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Lecture

The Odyssey


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA230H1
Professor
Dimitri Nakassis

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Monday, October 3/11
Introduction to Greek History
D. Nakassis
The Odyssey
The Assembly
Telemachus calls an assembly and sits in his fathers seat
Nobody knows who has called it
There have been no assemblies since Odysseus left Ithaca
Telemachus complains about the suitors
Suitors are not adhering to xenia
They aren’t giving Penelope’s father gifts, instead they consume the wealth of the
household
We are meant to think it is rare that an assembly hans’t been called in 20ish years
Compensation
Implication that there is a system for compensation
Telemachus can file complaint and the society imposes fines
There is a semi-formal assembly and in the Odyssey it is ineffectual
Normally is has some effect on individual or group but it is moral not formal
Shame culture?
Suitors are flaunting social convention and society is reprimanded
Odysseus needs to come back and restore order
It is unsure if Odysseus is dead or alive
Telemachus is not capable of preventing suitors
His only recourse is to collect and army
Outside help
He is not as much of a man as his father, who kills the suitors himself
Women are either property of father, husband or in some cases male family members
If Telemachus chooses a new husband than his grandfather will ask for the dowry back and if
Odysseus does return, he will curse his son
Nature and Culture in the Odyssey: Cyclops
Cyclopes have no institutions, meeting, assemblies
This is a negative catalogue of culture and reflects how a society should act
In proper society there is a need for social life
Xenia - guest friendship
These relationships are formal and important
Ex Diomedes to Glaucus
Generations ago their grandfathers were guest-friends and so they avoid fighting each
other and trade armor as a sign of friendship
Destruction of troy is because of the fail to adhere to xenia
Paris steals Helen
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