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bonbon6846
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris, Menelaus, and Helen

[ Edited ]
In Johnston, also, Homer mentions Helen's child directly, though briefly.

"My dear father-in-law, whom I respect and honour,
how I wish I'd chosen evil death
when I came here with your son, leaving behind
my married home, companions, darling child,
and friends my age."

Message Edited by bonbon6846 on 09-11-2007 09:14 AM
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CallMeLeo
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris, Menelaus, and Helen

Book 3 held surprises for me. Paris being almost universally despised is one, an object of derision by his brother, the Trojan people, and even Helen - a vain weakling. The Achaians hate him for taking Helen from Menelaus, but I sense that a grave sin against hospitality may have been committed because Paris was Menelaus' guest when he absconded with her.

The other surprise is that Paris is held entirely to blame, not Helen. I always had the impression it was her irresistable beauty that caused the war. And I think Homer has given Helen more complexity than has been handed down by history as "the face that launched a thousand ships". More a face than a person. She seems to regret having gone with Paris, seems to despise herself and him. I would even say her loyalties are torn.

And I agree with the other post: Aphrodite needs a good pinch!
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rbehr
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris, Menelaus, and Helen

This is a good point on a hospitality gaffe by Paris. I looked into hospitality in ancient Greek culture and obligations of the guest. It appears that hospitality had a reciprocal obligation between the guest and host. So, one more strike against Paris. Here are the links I found:

http://www.crowdog.net/hospitality.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=NvB7Opz0CxkC&pg=PA51&dq=Ancient+Greece+Hospitality+Guest+obligation...




CallMeLeo wrote:
Book 3 held surprises for me. Paris being almost universally despised is one, an object of derision by his brother, the Trojan people, and even Helen - a vain weakling. The Achaians hate him for taking Helen from Menelaus, but I sense that a grave sin against hospitality may have been committed because Paris was Menelaus' guest when he absconded with her.

The other surprise is that Paris is held entirely to blame, not Helen. I always had the impression it was her irresistable beauty that caused the war. And I think Homer has given Helen more complexity than has been handed down by history as "the face that launched a thousand ships". More a face than a person. She seems to regret having gone with Paris, seems to despise herself and him. I would even say her loyalties are torn.

And I agree with the other post: Aphrodite needs a good pinch!

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Laurel
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Don't blame me

"The gods made me do it" seems to be an oft-used excuse. For instance:

To Hector godlike Alexander then replied: [60]

"Hector, you're right in what you say against me.
Those complaints of yours are not unjustified.
Your heart is tireless, like a wood-chopping axe
wielded by a craftsman cutting timber for a ship.
The axe makes his force stronger. Your mind's like that—
the spirit in your chest is fearless. But don't blame me
for golden Aphrodite's lovely gifts. 70
Men can't reject fine presents from the gods,
those gifts they personally bestow on us,
though no man would take them of his own free will.

Do you see other examples of this excuse? Is it ever justified?
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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CallMeLeo
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Re: Don't blame me

But don't blame me
for golden Aphrodite's lovely gifts. 70
Men can't reject fine presents from the gods...


I get a good chuckle (with some eye-rolling) everytime I read this. It's as if Paris is saying: "Well, I can't help it if I'm divinely handsome, enormously charming, overpoweringly seductive, and women want me... but it's the gods' fault, can't you see?" By all means, let's blame it on the gods that because of these qualities, Paris, you are also selfish and inconsiderate. :smileyvery-happy:

Priam blames the gods. Priam seems a nice, old gentleman. He goes out of his way to reassure Helen of this. There is something very courtly in his manner when he does this, but in doing so, he's avoiding the unpleasant truth of what Paris had done by not holding him accountable as Hector does.


