Questions and Answers about the Role of Women in The Iliad and the Odyssey — First Set

Questions and Answers about the Role of Women in The Iliad and the Odyssey — First Set

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Questions and Answers — First Set

Question: How were women supposed to dress after their
husbands died?

Answer: The answer to the previous question is relevant,
because Thetis seems to be mourning for her son even though he is
not dead. The cry of grief and beating of the breasts all seems
part of the mourning process. This idea seems to be echoed in a
wonderful wall painting from the new Kingdom, Eighteenth Dynasty
that depicts wailing women in a funeral procession. It is
described thus "With cries of lamentation, arms and hands
streching upward in grief, hair hanging, breasts bared, cheaks
streaked with tears, the woman mourners… fulfill their
sorrowful task." In this picture the gown is white and is
gathered just below the breasts and hangs to the ankles. One
wonders if such a gown would be required to allow the beating of
the breasts described earlier. At the time of the Trojan war
mourning would last until the body was burned. In classical times
the bodies were buried. If the husband was rich then the wife
must prepare for a marriage to the man who would inherit the
wealth. Funeral dress in those days was white rather than black.

An image of mouring in the Geometric style: Click

Question: In the Odyssey, why do women play such an important
part in the adventures?

Answer: The main reason why women play an important part is
that women are important and will be present in any work that has
universal appeal. The particular way they are important in the
Odyssey is that Homer lived just after a time when a male
dominated religion had just replaced a female dominated one. The
male gods filled in the higher roles while the female goddesses
were shoved into the lower roles. Scylla and Charybdis are minor
female goddesses representing natural processes. Calypso is a
similar goddess. She may be the symbol of a cult that traps you
with its seductive belief. Such would have been the old goddess
worship. Circe was also a seductive power that turned men to pigs.
This seems to be a reference to lust. It is interesting that
Circe has most of the qualities of a witch, except she is young
and beautiful. Her wand seems to be more like the double axe of
the Minoans than the star-burst wand of a Disney fairy godmother.
If the double axe symbolized a butterfly on a stick then the use
of the wand was consistent with the Minoan notion that a butterly
symbolized transformation.

Question: How can you compare the roles of women in the Iliad
by Homer to the roles of women in the Odyssey?

Answer: I wonder about the ‘How can you’ part of this question
but I will be true to it anyway. The question leads to the
question of the difference between the roles but it does not ask
it. There are large stylistic differences between the Iliad and
the Odyssey to the point that some authors have questioned
whether they are both by the same author. The Odyssey is a travel
log while the Iliad is tragedy which occurs in one spot. Both do
have a very limited actual time frame but a very broad
universality. It is the universality that mandates the inclusion
of women, many different types of women to match the challenges
of the world. To answer this question you should begin with a
catalog that documents the types of women in each tale. There are
major goddesses and minor goddesses and female creatures that
could be goddesses. There are queens and other lady aristocrats,
priestesses, courtesans, servants, and slaves. Some of these are
wives, daughters, and other relatives. Some are powerful and
others weak. A careful catalog will allow you to see the
differences and answer the next question.

Question: Do you think you could give me some pictures on the
scene of the Iliad I need 8-10 scenes before Friday could you
please help me so I don’t fail school?

Answer: You will fail school because you cannot ask good
questions, not because you cannot find pictures. I assume you
mean Book I of the Iliad. Here are some pictures of Book I: Chryses
and Chryseis on the left
, Zeus
and Themis consult before the Trojan war
leads Breisis away
Odysseus plead with Achilles

Here is a reference on the Trojan war:

Author Name: Vermeule, Emily
Title: The Trojan War in Greek Art: A picture book
City: Boston
Publisher: Museum of Fine Arts
Date: 1965

Question: Do you have any pictures of the Trojan war?

Answer: The answer to the previous question lists several
pictures. Other sources are listed here:

Question: What roles do Hera and Athena play in the Iliad?

Answer: Paris chose Aprhrodite as the most beautiful goddess
instead of Hera or Athena, who I would have chosen. As a result
Hera and Athena encouraged the Achaeans to attack Troy, the home
of Paris. Ultimately the Achaens triumphed with the help of Hera
and Athena, and Paris was punished.

Question: can u define dike and its affects on the characters
in the odyssey?

Answer: Dike is very similar to natural law. It is a rule that
even the gods must obey. An indication of Dike of this reply to
Poseidon by Zeus" "The gods are innocent of all
irreverence towards you. Indeed it would be an abominabel thing
for them to scoff at the eldest and best of their company. As for
mankind, in anyone thinks himself powerful enough to slight you,
you have all the future to take your revenge." (Odyssey Bk.
XIII) Notice that Poseidon can take revenge, but he cannot undo
what has been done. This is Dike in action.

Question: What is the role of Greek gods in the story?

Answer: One of the main puposes of the works of Homer is to
spell out the proper relation between man and God. So the simple
answer to your question is that the gods represent God.

Each different deity has a separate realm. The total sum of
those realms constitutes all of man’s spiritual needs. You can
look at each deity to see how the Greeks met spiritual needs in
that realm. This whole system can be compared to current
religious spirituality by figuring out how current religion deals
with each realm. The Greeks were very intelligent human beings,
perhaps more intelligent than we are. For that reason their
spiritual needs matched ours in many respects. Their religion had
to satisfy those needs.

Question: aphrodite

Answer: Aphrodite plays an important role as goddess of love
and beauty in the Iliad. There is a whole page just on her at: Click here

Question: How does Athene, in the story Odyssey, treat

Answer: She helps him frustrate the woers.

Question: How come Athena is the only god that helps
Telemachos in The Odyssey?

Answer: When you have Athena on your side you really do not
need anyone else. If you have one deity on your side you just
need to be sure you do not offend any other one. The trick is to
get even one on your side.

Question: What was the Trojan War About?

Answer: The story in the play The Trojan Woman was that
the judgement of Paris caused the Trojan War. In this judgement
Paris had decided to choose Aphrodite as the fairest goddess and
as a reward she promised him to the most beautiful woman in the
world. So he stole Helen away from her husband to Troy. In
retribution the rest of Greece attacked Troy to recover Helen.

Question: What is the significance of the hero’s mother in
Gilgamesh, Othello, Achilles, St. Augustus, Beowulf, and Aeneid

Answer: I can only deal with the Iliad and the Aeneid. The
mother of Achilles, Thetis and the mother of Aeneas, Aphrodite,
were goddesses. Though the goddesses were able to intervene on
their son’s behalf, it was never enough.

Question: how did the quest of Achilles affect women? consider
penelope, elec tra, chrysothemis, hecuba, helen, lysistrata.

