Schein, Seth L. The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Shive, David M. Naming Achilles. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Van Nortwick, Thomas.
Both Achilles and Diomedes easily meet the first requirement, that a hero must have skill on the battlefield. Throughout The Iliad, Homer tells of their incredible (though usually go... ... middle of paper ... ...kill in battle, respect for authority, humility, and coolness under fire. Not many men met all requirements, including Achilles, but they were still viewed as heroes. Between Achilles and Diomedes, Diomedes was the better choice for the title of hero. He was one of the finest Greek soldiers.
The common culture is based on acceptance of characteristics seen as virtuous: xeineia, or hospitality; agathos, the successful warrior; oikos, which means from noble birth; keleos, glory; pine, honor, which is a central motif throughout the Iliad; and finally, the ultimate virtue of arête, which stands for goodness or excellence and encompasses the other virtues. For Homer, a good man must be of noble family, strong, brave in battle, and wealthy. Earthly possessions show that a man has initiative and has the esteem of others. But the most important qualification to be considered a good man is honor, because honor is gained, not born into. In the Homeric world, honor is qualified by power.
In two of Homers epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, it can be seen that in his epics he displays his own Homeric and heroic. The honor of every person in Homeric culture was important, but to the hero, his honor was extremely important. Not only does ones heroism and honor define ones social status and ranking, it is also defense mechanism to build within their own persona of themselves. This way of thinking can cause the Homeric characters to feel invincible and untouchable to their enemies with pride of dying with honor. In the Iliad, the two major opponents with the same ranking stature of being exceptional warriors were Achilles and Hector.
Moreover, Hector refuses to back down from fighti... ... middle of paper ... ...sion, Achilles and Hector share many similarities but also have many differences between them. They are both great warriors and leaders of their armies. They thrive to achieve honor, glory, and respect. This is so important for the Ancient Greeks; it is more significant than life itself. However, Achilles is very much an independent character and a selfish person.
Honor is essential to the Homeric heroes, so much that life would be meaningless without it. Thus, honor is more important than life itself. Throughout the Iliad, heroic characters make decisions based on a specific set of principles, which are referred to as the “code of honor.” The heroic code that Homer presents to readers is easy to recognize because the heroic code is the cause for many of the events that take place, but many of the characters have different perceptions of how highly the code should be regarded. Hector, the greatest of the Trojan warriors, begins the poem as a model for a hero. His dedication and firm belief in the code of honor is described many times throughout the course of the Iliad.
He was the only chance the Greeks had in defeating the Trojans. Many warriors looked up to him and the Greeks depended on him. The Achaeans supported Achilles while the Trojans rooted on Hector. Each man was respected and viewed as a hero. Although their love is different, it is obvious that each man has love in his heart.
The Iliad is an epic tale of war and hero’s within the Greek way of life. A predominant and consistent theme of honor and glory reside throughout the poem. The motivation for any Homeric Greek is glory, or “Kleos”, that is to be honored and respected among their people. Emphasis is put on living by the heroic code. Honor is essential to the Greeks and life would not be worth living without it.