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OSU / Classical Studies / CLAS 2220 / What is the first moment we can see these two interacting with each ot

What is the first moment we can see these two interacting with each ot

What is the first moment we can see these two interacting with each ot


School: Ohio State University
Department: Classical Studies
Course: Classical Mythology
Professor: Joseph bruce heiden
Term: Fall 2015
Tags: mythology and Classical
Cost: 50
Name: Notes since February
Description: All of these notes are material that will be on the exam this Friday, there are a few classes I missed (2/24 and 2/27) due to a surgery I had so I do not have the notes for those days but the rest were taken in class with what the professor said and what his slides said.
Uploaded: 03/06/2017
33 Pages 7 Views 28 Unlocks

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Material contains inappropriate content:

Iliad 3 & 6 2/6/17 

What is the first moment we can see these two interacting with each other?

The only thing we need to know from the second book of the Iliad is that  Agamemnon rallied the troops, now we are in book 3  

Myths are told for fun, even though we are listening to them in a classroom setting,  don’t forget to enjoy the narrative  

Main Characters for the Day

Today we will meet a lot of Trojans  

∙ Agamemnon and his brother  

∙ Diomedes is a particular problem for the Trojans as he is raging on the  battlefield  

We tend to approach the Iliad with an Achaean perspective, which Homer sets up  for us so we tend to stick with them as we go

Justice Among Gods and Humans  

This passage from book 6 is with Hecuba, queen of the Trojans and mother of hector and Paris

She goes to the Goddess of Athena  

∙ Why are we dealing with Athena at all?

o Some say that because Athena wanted the golden apple and Paris did  not choose her, she is angry at Paris and is biased toward the  

What are the names of the Trojans who will we meet today?


o Athena likes men of virtue and if you show that on the battlefield she is impressed and supports the efforts  

o As a female goddess of weaving she is characteristic of what is at the  center of a city  

o Also as a goddess of warfare she is a wonderful figure to be at the  center of a city war face

Why does Athena deny Hecuba’s request?

∙ After all Hecuba promised to sacrifice her animals to Athena for her help, and  in many stories sacrifice and prayer works well  

o But one of the problems of prayer is what do you do if a prayer is not  answered?

∙ Hecuba is behaving in a pias and appropriate way, activating prayer and  promising sacrifice but Athena still refuses to answer the request  o Maybe the storyteller has a direction we are supposed to be going in o If Athena came down and promised to end the Trojan war immediately  it would be dissatisfying  

What characterization Hector becomes as he goes back to city in book 6?

∙ Zeus has a plan in place here  If you want to learn more check out How is the skeleton divided?

o On a micro scale he has promised to show how important Achilles is by  letting Achaean’s die – at this point he is letting the Achaean’s have a  false sense of success

o So the plan of Zeus may not be aligning with the plan of Hecuba  ∙ Hecuba is asking for help from the divine world and is not given the answer  that she wants  Don't forget about the age old question of How can you lead political stability?

o This suggests one way that justice can happen

Paris and Hector  

Here is one of the first moments that we see these two interacting with each other  

∙ The armies are coming together at the beginning of book 3 and Paris is  strutting around showing himself off, right up until the Achaeans are right  there, and then he fades into the Trojans trying to be inconspicuous ∙ Hector says some pretty harsh stuff to his brother here  

o He has a ton of blame to put on his brother, saying that Paris is the one who provoked the war and now he is too much of a coward to face the  one man who deserves to fight him

o Paris responds to this saying that Hector is right and gains some balls  to stand up to Menoleus – maybe Hector was really just trying to  motivate his brother  

∙ Hector is saying that he completely understands why the Achaeans are  coming to fight them, and he is not participating because of justice but  because it is his duty  

Hector Returns to the City

This characterization of Hector becomes even more important as he goes back to  the city in book 6  

∙ As Hector talks to his wife and toddler they are recognizing that he may die  and may never see them again, they have this “bittersweet” moment and it  is emotional  

Here again we get a sense of the code that Hector works by  Don't forget about the age old question of what is the meaning of NOAEL?
Don't forget about the age old question of Homoetic genes function to define structures within individual segments.

∙ This is a brutal moment, no false hope or optimism in this quote ∙ Hector is trying to treat his wife with as much tenderness as you will find in  Homer here, but it is clear that Hector will die on the battlefield and  Andromeche (his wife) will be taken as a war prisoner

Helen at Troy  

There is discussion of this painting, whether he meant to leave her face blank or if  he just never finished it  

∙ There are some interesting stories about Helen in these books  o One, we first see Helen doing something that is appropriate for a  woman in this time, and she is weaving  

o Homer is telling us through and to the Muses that here we have a  woman who is working in textile, weaving the story of the war

o So Helen is telling us through her weaving the story of the Trojan war,  almost like the narrative falls in on itself  

∙ Helen is called forth because her two husbands will be fighting a duel to see  who will win and have a better claim toward Helen  

o she is called forth and stands on the walls and Priam speaks to her on  the war

o aitia – background story that explains something, or the cause  o Priam tells her that he leaves no causal blame on Helen  

o But Hector put all the blame on his brother Paris  

∙ It is important to notice that one way to explain everything happening around them as it is all up to the gods  

Apollo Sminthias is nothing more than the understandable and knowable  mechanisms of play  If you want to learn more check out What is a direct group involvement in the electoral process?

Priam suggests that causation in this world is all up to the Gods  

∙ This is a divine notion that lays everything on the gods and that is almost like a challenge, “why do I do anything if it is all up to the Gods?”

One other question that comes with Helen, how or why was she able to recognize  Aphrodite?

∙ When a person represents the closest that a human can get to a certain kind  of divinity they often have a special relationship

o Helen being the most beautiful woman, has this sort of relationship  with Aphrodite. It is not necessarily a friendly relationship but a shared  relationship kinda thing  

o So when Helen can see through her disguise it shows she is as close to  a divinity as she can get  

The Oath

We have been fighting this war for almost 10 years’ now

So let’s just have Paris and Menelaos fight it out to see who is the best for Helen

∙ But Homer is telling us about Achilles rage  

∙ So this is a storyline that needs to fail for story reasons  

∙ How are we going to judge who wins and who loses?

