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Homeric Epics (2) (经典阅读一). 教师 : 吴诗玉 邮箱 : shiyuw@sjtu.edu.cn 网址: http://sla.sjtu.edu.cn/bbs. 目标 :读通、读透 《 伊利亚特 》. 大学四年,慌什么?毛什么?急什么?慢下来,静下来,开开心心读点书! 甘阳. 一部杰作已经成立,便会永存不朽。第一位诗人成功了,也就达到了成功的顶峰。你跟随着他攀登而上,即便达到了同样的高度,也绝不会比他更高。哦,你的名字就叫但丁好了,而他的名字却叫荷马。 ------【 法国 】 维克多 雨果.

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Homeric epics 2

Homeric Epics (2)


: shiyuw@sjtu.edu.cn


Homeric epics 2

Homeric epics 2

Homeric epics 2

  • ------

Homeric epics 2

  • Menelaus VS. Paris

King of Sparta

Brother of Agamemnon

Prince of Troy

Homeric epics 2

Classical works

  • It deals with a great theme (the meaning of life);

  • Written in noble language;

  • It speaks across the ages;

  • Summarizes the values of an age at its height.

Homeric epics

Homeric Epics

  • The Iliadand the Odyssey

  • The beginning of the Western literary tradition

  • Primary texts for educational purposes

  • The Bible of the Greeks

  • Information (values, moral framework, belief system of ancient Greek culture)

Iliad odyssey

Iliad Odyssey)

Homeric epics 2

The Great Gathering of Armies (Book 2)

  • Armies gathering now

  • Greek armies

  • The ships led by captains (kings) different kingdoms

  • (Agamemnon, Achilles, Odysseus, Diomedes)

  • The Trojans and allies

  • troops for battle

  • (Priam, Hector, Paris, Aeneas, Sarpedon)

Homeric epics 2

Homeric Greece

Nine years besiege

Nine-years Besiege

Nine long years, waging war

Trojans, Greeks bound by honor

Fortunes of battle went back and forth.

Where the Iliad opens, the war already having gone on for nine years.

The rage of achilles subject of iliad

The Rage of Achilles (subject of Iliad)

starts off with death, as it will end with death.

A terrible plague

Quarrel of Achilles and Agamemnon

Achilles withdraws from the battle

Greeks suffered

Homeric epics 2

Homeric epics 2

Book 1

  • The first three words of Iliad:

    • Menin aeide, thea--- wrath, sing, goddess

  • of Peleus son, Achilles.

Homeric epics 2

Homeric epics 2

Homeric epics 2


Homeric epics 2

  • Menelaus VS. Paris

King of Sparta

Brother of Agamemnon

Prince of Troy

Why achilles angry

Why Achilles angry?

  • Greek fight for two things: honor and glory (fame)

  • Honor: tangible, physical, zero-sum game

  • Glory: people say about you

  • The more honors, the more glory (say about you)

  • Only kind of immortality available

  • Agamemnon dishonored Achilles, own eye, of Greek army

  • Greatest warrior; commander in chief

  • Shame culture: what others, say, perceive, think

Homeric epics 2

  • Scene between Thetis and Zeus allows the audience of glimpse of the gods on Mount Olympus.

Homeric epics 2

  • Read Book 1,2,3,4,5, 6, .and Book 24

Outline achilles

Outline (Achilles)

  • Achilles withdraw from the battle (Book 1)

  • Trojans push Greeks to the limit

  • Achilles sits at his tent and sulks.

  • Attempt made to bring him back

  • Ships of the Achaeans set to fire

  • Patraclus puts on armor of Achilles

  • Killed by Hector, put on Achilles armor (book 16-17)

  • Achilles returned to battle (anger, pains)



  • Achilles prays to his mother for a new armor,

  • New armor by Hephaestus, magnificent, (book 18)

  • Like a natural force, searching for Hector

  • Comes upon Hector

  • A pact

  • Killed Hector (Achilles armor) (book 22)

  • takes the body and ties it to his chariot,

  • drives around and around the walls of Troy,

Homeric epics 2

  • Read the contents of Iliad.

Homeric epics 2

  • too much for the gods themselves

  • keep it fresh

  • Achilles, in his tent, at night, still unwashed,

  • receives visit from Priam (old, sympathetic)

  • The gods escorted him

  • old man reminds him of his own father

  • Returns the body, a normal human being

  • The Trojans hold a funeral

  • and bury the body of Hector (ends with death)

Book iii vi within the walls of troy

Book III-VI: Within the Walls of Troy

  • The Trojans fight not just for honor and glory, but also the countrys survival.

  • Why? The city of Troy

  • Book III: Helen Reviews the Champions

  • Priam: aged king (sympathetic character), 24

  • The old men of Troy



  • Hector: a perfect man, best man of the world

  • Hector first appears and speaks in Book III.

  • Read Book 6, 24

  • Create an enduring portrait of the enemy of Hector

  • a mighty warrior, glories in war,

  • a compassionate and loving father and husband.

  • a patriot, a tragic hero

Homeric epics 2

  • What Makes Iliad a Great Book?

Homeric epics 2

  • A noble theme

  • Noble language

  • Speaks across the ages

  • Summarizes the values of an age at its height

Noble theme

Noble Theme

  • God

  • Fate

  • The Meaning of Life


The Meaning of Life


4 1 god

4.1 God

  • Zeus, the will of Zeus

  • Hera, Aphrodite, Athena

  • Ares

  • Powerful forces: do good (harm) to you

  • A myth is a means for expressing a higher truth.

  • Fate is what the gods decree for us.

Real creatures

Homeric epics 2

  • Mother tells me,

  • the immortal goddess Thetis with her glistening feet,

  • that two fates bear me on to the day of death.

