Odysseus and Aeneas Similar with Important Differences

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Odysseus and Aeneas Similar with Important Differences

Half of the room had their faces painted orange and brown. Half of the room had their faces painted black and yellow. I sat and looked at the other side of the room with total disgust. How could they call themselves Clevelanders as they sat and cheered on the enemy?

Then it hit me.

They didn’t — none of them called themselves Clevelanders. As I looked around the lounge of Twin Towers, I realized that most of these fans were here to cheer on their home team in the first Cleveland Browns-Pittsburgh Steelers game in three long years. The fans varied in hometown.

This ethnocentrism can be traced back all through history — even back to the times of Homer and Virgil. Odysseus and Aeneas were both “hometown heroes,” and both were also despised by their opposing countries. Odysseus and Aeneas, both epic heroes, were very similar but there are some differences. The differences between Odysseus and Aeneas are representative of their Greek and Roman cultures respectively.

Odysseus and Aeneas both have an extremely different view of what the meaning of “home” is. They also have a contrasting value of importance on home. This is a parallel that follows them throughout their lives.

Odysseus left home to fight in the Trojan War. He left to serve his country. After hard work he was victorious. He was forced to go to Hell and back when he was to go home. Of course he did take a long break in paradise to experience the good life. Odysseus landed on the island of Calypso. She is immortal and fell in love with Odysseus. They spent the days having passionate sex and he had the opportunity to stay there forever drinking nectar and eating ambrosia.

So why’d he leave?

He wanted to go home.

Home is extremely important to Odysseus just as home is important for most Greeks. Greece is not a huge country. At no point in history did Greece become a large empire taking over great amounts of land. Greece is a specific place and the Greek traditions are found only within the borders.

Aeneas also went to fight in the Trojan War. He also was a national hero. He was a great warrior. Both Odysseus and Aeneas were trying to head home.
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