Laurel wrote:
"The gods made me do it" seems to be an oft-used excuse. For instance:

To Hector godlike Alexander then replied: [60]

"Hector, you're right in what you say against me.
Those complaints of yours are not unjustified.
Your heart is tireless, like a wood-chopping axe
wielded by a craftsman cutting timber for a ship.
The axe makes his force stronger. Your mind's like that—
the spirit in your chest is fearless. But don't blame me
for golden Aphrodite's lovely gifts. 70
Men can't reject fine presents from the gods,
those gifts they personally bestow on us,
though no man would take them of his own free will.

Do you see other examples of this excuse? Is it ever justified?

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CallMeLeo
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris, Menelaus, and Helen

Great links, rebehr. Thank you.


rbehr wrote:
This is a good point on a hospitality gaffe by Paris. I looked into hospitality in ancient Greek culture and obligations of the guest. It appears that hospitality had a reciprocal obligation between the guest and host. So, one more strike against Paris. Here are the links I found:

http://www.crowdog.net/hospitality.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=NvB7Opz0CxkC&pg=PA51&dq=Ancient+Greece+Hospitality+Guest+obligation...




CallMeLeo wrote:
Book 3 held surprises for me. Paris being almost universally despised is one, an object of derision by his brother, the Trojan people, and even Helen - a vain weakling. The Achaians hate him for taking Helen from Menelaus, but I sense that a grave sin against hospitality may have been committed because Paris was Menelaus' guest when he absconded with her.

The other surprise is that Paris is held entirely to blame, not Helen. I always had the impression it was her irresistable beauty that caused the war. And I think Homer has given Helen more complexity than has been handed down by history as "the face that launched a thousand ships". More a face than a person. She seems to regret having gone with Paris, seems to despise herself and him. I would even say her loyalties are torn.

And I agree with the other post: Aphrodite needs a good pinch!



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Laurel
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Re: Don't blame me

Who is the professor at Hogwarts that Kenneth Branagh plays? Paris reminds me of him.

CallMeLeo wrote:
But don't blame me
for golden Aphrodite's lovely gifts. 70
Men can't reject fine presents from the gods...


I get a good chuckle (with some eye-rolling) everytime I read this. It's as if Paris is saying: "Well, I can't help it if I'm divinely handsome, enormously charming, overpoweringly seductive, and women want me... but it's the gods' fault, can't you see?" By all means, let's blame it on the gods that because of these qualities, Paris, you are also selfish and inconsiderate. :smileyvery-happy:

Priam blames the gods. Priam seems a nice, old gentleman. He goes out of his way to reassure Helen of this. There is something very courtly in his manner when he does this, but in doing so, he's avoiding the unpleasant truth of what Paris had done by not holding him accountable as Hector does.


Laurel wrote:
"The gods made me do it" seems to be an oft-used excuse. For instance:

To Hector godlike Alexander then replied: [60]

"Hector, you're right in what you say against me.
Those complaints of yours are not unjustified.
Your heart is tireless, like a wood-chopping axe
wielded by a craftsman cutting timber for a ship.
The axe makes his force stronger. Your mind's like that—
the spirit in your chest is fearless. But don't blame me
for golden Aphrodite's lovely gifts. 70
Men can't reject fine presents from the gods,
those gifts they personally bestow on us,
though no man would take them of his own free will.

Do you see other examples of this excuse? Is it ever justified?




"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris, Menelaus, and Helen

To blame Helen would give a woman power over men. Would be to admit that they can control the way men act. I doubt that the Greek culture could have accepted this.

Would you blame the bullet that killed Archduke Ferdinand for starting World War I? Or the man who fired it? the wrong here was by Paris; Helen, being a weak woman, at least as the Greeks would see her, had no power and therefore no responsibility.

That, at least, is how I view it.

CallMeLeo wrote: [ edited]
The other surprise is that Paris is held entirely to blame, not Helen. I always had the impression it was her irresistable beauty that caused the war. And I think Homer has given Helen more complexity than has been handed down by history as "the face that launched a thousand ships". More a face than a person. She seems to regret having gone with Paris, seems to despise herself and him. I would even say her loyalties are torn.

