Fabularum Bibliotheca: The Iliad Chat
September 12, 1998
Ancient Sites Chats on Greek Mythology and Greek Classics

Chat Transcript
page two

  373 lines of discussion for
Sep. 12, 1998

continued from page one

15:05ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Hi, I'm back.  Looking up my Herodotus 9approx 500 BCE.  He said the woman stealing started before Helen when the Phoenicians took Io to Egypt.    Interestingly enough, the relevant passage on Helen reads "The Asiatics, when the Greeks ran off with their women, never troubled themselves about the matter: but the Greeks, for the sake of a single Lacedaemoniangirl, collected a vast armament, invaded Asia, and destroyed the kingdom of Priam."  Seems they thought the Greeks over-reacted.
15:05 BELAY FABIUS: Back again... Yes Helen was unhappy in Troy
15:06 TORREY PHILEMON: Yes, Achilles does act like a ruthless omnipotent god, whose making everyone suffer because he hasn't received the honor that is his due.
15:06ROBERTUSI MARIUS: Helen at one point is a dutiful daughter in law to Hecuba and in other places she weeps when she sees the Greek heros before the wall s of troy. I think "Helen" was an excuse for a pirate expedition.
15:07 TORREY PHILEMON: Asterix, I doubt if the war was entirely about Helen. Supposedly, Troy was a key sea route, with many riches, and the Greeks wanted to rule it. To some extent, the whole Helen story may have been just the excuse they needed for plunder.
15:07 BELAY FABIUS: Astreix: Could helen be just the spontaneus which kindled the flame of war not the cause. Just like modern day world war I started by an assasination of a duke
15:07 Ricardex Cornelius enters...
15:08 TORREY PHILEMON: Hey Robertus, we posted the same thing at the same time. I agree: pirate expedition.
15:09 BELAY FABIUS: Torrey: I agree your with your point. The war is rooted in the economy. Troy was a keeper of the gates so to say in her strategic position to control all commerce
15:09RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Sorry, i was out of the chat, AS woes!
15:09 TORREY PHILEMON: Countries often make highblown excuses for war to hide their real power and wealth motives...
15:09 DAVID MARIUS: One thing that is unclear (okay one of the things) is why the war at this point gets so merciless. Early in the war the Greeks had taken prisoners and ransomed them. This can be shown by both Agammenon's treasures and by the repeated action of surrender. But at this point, surrended result in death.
15:09ROBERTUSI MARIUS: Or an ancient Gulf of Tonkin resolution. I guess we havent changed that much. I guess we all think alike Torrey!
15:09 TORREY PHILEMON: BTW, I found a neat site on Achilles...called Achilles in Vietnam. http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/classics/shay.htm
15:09RICARDEX CORNELIUS: And the Greeks are certainly interested in lot.
15:10ASTERIX FLAVIUS: >Torrey - "Supposedly"?  Yeah it's pretty well situated for the Aegean, Black Sea, Asia Minor.  Likely to have been economic at root. [I think I posted something like that on a thread earlier].
15:11 BELAY FABIUS: David: I think the war was bloody and long because it is a war between equals. Equal strategis and equipment as well as resources
15:11 flavius Horatius enters...
15:11 TORREY PHILEMON: Do you all see some fascinating comparisons between the Trojan War and the Vietnam war?
15:12RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I think ten years and the number of friends killed makes war harder. As time goes by everyone has a personal reason to angry, after all at start Helen is not anything to bulkof Greeks on personal level. but ten yearsand you lose alot of friends.
15:12 flavius Horatius enters...
15:12ROBERTUSI MARIUS: The fact that Priam charges some sort of toll to all ships passing through the Dardennelles is mentioned in the Iliad. Another very good reason to go to war over an abduction.
15:12RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Tghe War of Roses got more bitter as years went by.
15:12RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Americancivil war did too.
15:13ASTERIX FLAVIUS: >Ricardex - don't forget Ireland and the English.
15:13 BELAY FABIUS: Robertus: that is the core reason for the war and Helen was the match that kindled it. It is all about commerce
15:13 TORREY PHILEMON: It seems that in the Iliad both sides just want it to be over but don't know how to end it. And the Greeks don't feel ok about leaving with nothing to show for all the years and lives lost.
15:14 DAVID MARIUS: Belay. I also think it is almost impossible to take a fortified city wih enough food and its own water supply. That's why sieges here and in medieval Europe (until gunpowder) went on so long.
15:15 BELAY FABIUS: David: AGreed. If I was a military I think siege is a stupid and a  last alternative
15:15GNAEUS JUNIUS: Zeus is the greatest god because h has the greatest power.  A mortal with the greatest power appoximates Zeus and is ahero. Force underliesit all.  This i not a Christian poem.
