Essay about The Impact of Classical Literature on Machiavellianism

Essay about The Impact of Classical Literature on Machiavellianism

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Much of what we know today of Greek culture was passed on through history via The Iliad by Homer. The Greeks, one of the earliest recorded civilizations that our species is aware of, had a large influence on the Roman Empire and by extension most of the civilizations of our known history. Through history and different cultures, there are various stories of heroes and heroism, and it seems that the definition of heroism has changed frequently since classical antiquity. “Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’s son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses.”(The Iliad I.1-2) So opens The Iliad, a story of the Trojan War and the flawed hero, Achilles. Achilles, an example of the Greeks ideal hero, is not without his flaws. His anger while understandable during the earlier parts of the poem begins to appear irrational during book IX. The Greeks, who aspired to embody the qualities they valued in their heroes, treated the story of The Iliad with great reverence.
In my humble opinion, the most revealing source in The Iliad for Greek culture and values comes in book IX, “The Embassy to Achilles.” Many of the heroic values shown and discussed in The Iliad, and this book particularly, courage, skill in oratory, honor, glory, wealth, friendship, lineage, and a certain level of favor with the gods, are provided with numerous rich examples in book IX. Of these, courage seems most important to the Greeks. The heroes of the book are almost all great warriors, and the majority of the events in the book revolve around different battles, where traits such as courage would be on display the most. Skill in oratory is shown to be capable of raising morale considerably, as well as being necessary in order to convince ...

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... in Achilles’ armor once the battle started getting direr, particularly for some of Achilles’ greatest friends. Finally, after Patroclus is killed, Achilles returns to battle, distraught over Patroclus’ death. Through the virtues and heroism of the Achaean heroes: Diomedes’ courage and oratory skill in reinvigorating the troops; Agamemnon’s honesty in admitting himself as the cause for Achilles’ rage and providing enormous wealth and honor to Achilles in an attempt to atone for his mistake; Nestor’s wisdom in selecting the three most likely to be successful; Phoenix’s favor with Zeus preventing Zeus from interfering against them while they attempted to bring Achilles back to the battle; Odysseus’ skill as an eloquent orator in his attempt to convince Achilles; all of this together eventually led to the mission of returning Achilles to the battle being successful.

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