What is an epic? • “A long narrative poem that tells of the adventures of heroes who in some way embody the values of their civilizations” (878). • Examples: The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer • Epics became an essential for Greek Education. They gave form to Greek values.
How Greek Epics were performed in Greek culture • Told Orally: “[T]he Iliad and the Odyssey were originally told aloud by people who could not read and write” (883). Spoke or sang the epic and an audience would watch. • Epics were so long that they could not be told in one sitting. It would take a couple of days.
Performance of Epics continued.. • Repetition since it was orally told: “We can see from this why there is so much repetition in the Homeric epics. The oral storyteller, in fact, had a store of formulas ready in his memory” (883). • Homeric Similes were used: “[C]ompare heroic or epic events to simple and easily understandable everyday events- events the audience would recognize instantly” (884). • Use masks to show emotion when performing
What Epics possessed: • Greek gods and goddesses: Zeus, Athena, Aphrodite, Hermes, Apollo • Greek values and traditions. Love for their country. • Foreshadowing, flashbacks, Homeric similes Foreshadowing: the use of clues or hints to suggest what is going to happen later in the story. • Epic Heroes
What is an Epic Hero? • The main character in an epic whose heroic actions are central to his culture’s traditions and values. • Usually goes on a long journey and faces many obstacles. Example: Odysseus from The Odyssey Achilles from The Iliad
Background on the Iliad • The story before The Odyssey. • War between the Greeks and the Romans. • Based on theTrojan War and the myth of the Trojan Horse (wooden horse)
Book 22: Desolation Before Troy • The Greeks and the Trojans in the middle of war. • Achilles vs. Hector: Greek hero vs. Roman hero • Hector kills Achilles’ best friend and now the two are after one another. The battle scene.
Homer…the author of the Iliad • We know very little about Homer • Many think he was a blind author/oral bard: “The later Greeks believed he was a blind minstrel who came from the island of Chios” (882). • Some think Homer is just a legend • He was a model for rhapsodes, which were singer of tales (882).
References • Holt, Rinehart, & Winston (Eds.). (2003). Elements of Literature (3rd ed.). Austin, TX: A Harcourt Education Company.