Homer’s Ideal of Excellence

Throughout this excerpt of “The Iliad” by the great poet Homer, shows the ideals way back into their era. In this epic segregated values of both men and women are seen in Homer’s era. This epic story begins with the young prince of Troy, Paris, who kidnaps Helen, wife of the king of the Greek state of Sparta. After this treachery towards Sparta the Spartan kings Brother, Agamemnon, attacked Troy. The excerpt begins with Paris’s brother, Hector, another prince of Troy, is talking to his wife, Andromache, just before he goes to fight Achilles.
Achilles is a great warrior which has slain many foes with nothing but a scratch including all of Andromache all seven brothers who he fought all at once. Andromache attempts to plead to Hector to flee, but his honor and courage strives him to continue to his impending doom. These words spoken by both Hector and Andromache seem as though they both knew it was most likely was going to be their last words. The way Homer writes the tone of these last words between husband and wife were so compelling in the fact that a mans honor and bravery were way more important than staying alive and taking care of his new born son and wife.
From just reading this part of Homer’s writing it is obvious how it shaped the minds of all of Greece and set values among the people of the era. After reading this part of the poem understanding it comes to light by fully seeing how the honor of a man in this era is more important than anything even including your own family. This can be seen When Homer writes; “”All that, my dear,” said the great Hector of the glittering helmet, “is surely my concern. But if I hid myself like a coward and refused to fight, I could never face the Trojans and the Trojans ladies in their trailing gowns”.

Also Homer goes on to illustrate that he must because that is how Hector was raised and how he must uphold his families honor in the name of his deceased father. Another thing that can be seen is very important to the people of this era was their need to make their gods happy, which in Greek culture was Zeus. The last words of Hector before he goes to fight the unstoppable soldier, Achilles, was praying to the great Greek gods, but not for himself, instead for his son to be just as strong and brave as himself and to be a mighty king of Ilium.
He then continues to pray to make his son an even better man then himself. This brought upon another ideal in mind, the linage of your family. As in back then when you were born you automatically obtained all of you bloodlines successes and failures and were marked by them. At the end of the excerpt Hector says to his wife to not be worried about him and not to be distressed but instead continue on her duties at home, where she should continue looming and using the spindles.
He then goes on to say how war has no business with women and how it is the business of every man and especially himself since he is the prince of Troy. This emphasizes how the duties were segregated among the Greek people. How women are condemned to taking care of the children, cleaning, and looming cloths whereas men were condemned to death in war for their rulers. These poems did not record history yet the Greek people took these stories as authentic history causing a past in which they can look upon when seeking guidance on what they should do in the Greek culture and ideals.
Also they gave the Greek people with a cast of heroes like Hector and Achilles to be their role model. These poems brought both men and women a guide of what they should do to pursue arete (or excellence) among their society. Whether it was inside the household or out on the battlefields both men and women by the Homeric world were taught to pursue excellence (or arete). The “Iliad” and the “Odysseus” shaped the ideals of the Greeks and gave a model for the rest of Greek culture to follow.

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