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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. Homer and Greek Epic. INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III). The Mythological History of Troy

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Homer and Greek Epic

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Homer and greek epic l.jpg

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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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)

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)

Chapter 4.III.A


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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!

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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”)

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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?

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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!

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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.

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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,

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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.

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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.

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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,

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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!

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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?

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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,

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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 . . .

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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)

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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!

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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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”

Homer and Greek Epic

INTRODUCTION TO HOMERIC EPIC (CHAPTER 4.III)


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