Two Myths in Hesiod’s Works and Days

In his poem, Works and Days, Hesiod writes a letter addressed to his brother, Perses, encouraging him to embrace the practical attitude and let Discord spur him to plow his fields and yield abundant crops. His purpose is to encourage strong values in Perses, ones that combat the impetus for laziness. However, he tells Perses … Continue reading Two Myths in Hesiod’s Works and Days

The Idea of Revenge in the Iliad and the Odyssey

In both the Iliad and the Odyssey we encounter┬ávengeance exacted by the protagonists. In the Iliad, a poem explicitly about the "rage" or "wrath" of Achilles, we discover the rage that follows from the sorrow for the death of a loved one. In Books XV and XVI, the beloved companion, Patroclus, is killed by Hector … Continue reading The Idea of Revenge in the Iliad and the Odyssey

Book XVIII of the Iliad: Examining the Shield of Achilles

In Book XVIII of the Iliad, Achilles is distraught. Patroclus has been killed by Hector, and the armor of Achilles has been stripped and stolen by Hector. Thetis, Achilles's goddess mother, travels to the house of Hephaestus to convince him to build a new shield for Achilles so he can return to the battle and … Continue reading Book XVIII of the Iliad: Examining the Shield of Achilles

Phemius and Demodocus: Two Bards Considered

Homer by Felix Boisselier, early 19th century In Homer's Odyssey, we encounter two different examples of poets, one hailing from the halls of Ithaca, and the other from the land of the Phaeacians. We hear neither one speak -Phemius is silent until the closing books of the text when he pleads for his life. As with … Continue reading Phemius and Demodocus: Two Bards Considered

Nature and Order in Homer

It has been argued that Homer represents a significant turning point for philosophy, especially toward politics and nature. Rembrandt's Homer Dictating His Verses in 1663 Odysseus, the man most closely resembling the Socrates of ancient Achaea, is identified as a well traveled man knowing many cities and many men's minds. He is fascinated by these … Continue reading Nature and Order in Homer

Notes on the Odyssey Books I-IV: The Telemachia

In the Telemachia, the first four books of the Odyssey, we encounter a strange kinship between the speeches and actions of Telemachus and the warrior Achilles. Both are passionate and wrathful, for different reasons, yet as the character of Telemachus begins to emerge in this prelude to the story of Odysseus's homecoming, so does his … Continue reading Notes on the Odyssey Books I-IV: The Telemachia