Pindar was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, Pindar is by far the greatest, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, his rolling flood of eloquence, characteristics which, as Horace rightly held, make him inimitable." His poems can however, seem difficult and peculiar. The Athenian comic playwright Eupolis once remarked that they "are reduced to silence by the disinclination of the multitude for elegant learning"; some scholars in the modern age found his poetry perplexing, at least until the 1896 discovery of some poems by his rival Bacchylides. His poetry, while admired by critics, still challenges the casual reader and his work is unread among the general public. Pindar was the first Greek poet to reflect on the poet's role. Like other poets of the Archaic Age, he has a profound sense of the vicissitudes of life, but he articulates a passionate faith in what men can achieve by the grace of the gods, most famously expressed in the conclusion to one of his Victory Odes: His poetry illustrates the beliefs and values of Archaic Greece at the dawn of the classical period.
Five ancient sources contain all the recorded details of Pindar's life. One of them is a short biography discovered in 1961 on an Egyptian papyrus dating from at least 200 AD; the other four are collections that weren't finalized until some 1600 years after his death: Commentaries on Pindar by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Although these sources are based on a much older literary tradition, going as far back as Chamaeleon of Heraclea in the 4th century BC, they are viewed with scepticism today: much of the material is fanciful. Scholars both ancient and modern have turned to Pindar's own work – his victory odes in particular – as a source of biographical information: some of the poems touch on historic events and can be dated; the 1962 publication of Elroy Bundy's ground-breaking work Studia Pindarica led to a change in scholarly opinion—the Odes were no longer seen as expressions of Pindar's personal thoughts and feelings, but rather as public statements "dedicated to the single purpose of eulogizing men and communities."
It has been claimed that biographical interpretations of the poems are due to a "fatal conjunction" of historicism and Romanticism. In other words, we know nothing about Pindar's life based on either traditional sources or his own poems. However, the pendulum of intellectual fashion has begun to change direction again, cautious use of the poems for some biographical purposes is considered acceptable once more. Pindar was born in 522 BC or 518 BC in Cynoscephalae, a village in Boeotia, not far from Thebes, his father's name is variously given as Daiphantus, Pagondas or Scopelinus, his mother's name was Cleodice. It is told that he was stung on the mouth by a bee in his youth and this was the reason he became a poet of honey-like verses. Pindar was about twenty years old in 498 BC when he was commissioned by the ruling family in Thessaly to compose his first victory ode, he studied the art of lyric poetry in Athens, where his tutor was Lasos of Hermione, he is said to have received some helpful criticism from Corinna.
The early-to-middle years of Pindar's career coincided with the Persian invasions of Greece in the reigns of Darius and Xerxes. During the invasion in 480/79 BC, when Pindar was forty years old, Thebes was occupied by Xerxes' general, who with many Theban aristocrats subsequently perished at the Battle of Plataea, it is possible. His choice of residence during the earlier invasion in 490 BC is not known, but he was able to attend the Pythian Games for that year, where he first met the Sicilian prince, nephew of Theron of Acragas. Thrasybulus had driven the winning chariot and he and Pindar were to form a lasting friendship, paving the way for his subsequent visit to Sicily. Pindar seems to have used his odes to advance his, his friends', personal interests. In 462 BC he composed two odes in honour of Arcesilas, king of Cyrene, pleading for the return from exile of a friend, Demophilus. In the latter ode Pindar proudly mentions his own ancestry, which he shared with the king, as an Aegeid or descendent of Aegeus, the legendary king of Athens.
