Homer’s and Pericles’ Art: a Comparison

Homer’s and Pericles’ Art: a Comparison

            The ancient Greeks have many contributions to the modern world - Homer’s and Pericles’ Art: a Comparison introduction.  It is said that all areas of leanings have started from them. They have history, a political system, great philosophers and scientists whose contributions were still valid today. It is said that they were absolute and roughly everything that a society should professed was found in Greece. The Greeks appended many first in the world.

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            Moreover, the ancient Greeks admired nature. They liked to investigate and have a close looked at things. They were akin to experiencing or find explanations to things that brought them wonder and awe. The y conducts observations and experiments. Moreover, after conducting meaningful observations they tried to search their brains and find some logical and rational explanations why those things happened or occurred. After finding some explanations, they attempted to compare them or discussed them with other people or other philosophers. Scientific method, as some scientist argued, started from the ancient Greeks            The ancient Greeks admired natures and they have translated these admirations in a form of tangible and corporeal works. They built and experimented different kind of arts. They erected buildings and developed an organized form of writing. They have built boats, armors, pottery with scribbling and drawings on them. They honor their gods and goddesses by carving images of them and building temples and shrines for them.

Moreover, the ancient Greeks did not only observe the nature of the animals, the plants and the environment. Yet, they had also observed the nature of man. They were the first to investigate the private and internal self of an individual – the life, the desires and the role that one played in the society because the Greeks believed in the interconnectedness of things. They believed that the act of one person will surely affect another. So philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle tried to define the roles and the duty of an individual to the society.

             Although the ancient Greeks were considered the first philosophers, still, spirituality was not away in the life of the Greeks. The ancient Greeks were mystic and religious people. They attributed unexplainable things as the works of the gods and goddesses. They believed that these gods and goddesses were like them – with the exception of herculean and superhuman capabilities – who possessed the same human features, who eats, marries, and begets sons and daughters. Furthermore, the Greeks are fancied by their gods and goddesses that they had included them on their day to day living. One of the goals of each Greeks was to delight his god so that it would not be annoyed at him and bring him a lot of dooms. Wars, deaths and plagues are said to be the indications that a god or goddess was angry, so the Greeks tried their best to offer meaningful sacrifices to cease the wrath of the deity.

            Moreover, aside from being great philosophers and scientist, The Greeks were also great story tellers, orators, poets, scribes, chroniclers, and historians. Some of the descriptions mentioned above were some of the main theme that ancient Greeks wanted to write about. Some of those stories that remained today are revered as archetypal and classics. They were considered the origin of modern literature. The existence of many ancient theatres and Greeks proved that they love feasts and gatherings. During these feasts and gatherings some of the most eloquent orators and storytellers showed off their brilliance in delivering impromptu speeches or telling learned stories that were passed on from generations to generations. The Greeks were usually fond of hearing new twists to these stories.

            One of the most famous stories that the Greeks loved was the work of the epic poet -Homer. He is considered one of the greatest accomplished writers of all time. Although, many scholars still debated if Homer is really a real person or just a fictitious writer created through the evolutions and the ephemeral of the oral tradition from one generation to the other. Yet his works were very important in the life of the Greeks. The ancient Greeks considered the epics of Homer as the records of their glories and magnificence in battle and in life itself. Yet, if any one would start reading the Iliad, one might find it very ambiguous and very tautological. Many descriptions were repeated. One might find unnecessary details that were included but of no significant so this was the basis of the claim of some experts that the Iliad was not written by a sole person. Yet the epic of the story revolved around a few themes which included the revenge of Menelaus to Paris who stole her wife; the bitterness of Achilles to Agamemnon who stole him the spoils and the vengeance of Achilles to hector who killed Patroclus; and the over all victory of the Greeks against the Trojans.

.           Nonetheless, Homer was thought to have lived thirty scores after the Trojan wars and was said to have chronicled it reasonably even though his information were not first hand. Yet another general have also contributed his art to the Greek’s vault of rich poetry and have also said to witness a bitter war – the Peloponnesian war.  Pericles composed this funeral oration to honor his dead Athenian comrades in the Peloponnesian war. He started his orations calmly, with great vigor and solemnity that fitted the situation so well that every Athenian during that time would be compelled to listen, as what the historian and chronicler Thucydides had described. Pericles reviewed the greatness that was attained by Athens and praised their ancestors and fathers for fighting for peace and security of the land. He described that same vigor that was possessed by their ancestors which compelled their fallen comrades to pursue the battles. He comforted the bereaved Athenian family of the heroism that was done by their fallen soldiers. He stressed the strength and the bravery of their fallen comrades who did not turn their face against death rather faced in order to preserve the democracy of Athens. He also stressed that the work of the dead was now finished and the future of Athens now lie on the next generation. He further stresses that mourning for their dead will do them no good. Yet remembering their death as a gift to the liberty of the Athenian meant that they died not in shame but rather died joyously in protecting their country. He stated that these men possessed valor and honor. He further said that these men were honorable in deeds and in words, that sepulchers were not enough to contain their greatness. He enjoined every Athenians to continue their lives, to continue begetting children in order to safeguard the liberty of the state. He ended the speech with a vision that the noble task of the dead be continued by their kin.

