Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review of Greek Myths Vol II by Robert Graves Part 6.6

General Information:

Name of Book: The Greek Myths 2

ISBN: 0-14-001027-0

Publisher: Penguin

Year it was published: 1955

Overall theme:

"My method has been to assemble in harmonious narrative all the scattered elements of each myth, supported by little-known variants which may help to determine the meaning, and to answer all questions that arise, as best I can, in anthropological or historical terms. " (Vol. I 22)

160. The First Gathering at Aulis

Issue:

Paris didn't expect any consequences when he abducted Helen, but he was wrong. Agamemnon reminds men of Greece of their promise and they try to get Helen back, including Odysseus, whose background is given along with him becoming married to Penelope and how he coerced her into coming to Ithaca. Due to a prophecy, Odysseus pretends to be mad, but is quickly found out and is forced to go to Troy. King Cinyras of Cyprus gets killed for either incest or lying to Agamemnon. Achilles also joins in. Background information about Achilles is given as well as about Neoptolomus and how he was tricked and promised to lead Myrmidons to Troy and a variation is presented. Patroclus and background about him is also told. Crete also joins in with Greeks to war on Troy. Descriptions of Nestor, Great Ajax, Little Ajax, Diomedes, and Tlepolemus are given, followed by them receiving supplies. Background of Anius is given as well as well as how he tried to prevent his daughters' being kidnapped, but in the end couldn't and how they became doves. Signs are given as well about the favor after ten years. Story is also told of how when they sailed, they were mistaken about the country they were supposed to ravage. Although first time was a failure, somehow they gained a pilot, Telephus, and he guided them to Troy.

161. The Second Gathering at Aulis

Issue:

A story about Leucippe, Thenoe and Calchas begins, that of Thenoe being kidnapped and her sister Leucippe trying to rescue her, but there was a gender confusion going on. Eventually all three found out who they were and went home. Calchas knows the prophecy and is told to join the Greeks and even swears a friendship oath with Achilles. Calchas makes a prophecy that in order to sail, Agamemnon must sacrifice his daughter Iphigeneia to Artemis for one wrong or another, which he does on the pretext that she will be marrying Achilles, although its unknown whether or not she becomes spared. Their travels are briefly detailed. A story and background of Cycnus is given. There also was a prophecy that if Achilles kills Apollo, then he must die by Apollo's hand, which is what happens. Another warrior Philoctetes gets wounded and is put in the district of Lemnos. Different accounts are given as to why Philoctetes suffered the fate.

162. Nine Years of War

Issue:

There is an attempt at sending over the envoys to get Helen back, but the Trojans refuse to give her back. The war begins with throwing of the stones and killing of Protesilaus. Brief history of Protesilaus's is given along with description of his burial place. No matter the circumstance, his wife, Laodameia made a statue of him and eventually committed suicide. Another version of the story is given. The fate of Poseidon's son, Cycnus, is revealed and that he is killed b Achilles. The Greeks then began to lay siege to Troy. Achilles has fallen in love with Troilus and somehow killed him, either spearing him or or through making love. Other versions are given. Briseis, the woman Troilus loved, eventually transfered her affections on Diomedes the Argive. Lycaon also met his end through Achilles twelve days after he was ransomed. Aeneas, due to Zeus's assistance escapes the place of refuge away from Achilles. Aeneas's background and being favored by gods is revealed. Achilles has also captured numerous cities as well as various booty, including another Briseis. Ajax also captured Polydorus and made princess Tecmessa his concubine. The fighting continues and stretches to the tenth year. There is also an episode of Odysseus not being able to find corn, while Palamedes is able to find corn. Due to the insult Odysseus suffered, he creates an elaborate plot where Palamedes ends up being stoned as well as Court-Martialled on false charges against treacheries. Other versions are given. Nauplius, father of Palamedes, got his revenge through telling the women in Greece that their men will bring back Trojan women.

163. The Wrath of Achilles

Issue:

During the winter of the tenth year, Achilles falls in love with Polyxena and demands to know conditions for which he can marry her and is told that when he betrays the Greeks then he can have her. It ends up that Agamemnon loses Chryseis in order to appease the god Apollo, and in order to keep him placated, Achilles has to give up Briseis and refuses to help the Greeks. Due to that issue, Trojans finally gained some hope, and there was even a duel between Menelaus and Paris for Helen, which proved unsatisfactory because Aphrodite protected him from harm. Ajax and Hector also fight but unsuccessfully and there is an exchange of gifts between them which will be used for their deaths. When there was a temporary peace, the Greeks neglected to appease the Trojan deities and there were more losses. Agamemnon tries to get Achilles to fight again, but its not successful, and Achilles plans on sailing back home. Odysseus and few others try to make a certain prophecy come true by killing a king and taking the horses back with them. The Trojans almost won, but weren't successful due to gods' interventions and Hector almost died. When the boats were on fire, Patroclus shone and chased the Trojans back to their city. Due to Apollo's intervention, Hector kills Patroclus. Menelaus kills Euphorbus and Achilles becomes upset at Patroclus's death. After making peace with Agamemnon who gave him back Briseis, Achilles then begins to attack Trojans who become frightened of him. Achilles kills Hector and ignores Hector's wishes by dragging him around and not letting anyone have him back to be buried. Eventually Achilles gives back Hector's body and they to try to come to some sort of peace between them unsuccessfully. Hector ends up being buried at Boeotian Thebes.