Answer: Achilles was not a wonderful blessing for women.
Electra and Chrysothemis were the sisters of Iphigenia. Iphigenia
was promised as the bride of Achilles so she would go to Aulis
where she was sacrificed to Artemis. Helen’s husband Paris killed
Achilles by shooting him in the heel with an arrow. Hecuba’s
daughter Polyxena was scrificed on the grave of Achilles to
satisfy his ghost. This sacrifice was one of the sacrileges that
delayed Odysseus’ return to Penepole. Lysistrata was encouraged
by the disgusting example of Achilles to stop the war.

Question: In ancient greek lit., who is Hecula?

Answer: Hecuba was the wife of Priam, King of Troy during the
Trojan war.

Question: Can you give me character traits of Odysseus in the
Odyssey? its very Urgent

Answer: Athene, in Book XIII of the Odyssey, says to Odysseus:
"Hardy man, subtle of wit, of guile insatiate…" and
listed his character traits.

Question: I was wondering what customs, traditions or values
the Odyssey shows the reader. I already have libations,
hospitalty, and dependence on the Gods. please email me back with
any info you have! THANKS SO MUCH!

Answer: You have only scratched the surface. When you read the
Odyssey the first time you get so wrapped up in the adventure
that you glide right over the many idiosyncracies. Life was
really different then. Homer hints at the difference but he has
managed to be very subtle. You have to dig this information out,
but when you dig you come up with real treasure. Let us look at
the first page, the first sentence even. Who is Pallas? Athena,
of course, but why reference Pallas here and Athene later? Why
were there wooers to complain about? Of all the adventures why
does he only mention the oxen of Helios Hyperion? Is this the
same as Apollo or different? Why would a goddess like Calypso
want to hold a mortal like Odysseus? Notice that the gods had
ordained that he should return home. Now Odysseus has a chance
because Poseidon is out of the country. Even on the first page
there are many customs and traditions to consider.

The Greeks needed many deities because there were many aspect
to life, and each deity incoporated a separate aspect or realm.
As time passed some merged and some separated. Pallas Athene is
probably the result of the merger of two separates Pallas and
Athena. By studying when the different words are used you might
figure out the separate aspects that each represents.

Penelope was important to woo because whoever married her was
king. They were not wooing because Penelope was lovely. Wooers
were considered guests, and guests should be treated well as was
customary. These wooers were being treated like guests, but they
did not act that way.

If you eat the wrong oxen, you die. Is this a custom or a
historical fact. The oxen of the sun may be days of the year and
if you waste your days you may be dead. Apollo is the god of
reason, but if you follow your reason do you eat the oxen or
sacrifice them to the gods.

Is Calypso really a task or a passion. Do we conquer her by
going down the straight and narrow or is success the more
circuitous route. Does this say someting about how we have to
organize our lives.

How do we know what the gods have ordained? Should we cast
lots to know? Or can we find a friendly deity to interrogate.
Both methods are used.

We can overcome what a god has ordained by getting them on a
distant mission and going against their commands. Could we set up
a festival to accomplish this?

I have tried to point out opportunities. You, now need to look
at the details.

Questions: Could you please give me more information about
Odyssey being an allgory of a heroic journey through life?"
Can you lists all the life forces Odysseus confronted and what
forces each character represents (in detail please)? Thanks.

Answer: The Odyssey has a bit more generality because Odysseus
is not always viewed as a hero. The notion of the allegory of
life is well developed in the Odyssey in Book IX where Odysseus
says: " Verily Calypso, the fair goddess, would fain have
kept me with her in hallow caves, longing to have me for her lord;
and likewise too, guileful Circe of Aia, would have stayed me in
her halls longing to have me for her lord. But never did they
prevail upon my heart within my breast. So surely is there nought
sweeter tha a man’s own country and his parents, even though he
dwell far of in a rich home, in a strange land, away from all
that begat him." The scenes and their interpretations are as

  • With the Cicones Odysseus’ crew attacked simply to
    plunder and spoil so they would have something to show
    for their efforts when they got home. At first it seemed
    easy but later they found that the Cicones had friends
    that were powerful and eventually they were punished and
    driven away.
  • The lotus-eaters demonstrated that the alternative to
    plunder was to forget one’s home.
  • In the adventure with the Cyclops he progresses from
    being "No man" to being "Odysseus"–"giver
    of pain". One must pass from anonymity to crying one’s
    name in the face of a hostile universe.
  • This seems necessary because later when Aeolus suspends
    nature’s contrariness, Odysseus can make no headway home.
  • Odysseus does not defy the cannibal giants Laestrygones
    with the result that his fleet is destroyed.
  • Odysseus turns Circe from a menace to sweetness just by a
    show of force.
  • The visit to Hades is about the pain and humiliation one
    must endure on the path to success for Hercules says:
    "I was the son of Zeus Cronion, yet had I trouble
    beyond measure, for I was subdued unto a man far worse
    than I."
  • The Sirens are a threat because they give the choice of
    hearing about life instead of experiencing it.
  • Scylla and Charybdis provide a symbol of life’s usual
    choices, face certain trouble from a monster or be
    swallowed by a maelstrom.
  • The cattle of Helios Hyperion suggest the days of the
    year. You risk oblivion if you use up those days just to
    satisfy your hunger.

Question: what is an Odyssey

Answer: An odyssey is a long wandering or series of travels like the journey
the Odysseus took on his way home from Troy. An Odyssey does not have an
interesting destination; the interest lies in the adventures along the way.

Question: how long a go did homer right these stories?

Answer: The works of Homer were written about 750 BCE. They were for a long
time the oldest complete works ever written. Now there may be some works
from the Near East that are older.

Question: can we have some pictures of homer

Answer: There were no pictures of Homer mad during his lifetime. Any
pictures are merely fantasies. Rembrant painted Aritotle contemplating a bust
Homer which is visible at:
Click here

Question: What characters in the odyssey reveal greek cultural values?

Answer: It is a peculiarity of the works of Homer that they are about
cultural values, so all characters reveal them.

Question: what is zeus so angry about in the odyssey

Answer: At the beginning of Book I of the Odyssey Zeus explains that it is
not he, but Poseidon that is angry with Odysseus.

Question: Why is the color purple mentioned so much in the Odyssey? Does it have a significant meaning?

Answer: Purple is mentioned 17 times. Red is mentioned 8 times always
as an adjective of wine. Blue is mentioned three times in association
with the sea. Green is mentioned 3 times. Violet is mentioned 3 times
Yellow is mentioned twice to describe grain. Orange is not mentioned.
White is mentioned 25 times. Black is mentioned 65 times.

Purple is a special color as the following passage suggests:
“And there are great looms of stone, whereon the nymphs weave raiment of
purple stain, a marvel to behold,”. Purple is often used to describe woven
fabric and the suggestions is that it is special. Purple came from a mollusc
that was harvested from the sea. Because of the difficulty of collection
the dye was rare and expensive. It became associated with royalty. A page
on this subject is available at:
Click here

Question: What was the significance of the crew members on Odysseus’s shipwhile he was on his Odyssey after the Trojan war?

