Timeline of Ancient Greece All Dates B.C. The Bronze Age – 3300-1100 – The Trojan War - 1200ish The Dark Age – 1100 - 800 The Archaic Period – 800-480 – Homer? Composes Iliad & Odyssey around 725 -675. The Classical Period – 480-323 – Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex first performed 429 – Aristotle writes Poetics - 335 The Hellenistic Period – 323-146 – Rome conquers Greece - 146
Ancient Greece’s Most Influential Authors Homer – Epic Poetry – Iliad and Odyssey Aesop - fables Sophocles – Tragic Drama – Oedipus & Antigone, Euripides – Tragic Drama – Medea, the Bacche Plato – Philosopher/Mathematician – The Republic Demosthenes – orator - Orations Aristotle – Writer/scientist/philosopher - Poetics
Homer (Late 7 th early 8 th century B.C.) The “Homeric Question” Was he real? No real evidence either way. Could be a group or school of oral poets Most likely did NOT write down his works. Most agree he was blind. Telemachus’ son????
Why the Iliad? “In higher education, Homer’s epics are usually the first works anthologized for the general literature courses that, at present, are required of most college students throughout the country” (Myrsiades ix) “Homer allows comparison with almost any literary work because he ‘provides the first concepts of the rational hero, the nature of that rationality in terms of a cultural world view, and its characteristics in terms of the insight into the nature of man, his reason for being, and his response to himself and others’” (Myrsiades 8).
The Iliad Recounts 1 ½ month period near the end of the final year of the Trojan War Iliad = song of Ilium / Ilium = Troy Begins in medias res (in the middle of things). Begins with the Rage/Wrath of Achilles. Multi-thematic TRAGIC work The wrath of Achilles: its cause, its course, and its effect.
The Iliad - Background Review The Iliad is an ___________ poem. – These tales were passed down through the use of _________ _________. – The tale discusses the city of _______ during the ______ war, and the rage of _________. – Achilles is an example of an ________ hero. – The story starts in ________ _______, in which Paris steals ________ from ________. – Book 1 explains the feud between Achilles and _______, and what made Achilles join the war.
The Iliad - Background Review Achilles’ ultimate downfall is considered to be _______. Homer uses three distinct literary devices in his works: – He, takes inanimate or non-living things and gives them human characteristics, which is called _________. – He, compares two things using like or as, which is called a ___________. – And he, describes a character and his attributes quickly by using _________.
The Iliad, cont. Epic Formulae – epithets, repetition, and formulaic phrasing set up to allow an improvising oral poet easy ways of putting a story together Iliad and Odyssey considered to be part of an epic cycle – where the poet can take up the story at any point.
Heroic Code: Hero or Anti-Hero 1) Individual accomplishment valued over group accomplishment – Achilles is in it for himself first, country second— hence his and Agamemnon’s emphasis on the spoils of war, not the war itself. – Competition more important than cooperation
Heroic Code Importance attached to individual prowess, individual pride, individual reputation. The Homeric hero may not compromise loyalty to his own being with loyalty to any other, human or divine” (Hadas 15).
2) Hero seeks immortality above all – Usually awarded through fame/song/discussion – It is what is done in this life that is important. Achilles:My mother tells me, The immortal goddess Thetis with her glistening feet, That two fates bear me on to the day of death. If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, My journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, My pride, my glory dies... (9. 497-503) Heroic Code
3) Actions based on gaining honor and avoiding shame. – No choice not to fight – Success in battle is the surest way to gain honor and fame Hector: “…I would die of shame to face the men of Troy and the Trojan women … if I would shrink from battle now, a coward. … To stand up bravely, always to fight in the front ranks of Trojan soldiers, winning my father great glory, glory for myself” (6. 523-529). Heroic Code
The Iliad – Literary Analysis As you read excerpts from Homer’s Iliad, you will focus on the theme, an important insight into life that is usually conveyed indirectly in a literary work. The theme of a literary work is its central idea, concern, or message. Long works, such as novels and epics, often contain more than one major theme.
Theme The theme stated at the beginning of the Iliad is “the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles” and its consequences. The poem also contains profound insights about war and peace, honor, duty, compassion, and life and death.
Theme Homer uses the following means to reveal the themes in his epic poem. – Characters’ statements and actions – Events in the plot – Images and their associations As you read, note the ideas and insights that the poem conveys.
Themes and Motifs The inescapability of fate (it’s something even the gods won’t mess with) compassion and forgiveness Complex attitude towards war as both necessarily for personal glory and bloody and brutal. Personal honor comes before family ties/love Warrior culture of the text vs. agricultural culture of the poet Disorder replaced by order – individual, social, cosmic Armor, burial, fate, 9s, prophesies, sacrifices
Foreshadowing The Iliad’s opening statement of theme is also its first instance of foreshadowing, the use of clues to suggest future events in a literary work. – This technique creates suspense by building the audience’s anticipation. For example, the Iliad’s opening lines leave the reader wondering why Achilles is enraged and what consequences might follow. Look for other examples of foreshadowing as you read, and consider what effect the poet is trying to create.
Reading Strategy Analyze Confusing Sentences Homer wove lines dense with images and other details. To analyze confusing sentences, consider one section at a time. – Look at a complex sentence and separate its essential parts (the who and what) from the difficult language until you get the main idea. – Use a chart like the one on page 362 to help you analyze and interpret confusing sentences.
Vocabulary Incensed: adj. -- very angry; enraged Plunder: v. – to rob by force in warfare Sacrosanct: adj. -- very holy; sacred Brazen: adj. – literally, of brass; shamelessly bold Harrowed: v. – distressed; tormented Bereft: adj. – deprived or robbed
The Geometric and Parallel structure of the Iliad. Note the interlocking pattern – An emphasis on order, logic, reason, and connectedness.
Narrative Pattern The story is supposed to be telling us how the Trojans defeated the Achaians by the will of Zeus and request of Achilles, but in fact the Greek heroes are driving back the Trojans. Probably shows influence of rich tradition of tales telling of Achaian victories, and a poor tradition of telling of Trojan.
Dying enemies Homer tells us, as each man dies, enough about him to make us feel the pathos of his death. This engages readers and makes them appreciate the human cost of war.