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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris, Menelaus, and Helen

When you think about it, it seems pretty clear that Homer is changing the natural chronology of the war to suit his poetic purposes. For example, surely the scene with Helen and Priam on the wall, with Helen pointing out which warriors were which, would have taken place far sooner than the ninth year of the war. Priam would have identified the primary members of the enemy camped and fighting on the plain in front of his city far sooner than this.

Also, one would have expected the Paris-Menelaus duel to have taken place much sooner in the chronology of the war. It's an obvious thing to have happened, if not right away, then by the time a year or two of stalemate had taken place.

But they are both dramatic elements, they both engage us, they both add to our understanding of the people and the situation, and so Homer slides them in here as though they hadn't happened until this point in the war.

And Homer did it long before Shakespeare did the same thing in some of his history plays!
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apemantus
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Re: Don't blame me

Since Paris specifically chose Aphrodite and was rewarded with Helen as his prize in the Judgment of Paris episode, he seems a bit disingenuous here, but "the gods made me do it" seems like a perfectly good excuse in a story in which the gods do make people do things. What should Paris' excuse be for being whisked away from the battle with Menelaus in Book 3?

Willcock in the Companion to the Iliad explains the gods' influence this way: "A man's fate was established at his birth. Homer sometimes speaks as if it would be theoretically possible to frustrate it, but in practice this does not happen--the gods, if necessary, stepping in to restore the balance." (pg 19)

That's also the impression I'm getting from the first few books, even if it does make the mortals little more than puppets. (This is my first reading, I remind everyone. :smileyhappy:)


Laurel wrote:
"The gods made me do it" seems to be an oft-used excuse. For instance:

To Hector godlike Alexander then replied: [60]

"Hector, you're right in what you say against me.
Those complaints of yours are not unjustified.
Your heart is tireless, like a wood-chopping axe
wielded by a craftsman cutting timber for a ship.
The axe makes his force stronger. Your mind's like that—
the spirit in your chest is fearless. But don't blame me
for golden Aphrodite's lovely gifts. 70
Men can't reject fine presents from the gods,
those gifts they personally bestow on us,
though no man would take them of his own free will.

Do you see other examples of this excuse? Is it ever justified?

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leelee2525
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Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: 3.1-8 Pygmies and cranes

I am going to speculate here, because . . . it is fun.

We are immediately thrown into the scene of armies getting in formation for battle in Book III.

Now, Book II just ended with a catalogue of the armies. I had to search for something of interest to me. Don't get me wrong, it was not meant to entertain, but inform, and I realize that, but by stepping back a little bit in Book II, I also realized this. Odysseus, Nestor, and Agamemnon had just got these Achaians, who were more than ready to sail home, all "reved up" once more to go to battle. They are excited, enthused and believe in themselves. They had done all their roaring back at camp. They have had their prayers and sacrifices and they are ready. However, we really don't know what the Trojans have been doing. So, the somewhat scattered and seemingly chaotic structure of their forces could mean many things, but it seems to me, that they probably had something going through their minds to the effect, "What, I thought someone said those Greeks were leaving. They aren't leaving. Hey, everyone get your equipment. They are coming again!" The roaring and clamoring on the part of the Trojans sounds like most battle scenes that are depicted where making "war whoops" are a means to frighten the enemy and to encourage bravery in your own warriors. That Homer brings in the image of the pygmies and cranes is not only imagery, but when reading the story about these birds and their adversaries, there is no side that is the "right" side. There does not seem to be a side that is already set up to win. Laurel may have had this in her links (I haven't had a chance to read them yet) but I thought this was interesting, that Hera had been behind the cranes and pygmies at war. And here the story goes: Gerana was a queen of the Pygmies who boasted she was more beautiful than Hera. The wrathful goddess turned her into a crane and proclaimed that her bird descendants should wage eternal war on the Pygmy folk. http://upge.wn.com/?t=ancientgreece/index37.txt "Eternal war", ugh! But, there is no winners and Homer is not going to give away the ending of this battle either. I just thought that was neat and the way Book III ends, well, I thought, "Wait a minute! This isn't a clear cut win!"