15:15ASTERIX FLAVIUS: >Torrey - thanx for the link.  Sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out later.
15:15ROBERTUSI MARIUS: Im not shure if the fighting took ten full years. Was there a war season like in mievil times?
15:15DIOPAN NESTOR: I think its just that the longer the war the harder it gets to get out
15:15 DAVID MARIUS: Torrey, I don't know that they have nothing. There is all that treasure that has been collected from ransomes.
15:16 TORREY PHILEMON: Yes, Asterix, and I'm interested in pursuing sources about where Helen really was...
15:16 BELAY FABIUS: gnaeus: Zeus was more like the arbiter unless provoked
15:16ASTERIX FLAVIUS: >gnaeus - certainly not a Christian poem, but then there's little reason for it to be.
15:17 BELAY FABIUS: Gnaues: why do you think Christianity has any resemblance here. these are different times
15:17 TORREY PHILEMON: Zeus seemed more like the Hamlet hero to me. His loyalties weren't clear...He sided with the Greeks but had some devotion to the Trojans...
15:17 DAVID MARIUS: On commerce, are you just reading it or are you basing your conclusions from evidence in the poem.
15:18 BELAY FABIUS: Torrey: nice way to describe Zeus
15:18ASTERIX FLAVIUS: >Torrey - he has sons on both sides
15:18 TORREY PHILEMON: True, David, they collected treasures, but if they didn't fully defeat Troy, it was hard to justify all that was lost in the process.
15:18 flavius Horatius exits...
15:18RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I think Zeus does recognize that Troy is being destroyed for reasons that are often unjustice, the petty hate of gods, the  acts of Paris in regard to Helen
15:19ROBERTUSI MARIUS: One of the most interesting thing about the Iliad is the relationship between Zeus and Hera. This poem was not written in a society that valued women much.
15:19ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Also, Hamlet's loyalties were clear to the reader.  It just took him forever to act on them.
15:19 TORREY PHILEMON: Good point, Asterix. Sons on both sides could contribute to ambivalence!
15:19 BELAY FABIUS: David: we can not see from the poetry of Iliad that commerce has much to do with it but this is the poetry part. But other serious works including the excavations lead to that conclusion about the core cause of the war
15:20 TORREY PHILEMON: Amen, Robertus. Women are treated entirely like possessions...
15:20 TORREY PHILEMON: I also think that the Iliad appeals much more to men than women...and it's my guess that most of you here are male!
15:20SHAQUILAT SERGIUS: True, Robertus. It would not be good to be a woman  in bronze age Greece.
15:20 DAVID MARIUS: Yes, but notice that they are several ways that indicate that women allways get what they want.
15:21 BELAY FABIUS: Torrey: I think the greek concept and role of women are much better than most other societies until recently. Look at the role of the Female Gods
15:21 TORREY PHILEMON: Yeah, I'm not so convinced that the women were getting what they wanted!
15:21ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Hector and Andromache have about the healthiest relationship [at least, according to present-day standards], but Hector knows what will happen when [not if] Troy loses.  Also with Astynyax.
15:22GNAEUS JUNIUS: My point is that force and powr establish the auhority of Zeus, Agaemnon and Achilles.  Not morally responsible behaviour.
15:22 DAVID MARIUS: Belay, this may need to continue off-line but what excavations would show (much less prove that)
15:22 TORREY PHILEMON: True, the female gods do have power...Interesting that the Greeks perceived them that way, when their own women didn't have so much power...
15:22 BELAY FABIUS: How can anyone get what they wanted unless they are in a positoin of absolute who can overrule other's will and need
15:22RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Athena is a more powerful goddess then Ares.
15:23 TORREY PHILEMON: Yes, Hector and Andromache's relationship is touchingly portrayed...
15:23ROBERTUSI MARIUS: You're right David. Women are dipicted as schemeing or totally loyal. The only exceptions are the Goddesses. They could be a remnant of a Matriarchal society that was displaced by the Mycenians. I'm thinking of Crete in particular.
15:23ASTERIX FLAVIUS<: What abou the issue of personal responsibility in Homer?  The gods seem to relieve humans of that nagging problem. [The devil made me do it defense]
15:24 BELAY FABIUS: David: I think we have to open a chat room to ourselves one day and fight it out ...*smiles*
15:24RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Yes, the even help with  killing.
15:24SHAQUILAT SERGIUS: Richardex, Athena was more powerful than Ares because she was smarter.
15:24ROBERTUSI MARIUS: Count me in Belay
15:25RICARDEX CORNELIUS: True, Ares was not a very bright guy by nature.'
15:25ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Interesting to compare and contrast Andromache and Penelope and Helen
