Are The Best Men Liars? Essay

1474 Words6 Pages
Are the Best Men Liars? When the Roman Civilization usurped that of the Greeks, a cultural shift took place. The Romans, unlike many other conquerors in history, maintained that the good parts of a defeated culture should be maintained, while those parts not suitable to their worldview would be erased and disregarded. When the Romans took over the Greeks, they continued the Epic tradition, used similar gods, and kept familiar customs. However, within the continuity between the cultures on these points, lie some important differences. Gods retained basic characteristics, but also gained new ones. Epics featured a new kind of hero: a leader. The Greek epic, The Odyssey and the Roman epic, The Aeneid highlight by the contrast between their protagonists a cultural shift from the concept of heroes as individuals to that of the hero as a leader. The characters Aeneas and Odysseus show that a difference in the treatment of truth and falsehood between Greek and Roman cultures is one of the factors that distinguishes an individualistic Greek hero from a Roman leader-hero. From the beginning of The Odyssey, Homer describes Odysseus with the defining characteristic of cunning. In Robert Fagles’ translation, Odysseus appears as “the man of twists and turns / driven time and time again off course, once he had plundered / the hallowed heights of Troy” (Odyssey I:1-3). The epithet, “man of twists and turns,” refers to Odysseus’ ability to get himself out of the many difficult situations
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