Laurel wrote:
Once troops had formed in ranks under their own leaders,
Trojans marched out, clamouring like birds, like cranes
screeching overhead, when winter's harsh storms drive them off,
screaming as they move over the flowing Ocean,
bearing death and destruction to the Pygmies,
launching their savage attack on them at dawn.
Achaeans came on in silence, breathing ferocity,
determined to stand by each other in the fight. (Johnston, 3:1-9)
=====================================

"The gathered armies are compared to flocks of birds. In this comparison, Homer intends the image of a mass of birds rather than a careful formation of flight. The armies are gathered in mass groups and the sound of the voices and weapons are similar to the squawking and flapping of birds. The warriors are difficult to distinguish from each other. The juxtaposition of a nature simile for a host of fighting men further evokes the chaos of battle."
One explanation I read for why the Trojans were compared to noisy birds whereas the Achaean army came on silently is that the Trojan troops were an alliance of peoples of many tongues, and hence they seemed like jabberers to the Greeks.
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leelee2525
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris, Menelaus, and Helen

For once, I can honestly say I learned something from reading Harry Potter! hee hee

I know how to pronounce Hermione!

I know how to pronounce Hermione!

I know how to pronounce Hermione!

Okay, okay, so all the rest of you didn't need Harry to know that.


According to my daughter, she read the book by Margaret George titled Helen of Troy and in a modern version of the myth, when naming the child Hermione, there was a dispute about the name because it was too strong and the child should have a name that was more feminine. So much for modern interpretations. Although, my daughter enjoyed the book.

The girl's name Hermione \he-rmio-ne, her-mione\ is pronounced her-MY-oh-nee. It is of Greek origin, and its meaning is "messenger; earthly". Feminine form of Hermes.

Being the feminine form of Hermes and being that the sceptre of Agamemnon came through the line from Hermes or Mercury, makes it rather an interesting connection.

Shall I keep on? Is it obvious I may need to go away now?



Laurel wrote:
Lattimore translates 3.175 "my grown child," and Postletwaite comments, "my grown child is her only daughter by Menelaos, Hermione."

Laurel wrote:
Found it!

[171] And Helen, fair among women, answered him, saying: "Revered art thou in mine eyes, dear father of my husband, and dread. Would that evil death had been my pleasure when I followed thy son hither, and left my bridal chamber and my kinfolk and my daughter, well-beloved, and the lovely companions of my girlhood. (Murray)

http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomerIliad3.html

There's a rather confusing chart at the bottom of this page that includes this note: "Plisthenes 3 was son of Helen, probably by Menelaus. It is said that she took him with her to Cyprus."
http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Helen.html
There is some lovely art here.




Everyman wrote:


Peppermill wrote:
I'm in lazy mode again today, so I'll ask instead of search. Does Helen have children, either now or later?


Not that I'm aware of, but maybe some I've never noticed.







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leelee2525
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Re: 3.1-8 Pygmies and cranes, The agreed on oath

To take the previous post a little bit further in regards to having no clear cut win, I wanted to see what you all thought of the oath that was taken prior to Menelaus and Paris facing each other one on one.

Agamemnon taking up Hector's proposal and waiting for Priam's arrival, then states the oath, which seems to have three conditions:

1. If Alexander slays Menelaus, let him keep Helen, all her property. Let us return in our sea-worthy ships.
2. If fair-haired Menelaus kills Alexander, then let the Trojans hand back Helen, with all her property, and compensate Achaeans with something suitable, which future ages will remember.

Now it is interesting that the agreement is made with these conditions. The Achaeans will receive some recompense besides just Helen. Having Helen and her property is not enough. But here is what interests me and I added in my own little interpretation in brackets.

3. If Alexander's killed and Priam and Priam's children are unwilling to reimburse me [Agamemnon], then I'll [Agamemnon] remain here, fight on until I'm [Agamemnon] fully satisfied, until I [Agamemnon] end this war appropriately. Johnston, 3.281-291

The oath is agreed upon by all concerned. Is this oath justified? And was it fulfilled to the extent that Agamemnon could justifiably say, Listen to me, Trojans Dardanians, allies---victory clearly falls to war-loving Menelaus.?

