history1A - Topic 1 Throughout the Iliad, Homer paints a...

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Topic 1 Throughout the Iliad , Homer paints a powerful and positive image of the Trojan War. He glorifies valor and bravery in battle. He places a great emphasis on winning riches and prizes through victory, while also highlighting the general importance of the army and the war itself. While Homer glorified and lauded the Trojan War, some of his contemporaries, namely Sappho and Archilochus, saw it in a far lesser light, as well as military valor in general. Homer regaled the idea of valor and honor particularly during battle. Throughout his telling of the Trojan War, he made that a prominent point. Much of Book 1 is concerned with Agamemnon and Achilles butting heads. Achilles feels he has been dishonored and treated unjustly by Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks. He feels so affronted that he hopes that “Agamemnon will rend his heart with rage for insulting Achilles as his troops are slaughtered by Hector of Troy” (BL 15, 111). This may not be a battle in the traditional sense of hand to hand combat, but it is a battle between two strong willed individuals, nonetheless. Achilles would rather sit out the battle than “be a mean coward, by giving in to Agamemnon in all things” (BL 15, 112). Aside from his personal battle with Agamemnon, Achilles also shows great courage and bravery on the field of battle, which accordingly draws the praise of Homer. Going into the war, Achilles knows that he is destined to a short life, one that will end in the land of Troy, but even with this knowledge, he still travels to the shores of Troy so that he can 1
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carve his name into history. Assuring a place in the annals of history is far more important to Achilles and to Homer than, for example, living a long full life with a big family. This is so important to Achilles that he even appeals to his goddess of a mother to
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course HIST 1A taught by Professor Wagner during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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history1A - Topic 1 Throughout the Iliad, Homer paints a...

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