The ancient greek code of honor as demonstrated in Iliad and Odyssey Essay

October 6, 2017 History

The Ancient Greeks are a proud people who placed a supreme importance to their recognized ideals of epic award. In some cases. carry throughing the responsibility of the codification of award was considered more of import than salvaging their ain lives ( Perry 66 ) . The Grecian believed that an honest adult male is able to maintain or support his adult female. The Grecian male are frequently portrayed as brave and heroic and for him to lose a adult female is a blight to his manhood ( Perry 66 ) . Iliad is a narrative of war between the Greeks and the Trojans.

In Book 3 it is revealed there that the cause of the apparently unpointed war was to deliver King Menelaus’ award when his married woman. Helen. was kidnapped by Paris. a Trojan Prince ( Iliad Book 3 ) . In Odyssey Book IV there was a treatment on whether or non Helen did run off with Paris in her ain free will but harmonizing to her it was Aphrodite who brought her to Troy in maintaining with her promise to Paris that she will give Helen to him as a wages ( Odyssey BookIV ) . A affaire d’honneur between Paris and Menelaus ensued wherein Paris was about defeated by Menelaus if goddess Aphrodite did non intervened ( Iliad Book3 ) .

The Greeks followed a rigorous codification of award sing a hero’s part in the spoils of war. “The Grecian word for award is clip which means “price or “value” ( Schein 71 ) . The best combatants were given the choicest portion in the spoils of war ( “Guide” ) . Agamemnon did non follow this codification of award among the warriors. Book I of Iliad opened with a narrative about Agamemnon and Achilles who quarreled because of the issue of their spoils. Agamemnon. the general of the Grecian forces. insulted Achilles. the bravest and the greatest Grecian warrior. when he took off beautiful Breseis. Achilles’ war award. for himself.

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Earlier. Agamemnon’s ain war award. Chrysies. was returned to her male parent at the order of Apollo. Achilles had felt that Agamemnon did non give him due recognition as a great warrior and disgraced him before the full Grecian ground forces. Achilles was enraged that Agamemnon could make such a thing to him when in fact harmonizing to him “it was my custodies that did most of the fighting” ( Butler “Iliad” 1990-2000 ) . Agamemnon reasoned that as a general of the Grecian ground forces. he deserved the best spoils and so claimed Breseis as his ( Iliad Book 1 ) .

Achilles angrily withdraw from the conflict and threatened Agamemnon that he and his work forces will return to his ain state every bit shortly as possible because harmonizing to him. ” I will non remain here dishonored ” ( Butler “Iliad” 1990-2000 ) . It is of import to observe that Achilles is portrayed as a really proud. hot treated Grecian who regarded his personal award more of import than the lives of others for he knew that his backdown from the conflict will do decease to fellow Greeks. Not merely had that he even appealed to his female parent to convert Zeus to allow the Trojans win ( Iliad Book 1 ) .

The Greek believed that to contend in conflict is a great award. Aside from the spoils of war the Grecian wants to win a conflict for a simple ground that their names will be immortalized after their decease as their heroic workss will be sung by the poets. At the clip of their decease. a rite is to be performed in their award ( “Guide” ) . In Iliad a good illustration of this is the decease of Patroculos. In Book 23 the twenty-four hours after the Greek war hero. Patroculos. was buried. Achilles holds a series of competitions to honour his memory.

Great awards were offered to the victors of packaging. wrestle. archery. and a chariot race ( Iliad Book23 ) . Achilles himself knew beforehand that he will run into the same destiny of Patroculos however he joined the conflict non to demand retaliation or to carry through an curse. He came to war to harvest award and glorification. It must be remembered that before Achilles joined the Grecian ground forces. he was given two picks: fall in the conflict against Troy and derive award but die immature or unrecorded long in his ain state without award. Achilles chose the latter ( Iliad Book 23 ) .

However. when Achilles was visited by Odysseus. hero of the Odyssey. in the underworld. he said that “I would instead be a retainer in a hapless man’s house and alive than be a male monarch of male monarchs in the underworld” ( Butler “Odyssey” 1990-2000 ) . He regretted deceasing so immature in the chase of award. In another facet his backdown in the conflict had caused a low lesson to the Grecian warriors so that when Agamemnon by manner of proving the bravery of his work forces lied to them that he is traveling to give up the conflict. the Grecian ground forces revealed their true feelings by thirstily running towards their ships to travel place.

But Odysseus reminded the Greeks that it is dishonourable to withdraw from conflict. For the Greeks to withdraw in conflict is black. They will certainly be regarded as disgraceful by their ain countrymen ( “Guide” ) . As Odysseus appealed to their epic pride. the work forces. non desiring to lose their face in their ain states. went back to their collapsible shelters to go on the conflict in malice of the agony and adversities they had already endured during the old battle ( Iliad Book 2 ) .

Subsequently. Agamemnon in Book 3 challenged these work forces to contend in the conflict by reminding them of the heroic workss of their ain male parents ( Iliad Book 3 ) . Paris had ingloriously broke this codification of award when during the conflict he retreated to his bed with Helen. The Trojan ground forces was so angry at this that they”…hated him like death” ( Iliad Book IV ) . The Greeks besides gave importance in honouring their curses. When Helen. the most beautiful adult female in the universe during her clip. was yet single many great baronial work forces courted her foremost are Menelaus. Odysseus. Diomedes. Patroculos and Idomeneus.

Since it is impossible for all of them to get married Helen the suers had swore a grave curse among themselves that whoever Helen will take to be her hubby they will support him against his enemies. Helen chose Menelaus so that old ages subsequently when Paris kidnapped Helen and took her to Troy all baronial warriors were called upon to carry through their curses. Unlike Achilles who seems to be obsessed with earthly award Odysseus tried to avoid carry throughing this curse by feigning to be insane ( Oddyssey Book III ) .

The Greeks besides honor the bond of friendly relationship. The authoritative illustration of this is between Greek warrior Diomedes and the Trojan warrior Glaucus. When the two opposing warriors are engaged in individual combat they discovered that both their grandparents were friends. They promised non to contend against each other in the incoming conflict and even interchange their armour so that they can easy acknowledge each other among the contending work forces. The friendly relationship that was formed between their grandparents was a guest-friendship relationship.

Diomedes male parent had one time entertained Glaucus father as a invitee for 20 yearss. The two ascendants had exchange a violet belt and a dual cup as a mark of friendly relationship ( Iliad Book VI ) . . As a adult male of award. both warriors felt they were bound to go on the bond of friendly relationship of their ascendants. Many strong friendly relationships began this manner. The Greeks are celebrated for being hospitable to their invitee because they thought they may be entertaining a God or goddesses in camouflage. When Gods or goddesses were entertained good. the host can anticipate favour from them ( “Guide” ) .

WORKS CITED Butler. Samuel. The Iliad by Homer. 27 July 2007. hypertext transfer protocol: //classics. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. edu/Homer/iliad. 1. i. hypertext markup language Butler. Samuel. The Odyssey by Homer. 27 July 2007. hypertext transfer protocol: //classics. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. edu/Homer/odyssey. 23. twenty-three. html “Guide to Reading the Iliad” . 1990-2000. hypertext transfer protocol: //faculty. gvsu. edu/websterm/Read_Iliad. htm Perry. Marvin. History of the World. Boston: Houghton and Mifflin Company. 1988. Schein. Seth. The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer’s Iliad. Berkeley: University of California Publishing. 1984.


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