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Laurel
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Re: Don't blame me

Good post, Ken. And even Zeus couldn't change fate, try as he might.

apemantus wrote:
Since Paris specifically chose Aphrodite and was rewarded with Helen as his prize in the Judgment of Paris episode, he seems a bit disingenuous here, but "the gods made me do it" seems like a perfectly good excuse in a story in which the gods do make people do things. What should Paris' excuse be for being whisked away from the battle with Menelaus in Book 3?

Willcock in the Companion to the Iliad explains the gods' influence this way: "A man's fate was established at his birth. Homer sometimes speaks as if it would be theoretically possible to frustrate it, but in practice this does not happen--the gods, if necessary, stepping in to restore the balance." (pg 19)

That's also the impression I'm getting from the first few books, even if it does make the mortals little more than puppets. (This is my first reading, I remind everyone. :smileyhappy:)


Laurel wrote:
"The gods made me do it" seems to be an oft-used excuse. For instance:

To Hector godlike Alexander then replied: [60]

"Hector, you're right in what you say against me.
Those complaints of yours are not unjustified.
Your heart is tireless, like a wood-chopping axe
wielded by a craftsman cutting timber for a ship.
The axe makes his force stronger. Your mind's like that—
the spirit in your chest is fearless. But don't blame me
for golden Aphrodite's lovely gifts. 70
Men can't reject fine presents from the gods,
those gifts they personally bestow on us,
though no man would take them of his own free will.

Do you see other examples of this excuse? Is it ever justified?




"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Re: 3.1-8 Pygmies and cranes

Wow! Neat stuff, Loretta!

leelee2525 wrote:
I am going to speculate here, because . . . it is fun.

We are immediately thrown into the scene of armies getting in formation for battle in Book III.

Now, Book II just ended with a catalogue of the armies. I had to search for something of interest to me. Don't get me wrong, it was not meant to entertain, but inform, and I realize that, but by stepping back a little bit in Book II, I also realized this. Odysseus, Nestor, and Agamemnon had just got these Achaians, who were more than ready to sail home, all "reved up" once more to go to battle. They are excited, enthused and believe in themselves. They had done all their roaring back at camp. They have had their prayers and sacrifices and they are ready. However, we really don't know what the Trojans have been doing. So, the somewhat scattered and seemingly chaotic structure of their forces could mean many things, but it seems to me, that they probably had something going through their minds to the effect, "What, I thought someone said those Greeks were leaving. They aren't leaving. Hey, everyone get your equipment. They are coming again!" The roaring and clamoring on the part of the Trojans sounds like most battle scenes that are depicted where making "war whoops" are a means to frighten the enemy and to encourage bravery in your own warriors. That Homer brings in the image of the pygmies and cranes is not only imagery, but when reading the story about these birds and their adversaries, there is no side that is the "right" side. There does not seem to be a side that is already set up to win. Laurel may have had this in her links (I haven't had a chance to read them yet) but I thought this was interesting, that Hera had been behind the cranes and pygmies at war. And here the story goes: Gerana was a queen of the Pygmies who boasted she was more beautiful than Hera. The wrathful goddess turned her into a crane and proclaimed that her bird descendants should wage eternal war on the Pygmy folk. http://upge.wn.com/?t=ancientgreece/index37.txt "Eternal war", ugh! But, there is no winners and Homer is not going to give away the ending of this battle either. I just thought that was neat and the way Book III ends, well, I thought, "Wait a minute! This isn't a clear cut win!"







