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Epic Gods of the Classical Age: from Vindictive Spirits to Helpful Companions UAB First Thursdays September 3, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Epic Gods of the Classical Age: from Vindictive Spirits to Helpful Companions UAB First Thursdays September 3, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Epic Gods of the Classical Age: from Vindictive Spirits to Helpful Companions UAB First Thursdays September 3, 2009

2 Works we will look at:  Homer, Iliad and Odyssey  Vergil, Aeneid

3 Some issues :  Power  Destiny and Fate  Individual v. Civic Deities  metis  Wisdom  Cleverness  Resoucefulness  Mental agility  Courage and Virtue (arete)  Identity, Disguise, Recognition

4 The wrath sing, goddess, of Peleus' son, Achilles, that destructive wrath which brought countless woes upon the Achaeans, and sent forth to Hades many valiant souls of heroes, and made them themselves spoil for dogs and every bird; thus the plan of Zeus came to fulfillment, [5] from the time when first they parted in strife Atreus' son, king of men, and brilliant Achilles. Who then of the gods was it that brought these two together to contend ? The son of Leto and Zeus(Apollo); for he in anger against the king roused throughout the host an evil pestilence, and the people began to perish, [10] because upon the priest Chryses the son of Atreus had wrought dishonour The opening of the Iliad :

5 Ingres, Zeus and Thetis, Musee Granet, Aix-en-Provence, France

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9 Horatio Greenough, George Washington, 1840, National Museum of American History The ultimate model for all of these was Pheidias’ statue of Zeus at Olympia, now lost, but images of it were preserved on coins and ancient souvenirs of visits to this wonder of the world

10 Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. Many were the men whose cities he saw and whose mind he learned, aye, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the sea, [5] seeking to win his own life and the return of his comrades. Yet even so he saved not his comrades, though he desired it sore, for through their own blind folly they perished--fools, who devoured the kine of Helios Hyperion ; but he took from them the day of their returning. [10] ….But when, as the seasons revolved, the year came in which the gods had ordained that he should return home to Ithaca, not even there was he free from toils, even among his own folk. And all the gods pitied him [20] save Poseidon ; but he continued to rage unceasingly against godlike Odysseus until at length he reached his own land….Poseidon had gone….far off…; but the other gods were gathered together in the halls of Olympian Zeus. Odyssey, Book 1, opening invocation to the Muse:

11 Among them the father of gods and men was first to speak, for in his heart he thought of noble Aegisthus, [30] whom far-famed Orestes, Agamemnon's son, had slain. Thinking on him he spoke among the immortals, and said: “ Look you now, how ready mortals are to blame the gods. It is from us, they say, that evils come, but they even of themselves, through their own blind folly, have sorrows beyond that which is ordained. [35] Even as now Aegisthus, beyond that which was ordained, took to himself the wedded wife of the son of Atreus, and slew him on his return, though well he knew of sheer destruction, seeing that we spake to him before, sending Hermes, the keen-sighted Argeiphones, that he should neither slay the man nor woo his wife; [40] for from Orestes shall come vengeance for the son of Atreus when once he has come to manhood and longs for his own land. So Hermes spoke, but for all his good intent he prevailed not upon the heart of Aegisthus; and now he has paid the full price of all.” Odyssey, Book 1, opening council of the gods on Olympus

12 What we tend to remember of the story of the Odyssey are the great lying tales he spins at a banquet before the Phaeacians where he reveals his name and impresses them with the deeds of what a single man can do against even the stronger and the many, The episodes, as Aristotle called them(from Chapter 17): Now in drama the episodes are short, but it is by them that the epic gains its length. The story of the Odyssey is quite short. A man is for many years away from home and his footsteps are dogged by Poseidon and he is all alone. Moreover, [20] affairs at home are in such a state that his estate is being wasted by suitors and a plot laid against his son, but after being storm-tossed he arrives himself, reveals who he is, and attacks them, with the result that he is saved and destroys his enemies. That is the essence, the rest is episodes.

