Iliad Book 10–12

  1. Make a list of all the decisions Agamemnon has made so far in the Iliad. Rank each decision on a scale of 1–10 (ten being the “best” decision and 1 being the “worst” decision). Explain your reasoning for each ranking.

A:

  • Taking Chryseis. Agamemnon took Chryseis which is what people did at the time but technically it is wrong to treat women and people as property. Overall I would rank it a 3 because it was a custom to do this but nonetheless it is an awful thing to do.
  • Returning Chryseis but taking Briseis from Achilles. This was a selfish and childish thing to do. He also disrespected Achilles status as a demigod and greatest warrior. I would rank it a 2 because his decision impacted all the Greeks because Achilles ends up walking away. Also when he initially refused to give up Chryseis he showed a lack of care for his people. In this instance Agamemnon showcases his selfish character.
  • Agamemnon consents to Priam’s request for a truce to bury their dead. I would rank this as a 10 because this was a graceful and humane thing to do.
  • Offers Achilles lavish things to come back. This was a nice try for Agamemnon because he realized that he has hit the bottom and did truly need Achilles. However, I feel that his gifts were also just a cheap bribe and actually pretty disrespectful to Achilles. Agamemnon even says that Achilles still needs to know that he is below him, so it is apparent that Agamemnon is not fully sincere with his apology. Agamemnon despite his mistakes still is focus on his ego being stroked opposed to offering people the respect and safety that they deserve. So I would give Agamemnon a 4 out of 10 on this decision.
  • Fights in battle. This the bravest and honorable thing Agamemnon has done, and done well. He fought hard and wholeheartedly for his people so i would rank this a 10.
  1. Compared to Diomedes in Book 5 does Agamemnon seem more or less “heroic” in battle? Be specific in your comparisons.

A: I actually think that Agamemnon seemed more heroic because he was sincerely fighting to help defend his people. Diomedes was a result of being filled with revenge, and that is just less heroic than just fighting naturally with the pure passion to defend.

Iliad Book 13

  1. List all of the gods so far who have participated in the Trojan War. Whose side do they fight for? Why? Wherever possible explain how you know their motives for supporting one side against the other.
  2. A:

Apollo: Apollo sends the plague upon the Greeks as punishment for stealing Chryseis from her father Chryses, who is a priest. As a result, Apollo is on the Trojans side. Apollo comes in to save Aeneas and gets attacked by Diomedes in process.

Aphrodite: Aphrodite is on Troy’s side because she was chosen to be there fairest by Paris, the prince of Troy. She aides Paris when he is dueling with Menelaus and takes him away before he is killed. Aphrodite even enters battle trying save her son from Diomedes’ attack, but she gets harmed in the process. Zeus then tell her to take a step back because battle is not the place for her, the bedroom is.

Athena: Athena is on the side of the Greeks because of her animosity against Paris, who did not choose her as the fairest in a competition between her, Hera, and Aphrodite. Athena gets involved in the war on a few occasions. For example, she prompts Pandarus to shoot and arrow at Menelaus that end the truce between the Greeks and Trojans. She also enables the Aristeia of Diomedes. During this Diomedes was able to see gods and he was given permission harm Aphrodite out of envy that Athena had for her. Athena and Diomedes also both harm Ares who was fighting in defense for Troy.

Zeus: Zeus is persuaded over to the side of being against the Greeks by Thetis. He consistently aides in altering outcomes that aid the Trojans. Notably in book 8 he weighs the fates of theGreeks and the Trojans and the Greeks side sunk down. Zeus then turned the battle in favor of Trojans.

Hera: Hera is completely against the Trojans. She is willing to give up her prized cities and even attempt to go against the all mighty Zeus to ensure the failure of the Trojans. She is so determined because of her resentment against Paris, who did not choose her as the fairest in a competition between her, Athena, and Aphrodite.

Thetis: Being Achilles mother it is practically a given that she is on his side of things. She turned to Zeus for help to sabotage the Greeks to fail in order to humble Agamemnon.