∙ If we don’t have a winner how will we ensure that each side follows the  guidelines that are set?

Justice is what we have to make of it  

So Both sides agree to swear an oath Don't forget about the age old question of What is bondholders?

∙ Involves dead animals and this is in some ways the best case scenario that  we could come up with  

∙ The winner gets Helen and the winner gets stuff – and if these two conditions  are not filled, Agamemnon would stay until the end of the battle

∙ Agamemnon says that if he breaks the oath, or if anyone does, let their blood be poured out and let their wives be taken as slaves to strangers  ∙ In a place without a system of justice the only thing to do is put up your loved ones and such  

Consider the Plight of Adrastos

Adrastos grabs Menelaos’ knee and begs him, just as Thetis did to Zeus, as a  defeated soldier does to try and save his life.  

He is kicked away and killed

Iliad 9, 11 2/8/2017 

Today we really start to get Zeus’ plan and Achilles make more sense

Something important, the Achaean’s built a wall around their camp in Iliad 7  – this is important because before they never felt threatened by the Trojans,  the Trojans were never attacking the Achaeans but NOW they are so the  Achaean’s want to protect their land  


Today we talk about how to you get Achilles to fight

Nestor calls out Agamemnon

∙ Nestor is this old guy who is ready to tell a story about how back in his  day he could have taken everyone in the fight and everyone in this day is a pansy

∙ He is a voice of wisdom  

∙ Notice Nestor begins by praising Agamemnon’s position, urging him to  do what is best for the people, and then pointing out his personal  issues  

o Telling him that he personally messed things up with Achilles How do we appease Achilles?

∙ In one of the books we give him a bunch of stuff, but never Helen, the  only thing they came for  

∙ So Achilles will not respond positively to the piles of wealth that  Agamemnon offers him here  

∙ Think about the tension between these two guys

How does Agamemnon respond?

The Embassy to Achilles

It shows the three figures who come to Achilles

∙ Odysseus, old man Phoenix, and Ajax

∙ The Embassy finds Achilles singing the klea andron (the kleos of men,  the kleos of heros)

∙ What Achilles is doing is important, doing exactly what Homer is doing  for us

o So he is telling of the past times and stories

o He is in the same position as Homer is, singing and speaking  about people like himself  

o Achilles by sitting out of the Trojan war is not developing kleos

o His fellow Achaeans are dying so that his fame will come up in  the world, this is not honorable  

o His singing is a substitute for not doing what he should actually  be doing  

These men come to Achilles and make pitches to Achilles about joining the  war effort  

∙ What would have happened if he had accepted Agamemnon’s offer in  the first place  

∙ After the Embassy departs we will find that Petroklos is drawn into a  chain of events that will lead Achilles into a new emotional stage  

So right now we will look back on Achilles sulking and that will be so small  when it gets to his full anger

Rhetorical Games

Odysseus comes and speaks first and is the best speaker on traditional terms

∙ Odysseus seems to know the cycle that is coming

o Essentially telling Achilles he is being a jerk for sitting out of the  war and that if he joins it will be better for everyone including  himself  

o But what does Achilles care about all of this if his real goal is to  have the dying Achaean’s wish he were there with them  

Achilles will feel a new kind of akhos if he does not take the offer here  And he does not take it  

If some will do better and some will do worse there needs to be a way to  honor them  

∙ Achilles accuses Agamemnon for not fighting as hard but still receiving  the best stuff  

∙ Then we get the interesting back and forth of the appeals to  parenthood

∙ Odysseus imagines what Achilles father must have said to him when  Achilles set out for war

o This may be smart but Achilles seems to have none of this and  take it as a kind of insult  

o Achilles responds in a way to suggest these gender dynamics,  saying he is like a mother bird who goes out to get food for all  the chicks, and keeps none of the food for herself

 Essentially saying that he does everything while the others  sit around and do not do much but take the advantages out of Achilles hand  

 Trace this one more step and Phoenix takes the best  

rhetorical move by far  

There is kind of a tennis match back and forth about parenthood

∙ Odysseus wants Achilles to think about his dad, but Achilles says that  he is thinking of his mom and how he is like a mother to these guys  here  

∙ But Phoenix says he was like a mother to Achilles when he was a baby  and Achilles tells Phoenix to stay in the tent with him because he  should not be out on the battlefield with the sad Achaeans

Phoenix tells the longest story

∙ He gives Achilles a clue to what is coming and Homer through Phoenix  about what is coming

∙ It is like a riddle for Achilles  

∙ The story he tells is supposed to be an appeal to Achilles, it is about  this man who has the opportunity to get in the battle and receive a  bunch of things but he refused because he was stubborn

o Eventually it went so far his wife was threatened so he had to  join anyway and ended up winning the war but he did not get  any stuff

∙ So essentially Phoenix is telling a story that says it is Achilles last  chance to join the war to get the kleos and stuff he could win  

Kleopatra has no relationship to the Egyptian queen

∙ Her name has two words in it that we have seen before

o Kleos  

o Pater – father

o So she is one who is associated with the fame of her father o And this name switched around is Petroklos

If Achilles hears this story, he may think that he needs to take the money  while he can because it won’t be on the table forever  


Achilles does not take the offer and says something terribly important

∙ His mother is divine and can tell him how things will happen ∙ So should he live fast and die young? But be famous?

∙ Or should he become old and live long but be forgotten?

This brings the question all humans have, what should we do with the  handful of decades we have?

∙ Will you try for kleos?

∙ Or is there something else? Something more intimate and satisfying or  fulfilling to you?