The clan was influential in many parts of the Greek world, having intermarried with ruling families in Thebes, in Lacedaemonia, in cities that claimed Lacedaemonian descent, such as Cyrene and Thera. The historian Herodotus considered the clan important enough to deserve mention. Membership of this clan contributed to Pindar's success as a poet, it informed his political views, which are marked by a conservative preference for oligarchic governments of the Doric kind. "Pindar might not claim to be an Aegeid since his'I' statements do not refer to himself. The Aegeid clan did however have a branch in Thebes, his reference to'my ancestors' in Pythian 5 could have been spoken on behalf of both Arcesilas and himself – he may have used this ambivalence to e
In Greek mythology, Menelaus was a king of Mycenaean Sparta, the husband of Helen of Troy, the son of Atreus and Aerope. According to the Iliad, Menelaus was a central figure in the Trojan War, leading the Spartan contingent of the Greek army, under his elder brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. Prominent in both the Iliad and Odyssey, Menelaus was popular in Greek vase painting and Greek tragedy, the latter more as a hero of the Trojan War than as a member of the doomed House of Atreus. Although early authors, such as Aeschylus refer in passing to Menelaus’ early life, detailed sources are quite late, post-dating 5th-century BC Greek tragedy. According to these sources, Menelaus' father, had been feuding with his brother Thyestes over the throne of Mycenae. After a back-and-forth struggle that featured adultery and cannibalism, Thyestes gained the throne after his son Aegisthus murdered Atreus; as a result, Atreus’ sons and Agamemnon, went into exile. They first stayed with King Polyphides of Sicyon, with King Oeneus of Calydon.
But when they thought the time was ripe to dethrone Mycenae’s hostile ruler, they returned. Assisted by King Tyndareus of Sparta, they drove Thyestes away, Agamemnon took the throne for himself; when it was time for Tyndareus’ stepdaughter Helen to marry, many kings and princes came to seek her hand. Among the contenders were Odysseus, Ajax the Great and Idomeneus. Most offered opulent gifts. Tyndareus would accept none of the gifts, nor would he send any of the suitors away for fear of offending them and giving grounds for a quarrel. Odysseus promised to solve the problem in a satisfactory manner if Tyndareus would support him in his courting of Tyndareus’s niece Penelope, the daughter of Icarius. Tyndareus agreed, Odysseus proposed that, before the decision was made, all the suitors should swear a most solemn oath to defend the chosen husband in any quarrel, it was decreed that straws were to be drawn for Helen’s hand. The suitor who won was Menelaus; the rest of the suitors swore their oaths, Helen and Menelaus were married, Menelaus becoming a ruler of Sparta with Helen after Tyndareus and Leda abdicated the thrones.
Menelaus and Helen had a daughter Hermione as supported, for example, by Sappho, while some variations of the myth suggest they had three sons as well: Aithiolas and Pleisthenes. Their palace has been discovered in Laconia, to the north-west of modern Sparta. Other archaeologists consider that Pellana is too far away from other Mycenaean centres to have been the "capital of Menelaus". According to legend, in return for awarding her a golden apple inscribed "to the fairest," Aphrodite promised Paris the most beautiful woman in all the world. After concluding a diplomatic mission to Sparta during the latter part of which Menelaus was absent to attend the funeral of his maternal grandfather Catreus in Crete, Paris ran off to Troy with Helen despite his brother Hector's prohibition. Invoking the oath of Tyndareus and Agamemnon raised a fleet of a thousand ships and went to Troy to secure Helen's return. Homer's Iliad is the most comprehensive source for Menelaus’s exploits during the Trojan War.
In Book 3, Menelaus challenges Paris to a duel for Helen’s return. Menelaus soundly beats Paris, but before he can kill him and claim victory, Aphrodite spirits Paris away inside the walls of Troy. In Book 4, while the Greeks and Trojans squabble over the duel’s winner, Athena inspires the Trojan Pandarus to shoot Menelaus with his bow and arrow. However, Athena never intended for Menelaus to die and she protects him from the arrow of Pandarus. Menelaus is wounded in the abdomen, the fighting resumes. In Book 17, Homer gives Menelaus an extended aristeia as the hero retrieves the corpse of Patroclus from the battlefield. According to Hyginus, Menelaus killed eight men in the war, was one of the Greeks hidden inside the Trojan Horse. During the sack of Troy, Menelaus killed Deiphobus. There are four versions of Menelaus’ and Helen’s reunion on the night of the sack of Troy: Menelaus sought out Helen in the conquered city. Raging at her infidelity, he raised his sword to kill her, but as he saw her weeping at his feet, begging for her life, Menelaus' wrath left him.
