Homer wrote the selection, “Homer’s Ideal of Excellence,” in the 8th century BC. Andromache was crying as she held her husband’s, Hector, hands. She was getting worried of his bravery and felt that Hector was not keen on the family. She was unhappy that Hector, just like her brothers, would be killed by “the Great Achilles.” Hector was her only relative left having lost her parents. Hector was also worried about this. He loved his family, but he had to fight for the kingdom. Being a good soldier required him to leave a legacy that would make his father remembered. Hector’s boy felt disturbed with his looks. His father asked Zeus and the other gods to bless him. He asked the gods to make him a good soldier who will take down his enemies. Hector wants his son to leave a legacy even better than his. Hector gave back the boy and asked his mother to be strong and carry on with her activities. She should go home and ensure the maidservants attend to their chores. He assured her nobody would take him down before his rightful time.
Homer, also named Melesigenes was given birth to by “Crytheis, an orphan” mother, “on the banks the river Meles”at Smyrna.He suffered defluxion at Ithaca during his travels to Spain and Italy and could not continue with the journey.He used this opportunity to learn “the principle incidents of life of Ulysses.”He suffered recurrent defluxion at Colophon and becameblind.The Cumaeanswere kind and accepted him. However, they did not tolerate his desire to write a poem in praise of the city for a small annual pension on the basis that there will be“no end of the Homeri or blind men.” It is here that he got his name Homer.He married and had two daughters at Chios, where “he established a school of poetry.” Homer died on his way to Athens “and was buried on the sea shore on landing.” His poetry was admired in ancient times and was used by all learned men. Athen’s tyrant, Pisistratus, was the first to collect and arrange the Iliad and Odyssey in his current exhibit.
The first Greek state, Mycenae, was comprised of warriors who faced numerous heroic battles.Their civilization consisted of great monarchies. Next in command were “the commanders of the army, priests, bureaucrats,” and, lastly, the free citizenry. Their most famous military adventure came through the epic of Homer.In addition, the Mycenaeans were traders “with extensive commercial networks.” There pottery was traded throughout Egypt and Syria to the east and northern Italy and Sicily to the west.The powerful Mycenaean monarchies collapsed to mark the beginning of a new age in Greece, the Dark Age.
The Dark Age was characterized by a number of activities. It was characterized by the migration of the Greeks from the mainland to the islands. Especially southwest shore of Asia.In addition, during the period, agriculture was revived along with other trades. This was prompted by the introduction of iron in manufacturing farming tools and “construction of weapons.”The Greeks also gained new system of writing by adopting the Phoenician alphabet, which eased reading and writing.
Homer and Homeric Greece abound in “universal lessons.” He composed his “epic of the Trojan War, Iliad” from oral traditions, which taught that “recklessness and violence will only lead to disaster.”His epic also taught that war will hurt the innocent and that what matters most is the quality of man and not his achievements.Homer’s other work, the Odyssey, is the epic romance of “Odysseus after the fall of Trojan.” Through this masterpiece, Homer pointed out that “virtue is a better policy than vice.”
Homer was a prolific writer and master in what he knew best. His works were held fondly by great men and commoners. Most of the values that Homer taught were “essentially he aristocratic values of courage and honor”. His works usually depicted heroes striving for excellence. “Through his willingness to fight, the hero protects his family and friends, preserves his own honor as well as that of his family and earns his reputation”.
The two texts, The Iliad and The Odyssey also depicted the Greeks ideal of gaining honor through the process of combat. This is for example exhibited in The Iliad when Hector’s wife pleads with him not to go to war but he claims, “it would go against the grain, for I have trained myself always, like a good soldier, to take my place in the front line and win glory for my father and myself”
Several factors affected his style of writing as well as themes in his books. The setting of several of his books especially The Iliad and The Odyssey were influenced by the environment and daily occurrences in the history of Mycenaean. Both The Iliad and The Odyssey were “used as basic texts for education of Greeks for hundreds of years in antiquity”.
The culture of the people of Mycenae whose kingdom later became Greek influenced to a higher extent the writings of Homer. Homer’s work has manifested a lot of Greek culture and beliefs as he too was a citizen of Greece. In the case of The Iliad, the narrative tries to take account of the Trojan War, one of the earliest wars that have ever been recorded. In this poetic narrative, Homer tried to outline how Greeks fought the war defeated their enemies and went home victoriously. He says, “Swift march the Greeks, the rapid dust around darkening arises from the labored ground” . One of the things that point out that the writer had a fond reference to Greek religion is the fact that, in The Iliad, for example many of the occurrences were being directed by the gods. Venus was one of the gods in the polytheistic religion of Greek. Homer was fond of writing about the heroes of war who desired more of fame in the battleground. Homer’s work was also influenced by his own experience as a teacher and as a sailor where he sailed to Italy and Spain. This is evidenced by several scholars who made the same voyage many years later and were able to see the same physical phenomenon that had been earlier described by Homer. Homer was able to take this journey after he was given a chance to experience the voyage by his friend- a captain who was also his friend and who had heard a lot of the author and his prowess and marveled at his wit of writing.
Other factors that influenced his work of poetry were his surroundings and the requirement of people in a certain area. At one point in his life, he requested city officials in a place where Mentes had left him after his sight started to fail. After the sight had failed him, Homer went in Chios where he was able to meet his wife with whom they had children. After Homer became blind, his financial capability was highly clumped with each day; he slowly slid into a state of abject poverty.
Many of Homer’s writings were about Greek’s politics as well as her foreign policies on her neighbors. The Iliad was a poem that highlighted the souring of the relationship between Greece and Troy that finally culminated into a combat war that was later known as Trojan War. One of the lines in the poem that exhibits feeling of the soldiers before the war is when he says that, “Front to front the hostile armies stand, eager to fight” . The Odyssey poem was about a figure in the poem called Odyssey who was returning home after the war. Most commonly, the daily occurrences that are seen in the poems are the influences that the gods had on human beings.
The personal life of the writer also affected the themes of his work. At times on a voyage, he would write about that what he had seen.
The early civilization that preceded the production of Homer’s poems and poetry collection can be referred to as the archaic period. This period was marked by the spread of Egypt’s and other powers of the time. It is in this period that alphabetic scripts were brought and introduced in Greece. This period also marked the beginning of Greek literature with the emergence of popular pieces of literature such as The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Homer’s poetry and other Greek’s literature are important today because they form strong foundations and also mark the beginning of western culture. In addition, these literatures are very enjoyable to read as they have been translated in a number of languages all over the world.
Homer, and Alexander Pope. Homer. London: A.J. Valpy, 1833.
Jackson J. Spielvogel, Western Civilization, vol. 1, To 1715, eighth edition (Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012), 58.