The Iliad and Today

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The characters portrayed in the Iliad are culturally similar to the people living in the United States today, but they are also different from us in several ways. The people that lived during the time of Homer had different ideas on many issues. The way they viewed things were somewhat different to how we view things today. This is to be expected because throughout history many events reshaped their views and beliefs.

Events such as disasters, plagues, and wars occurred which brought about change. The setting of the Iliad begins with a war between Greece and Troy. This conflict had been going on for ten years. Back when the Iliad was written it was conceivable for the duration of war to last many years. In this day and time our concept of the duration of a war is somewhat shorter.

Another aspect of Greek ideology relating to war that differs from people living today is the personal aspect of war. The culture of Greeks in 700 B.C. conducted war where the participants most always saw their enemy on the battlefield.

In book one of the Iliad the way Greek and Trojans armies conducted warfare much different than we do today. In modern warfare the individual in many cases is taken out of the equation. The majority of the time soldiers on the battlefield today do not see their intended target. This is due much to the advancements in technology which puts distance between combatants. In the warfare of Homer’s day those engaged in mortal combat could look in the eyes of their enemy.

This closeness of combat made warfare fought on more of a personal level than it does in today’s military. That is not to say that war today is not personal, it’s just on a different level. As soldiers in the United States military placed a high value on honor so did the characters portrayed in the Iliad but on a more personal level. This is because not only could they see each other in close combat, they were able to evaluate, make judgments and convey to others how their fellow...
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