How does War Tactics from Homer’s the Iliad differ from War Tactics Today

Topics: Achilles, Homer, Trojan War Pages: 5 (1761 words) Published: March 3, 2014
How does War Tactics from Homer’s the Iliad differ from War Tactics Today The enduring and growing popularity of Homer's Iliad offers the most persuasive testimony of all that the vision of life celebrated in the poem still reaches deeply into the human imagination, spanning more than two thousand five hundred years. Cultures since Homer's time have constructed social and personal lives on systems of meaning very different from the harsh demands of the warrior code, but the continuing power of the work reveals just how strongly the significance of that ancient way of living still speaks to the human imagination. Over the years, some scholars and critics have described the Iliad as the first piece of anti-war literature. This is true in some respects, though ultimately misleading. It is true in that the Iliad portrays war in a completely unvarnished way. Its battle scenes are disgusting and brutal. The Iliad leaves little doubt that the capture of Troy will result in widespread murder, theft, and the enslavement of its women and children. At the same time, however, it portrays war as an almost inevitable part of human life. Whereas modern day is not that different from the Iliad due to the battle scenes being disgusting and brutal but different in the aspects of theft and enslavement o women and children.

According to Warrior Ants: Elite troops in the Iliad "the nature of infantry battle in the Iliad has long been one of the more problematic questions in Homeric scholarship. On the one hand, the great heroes at troy enjoy seemingly limitless freedom of movement, retiring from and returning to battle." while in modern days men cannot leave a battlefield as they please. The first modern total war, fought with mass armies and modern firearms, was the U.S. Civil War. It demonstrated the importance of industrial mobilization; modern communications (especially railroads and the telegraph), and the deadly effect of new small arms, such as the rifled musket, on mass formations of attacking infantry. Beginning as a contest between armies, it grew into a conflict between two societies. In depicting the world of the warriors in the Iliad, Homer pays special attention to the objects of war, the material possessions inextricably bound up with the demands of the warrior's daily actions. And just as we derive significant insight into any culture by examining the artifacts which the people most value, so in the Iliad we are always discovering the ironies of war in the articles which the fighting men use and admire. Not surprisingly the cultural values of these prized objects evoke the same complex responses as the religious beliefs and the warrior code, according to which these men understand themselves and their world. One notices from the start that the material world of the Iliad is remarkably narrow. Almost every object in the poem has a practical use in the war, and objects with no direct military function or with no bearing on the man's status as a warrior count for little and do not merit extended attention. As we have observed already, a copper cauldron has a value three times that of a woman skilled in crafts, because the soldier needs a good cauldron in his hut and because possession of extra cauldrons is a sign of his status. He does not require domestic fine arts. Readers who come to the Iliad with some experience of the Odyssey often remark upon the considerable difference in texture between the two poems. Much of that sense comes from the ways in which the Odyssey constantly celebrates beautiful objects and environments for their aesthetic value, for their capacity to inspire delight and wonder. The Iliad has little room for such a rich variety. In the world of peaceful, hospitable human civilization central to the Odyssey, the artistic magnificence of homes and the objects in them, just like the paradisal qualities of nature, bring into people's lives a vitally important aesthetic pleasure. So here we often find...
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