On 9/10/2020, we took a quiz in class which I got a good grade on. Afterwards, we went over the test and then started a class discussion. First we talked about Hector falling prey to ate. Second, we talked about a specific passage in book 6 where Diomedes kills Axylos. Axylos was a kind man who used to let travelers into his home to help them. This discussion then got us talking about his acts of kindness for his fellow humans (philanthropy). Later we dissected the meaning and background of the word philanthropy (philos (love, affinity) + anthropos (humans) =philanthropy) and discussed how it is seen in modern times. For example, we tied it to Jeffery Epstein. Jeff here was one of the biggest philanthropists of our time. So much so that people didn’t even bother to ask what his job was because everyone knew him as a kind giver. But on the inside, he was a sex offender, sex trafficker, he believed in human genetic modification (humans transcending and being more powerful), and he even wanted to start a breeding ranch where he would rape women and populate the world with mini- Jeffs. So, in short, he was a sick bastard. Ironically, despite all these atrocities, he managed to build a reputation for himself as a philanthropist. Lastly, we talked about the art of persuasion in book 9 and its importance not only in the Iliad but in the Greek way of life. We then talked about ethos(credibility), logos(logic), and pathos(emotion) in the Iliad but more specifically in book 9 regarding the speech given by Phoenix, Odysseus and Ajax. Later that night I read book 10 through 13 of the Iliad.
In book 10, while everyone sleeps, Agamemnon and Menelaus are awake, but eventually they wake up the rest of their army and start planning themselves out, their next steps, and other strategies to win the war. Eventually, they decide on sending a scout to the Trojan army to see what their plans are. So Diomedes and Odysseus both go, and on their way pray to Athena for help. We then find out that the Trojans have the same plan as the Achaens and send Dolon, a member of the Trojan army, to infiltrate the Greek army. So Dolon sets off to the Greek army and unfortunately jams into Diomedes and Odysseus. So Diomedes and Odysseus start questioning Dolon (who is terrified by the way) and Dolon ends up telling them everything they need to know and then some. He tells them the positions of the Trojan army and their plans just to be killed by Diomedes. After, Diomedes and Odysseus go to the Thracians (WHICH AUTOMATICALLY MADE ME THINK OF SPARTACUS because that’s where Spartacus is from) and kill their king, and his soldiers then go back to their own army. At this point in the book, I was kind of proud of the Achaeans and surprised that something finally went to their advantage. But I did feel really bad that Diomedes killed Dolan even after he told them what they needed to know. I understand why he was killed but I felt like it wasn’t an honorable thing to do.
Book 11 started off like a page from the Bible. It starts off with blood raining down on the Achaeans, courtesy of Zeus. I related this to the part of the Bible when Moses asks the Egyptian Pharaoh to release his people (Israelites) from slavery and the Pharaoh refuses so God sends a bunch of plagues to destroy the Egyptians, and one of them was “blood water”. Anyway, because of the blood raining down on them, the Achaeans are distracted and panicking which allows the Trojans the chance to beat them down. Eventually, the Achaens get back on their feet and start fighting back. At this point Agamemnon steals the show and is killing men by the second so Zeus tells Hector to wait (via his messenger Iris) until Agamemnon is wounded to go back into battle. Not long after, Agamemnon does get hurt and leaves the war. So, Hector charges back into battle and soon gains some ground. But Diomedes throws a spear at Hector, which wounds him and causes him to leave the battle. For some reason, I thought this part was really funny because the way the book describes it, Hector seemed really shaken by the spear almost killing him. So to retaliate against the attack on his brother, Paris shoots an arrow at Diomedes who also has to leave the battle. Now, Achilles can see all of this and is worried for his fellow warriors. So he asks Patroclus to go to Nestor and get information from him. Patroclus does this and Nestor asks him to try and convince Achilles to return to the battle. Or, he, Patroclus can wear Achilles’ armor and when the Trojans see him as Achilles, they will be scared and the tides may turn in the favor of the Achaeans.
Book 12 was a little hard for me to understand but what I did get was that the Achaeans are just… going through it. I mean, they are struggling big time. The Trojans are wasting no time destroying their fortifications or killing Achaean men. Around this time, an eagle with a snake in its talons flies over the Trojans and they are tempted to retreat as this was interpreted as a bad omen but Hector refuses, keeps moving forward, and breaks the Achaean wall.
In book 13, Poseidon practically steals the show. He does this by helping the Achaeans by encouraging them disguised as many soldiers. I didn’t really expect this from Poseidon because he had no motive so I don’t see why he got involved.
On Tuesday 9/15/2020, we discussed how to properly write the weekly journals.
Below are the discussion questions and my responses to them.
In what ways could Agamemnon be criticized as a leader in Books 1–2 of the Iliad (re-read to refresh your memory)? In my opinion, I would say that Agamemnon is a capable and strong leader in books 1–2. However, his actions can be reckless and his motives can be self-centered.
What does Agamemnon do to lead the Greek army in Books 9–11? In books 9–11, I feel that Agamemnon is starting to feel the pressures of the war and at this point his faith in his army is starting to dwindle. He gathers his army on several occasions just to tell them that he feels that they have lost the war and that they should sail back home. And each time he makes speeches like that, another one of his men has to assume the leadership position and encourage the other warriors to keep fighting.
How would you advise him to improve his leadership at this point?
I would tell him that he needs to get his act together. People are looking up to him, people who left their home on his accord, to follow his lead because it was the right and honorable thing to do, but he’s not even leading them. He’s just giving up at every setback. It doesn’t matter if he wants to give up or not, his honor and the honor of his country is at stake, so he needs to reevaluate himself and get back to the issue at hand.
What four gods have affected the plot of the Iliad the most so far?
I would say that Zeus, Athena, Hera, and Apollo have affected the plot of the Iliad the most.
What have been the motives of each god?
Zeus reminds me of a phrase that’s used in my hometown of Onitsha, Nigeria: “odi kono diria mana odia” which loosely translates to “he acts like he’s not involved but he is”. Although he claims to be neutral for this battle, he very clearly favors the Trojans. Along with Zeus, Apollo has been a big proponent of the Trojans since King Agamemnon stole Chryseis. Hera and Ahena on the other hand have both been big supporters of the Achaeans because Paris said that Aphrodite was the fairest of the goddesses.