Throughout history, women have held many different roles in society. Men have traditionally been viewed as superior since the beginning of time. Homer's Iliad is an excellent example of the suppressive role of women at this time. Women were treated merely as property and were used for producing material within the household. Paralyzed by their unfortunate circumstances, they were taken and given as if they were material belongings. In Homer's Iliad, we conceive how women are introduced as suppliants to the masculine heroines. They are depicted as being inferior to men both physically and intellectually. Throughout the Iliad, women play a modest but important role that embodies their relative significance and the impact they have on the affairs that take place.
The Iliad began with a argument between Achilles and Agamemnon over Briseis, who was considered a war prize. One of the many advances of the Greek army was the raiding of a Trojan allied town. They brought back the spoils and divided them equally among the warriors. Agamemnon's prize was Chryseis, the daughter of a priest of the god Apollo. Achilles' reward was a maiden named Briseis. Both women were taken against their will. Unfortunately for Agamemnon, Chryseis' father pleaded for his daughter to be released and offered vast amounts of riches as ransom. Agamemnon was not pleased and dismissed him with harsh words:
Don't let me ever catch you, old man, by these ships again,
Skulking around now or sneaking back later.
The god's staff and ribbons won't save you next time.
The girl is mine, and she'll be an old woman in Argos
Before I let her go, working the loom in my house
And coming to my bed, far from her homeland.
Now clear out of her before you make me angry! [Iliad 1. 34-40]
The example of Chryseis and Briseis was a critical reminder of what will become of the women of Troy should the Greeks succeed in taking Troy. Both... [continues]
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