Homer, Presentation Paper
Mr. Bruce Franklin
Western Civilization to 1700
22 February 2013
Homer, Presentation Paper
History is full of wonderful and interesting aspects of the past. History is not just about the feats and rulings of kings, however. Culture, art, and literature are all parts of history as well. Each fraction of what makes up history helps cultivate the learning process of the past. A man who took the literature part of history and created something epic, is Homer. Homer is a great part of Greek history. He is a writer; a poet. Two examples of his work are The Iliad and The Odyssey. Some people may view him as the greatest poet of his time.
The Mycenaeans and the Greeks seemed to have some things in common but also fairly different things as well. Some of these things can be viewed in the writings of Homer. There are writings of death, gods culture, politics, values, and women. Each of the pieces of his writings can teach readers about the culture and history of that time.
War, values, and women were big parts of Homers writings. In his writings, readers can witness the war of Troy. It is that war that sets the setting of many of the aspects of his epics. The Trojan War had started when Helen had went away, or was taken prisoner by Paris. Either way, the readers can already see the elements of the current values, the production of a war, and that women had also been involved.
As for the values that Homer entwines in his works, there are several. One that was a huge part of life during his time was hospitality. When there were not hotels and motels, travelers relied on the hospitality of people with homes and land. When Paris steals Helen, it is against the hospitality that Agamemnon had given to him. Another value, or virtue in the writings is arete. Arete is the courage and manliness that a hero has. It is obvious that those attributes are in epics. Those attributes are only a few that define a hero or warrior.
If a reader is looking for pieces of history of the society of the time, women in Homers writings are one of the top portions to look in to. Women are often dfined by society. In the Greek society, Women were fairly submissive, and that was how everybody wanted it. They were supposed to be the ones who bore and raised the children. Most of what they done was needed to be arranged and managed by the husband or head male of the household. However if a reader looks into the different women in the epics, they might find something a little more than just a submissive mother.
Helen may be viewed as a trophy as well as a maiden in distress. She is one of the main reasons for the Trojan War. Penelope is a noble woman and the wife of Odysseus. She is very kind and faithful. They seem to be the view of most of the society women. Then there is Circe and Calypso, both of which may be considered as seductresses. They try their hardest to get what they want from the men they are around. Athena is another important women figure in the stories. She is the one that helps out so many characters. She is a protector and powerful. So when looking at women in the society of Homers text, one can see that women were also respected and prized.
Homer is a powerful writer of his time. In his epics show so much history. History is passed down through the ages in art, text, literature, and more. For the literature aspect, Homer is a perfect example of literature in history. Not only does he create an interesting read, but he also entwines aspects of the age around him.