164. The Death of Achilles

Issue:

Penthesileia, sister of Hippolyte that was taken by Theseus, fought for Greeks and seemed to be matched in strength to Achilles. Achilles fell in love with her and eventually killed her. The body was buried and Achilles was purified from its death. Priam's half brother's son founds a city called Susa. There is an attempt to support the Greeks but then they decide to settle somewhere else. Nestor's son perishes. Trojans almost succeed once more by burning ships. Achilles kills Memnon and other versions are given. Apollo and Poseidon united together and killed Achilles by using Paris's bow to shoot an arrow through the heel and another version of the story is given. Honors bestowed upon Achilles are also mentioned, along with how his funeral was conducted. Apparently before his death, he also "married" Helen, him being her fifth husband.

165. The Madness of Ajax

Issue:

Through different versions, Ajax hoped to win Achilles's armor, but instead Odysseus won it. Although Ajax plans revenge on those who wronged him, Athene causes him to be mad where Ajax slaughters beasts. After the madness becomes lifted, Ajax becomes determined to seek death. He tries to kill himself, but unsuccessfully. They try to confine Ajax to the tent, but he killed himself and eventually was given funeral rites. Another version of his death as well as afterlife and what happened afterwards is presented.

166. The Oracles of Troy

Issue:

Because the Greeks despaired, Calchas made a prophecy that they must get Heracles's bow and arrows to get Troy. Brief history of Philoctetes is presented, with Odysseus and Diomedes getting Heracles's bow and arrows. The god Heracles encourages Philoctetes to sail towards Troy and win glory for himself as well as Achilles's son. Philoctetes was also healed from the wound. Philoctetes kills Paris, and Paris's mistress, Oenone the nymph refuses to heal him and then kills herself. Deiphobus marries Helen by force, and Helenus goes with Arisbe to live on Mount Ida. Helenus gets waylaid by Odysseus and on the condition that he gets a safe place, reveals to them the oracles of Troy and how to make it fall. The Greeks do their best to fulfill the oracles. The surgeon that healed Philoctetes gets killed by Eurypylus. Dissensions happen between Priam's sons that the Trojans almost gave up to Agamemnon. Odysseus tricks Helen into revealing Trojan plans and Helen tells him she's a prisoner and wants to go home. Both Diomedes and Odysseus steal the Palladium. There is also mention of whether or not Palladium was real.

167. The Wooden Horse

Issue:

Athene inspired the idea of wooden horse, which was built, and that Odysseus, afterwards, claimed all the credit for it. History of the builder, Epeius, is presented. The horse is built and the warriors go inside. The plan begins with Greeks sailing away and Sinon agreeing to light a signal beacon for the return. Priam and others find the horse and against Cassandra and Laocoon, decide to bring it inside the walls of Troy. Then they see Sinon and hear the lies of how Odysseus tried to sacrifice him to go back home to Greece. Priam begins to believe Sinon and brings the horse inside Troy. Brief history of Laocoon is given, especially how he angered Apollo. Just as Laocoon begins to make preparations, Apollo sends two serpents to kill him and his family, which they do. Priam really becomes convinced that Sinon was telling the truth, thus the horse is brought in and they begin to celebrate victory. Odysseus does his best to restrain the warriors from bursting forth from the horse. The signal is given and the Greeks begin their assault and attack on Trojans.

168. The Sack of Troy

Issue:

Odysseus's men, despite the promises that they won't hurt bystanders, happen to hurt innocent citizens. Helen's fourth husband, Deiphobus, gets killed, although its uncertain as to who kills him. Various fates are told of personages, such as Antenor's followers becoming Venetians, legends of Aeneas and his fate are also retold, Laodice becoming swallowed by the earth, fates of Acamas and Demophon is also told as well as that of Cassandra and Little Ajax, the land of Opuntian Locris, of Hector's wife and infant son, Polyxena who got sacrificed to Achilles, another son of Priam named Polydorus also comes into the story as well as an alternative version of what happened, and Hecabe's fate. Although some people live in Troy, it never rose to greatness again.

169. The Returns

Issue:

Menelaus and Agamemnon argue about whether or not to sacrifice to Athene and they part, where Agamemnon enjoys a good voyage while Menelaus gets lost in Egypt and after an adventure gets home. Nauplius gets killed, Calchas meets his match in Mopsus and dies, Podaleirius settling at Syrnos, then Mopsus and Amphilochus had a dispute and killed one another, Neoptolemus founds and city and lives with Andromache as well as marrying Hermione who proved barren and he trying to prevent a sacrifice of bulls gets killed, Demophon marries Phyllis from Thrace and while lying to Phyllis about his whereabouts became mad while she committed suicide, Diomedes being given two different versions of his life, Nauplius persuading Idomeneus's wife to cheat on her husband and then becoming murdered as well as Leucus planning to sacrifice a child but then being prevented from doing so while other Greeks reached home but found nothing but trouble. Its obvious what happened to Odysseus, and only Nestor returned home and enjoyed a long and happy life.

170. Odysseus's Wanderings

Issue:

Odysseus's various adventures are detailed such as the attempts to reach Ithaca against the gods' will, that of lotus eaters, the cyclopes, that of Aeolus the wind warden, the land of Laestrygones, the land of Aeaea ruled by Circe, visit to underworld, the sirens, the Scylla and Charybdis, kidnapping and eating Hyperion's cattle, ending up with Calypso for either five or seven year and finally meeting Nausicaa and going home at last.

171. Odysseus's Homecoming

Issue:

He is finally home and meets Athene who transforms him and sends him to Eumaeus. Background of Penelope waiting for Odysseus is given, that she is pursued by 120 princes. Telemachus returns home and reunites with his father and Odysseus goes back home, learns of the suitors and what kind of men they are, and eventually kills them all. He and Penelope reunited, although Odysseus is exiled once more for ten years, he begets more children, and is killed by his and Circe's son.

The End

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