On Thursday 9/3/20, we took a short quiz in class which was over books 1–5. I didn’t think the quiz was too hard but I made a few silly mistakes. For example, one of the questions asked what gods did Diomedes wound, and instead of answering Aphrodite and Ares, I answered Aphrodite and Apollo. But, of course, I only realized it after the fact, so I couldn’t go back and change my answer. After the quiz, we went over the questions and the answers which I thought was wonderful because it allowed for discussion between the students and clarification for anything someone may have gotten wrong. After that, we dove into the book, and more specifically Agamemnon’s reaction to his brother being wounded. During that discussion, we identified several of Agamemnon’s emotions and we even color-coded some of them (like in the movie Inside-Out) which I thought was funny. We ended up spending the remainder of our class time primarily on that topic and then later that night, I went ahead and read books 6–8.
In book 6, the battle is still going on and the gods seem to not be participating. So at this point in the war, the Achaens are winning the battle and are driving the Trojans back. So much so that Helenos suggests that Hector go back to Troy and ask his mother and the woman of the city to make an offering to Athena so she can help them in the battle. Hector likes this idea and so he goes back to Troy. While in Troy Hector tells his mother how she and the women should make the offerings for Athena and goes off to find his brother Paris who has not been fighting in the war. He finds his brother with Helen and is angry with him for not fighting. Paris realizes his wrongdoing and prepares to join the fight. After this Hector goes to visit his wife and child. He finds them away from the battlefield and his wife begs him not to leave as he is the only family she has left. He understands her point, but leaves anyway to return to the battle.
In book 7, Hector and Paris are back in the battle. But now Athena and Apollo have intervened to end the day’s battle. They do this by having Hector duel one of the best Achaen warriors. But since the Greeks have a lot of good warriors they kind of vote to see who the best one is and Ajax is chosen. So he and Hector start fighting but by nightfall, neither one can overcome the other. So because of that they are separated and they exchange gifts out of respect for one another. That same night both the Greeks and the Trojans have a feast and a short truce is put into place so the dead for each army can be honored with funerals. Also in Troy, Antenor suggests to Paris that he give up Helen to Menelaus. Paris refuses to give up Helen but instead offers to return all of the property that he took along with Helen and some of his own. So Priam sends this “agreement” to the Achaens who refuse the offer. The next day the two armies have their individual funerals and we find out that Zeus has his own plan for the war. At a meeting in Olympus, Zeus tells the gods that he doesn’t want any interference from any gods because he wants to end the war, and there will be consequences for someone who disobeys him.
Finally, in book 8, the war keeps going and Zeus is watching over the battle as it happens. On that day he decides to make the Trojans victorious. This makes Hera mad because she’s always been a hater of the Trojans so she tries to convince Poseidon to help her help the Greeks but Poseidon refuses. So Hera and Athena plan on intervening despite Zeus’s warning in chapter 7. Zeus sees this and has Iris, his messenger, repeat his earlier warning to the goddesses who fall back on their plan. While all this is going on the Greeks are being driven back to the point where they are out of the battlefield and they’re being backed into their ships. Throughout all of this, Hector is everywhere and he’s enjoying the fact that his Trojans are winning. So he orders his army to camp for the night and to light hundreds of fires to prevent the Achaens from sailing off into safety or back to their home.
On Tuesday 9/8/2020, We went over definitions of key terms in class. One of the ones that we focused on was “aristea”. From what I gathered, “aristea” basically means the defining moments or the highlights of someone’s best moments. For example in The Iliad, Diomedes has his shining moments when he was blessed by Athena with supernatural strength and he slaughtered so many people. After defining aristea we went on to discuss what usually comes after which is when people start feeling themselves which ultimately leads to their downfall. We on this topic for a while and then Mr. Sandridge answered our questions.
Later on that same night, I read book 9 of the Iliad. In book 9, the Achaean army is struggling big time. King Agamemnon gathers his soldiers and gives them a speech about how they’ve lost, and how the war is lost. And at one point, he even suggested sailing back home. But Diomedes after hearing this speech gives a speech of his own where he emboldens his comrades and reminds them to continue fighting and that the fate of Troy is that it will eventually fall. Afterwards, Nestor reminds Agamemnon that the reason that they’re losing the war is because Achilles is not fighting. Agamemnon realizes this and admits that he was wrong to insult and disgrace Achilles how he did earlier. So he decides to return Breiseis back to Achilles along with other gifts in hopes that Achilles will rejoin the army. So Agamemnon sends several high-ranking people to relay this message to Achilles but when they get there, Achilles refuses to accept anything from Agamemnon and says that he will not come back into the battle and that he plans on going back to Greece. He is not willing to budge in his decision.
Overall, I liked chapter 9 the best (even though it was much longer than I cared for) because of Achilles’ decision to not return to the war. I do think however this somehow ties into Zeus’s plan (whatever that is).
Below are the discussion questions and my responses to them.
- What do you think it takes to have a strong marital partnership? To what extent do Hector and Andromache meet this standard?
I think love and communication is essential in any relationship. I say this because with love comes all of the other aspects of a strong partnership like trust, honesty, etc. And communication is needed for both partners to effectively let each other know how they each feel. I do believe that Hector and Andromache meet this standard very well because she was able to express her fear of being left completely alone and her child being orphaned. At the same time Hector was able to understand where she was coming from and explain to her that he had to fight for his honor as well. So they definitely have love for one another and their communication skills are on point.
- How does Hector compare to the other warriors in the epic so far? Do we have any reason to believe he can (or can’t) defeat Achilles?
Hector is described as being a great warrior in the Epic. I say this because when Menelaus prepared to fight him in Chapter 7, Agamemnon was quick to tell him to sit back down because Hector was too great of a warrior for him. Even claimed that Achilles was hesitant to fight Hector. Now I’m not sure if that means that Hector can or cannot defeat Achilles but I do think that they would be a good match for one another.
- If you want to change someone’s mind, what emotions do you try to arouse in them?
If I want to change someone’s mind, I try to have them doubt whatever point they were trying to make.
- What emotions do Odysseus, Phoenix, and Ajax try to arouse in Achilles?
They try to arouse pity and Ajax at one point tries a bit of reverse psychology by trying to anger him.
- What other ways (other than the emotions) do they try to persuade him to return to the battle?
They try to persuade him by telling him about the gifts he would get if he fought. They also remind him of other people who have lost something much like he has but were alright once they received compensation.