Role Of Violence In The Iliad

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Josef Affourtit
February 10th, 2017
The Iliad: Greeks and Their Love for ‘War’

It has long been a popular scholarly opinion that the Greeks in the Iliad were lovers of war and violence. The Greeks were most definitely primal beasts, and blood shedders, a fact made abundantly clear in the Iliad. However, I think that the Greeks were not lovers of war, furthermore I think this interpretation is shortsighted. The amount of violence in the Iliad seems to be evidence for their love of war, but the ancient world was primal and passionate, and these ancient beasts were not strangers to bloodshed and violence. Thus, I think the amount of violence in the Iliad does not perpetuate the Greeks love for war, but rather shows their
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When a Greek hero kills a Trojan commander or hero, the Greeks rejoice because there was immediate honor granted to the killer. He has done well for his name and his people, which is why the kill is celebrated. If the Hero had slain a goat, the Greeks would not have rejoiced (unless they were particularly famished that day), because the Greeks do not celebrate bloodshed for the sake of red, they celebrate honor and immortality granted to those who exhibit greatness. This is also why I think Homer and other story-telling decedents choose to remember those that are bastards and those that are highborn. A bastard being less honorable than a noble highborn man, and than those born from human woman and a god for a father. I cannot accept that through millennia of retellings of the Iliad, such a seemingly minuscule detail such as bastard would be kept without reason. The description ‘bastard’ appears many times during the bloodshed of the Iliad. In Book IV, “As the javelin homed in on Democoön, Pram’s bastard son from his horse farm in Abydos” (Homer, Iliad 4), it is again mentioned the honor associated with the kill, a bastard boy, rather than a hero. Then, Meges kills Pedaeus in Book V, Homer makes sure to detail “Though he was a bastard…”. Bastard was more clearly described as being lesser and almost dishonorable in Book VII, when King Agamemnon addressed Teucer, bastard of Telamon, “…and you will save the day for the Greeks, … though you were a bastard.
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