Answer: In the Iliad Odysseus leads 12 ships to Troy according to Homer:
“Odysseus led the brave Cephallenians, who held Ithaca, Neritum with
its forests, Crocylea, rugged Aegilips, Samos and Zacynthus, with
the mainland also that was over against the islands. These were led by
Odysseus, peer of Zeus in counsel, and with him there came twelve ships.”

Athena was not happy with the pillage that took place of Troy and she
was particularly vexed with the rape of Cassandra by Ajax in her very
sanctuary. For this she requested a great storm from Zeus which scattered
the victors at Troy and cost many Achaen lives. This storm probably
destroyed some ships with their crew and bore Odysseus
and his ships to the Cicones where he sacked the city so his men could
return home with loot. Odysseus commanded his men to leave but his
“…men in their great folly hearkened not.” The result was that about
a third of his men lost their lives.

When Odysseus and his ships visited Aeolus he was kind enough to confine
all the winds but the west wind in a bag that he fastened in the hold of
Odysseus’ ship. This would have assured their return except the company
thought the bag contained gold and silver and they opened it and let the
winds out. The winds blew them back to Aeolus who declared them “men who
the blessed gods abhor”.

At the next stop all the other ships moor whithin a sheltered harbor, but
Odysseus moors his ship outside the harbor. The Laestergonians throw rocks
at the ships in the harbor and all the ships in the harbor are destroyed along
with their crew. Odysseus is down to 20 men or so.

The stop with Circe kills one more man who was “…not very valiant in war
neither steadfast in mind.” He fell off Circe’s roof and broke his neck.
Later, in Hades he explains that “…an evil doom of some god was my bane and
wine out of measure.”

While Odysseus and his men watch the horror of Charybdis, Scylla caught
6 of his men and devoured them.

Odysseus had been warned that evil would befall him on the island of Helios,
but his crew wanted to stop just one night to rest and not be on the open
sea. But foul winds kept them on the island until they almost starved to death.They feasted on forbidden cattle and then put out to sea. There Zeus struck
with a lightning bolt, the pilot was crushed by the fallen mast and the
rest of the crew was scattered like seagulls off the ship to drown in the
ocean. Odysseus had left Ithaca with a fleet of 12 ships and between 240 and
600 men. Now all the men but Odysseus were gone. Most of the men were killed
because of their own foolishness. They lost faith either in the gods or in
their leader. In many cases it was because their behaviour angerened the
gods. In some cases men were lost to punish Odysseus, because of mistakes
he made in his relation to the gods. But he was able to perservere because
he maintained a favorable enough relation to the gods. The book is about
man’s relation to the gods in his journey through life. The fate of the crew
demonstrates what happens when you ignore the gods too much and make too many
mistakes. In general you cannot take the easy road. You have to be smart,
tough, and respectful of the gods.

Question: what is the signifigance of Olive Trees in the Odyssey?

Answer: Olive is mentioned in the following contexts:

  • There is a lot of anointing with olive oil.
  • Calypso gave Odysseus a double bit axe with an olive handle.
  • When Odysseus landed in Phaeacia he found shelter under an olive tree.
  • Olive trees bloom in the garden of Alcinous.
  • The club of the Cyclops was olive wood.
  • Odysseus used a piece of that club to blind the Cyclops.
  • The fruit of the olive tree tormanted Tantalus.
  • Olive trees surrounded the cave opening where Odysseus stored his loot
    when he landed in Ithaca.
  • The Phaeacians stashed The loot of Odysseus under an Olive tree when they
    dropped him off at Ithaca.
  • Athene and Odysseus sat under an Olive tree described as sacred when they
    plotted the death of the wooers.
  • Odysseus made the frame of his wedding bed out of an olive tree and
    fashioned his house around it.
  • Olive trees were in the garden of Odysseus’ father, Laertes.

The olive tree was important to the lives of the Greeks and so it is
commonly mentioned. The olive is also sacred to Athena, Odysseus’ patroness.

Question: Who was the Goddess of Necessity?

Answer: Themis

Question: how are manly woman regarded?

Answer: I do not think they fared very well. Greek men were plain about
what they thought was an ideal women. Even an Artemis was hard for them to
deal with. Even though they did not need to use their wives for sex, I doubt
they would have wanted such a wife. The sad thing is that women who were not
suited to be a wife, really had no place. Fortunately, the emphasis was
placed on the family so, if a person could be productive in the family, they
would probably be taken care of. Without a supportive family you were out
in the street, and you probably could not live long there.

Question: What is the role of Cassandra in The Iliad?

Answer: Cassandra is one of the great tragic characters of Greek literature,
but in the Iliad she has only a minor role. She is a daughter of Priam
and was promised as a bride to Othryoneus if he defeated the enemies of Troy,
but he never did. She also greeted her father when he returned with
Hector’s dead body.

Question: can you please find me info on the kings from the Odyssey, like
how they lived, and any info on their family

Answer: The term ‘king’ is used loosely. All the heroes were kings,
plus Alcinous was a typical king. They might more accurately be termed
‘aristocrats’. They were landed aristocrats, but they ruled more by influence
than law. The Odyssey contains many insights into their lives.

Question: What exactly is the Odessey all about? Can I have a copy of the

Answer: The Odyssey is not exactly about anything. It is generally about
everything that is important in life. It is very important that you read it.
When you read it the first time it seems like an adventure story. When you
read it the second time it seems like spiritual development. When you
read it the third time whole new worlds open up to you and you get a better
understanding of your world and the world of Odysseus. The entire text is
available on line at:
Click here

Question: Whats the point of Mytholegy?

Answer: Mythology is someone elses religious beliefs. Your religious beliefs
are the true religion. In the context of mythology, someone elses religion
becomes interesting stories revealing cultural history and attitudes. Study in
depth can affect ones own religious attitudes.

Question: what is the role of the women in the Odyessy

Answer: The suggestion is that the Odyssey is the allegory of
a heroic journey through life. Many of the women, then, represent
the natural challenges that a life faces. Some of the women, such
as Syclla and Charybdis are monsters representing natural forces.
Other women, such as Circe, Calypso, and Ino are goddesses
representing spiritual qualities. These goddesses, as well at
Athena, hark back to a time when women held more power. Penelope,
the wife of Odysseus, represents an ideal of constancy in mortal

A list of women and their roles follows:

  • Athena provided Odysseus with strategems and wisdom as the goddess of
  • Penelope preserved Odysseus’ estate and provided proof of his return.
  • Circe allowed Odysseus to demonstrate that sometimes all you needed is a
    show of force and your opposition will turn to fawning.
  • Ino preserved Odysseus from drowning.
  • Calypso provided Odysseus with the choice of oblivion.
  • Syclla and Charybdis offered Odysseus a choice between painful progress
    and ultimate destruction.
  • Nausicaa clothed Odysseus and introduced him to his salvation.
  • Arete listened to his prayers.

