By Katherine Callen King

Historic Epic deals a finished and obtainable advent to 6 of the best old epics – Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Apollonius of Rhodes' Agonautica.Provides an available advent to the traditional epicOffers interpretive analyses of poems inside of a finished ancient contextIncludes a close timeline, feedback for additional readings, and an appendix of the Olympian gods and their Akkadian opposite numbers

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The Greek leaders tried diplomacy before besieging the city: Odysseus and Menelaos went to Priam’s court and asked for Helen to be returned. Despite Odysseus’ eloquence (see Il. 221–223), Priam yielded to Paris’ wishes and refused, thus implicating Troy in Paris’ moral error and ensuring its ultimate downfall. THE CONTEXT OF HOMERIC EPIC 41 During the first nine years of the siege, Achilles ambushed and killed Troilos, son of Priam, at Apollo’s shrine outside the city, captured Aeneas’ cattle, got Thetis to set up a meeting so that he could see Helen’s beauty firsthand, restrained the Greek army from sailing home, and sacked twenty-one cities.

Much later, when Enkidu curses this door on his deathbed, the poet invites his readers to think about the killing of Humbaba in terms of a conflict in which neither side will be victorious without serious cost. He offers a double vision: both the rewards of conquering nature and also the costs. Gilgamesh continues his violent response to the challenges of nature in the next episode, in which he rejects the goddess of procreation and kills the Bull of Heaven she sends in retaliation. Ishtar, Queen of Heaven, is the goddess of life and death, of natural cycles.

Odysseus won with the help of Athena, whereupon Ajax became so distraught that he went temporarily insane, attacked livestock, thinking the animals were the Greek leaders, and then committed suicide. This famous episode is called the Judgment of Arms. With Achilles and Aias dead, Odysseus’ strategic skills were foregrounded: he traveled to Skyros and used Achilles’ armor to entice Neoptolemos, Achilles’ son, to join the Greek army; he retrieved Philoktetes from his desert island when an oracle said the Greeks could not take Troy without him; he snuck into Troy disguised as a beggar and got information from Helen; and he snuck in again with Diomedes to steal the Palladium, a statue of Athena that would protect Troy as long as it stayed in its temple.

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