13 And a few other words of wisdom from Aristotle : 1460a…..Homer deserves praise for many things and especially for this, that alone of all poets he does not fail to understand what he ought to do himself. The poet should speak as seldom as possible in his own character, since he is not "representing" the story in that sense.. but Homer after a brief prelude at once brings in a man or a woman or some other character… Above all, Homer has taught the others the proper way of telling lies,

14 Odysseus had risked his own day of return by telling the Cyclops Polyphemus his real name instead of continuing with the clever deceit of “Outis,” “NoMan.” Eleusis, Proto-Attic Amphora, c BCE, 4.5 feet tall, served as a burial for the bones of a child “if no man is attacking you, you must be ill; when Jove makes people ill, there is no help for it, and you had better pray to your father Neptune.” “I have been all along expecting some one of imposing presence and superhuman strength”

15 So he spoke, and the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, smiled, and stroked him with her hand, and changed herself to the form of a woman, comely and tall, and skilled in glorious handiwork. [290] And she spoke, and addressed him with winged words: “ Cunning must he be and knavish, who would go beyond thee in all manner of guile, aye, though it were a god that met thee. Bold man, crafty in counsel, insatiate in deceit, not even in thine own land, it seems, wast thou to cease from guile [295] and deceitful tales, which thou lovest from the bottom of thine heart. But come, let us no longer talk of this, being both well versed in craft, since thou art far the best of all men in counsel and in speech, and I among all the gods am famed for wisdom and craft. Yet thou didst not know [300] Pallas Athena, daughter of Zeus, even me, who ever stand by thy side, and guard thee in all toils. Aye, and I made thee beloved by all the Phaeacians. And now am I come hither to weave a plan with thee, and to hide all the treasure, which the lordly Phaeacians [305] gave thee by my counsel and will, when thou didst set out for home; and to tell thee all the measure of woe it is thy fate to fulfill in thy well-built house. Odyssey, Book 13, ll.287 ff. Odysseus and Athena, first meeting on Ithaca:

16 … Then the two sat them down by the trunk of the sacred olive tree, and devised death for the insolent wooers. And the goddess…was the first to speak, saying: [375] “… Odysseus of many devices, take thought how thou may put forth thy hands on the shameless wooers, who now for three years have been lording it in thy halls, wooing thy godlike wife… but her mind is set on other things.” Then Odysseus of many wiles answered her, and said: “Lo now, of a surety I was like to have perished in my halls by the evil fate of Agamemnon [385] had not thou, goddess, duly told me all. But come, weave some plan by which I may requite them; and stand thyself by my side, and endue me with dauntless courage, even as when we loosed the bright diadem of Troy. Would thou but stand by my side, thou flashing-eyed one, as eager as thou was then, [390] I would fight even against three hundred men, with thee, mighty goddess, if with a ready heart thou would give me aid.” Then the goddess… answered him: “Yea verily, I will be with thee, and will not forget thee, when we are busied with this work; and methinks many a one [395] of the wooers that devour thy substance shall bespatter the vast earth with his blood and brains. But come, I will make thee unknown to all mortals. I will shrivel the fair skin on thy supple limbs, and destroy the flaxen hair from off thy head, and clothe thee in a ragged garment, [400] such that one would shudder to see a man clad therein. And I will dim thy two eyes that were before so beautiful, that thou may appear mean in the sight of all the wooers, and of thy wife, and of thy son, whom thou did leave in thy halls. And for thyself, do thou go first of all [405] to the swineherd who keeps thy swine, and withal has a kindly heart towards thee, and loves thy son… while I go to Sparta, the land of fair women, to summon thence Telemachus, thy dear son, Odysseus, who went to spacious Lacedaemon to the house of Menelaus, [415] to seek tidings of thee, if thou was still anywhere alive.”