Question: penelope

Answer: See above.

Question: What is the role of Penelope, Arete, Kirke, Kalypso, the
Seirenes, Nausikaa, Athena in the Odyssey

Answer: See above except the Sirens who were temtresses with their sweet
voices. They represent the distractions that keep you from your goal.

Question: How “female” is Athena in the Odyssey

Answer: Athena can take on different shapes and need not appear as a
female at all. But when she appears as herself she truely is female:
“So spake he and the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, smiled, and caressed him with
her hand; and straightway she changed to the semblance of a woman, fair and
tall, and skilled in splendid handiwork.” (Odyssey, Book XII)

Question: Do you have pictures of Penelope and Helen

Answer: Click on one of the following to see a picture of

Other than the fact that Helen of Troy was the most beautiful women
in the world, no one really knows what she looked like. She lived about 800
years before anyone thought to paint her picture. But the Greeks provided
a number of pictures of what they thought she looked like:

Question: this is urgent…Was the goddess Hestia mentioned in the Odyssey? If so,where and what did she do?

Answer: She is in neither the Iliad or the Odyssey, but she is mentioned
by Hesiod and she is in the Homeric poems.

Question: what is the overall synopsis of the Odyssey

Answer: The Odyssey deals with the life and adventures of Odysseus from
the time he leaves Troy until he disposes of the wooers and is reunited with
his family. His adventures are quite symbolic and are easily applied to ones
own life so the work is highly recommended even today.

Question: why id athena important in the odyssey?

Answer: Athena is the goddess of wisdom and wisdom is what allowed
Odysseus to survive while his compatriots perished.

Question: How does Athena help Odysseus?

Answer: She helps him by giving him good ideas. She is, after all,
the goddess of wisdom.

Question: when was the illiad written

Answer: Scholars guess about 750 BCE. It was not written down until about
500 BCE.

Question: Compare the different standards women were held to in each poem

Answer: One of the interesting facts of Ancient Greek Literature is that
the authors took as subjects people long dead. They applied contemporary
thought and motive to persons living in a completely foreign culture. This
allowed them to use the subjects to set standards, without being hampered
by the ancient standards. We know from archeology that the people of
Mycenean times were probably as limited by totems and taboos as any primitive
peoples, yet there is little mention of these in the Greek literature. The
Greeks had a recod of events but they chose to deal with these events in
a non-historical context.

Question: How do the different cultures idealize women according to
different standards?

Answer: The Greeks idolized women, but many cultures did not. What the
culture does is define roles and expectations for its members. These are
incoporated in rituals, taboos, stories, and laws. The Greeks went beyond and
defined deities that were women. Some societies have removed the female sex
from the devine.

Question: where can i find pictures closest to the time that the book (The
Odyssey) was written?

Answer: This is the Geometric period of ancient Greek Art. There are
a few pieces around:

Question: do u have anythin about aphrodity the goddess of love and beauty?
becasue im doing a project on her

Answer: Click on the Menu Directory below and click on Aphrodite.

Question: homer

Answer: Of Homer nothing is known. He is sometimes refered to as the blind
poet, but even this is not certain. It is even possible that he was a women.
It has been suggested that the Iliad, in particular, has many qualities
of a lament, and originally laments were sung by women. What is certain is
the fact that the myths that we know were preserved by a tradition of singing
bards that passed the stories from one to another and provided the main
entertainment for the Greeks for perhaps a thousand years or more. Such a
bard is found in the Odyssey in the court of Alcinous. In Book VIII Alcinous
calls for a loud lyre to be given to Demodocus so he can sing about the
gods and goddesses. This is a good picture of Homer.

Question: Polyxena what did she look like? (hair colour, dress…?) Her
role, aside from being loved by Achilles and slain at his tomb? She was noble,
but was she a feminist or a character worth noteing in any way?

Answer: Polyxena was not mentioned by Homer, but she is found in other myths.
No one knows what she looks like. All that is known comes from tales the
Greek bards passed to one another for over 500 years. These tales were so
compelling that they survived wave after wave of invading immigrants. It is
like hearing American Indian Stories from an Indian society 500 years before
the white man arrived. The Ancient Greeks were socially and economically
ahead of the Indians even 3000 years ago. There are old pictures of

Polyxena was the youngest daughter of Priam and Hecuba. Her sacrifice
was one of the excesses that grated Athena and she turned on the victors of
the Trojan war. Her death was a stab by Euripides against slavery as in
the Trojan Women he has Hecuba say: “But now death hath claimed thee,
and I to Hellas am soon to sail, a captive doomed to wear the yoke of slavery.
Hath not then the dead Polyxena, for whom thou wailest, less evil to bear than
I? I have not so much as hope, the last resource of every human heart, nor do
I beguile myself with dreams of future bliss, the very thought whereof is

She is a character worth noting. Much has been made of her life in
literature. She is a symbol of the innocent victim. She was the sacrifice
with the personality. She is often made to choose death instead of slavery.
Achilles may have fallen in love with her. She may have caused his death.
She is also the symbol of the macabre equivalence of marriage and death. This
is a theme in Victorian literature.

Question: Can you give me information about Circe, Calypso, Penelope,
Eurykleia, Leucothea, Nausila and the Sirens?

Answer: These are goddesses or women in the Odyssey. For more information
about Circe and Calypso click on the menu directory below and then click on
Circe and Calypso. Penelope was the wife of Odysseus. Read above for her.
Eurycleia was a nurse of Odysseus in
his youth. Leucothea was a goddess who saved Odysseus from drowning. Nausicaa
was the daughter of Alcinous, king of Phacia. The sirens were creatures
who sang so sweetly that they attracted sailors to their death.

Question: i need a picture from the book the odyssey

Answer: When Homer first published the Odyssey in 750 BCE, over 2700 year
ago there were no books, let alone pictures. Homer sang the Odyssey to whoever
would listen. And many did, including other bards who committed it to memory.
Later artists illustrated it, but Homer and Odysseus were long dead. Here is a
picture of Odysseus and the sorceress Circe:

Click here
. This picture was made 2500 years ago.

Question: explain how they had sex with the women

Answer: This is described in the Odyssey in the interaction between
Odysseus and Circe: “Verily thou art Odysseus, ready at
need, whom he of the golden wand, the slayer of Argos, full
often told me was to come hither, on his way from Troy with
his swift black ship. Nay come, put thy sword into the
sheath, and thereafter let us go up into my bed, that
meeting in love and sleep we may trust each the other.”

‘So spake she, but I answered her, saying: “Nay, Circe, how
canst thou bid me be gentle to thee, who hast turned my
company into swine within thy halls, and holding me here
with a guileful heart requirest me to pass within thy
chamber and go up into thy bed, that so thou mayest make me
a dastard and unmanned when thou hast me naked? Nay, never
will I consent to go up into thy bed, except thou wilt
deign, goddess, to swear a mighty oath, that thou wilt plan
nought else of mischief to mine own hurt.”