Achilles has this put in front of him and must decide  

∙ This is a choice that will come back when we read the odyssey

He is willing to say that he would rather stay there and sing and be okay  than die, he is also saying that it will take a lot to get him back in battle  

So when he is weighing Agamemnon’s offer that is the basic economics here

∙ What is it that will reenergize him to make the decision against what  his mother told him?

Remember that Achilles of Pthia (his hometown) is the guy who has akhos  (pain, grief, sadness) that comes from the town of wilt  

∙ What he does here is built into his name  

By the time we get to the end of the embassy scene Achilles makes it clear  that he has no interest in getting back into the war, but he does have a  slightly different case of watching

∙ He says he will not lift a finger until Hector comes and attacks his  ships, so he will get back into the fight when a certain thing happens  

Zeus’ plan Unfolds

What we get in book 11 is a large number of Achaean’s are wounded and  cannot fight any longer

The Trojans are advancing on the defensive wall of the Achaean’s and many  of the war leaders are on the sideline  

At this point Achilles is sitting on his ship and looks out to see someone who  is wounded be carted away by Nestor, and sends Patroklos off to see who  had been injured

∙ Saying Patroklos looked like Ares himself (the god of war) is a huge  compliment but also dangerous  

∙ What we will get is a way to motivate Achilles through Patroklos  ∙ Nestor, suggests a plan to Patroklos  

o Says that if Achilles does not care enough about them to stop  them from dying, they should send out Patroklos in Achilles  armor and everyone would think he is Achilles  

o And that is exactly what he does

o And that is exactly how Achilles will be re-energized into the war  ∙ If Achilles is the super-human who does not care about the Achaean’s,  then Patroklos is the other side of Achilles who does care  

Iliad 16-18, 2/13/17 

Today we will walk through the important and complicated death of Patroklos It is important that Zeus sends Apollo to help the Trojans  

If you have not noticed yet, Homer almost never mentions anyone without  giving them some of a story line – this slide is an example  

∙ These stories are important to us because of the way Homer creates an entire universe  

∙ Maybe he does that so we have a map of who is who in this time period

Patroklos’ noos and akhos

Achilles speaks to Patroklos here with these words  

∙ Good moment to reflect on the relationship between these two men o Think of Patroklos as part of Achilles himself, like a stunt double  kind of  

∙ They both use akhos in different ways  

o Patroklos expressed this akos and throws it back in Achilles face,  this is showing they have different evaluation systems

o That they have different focus’ around the situation at Troy, and  Achilles is self-centered in a way. He really is only caring about  himself  

 As the Achaeans suffer, the more valuable Achilles  


 But Patroklos is feeling a pain for all the suffering the  

Achaeans are going through – being empathetic

Patroklos’ fate

Remember we read this line last week, when Patroklos looked like Ares, this  was an inappropriate moment for him to look like Ares

∙ This moment is the beginning of his doom, so he may not be looking  much like Ares, but Homer is suggesting that Patroklos is put into a  soldierly position before he even steps onto the battlefield  

∙ Patroklos has moved from looking kind of like Ares, to looking like Ares  in full force  

Patroklos as therapôn  

∙ Similar to our notion of therapy  

∙ For these warriors to be the therapontes of Ares means to some extent  that they are dead

o And now they are worthy of stories and have kleos  

∙ So in some sense being an attendant of Ares gives a person the  importance of having their story told  

The idea that someone is a ritual substitute or altered being for someone  else lets us see how Patroklos was the ritual substitute for Achilles, and even  Ares

∙ This designation that their stories were overlapping in some way  

Patroklos and Achilles  

Achilles and Apollo

Patroklos is wearing Achilles armor, and now looks like Achilles – so with  intent he is looking like Achilles  

∙ He is the most intimate, the other half to Achilles

o We can see how their rational capacities (noos) are centered  around the same ideas but with different ethical reasons  

Apollo and Achilles are also somewhat similar to each other  

∙ They fit into roughly similar physical descriptions

o They are young men

∙ They have similar spheres of interest

∙ Maybe the most important overlap is that both of them can feel menis o It is not surprising that Apollo can but Achilles feeling menis is  incredible  

Achilles is the therapon of Apollo

∙ When Achilles feels menis, the Achaeans suffer and later when he  enters the war, the Trojans will feel the suffering of his menis  

Apollo and the deaths of Patroklos and Achilles  

The same time that Achilles is giving Patroklos instructions, he also gives him two limitations

∙ Don’t try to fight Hector, that is Achilles job  

∙ And don’t try to sack Troy himself  

Patroklos has the opportunity to prove that Achilles really was not needed, if  he goes beyond the parameters set by Achilles

∙ This would mean the assistant (therapon) is no longer the assistant but the main dude  

∙ But at the same time the assistant is in a way with the main guy  

Homer will show us that the therapon exceeded his boundaries, but we will  learn that Patroklos really is not that great and he is only this good when he  is WITH Achilles  

Patroklos goes out onto the battlefield and ends up challenging Hector  himself  

∙ He is confronting the menis of Apollo here, and you can’t beat the  God’s menis  

∙ You would have to do something for them, to get them back to being  cool with humans

Patroklos is told not to confront Apollo or Hector but he does both, This leads to his death, a combo of Apollo and Hector  

Patroklos is not the bravest, he stays with Achilles – his other half, best  friend, etc..  