15:25 BELAY FABIUS: Shaquilat: also because greeks especially Athenian think so of some talented women :
15:25RICARDEX CORNELIUS: You guys can fight in here some day, just seel tickets so I get income (-:
15:26 TORREY PHILEMON: I'm just laughing to myself in regard to what the Greeks and Greek gods would have though of the Clinton/Monica melodrama....Yet even today moral responsibility may be an empty cloak hiding power motives...
15:26 BELAY FABIUS: Robertus: you are in as far as I am concerned. Shall we call it battle of the Knights of Homer? :)
15:26RICARDEX CORNELIUS: A note: Upper clas Spartan women had great wealth and more status then liberal Athens many claim, so.
15:26SHAQUILAT SERGIUS: Belay, I don't know what you mean. (I'm not a Greek scholar)
15:27 BELAY FABIUS: Torrey: I think Clinton is imitating Zesu but clinton has no power
15:27 TORREY PHILEMON: Asterix, it seems to me that sometimes the Greeks blame the gods and sometimes they take responsibility. Neither Achilles or Agamemnon blamed the gods for their actions in regard to Chryseis and how they handled their anger.
15:28ROBERTUSI MARIUS: Ricardex is that classical Sparta or Mycenian. They seem to be very different places. ...Good name Belay!
15:28SHAQUILAT SERGIUS: Andromache, Penelope, and Helen all have passive rolex vis a vis the men in their lives.
15:28 Moira Cumhaill enters...
15:29 Ricardex Cornelius enters...
15:29 TORREY PHILEMON: Most women in Greek myths have passive roles...unless they're potrayed as monstrous Medusas and Medeas...
15:29 DAVID MARIUS: Yes, but I think there is a place where Agamennon questions Zeus who had nodded his head when the sacrifices were made before the expedition started
15:29ROBERTUSI MARIUS: I don't know how passive Penelope was. She showed as much gile as Odysseus in her dealings with the sutors.
15:30ASTERIX FLAVIUS: Ah, must go.  It's been fun.  Penelope wasn't all that passive, just quiet but strong.
15:30 Asterix Flavius exits...
15:31RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Waht did people think of th efinal chapthers Patroclus to the return of Hector's body, did the stroy flow well?
15:32 TORREY PHILEMON: I didn't have trouble with the ending, Ricardex. Why did you think it was anticlimactic?
15:33RICARDEX CORNELIUS: The batle between Hector/Achilles know and was not verydramatic or detailed, the games were more detailed.
15:33 DAVID MARIUS: On a historical basis (and without checking) could this action be the result of the "sea people" pressing on the Mycenean states and pushing them out. Eventually settlers will go to Cyprus and Palestine.
15:33RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I just hoped for a grand fight scene with some excitement.
15:34RICARDEX CORNELIUS: The battle scens between soome characters was more detailed and held you, we know Hector is toast,but was the fight over quick or what?
15:34 TORREY PHILEMON: We all experience what we read according to our own interests. For me, the Iliad was about the transformation of Achilles' rage, and the meeting with Priam was the turning point...not the killing of Hector. Hector's death was the external climax; the meeting with Priam the internal one.
15:34ROBERTUSI MARIUS: The problem with the ending of the Iliad is that there is none. The actual story continues on with the death of Achilles, the Horse, Loocoon, the sack and the return. The story if the Trojan war is exponentially bigger than the Iliad.
15:35 DAVID MARIUS: Yes, the fight was something of a let down but you knew the fix was in so?
15:35GNAEUS JUNIUS: O the contrary Agamemnon does  assert that Zeus was responsible for filling him wih the rage which md him take Briseis.
15:35RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Modern llit woul dhave had more drama in the scene.
15:36 TORREY PHILEMON: Again, the book was about ACHILLES' RAGE and the Trojan war was the stage. The Iliad was not focused on telling the whole war story, but on telling an episode in Achilles' life during the war...
15:36ROBERTUSI MARIUS: David I believe the Myceneans are the sea people.
15:37 TORREY PHILEMON: Yes, gnaeus, sometimes the heros take personal responsibility and sometimes they blame the gods! The gods are an easy excuse when they can't own their actions.
15:38 DAVID MARIUS: On ending, that is why the subtitle on the rage of Achilles. If that is what the story is about that story is finished. And we are told enough so we know the rest. Death of Achilles, destruction of Troy etc. All set out by fate......
15:38ROBERTUSI MARIUS: Torrey is right. The story in it's final form was written down at the beginning of the classical period.
15:39 TORREY PHILEMON: Somewhere I read that Achilles didn't want to fight from the very beginning. That he hid out in woman's clothes so as not to have to go to war. Was this Thetis' doing? Anyone know the source?
15:40 DAVID MARIUS: RobertusI, I don't think that the sea people are any one group (part of the problem of identifying them) As they swept over the Mediterranean world they picked up many others.