Question: I just finished reading your web article. Great reading. I
recently finished reading The Iliad and The Odyssey. I am curious as to what
the conversation between Odysseus and Achilles means when Odysseus went to
the underworld, in particular, Achilles’ words.

Answer: Odysseus says: “…For of old, in the days of thy life, we Argives
gave thee one honor with the gods, and now thou art a great prince here among
the dead. Wherefore let not thy death be any grief to thee, Achilles.”

And Achilles responds: “Nay, speak not comfortably to me of death, oh great
Odysseus. Rather would I live on ground as the hireling of another, with a
landless man who had no great livelihood, than bear sway among all the dead
that be departed….For I am no longer his champion under the sun, so mighty a
man as once I was, when in wide Troy I slew the best of the host, and succored
the Argives. Ah! could I but come for an hour to my father’s house as then I
was, so would I make my might and hands invincible, to be hateful to many an
one of those who do him despite and keep him from his honour.”

Obviously Achilles is not happy that while dead, he must watch his father
suffer in old age. Peleus did not end his life in quiet retirement and this
may be a reference to his termoil. Some indication of this
turmoil is given in the following passage:
Click here

Question: In what ways does athena help Odysseus in the Odessey?

Answer: Athena always helps Odysseus with his wisdom. This also meant his
stealth and sneakiness.

Question: athene,penelope,nausicaa,calypso,circe,roles in the odyssey

Answer: Athene is the goddess of wisdom who provides Odysseus the where
with all to survive his ordeal. Penelope is his wife who serves as the
goal of his journey. Nausicaa rescues him. This is a feminine role. Calypso
and Circe are temptresses that try to make him forget his goal and his

Question: What is the importance of women in the Iliad?

Answer: The discussion at the beginning of this page should be helpful.

Question: Women as slaves in the epics

Answer: Some, but not all women were slaves. When women were captured
by warriors they were often enslaved. Many did housework while others were
kept for sex. Some were treated like family, while many were forced to do
drudgery. A female slave could be elevated to a wife or she could purchase
her freedom.

Question: what is the role of Penelope in the Odyssey

Answer: Click on the menu directory below and click on Penelope.

Question: who were the important women in the iliad

Answer: The goddesses Athena, Hera, Aphrodite, Thetis, Artemis, Ate,
Demeter, Dione, Eileithyia, Hebe, Iris, Leto, Persephone, Eris; the captives
Chryseis and Briseis, The wife of Hector Andromache, Helen, Hecuba, Cassandra,

Question: Some words on the process of enslavement?

Answer: Enslavement occurred by force. Once enslaved a slave was taken
to be a part of a new family. Escape was useless because outside of a family
a person would be treated as a threat. If the slave was attached to a work-
gang then there were guards to make the slave work. Slaves that did not
cooperate could be killed at the whim of the head of the family or work gang.
Men could be forced to do dangerous work, such as mining, and women could be
forced into prostitution. Some slaves were treated quite well so they would be
loyal and productive. Educated slaves were given the right to buy their

The process is described in the Odyssey:
“‘”From out of Sidon I avow that I come, land rich in
bronze, and I am the daughter of Arybas, the deeply
wealthy. But Taphians, who were sea-robbers, laid hands on
me and snatched me away as I came in from the fields, and
brought me hither and sold me into the house of my master,
who paid for me a goodly price.”

Question: Can you tell me about the differnece of how Helen was portrayed
in The Iliad than in The Odyssey. IF you could answer this as sonn as
possible I would greatly apperciate it. Thanks!

Answer: In the Iliad Helen is Troy with the husband that she has chosen,
while in the Odyssey she is with the husband that her father chose for her.
In the Odyssey she says (Book IV) “Then the other Trojan women wept aloud,
but my soul was
glad, for already my heart was turned to go back again even
to my home: and now at the last I groaned for the blindness
that Aphrodite gave me, when she led me thither away from
mine own country, forsaking my child and my bridal chamber
and my lord, that lacked not aught whether for wisdom or
yet for beauty.”

In the Iliad (Book III) there is: “…and Helen’s heart yearned after her
former husband, her city, and her parents.”

And (Book III)”…would that I had chosen death rather than to have come here
with your son, far from my bridal chamber, my friends, my darling
daughter, and all the companions of my girlhood. But it was not to be,
and my lot is one of tears and sorrow.”

And finally (Book III): ‘With these words she moved the heart of
Helen to anger. When
she marked the beautiful neck of the goddess, her lovely bosom, and
sparkling eyes, she marvelled at her and said, “Goddess, why do you
thus beguile me? Are you going to send me afield still further to some
man whom you have taken up in Phrygia or fair Meonia? Menelaus has
just vanquished Alexandrus, and is to take my hateful self back with
him. You are come here to betray me. Go sit with Alexandrus
yourself; henceforth be goddess no longer; never let your feet carry
you back to Olympus; worry about him and look after him till he make
you his wife, or, for the matter of that, his slave- but me? I shall
not go; I can garnish his bed no longer; I should be a by-word among
all the women of Troy. Besides, I have trouble on my mind.”‘

Question: scylla

Answer: Click here

Question: how are women treated in the Illilad

Answer: In spite of the Iliad being a very martial tale, women are
referenced in great abundance, as though they were very important. In
some cases they are simply prizes of war and literally sex slaves, but in
other cases they are queens, princesses, wives and daughters that really
matter. The Iliad is surprising in the breadth of roles that women are

Question: Critique the differences between the women of both stories

Answer: Mortal women come across better in the Odyssey, while goddesses
are more important in the Iliad. Both stories include many women in many
different roles.

Question: what is the signifigance of Helen, Andromache, chryseis, Briseis

Answer: These are important women of the Iliad. Helen is the face that
launched a thousand ships; the reason for the war. Click on the menu directory
below to read more about Helen. Andromache is the wife of Hector, the tragic
hero of the Iliad. She and Hector have a conversation which is a real
condemnation of war and its effects. Chryseis and Briseis were both captured
during the war. Chryseis was given to Agamemnon as a prize and Briseis was
given to Achilles. But the gods will not let Agamemnon keep Chryseis, so
as compensation he takes Briseis from Achilles. This causes Achilles to
stop fighting and the Trojans are able to take advantage of this situation.
Eventually Achilles wins Breisis back and she shares his bed.

Question: Is there a difference between homers treatment of mortal and
immortal women in the iliad and the odyssey and if so why

Answer: Homer treats immortal women as willful, active, powerful, beautiful
and wealthy. Mortal women are rarely treated this way and usually they are
more passive. Sometimes they are just female objects. The reason for this
is not clear but it has been suggested that it reflects an earlier time when
women were regarded as more important.

Question: Will you please help me, and find pictures of the main charactes in “The IIiad” (about 40 of them)?

