Ch19Achilles

Ch19Achilles - Classics 10: Chapter 19: Fall 2011 The...

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Classics 10: Chapter 19: Fall 2011 The Trojan War (and Achilles) I. The House of Atreus II. Launching the War III. The Iliad of Homer and the Choices of Mortals IV. The Wrath of Achilles “Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer,” Rembrandt, 1653
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The Trojan War Greatest heroic event in Greek myth Many poems told about it in what we call The Epic Cycle; Homer’s two great epics are the best known and always have been A war appears to have been fought at Troy around 1200 BCE, though how much history Homer reports is impossible to know (likely not much) Homer’s poems are primarily about human choices and human characters Epic in context but personal in force
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Buildup to the Trojan War A complicated set of stories establishes a cycle of curses and family problems that culminate in Paris of Troy abducting Helen, the wife of Menelaus, Prince of Sparta Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, lead an enormous force of Greek heroes to get her back Troy is ultimately sacked after a very tough 10 year war; Helen brought home to Sparta How and where did it all begin?
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Pelops and Cannibalism Tantalus, King of Lydia, sought to test the gods’ knowledge and fed them a stew made from his son Pelops Distracted by the loss of Persephone, Demeter ate a few bites The other gods immediately recognized the stew as human flesh and Tantalus forever punished in the Underworld with hunger and thirst Zeus puts Pelops back together, and Hephaestus fits in an ivory shoulder (i.e., the part Demeter ate)
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Pelops and Hippodamia Pelops later comes to Elis (near Olympia) to win the hand of Hippodamia She was to be the bride of the suitor who could beat her father in a chariot race (dad’s a bit overprotective?) Oenomaüs gives the suitor a head start, then rides up behind him and cuts off his head (familiar?) Pelops had tireless horses given to him by his lover (!) Poseidon, Shaker of the Earth
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Pelops and Hippodamia Pelops also bribes Myrtilus, the charioteer of Oenomaüs, to alter the king’s chariot Wax is used on the axles instead of bronze pins; during the race the wheels heat up, melt the wax, the wheels fall off, and Oenomaüs is dragged to his death Pelops’ bribe was that Myrtilus could have Hippodamia for the first night But Pelops then throws Myrtilus from a cliff, as he curses the House of Pelops forever
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Pelops and Hippodamia, 410 BCE
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House of Pelops Pelops takes Oenomaüs’ place as King of Elis, names the region after himself: Peloponnesus (“island of Pelops”) Has many sons, including Pittheus, the grandfather of Theseus Chrysippus, whom Laius rapes (and so perhaps explains Oedipus’ fall?) Two most famous sons: Atreus and Thyestes Sons of Atreus: Agamemnon and Menelaus [aka Atridae –id- = child/ren of: Cronides] Son of Thyestes: Aegisthus
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Laius and Chrysippus, Pelops 320 BCE
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Peloponnese
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House of Atreus The line of kings in Mycenae comes to an end,
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This note was uploaded on 11/30/2011 for the course CLA 10 taught by Professor Traill during the Fall '08 term at UC Davis.

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Ch19Achilles - Classics 10: Chapter 19: Fall 2011 The...

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