He decided to take her back as his wife. Menelaus resolved to kill Helen, but her irresistible beauty prompted him to drop his sword and take her back to his ship “to punish her at Sparta”, as he claimed. According to the Bibliotheca, Menelaus raised his sword in front of the temple in the central square of Troy to kill her, but his wrath went away when he saw her rending her clothes in anguish, revealing her naked breasts. A similar version by Stesichorus in “Ilion’s Conquest” narrated that Menelaus surrendered her to his soldiers to stone her to death, but when she ripped the front of her robes, the Achaean warriors were stunned by her beauty and the stones fell harmlessly from their hands. Book 4 of the Odyssey provides an account of his homelife in Sparta; when visited by Odysseus’ son Telemachus, Menelaus recounts his voyage home. As happened to many Greeks, Menelaus' homebound fleet was blown by storms to Crete and Egypt where they were becalmed, unable to sail away, they forced him to reveal how to make the voyage home.
After their homecoming and Helen
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
In Greek mythology, Pylades is the son of King Strophius of Phocis and of Anaxibia, the daughter of Atreus and sister of Agamemnon and Menelaus. He is known for his love with his cousin Orestes, son of Agamemnon. Orestes had been sent to Phocis during his mother Clytemnestra's affair with Aegisthus. There he was raised with Pylades, so considered him to be like a brother. While Orestes was away, Clytemnestra killed Orestes' father Agamemnon; as an adult, Orestes returns to Mycenae/Argos to avenge the murder of Agamemnon. With the assistance of his friend Pylades, Orestes kills his mother Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. While Pylades seems to be a minor character, he is arguably the most vital piece of Orestes' plan to avenge his father. In The Libation Bearers, the second play of Aeschylus' trilogy The Oresteia, Pylades speaks only once, his lines come at the moment Orestes begins to falter and second-guess his decision to kill his mother. It is Pylades who convinces Orestes to follow through with his plan for revenge and carry out the murder.
The significance of Pylades' lines has invited speculation into whether or not he might represent something more than human next to Orestes. In other versions of the revenge of Orestes and Electra, Pylades accompanies Orestes, but does not speak. In the Sophocles version, Orestes pretends to be dead and Pylades carries the urn holding his friend's remains. According to Pausanias, Pylades killed Nauplius sons'. Pylades was exiled by his father for taking part in the crime, he returned to Orestes' side, where he helped him to come up with a plan to avoid execution. They attempted to murder Helen, wife of Orestes' uncle Menelaus, after he proved to be of no help in protecting Orestes. However, their attempt failed through the intervention of the gods, they took hostage Hermione, daughter of Helen and Menelaus. Apollo arrived to settle the situation and gave them all instructions, including one for Pylades to marry Orestes' sister Electra. Many of these events are depicted in Euripides' play Orestes.
Pylades played a major role in another of Euripides' plays, Iphigeneia in Tauris. In order to escape the persecutions of the Erinyes, Orestes had been ordered by Apollo to go to Tauris, carry off the statue of Artemis which had fallen from heaven, bring it to Athens, he went to Tauris with Pylades and the pair were at once imprisoned by the people, among whom the custom was to sacrifice all strangers to Artemis. Orestes was seized by a mania for fear of the barbarians; the priestess of Artemis, whose duty it was to perform the sacrifice, was Orestes' sister Iphigeneia. She offered to release Orestes. After a conflict of mutual affection, Pylades at last yields, but the letter brought about a recognition between brother and sister, all three escaped together, carrying with them the image of Artemis; the intense relationship between Pylades and Orestes was presented by some Greek writers as romantic or homoerotic. The dialogue Erotes, attributed to Lucian, compares the merits and advantages of heterosexuality and homoeroticism, Orestes and Pylades are presented as the principal representatives of a loving friendship: “Phocis preserves from early times the memory between Orestes and Pylades, who taking a god as witness of the passion between them, sailed through life together as though in one boat.