Laurel wrote:
Once troops had formed in ranks under their own leaders,
Trojans marched out, clamouring like birds, like cranes
screeching overhead, when winter's harsh storms drive them off,
screaming as they move over the flowing Ocean,
bearing death and destruction to the Pygmies,
launching their savage attack on them at dawn.
Achaeans came on in silence, breathing ferocity,
determined to stand by each other in the fight. (Johnston, 3:1-9)
=====================================

"The gathered armies are compared to flocks of birds. In this comparison, Homer intends the image of a mass of birds rather than a careful formation of flight. The armies are gathered in mass groups and the sound of the voices and weapons are similar to the squawking and flapping of birds. The warriors are difficult to distinguish from each other. The juxtaposition of a nature simile for a host of fighting men further evokes the chaos of battle."
One explanation I read for why the Trojans were compared to noisy birds whereas the Achaean army came on silently is that the Trojan troops were an alliance of peoples of many tongues, and hence they seemed like jabberers to the Greeks.



"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Peppermill
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris

[ Edited ]
What's the bit about Paris having been a shepherd at the time of the wedding of Thetis and Peleus? I haven't fit that into the story yet.

Paris was apparently good with the bow? Or do I have the wrong warrior?

Also, I found fascinating the passage where "magnificent Paris, fair-haired Helen's consort" donned his armor: "well-made greaves" wrapping his legs, "fastened behind the heels with silver ankle-clasps,"the breastplate of his brother Lycaon "that fitted him so well," "his sword, the fine bronze {not iron} blade with its silver-studded hilt," "the shield-strap and his sturdy, massive shield," "well-forged helmet, the horsehair crest atop it tossing, a bristling terror," "a spear that matched his grip." (Sounds like today's golf club, tennis racket, hockey stick, baseball bat, ...)

Somewhere I read that some shields could be thrown over the shoulder to protect the back during retreats, but I don't know if that applied here to Paris.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greave Click on the picture for more detail.

The site on Hoplites indicates that this formation was used in the movie "Troy," but most of what I read suggests this formation for battle evolved much later (~4th century BC).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoplite

Interesting here is that the armor is described as bronze (weight of 50-60 lbs.). I would suspect the spear tips and swords were forged iron (steel?) by then.

CallMeLeo wrote:
Book 3 held surprises for me. Paris being almost universally despised is one, an object of derision by his brother, the Trojan people, and even Helen - a vain weakling. The Achaians hate him for taking Helen from Menelaus, but I sense that a grave sin against hospitality may have been committed because Paris was Menelaus' guest when he absconded with her.

The other surprise is that Paris is held entirely to blame, not Helen. I always had the impression it was her irresistable beauty that caused the war. And I think Homer has given Helen more complexity than has been handed down by history as "the face that launched a thousand ships". More a face than a person. She seems to regret having gone with Paris, seems to despise herself and him. I would even say her loyalties are torn.

And I agree with the other post: Aphrodite needs a good pinch!


Message Edited by Peppermill on 09-11-2007 10:49 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Don't blame me



apemantus wrote:
... Willcock in the Companion to the Iliad explains the gods' influence this way: "A man's fate was established at his birth. Homer sometimes speaks as if it would be theoretically possible to frustrate it, but in practice this does not happen--the gods, if necessary, stepping in to restore the balance."

This is the standard theory -- that the fates, at a man's birth, decreed the time of his death.

But I have a problem reconciling this with, say, Apollo's sending sickness on the Greek camp. If all those people were indeed fated to die them, then Apollo did nothing of any meaning. If Apollo really did impose from his anger deaths which would not otherwise have taken place, then he has changed fate.

It's the same dilemma between free will and predestination familiar to us from other contexts.
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris and Menelaus Duel

An exceptionally fine portrayal of the duel between Paris and Menelaus.
http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/K10.9.html
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris as shepherd

This is the most complete treatment of Paris as shepherd I have seen yet. I have not yet encountered the story by which he assumed that role.
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/JudgementParis.html
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: ILIAD Book 3: Paris and Menelaus Duel

Somehow I had pictured Paris as not being bearded.

Peppermill wrote:
An exceptionally fine portrayal of the duel between Paris and Menelaus.
http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/K10.9.html


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I think, therefore I drive people nuts.