Experience the oldest literary form Study and analyze the genre of epic Study and analyze other elements of literature (character, theme, etc.) Look for archetypes Enjoy a fascinating adventure tale Today we will discuss three things: Greek/Roman mythology, Background of The Iliad and Odyssey, Hero Cycle
Definition: A traditional story rooted in primitive folk beliefs of cultures Uses the supernatural to interpret natural events Explains the culture’s view of the universe and the nature of humanity
FYI: The two major, influential deities that you need to be familiar with are Poseidon and Athena.
Roman Name: Jupiter (also Jove) Supreme god of the Olympians. Fathered many characters in mythology
Roman Name: Neptune God of the Seas and Waters- tempestuous, violent and cruel “The Earthshaker” The god who opposes Odysseus Odysseus is also quick to anger, violent and cruel at times to this god
Roman Name: Minerva Goddess of Wisdom and War a war goddess who fights to protect the homeland. Sprang from Zeus’s head goddess who favors Odysseus
Roman Name: Mercury Messenger of the Gods Appears in more myths than any other character
Nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne Inspired artists of all kinds Goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences “He is happy whom the muses love.” Clio, Urania, Thalia, Melpomene, Erato, Calliope, Euterpe, Terpsichore, Polyhymnia
Roman Name: Parcae, Moirae Three sisters Clotho (“The Spinner”) Lachesis (“The disposer of lots”) Atropos (“The cutter”) They weave, measure, and cut the thread of life for humans.
Cyclops One eyed monster, son of Poseidon Charybdis bladder of a creature whose face was all mouth and whose arms and legs were flippers and who swallows huge amounts of water three times a day before belching them back out again, creating whirlpools Scylla grotesque sea monster, with six long necks equipped with grisly heads, each of which contained three rows of sharp teeth. Circe is a minor goddess of magic, a witch and enchantress Calypso Sea nymph In The Odyssey
It’s good to know, during the Odyssey when we talk about dates…… 3000 years ago also can mean 1000 B.C.E B.C. = Before ChristB.C.E= Before the Common Era A.D. = After DeathA.C.E.= After the Common Era
Definition: Long, narrative poem about the adventures of a hero Shows values & beliefs of a culture Includes a journey / quest Encompasses vast setting (world) Involves supernatural forces Hero’s actions determine nation’s fate
Concern eternal human problems such as the conflict between GOOD and EVIL Written or told on a grand scale and often in ceremonial style
The hero is a great leader who is identified strongly with a particular people or society. The setting is broad and often includes supernatural realms, especially the land of the dead. The hero does great deeds in battle or undertakes an extraordinary journey or quest. Sometimes gods or other supernatural or fantastic beings take part in the action. The story is told in heightened language
Invocation to the muse or other deity ("Sing, goddess, of the wrath of Achilles") Story begins in medias res (in the middle of things) Epic simile (a long simile where the image becomes an object of art in its own right as well as serving to clarify the subject). Frequent use of epithets ("Aeneas the true"; "rosy-fingered Dawn"; "tall-masted ship") Use of patronymics (calling son by father's name): "Anchises' son" Previous episodes in the story are later recounted
The epic hero is a “LARGER THAN LIFE PERSON” who embodies the highest ideals of his culture and embodies LOYALTY, VALOR/ COURAGE, SENSE OF JUSTICE, DIGNITY, PERSISTENCE, and many other traits of the Anglo-Saxon culture The epic hero usually undertakes a QUEST/ JOURNEY to achieve something of great value to themselves or society Not a “Superman” with magical powers but a “REGULAR” human whose aspirations and accomplishments set him/her apart Overcomes great obstacles/opponents but maintains HUMANITY Epic hero experiences typical HUMAN EMOTIONS/ FEELINGS, yet is able to master and control these human traits to a greater degree than a typical person The epic hero is an ARCHETYPAL character.
Epithet Adjective or descriptive phrase regularly used to characterize a person, place, or thing. We speak of “Honest Abe,” for example, and “America the Beautiful.” Homeric Epithet: compound adjective that modifies a noun. Ex: “wine-dark sea,” “rosy-fingered dawn,” “the gray-eyed goddess Athena.”
A Homeric or heroic simile compares heroic events to everyday occurrences. Example: “A man in a distant field, no hearth fires near, / will hide a fresh brand in his bed of embers / to keep a spark alive for the next day; / so in the leaves Odysseus hid himself, (Lines 119-122) The way Odysseus hides himself in the leaves to sleep is compared to the way a burning coal is buried deep in the embers to preserve a spark for the next day.
