Presentation on theme: "homer writer of two Epic Poems – the Iliad and the Odyssey"— Presentation transcript:
1 homer writer of two Epic Poems – the Iliad and the Odyssey writer of two Epic Poems – the Iliad and the OdysseyLong – each 24 books of average 500 lines each (12,000 lines)narrative (tells a story) – not about feelings emotions hymns etcabout lofty characters – heroes and gods
2 Who/WHAT was HOMER a single writer? Traditionally Unity of poetic visionCompiled from many shorter poems by many poetsLack unityInconsistencies about continuity etcRepetitions of v similar episodes
3 More likely Evolved orally over generations Evolved orally over generationsdactylic hexameter: (sung or chanted)Dialect of the poem is unique, and a blend that existed over time in a variety of places.Repeated formulaic epithets “swift footed Achilles”, “grey eyed Athena”, which are common building blocks in oral traditions.Repeated whole speeches.Repeated formulaic discriptions of certain scenes (e.g. putting on armour, sacrifice scenes).Still a SINGLE POETIC GENIUS in its final formulation.
4 How might it have happened? A single bard (Homer) gathered, sorted out , and gave a single unified quality to many of the episodes about.Here is an example of an episode from World War I (by Robert Service)Note it isHeroic (larger than ordinary life in its subject)Set to verse to aid memory (8 beats rather than Homer’s 6)Sung/chanted (very simple 3-3 note sequence)Uses extended images which make visualising the picture easy.
6 This way of telling a story lends itself to epic conventions This begins with an introduction “oh ye whose hearts are resonant…. oh hearken let me try to tell the tale of Jean Desprez” as do both Iliad and OdysseyIt has higher language than would be chosen if you just told the story in conversation both words (“lost to hope am I”) and content (“Spirit of the french”).Extended descriptions – the childhood delights of the french contrysideEpithets like “wolves of war” or “slaughter sloping” and rythmn/rhyme would make it much easier to remember long poemsSuspense – Desprez doesn’t even enter the story till the second halfIf Jean Dupress had gone on to become a national figure with many stories, this might hav ebeen one episode in a long epic song about him..
7 Story cycleAt the wedding of Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles – divine origins – of course)Eris (discord) not invited but tosses in an apple “for the fairest”Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite each claim it.Zeus asked to decide, but pikes out and picks a poor mortal to do itParis prince of Troy chooses Aphrodite (best bribe – he can have the most beautiful woman in the worldHelen (daughter of Zeus and Leda)
8 The war Paris steals back to Troy with Helen Husband Menelaus of Sparta get Br Agamemnon of Mycenae, and all the Achaeans to retrieve her.10 yr siege with no side winning and the gods interfering to protect their favourites at various pointsGreat heroes on both sidesGk – Achilles, Ajax, Odysseus;Trojan – HectorTrojan horse (an idea of Odysseus) used to break the siege
9 AFTER The warMany stories of the difficulties the heroes had after the fall of TroyMost famous Odysseus (told in the Odyssey) Circe the witch, Cyclops, Lotus eaters, wife’s suitors, Reunited with his son Telemachus.Aeneas - a Trojan – son of Aphrodite - escapes with his father and sonEventually founds Rome – Caesar traced descent from him (told in Virgil’s Aeneid)
10 Schliemann – great discoveries, but over the top claims the war starts HISTORICAL TRACES?Schliemann – great discoveries, but over the top claims the war startsArchaeological work shows there were such cities, and warfare between them.
11 THE ILIADFocuses on a short episode in the final year of the war, not the whole storyThe rage of Achilles at being insulted by Agamemnon, then hectorAgamemnon takes Achilles war-prise so he leaves the fightingThings go bad for Gks so Agamemnon asks him to return (in vane) Bk9His friend Patroclus fights in his armour to restore Gk confidence BK16Patroclus killed by Hector and Achilles finally returns to battle to avenge dead friend BK20He kills Hector, and defiles the bodyPriam king of Troy ransoms the body of his son Hector from Achilles and the Iliad ends with the funeral of Hector Bk24
12 UNIVERSAL THEMES What motivates heroic behaviour Individual’s duty to societyCooperation verses competition and conflictPlace of fate in men’s liveInteraction of the gods (God) in human affairs.How best should mortals live their lives esp in the face of imminent death
14 MAC RAP in dactylic octameter not exactly heroic – but shows the hopnotic effect of rhyme and rythmn in story telling
15 SOME SAMPLES Bk1 line 1:the rage of Achilles Sing, Goddess, sing of the rage of Achilles, son of Peleus—that murderous anger which condemned Achaeansto countless agonies and threw many warrior soulsdeep into Hades, leaving their dead bodiescarrion food for dogs and birds—all in fulfilment of the will of Zeus.