17 Then Odysseus of many wiles answered her: “Why then, I pray thee, didst thou not tell him, thou whose mind knows all things? Nay, was it haply that he too might suffer woes, wandering over the unresting sea, and that others might devour his substance?” [420] Then the goddess…answered him: “ Nay verily, not for him be thy heart overmuch troubled. It was I that guided him, that he might win good report by going thither, and he has no toil, but sits in peace in the palace of the son of Atreus, and good cheer past telling is before him. [425] Truly young men in a black ship lie in wait for him, eager to slay him before he comes to his native land, but methinks this shall not be. Ere that shall the earth cover many a one of the wooers that devour thy substance.” So saying, Athena touched him with her wand. [430] She withered the fair flesh on his supple limbs, and destroyed the flaxen hair from off his head, and about all his limbs she put the skin of an aged old man. And she dimmed his two eyes that were before so beautiful, and clothed him in other raiment, [435] a vile ragged cloak and a tunic, tattered garments and foul, begrimed with filthy smoke. And about him she cast the great skin of a swift hind, stripped of the hair, and she gave him a staff, and a miserable wallet, full of holes, slung by a twisted cord. So when the two had thus taken counsel together, they parted…

18 By these ever slept four dogs, savage as wild beasts, which the swineherd had reared, a leader of men. …. suddenly then the baying hounds caught sight of Odysseus, [30] and rushed upon him with loud barking, but Odysseus sat down in his cunning, and the staff fell from his hand. Then even in his own farmstead would he have suffered cruel hurt, but the swineherd with swift steps followed after them, and hastened through the gateway, and the hide fell from his hand. [35] He called aloud to the dogs, and drove them this way and that with a shower of stones, and spoke to his master, and said: “Old man, verily the dogs were like to have torn thee to pieces all of a sudden, and on me thou would have shed reproach. Aye, and the gods have given me other griefs and sorrow. [40] It is for a godlike master that I mourn and grieve, as I abide here, and rear fat swine for other men to eat, while he haply in want of food wanders over the land and city of men of strange speech, if indeed he still lives and sees the light of the sun. At Eumaeus’ hut:

19 In amazement up sprang the swineherd, and from his hands the vessels fell with which he was busied as he mixed the flaming wine. And he went to meet his lord, [15] and kissed his head and both his beautiful eyes and his two hands, and a big tear fell from him. And as a loving father greets his own dear son, who comes in the tenth year from a distant land--his only son and well-beloved, for whose sake he has borne much sorrow-- [20] even so did the goodly swineherd then clasp in his arms godlike Telemachus and kiss him all over as one escaped from death; and with wailing he addressed him with winged words: “Thou art come, Telemachus, sweet light of my eyes. I thought I should never see thee more after thou hadst gone in thy ship to Pylos. [25] But come, enter in, dear child, that I may delight my heart with looking at thee here in my house, who art newly come from other lands. For thou dost not often visit the farm and the herdsmen, but abidest in the town; so, I ween, has it seemed good to thy heart, to look upon the destructive throng of the wooers.” [30] Then wise Telemachus answered him: “So shall it be, father. It is for thy sake that I am come hither, to see thee with my eyes, and to hear thee tell whether my mother still abides in the halls, or whether by now some other man has wedded her, and the couch of Odysseus [35] lies haply in want of bedding, covered with foul spider-webs.” Then the swineherd, a leader of men, answered him: “Aye, verily, she abides with steadfast heart in thy halls, and ever sorrowfully for her the nights and the days wane as she weeps.” [40] So saying, he took from him the spear of bronze, and Telemachus went in and passed over the stone threshold. As he drew near, his father, Odysseus, rose from his seat and gave him place, but Telemachus on his part checked him, and said: “Be seated, stranger, and we shall find a seat elsewhere [45] in our farmstead. There is a man here who will set us one.” Telemachus comes to the hut of the swineherd, Eumaeus, where Odysseus is already being sheltered:

20 … And a hound that lay there raised his head and pricked up his ears, Argos, the hound of Odysseus, of the steadfast heart, whom of old he had himself bred, but had no joy of him, for ere that he went to sacred Ilios. In days past the young men were wont to take the hound to hunt [295] the wild goats, and deer, and hares; but now he lay neglected, his master gone, in the deep dung of mules and cattle, which lay in heaps before the doors, till the slaves of O. should take it away to dung his wide lands. [300] There lay the hound… full of vermin; yet even now, when he marked O. standing near, he wagged his tail and dropped both his ears, but nearer to his master he had no longer strength to move. Then O. looked aside and wiped away a tear, [305] easily hiding from Eumaeua what he did; and straightway he questioned him, and said: “Eumaeus, verily it is strange that this hound lies here in the dung. He is fine of form, but I do not clearly know whether he has speed of foot to match this beauty or whether he is merely as table-dogs [310] are, which their masters keep for show.” To him then, swineherd E., did thou make answer and say: “Aye, verily this is the hound of a man that has died in a far land. If he were but in form and in action such as he was when O. left him and went to T., [315] thou would soon be amazed at seeing his speed and his strength. No creature that he started in the depths of the thick wood could escape him, and in tracking too he was keen of scent. But now he is in evil plight, and his master has perished far from his native land, and the heedless women give him no care. [320] Slaves, when their masters lose their power, are no longer minded thereafter to do honest service: for Zeus, whose voice is borne afar, takes away half his worth from a man, when the day of slavery comes upon him.” So saying, he entered the stately house [325] and went straight to the hall to join the company of the lordly wooers. But as for Argos, the fate of black death seized him straightway when he had seen O. in the twentieth year. As Odysseus comes to his home after such a long time and sees his faithful dog Argos:

21 Ulysses slept in the cloister upon an undressed bullock's hide,…There, then, Ulysses lay wakefully brooding upon the way in which he should kill the suitors; and by and by, the women who had been in the habit of misconducting themselves with them, left the house giggling and laughing with one another. This made Ulysses very angry, and he doubted whether to get up and kill every single one of them then and there, or to let them sleep one more and last time with the suitors. His heart growled within him, and as a bitch with puppies growls and shows her teeth when she sees a stranger, so did his heart growl with anger at the evil deeds that were being done: but he beat his breast and said, "Heart, be still, you had worse than this to bear on the day when the terrible Cyclops ate your brave companions; yet you bore it in silence till your cunning got you safe out of the cave, …." Thus he chided with his heart, and checked it into endurance, but he tossed about as one who turns a paunch full of blood and fat in front of a hot fire, doing it first on one side and then on the other, that he may get it cooked as soon as possible, even so did he turn himself about from side to side, thinking all the time how, single handed as he was, he should contrive to kill so large a body of men as the wicked suitors. But by and by Minerva came down from heaven in the likeness of a woman, and hovered over his head saying, "My poor unhappy man, why do you lie awake in this way? This is your house: your wife is safe inside it, and so is your son who is just such a young man as any father may be proud of." "Goddess," answered Ulysses, "all that you have said is true, but I am in some doubt as to how I shall be able to kill these wicked suitors single handed, seeing what a number of them there always are. And there is this further difficulty, which is still more considerable. Supposing that with Jove's and your assistance I succeed in killing them, I must ask you to consider where I am to escape to from their avengers when it is all over." " For shame," replied Minerva, "why, any one else would trust a worse ally than myself, even though that ally were only a mortal and less wise than I am. Am I not a goddess, and have I not protected you throughout in all your troubles? I tell you plainly that even though there were fifty bands of men surrounding us and eager to kill us, you should take all their sheep and cattle, and drive them away with you. But go to sleep; it is a very bad thing to lie awake all night, and you shall be out of your troubles before long." As she spoke she shed sleep over his eyes, and then went back to Olympus. Book 20, the night before the slaying of the suitors:

22 While Ulysses was thus yielding himself to a very deep slumber that eased the burden of his sorrows, his admirable wife awoke, and sitting up in her bed began to cry. ….This very night I thought there was one lying by my side who was like Ulysses as he was when he went away with his host, and I rejoiced, for I believed that it was no dream, but the very truth itself." On this the day broke, but Ulysses heard the sound of her weeping, and it puzzled him, for it seemed as though she already knew him and was by his side. Comment: And as the text and scene turn to Penelope… We have what may be the first depiction in literature of empathy, each senses the presence of the other:

23 Book 22, the slaying of the suitors: Then Ulysses tore off his rags, and sprang on to the broad pavement with his bow and his quiver full of arrows. He shed the arrows on to the ground at his feet and said, "The mighty contest is at an end. I will now see whether Apollo will vouchsafe it to me to hit another mark which no man has yet hit." On this he aimed a deadly arrow at Antinous, who was about to take up a two-handled gold cup to drink his wine and already had it in his hands. He had no thought of death- who amongst all the revellers would think that one man, however brave, would stand alone among so many and kill him? …. "Stranger," said they, "you shall pay for shooting people in this way:…you shall see no other contest; you are a doomed man; he whom you have slain was the foremost youth in Ithaca, and the vultures shall devour you for having killed him." Thus they spoke, for they thought that he had killed Antinous by mistake, and did not perceive that death was hanging over the head of every one of them. But Ulysses glared at them and said: "Dogs, did you think that I should not come back from Troy? You have wasted my substance, have forced my women servants to lie with you, and have wooed my wife while I was still living. You have feared neither God nor man, and now you shall die." They turned pale with fear as he spoke, and every man looked round about to see whither he might fly for safety, but Eurymachus alone spoke. "If you are Ulysses," said he, "then what you have said is just. We have done much wrong on your lands and in your house. But Antinous who was the head and front of the offending lies low already. It was all his doing….

24 Athena enters the fight against the suitors: Then Jove's daughter Minerva came up to them, having assumed the voice and form of Mentor. Ulysses was glad when he saw her and said, "Mentor, lend me your help, and forget not your old comrade, nor the many good turns he has done you. Besides, you are my age-mate." But all the time he felt sure it was Minerva, and the suitors from the other side raised an uproar when they saw her. Agelaus was the first to reproach her. "Mentor," he cried, "do not let Ulysses beguile you into siding with him and fighting the suitors. This is what we will do: when we have killed these people, father and son, we will kill you too. You shall pay for it with your head, and when we have killed you, we will take all you have, in doors or out, and bring it into hotch-pot with Ulysses' property; we will not let your sons live in your house, nor your daughters, nor shall your widow continue to live in the city of Ithaca." This made Minerva still more furious, so she scolded Ulysses very angrily. "Ulysses," said she, "your strength and prowess are no longer what they were when you fought for nine long years among the Trojans about the noble lady Helen. You killed many a man in those days, and it was through your stratagem that Priam's city was taken. How comes it that you are so lamentably less valiant now that you are on your own ground, face to face with the suitors in your own house? Come on, my good fellow, stand by my side and see how Mentor, son of Alcinous shall fight your foes and requite your kindnesses conferred upon him." But she would not give him full victory as yet, for she wished still further to prove his own prowess and that of his brave son, so she flew up to one of the rafters in the roof of the cloister and sat upon it in the form of a swallow.

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37 Suicide of Ajax

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40 Achilles bandaging Patroclus, Staatliche Museen, Antikenabteilung, Berlin.

41 Achilles kills Penthesileia

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45 Priam comes to the camp of Achilles to beg for the return of the body of Hector Iliad, … for he had but just done eating and drinking, and the table was still there. King Priam entered without their seeing him, and going right up to Achilles he clasped his knees and kissed the dread murderous hands that had slain so many of his sons.

