly as long as his INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Bks 10-15 when Zeus wakes up and realizes what Hera has done, he goes ballistic he is determined to advance the Trojan cause all the more because of this, the Greeks become more desperate than ever INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Bks 10-15 that desperation sparks the next development in the story: the death of Achilles’ companion Patroclus so in the end, the Dios Apate turns out to be an important turning point in the epic just not in the way that Hera had originally envisioned it INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Book 16 the theme of Book 16 is the death of his Achilles’ closest friend Patroclus at the hands of Hector at the beginning of Book 16, Patroclus begs Achilles to return to the fighting but Achilles is still angry at Agamemnon and absolutely refuses to fight INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Book 16 so Patroclus asks if he can borrow Achilles’ armor and wear it so that it looks like Achilles has returned to the battlefield the helmet will hide Patroclus’ face by doing this, he hopes to frighten the Trojans away from the ships and save the nostos of many of the Greek warriors INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Book 16 Achilles agrees to the deception but warns Patroclus not to venture too far from the Greek camp but once he enters the fray, Patroclus does, in fact, become carried away with his success he pushes the Trojans not only back from the Greek ships but all the way to their walls it is an act of hubris (excessive behavior) INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Book 16 to defend the city, Apollo knocks Achilles’ helmet off Patroclus’ head when Hector sees that it’s not Achilles but Patroclus, he moves in for the kill no match for the Trojan, Patroclus falls and, as he dies, predicts Hector’s own death at Achilles’ hands (Book 22) Hector strips Achilles’ armor off Patroclus INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Analysis of The Iliad, Book 16 there are several exquisite similes: Patroclus is like “a small girlchild” running after her mother and crying constantly the Myrmidons act like wolves, “carnivorous and fierce and tireless” the fighting around Sarpedon’s corpse looks like “flies around a milk pail” try to find the oxymoron in each! INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Analysis of The Iliad, Book 16 note also the story of the death of the Lycian hero Sarpedon Sarpedon is a great warrior and a favored (illegitimate) son of Zeus when Zeus ponders briefly saving his son, Hera forces him to allow Sarpedon to die Hera says that, if he saves Sarpedon, the other gods will try to save their favorites too INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Analysis of The Iliad, Book 16 this is her revenge for his listing all his illegitimate children in the Dios Apate! Zeus agrees but weeps “tears of blood”! Patroclus kills Sarpedon in battle Sleep and Death carry off his corpse thus, after the Dios Apate, Zeus and Sleep are now working together again INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Bks 17-21 the news of Patroclus’ death shocks Achilles back into action he makes up with Agamemnon but he cannot return to the fighting immediately he has no armor INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Bks 17-21 the ever-protective Thetis asks Hephaestus to forge new armor for her son on the Shield of Achilles, Hephaestus inscribes all sorts of different images it is a picture of the world as Homer knew it it is also another way for Homer to recapitulate the story INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Bks 17-21 Achilles returns to the battlefield and kills many Trojans the river Scamander begins to choke with all the corpses clogging it it rises up against Achilles who must fight the river itself the gods break up the fight when Hephaestus “dries up” the river with fire INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Overview of The Iliad, Book 22 Achilles confronts and kills Hector as the Trojan hero’s family in shock and grief watches from the walls of the city in particular, his wife Andromache who faints when she sees her beloved husband die just as she had feared (Book 6) with Hector’s death, the epic comes to its climax, but not its conclusion INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III) Homer and Greek Epic:  Homer and Greek Epic Analysis of The Iliad, Book 22 Things to watch for in Book 22 Hector’s very human fear of Achilles: he is not a one-dimensional “tough guy” the simile comparing Achilles chasing Hector to a dream (22.199-201) Athena disguising herself as Hector’s brother: here she is the goddess of “irrationality” INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)

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