Answer: Yes. Use your Edit-Find in page function to find many of them on
this page. Then enter the names in Search Perseus to find most of the rest.
You will find the Perseus tool and others by clicking on the menu directory
and going to the resources page. Then request of me the images you cannot
find yourself.

Question: I have been told that Lauralie was one of the Sirens in the
Odyssey. Is this true? If so could you please comment? (This is my
daughters name.)

Answer: I do not find Lauralie among the Greek Sirens. Laura comes from
Latin and means Laurel. Now Lorelei or Lurlei is a siren who haunts the Rhine.
She is the subject of German mythology and seems a more likely association.
This picture shows lorelei to be a mermaid:
Click Here
In a page on Stephen Foster I found the following quote: “Beautiful Dreamer was published posthumously and advertised as the last song Foster wrote, although it seems actually to have
been composed in 1862. Written in an unusual 9/8 meter, its melody evokes Foster’s love of Italian opera, but the mermaids in
Foster’s lyric are German-Heine’s famous “Die Lorelei,” whose siren song lures sailors to their ruin. Beneath the song’s rippling
arpeggios lies an ominous undercurrent of suggestion that Foster’s beautiful dream is the dissolution of death.” reference:
Click here.
The Greeks thought the Sirens were daughters of one of the Muses and were
perhaps related to Hera, but Aphrodite was clearly the first mermaid.

Question: what view did women have of women?

Answer: Unfortunately few women chose to leave a record. And worse yet
much that was left was destroyed by the poor intentions of censors. But
of the little that remains Sappho does not complain of her lot:

'You dishonor the good gifts of the buxom Muses, chil-
dren, when you say "We will crown you, dear Sappho.
best player of the clear sweet lyre."  Know you not that
my skin is all wrinkled with age, my hair is turned from
black to white, my teeth are but few remaining, and the
legs can scarce carry the body you used once to join in
the dance, to foot it as nimbly as the little fawns, nimblest
of living things?  Yet I cannot help it. Not even God him-
self can do what cannot be; and surely as starry Night
follows rosy-armed Dawn and brings us darkness unto
the ends of the earth, Death tracks everything living and
catches it in the end, and even as he would not give his
beloved wife to Orpheus, so he ever thinks to keep prisoner
every women that dies, for all he should let her follow the
song and string of her spouse.  But I, be it known, love soft
living, and for me brightness and beauty belong to the
desire of the sunlight; and therefore I shall not crawl away
to my lair till that needs must be, but continue loved and
loving with you. And now it is enough that I have your
love, nor would I pray for more...'

Sappho To her Pupils translated by Edmonds

Question: what kind of woman was Penelope supposed to represent?

Answer: The beautiful, intelligent, and loyal wife of Odysseus. She is
often referred to as the constant Penelope. More about Penelope can be found
by clicking on the menu directory below.

Question: can you compare and contrast hecuba in the illiad and penelope in the oddysey

Answer: You can, but there is little to compare. Hecuba is a fairly passive
character in the Iliad, while Penelope is quite active in the Odyssey.
What Hecuba does is
not effective, while Penelope is very effective. Both women suffer loss,
but Hecuba continues to suffer, while Penelope lives to see a glad fruition to
her suffering when her husband returns.

Question: What was the main role of women in the Iliad and the Oddessy?

Answer: They actually play the different roles of women in
real life. Even thought the Iliad is essentially a description
of a battle, still there are a wide variety of women discussed.
This is a tribute to the importance of women. There are goddesses,
queens, wives, maidservants and concubines. Each of these
different women have a different role to play.

One of the joys of Homer is his universality, and one
aspect of that is the relevance of what he says to life in
general. And this is still true. It is odd that he would include
so many women characters in what is on the face of it a battle
story and an adventure story, but this oddness gives him more
universality. The fact is that women are important in life and
they act in many different ways and yet it is important to know
how they act. Homer has helped us to deal with that fact by
including in his stories many different kinds of women that
portray the many roles that women play in life.

Question: phaeacia

Answer: Phaeacia was the last country visited by Odysseus in his travels.
It was the home of King Alcinous, Queen Arete, and their daughter Nausicaa.
More information can be found at:

Click here

Question: What was the life of women in Ancient Greece?

Answer: Click on the Menu directory below then click on daily life.

Question: Who are the main characters in the Iliad?

Answer: Achilles and Hector.

Question: I am writing a paper on a charecter in either the Iliad or the
Odessey and am really stuck- the paper is to argue a charecter is or is not a
hero in todays society, can you help me please??

Answer: Consider Circe. Circe turns men into pigs. Is this good or bad?
She knows about potions. What about women today who know about potions.
She tries to seduce Odysseus. Is this horrible or heroic? She is conquered
by a show of force. Is this proper for women? She entertains Odysseus and
his men for a year and sends them on their way. Is this heroic. So people
think Circe is a witch, but she is not. She knows nothing of the Devil.
She is a goddess and comes by all her power naturally. Or is Homer wrong?

Question: why does Odesseus pick penelope over the goddess?

Answer: Odysseus rejects two goddeses, Circe and Calypso. Both goddeses
would have given him oblivion. Penelope gave him eternal fame.

Question: The Role of Women in Gilgamesh

Answer: The Epic of Gilgamesh was a story from Ancient Babylon, not ancient
Greece. More information is available at:

Question: How were female slaves treated?

Answer: Loyal slaves were treated like members of the family. Disloyal
slaves could be sold off or killed.

Question: Feminist views?

Answer: Because women are so important in the Iliad and Odyssey, in spite
of the overall masculine sujects, feminists have not been that critical of
Homer. I have discovered a book that seems to present a feminist view of the
Odyssey: Houston, Jean The Hero and the Goddess Ballentine, 1992,
ISBN: 0-345-36567-4.

Question: what did thetis do for zues before the illiad

Answer: She saved Hephaestus when he was cast down from heaven, She steared
the Argo through the wandering rocks, and Dionysus took refuge with her in
the sea. It was a favor for her to marry the mortal Peleus because she was
destined to bear a son who outshone his father. It would have not been good
to have a son that outshone Zeus.

Question: what were some of the speaches the women made

Answer: There are a number of speeches made by women. My favorite is one
by Athena where she responds to Odysseus’ doubts: ‘O hard of
belief! yea, many there be that trust even in a weaker
friend than I am, in one that is a mortal and knows not
such craft as mine; but I am a god, that preserve thee to
the end, in all manner of toils. And now I will tell thee
plainly; even should fifty companies of mortal men compass
us about eager to slay us in battle, even their kine
shouldst thou drive off and their brave flocks. But let
sleep in turn come over thee; to wake and to watch all
night, this too is vexation of spirit; and soon shalt thou
rise from out of thy troubles.’ (Odyssey, Book 20)

Question: what is aegilips

Answer: An island near Ithaca

Question: Why?