46 [507] Thus spoke Priam, and the heart of A. yearned as he bethought him of his father. He took the old man's hand and moved him gently away. The two wept bitterly - P, as he lay at Achilles' feet, weeping for Hector, and Achilles now for his father and now for Patroclus, till the house was filled with their lamentation. But when A. was now sated with grief [513] and had unburdened the bitterness of his sorrow, he left his seat and raised the old man by the hand, in pity for his white hair and beard; then he said, "Unhappy man, you have indeed been greatly daring; how could you venture to come alone to the ships of the Achaeans, and enter the presence of him who has slain so many of your brave sons? You must have iron courage: sit now upon this seat, and for all our grief we will hide our sorrows in our hearts, for weeping will not avail us. The immortals know no care, yet the lot they spin for man is full of sorrow; on the floor of Zeus' palace there stand two urns, the one filled with evil gifts, and the other with good ones. He for whom Zeus the lord of thunder mixes the gifts he sends, will meet now with good and now with evil fortune; but he to whom Zeus sends none but evil gifts will be pointed at by the finger of scorn, the hand of famine will pursue him to the ends of the world, and he will go up and down the face of the earth, respected neither by gods nor men. Even so did it befall Peleus; the gods endowed him with all good things from his birth upwards, for he reigned over the Myrmidons excelling all men in prosperity [olbos] and wealth, and mortal though he was they gave him a goddess for his bride. But even on him too did heaven send misfortune, for there is no race of royal children born to him in his house, save one son who is doomed to die all untimely; nor may I take care of him now that he is growing old, for I must stay here at Troy to be the bane of you and your children. And you too, O Priam, I have heard that you were aforetime happy [olbios]. They say that in wealth and plenitude of offspring you surpassed all that is in L2esbos, the realm of Makar to the northward, Phrygia that is more inland, and those that dwell upon the great Hellespont; but from the day when the dwellers in heaven sent this evil upon you, war and slaughter have been about your city continually. [549] Bear up against it, and let there be some intervals in your sorrow. Mourn as you may for your brave son, you will take nothing by it. You cannot raise him from the dead, ere you do so yet another sorrow shall befall you." [552] And Priam answered, "O king, bid me not be seated, while Hektor is still lying uncared for in your tents, but accept the great ransom which I have brought you, and give him to me at once that I may look upon him. May you prosper with the ransom and reach your own land in safety, seeing that you have suffered me to live and to look upon the light of the sun." [559] A. looked at him sternly and said, "Vex me, sir, no longer; I am of myself minded to give up the body of Hector. My mother, daughter of the old man of the sea, came to me from Zeus to bid me deliver it to you. Moreover I know well, O Priam, and you cannot hide it, that some god has brought you to the ships of the Achaeans, for else, no man however strong and in his prime would dare to come to our host; he could neither pass our guard unseen, nor draw the bolt of my gates thus easily; therefore, provoke me no further, lest I err against the word of Zeus, and suffer you not, suppliant though you are, within my tents." The scene continues….

47 Hermes spirits Priam out of Achilles’ camp, unseen by the other Greeks; he reaches the citadel safely and sets in motion all the preparations for Hector’s burial he has rehearsed already with Achilles. The Iliad ends on this simple note: [804] Thus, then, did they celebrate the funeral of Hector tamer of horses.

48 London, British Museum

49 New York, Metropolitan Museum

50 Odysseus slays suitors

51 Telemachus and Penelope: other side, Euryclea recognizes O. as she washes his feet Chiusi, Museo Archeologico

52 Athena is born from the head of Zeus

53 What do women say about Athena? Pomeroy holds Athena to be "the archetype of a masculine woman who finds success in what is essentially a man's world by denying her own femininity and sexuality". (3) Pomeroy also highlights Athena's disguised appearance as a male in the Odyssey where her image and even her voice are those of Mentor, boyhood friend of Odysseus (Odyssey ). Whether or not this is one of the first sex transformations in literature, it might have been expected that only Athena could succeed in the disguise were it not for the typical suspicions of Odysseus. Cantarella suggests a uniquely different role than the typical Bronze Age female in "Athena, the goddess who advises...in typically masculine matters, which are those related to power...The only woman who has a constant influence and who is recognized as a counselor and protector...a nonwoman". (4) Henle says that even in the earliest Athena appearance we have, the Protoattic amphora from Eleusis, Athena is in her favorite role of protectress, "for which the Greeks held her in affection". (5) Athena appears to be the one goddess whom men trust (especially "real men", that is, heroes), as if her seeming asexuality made her safe - some have even wondered if she was invulnerable to sexual attraction - possessing true impartial wisdom as an objective confidant. From a blog by Don Lavigne at

