Homeric Parallels of Greek and Trojan Culture

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The Parallels of Greek and Trojan Culture

Homer’s The Iliad paints an epic and gruesome picture of the Achaeans and Trojans civilizations warring over a ten-year span. If one were to compare these once great cultures, the striking similarities would suggest friendship rather than enemies. Not only did both nations perform similar rituals and sacrifices, but also these rites were directed to the same group of gods. Specifically the Trojans and Achaeans had a tremendous respect for the dead and the Underworld. Also, the philosophies of both cultures centered on, arete, which for a warrior was excellence determined by a man’s prowess as a soldier during wartime or as an athlete in peace (Chiekova 9/11). Another parallel of the cultures was hubris, and the refusal to admit one’s wrongdoing because of pride. A final irony is the fact that Apollo is considered to be the “most” Greek of all gods, and yet he fought for the Trojans. Essentially both nations prayed to the same gods, performed identical rites, followed the same core set of principles and yet from all these similarities, neither nation could find a way to form a truce.

The first parallel of Achaean and Trojan culture stems from praying to shared gods. It was common knowledge of the ancients that if one were to honor the gods with sacrifices, the god would eventually reciprocate. And so both nations attempted to win favor. “At once we’ll sacrifice twelve heifers in your shrine, yearlings never broken, if only you’ll pity Troy, the Trojan wives and all our helpless children,” exclaims Theano, a Trojan Priestess (The Iliad, Book 7, page 180), while the Greeks also relied on divine intervention. Nestor recalls past sacrifices hoping the gods will once again return to the Achaeans, “ There we slaughtered fine victims to mighty Zeus, a bull to Alpheus River, a bull to lord Poseidon, and an unyoked cow to blazing eyed Athena,” (The Iliad, Book 11, page 266). Not only are the Trojans and Greeks sacrificing...
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