Homer's Honor Culture Essay

1423 words - 6 pages

Honor or having an honor culture is a hallmark trait of many cultures both ancient and modern. While many would go to Homer’s The Iliad for clear indications of honor culture within Ancient Greek culture, The Odyssey also provides clear indications of an honor culture. Before honor culture within The Odyssey can be explored, honor and honor culture must first be defined. The most common and relatable explanation for honor culture in our modern day world is a prevailing culture in the southern United States of America especially within the Appalachian communities. This culture and the Ancient Greek culture share simple hallmarks. Honor culture is about neither committing transgressions against another, nor tolerating them when they are done to you. It is about the value of your “good name” and reputation for being honorable. This means that slights not only against you but against your name are taken very seriously. These things are generally held throughout all cultures of honor. Some of the specifics of honor are defined by each individual culture; these specifics along with the general state of an honor culture are shown in three events within The Odyssey. The culture of honor is shown in through Odysseus in his encounter with the Cyclops, the exchange with the Phaeacian man at the games, and in the slaughter of the suitors.
One of the clearest points of honor and honor culture within The Odyssey is found in the encounter of Odysseus and the Cyclops. While the punishment that Poseidon rains down on Odysseus may be seen to stem from his arrogance in announcing his name to the Cyclops on his escape, “I called back with another burst of anger ‘Cyclops-/ if any man on the face of the earth should ask you/ who blinded you, shamed you so- say Odysseus,/ raider of cities, he gouged out your eye,/ Laertes’ son who makes his home in Ithaca!’” (Homer, Fagles, & MacGregor, 1997 p. 227 line 558-562). However, this is a simplification of the transgression that Odysseus has made. The beginning of his transgression is in his hiding his name from the Cyclops and in not facing him head on but through trickery. There is a clear violation of honor in both of these things and in his choice to be arrogant upon escape. If your name is held as something almost sacred, then to give a false name is a transgression against the honor code and against your own name. It is also a transgression against the honor of the person that you lie to as it is almost as though you do not see them as worthy to know your real name. While it is his arrogance that allows the Cyclops to pray to Poseidon and ask for him to be punished, it is in fact his transgression against the honor of the Cyclops that makes him worthy of punishment. Often we believe that it is shouting his name that causes the punishment, it however simply enables the punishment to be sought while not being the exact thing which he is being punished for. This is not the only place in The Odyssey that the honor...

Find Another Essay On Homer's Honor Culture

Greek Society as Told by The Iliad

1364 words - 5 pages down the wrath of Apollo on the Achaean soldiers in the beginning of the Iliad. I believe that Edwards is correct in suggesting that the Iliad does show that proper behavior was an important value to the ancient Greeks.Edwards makes it obvious that the most important value that describes ancient Greek culture is honor. Edward alludes to the fact that honor is the cornerstone on which the Iliad and the entire ancient Greek society are built upon. All

Beowulf and the Homeric Heroes Essay

1362 words - 5 pages have to consider the time element of both scenarios. Take in mind that during Homer's time, the culture and the practices were different from that of Beowulf's time. Where woman were once trophies, they now are hailed as objects of divine beauty. Back then strength and power were measured by the number of woman one possessed, now in Beowulf's time of chivalry and valor, to treat a woman as a possession would be disgraceful. Such differences occur

the iliad

740 words - 3 pages and steals the beautiful wife of Menelaus, Helen. This instigates the fighting again. Throughout The Iliad, Homer tells of two heroes', both similar, but also very different in their character; the great and powerful Greek, Achilles, and the strong, loving father, Prince Hector of Troy, and amongst the story, many insight of Greek culture is revealed.In Homer's The Iliad, Hector and Achilles differ as heroes in regards to pride, duty, and family

The Greeks and The Illiad

2189 words - 9 pages virtues. Therefore one can distinctly make the connection between the Danaan's society and culture to Homer's story, the Iliad. All is due in hopes that one could become interested in the Greek's and their mythology. Although the Iliad is a fictional tale, it provides much insight to the way they lived their lives in peace and at war, however mostly war.