  • if I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy,

  • my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies.

  • if I voyage back to the fatherland I love,

  • my pride, my glory dies

  • true, but the life thats left me will be long,

  • the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.

Homeric epics 2

  • No,

  • dear as he is to you, and your heart grieves for him,

  • Leave Sarpedon there to die in the brutal onslaught,

  • Beaten down at the hands of Menoetius son Petroclus.

  • But once his soul and the life force have left him,

  • Send Death to carry him home, send soothing Sleep

Homeric epics 2

  • And Zeus the father of men and gods complied at once.

  • But he showered tears of blood that drenched the earth,

  • Showers in praise of him, his own dear son,

  • The man Patroclus was just about to kill

  • On Troys fertile soil, far from his fatherland.

Homeric epics 2

  • Fight the god. P175, p192, book 5

Homeric epics 2

  • You I hate you most of all the Olympians gods,

  • Always dear to your heart,

  • Strife, yes, and battles, the bloody grind of war.

  • You have your mothers uncontrollable rage

  • But I cannot bear to see you agonize so long.

  • You are my child. To me your mother bore you.

  • If you had sprung from another god, believe me,

  • And grown into such a blinding devastation,

  • Long ago youd have dropped below the Titans,

  • Deep in the dark pit.

4 2 fate and the meaning of life

4.2 Fate, and the Meaning of Life

  • The innocent, the poem of death

  • Honor, glory (Agamemnon; Achilles)

  • Honor (can be pushed too far, did not bring comfort to Greek heroes)

4 4 moral instruction

4.4 Moral instruction

An intellectual growth of Achilles

Learn wisdom through suffering

4 3 hubris hybris

4.3 hubris (Hybris)

  • Hubris: extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates being out of touch with reality and overestimating one's own competence or capabilities, especially for people in positions of power.

  • Moral blindness

  • Go too far

4 3 hubris hybris1

4.3 hubris (Hybris)

  • Agamemnon

  • Achilles

  • Nothing in Excess

  • Know Thyself

Achilles heel

Achilles Heel

  • Paris

4 4 moral instruction1

4.4 Moral instruction

The Iliad was a book of moral instruction without equal. The whole education system at Oxford reforms that you just read the Iliad and the Odyssey. There, you will find all the lessons you need to live your own life and will be the ruler of that Empire upon which the sun never set.

Gladstone (British Prime Minister)

Homeric epics 2

  • Keats: Homer was unsurpassed for the beauty of his language.

  • The beauty of its language, its description of the rosy finger dawn. His description of the men going forth to battle, breathing their valor. Their quiet steadfast ranks.

2 language

2. Language

  • The noble language

3 speak across ages

3. Speak across ages

  • People of one generation after another tell and retell the story of Troy.

Homeric epics 2

  • Summarizes the values of an age at its height

Homeric epics 2

  • The tale of Ilium (Troy) or The Song of Ilium

Homeric epics 2

The death of palamedes

The Death of Palamedes

Odysseusnever forgave

return home, hid gold and a fake letter from Priam.


stoned to death

by Odysseus and Diomedes.



Priam with helen

Priam with Helen

  • Priam, raising his voice, called across to Helen,

  • Come over here, dear child. Sit in front of me,

  • So you can see your husband of long age,

  • Your kinsmen and your people.

  • I dont blame you. I hold the gods to blame.

  • They are the ones who brought this war upon me,

  • Devastating war against the Achaeans

  • Here, come closer,

  • Tell me the name of that tremendous fighter. Look,

  • Whos that Achaean there, so stark and grand?

  • Many others afield are much taller, true,

  • But I have never yet set eyes on one so regal,

  • So majestic That man must be a king!

Homeric epics 2

  • The old men of the realm held seats above the gates.

  • Long years had brought their fighting days to a halt

  • But they were eloquent speakers still, clear as cicadas

  • Settled on treetops, lifting their voices through the forest

  • Rising softly, falling, dying away so they waited,

  • The old chiefs of Troy, as they sat aloft the tower.

  • And catching sight of Helen moving along the ramparts,

  • They murmured one to another, gentle, winged words:

  • Who on earth could blame them? Ah, no wonder

  • The men of Troy and Argives under arms have suffered

  • Years of agony all for her, for such a woman.

  • Beauty, terrible beauty!

  • A deathless goddess- so strikes out eyes!

Homeric epics 2

Myth of the five ages

Myth of the Five Ages

(1) The Golden Age

(2) The Silver Age

(3) The Bronze Age (ash tree)

(4) The Age of Heroes

(5) The Iron Age

Works and Days


Homeric epics 2

  • Degeneration and increased hardships

The fifth and worst race

The fifth and worst race

He says:

I wish I were not counted among the fifth race of men,

but rather had died before, or been born after it.

This is the race of iron. Neither day nor night

will give them rest as they waste away with toil

and pain. Growing care will be given them by the gods,

and their lot will be a blend of good and bad.

Zeus will eventually destroy this race (old age from birth)

The concept of hero

The Concept of Hero

Greek heroes

Greek culture has many


The concept of hero1

The Concept of Hero

(1) God+ human= heroes (half god) (demigod)

(2) someone who lived up to and into the time

of The Trojan War

Extraordinary in some sense

(strength, cleverness, )

Discussion why many heroes in greek myth

Discussion: Why many heroes in Greek myth?

Other cultures

Greek culture which laid so much emphasis on the dichotomy mortal-immortal, saw that as the primary defining characteristic of humans, that we must die. Heroes were a means of mediating that opposition, a means of bridging that gap.

Thank you

Thank You!

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