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Lecture 3

CLA160H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Trojan War, Epithets In Homer, Menoetius (Greek Mythology)

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Timothy Perry

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Ryan Breen
Timothy Perry
Iliad 1-8
Book 1
First extent work in western literature
o SOME argue it is the greatest
o Even though it is the beginning, it actually is more of the end literary tradition
‘son of Peleus’ = Achiles
‘son of Atreus’ = Agamemnon or Menelaus
o Atreidus - *ides* means the son of in Greek
‘son of Menoetius = Patroclus
Greeks = Achaens, Argives, Danaans
Trojans, Dardanians, Phyrgians
Ilium is another name for Troy
Short, repeated phrases
Feature of oral tradition
o Poet composes as he performs
Useful for maintaining metre
The Homeric epithet
o Words like “Brilliant”, quick-footed to describe Achilles
o Zeus = god of clouds
o Describitive adjectives associated with someone’s name
Formulaic example
o He bit the earth with his teeth = death
Trojan war
Greeks vs. Trojans
Fought for the return of Helen
Helen is the most beautiful women in the world
Iliad only focuses on a few days of the 10 year Trojan war
o In particular it focuses on the hero Achilles

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Summary of events that lead up to the War
Various strands of greek myths or legend come together to leave up to the Trojan war
Father and Mother of Achilles
o Father = greek hero
o Mother = greek sea goddess
o They get married
Originally Zeus wants to marry mother
However there is a myth that the son will be greater than the father
Zeus doesn’t want this and avoids it, and the possibility of Zeus being scared by the offspring if
another god marries her
So zeus marries her off to a mortal
Mother agrees to the wedding
All gods are invited except Eris
Eris is the goddess of strike
Which was not suitable at a wedding
So she gets an apple, and writes a message on an apple that says for the most beautiful
All the female gods fight over it
These leads to judgement of Paris, who is suppose to settle the dispute
All the God’s try to bribe them
o Aphrodite offers Helen to fall in love with them
o Helen is the wife of menalayous, king of Sparta, menalayous is the brother of
o Paris of course chooses Aphrodite, in order to obtain Helen
o Aphrodite aids Paris to capture Helen from Sparta
o This starts the war
o 10th year of the siege is where the action of the Iliad takes place
o Abduction of Helen is frequently mention
o The judgement of Paris is only mentioned once in lighting
o The wedding of Achilles parents is not mentioned at all
The Prologue
Invocation of the Muse
o First line doesn’t mention the goddess
Less elaborate than Hesiod
Sets out what the poem will be about
o Subject is wrapped in the first line
The wrath of Achilles
o Identifies a very different subject, “rage” of Achilles and its consequences
This rage is not what one would normally expect
The consequences of this rage cost the Achaeans many losses.
The will of Zeus
o The plan of Zeus
o Everything that happens is the will of Zeus, all the suffering everything
o Why is this?
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