Achilles' Shield Essay
In Book 18 in The Iliad Achilles receives new armor. Among the new items is a shield, made by Hephaistos. This shield held everything valued in Greek life. The center of five concentric circles was the Earth. Surrounding that were stars, the sun, and the moon. After that, there was a ring of two cities, one of peace and one of war. The next circle has in it the agricultural aspects of Greek life, plowing and harvest. On the next circle, there was hunting, sheep, cattle, and huts. Dance and recreation were represented in the last circle. There was also an outer band which symbolized the ocean.
All of the rings and circles are concentric to and drawing the viewer to the center of the shield. This happens to be where the Earth is. The sun, moon, and all of the stars are surrounding the Earth in the first ring.
This tells us that the Greeks had geocentric views, although at that time, the Greeks were not capable of knowledge of the rest of the world outside from where they had traded, so it would be a very primitive and centralized world.
The next circle shows two cities, one of war and one of peace. Greek society and culture were based on family and they were based on war. War was an honorable and regimented activity. When a soldier was called up to duty, he accepted it with dignity. In ancient Greek culture, it was believed to be better to live a short, meaningful, and exciting life and die for a cause, than to live a long, uneventful life, and die of old age. A warrior who died in combat would go straight to the Elysian fields. In this circle, there is also a wedding...