Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Review of Mythology by Edith Hamilton 4.7

General Information:

Name of Book: Mythology

ISBN: 9780316341516

Publisher: First Black Bay

Year it was published: 1942

Overall theme:

"The Greeks did not believe that the gods created the universe. It was the other way about: the universe created the gods. Before there were gods heaven and earth had been formed. They were the first parents. The Titans were their children, and the gods were their grandchildren." (24)

Part Four: The Heroes of the Trojan War

13. The Trojan War

Prologue: The Judgment of Paris

Observations: Eris created an apple called "For the Fairest" and tossed it into the crowd. Of course, all the goddesses desired it. They asked Zeus to decide but he refused and asked them to go to Paris, son of King Priam, so that he could decide. They bribed him with different gifts; Hera that he will become Lord of Europe and Asia, Pallas Athena that he will lay waste to Greece and Aphrodite that a fairest woman will be his. He decided to give the apple to Aphrodite.

The Trojan War

Observations: The fairest woman was Helen who was daughter of Leda and Zeus and had siblings in Castor and Pollux. Her father, Tyndareus, was afraid of choosing suitors and asked them all to swear an oath that they would all champion Helen's husband, which they did. Menelaus, brother of Agamemnon, was chosen and made King of Sparta. Aphrodite leads Paris to where Helen resides. Paris becomes their guest and then kidnaps Helen. Menelaus calls all to help and all but two show up; Odysseus and Achilles. Reluctantly they join the army and sail for Aulis. Strong winds come and Calchas tells them that a maiden, Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon, must be sacrificed to appease Artemis's anger. Agamemnon sacrificed her. They made it to Troy eventually where Protesilaus was first to die. Both Achilles and another of Priam's sons, Hector, knew they would die. For nine years they fought until a fight between Achilles and Agamemnon over Chryseis made Troy temporarily on winning side. Calchas asked them to give Chryseis back, which they had done, but Agamemnon, angered, asked for Briseis, Achilles's "prize". Thetis, worried about Achilles, asked Zeus to intervene on her behalf, which he did which caused a battle and that gave cause to Paris and Menelaus battling it out. Aphrodite saved Paris, causing Menelaus to be victor, but it didn't end in peace and the war continued. Ajax and Diomedes were heroes after Achilles, fought lots of Trojans, saw Ares and he was wounded and taken away. Hecuba attempted to cur favor with Athena but failed. Hector was married to Andromache and even had a boy named Astyanax. He told them goodbye, the boy afraid of helmet, and he went off fighting. Trojans won that day, and the Greeks sent back Briseis back to Achilles so he could fight. Achilles said no. Zeus planned on Trojans defeating Greeks but didn't work out because of Hera. Patroclus puts on Achilles's armor to give Greeks confidence but gets slain by Hector. Achilles joins in war and vows revenge. Achilles kills Hector, ignoring his last wish that his body should be given to his parents and drags him around. Zeus asks Priam to come and to collect Hector's body. Achilles gives back the body and for nine days Hector is mourned.

14. The Fall of Troy

Observations: Achilles died due to Paris's arrow injuring his heel. Odysseus won the armor of Achilles against Ajax, and Ajax became mad thanks to Athena and slaughtered sheep and animals and committed suicide. They captured a prophet who told them that victory wouldn't come until they got Bow and Arrow of Hercules. There was a part of Philoctetes being left in an uninhabited Island where women could have been in Quest for Golden Fleece. He was persuaded to return, wounded Paris who asked to be taken Oenone, the nymph he was with before Helen but she watched him die and killed herself. The Greeks stole Paladium and concluded that Trojans must be surprised in order to win the war. Odysseus devised the wooden horse. The Greeks pretended to give up, while Odysseus and others remained behind in belly of the horse. The Trojans fell for the ruse. Laocoon and his sons as well as Cassandra tried to warn of dangers but none listened. Poseidon crushed Laocoon and his two sons. Cassandra left for the palace before Sinus's appearance. Fighting at night begins and  Achilles son  killed Priam. Aphrodite helped Aeneas escape with his father and little boy, and brought Helen to Menelaus. Hector's son Astyanyx and his aunt Polyxena have died after the battle, sacrificed.

15. The Adventures of Odysseus 

Observations: The Greeks went crazy with victory and forgot to pay Athena and Poseidon for their help. They became violent towards another of Priam's daughters, Cassandra the Prophetess and Athena asked Poseidon for help. Misfortunes happened to the Chieftains, such as Menelaus ending up in Egypt, or the lesser Ajax drowning and so forth. Odysseus suffered for ten years. Men thought Odysseus was dead and became Penelope's suitors, refusing to leave her until she married one of them. Ten years later they were sorry for Odysseus and Athena told the gods of his fate so far. Athena visits Telemachus and encourages him to search for Odysseus. They visited Nestor who had no news, and he encouraged Telemachus to go to Menelaus who might have some. Menelaus told them the story of Proteus and that Odysseus is stuck with the nymph Calypso. Calypso gave him food along with a raft and until Poseidon spotted him and gave him big storms, Odysseus was on his way. He ended up in land of Phaeacians where King Alcinous and Queen Arete along with their daughter Nausicaa lived. Nausicca and some women went out to wash clothes, met Odysseus and invited him to come with them, which he did. Odysseus then begins to tell his tale and who he is the very next day. After the tale, he leaves and ends up in Ithaca at last where he is met by Athena and the two devise a plan. She turns him into a beggar. He stays with Eumaeus. Telemachus and he reunite, and Odysseus greets Argos although the dog dies before Odysseus could come up to him later. When Penelope asked nurse to bathe him, she recognized his foot and not a word reached to Penelope's ears. A bow contest followed, then Odysseus and Telemachus slaughtered all the suitors and Penelope and Odysseus finally reunited.

16. The Adventures of Aeneas

Part One: From Troy to Italy

Observations: Origins of Rome through Aeneas rescue and his attempts to find the homeland, visiting Andromache and Hellenus the prophet who told them their home lies farther and not to stop at an isle full of Greeks. They landed in Sicily which was filled with Cyclopes, escaped and a huge storm came out. Juno is behind the storm, and the ship was forced to land in Carthage, which Dido ruled. Venus caused Dido to fall in love, but Aeneas carried no more than sisterly feelings towards her. He stayed for a while with her, but Jupiter asked Mercury to come down and eventually Aeneas left Dido. When he left her, however, Dido killed herself.

Part Two: The Descent into the Lower World

Observations: They sought Sibyl out on what to do and she told them they must journey underworld with a golden bough to learn what they could from his father. Sibyl went with him to the underworld, they met up with Charon the boatman, saw Dido in Fields of Mourning which is a place where lovers commit suicide, met up with his father and saw his future descendants as well as hear about their deeds. Then finally they left for Italy.

Part Three: The War in Italy

Observations: They landed in Italy and met with Latinus who only had one daughter, Lavinia, that was forbidden to marry anyone who was not a foreigner. He told Aeneas' men that they could be friends. Juno sent Alecto to cause trouble and war. Everyone opposes the band of Trojans. Trojans got help from Evander. Nisus and Euryalus get involved, Evander sends his son Pallas to help, then Euryalus gets captured, Nisus tries to rescue him but is not successful and both die. Turnus and Aeneas do single combat and Turnus becomes slain. In the end Aeneas wins and marries Lavinia and they found the race of Romans.

To Be Continued...

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