Hephaestus: Hephaestus is the “smithy” god who is lame. He warns Hera to not aggravate Zeus because he is capable of an outrage wrath. So in a way he is on the side of the Trojans with Zeus.

Ares: Ares is on the side of the Trojans. Him having a love affair with Aphrodite is aroused by seeing her son hurt on the ground. He swooped in to save Aeneas, but got harmed by Diomedes and Athena.

Poseidon: Poseidon changed sides. At one point he planned to tear down the Greeks wall with Zeus. He was also the builder of Troy’s wall, but then he intervene to help the Greeks who are trying to escape with their ships.

JOURNAL:

Thursday, September 7th, Class 11:10am — 12:30pm: In class we talked about why we believe that Achilles should or should not take Agamemnon’s offers to come back to battle. Personally I felt that Agamemnon’s gifts were disrespectful. I believe that Agamemnon only made the offer because he was in a time of need. Also his comment that Achilles had to agree that he was his son, or in other words, below him, proved that Agamemnon still has yet to learn from his past mistakes.Which can be inferred that he will only continue make them. Some people felt that Achilles was being childish or petty.. maybe, but honestly I think Achilles has standards. I believe it is important to stand for what you believe in. Not only what you believe but also with people who have the same values. Agamemnon does have morals or substantial values. I think that is what makes Achilles stance more meaningful than flattery or pettiness.

Friday, September 8th, 7am — 9:30am: In my dorm I read book 10–12. These books were unexpected because of how the Greeks and Trojans both sent spies. It was so intense with Odysseus and Diomedes capturing and then killing Dolon, the Trojan spy. Especially after Dolon told them everything they needed to know about the Trojans plans and weaknesses. It was so savage to kill him, but smart I suppose because if they did let him go he could go tell the Trojans about what did so they could try to defend themselves. Now the Aristeia of Agamemnon the one moment I actually could have some respect for him. He was a strong leader who was defending his people and doing the right thing on the first try for once. I also dreaded reading about Nestor suggesting to Patroclus to put on Achilles armor to give an essence of hope to the Greek warriors. I just felt that Nestor lost his reputation for being wise after this, because he was not thinking about the possible bad outcomes at all. Such as him being targeted and killed. Nonetheless, the war continues on and finally Hector broke through the Greek walls and now I can’t wait to see how they try to fully defend themselves. This war seems so prolonged and dramatic! If it wasn’t for Nestor suggesting for Patroclus to wear the armor, would the greek have lost? I think so. Though the outcome of him dying is going to be bad, but it was what offically brought Achilles back to end the Trojans.

Sunday, September 10th, 5pm — 7pm: I answered the questions for books 10–12 in my dorm. When answering the questions reaffirmed my hostile feels about Agamemnon. He is just such a selfish and self glorifying leader. He has caused so many conflict and done more harm to his army and people than good. This assignment took away all the proud feelings I was feeling about Agamemnon from book 11.

Monday, September 11th, 6pm — 9pm: In my dorm I read book 13 and answered the assignment questions. I actually enjoyed this prompt because so many gods have been invloved in the war. It brought me back to the question of how would the war go if it wasn’t for the influence of the gods? Though this technically is fiction sometime it is hard to remember because how thorough it was written it makes it all seem so real. With Poseidon intervening and

Tuesday, September 12th, Class 11:10pm — 12:30pm: We discussed the similarities and difference between Agamemnon and Achilles. We noticed that regardless the parallels between them Agamemnon is always inferior in the various situtions. For example, they bith lose their spear wives, but Agamemnon wasn’t deeply impacted by the loss of Chryseis as Achilles was over Breseis. Achilles had a connection with Breseis that Agamemnon didn’t have with Chryseis. They both lose or almost lose companion, but Achilles actually loses Patroclus opposed to just imagining. They both have aristeia but Achilles is greater than Agamemnon’s. They both have appeals for ransom but Hector’s ramsom was a huge deal in how it was done.

TERMS AND SIDENOTES:

  • Prosopopoeia- speaking in another persona to gain credibility
  • Epimeleia- vigilance, attentiveness
  • Gorgon is known as an apotropaic symbol
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