Homer's Historical Impact Of The Iliad

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Transcending almost 3000 years of time with its emotional resonance, integrity, and relevance to both the Ancient and Modern world, the Iliad is arguably one of the most outstanding poetic feats in the history of Western literature, praised explicitly throughout the ages by esteemed historians and scholars alike. Between its undeniable influence on Alexander the Great and it’s correlation to Rome, the Iliad certainly has a lot to say about the ancient world that so quickly embraced it’s epic tale of love and war.

Whilst the Iliad has had a varying impact on a large degree of historical figures throughout ancient history, perhaps one of the most significant is that of Alexander the Great, an ancient king of Macedon, largely regarded as one
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The Romans themselves, and later a Roman poet, Virgil, also stand among those notables in ancient history whom Homer’s epic had a significant historical impact on. Supposedly, after fleeing Troy at the end of the war, a Trojan by the name of Aeneas, who was briefly mentioned in the Iliad, went on to become a progenitor of Rome. This myth provided a basis to Roman mythology, and by extension introduced the founding myth of Romulus and Remus, meaning that the Romans eagerly adopted the Trojans as their ancestors by default. Whilst a vast number of people had contributed to the legend of Aeneas throughout history, it was Virgil who assembled the myth together in his very own epic, the Aeneid, which he modeled after both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Rome’s legendary history, essentially spawned from Homer, is a further testimony to the monumental significance of the Iliad throughout the ancient …show more content…
The Iliad is exceptionally powerful as it addresses post-conflict destruction, unwilling soldiers forced to serve under incompetent superiors, young fighters who are both renowned and destroyed at once, and the merciless atrocities committed on civilians, all of which are relevant aspects even in modern warfare. In fact, many people in history have turned to the Iliad in times of war, no less today than they have in the ancient world. A soldier in World War I, Patrick Shaw-Stuart, who died in battle in 1917, composed a poem shortly before arriving in Gallipoli, entitled Achilles in the trenches. He croons, “Oh Hell of ships and cities / Hell of men like me / Fatal second Helen / Why must I follow thee?” By nicknaming the war “Fatal second Helen”, the poet insinuates that it is more-or-less a predetermined repeat of the Trojan War — a waste of men, a conflict fought for no purpose, a given death sentence. Similarly, A French scholar, Simone Weil, wrote in 1939 as she anticipated World War II that the Iliad was “the purest and the loveliest of mirrors” because it shows how war “turns man into a thing in the most literal sense: it makes a corpse out of him.”3 Rachel Bespaloff, a Ukrainian-French philosopher, also heavily identified with what she called the profound, more human side of the Iliad — that is, the suffering and

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