Homer’s epic Iliad is viewed most often as a tale of the triumph of Greek forces against the foreign Trojan enemy. While many may think of it as an example of Greek victory at the hands of heroes like Achilles and Odysseus, it is also important to recognize it as a portrait of the unity and patriotism of the opposing society, the Trojans. Homer, a Greek, presents us with an abundance of information about the familial connections between the Trojan people as well as about the wealth and prosperity of their polis, making them appear to us as a united front against the invading Greeks, a community of socially sophisticated and profoundly connected people whose home is being threatened by an army of vengeful attackers.
This presentation will examine some of the language used by Homer to convey sympathy for the “enemy” in this story, especially in regard to his treatment of Hector. Contrary to Achilles, Hector is presented to us with a three-hundred-and-sixty degree view. We see him as a son of Troy, but also a son of Priam and Hecuba, brother to Paris, husband to Andromache, and father to Astyanax. We are privy to Hector’s dilemma in finding a balance between his polis and his family. Ultimately, it is this perspective on Hector and, by extension, the Trojans that causes readers to sympathize with them and see them not as the enemy, but as people.
Emily Vinci, ’10 Council Bluffs, IA
Majors: Classical Studies, English
Sponsor: John Gruber-Miller