"The Iliad" by Homer book review

1535 words - 6 pages something along the lines of: 'Relent, before I choke you with my irresistible hands!' It's worth reading just for that.Homer's Iliad portrays complex people, from a culture where individual glory is coveted beyond any other thing, in a hellish situation. Homer's observations on human nature are shrewd and to a modern reader may appeal more than the heroic aspects of the poem. The Iliad is violent and dark and not for the light hearted. Homer

Differences in Death

1640 words - 7 pages centuries after Homer, he still incorporates some of the same values such as the importance of burying the deceased. Furthermore, the differences in views of the Underworld exemplify the accepted values of each culture. The Greeks abided by the martial code, valued fighting, and focused on gaining individual timé (honor) and kleos (glory), whereas the Romans valued pietas (devotion or loyalty to family, country, and gods). Additionally, the Greeks

Hector as the True Hero of Homer’s Iliad

2416 words - 10 pages Hector is the True Hero of Iliad        In today's society, a man's mind is his most important tool. In the past, however, a man's courage and strength is all that he had to keep him alive. In Homer's Iliad, courage is valued over honesty and even faithfulness to one's wife. If a hero is the most courageous man in the bunch, then Hector is more heroic than Achilles and King of the Myrmidons. Hector is the true hero of Homer's Iliad

What events show Odysseus as an epic hero and what traits of an epic hero do they detail?

697 words - 3 pages ingenious action go unrecognized, he dooms himself and his crew.Odysseus' wisdom and courage enable him to be a brave hero and a strong ruler, both traits of superiority in his society. Being mortal binds him to occasional mistakes that he compensates for by becoming wiser and stronger. His extraordinary abilities are heralded by the gods. Upon his return to Ithaca, Odysseus ingeniously kills the rude and wasteful suitors and reclaims his title of king. In reconciliation and honor, he finally makes a sacrifice to Poseidon. Odysseus is the epitome of a hero of his culture.

Interpreting the Actions of th

1637 words - 7 pages much as it was a war between the Trojans and the Achaians. The Iliad hardly represents the world as Homer's audience knew it. Gods are frequently coming down to the battlefield to aid in the fighting and thus the heroes perform deeds no normal man could ever accomplish. When reading Homer's Iliad you have to realize that the gods never were really there but are merely used for an easy explanation to the strange happenings of war. We can't

The Journey of Odysseus - The essey contains: the time, the place and short description of events in the film

2486 words - 10 pages The film "Odyssey" or, as it is also known as "Die Abenteuer des Odysseus", "Homer's Odyssey", "Odissea",, was directed by Andrei Konchalovsky on the bases of Homer's classic epic poem "The Odyssey" and launched in 1997. The plot consists of three main episodes: The Trojan War (which is dismissed quickly since it is the subject of Homer's other great work "The Iliad"), the journey of Odysseus (Armand Assante) and his crew, and Odysseus' return


1281 words - 5 pages . For ancient Greeks, they built a healing sanctuary to honor Asclepius in the city of Epidora. This cites became the first Hospital in the western civilization. Those who seek would come to the sanctuary and offer offerings like sweet cakes and placing them in the altar. During the night, they would fall asleep in the sanctuary and experience god induced dreams. In this hypnosis like state, the god Asclepius would said to appear in their dreams

Similar Essays

Discusses The Characteristics Of The Ancient Hero, Defines The Specific Features Of The Epic Genre

1180 words - 5 pages person of divine ancestry who has courage, strength and is celebrated by both the gods and people. Ancient Greek heroes characterize traits of strength, ability, resourcefulness, honor and pride. Homer's heroic characters portray these characteristics by facing many challenges through out the poems. Heroes in ancient times where important because they where the first mortal humans portrayed in stories. Homer's poems show change in the central theme of

Title: Homer And The Iliad Task: Write A Report On The Significance Of Homer And The Iliad To Ancient Greece And To Western Culture

604 words - 2 pages Homer and the Iliad had great value and significance to ancient Greece and to Western culture.Ionia, where Homer is believed to have lived, is in the Eastern Mediterranean, where eastern and western cultures met. This would explain how Homer's literature was widely spread across to Western culture. The exact dates of Homer's life are unknown, but it is thought that he lived during the 8th and 9th century B.C. According to legend, Homer was blind

The Pursuit Of Honor In Homer’s Iliad

1883 words - 8 pages learned to be valiant...winning for my own self great glory and for my father." (VI 441-45) The need to attain human immortality is so imbedded in Hektor's psyche, that even the knowledge that his actions will leave his son an orphan and his wife a widow, is unable to convince him to relinquish his quest for everlasting honor and glory. This is the society in which Homer's protagonist, Achilleus, is born, raised and lives. It is therefore no

Achilles Vs Odysseus Essay

3891 words - 16 pages more continuous through time. Nevertheless, both of Homer's heroes embody important and admirable facets of ancient Greek culture, though they fracture in the ways they are represented. Odysseus is a peculiar mix of both heroic and intelligent qualities that make him seem both human and supernatural. The Odysseus portrayed in the Iliad somewhat contrasts the Odysseus we see in the Odyssey. For the purposes of the former, he is