The Greeks

Topics: Ancient Greece, Aristotle, Homer Pages: 8 (3244 words) Published: July 10, 2014
Question 1: (three pages maximum)
Homer in 750 B.C. wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey. Hesiod another Greek poet wrote Works and Days in 700 B.C. Compare and Contrast both authors as it relates to Greek Society. Homer, known as the great epic poet of ancient Greece, though when he lived is unknown, Herodotus estimates that he lived 400 years before his own time, which would place him at around 850 B.C. Others ancient sources puts him nearer to the supposed time of the Trojan War, in the early 12th century BC. However, most modern researchers place Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. Of all is works, his greatest contribution can be said to that of Literature i.e. considering that about fifty percent speeches, provided models in persuasive speaking and writing (one of the many Greek influence on the western world). Two particular works that stood out being The Iliad and The Odyssey. For Homer, these works were written in his point of view of the Gods illustrating how men were pawns to their will. Equally, however, Homer through these epic stories, showed the resilience of men to overcome struggles in their achievement of power, glory and heroism i.e. the Homeric approach “doer of great deeds”. Homer’s The Iliad gives account for the ten year battle between Greece (the Greek King Agamemnon) and Troy (Priam, the Trojan King). This epic story tells of a war started as a result to Priam’s son Paris who took with him on his way back to Troy, Helen, the wife of Menelaos (younger brother of Agamemnon). Upon finding out that Helen had left him under her own consent, in his rage and shame sought the aid his elder brother. Legend has it that this epic battle was over love (Helen) but considering that the huge Greek armada (of over 1000 ships) accompanied by many lords or kings from Peloponnese, Central Greece, Thessaly and certain island was lead by the Mykenain King Agamemnon, demonstrated typical Greek ideal of conquest and glory in battle. From this war many heroes would emerge such as Achilleus, the greatest worrier for the Greeks and Hektor, leader of the Trojan army and Priam eldest son. The story accounts of how Achilleus kills Hektor in battle (avenging the death of his dearest friend Patrokos), demoralizing the Trojan army whilst reenergizing the Greeks (whose armies were in a disarray as a result of a feud between Agamemnon and Achilleus over Briseis, the concubine Achilleus). This epic story concludes with the fall of Troy after the Greek manages to get within the walls of the palace due to the idea of Odysseus (of Ithaca) that they erect a wooden horse as homage to the Gods and hide in it. The Trojans were a people that honor the Gods and in seeing this structure show it as tribute to the Gods and took it “this Trojan Horse” within their palace walls. Their reverence to the God would prove to be their demise as this allows the Greek access to breach their walls, ultimately leading to the fall of the city. Here, Homer shows how the Gods contributed to man’s downfall and he would again illustrate this in his sequel to The Iliad in The Odyssey. In Homer’s epic story The Odyssey, his point of view of the Gods and how men were pawns to their will, is again illustrated. However, through Odysseus, Homer demonstrates the resilience of men to overcome struggles to ultimately be viewed as heroes. The story of The Odyssey tells of Odysseus having to endure another ten years of struggle in his return home to Ithaca. Homer illustrates how the goddess Athena and Zeus had a hand to play in the destiny of Odysseus within this epic story of endurance and struggle. From the Escape to the Phaeacians, to his accounts of his adventures including the escape from the Cyclops Polyphemus and his escape after being captive for seven years from the nymph Calypso (compelled as her lover) at her island, Ogygia (after being shipwrecked and losing his crew - the songs of the Sirens) when Zeus orders her to release him. Odysseus then returns to Ithaca,...
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