Both together put to death Klytmnestra. Pylades suffered more than his friend by the punishment, he stood by him when condemned, nor did they limit their tender partnership to the bounds of Greece, but sailed to the farthest boundaries of the Scythians – the one sick, the other ministering to him. When they had come into the Tauric land, straightaway they were met by the matricidal fury; when it was determined that one should remain to be put to death, the other should go to Mycenae to convey a letter, each wishes to remain for the sake of the other, thinking that if he saves the life of his friend, he saves his own life. Orestes refuses to take the letter, saying that Pylades was more worthy to carry it, acting more like the older lover than the younger. ‘For,’ he said, ‘the slaying of this man would be a great grief to me, as I am the cause of these misfortunes.’ And he added, ‘Give the tablet to him, for I will send thee to Argos, in order that it may be well with thee. The wider context of these remarks, describing the physical intimacy open to male pairs, indicates that the love exemplified by Orestes and Pylades would not have excluded more overt homoerotic or sexual elements.
In 1734, George Frederic Handel's opera Or
Euripides was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom a significant number of plays have survived; some ancient scholars attributed 95 plays to him but, according to the Suda, it was 92 at most. Of these, 18 or 19 have survived more or less complete and there are fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together because his popularity grew as theirs declined—he became, in the Hellenistic Age, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer and Menander. Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances; this new approach led him to pioneer developments that writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance. Yet he became "the most tragic of poets", focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way unknown.
He was "the creator of...that cage, the theatre of Shakespeare's Othello, Racine's Phèdre, of Ibsen and Strindberg," in which "...imprisoned men and women destroy each other by the intensity of their loves and hates", yet he was the literary ancestor of comic dramatists as diverse as Menander and George Bernard Shaw. Unique among writers of Ancient Athens, Euripides demonstrated sympathy towards the underrepresented members of society, his male contemporaries were shocked by the'heresies' he put into the mouths of characters, such as these words of his heroine Medea: His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism, both of them being lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes. Whereas Socrates was put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence, Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia. Recent scholarship casts doubt on ancient biographies of Euripides. For example, it is possible that he never visited Macedonia at all, or, if he did, he might have been drawn there by King Archelaus with incentives that were offered to other artists.
Traditional accounts of the author's life are found in many commentaries and include details such as these: He was born on Salamis Island around 480 BC, with parents Cleito and Mnesarchus, a retailer who lived in a village near Athens. Upon the receipt of an oracle saying that his son was fated to win "crowns of victory", Mnesarchus insisted that the boy should train for a career in athletics. In fact the boy was destined for a career on the stage, where however he was to win only five victories, one of, after his death, he served for a short time as both torch-bearer at the rites of Apollo Zosterius. His education was not confined to athletics: he studied painting and philosophy under the masters Prodicus and Anaxagoras, he had two disastrous marriages and both his wives—Melite and Choerine —were unfaithful. He became a recluse. "There he built an impressive library and pursued daily communion with the sea and sky". He retired to the "rustic court" of King Archelaus in Macedonia, where he died in 406 BC.
However, as mentioned in the introduction, biographical details such as these should be regarded with scepticism. They are derived entirely from three unreliable sources: folklore, employed by the ancients to lend colour to the lives of celebrated authors; this biography is divided into three sections corresponding to the three kinds of sources. Euripides was the youngest in a set of three great tragedians who were contemporaries: his first play was staged thirteen years after Sophocles' debut and only three years after Aeschylus's masterpiece, the Oresteia; the identity of the threesome is neatly underscored by a patriotic account of their roles during Greece's great victory over Persia at the Battle of Salamis—Aeschylus fought there, Sophocles was just old enough to celebrate the victory in a boys' chorus and Euripides was born on the day of the battle. The apocryphal account that he composed his works in a cave on Salamis island was a late tradition and it symbolizes the isolation of an intellectual, rather ahead of his time.