Iliad: the archetype of the war epic. A story of the 10 year Trojan War (estimated to have occurred around 1200 B.C.) Began with Paris a Prince of Troy who took Helen, wife of King Menelaus.
Odyssey: the archetype of the story of a long journey; the long journey can be see as a metaphor for living one’s life. A story of Odysseus’ long and wayward journey from the Trojan War.
Who was Homer? No one knows for sure Greek storyteller composed the Iliad and the Odyssey around 800 BC may have been blind, a group of poets, or even a woman
Trojan War was fought over Helen. Although, their were underlying currents of tension as the Greeks wanted to control the trade of The Mediterranean. Menelaus, king of Sparta, wanted his wife back. Agamemnon, brother of Menelaus, gathered the army together. Agamemnon got the wind to sail the ships to Troy by sacrificing his daughter to the gods. Greeks won the war through trickery, the Trojan horse, created by Odysseus. Achilles, greatest Greek hero, died young in the last year of the war. Agamemnon, killed when he returned home by his wife who had taken another lover.
FYI: For many centuries it was believed that the 'Iliad' was a piece of imaginative and inventive fiction. In 1870, however, the German scholar Heinrich Schliemann began excavations at the place where Troy was believed to have stood. He satisfied himself, and eventually the rest of the world, that there had actually been a war fought there. The excavations revealed that several cities had stood on the spot before the one Homer celebrated.
The Illiad: Achilles’ role in the Trojan Wars Achilles was the most important warrior in the Greek ranks. His argument with King Agamemnon led to his brooding and isolation from the war. His friend, Patroclus, disguised in Achilles’ armor, leads the men into battle. Hector bravely fought whom he thought was Achilles and killed the youth. Achilles, in rage, reenters the battle after the funeral of Patroclus. The Iliad takes place in the 10 th and final year of the Trojan War
The Greek concept of a hero In the Homeric epics, the heroes give the reader (or listener) the impression that, in order to be the best, to achieve arête, an individual must sacrifice for the society. Greek heroes often had superhuman powers, though all Greek heroes and gods had a classic flaw. In the Iliad, Homer uses Achilles as a central figure to illustrate the power of the gods, the role of fate in ones life and the ways man should deal with the travails of life in a way that continues tradition and protects the values of the culture.
A hollow wooden horse the Greeks built, supposedly to honor the Trojans. The Greeks pretended to leave and the horse was brought inside the gates of Troy.
When compared to its source material (Homer's The Iliad)... In the movie Troy was sacked about a month after the Greeks landed, whereas in the book the siege lasted over ten years. Menelaus was not killed by Hector but instead outlived him and went on to live with Helen until his death. Agamemnon was not killed by Briseis. Actually, he was, according to the story, killed by his own wife and her lover, after he returned home. Achilles was killed long before the Greeks built the horse, by one arrow. He is killed by an arrow through his heel that was shot by Paris of Troy. Thus, by the time the Trojan Horse is built and wheeled into the city of Troy, Achilles is dead. Hector didn't kill Ajax; Ajax committed suicide. The Illiad ends with Hector’s family mourning. The rest of the story is recounted in The Odyssey.
Like Homer’s other epic, the Iliad, Odyssey begins in medias res, or in the middle of things. Rather than open the story with the end of the Trojan War, Homer begins midway through Odysseus’s wanderings. This is the primary story, the first and best example, the archetype of the story of a long journey. Because the long journey can be seen as a metaphor for living one’s life, this story has been examined more closely. The Odyssey contains the morals, themes and values of the Greek society about adventure, hardship, and life.
Odysseus is a very human hero. More than his strength, which was great, Odysseus was known for his clever and agile mind. It was he who thought of using the Trojan horse to gain entrance to the impregnable walls of Troy. The story of The Odyssey follows his wayward struggle to return home to his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, after The Trojan war Odysseus, who was later called Ulysses by the Romans, was king of Ithaca, a small island on the west coast of Greece. By the war's end he had been away from home for ten years. He filled his ships with treasure taken from the Trojans and set sail. Ordinarily the trip from Troy to Ithaca would have taken only a short time. The Greek gods, however, decided that it should take Odysseus ten years to reach his wife and son. During those years he and his men endured a series of hazardous and remarkable adventures.
Religious Figures Star Trek Braveheart Gladiator Hancock Harry Potter The Matrix Finding Nemo Shrek I, Robot Batman (any of the films) Spiderman (any of the films) Ice Age Lion King