∙ But we find that he is being spoken about like Achilles once he dies  Thetis reacts to Patroklos’ death like it was Achilles, her son, who had died  

∙ At this point in the story, she knows that her son is away from the fight and that he is safe, she just knows that he is grieving  

∙ She says that because he is crying he cannot come home, and once  she finds out he is grieving for Patroklos, she says that his death will  follow soon after Hector, but Hector has not died yet  

Achilles knows that if he stays out of the fight he can live on for a long time,  but with no kleos

Now that Patroklos has died he goes into battle  

We now move into the phase where Achilles re-enters the war effort and he  will get his kleos

The death of Achilles – slides come from book 24 of the Odyssey This scene is in the underworld and is a description of the death of Achilles  

Here outside the Iliad we see the fulfillment of Zeus’ plan as Achilles gets the kleos and such

Iliad 21-22, 2/15/17 

Achilles was never ready to lose Patroklos  

∙ Patroklos was closer to Achilles heart than anything else and now he must  react to it  

∙ Achilles goes on a berserker rampage – and now he asks if there is something he should have done different  

Whatever the case, Achilles is now fully engaged with the war and his system of  evaluation has changed, but Achilles doesn’t care anymore – he is broken hearted  and devastated

He prepares for battle with new armor that the guard of forgery made for him by  orders of his mother  

In book 20 he finally enters the battle  

Achilles vs. Xanthus (river god)

He is slaughtering Trojans, they are fleeing and hoping to get back into the walls of  Troy  

∙ He is killing them in such great numbers that his body is getting tired from  the act of slaughtering, and this is happening in the river

∙ The River God becomes upset because this is all taking place in the river ∙ Achilles has met his match and put against what any human could not take,  he is being chased by this river god  

This is an apocalyptic moment, because he is choking the river with bodies Achilles as the Dog-Star

In modern times we are far less aware of the stars and constellations, the rising and setting of certain constellations is attached to crops and agriculture

∙ The Dog Star is not only related to late summer but brings with it, fire and  fever

∙ There is also a connection between the dog star and the rotting of human  flesh  

Hippocrates connects the heat and such with the rising of the dog star  

∙ What we realize is that the time of the rising of the dog star is a time when  humans are susceptible to certain illness and fevers  

The Death of Hector

He understands that they are fighting to the death here, but tries to set some  ground rules, saying whoever kills the other first will give the body back?

∙ Achilles and Hector are fighting

In most cases, Greeks are okay with dying as long as it is done in an honorable way

But here Achilles is telling Hector that they cannot be honorable because they are  not even close to alike, like wolf to lamb, human to lion

∙ So if Achilles is the wolf to Hectors lion, is he also the human to Hector’s lion? o It seems that it is the other way around, Hector being the human and  Achilles being the lion

o Because Hector was asking for something rational, for them to agree  and set an agreement  

Hector and Achilles fight and Hector loses  

They have some angry smack talk – but it is also deeper than that

∙ They are talking about death and burial

o A burial is an acknowledgment of someone’s life and it being gone  ∙ Achilles tries to say that Hector’s body will be eaten and scavenged by  animals and become dirt essentially, he wants this to happen so that Hector  cannot have a funeral  

∙ He says he wants to take Hector’s flesh and eat it on the spot, he in  envisioning a great violation of all Greek norms  

o It is clearly a horror, as it would be for us today

∙ And Achilles wishes he could eat his flesh raw but he cannot bring himself to  do that, he can drag him around by a chariot though  

Achilles is getting close to the savagery that is a lion, that rips apart whatever  animal it is eating – but he is not quite there  

The Achaean Wall

We talked about this several times, that they never had or needed a wall but later in the war without Achilles they decided to build a wall for protection  

Superficially all this is saying that the Achaeans built a great wall and that now it is  gone and there is no point in looking for it  

∙ But look at how there are three gods working together

o Apollo is channeling 3 rivers together to run into the wall

o Poseidon is throwing pieces of the broken wall

o Zeus is constantly raining  

∙ This is apocalyptic again, three gods are working to tear down the humans, to make it look like they were never there  

o Resembles the narrative of Noah? Close but not quite the same  Hemitheoi – demigods  

There is a suspicion that Homer is giving us the end of an era here, end of the  Hemitheo, and age of the Heroes

∙ Kind of like the end of the Golden Age as we had talked about before

After the war at Troy and the destruction of the wall the world will be different, no  more hemitheoi  

These things go along with Zeus’ plans to maybe end human race but at least thin  them out a bit  

Achilles’ Horses  

His horses are named Xanthos and Balios  

∙ His horses spoke, and tell him about what will happen in the future  ∙ But after this happens, the Furies blocked the speaking any further  

After the end of this era there will be no more heroes like Achilles, no more speaking animals, no more demigods, etc…

Iliad 23-24, 2/17/2017 

Funeral Games  

Why funeral games?

What was the connection between athletic events and funerals?

∙ The concept of an agon, cognate with the English word agony – an extreme  form of pain, whether emotional or physical  

∙ In Greek it is a little broader, referring to any contest or struggle really ∙ It can also refer to a war

∙ Athletics are also an agon, a contest in which we don’t know who the winner  will be but a lot of effort is put into it  

On some level we have a parallel between the effort that we put into warfare and  the effort that we put into athletics  

∙ Athletics as preparation for war?

Also a parallel between the suffering, in terms of the possibility of being wounded in battle and the pain and such that can come from losing in battle  

In terms of Patroklos’ funeral, as people are competing in these athletic events they  are putting energy into it, spiritual in a way, in memory of Patroklos  

∙ On some level we get a parallel between suffering in war and honoring a  person at a funeral

In many historically attested ancient Greek festivals the prizes were nominal, it was  all about honor  

In the ancient Greek Olympics if you won you were given a crown of olive leaves,  clearly this has not much monetary value – it was clearly honorific (for kleos and  time)

∙ At funeral games we have something very different

∙ It is about the division of spoils of war in the right way

o There are levels of success/value such that the greatest warriors and  kings get more than the regular soldiers  

o There may also be a trickle effect, where the king gets a lot of stuff and it is distributed among his soldiers

Patroklos is not a “great” war hero by any means but through his efforts in the war  he had gathered a lot of stuff

∙ It is technically under the possession of Achilles because they were best  friends, they shared a tent  

∙ At the beginning of the Iliad there was a distribution of stuff and everyone  had agreed to the distribution

But once this distribution had to be redone there were some problems

Because Achilles has taken over the stuff that Patroklos controlled (even though he  was not quite in the war) he needed to redistribute these things  

