“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.
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 **
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
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 Will of Zeus
Achilles is half human-half god
Achilles and Agamemnon
(strongest warrior vs. strongest of the Greek Kings)
Chryses’ daughter is taken in a raid and given to Agamemnon. Apollo makes him give him back so Agamemnon takes Achilles girl (Cassandra)
Timé- the material reward that makes life worth living. Honor, prestige, admiration from those around
Kleos- the thing that a hero will have when the stores of him are passed down from generation, GLORY
Achilles knows what his fate is, he knows that he will die at Troy. He is there for the glory When he loses his timé and kleos he withdraws from the battle because he has no reason to fight
What is the place of gods in human affairs?
Athena stops Achilles from killing Agamemnon
The intervention is reflected in the inner life of the character. Achilles is a hero who is capable of inner strength and thought. Helen says to Aphrodite: “if you like Paris so much, why don’t you go to him” double motivation: she chooses to go along with her fate, to sleep with whoever will protect her.
What is a successful civilization?
The Trojans play by the rules. Prium is powerful and confident, he his merciful. - Hector is mad at Paris because he did not play fairly, Aphrodite saved him (as a Trojan he should have played fairly) The Greeks are after the Trojan wealth