16 SOME SAMPLES bk1/158 Achilles & Agamemnon “You insatiable creature, quite shameless.How can any Achaean obey you willingly— join a raiding party or keep fightingwith full force against an enemy?I didn’t come to battle over herebecause of Trojans. I have no fight with them.They never stole my bulls or horsesor razed my crops in fertile Phthia,where heroes grow. Many shady mountainsand the roaring sea stand there between us.But you, great shameless man, we came with you,to please you, to win honour from the Trojans—for you, dog face, and for Menelaus.You don’t consider this, don’t think at all.
17 SOME SAMPLES bk 4/473 Ajax kills Simoisious Then Ajax, son of Telamon, hit Simoeisius,Anthemion’s son, a fine young warriorHe was born on the banks of the river Simoeis,while his mother was coming down Mount Ida,accompanying her parents to watch their flocks.That’s why the people called him Simoeisius.But he did not repay his fond parents for raising him.His life was cut short on great Ajax’s deadly spear.As he was moving forward with the men in front, Ajax struck him in the chest, by the right nipple.The bronze spear went clean through his shoulder.He collapsed in the dust, like a poplar tree,one growing in a large well-watered meadow,from whose smooth trunk the branches grow up to the top,until a chariot builder’s bright axe topples it,bends the wood, to make wheel rims for a splendid chariot,letting the wood season by the riverbank.That’s how godlike Ajax chopped down Simoeisius,son of Anthemion.
18 SOME SAMPLES bk 5/860, 889 Ares wounded & insulted “Father Zeus,aren’t you incensed at this barbarity?We gods are always suffering dreadfullyat each other’s hands, when we bring men help.We all lay the blame for this on you….”Scowling at him, cloud-gatherer Zeus replied:“You hypocrite, don’t sit there whining at me.Among the gods who live on Mount Olympus,you’re the one I hate the most. For you love war,constant strife and battle. Your mother, Hera,has an implacable, unyielding spirit.It’s hard for me to control how she reactsto what I say. You’re suffering because of her,through her conniving, that’s what I think.But I’ll leave you in pain no longer.You’re my child—your mother and I made you.But if you’d been born from any other god,by now you’d be lower than the sonsof Ouranos—you’re so destructive.”
19 SOME SAMPLES bk6/441,466 Hector’s leaving family With these words,glorious Hector stretched his hands out for his son.The boy immediately shrank back against the breastof the finely girdled nurse, crying out in terrorto see his own dear father, scared at the sight of bronze,the horse-hair plume nodding fearfully from his helmet top The child’s loving father laughed, his noble mother, too.Glorious Hector pulled the glittering helmet offand set it on the ground. Then he kissed his dear sonand held him in his arms. He prayed aloud to Zeusand the rest of the immortals.
20 SOME SAMPLES bk23/70 Ghost of Patroclus ….So let the same container hold our bones,that gold two-handled jar your mother gave you.”Swift-footed Achilles then said in reply:“Dear friend, why have you come to me here,telling me everything I need to do?I’ll carry out all these things for you,attend to your request. But come closer.Let’s hold each other one short moment more,enjoying a shared lament together.”Saying this, Achilles reached out with his arms, but he grasped nothing. The spirit had departed,going underground like vapour, muttering faintly.Achilles jumped up in amazement, clapped his hands,and then spoke out in sorrow:“How sad!It seems that even in Hades’ house,some spirit or ghost remains, but our beingis not there at all.The ghost spoke to Achilles, saying:“You’re asleep, AchillesYou’ve forgotten me. While I was alive, you never did neglect me. But now I’m dead.So bury me as quickly as you can.Then I can pass through the gates of Hades.The spirits, ghosts of the dead, keep me away.They don’t let me join them past the river.So I wander aimlessly round Hades’ homeby its wide gates. Give me your hand, I beg you,for I’ll never come again from Hades,once you’ve given me what’s due, my funeral fireWe’ll no more sit together making plans,separated from our dear companions.The jaws of dreadful Fate are gaping for me,ready to consume me—my destinyfrom the day that I was born. You, too,godlike Achilles, you have your own fate, to die under the walls of wealthy Troy.I’ll say one more thing, one last request,if you will listen. Achilles, don’t lay your bonesapart from mine. Let them remain together,.”