15:41 TORREY PHILEMON: Back to your comment Ricardex, I'm now agreeing with you that there could have been more drama in the Priam/Achilles scene. If it's such an important turning point, it could have been portrayed more powerfully.
15:41RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I saw that story in the iliad.
15:41ROBERTUSI MARIUS: Achilles was reluctant to fight because he knew he would die at troy. This reluctance is also evident in Odyseus hiding from the Mycenean Envoys.
15:43ROBERTUSI MARIUS: All of the connecting stories are assumed by Homer to be known by the listener. Epic poetry was the TV of it's day.
15:44RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Yes. It was the soap opera of the day, for sure.
15:44ROBERTUSI MARIUS: David we should get together and discuss the sea peoples some time.
15:45GNAEUS JUNIUS: The meeting of Achilles and Piam was staged by Zeus and Hermes.  It represents their power o control the destnies of men.
15:45 DAVID MARIUS: RobertusI, but as Fagles points out in his notes, at times Homer added his own touch (at least as we know the stories that have survived).
15:45RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Priam had great courage to go there.
15:46 TORREY PHILEMON: Was it typical of warfare at the time that when the commander wasn't fighting - because of injury or refusal...that all his troops likewise withdraw from battle? It seemed strange to me that so many men didn't fight simply because their leader didn't. They didn't join other battalions temporarily...
15:46ROBERTUSI MARIUS: I have to log off. I'll catch the rest in the transcript.
15:47 DAVID MARIUS: But notice that both Achilles and Priam were given their instructions from the Gods. Presumably they could say NO. But at what cost?
15:47 RobertusI Marius exits...
15:47GNAEUS JUNIUS: To think of the gods as an easy excuse is a ,modern view which disregads the belief of the Greeks in the power of the gods.
15:47RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Well, in some ways, warfare was around the leader, not the nation. Grece as we understand it was not a clearconcept to the people then. Nation states, yeild to cities.
15:47 TORREY PHILEMON: I also wonder how long Achilles was out of action...Several weeks? Several months? And what did he and his men do in the meantime? Swim and play the lyre? I'm surprised civil war didnt' break out in Achilles' battalion.
15:49 DAVID MARIUS: Torrey, I think you have to see that each group saw their "nationality' as their city-state. There was no loyalty to the group.u
15:49 TORREY PHILEMON: Interesting, David. The loyalty was to the small group not the large...
15:51 DAVID MARIUS: They spent much of their time according to the Iliad fighting amongst themselves (pre Trojan War) as the Greek States were to do several hundred years later. It is our concept to put them all together in one package.
15:51 TORREY PHILEMON: Are we winding down? Do we have an official ending time? It's almost 4.
15:52 DAVID MARIUS: Yes, we should probably move on to Wednesday is it
15:53RICARDEX CORNELIUS: We will end in 7 minutes. And thanks for coming.
15:53RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Yes, please post on board and suggestions for WED.
15:53RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I want to say on a realpewrsonal level how much this group and his works is enjoyed by me.
15:54 TORREY PHILEMON: This has been very stimulating, and quite substantial for a chat. I appreciate everyone's input. Wonder how many of the same people will be here Wednesday...
15:54DIOPAN NESTOR: It's been most interesting...thanks...see you all on  Wed.
15:54 DAVID MARIUS: I plan to be.
15:55RICARDEX CORNELIUS: thanks all of you.
15:55 TORREY PHILEMON: Where will this transcript be available? Just here in the chat room? Or via a link from FB?
15:55 DIOPAN NESTOR: good night
15:55RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I wil ask some one to make a transcript.
15:56RICARDEX CORNELIUS: Hopefully that wil occur.
15:56 DAVID MARIUS: Do you have any count on the number who were here.
15:56RICARDEX CORNELIUS: I count a near 12.
15:57 TORREY PHILEMON: I wrote down 9 names of people who posted...maybe there were more.
15:57 diopan Nestor exits...
15:58 flavius Horatius exits...
15:58GNAEUS JUNIUS: Goodbye for now.
15:59 Ricardex Cornelius exits...
15:59 DAVID MARIUS: Goodbye all, see most of you Wednesday!
16:00 TORREY PHILEMON: Well thankyou to all. This is probably the most intelligent chat I've attended...now time for pizza!
16:00 David Marius exits...

End of chat.

Second Iliad Chat Wednesday September 16 Transcript HERE
Third Iliad Chat Sunday September 20 Transcript HERE
Greek language and terminology in the Iliad
Greek language links
Ricardex Cornelius is Librarian of FB and moderator of the chat.
Torrey Philemon (Tracy Marks) posted this transcript.
More ancient Greek literature and mythology linksHERE! !

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