About 3000 years Ago… People were telling stories of a great war The person credited with gathering these stories together and telling them as one unified epic is blind poet named Homer. Homer’s stories can be traced to historical struggles for the control of the waterway leading from Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea
Who was Homer? Ancient Greek court singer and storyteller, often identified as an epic poet Believed to have composed the epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey Most likely, he would have sung these poems or spoke them aloud to music He would also have performed them from memory He was believed to be illiterate and may have have dictated his stories to a scribe
Homer’s Iliad Homer’s first epic poem, which tells the story of a 10-year war that takes place outside the city of Troy (modern day Turkey) Troy was fighting an alliance of Greek kings The face that launched 1000 ships: Helen Menelaus – a Greek king Helen- his wife, the most beautiful woman in the world Paris – Prince of Troy
Odysseus Clever soldier from Ithaca, fighting for the Greeks Clever, devised a plan to break through the walls of city of Troy Left behind a wife in Ithaca named Penelope and a son named Telemachus, who was only a baby when his father left for the war
The Story of the Trojan Horse Odysseus’s plan involved cutting down large trees and building a giant Trojan horse The Trojans would mistake the giant statue as a gift or symbol of a truce and pull it behind the city walls The Trojans did not know that Greek soldiers were hidden inside the horse
The Story of the Trojan Horse After the Trojans celebrated their “victory” and fell asleep late in the night, the Greeks emerged from inside the Trojan Horse The Greeks burned the city to the ground and killed most of the inhabitants
YouTube Clips The Truth of Troy: Story of Trojan War http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_36-H0- Vsps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_36-H0- Vsps
Homer’s Odyssey Epic story of a Greek soldier, Odysseus, and his efforts to return home after the Trojan War All epic poems in the Western world use these stories as a basic foundational pattern Can you think of any “epics” in today’s culture?
What are epics? Long, narrative poems that tell of the adventures of heroes who in some way embody the values of their civilizations Iliad is a model for the epic of war Odyssey is the model of the epic of the long journey For centuries, the Greeks used the Iliad and the Odyssey in schools to teach Greek virtues The Greeks would have already been very familiar with the stories of the Trojan War and the Trojan Horse Based on what we have learned so far, what values do you believe the Greeks strongly cared about?
What are epics? The stories were told aloud by people who probably could not read or write The words may have varied each time the story was told, but the meaning and rhythm remained the same Repetition and rhyme helped with memory
Odysseus: A Hero in Trouble Homer’s audience would have respected heroes more than ordinary humans, but less than gods Heroes had always been seen as “on top of the world” Odysseus was different; he was in trouble Once a great soldier, Odysseus is not respected anymore
Odysseus: A Hero in Trouble Considered draft-dodging to avoid fighting in a war over an unfaithful woman Tried to fake insanity but was discovered to be perfectly sane when Agamemnon and Menelaus threw Telemachus in front of his plow…Odysseus rescued his son as any sane father would Odysseus is a great example of an epic hero
Characteristics of an Epic Hero ① The hero is a great leader (usually a male figure) who is identified strongly with a particular people or society. ② The setting is broad and often includes supernatural realms. The hero may even suffer a symbolic death by traveling to the Land of the Dead or the underworld. ③ The hero performs great deeds in battle or undertakes an extraordinary journey or quest. The hero is typically on a quest for something very important to him or his people. ④ The hero must overcome great obstacles or defeat evil villains or monsters along the way.
Characteristics of an Epic Hero ⑤ Sometimes gods or other supernatural or fantastic beings take part in the action or help the hero in some way. ⑥ The hero is often described as superhuman and is stronger, smarter, and braver than average men. ⑤ The hero usually returns home significantly transformed by his journey. For example, he might learn a valuable lesson or accept his fate.
Modern-day Epic Heroes Choose a character from a novel, movie, play, or television show that represents a modern-day epic hero. What characteristics do they possess that might make them an epic hero? What characteristics do they lack?