Greek Society as Told by The Iliad

Essay by JessecUniversity, Bachelor's October 2014

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Jesse Congo

Dr. Jan Haluska

Ancient Classics

January 27, 2014

Edwards, Mark. Homer: Poet of the Iliad. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987. 149-158. Print

When it comes to the Iliad the question is often raised, "What is the Iliad about?" The most popular and correct interpretation about the meaning of the Iliad is the rage of Achilles. Indeed, the Iliad is about the rage or anger of Achilles, without a doubt this theme permeates through out the entire epic. However, the Iliad also describes ancient Greek society. Society is identified by the values and beliefs of the people who abide within it. In this chapter Mark Edwards identifies the values and beliefs of ancient Greeks as they appear in the Iliad. Edwards does an excellent job of explaining Greek society through the lens of Homer's Iliad.

Edwards makes plain that competitiveness was a major value for the ancient Greeks.

Edwards notes that competition is one of the strongest forces in ancient Greek society is competitiveness. I agree with this point made by Edwards. I believe that competitiveness is a very important part of the culture, but it is not the strongest force. Competitiveness is found throughout the Iliad. The ideal of competiveness begins in the legend behind the Iliad. Eris, the goddess of discord, shows up to the wedding ceremony of Thetis with a gift that is meant for "The Fairest of Them All". This gift ignites a competition between the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. The three goddesses compete for Paris to crown one of them the winner. This competition will eventually play out in the Iliad. Competition through athleticism is also seen in the Iliad. As a part of the funeral ceremony for Achilles' beloved friend, Patroclus, the Achaean...