            Nevertheless, even though some experts debated on the real existence of Homer.

. However, whether homer existed or did really never exist was not the point of debate. The Iliad’s magnificent storytelling techniques and styles was the center of attraction.  His lyrical and hexametric poetry was looked upon as a marvel. Yet Iliad talked about the involvement of the gods in the affairs of the human. The Iliad talked about on how the gods and goddesses possessed all human attributes and characteristics – who envy, got angry and favors a side in battle depending on the favor that a certain Greek city states gave them. However, Homer was described by some contemporaries as a person who dishonored the gods in his epic. Most of these critics pointed out that Homer was not on praising the god but in stead he used the god in order to meet his own ends, that is to better enrich his poetry.

            However, one of the similarities of Homer’s Iliad to Pericles’ funeral oration was that they both stressed the value of manliness. They both discussed the intrinsic qualities of bold and courageous Greek fighters who never turn away and flee from the heavy battles. The soldiers that were described by Pericles on his funeral oration somewhat described Homer’s characters such as Patroclus, who in his bravado and young age never feared death but rather wanted to prove something that every Achaean can be proud of. Patroclus wanted to avenge the heavy loses that they had experienced from the Trojans due to Achilles’ refusal of going to battle.  Pericles had described and stressed this savageness and the mercilessness that a warrior should possessed in times of battle which was intricately and clearly described by Homer in his epic. Yet Pericles in his speech wanted the audience to feel the hate and the pain that was felt by Achilles. He wanted that Athens rose up again and fight the Peloponnesian war to avenge the death of their comrades and fellow citizens just like Achilles who avenge the death of Patroclus. Furthermore, Pericles’ counsel to the women of not mourning too much on the death of their husband was embodied by Andromache when Hector said good bye to her. She wanted to forbid Hector from fighting the battle for she had a vision that Hector might be killed. Even though hector was a good family man and loved his son very much, yet he refused to budge away from the battlefield. He wanted to restore the peace and security for all the Trojans which was also the point of Pericles in his oration that he wanted the Athenian not to rest or cease from fighting those who oppressed them. Hector was a good example of a heroic protector of his nation who never turned away from battle but rather faced the mighty Achilles in a fight. He was a fine example of what Pericles described as an honorable warrior who never fled the battle yet rather accepted death and defeat just not be called a coward. Nevertheless, Andromache accepted the fate of Hector and took on the responsibility of taking care of their son, Astyanax. And this is a point comparable to the closing part of the funeral oration of Pericles wherein she invited every woman to be responsible to their sons and to continue to beget offspring that will took on -in the future- the unfinished business of their fathers. Yet Pericles was manifested by King Priam of Troy. King Priam begged Achilles to let him lay the last honor and rituals to his dead son before he went to the underworld. King Priam like Pericles wanted to pay tribute to the important acts of the dead which were clearly manifested in the funeral oration. The Greek as manifested in the epic, the Iliad was thought to place a large important to life on earth rather than the afterlife. Yet, they gave a lot of reverence to the gods. However, these acts of submisiion and service to the gods were done mainly by the Greeks to protect their material estates, to keep them away from plagues and sickness, to protect them from the swords and spears of war and other earthly wishes that a Greek might asked for. This was thought to be the reason why the funeral oration was not much addressed to the dead or the elaboration of the works of the dead but rather a challenge to the living to pursue the ideals of the dead.

            Yet, in the funeral oration Pericles commented that the Greeks in the future would not need the elations of Homer and this assertion clearly showed the message of Pericles to the Athenians. He wanted the Athenians not just to have won or had been victorious in the fields of arts or humanities wherein they create myths that praises them, but rather he wanted every Athenian to prove himself in words and in deeds. He persuaded the Athenian to overcome their adversaries and once again gather the pieces and build a happy state based on the ideals of their ancestors. He wanted that these acts be remembered forever by the world and this was very apparent in his words that a great man was not remembered through stone columns and inscriptions that have his name but rather these remembrances lies in the hearts of the people that he had done good. He further sated that even though no written accounts would ever mentioned them, yet their heroism will be learned by heart.  This is also true with Homer, that even though he had died a long time ago and some never really believed that he existed and his existence was still being debated by scholars today, yet due to his great work- Iliad- he is remembered.

Works Cited

Lattimore, R. (translator). The Iliad of Homer. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 2003.

Thucydides, and T.E. Wick. The Peloponnesian War. New York: Random House. 1982.


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