PowerPoint Slides - School of Liberal Arts

“Fierce Wars and Faithful
Loves”: Intro to Classics
1. Great stories
2. Stories That Warn & Inspire
3. Foundational Stories
4. “Never Ending” Stories
Source: Homer's Iliad, cod.
F 205 inf. Late 5th-early 6th
c. Milan, Biblioteca
5. Homer: Prince of Story
Who is Homer ?
• 8th century B.C.E.
Tradition says he was
• Wrote two all time greats:
The Iliad, and The
• These turn real stories
into tall tales
• Iliad: A ten year siege of
• Odyssey: A ten year
journey home.
Bust of Homer,
What Code Do Homer’s Characters
Live By?
– Feudal and “Heroic
– Arete: “Heroic Valor”
– The joy of “carnal” life
(when not fighting, they’re
– Beauty
– Piety towards the gods
– Hospitality
Genre of Odyssey
Organization of an Epic
in elevated style
Presenting characters
of high position
In adventures forming an organic whole
through their relation to a central heroic figure
Plot Structure and Patterns
Epic Structure of Odyssey
5.Climax: Payday for
suitors, Payoff for
everyone else; Passion
with Penelope!
2. Downward spiral
of misadventures
crash lands him on
an island he wants
voted off of.
Verse Form
• Written in “Hexameters”
– Each line is a more or less
complete thought and is
divided into 6 rhythmic
“segments” or “feet,”
(Hence “hexa”)
• Translators do not
attempt to reproduce this
verse form but in the
original it reflects “the
surging and the thunder”
of always present sea
(Andrew Lang)
Island of Ithaca
Poetic Style (1): “Clichés” or
• “Clichés”: Notice how often a place or person will
be identified with a “tag” phrase
“Rosy-fingered dawn”
“Wine-dark sea”
“Grey-eyed Athena.”
Hector “breaker of horses”
• Purpose of Clichés
“Character tags”
Memory devices for oral poetry
Metrically necessary “filler” (Lattimore)
Emphasizes “unchanging inevitability” of Homeric
world (Lewis)
Style (2) Extended Simile
Simile is a comparison between two unlike objects using “like” and “as,” or
– “My love is like a red, red rose.”
– “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
Homer’s similes tend to be extended as in the following from book XVI of
The Iliad
– As the East and South Winds fight in killer squalls
deep in a mount valley thrashing stands of timber
oak and ash and cornel with bark stretched taut and
and they whip their long sharp branches against each other
a deafening roar goes up, the splintered timber crashing
so Achaeans and Trojans clashed…..
– “As” tips us off that we are in for a simile. But a long journey before we
get to the “so” which completes the comparison.
What extended similes do for the poem:
– Make action vivid
– “Distance us” from the poem
Divine/Human Relations in The
• Will of human actors ruled and overruled by that
of the gods
• Human heroism “decorates” but does not
“determine” the action.
– “Nothing great happens without the aid of a divine
power” (Jaeger).
• Gods “rig” everything through
– External intervention
– Internal influence
– Continuous favoritism (or disfavor)
Key Gods and Important Humans
• Zeus “who marshals the storm clouds”: king of the gods
• Hera: “the white armed”: his quarrelsome queen ; hates Troy
• Poseidon: “the earth shaker”: brother of Zeus god of the sea: hates
• Athena: “the gray-eyed”; goddess of wisdom; Zeus’s daughter: loves
• Hermes: “the giant killer” and messenger of gods
• Paris and Helen: their affair and flight to Troy kicks off all the trouble
that produces two great epics: The Iliad and The Odyssey
• Agamemnon: king of the Achaeans and leader of expedition against
Troy because Helen has cheated on his brother Menelaus.
• Achilles: “the swift runner”; the Achaean’s greatest warrior in the
Trojan war. His quarrel with Agamemnon prolongs that war.
• Penelope, Odysseus’s wily wife, who fends off a hoard of suitors
occupying the premises and vying for her hand.
• Telemachus, son of Odysseus who grows up while he’s away &
becomes a man when he returns.
Stage Now Set for Exposition of
Selections from The Odyssey
• After reading this lectures
could you answer the following
• Who’s Homer and when did he
• What do Homeric people
value and care about?
• What’s the definition of epic
and how does Odyssey fit it?
• What’s Hexameter?
• Homeric “cliché” and
“extended simile”—and their
importance to Homer’s style?
• The major gods and human
characters in The Odyssey
(and Iliad)?
Theatre at Epidauros