∙ These items are competed for in funeral games (I think)

∙ This allows everyone competing in his funeral games to be given a thing that  generates a story, and the fame or kleos of Patroklos can be maintained  through the distribution of his stuff  

In the Olympic games the only prize given out was to the one and obvious winner,  but here Achilles gives out prizes with a lot of generosity  

∙ Not only do the top competitors get a prize but he set up some special cases  for others to get something  

∙ So everybody goes away from this feeling that Achilles is incredibly generous  Achilles has been sitting out of the war efforts  

He is now coming together with all of these guys who have been fighting while he  was sitting out

∙ The Achaean’s obviously have some mixed feelings about this o Because yes Achilles is their greatest warrior so yay he is back, but  why did he sit out for so long??

o This allows for the social reintegration of Achilles  

o Through the funeral games he is allowed to be with the other Achaean  soldiers in a celebratory, intimate, social kind of way  

Brings us back to the question of why doesn’t Achilles participate?

∙ He would win all of the games and get all of the prizes back, and that is a bad political move for him

The last event Achilles sets up is the spear throwing contest and Agamemnon wins  it  

∙ But there is a trick to it

o As he stands up to volunteer and participate in the spear throwing  contest Achilles praises him for being amazing at throwing spears and  says that Agamemnon will be the only one participating in this event

There are two theories about this gesture from Achilles  

∙ One is positive and one is negative

o What if he participates against others and loses? The king losing? o But maybe he really was the best and maybe he would win, in the  positive gesture of Achilles it solidifies Agamemnon at the top again  and says that Achilles will follow Agamemnon in war  

o Negatively? If Achilles doesn’t let the other participants try, from their  perspective this is depriving the other contestants from getting the  best prize

o Or, the other winners here have a chance to hold something up to say  they won it and deserved it because they were the best

 But Agamemnon cannot say the same thing, he was given this  first prize for “not participating in the spear throwing contest”  

 By denying him the bragging rights that is Achilles depriving  Agamemnon

Achilles condition

When returning to war Achilles has acted not quite like a normal person in war at  this time

So where is he late in the Iliad?

∙ We need to compare where he has been for the rest of the Iliad  o Should we think that what he has done is appropriate to a person of his status at this time?

∙ Because he feels a rage that is so fierce, he gets to act out and go berserk  because of this rage  

What about Hector?

∙ Hector has been participating all about the war  

∙ Zeus says that he likes Hector the best and so do most of the Gods  o And he puts it in the most economic terms, because he gave him stuff  regularly and a lot of it  

o So if Hector did not give him so much stuff would Zeus like him as  much? Probs not  

Achilles is more interesting as being the center of a story than hector is As Achilles is trying to figure out how to beat up Hector’s body

∙ Priam goes to Achilles and violates everything that this war is based on – the  opposition of the groups, he has every reason to hate Achilles (he killed  Priam’s son), as much as Achilles hated Hector  

∙ But Priam is emotionally devastated and seems to understand that he is old,  and weak, and is going to die  

∙ What can Priam do? Something more important than his hatred takes over  and he needs to get his son back

o For closure, personal feelings, funeral rights, for Troy  

The way that Achilles and Priam speak to each other is the emotional high point of  the Iliad

∙ Priam asks Achilles to think of his father and think of the situation that his  father is in, knowing that his son is going off to war and that he may have to  bury his child  

∙ But everyone knows what Thetis said to him, Achilles was going to die there  and his father knows that, what must that do to his father?

o Relate this back to when Odysseus spoke similarly to Achilles in Iliad 9

o And Achilles response capped what he said by telling them that the  real parent there was him, as the mother bird  

∙ That had no effect on Achilles then, but Priam has a different feel to the way  he is speaking to Achilles  

o Achilles looks at Priam and sees his own father, as an old man who is  suffering how his own father will suffer  

o There is a beautiful emotional harmony in this situation, that is  happening despite the anguish of this war and this moment  

o And Achilles becomes less rigid and listens  

Now Achilles looks at this old man and looks at him and tries to encourage the old  king to eat, but at first he does not want that  

∙ Think back to book 9 again, Achilles responds to Priam and tells him another  myth, that proves again that myths are stories that can be bent and reshaped ∙ He tells the myth of a woman who has 12 kids, and thinks she is better than  another woman who only has 2 kids

o The women who bragged gets punished and all of her kids are killed,  the woman is devastated and dissolves into tears.  

o But the Gods then took pity on her and turned her into a stone so she  could not feel this anguish

Achilles tells this story to convince Priam to eat, to keep them from turning into  stone together

∙ This becomes a space without gods, in which two men who are technically  enemies and hate each other find a social communion in eating together  

The end of the story essentially says that you can either have ALL bad or a mixture  of good and bad, but don’t expect all good

Homer’s Odyssey a New Kind of Myth 2/20/2017 

The Odyssey has been more adaptable and has had a greater afterlife than the Iliad  had  


∙ Strong guy, strategist, a hero who survives  

∙ He is constantly surrounded by the question of the ethical value of your life,  and whether or not they are willing to give it up for something or someone  else

This novel is largely about the question of what would be do, give up our life for  something else?

