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Homeric Epics (2) (经典阅读一). 教师 : 吴诗玉 邮箱 : [email protected] 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)(经典阅读一)

教师: 吴诗玉

邮箱: [email protected]




  • 甘阳


  • ------【法国】维克多 雨果

Menelaus VS. Paris

King of Sparta

Brother of Agamemnon

Prince of Troy


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)

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…)
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


Book 1

  • The first three words of Iliad:
    • Menin aeide, thea--- “wrath, sing, goddess”
  • “of Peleus’ son, Achilles.”

歌唱吧,女神!歌唱裴琉斯之子阿基琉斯的愤怒—— 他的暴怒招致了这场凶险的灾祸,给阿开亚人带来了 受之不尽的苦难,将许多豪杰强健的魂魄 打入了哀地斯,而把他们的躯体,作为美食,扔给了 狗和兀鸟,从而实践了宙斯的意志, 从初时的一场争执开始,当事的双方是



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
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,
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 country’s 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
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

“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 that’s left me will be long,
  • the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.”
  • 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…
“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 Troy’s fertile soil, far from his fatherland.”
“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 mother’s 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 you’d 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
  • 古希腊英雄阿喀琉斯号称刀枪不入,却有一个致命之处———自己的脚后跟。在特洛伊战争中,阿喀琉斯取得了赫赫战功,但就在他攻占特洛伊城奋勇作战之际,站在对手一边Paris在太阳神阿波罗帮助下却悄悄一箭射中了他的脚后跟,送了这位勇士的命。后人便用“阿喀琉斯之踵”这一术语来代指“致命的弱点”。这一术语也意味着,人不管多么坚强或英勇,也还是有其自身无法克服的弱点。它还寓意着由于局部细微的弱点而导致全局的崩溃。
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)

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.
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.


1. 机灵的人,足智多谋的人; “啊,真理,我多么可怜你啊,原来你死得比我早。”

2. 独具创造性的人。

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 don’t 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,
  • Who’s 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!”
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!
  • “不祥的帕里斯,相貌俊俏,诱惑者,好色狂,
  • 但愿你没有出生,没有结婚就死去。
  • 那样一来,正好合乎我的心意,
  • 比起你成为骂柄,受人鄙视好得多。
  • 长头发的阿开奥斯人一定大声讥笑,
  • 认为一个王子成为一个代战者
  • 是由于他相貌俊俏,却没有力量和勇气。
  • 你是不是这样子在渡海的船舶上面
  • 航过大海?那时候你召集踏实的伴侣,
  • 混在外国人里面,把一个美丽的妇人、
  • 执矛的战士们的弟妇从遥远的土地上带来,
  • 对于你的父亲、城邦和人民是大祸,
  • 对于敌人是乐事,于你自己则可耻。
  • 你不等待阿瑞斯喜爱的墨涅拉奥斯吗?
  • 那你就会知道你占去什么人的如花妻子,
  • 你的竖琴、美神的赠品、头发、容貌
  • 救不了你,在你躺在尘埃里的时候。
  • 特洛亚人太胆怯,否则你早就穿上
  • 石头堆成的衬袍,因你干的坏事。”
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


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.