Much of his life and his whole career coincided with the struggle between Athens and Sparta for hegemony in Greece but he didn't live to see the final defeat of his city. It is said that he died in Macedonia after being attacked by the Molossian hounds of King Archelaus and that his cenotaph near Piraeus was struck by lightning—signs of his unique powers, whether for good or ill. In an account by Plutarch, the catastrophic failure of the Sicilian expedition led Athenians to trade renditions of Euripides' lyrics to their enemies in return for food and drink. Plutarch is the source for the story that the victorious Spartan generals, having planned the demolition of Athens and the enslavement of its people, grew merciful after being entertained at a banquet by lyrics from Euripides' play Electra: "they felt that it would be a barbarous act to annihilate a ci
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was a king of Mycenae, the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra and the father of Iphigenia, Electra or Laodike and Chrysothemis. Legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area; when Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was taken to Troy by Paris, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War. Upon Agamemnon's return from Troy, he was killed by the lover of his wife Clytemnestra. In old versions of the story, the scene of the murder, when it is specified, is the house of Aegisthus, who has not taken up residence in Agamemnon's palace, it involves an ambush and the deaths of Agamemnon's followers as well. In some versions, Clytemnestra herself does the killing, or they act together as accomplices, killing Agamemnon in his own home, his name in Greek, Ἀγαμέμνων, means "very steadfast", "unbowed". The word comes from *Ἀγαμέδμων from ἄγαν, "very much" and μέδομαι, "think on".
Atreus, Agamemnon's father, murdered the sons of his twin brother Thyestes and fed them to Thyestes after discovering Thyestes' adultery with his wife Aerope. Thyestes fathered Aegisthus with his own daughter and this son vowed gruesome revenge on Atreus' children. Aegisthus murdered Atreus and restored his father to the throne. Aegisthus jointly ruled with Thyestes. During this period and his brother, took refuge with Tyndareus, King of Sparta. There they married Tyndareus' daughters Clytemnestra and Helen. Agamemnon and Clytemnestra had four children: one son and three daughters, Iphigenia and Chrysothemis. Menelaus succeeded Tyndareus in Sparta, while Agamemnon, with his brother's assistance, drove out Aegisthus and Thyestes to recover his father's kingdom, he became the most powerful prince in Greece. Agamemnon's family history had been tarnished by murder and treachery, consequences of the heinous crime perpetrated by his ancestor, of a curse placed upon Pelops, son of Tantalus, by Myrtilus, whom he had murdered.
Thus misfortune hounded successive generations of the House of Atreus, until atoned by Orestes in a court of justice held jointly by humans and gods. Agamemnon gathered the reluctant Greek forces to sail for Troy. Preparing to depart from Ancient Greece, a port in Boeotia, Agamemnon's army incurred the wrath of the goddess Artemis. There are several reasons throughout myth for such wrath: in Aeschylus' play Agamemnon, Artemis is angry for the young men who will die at Troy, whereas in Sophocles' Electra, Agamemnon has slain an animal sacred to Artemis, subsequently boasted that he was Artemis' equal in hunting. Misfortunes, including a plague and a lack of wind, prevented the army from sailing; the prophet Calchas announced that the wrath of the goddess could only be propitiated by the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia. Classical dramatizations differ on how willing either daughter was to this fate, her death appeased Artemis, the Greek army set out for Troy. Several alternatives to the human sacrifice have been presented in Greek mythology.
Other sources, such as Iphigenia at Aulis, say that Agamemnon was prepared to kill his daughter, but that Artemis accepted a deer in her place, whisked her away to Tauris in the Crimean Peninsula. Hesiod said. Agamemnon was the commander-in-chief of the Greeks during the Trojan War. During the fighting, Agamemnon killed Antiphus and fifteen other Trojan soldiers, according to one source, but in the "Iliad" itself, he's shown to slaughter hundreds more in Book 11 during his "aristea" loosely translated to "day of glory", the most similar to Achilles' "aristea" in Book 21. Before his "aristea," Agamemnon was considered to be one of the three best warriors on the Greek side as proven when Hector challenges any champion of the Greek side to fight him in Book 7, Agamemnon is one of the three most wished for to face him out of the nine strongest Greek warriors who volunteered, and after they reconciled Achilles admits in Book 23 that Agamemnon is "the best in strength and in throwing the spear." That claim is further proven by the fact that Agamemnon was the only major warrior on either side never to need the gods' direct intervention to increase his strength or give him any unfair advantages in battle and yet he still caused incredible destruction on the scale of Achilles.
