Presentation on theme: "What you need to know before you read The Odyssey."— Presentation transcript:
What you need to know before you read The Odyssey
The Trojan War The Trojan War actually occurred: The city of Troy fell into the hands of the Greeks. Archaeologists have found historical evidence of the war. Was it exactly as told in The Iliad? No. It was probably fought over commerce and trade between Greece and Asia Minor. But Homer’s version (The Iliad) is more exciting! Some of the characters may have been based on real personalities.
Where’s Troy? Troy is across the Aegean Sea from Greece. Troy was also called Ilium, Ilion, and Ilios. A well-walled city with broad streets and beautiful palaces…until the Trojan War.
When? The beginning of the 12 th century B.C. 1193 – 1184 B.C. That’s 3,200 years ago! B.C. = Before Christ A.D. = Anno Domini (The Year of Our Lord)
Who? Greeks (Achaeans) Achilles Greatest Greek Warrior King Agamemnon Nestor Odysseus Patroclus Menelaus Helen’s Husband Trojans Hector Greatest Trojan Warrior King Priam Father of Hector Aeneas Paris Helen’s Abductor
With whom did the gods side? Greeks Hera Poseidon Hermes Athena Trojans Artemis Ares Apollo Aphrodite Zeus tries to remain neutral, but he shows empathy for Priam and Hector (Trojans).
How did it start? Eris, goddess of discord, was not invited to a wedding banquet on Mt. Olympus. Into the banquet hall, Eris tossed a golden apple inscribed “For the Fairest.” Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite asked Zeus to decide who deserved the apple. Zeus would not choose. (He’s no fool!) Zeus says Paris is an excellent judge of beauty, and refers the goddesses to him.
The Judgment of Paris Paris was the son of King Priam of Troy. He was rather weak and cowardly. Priam had sent him away from Troy because an oracle prophesied that he would be the ruin of the city. (It was right.) When the goddesses appeared to him, they each offered him a bribe: Athena would make him a great warrior. Hera would make him ruler of Europe and Asia. Aphrodite would give him the most beautiful woman in the world.
Whom did he choose? Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite. She then took Paris to Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world…who also happened to already be married. Hera and Athena vowed revenge….
Helen Helen was a daughter of Zeus. She was the wife of Menelaus. Menelaus was the brother of the Greek King, Agamemnon. Agamemnon was arguably the greatest warlord of the time and did not take insults to his family lightly.
Paris takes Helen Some versions of the story claim Paris stole Helen away from Sparta against her will. Some claim she was bewitched by Aphrodite and went “willingly.” Others still claim she just fell in love with Paris, of her own free will. One particularly odd version claims she never actually went to Troy at all. A robot Helen was sent to Troy and the real Helen spent the war hidden in Egypt. (This isn’t a very popular version of the story.)
The Greeks Respond Menelaus asks all of Greece to help. Because of a treaty that was created when almost all of the Greek kings wanted to marry Helen, they all had to help Menelaus. (Incidentally, Odysseus was the only Greek king who didn’t want to marry Helen and actually came up with the idea for the treaty as a way of earning the hand of Helen’s cousin, Penelope.) Greek armies set off across the sea to lay siege to Troy and leave it in ashes. And so begins the Trojan War. Helen is often referred to as “The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships.”
Odysseus and Achilles Join Late Odysseus didn’t want to fight for Helen. He thought her a faithless woman. He did not want to leave his home (Ithaca). Ironically, the treaty he created so that he could marry Penelope forces him to leave her for 20 years. Achilles was kept back by his mother. Thetis was a sea nymph who knew he was fated to die in Troy. She had dipped him in the river Styx to try and give him immortality. (She held him by the heel.) Both of these great Greek warriors were later called (forced) into battle where they played important roles in many battles.
The Battle Rages Due to the influence of various gods and goddesses, the war went back and forth for ten years. For details of the war, read the epic poem by Homer called The Iliad, a word which means “a series of disastrous events.”
Agamemnon Leader of all Greek forces during Trojan War Sacrificed his daughter (Iphegenia) to Artemis in order to get favorable winds for the ships to sail to Troy Offended Achilles by taking his “prize” (a girl named Briseis) after one battle
Achilles Pouts Because Agamemnon offended him, Achilles refused to fight. Then things went badly for the Greeks, and they begged him to return. He allowed his friend Patroclus to fight in his place, wearing his armor. Patroclus is killed by Hector (who thought it was Achilles).
Achilles Returns Enraged over the death of Patroclus, Achilles returns to battle. His mother procures for him some new armor (made by Hephaestus). He kills Hector and desecrates the body.
Achilles Relents King Priam sneaks into the Greek camp and begs Achilles to give him Hector’s body so that his son may have proper funeral rites. Achilles allows Priam to take the body. After Hector’s death, Achilles does not have long to live.
The Death of Achilles Achilles was unconquerable by mortal men, but Apollo stepped in. Apollo guided Paris’s arrow into the only weak spot Achilles had: his heel. Achilles dies from the wound. The remaining Greeks decide his divine armor should go to the bravest remaining warrior.
Odysseus Wins Odysseus makes a speech explaining why he deserves it, and he is awarded the armor of Achilles. He then devises the final plan to end the Trojan War.
The Trojan Horse The Greeks pretend to retreat, leaving behind a large wooden horse. The Trojans, in celebration, drag the horse inside their city as a war prize.
The Trojan Horse Odysseus and many other Greek warriors are hiding inside the horse.
The Fall of Troy They wait until the Trojans are asleep, and then they come out and slaughter them. The Trojan War is ended. The Greeks won. The Trojans lost. Odysseus is the greatest hero remaining alive…but now he has to get home…
The Odyssey Begins… The story of The Odyssey is about Odysseus’ journey home (to Ithaca) after the Trojan War. It’s quite a journey!
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