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Notes on video lecture:
How Was the Iliad Poem Born?
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
slave, papyrus, 500, unremembered, recovery, literary, bat, Greece, Agememnon, Neoptolemus, Thucydides, backwater, Melos, victory, tragedies, outside, private, administrative, fixed, consequence, Palamedes, seven, generation, entire, sacrifice, forgotten, 10, modern, alive, forgotten, departed, sacked, Dark, 1200, infancy, grief, rest, Herodotus, Priam, Iliad, sixth, insubordinate, achievement, justified, literally, oral, arts, defeated, historical, not
the Iliad
product of an          tradition, as with the the Odyssey
composed over        years after the events they describe
most scholars believe there is some                      kernel that got preserved in the memory of the Greeks
was handed down from one                      to another
maybe the war didn't last      years
maybe it didn't involve the              Greek world
maybe Achilles was just an                            officer who caused a lot of trouble and went on a rampage
in any case, the event was sufficiently momentous and traumatic never to be                   
the Greeks who kept the memory of the war            were very different from the heroes of Homer's poem
Mycenaean sites and palaces began to be destroyed around          BC, about a generation after the fall of Troy
it is unclear way
there was a                  but it didn't last
it could be that the Mycenaean destruction was done mostly by the Dorians who invaded              from the north shortly after the Trojan War
Greeks that composed the poems
when the poems were being composed, Greece had become a cultural                   
a place of little                        to other parts of the world
the          had virtually died out
little evidence of communication with the                world
Linear B, a script that the Myceneeans used for                              purposes, was forgotten
these Greeks of the          Period, so to say, looked back on a former Greece which could send out a huge force to wage a war
"The Trojan War may have had the appeal of an event in which a people is indeed victorious but so exhausted itself in victory that this was its last                       ."
the story is shaped by this period of decline
had lost all its unity
today we may question the historicity of the Trojan War, but the Ancient Greeks did       
wrote history of Persian wars
wrote at history of the Peloponnesian War
saw the poems at their supreme                  achievement
studied and learned by heart
recited in public and               
we have more scraps of Homer preserved on                than we have from any other Greek writer
provided the Greeks with an image of the gods but were not religious texts as e.g. the Old Testament texts were for other cultures
first written down in Athens around the middle of the            century BCE
from then on the texts of both poems were essentially           
a number of surviving, and no doubt many lost Greek                   , were focused around the theme of the war
Aeschylus [Αἰσχύλος]
Oristia [Ὀρέστεια]
chronicles the fate of the warrior Ajax after the events of the           , but before the end of the Trojan War
Philoctetes [Φιλοκτήτης]
describes the attempt by                        and Odysseus to bring the disabled Philoctetes, the master archer, with them to Troy
one of the            tragedies of Sophocles to have survived in its complete form
takes place after the Trojan War, but before the Greeks have                  Troy (roughly the same time as The Trojan Women, another play by Euripides)
central figure is Hecuba, wife of King           , formerly Queen of the now-fallen city
depicts Hecuba's            over the death of her daughter Polyxena, and the revenge she takes for the murder of her youngest son Polydorus
Andromache [Ἀνδρομάχη]
dramatises Andromache's life as a           , years after the events of the Trojan War, and her conflict with her master's new wife, Hermione
1. Alexandros
the recognition of the Trojan prince Paris who had been abandoned in                by his parents and rediscovered in adulthood
2. Palamedes
Greek mistreatment of their fellow Greek                   
3. Trojan Women
the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been             , their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves
often considered a commentary on the capture of the Aegean island of            and the subsequent slaughter and subjugation of its populace by the Athenians earlier that year
the Greeks could never lay the Trojan War to         , as it raised deeply troubling questions about
warfare in general
the treatment of the                 
returned to questions Homer raised
how can such a war be                   ?
is the cost of military                worth it to the victors?
as Achilles asks: why do young men                    themselves in war?
it may not be in their mind when they set out for war, but once they see what war really means, that question is going to come up
Trojan War has been an inspiration for              Greek writers
Constantine P. Cavafy
Nikos Kazantzakis
Giorgos Seferis
poem: The King of Asini
in Book II of the Iliad there is a catalog of ships
contingents of ships that sailed to Troy under                   
1186 ships
50 men per ship
60,000 men in total
shouldn't be taken                   , of course
one contingent came from Asini
Homer said only of it "and Asini" which meant they were part of the war as well
about the search for someone, something long                   
"Shieldbearer, the sun climbed warring, and from the depths of the cave a startled        hit the light as an arrow hits a shield: ‘’Ασíνην τε. . .’Ασíνην τε. . .’. If only that could be the king of Asini we've been searching for so carefully on this acropolis sometimes touching with our fingers his touch upon the stones.
extends out from the Trojan War conquest
to all those who have laid down their lives and are                         


scholion, n. [σχόλιον] grammatical, critical, or explanatory comments which are inserted on the margin of the manuscript of an ancient author  "A Byzantine scholion to the play Andromache suggests that its first production was staged outside of Athens, though modern scholarship regards this claim as dubious."
venizelism, n. [Βενιζέλος] one of the major political movements in Greece from the 1900s until the mid-1970s, named after Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936), its key characteristics were opposition to the monarchy, alliance with western democratic countries, support of Greek nationalism, and emphasis on political, social and economical modernization, mixed economic policies, and an open economy  "Giorgos Seferis' father was a staunch Venizelist and a supporter of the demotic Greek language over the formal, official language (katharevousa)."


######################### (1900-1971)
[Γεώργιος Σεφεριάδης]
  • a Greek poet-diplomat, one of the most important Greek poets of the 20th century, and a Nobel laureate
  • he was a career diplomat in the Greek Foreign Service, culminating in his appointment as Ambassador to the UK, a post which he held from 1957 to 1962
  • his father was a staunch Venizelist and a supporter of the demotic [δημοτική] Greek language over katharevousa [Καθαρεύουσα], the formal, official language
  • 1914 family moved to Athens, 1918 to 1925, studied law at the Sorbonne
  • in 1922, his home town, Smyrna in Asia Minor, was taken by the Turkish Army after a two-year Greek military campaign on Anatolian soil, after which many Greeks, including Seferis' family, fled from Asia Minor, the sense of being an exile from his childhood home would inform much of Seferis' poetry, showing itself particularly in his interest in the story of Odysseus
  • in 1967, when the repressive nationalist, right-wing Regime of the Colonels took power in Greece, followed by two years marked by widespread censorship, political detentions and torture, Seferis took a stand against the regime by making a public statement that "This anomaly must end"
  • Seferis did not live to see the end of the junta, but he become a popular hero for his resistance to the regime

Spelling Corrections:

Background of the Trojan War
Was the Trojan War a Historical Event?
How Was the Iliad Poem Born?
The Homeric Question and the Trojan War
The Structure of the Iliad
Homer, the Heroic Code, and the Wastage of War
The Warrior's Experience of War