Zeus and the Trojan war heroes

The Iliad is saturated with allusions and references that we may overlook because we focus on parts of the poem that feel familiar and that fit with the popular narrative about what it means. One example from the first sentence that I wonder about is “the will of Zeus was accomplished.” Why would Zeus wantContinue reading “Zeus and the Trojan war heroes”

Anger and the ancient Greeks

“Wrath—sing, goddess, of the ruinous wrath of Peleus’ son Achilles,that inflicted woes without number upon the Achaeans,hurled forth to Hades many strong souls of warriorsand rendered their bodies prey for the dogs,for all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished;sing from when they two first stood in conflict—Atreus’ son, lord of men, and godlikeContinue reading “Anger and the ancient Greeks”

The gods in Homer

These pages from Gareth Hinds’ impactful graphic novelization of the Iliad depict Hephaestus’ workshop as he forges new armor for Achilles. The gods can be a malevolent presence in the Iliad, feeding conflict and animosity, saving favorites at the expense of many lives, tricking heroes into making bad decisions. Further, the gods’ divided loyalties causeContinue reading “The gods in Homer”

The Judgment of Paris

Much more ancient literature has been lost to time than saved, such that what we know about the ancient world is tantalizingly provisional. It’s conjecture and reasoning and following trails that often lead to more questions, rather than fewer. Myths that are referenced obliquely in archaic texts might disappear from written sources for centuries, onlyContinue reading “The Judgment of Paris”

Eris and the Origins of the Trojan War

In archaic Greek epic tradition, the Trojan war’s origins lie with Eris, the goddess of discord. For self-evident reasons, Eris was left off the guest list for the wedding of Thetis, a sea nymph, and Peleus, a mortal king. But she managed to make mischief anyway, by tossing an apple among the guests bearing theContinue reading “Eris and the Origins of the Trojan War”