Answer: No one has been able to explain why Homer has such universl appeal.

Question: do you have a good picture of cyclops

Answer: Click here

Question: role of women cultaraaly

Answer: In most cases women=culture.

Question: The role of women, children, and men

Answer: Men work so women can take care of the children.

Question: Where can I find info. on the city of Ithica?

Answer: Ithaca is an island, not a city. What little information there is
is in the Odyssey. The archeology of Ithaca has found nothing.

Question: Why does Athena decide to help Achilles?

Answer: Achilles is opposed to Troy who is backing Paris. Paris was given
Helen by Aphrodite because he named her the most beautiful instead of Hera
or Athena.

Question: What would be a good argument in the odyessy based on the role of
religious beliefs with gods and human beings

Answer: The Odyssey is about the relation between men and gods. Much of
the material is valuable even though the Greek gods are no longer worshipped.

Question: cultural values

Answer: Homer expressed the ideal cultural values for the classical period.

Question: What was Penelope’s role in Greek society?

Answer: Penelope was the ideal faithful wife.

Question: Analyze Achilles’ point of view with reference to the Iliad

Answer: Any king would find Achilles difficult to deal with because he
was talented and hot-headed. Agamemnon was no exception.

Question: How were women portrayed in the Iliad?

Answer: A work on the glories of war might exclude women all together, but
the Iliad includes them in many and varied roles. This suggests that Homer
thought women were very important.

Question: Why is the Odyssey so carefull with Kirke

Answer: Circe is a goddess. You only need the favor or disfavor of one
goddess to determine the success or failure of your life.

Question: What sexual roles did the women in these poems play?

Answer: It is remarkable that in poems of military adventure, women should
play so prominent and diverse a role, but that certifies the universality of
these poems.


Question: Are Helen, Briseis, Kirke and Kalypso considered to be
tempresses? Are Penelope and Nausikaa faithful consorts? And, just
how “female” is Athena?

Answer: Circe and Calypso were temptresses. Only Penelope was the faithful
consort. Greek men did not think of Athena as a woman, but the women did.

Question: what are Odysseus faults in the story of The Odyssey

Answer: His fault is his ignorance and humanity; but he learns from his
mistakes, something the gods cannot do.

Question: are the fates in or refered to at all in the illiad or
odessey, and if so where.

Answer: In the Odyssey and the Iliad fate is referenced but not the fates.

Question: how are calypso and circe different

Answer: They were goddesses with different realms. Circe was into potions
and spells while Calypso was not.

Question: Does the sensitivity with which Andromache is treated subvert the dominant view of women as objects?

Answer: Yes, of course.

Question: I’m doing a reaserch paper on the role of women in the Odyssey,
I’m having difficulties on what the main points should be, I have the
background, Athena, and Penelope, the human and god female characters, and
the duties of the common women. If you could think of anything else that is
important I would be very thankful. Thanks for your time!

Answer: The main point is the divesity of roles.

Question: Who was the first witch in the Oddessy?

Answer: There are really no witches in the Odyssey, only goddesses. The concept of witches and magic comes to us from the Indo-European culture. The religion of this source seems to be involved. The word magic comes from the Indo-European ‘magh-‘, ‘to be able, to have power’. The words ‘witch’ and ‘wizard’ both come from Indo-European ‘weik-2’ , ‘spells, divination’. The word victim also comes from this root. In that system the Indo-European word ‘gheu-‘ is the root for ‘god’ and invoke and relates to a similar word for ‘pour a libation’. So it would seem that one invoked the god to get the power to cast spells and cast divination.

Question: Do the monsters in the Odyssey represent the women in Odysseus’s

Answer: No. Women are associated with monsters because women are always
around to cheer the men in their conquest of monsters, and they often
reward the men who make the conquest. This way the women are protected
from the monster. Some primitive cultures actually have women replacing
the monsters when they are defeated. The representation of this fact seems
to have caused women to be represented as monster bait, or even monster

Question: Explain the role of loyalty in this poem wiht regard to the actions and intentions of Ulysses, Penelope, and Telemachus

Answer: This is best answered by reading the poem

Question: I am doing an essay on how woman were treated in the Iliad, can
you help me located places where it talks about the treatment of woman?

Answer: To solve this problem you must read the entire work and take
notes on the relevant passages.

Question: Do mortal and immortal women in Greek mythic have anything in
common? Do they form a sisterhood in a shared condition? Thank You!

Answer: I think so, though it is not explicitly stated. The goddesses are
the ideal of which women are the real. The goddesses act like noblewomen
of leasure whose only task is to rule their realm. But it seems likely that
even women involved in drudgery received some benefit. Though a man might
think to mistreat a woman, he could not afford to cross a goddess.
Fortunately for the women men seem to restrain themselves with regards women
so as not to offend goddesses.

Question: what is Hera’s role in the Odyssey, and explain how she is
related to the Odyssey.It’s Urgent!!

Answer: Mainly she is the husband of Zeus. But she also protects
Menelaus and Jason so they arrive home safely.

Question: what was iphigenia’s role?

Answer: As a sacrifice victim she allowed the ships to depart for Troy
and the ultimate success of the expedition was assured. Since Agamemnon
schemed to get her killed, a retributive death for him was assured.

Question: compare the roles of women in the Iliad by Homer to the roles
of women in the Odyssey

Answer: To answer this question read both poems.

Question: What would be a good thesis statement if u were doing a report
on the roles of women in the odyssey by homer?

Answer: There are a number of interesting ideas that could be investigated:

  • The monsters are women because at one time women needed men to defeat
    monsters. The women rewarded the men by stepping over the monsters to the
    men that defeated them.
  • Men respected women because of the relation between women and goddesses.
    Goddesses punished men that mistreated women.
  • Gods and goddesses were sexually attracted to humans of superior beauty.
    This had the effect of producing offspring who were superior.
  • The person who married Penelope would become king of Ithaca.
  • The relation of Odysseus to Athena is an example of hysteria that was
    more commonly attributed to women.
  • The wand of Circe and Athena is related to the double-axe of the Amazons.

Question: I need to do an essay on Greek culture. Could you please give
me some information on comparison and contrast the young hero
of classical Greek literature (Telemakhos) to the young hero of the
medieval period(Gwain). And also, a discussion of the values
of Greek civilization and the contribution that they continue to
make to our current culture.

Answer: Sadly I cannot help you because this site is about women. One
can deal with heroines in this way in some very interesting ways. Hamlet
can be compared to Haemon and Ophelia can be compared to Antigone.

Question: It seems to me that there are more female characters in the
Odyssey than there are male. If so, why would Homer include so many female
characters in a novel written in a male dominated world?

Answer: Women were important to Homer. The world of Homer was one in
which males were trying to dominate, but it was a world in which women
recently dominated.