54 Dionysus reborn from the thigh of Zeus

55 Andokides Painter (or Lysippides Painter) Heracles and Athena. Side A and B (black-figure) of Attic amphora, 520–510 BC. From Vulci, now in Munich Source:

56 Metope from Temple of Zeus at Olympia: Atlas and theApples of the Hesperides

57 Metope from Temple of Zeus at Olympia: Cleaning the Augean Stables

58 Douris Cup, Vatican c. 470 BCE

59 Theodore C. Williams’s Translation: O Muse, the causes tell! What sacrilege, or vengeful sorrow, moved the heavenly Queen to thrust on dangers dark and endless toil a man whose largest honor in men's eyes was serving Heaven? Can gods such anger feel? Dryden’s Translation: O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate; What goddess was provok'd, and whence her hate; For what offense the Queen of Heav'n began To persecute so brave, so just a man; Involv'd his anxious life in endless cares, Expos'd to wants, and hurried into wars! Can heav'nly minds such high resentment show, Or exercise their spite in human woe? From the opening invocastion of Vergil’s Aeneid

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63 … while Minerva took the form of one of Alcinous' servants, and went round the town in order to help Ulysses to get home. She went up to the citizens, man by man, and said, "Aldermen and town councillors of the Phaeacians, come to the assembly all of you and listen to the stranger who has just come off a long voyage to the house of King Alcinous; he looks like an immortal god." With these words she made them all want to come, and they flocked to the assembly till seats and standing room were alike crowded. Every one was struck with the appearance of Ulysses, for Minerva had beautified him about the head and shoulders, making him look taller and stouter than he really was, that he might impress the Phaecians favourably as being a very remarkable man, and might come off well in the many trials of skill to which they would challenge him. Then, when they were got together, Alcinous spoke: Book 8, among the Phaeacians:

64 Contest: Minerva, in the form of a man, came and marked the place where it had fallen. "A blind man, Sir," said she, "could easily tell your mark by groping for it- it is so far ahead of any other. You may make your mind easy about this contest, for no Phaeacian can come near to such a throw as yours." Ulysses was glad when he found he had a friend among the lookers-on, so he began to speak more pleasantly. "Young men," said he Lies to Cyclops He said this to draw me out, but I was too cunning to be caught in that way, so I answered with a lie; 'Neptune,' said I, 'sent my ship on to the rocks at the far end of your country Beginning of the Great Lying Tale I am Ulysses son of Laertes, reknowned among mankind for all manner of subtlety, so that my fame ascends to heaven. I live in Ithaca,

65 But I would not listen to them, and shouted out to him in my rage, 'Cyclops, if any one asks you who it was that put your eye out and spoiled your beauty, say it was the valiant warrior Ulysses, son of Laertes, who lives in Ithaca.' "On this he groaned, and cried out, 'Alas, alas, then the old prophecy about me is coming true. There was a prophet here, at one time, a man both brave and of great stature, Telemus son of Eurymus, who was an excellent seer, and did all the prophesying for the Cyclopes till he grew old; he told me that all this would happen to me some day, and said I should lose my sight by the hand of Ulysses. I have been all along expecting some one of imposing presence and superhuman strength, whereas he turns out to be a little insignificant weakling, who has managed to blind my eye by taking advantage of me in my drink; come here, then, Ulysses, that I may make you presents to show my hospitality, and urge Neptune to help you forward on your journey- for Neptune and I are father and son. He, if he so will, shall heal me, which no one else neither god nor man can do By giving his identity, he gave Cyclops the power to call down the curse of Poseidon

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69 Athena checks the hand of Achilles in their dispute over Briseis

70 Gavin Hamilton, Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus 1760 – 1763 National Galleries of Scotland

71 Achilles and Ajax playing a board game, Black-figure amphora by Exekias, c. 530 BCE Rome, Vatican Museum


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