This is a new kind of story for us  

We have two other main themes in the Odyssey  

∙ Nostos – homecoming

∙ Metis – knowledge or wisdom, but will play out here as almost trickster like wisdom  

Odysseus is able to not just be a good speaker when he needs to be but he can  almost recreate the world around him  

He can create and rethink and recreate his situation whenever basically  

The Odyssey can be kind of complicated if you don’t understand it from the  beginning  

We should not only recognize that Odysseus is telling us this story, but he is  manipulating it, embellishing it – we will get to this when we get to the part in the  book where it matters most  

We also need to get caught up on what has happened between the end of the Iliad  and the beginning of the Odyssey

∙ Paris with the help of Apollo kills Achilles

∙ Recall that when we spoke about therapon, there are different levels at which this ritual replacement takes place  

∙ After Achilles dies there is a traumatic time when people are arguing over  who gets Achilles armor  

o All of the next best warriors want his armor and it comes down to Ajax  and Odysseus – as they were competing for it Odysseus tricks Ajax and gets the armor

o Ajax is so angry about this that his anger extends to others and he  plots to attack the Achaean leadership

o Athena comes down and makes Ajax go a little crazy, so in his mind he  thinks he is killing people when in reality he just slaughtered a bunch  of sheep

o He was so ashamed of this that he killed himself  

This is an important turning point in the story of the Trojan war  

Achilles son has joined the army and has become the greatest warrior on the  Achaean side  

∙ But he also picked up right where Achilles left off in his berserker stage  

A very cold hard strategy at the end of the war, Odysseus decides that if the son  Astyanax grows up and is thrown off of Troy  

Polyxena is a Trojan woman that Achilles falls in love with, and he is so smitten with  her that he tells hers a story that we don’t hear much about from Homer

∙ That he is only vulnerable on one part of his heel  

After the sack of Troy, the Achaean’s are so angry at Polyxena that they decide she  needs to be sacrificed  

The Odyssey itself is an extended version of one of these stories of nostos  

Odyssey 1, the prologue

Just like the beginning of other mythological tales we have Homer asking the muses assistance in telling the tale, he is actually asking the muses to talk through him.

∙ The last couple statements in the prologue are interesting in how these  stories are told

∙ Homer is asking for this story to be told, but it is a story that has been told  time and time again

o But it is now told slightly differently  

∙ Homer invites the muse to tell it from wherever she wants, however she  wants and no matter what the story is, how it is told is what is most  compelling  

Odysseus has spent 7 years on an island with the minor goddess Calypso

∙ But Odysseus does not want what she is offering, she is inviting him to marry  her and offering him immortality  

∙ Why would anyone not want mortality or what a goddess or god could offer? o He is offering nostos to his wife (or son) in country  

o But if he had married Calypso he would live forever with no kleos  o He chooses to live a lesser life but he will get the kleos (sound familiar)

We get a strange side story

Contrasting Family Stories

Zeus is thinking about Aegisthus because he is part of a storyline that gives us a  version of what Odysseus is trying to do  

∙ When Agamemnon comes home one day he finds that his wife and Aegisthus  have gotten together and have planned on killing him together  

o We need Odysseus and Penelope to do better than that  

o Soo as Zeus is thinking of Aegisthus we know Odysseus cannot come  home without some kind of metis  

∙ Since Odysseus has been gone, a number of suiters have come to Penelope  hoping to marry her saying “it is time to move on???”

And after Aegisthus kills Agamemnon, Agamemnon’s son, Orestes kills Aegisthus

∙ We need Odysseus to do better than Agamemnon and Aegisthus and we need Penelope to do better than Clytemnestra BUT we need Telemakhos to do as  well as Orestes  

He needs to be as dedicated as Orestes and live up to the mythical model that  Orestes had set

The people of Ithika sent a whole army with Odysseus A LONG TIME AGO and a lot of other things, but Odysseus comes back alone, an entire generation of Ithikan’s was  wiped out  

And on top of that there is no one in charge, there is extreme social instability, so  should Penelope just pick a new suitor???

During all of this Telemakhos is trying to figure out who he is and takes a trip of his  own  

∙ He is gathering stories about who his father is and gathering experiences that allow him to be mature, assertive, and proactive  

∙ He never knew his father and only knows what he was told in stories  

As we work our narrative into the Odyssey’s we can recognize that what Odysseus  faces is always trying to get him to give up his nostos but he will not  

∙ All of the situations he goes through put him in a place where he could forget  himself, and his nostos and he needs to use his metis to not do so

Odyssey 10 3/1/17 

Odysseus is continuing his trip

We have not talked much about geography, but it is worth pointing out that Sicily  seems to be the area that most people think the cyclopic episode takes place and  there are the Aeolian islands  

Aiolos – part of a heroic pattern

∙ Joseph Campbell is a master at taking a lot of myths and putting them  together in a psychological pattern

o As Odysseus goes, he is given a bag of winds, really part of a  slaughtered ox – there are all the winds of the earth but also one that  will safely blow him home

 But a lot of heroes have this moment when they are given a  magical item that will assist them somehow  

 This pattern is seen in all of these stories and more


Odysseus is not the sort of figure who is solely focused on getting back home, he  needs to get there in a certain kind of way  

∙ He is a hero who meets and understands people, and has a sort of  communication with the people whenever he comes to a new place  ∙ He is curious and this is both what makes him the hero that he is and  constantly imperils him, because every time he goes looking for adventure he finds it and sometimes it is overwhelming in a bad way  

He constantly accepts monstrous kinds of creatures over humans  

The Laestrygonians are the kinds of creatures that just pick up humans and devour  them

Circe- Venison Pt. 1

Homer describes this moment when Odysseus hunts a deer  

∙ On one hand this is showing us that in nature Odysseus is never at a loss, he  is extremely clever and resourceful

∙ It also shows that he is a leader in taking care of his men, providing food and  helping them  

Heroes seem to define part of their stature through hunting, they can prove their  worth here  

∙ Think back to the scene from Patroklos’ funeral games, right above there was  an image of a man slaying a dangerous boar

So this scene is showing us Odysseus heroic qualities?

It also brings us back to the importance of eating together, Odysseus does not eat  the stag by himself on the island but brings it back to the ship for himself and his  men, also eating with the gods  

Circe, Manimals

Odysseus’ crew are the people who left Ithica with him years ago, is Odysseus  heroic???

Circe, moly

Why is it that Hermes does not show up to Odysseus’ men, just Odysseus? Are his  men not worthy? Or do figures like Odysseus just get special treatment?

Circe is a magical witch that turns people into pigs, so they cannot sail back home

∙ But thinking about her differently, sexually?

