The Iliad

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9/11/12 The Iliad

“Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus son Achilles
and it’s devastation which put pains thousandfold upon the Achains, hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be in the delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished since that time when first there stood in division of conflict Atreus’ son the lord of men and brilliant Achilles.”

The easiest way to remember text is to set it to music
Homer performed this entire work from memory, it was sung.

Homer-
725-625 B.C.E. – estimated time of Homer’s life, Heir to many generations. The Greeks told stories about the deeds and destiny of Heroes. Would have been familiar to all of the listeners
** There is not standard story of Greek mythology, myths are pliable **

Mythical Background:
Driving force: violence, revenge, father vs. son
The cycle of violence for the gods is ended with the birth of Athena (wisdom) Zeus brings morals to the Greek universe

Trojan War
Starts with a wedding
Achilles is the son
Eris is not invited but goes anyway and throws a golden apple into the crowd. The apple is supposed to go to the fairest of them all: Hera, Athena, or Aphrodite Paris is the judge
Aphrodite offers him the love of the most beautiful women alive: Helen Helen is already married to Menelaus (King of Sparta)
Paris seduces Helen and takes her with him.
Prium (Paris’ father) takes Paris in to protect him
All of the suitors swore to protect Helen and Menelaus so they go to war Agamemnon is married to Helen’s half-sister

The Iliad asks: what is civilization?
For 9 years, the Greeks had been waiting outside Troy
The Iliad begins in the middle of the story
Agamemnon and Achilles are fighting over a girl at the opening (Cassandra) Love, lust, lost, glory, anger

Menin- rage (only the gods and Achilles can feel it)
the will of Zeus is aligned with the anger of Achilles
Anger of Achilles...
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