Reading Questions: Knox, Intro to the Iliad, pt. 1; Iliad I NB: Epithet help for reading the Iliad. Argives, Danaans, Achaians are all names for the Greeks in general Atreides/Atreidai(pl.) = the son of Atreus/the sons of Atreus i.e. Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus, two of the most important leaders of the expedition to Troy Kronion (I.405) = the son of Kronos, i.e. Zeus Phoibos, a very common epithet of Apollo meaning ?radiant/splendid? 1. What are some of the hypotheses that have been proposed over the last several centuries to explain the composition of the Homeric epics? How was Parry?s contribution important? What are the limitations of his ideas? 2. How does the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon begin? Who seems to be ?in the right?? How do Nestor and then Athena act (or try to act) as mediators? How successful are they? 3. What kind of system do these warriors have in place for determining honor? What are its strengths and weaknesses? How do the events of book I point up its limitations? 4. What roles do divine beings play here? Note the distinction between the ?heavenly? (?Uranian?, line 570) gods of Olympus and others, like Achilles? mother (a minor sea deity) and the monstrous hundred-handed Briareus. Why does Apollo heed the prayers of the priest? How does Achilles? prayer to his mother (and the results of it) echo the prayer of the priest at the beginning of the book? Why this parallel? 5. What role does ritual play in the book? Note the use of the scepter when speaking, the importance of the seer Kalchas, the form of the prayers of Chryses and Achilles, the purification rites after the plague, the description of sacrifice. What practical purpose do rituals seem to have here? 6. Note how force and the threat of violence pervade the poem. How is force balanced with self-control, and what does this say about the warrior culture being depicted?
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