∙ The naturalistic/animal world metaphor that Homer uses to show the threat of sexual violence  

Now going back to that stag and re-reading this differently  

∙ The Life of Pi – story of a young man who has a disastrous story, his family  are moving their zoo across the ocean and the ship sinks, but Pi is left on one  of the life rafts with a couple of animals that survived, and after a couple of  weeks his ship washes up on the shore somewhere  

∙ The people wanted to hear all about his story  

Odysseus approaches this woman with venison in his belly and his sword drawn, but Circes magic may be hovering over this story  

Back to Antiquity  

There are a series of vases that show the moment that Circe gives Odysseus a drink of the magical potion  

∙ The kind of vase that she is holding in each scene is the same as the actual  vase that the scene is painted on – this is the idea that what Circe is giving to Odysseus to try and turn him into a pig man is the same thing that the people in this religious group are drinking the same potion

∙ What is particularly interesting is what is on the back of one of the images, a  scene in which a figure is holding a trident (it is probably Poseidon duh) o Yet it is labeled as Odysseus with the wind god who has not been nice  to Odysseus at this point

o And everything that is in this image clashes with the verbal story we  know from the Odyssey  

∙ So as we look at these images one of the thigns that is suggested, is that the  magical potion that YOU as one of this religious group will receive will smooth things out

Odyssey 11/12, 3/3/17 

We are about halfway through Homer’s Odyssey  

Underworld, the realm of the dead  

Today Odysseus goes into the ultimate other realm, the underworld with Hades

∙ The trick is how to get back from the underworld  

∙ Usually in the underworld the hero’s identity is deconstructed in a way and  they end up coming back as a different, changed person  

In many ways a hero is a figure who has confronted death and had a special  understanding of their own mortality – remember Achilles, knowing his death was  coming he went into battle ready for it  

Death and Rebirth Pattern

There seems to be a different way in which the divinities and heroes experience the  underworld  

∙ Getting into the land of the dead is easy, at the gate they say that the  underworld is a place for dead mortals not divinities – if a divinity were to  smash the gate to the underworld there would be an odd mix of the living  and the dead, nothing to separate them

o Comparing Persephone and Odysseus

 As Persephone goes to the underworld she is not threated with  death because she is immortal, she is given the opportunity to  

marry Hades (God of the underworld) and become the queen of  the dead  

 And Demeter, Persephone’s mother, is on the living side of this  mourning and afraid for her missing daughter – she ends up  

threatening the crops and fertility of the land to get her  

daughter back, using her power over agriculture to get what she wants putting us on the brink of universal chaos so Zeus takes  

on a role to help  

∙ Zeus comes up with a compromise that Persephone will  

live part of the time in the underworld and part of the  

time in the living world and both Hades and Demeter  

accept this  

∙ Persephone becomes a personified version of the fertile  

cycle of the earth – when she is in the underworld it is  

winter, crops and trees die it is cold and barren, but when  

she comes back Demeter is happy and crops grow and  

prosper – Persephone becomes a goddess of cyclicality in  

a way!

o For Odysseus, it is different

 As a human, mortal it is confusing how he may come back from  the land of the dead

 He earns something a form of kleos you may say, proving that  he is better than and different from most humans  

 He shows that in some very rare occasions when you have the  right kind of support, humans can face death and win  

What would it be like if we could cheat death?

Persephone and Odysseus are doing the same thing, going to the underworld and  coming back but it is different based on their backgrounds  

Mythical Traditions Collide  

One of the very famous moments in Odysseus’ time in the underworld he meets  with Achilles – they speak to each other, they are the two main characters in which  Homer chose to write about and to be the center of his stories

∙ They contrast beautifully, Achilles being the live fast and die young, with his  caring and passion for his friend and Odysseus the older more mature figure  who always makes it back home – with his enduring relationships with his  wife, father, and son

∙ These are two different stories  

The Odyssey is frequently described as some kind of a comedy, which is not what  we now would see as a comedy  

∙ A comedy in this definition is a story which no matter how bad the scrapes  are the story ends up where it is supposed to be, with a happy family at the  end  

The interaction between Achilles and Odysseus seems to suggest that Achilles  wishes he were alive, but what we are getting is a dialogue between two different  kinds of heroism

∙ This is Odysseus story, of course they will say that living is more important  ∙ But in Achilles version it was important to give a life for a great friend than to  live long and quiet on your own

As Odysseus sails away from the island he encounters the sirens  

∙ Here they are described visually as winged birdlike female creatures ∙ But in the Odyssey the main point of interest was their voices  o So he could have sailed right by them like his crew, not hearing the  sirens and moving on, but he likes to live life to the fullest and  

experience things that stretch the realm of what it means to be human Odysseus is willing to suffer in order that he can gain knowledge  

The basic challenges that confront us moving into the second half of the Odyssey  have to do with Penelope and how Odysseus deals with the people coming for her

∙ As he shows up different places without his crew, who have all died, it is hard  to know who he is and whether or not he has changed – the only way to know is based on the stories he tells

Odyssey 18-21, 3/6 

Some of Odysseus’ adventures may be better understood in psychological terms Which God kills Odysseus’ crew?

∙ It is Zeus who kills them  

We are now in a position where you should be able to tell Odysseus’ story starting at Troy and all the way to where he is now

The second half of the Odyssey is different, it is much more simple, as he is in Ithika and trying to figure out what to do now, especially with Penelope and her suitors  

∙ The idea that you can never go back home?

o You can always go back to where home was but things will have  changed, and people will have changed

The second half is much more modest in comparison to the first half of the Odyssey

We can ask the question of whether the man who returns to Ithika is the same one  who left many years before, he returns without a crew – we can ask about that we  are concerned

∙ The way you can tell your story is through acting things out, stories, etc. Penelope and Odysseus

∙ The primary goal of the Odyssey is to get husband and wife back together  and happy  

∙ We find Zeus on Mount Olympeus thinking of this man, but it is not Odysseus  he is thinking of Agamemnon – how he came home and his wife had been  unfaithful and gotten together with his cousin, who then killed Agamemnon

∙ Will Odysseus be smarter than Agamemnon when he comes home? Will  Penelope be faithful? Will Telemachus, Odysseus’ son match the faith of  Agamemnon’s son?

