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Forum LockedAeneid vs. Iliad vs. Odyssey, for the gre

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Imperator Invictus View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Aeneid vs. Iliad vs. Odyssey, for the gre
    Posted: 19-Aug-2004 at 21:10
Or more generally, Homer vs. Vergil

When the Aeneid was commissioned, it was said to the Greeks that in the works was a greater poem than that of Homer's. During the Roman Empire in the West, the Aeneid was almost always considered THE masterpiece. This continued well into the western Middle ages, Vergil was given the name Virgil, coming from the word "wand", as his poetry was so spectacular that it was like magic! In Byzantium, however, Im' under the impression that Homer continued to be recited as the greatest. Indeed, it is true that we know most about Vergil's works from sources preserved by the Irish, while Byzantium preserved the Greek works.

In more recent times, it seems that Homer clearly stands out more than Vergil for the general reader of literature because the Aeneid lacks the originality. It is very understable for a reader to see the Aeneid as a "remix" of the Iliad and Odyssey with added Roman political propoganda! Also it is interesting that the Odyssey is now very popular because of its romantic epic story. Before romanticism came about, the Iliad was always considered the better of the two Homer poems.

Nontheless I still think the Aeneid is definately arguable as the greatest of the three.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote vagabond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Aug-2004 at 21:57

I would votte for Homer for exactly the reasons that you cited - originality and quality of storytelling.  While Vergil was a master of verse, his story is a rehash of many older stories, and the whole suffers greatly from Augustus' interference to have it legitimize the divine authority of his rule.

The Aeneid was unfinished when Virgil died, and he had requested that it be destroyed  - Augustus revented its destruction and had it finished - so it is difficult to know now what was intended by the author and what was added in Virgil's style with the revisions.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Master of Puppets Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Aug-2004 at 10:26

During the last few months I'm reading all the epics for real (instead of modern versions or summaries) for the first time. I've finished the Iliad and am reading the Odyssey at the moment - I have now arrived at the chapter in which Odysseus reveals himself to Telemachos. I've read a piece of the Aeneid, but put it down again because there are other time consuming things at the moment - I'll pick it up again later.

Personally, after having read the Iliad, I find it quite a pity that it has always been overshadowed by the Odyssey in modern times. The Iliad is great in its own right. I found it fascinating how the never-ending doom of fate was all over the book. Not even the gods can change fate, they can only influence the way its outcome is being achieved - for example Zeus can let Hektor win temporarily, but Hektor must die, that is his fate. So when Zeus lifts the balance that decides whether Achilles or Hektor shall die in the great duel it is not Zeus who decides this.
I also found it interesting to see how the author (if there is a single author) built up tension, preparing the coming of Achilles. Achilles is only really fighting in the last few chapters of the book. He is immediately set aside as a fighter as a beginning, but slowly we learn what impact he has on the Greeks' success. First there is Hektor winning when Achilles isn't there (although Diomedes was quite dangerous initially, with help from some gods (although all heroes are supported or countered by gods, so they don't achieve anything themselves, actually)), then Patroklos fighting in Achilles's armor who drives the Trojans back, then the very appearance of Achilles makes the Trojans run from Patroklos's corpse and then finally Achilles enters battle, solely slaying dozens of Trojans.
A chapter that caught my special attention (but is often forgotten) is the fight of Achilles versus the river Skamander. To see how powerless Achilles is even in the face of such a minor god (after having him seen slaying lots of Trojans) is a brilliant touch of the author.
However, there also are a few minors to the story. The conversations are rather lame at least half of the time. One shouts at another and then the other shouts back. Must be the strain of war...  Also the X butchered Y and was butchered by Z can get annoying sometimes. And finally Patroklos's funerary games seem a bit out of place to me.

Of course there's more to the Iliad (although I must've missed a lot of stuff too), but this is all I can think of so far. Overall I think the Iliad is great and (to repeat myself) should not be so overshadowed by the Odyssey.

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The Epic of Gilgamesh; Tablet XI, line 245
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Post Options Post Options   Quote BattleGlory Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Sep-2004 at 21:21
I would have to say that the Iliad is the best of the three.  To me, at least, the Aeneid feels bland next to the Iliad and the Odyssey, it just doesn't have the feeling of an epic, more like a little brother trying to immitate his older brother to use an analogy.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Sep-2004 at 20:16
I had to read these for school....man I cant stand anything written before the 19th century, the translations make everything so dry.  And then he did this, adn then he did that, no descriptions, no reall settign the scene, just a sequence of events.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Master of Puppets Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Sep-2004 at 14:45
You must've gotten the wrong translations Tobodai, at least I hope so. I'd highly recommend you to ask people around you if they know good translations. Ancient literature rules!
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The Epic of Gilgamesh; Tablet XI, line 245
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Sep-2004 at 21:03
no, I definately am not into ancient literature...not at all
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wrageowrapper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2004 at 20:37
Iam going to disagree with everyone.

Id say Romance of the Three Kingdoms is the best
historical epic. The political intrigue is really well
done.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Socrates Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Dec-2005 at 03:01
 The Aeneids r just a pale copy of Homer's works...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Dec-2005 at 04:59

Originally posted by Master of Puppets

Personally, after having read the Iliad, I find it quite a pity that it has always been overshadowed by the Odyssey in modern times. The Iliad is great in its own right. I found it fascinating how the never-ending doom of fate was all over the book. Not even the gods can change fate, they can only influence the way its outcome is being achieved

You got the essence of the Iliad, and I must also agree that Iliad is the best epic of the three.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Dec-2005 at 10:16
Made the mistake to watch "Troy" in its entirety over Christmas, the first time I thankfully fell asleep halfway through. It is just such an awful and embarrassing piece of Hollywood crap, but it brought back memories of the real thing, and that the Illiad is one of the greatest stories ever told, incredibly rich and complex and multi-layered, and even Brad Pitt's one dimensionsal hamming as Achilles can't change that.
Thus, one more vote for the Illiad.
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