The Iliad tells the story about the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles in the final year of the war. Following one of the Achaean Army's raids, daughter of Chryses, one of Apollo's priests, was taken as a war prize by Agamemnon. Chryses was met with little success. Chryses prayed to Apollo for the safe return of his daughter, which Apollo responded to by unleashing a plague over the Achaean Army. After learning from the Prophet Calchas that the plague could be dispelled by returning Chryseis to her father, Agamemnon reluctantly agreed (but first berated Calch
Homer is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms, it focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary; the Homeric Question – concerning by whom, when and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composed – continues to be debated. Broadly speaking, modern scholarly opinion falls into two groups. One holds that most of the Odyssey are the works of a single poet of genius; the other considers the Homeric poems to be the result of a process of working and reworking by many contributors, that "Homer" is best seen as a label for an entire tradition.
It is accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. The poems are in Homeric Greek known as Epic Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries. Most researchers believe that the poems were transmitted orally. From antiquity until the present day, the influence of the Homeric epics on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music and film; the Homeric epics were the greatest influence on education. Today only the Iliad and Odyssey are associated with the name'Homer'. In antiquity, a large number of other works were sometimes attributed to him, including the Homeric Hymns, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, the Little Iliad, the Nostoi, the Thebaid, the Cypria, the Epigoni, the comic mini-epic Batrachomyomachia, the Margites, the Capture of Oechalia, the Phocais; these claims are not considered authentic today and were by no means universally accepted in the ancient world.
As with the multitude of legends surrounding Homer's life, they indicate little more than the centrality of Homer to ancient Greek culture. Many traditions circulated in the ancient world concerning Homer. Modern scholarly consensus is; some claims were repeated often. They include that Homer was blind, that he was born in Chios, that he was the son of the river Meles and the nymph Critheïs, that he was a wandering bard, that he composed a varying list of other works, that he died either in Ios or after failing to solve a riddle set by fishermen, various explanations for the name "Homer"; the two best known ancient biographies of Homer are the Life of Homer by the Pseudo-Herodotus and the Contest of Homer and Hesiod. The study of Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating back to antiquity. Nonetheless, the aims of Homeric studies have changed over the course of the millennia; the earliest preserved comments on Homer concern his treatment of the gods, which hostile critics such as the poet Xenophanes of Colophon denounced as immoral.
The allegorist Theagenes of Rhegium is said to have defended Homer by arguing that the Homeric poems are allegories. The Iliad and the Odyssey were used as school texts in ancient Greek and Hellenistic cultures, they were the first literary works taught to all students. The Iliad its first few books, was far more intently studied than the Odyssey during the Hellenistic and Roman periods; as a result of the poems' prominence in classical Greek education, extensive commentaries on them developed to explain parts of the poems that were culturally or linguistically difficult. During the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, many interpreters the Stoics, who believed that Homeric poems conveyed Stoic doctrines, regarded them as allegories, containing hidden wisdom; because of the Homeric poems' extensive use in education, many authors believed that Homer's original purpose had been to educate. Homer's wisdom became so praised that he began to acquire the image of a prototypical philosopher. Byzantine scholars such as Eustathius of Thessalonica and John Tzetzes produced commentaries and scholia to Homer in the twelfth century.
Eustathius's commentary on the Iliad alone is massive, sprawling nearly 4,000 oversized pages in a twenty-first century printed version and his commentary on the Odyssey an additional nearly 2,000. In 1488, the Greek scholar Demetrios Chalkokondyles published the editio princeps of the Homeric poems; the earliest modern Homeric scholars started with the same basic approaches towards the Homeric poems as scholars in antiquity. The allegorical interpretation of the Homeric poems, so prevalent in antiquity returned to become the prevailing view of the Renaissance. Renaissance humanists praised Homer as the archetypically wise poet, whose writings contain hidden wisdom, disguised through allegory. In western Europe during the Renaissance, Virgil was more read than Homer and Homer was seen through a Virgilian lens. In 1664, contradicting the widespread praise of Homer as the epitome of wisdom, François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac wrote a s