Odysseus realizes that Agamemnon’s failure was assuming that things would be the same at home, so he needs to figure out how to find out if his wife has remained  faithful and if things have stayed the same at home  

∙ Penelope and Odysseus are not easily taken in

∙ They know that it is important to be weary and that things have likely  changed over the last 20 years, they will likely need to reestablish a  connection  

She has been showing her cleverness through a ploy

∙ As she is being approached by the 108 suitors she has a plan to push them  off and delay them until Odysseus may come home

∙ She says that he is dead and needs time to grieve essentially

∙ All women in ancient Greek culture should be able to weave, the rigid gender  role of women as textile workers existed

o But unweaving is a clever strategy, she can use this to outwit the men  around her

o And it is important to recognize that weaving is a network of threads  going in two different directions, where the crossing of the threads  creates the piece

 And this is a metaphor of all the interacting stories, like today  the internet is a web of interwoven stories and facts and such

So, Penelope is weaving and unweaving a story for us  

In the Iliad Helen was also weaving, writing the story in a way, her own version

The suitors have a straightforward perspective on this, their claim is that Odysseus  has been gone all these years and they say that Ithika needs a king, the queen  needs a king, and that it will be civic chaos if they do not move on for the future  

∙ Homer’s mythology gives us the idea that it is smart to wait for Odysseus, but if it were us… How long would we wait??

o It has been years and years that not only Odysseus has been gone but  his crew, would we move on? Or be crazy and wait?

This leads us to the question, Does she know? What does she know? When does she know???

∙ Early on it is unclear what she knows, but eventually they come back  together

∙ How does she know who he is? Athena had disguised him as an almost  unrecognizable man from who he used to be

Conjugal Tests

We need to assess lying, there is a lot of it in this second half

∙ The one he tells to Penelope

o As the queen, she calls the beggar that Odysseus is disguised as over  to ask him a question  

o Why would the queen interact with this beggar????

 Instead of admitting who he is to her, he comes up with a lie  about himself and where he is from

∙ Says he is from Crete and is quite noble and at a point in the past he hosted  Odysseus and knew him quite well

∙ In disguise, Odysseus says that there are rumors of Odysseus being alive and being out there

o He is trying to test Penelope to see if she gets excited and interested  about her husband being alive and maybe being close  

∙ Penelope tests him back, asking what Odysseus would wear if he were around – and he tells her the intimate details that only someone who knew him quite  well would know

He speaks of this shirt that Penelope had made for Odysseus just before he left for  war, and shows her that he was loving her and honoring her present to him on his  way to war, and she remembers so – this is a sign, a symbol that they both care and remember  

∙ She then has this beggar helped and cleaned up, the woman who does this is  actually Odysseus old house maid

∙ As the nurse is washing his legs, she recognized a scar on his leg and  immediately knew who he was – at this moment Eurycleia figures it out  

But she cannot show this recognition and joy – and Homer now tells us this whole  back story of the scar, but it is not told by Eurycleia or Odysseus, it is more of a  flashback  

∙ This shows that this scar is not just a scar, but a memory – an object that  takes us to a story. Like the shirt that Penelope gave to Odysseus  

Penelope’s Dream

She tells him about a dream in which she had 20 geese and a mean eagle comes  and breaks the necks of all her geese

She is distraught about this, because she loved her geese

∙ The eagle began talking and told her to not worry about it, as the eagle said  he was Odysseus and the geese represented her suitors and that he was  coming back

She asks Odysseus (as the beggar) to interpret her dream, and it seemed fairly  obvious to him. Does he trust her yet?

∙ There are some problems with the story, did she love the suitors? Did they  matter? Or were they just a group of things and now Odysseus is back? If this  is so, why did the dream focus so much on her love for the geese?

Is she testing Odysseus, as she could love the geese (suitors) but does she really?

This is the message that Odysseus needs to be given, and Penelope rounds it off  with sass, saying dreams come in two ways – those that come through the gate of  ivory and some that come through the gate of horn. Some mean something and  others do not  

She brushes it off in a way saying that she does not believe that her dream came  through the gate of horn, the one that tells the truth

∙ But then says she would be happy if it turned out to be true  ∙ She then says to the stranger that the next day she would set up a contest, in which she may leave Odysseus for a new man

o If she doesn’t know this is Odysseus, then it means she has tried as  long as she could to hold off the suitors but it has gone on for too long

o But on the other hand, she may know exactly what she is doing,  knowing it was Odysseus being a clever man, so essentially she is  saying now is the time to reveal himself as her husband.  

The axe contest is something that Odysseus used to do to show off, so was she  giving him another sign there??

No one could do this like Odysseus so it allows us to have some insights into the  way the contest could play out  

∙ She is having a contest that no one could do except for her husband, she may be setting this up so that he can win, or she may be delaying even more  because no one can do it but Odysseus  

This is in some ways the way that mythological identities can work

∙ If someone can pull this feat off, they ARE Odysseus, they ARE her husband.  If they can fulfill this heroic identity then they are that person

As we are moving toward the moment that Odysseus picks up the bow we see  Telemachus  

∙ He is ready to become an adult, and he should be heroic because he is the  son of Odysseus  

∙ If the parent never gets old and dies, how do the children grow up and take  place of what their parents had left for them?

Telemachus picks up the bow and because he is the son of Odysseus he gets very  close to stringing the bow

∙ Odysseus shakes his head saying no

∙ Because what happens if he is able to do this and string the bow? He would  be Odysseus, and be Penelope’s husband

∙ So Odysseus wants him to show off but not be better than him, and he needs  to stop him  

When the bow finally comes to Odysseus, he strings it easily like a very skilled  person

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