Question: is there an underlying meaning to the recurring pattern in
mythic texts abt the heroes where prominent roles(assistant, monster etc..)
are played by women

Answer: Yes. In the mating ritual men and women act like mock
adversaries. When they finally marry they are supposed to be partners. As
to women as partners, Robert Graves suggests an interesting reason for
monsters being women. Women need the protection from men from monsters so
whenever men fight monsters, women are present to cheer them on. If the
men defeat the monster, the women come forward to thank them. If this is
pictured in ancient images, it looks like the woman is coming out of the
monster. This led to the notion that the monster was a woman.

Question: How does mythology pertain to todays socierty

Answer: First you must remember that one man’s myth is another man’s
religion. Religion is of course relevant to today. But you really must say
religions unless you wish to be involved in religious prejudice.

Then you need to know that the Greek myth is buried in the psyche of our
society. One reason Fruedian psychology worked was because many of the
Greek myths have been repressed in our subconscious. These myths actually
provide reasons for behavior that would not otherwise be understood.

Finally, the Greeks were very literary and the Greek myths provide the
basis for some of the greatest literature ever written. They provide a high
standard which will be still set for many years to come.

Question: who said No, I am not a god..why confuse me with one who never

Answer: Odysseus said this to his son Telemachus.

Question: Where can I find the whole epic of the lliad

Answer: Click here

Question: I have to do an essay on Agamemnon being the most important
charactor met in the underworld. All about the themes bought up in his
convo with Odysseus in the book of the dead. pleeeeeeease help! It’s very

Answer: Why isn’t Teiresias the most important person that Odysseus met?
The story of Agamemnon warns Odysseus to be very cautious when he arrives
home so he will not be murdered as Agamemnon was.

Question: what themes does Agamemnon bring up in the underworld book?

Answer: In the Odyssey, Odysseus visits the underworld and is able to
talk to Agamemnon. The themes are best discovered by reading the Odyssey.

Question: my question is:what was the true role of women,were they whores
or just mothers because in texts women are portrayed as either whores or what is the clear explanation of this?

Answer: Morality evaluates means against ends. A good means results in
a good end. In the context of the Iliad and the Odyssey the ends are
defined in terms of male heroes. Women are then means that can support
the hero or subvert him. This situation is not as explicit as the story
of Pandora, or the story of Adam and Eve, but the result is similar. What
is surprising in Homer is the variety of roles that women take. If the
story is viewed from the women’s point of view then men are either good
providers or rapists. If both men and women are viewed as moral ends, then
their role is to lead a good life irregardless of their means to that end.

Question: Can you compare the role of women in The Iliad and the role of Olphelia in Hamlet?

Answer: Compare Ophelia to Antigone and Hamlet to Haemon.

Question: was odysseus a good leader

Answer: Yes.


Answer: Homer, Book XVI, The Iliad:
“Then Patroclus sprang like Mars with fierce intent and a terrific
shout upon the Trojans, and thrice did he kill nine men; but as
he was coming on like a god for a time, then, O Patroclus, was
the hour of your end approaching, for Phoebus fought you in fell
earnest. Patroclus did not see him as he moved about in the
crush, for he was enshrouded in thick darkness, and the god
struck him from behind on his back and his broad shoulders with
the flat of his hand, so that his eyes turned dizzy. Phoebus
Apollo beat the helmet from off his head, and it rolled rattling
off under the horses’ feet, where its horse-hair plumes were all
begrimed with dust and blood. Never indeed had that helmet fared
so before, for it had served to protect the head and comely
forehead of the godlike hero Achilles. Now, however, Zeus
delivered it over to be worn by Hector.”

Question: Discuss the role of the gods in general inthe Odyssey and one god, Athena, in particular, using examples of art works to amplify your answer.

Answer: This is a nice paper topic using the Odyssey and getting the
student to look at some ancient Greek art.

Question: im doin a report on the odyessy is there any way u could get me
the names of his crew and which man is which like who th guy who is always
playin the flute etc etc thanx

Answer: Eurylochus and Perimedes are part of the crew. You can find some
of the rest by reading the Odyssey. But the entire crew is never listed
since he started with six ships and about 300 men. I do not find any
reference to a flute player. Perhaps you are thinking of the voyage of the
Argo with Orpheus as one of the crew.

Question: For Homer, what is the highest good for man in life?
What ishis view of life after death?

Answer: In an age of heroes, to be a hero is the greatest good. There
is no heroism in death, only a recounting of the events of the past.

Question: Homer reveals an extraordinary understanding of psychology and
human nature. Will you illustrate this statement with some examples from the
iliad and the odyssey?

Answer: This question is best answered by reading the works of Homer.

Question: What kind of comparisons can be found between the mortal / immortal goddesses in ‘The Odyssey’?

Answer: None. There is only one mortal goddess and she is mentioned
by Hesiod as follows:
“…Graiae, sisters grey from their birth: and both deathless gods
and men who walk on earth call them Graiae, Pemphredo well-clad,
and saffron-robed Enyo, and the Gorgons who dwell beyond glorious
Ocean in the frontier land towards Night where are the clear-
voiced Hesperides, Sthenno, and Euryale, and Medusa who suffered
a woeful fate: she was mortal, but the two were undying and grew
not old. With her lay the Dark-haired One (14) in a soft meadow
amid spring flowers. And when Perseus cut off her head, there
sprang forth great Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus who is so
called because he was born near the springs (pegae) of Ocean; and
that other, because he held a golden blade (aor) in his hands.”

Question: What was the importance of women in the family in The Odyssey?

Answer: The queen and the realm were inseperable. Every women of
consequence held a realm. When a man married a woman he got the realm
to rule. But there were a number of tasks that a woman must perform.
These included baking, weaving, and sowing of seed. Some women held small
realms such as a well, or a stream, that might be important to another
women who held a piece of land. These women would be important servants
in the realm of the landed woman. If a woman did not have a realm she
had to be a servant in another realm. The difference between a servant
and a slave is not clear but the assumption is that if you did not have
a realm you were a slave. Of course, a woman spent most of her time
taking care of children if she had them.

If a marriageable daughter was seized and removed to a man’s home he
bacame the man’s wife. She still kept rights to her domain. If a
woman’s husband is killed by another man she becomes the husband of that
man and her realm is transferred to him.

Question: who was Danae in greek mytholegy?

Answer: Danae was the mother of the hero Perseus.

Question: list a few aspects of the culture represented in the illiad
that are prevalent in western culture today and some that are antagonistic
to western culture


  • Prevalences:
    • Men compete with one another for material rewards and status.
    • Each man must resolve himself to his god.
  • Antagonisms:
    • Men threw spears at one another and hacked at each other with swords.
    • Men had to row warships and drive horse-drawn chariots.


Question: explain the relationship between mortals and deities in the illiad

Answer: The events of the Iliad result from a quarrel between Hera, Athena,
and Aphrodite. This quarrel arose at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis and
continued when Paris chose Aphrodite the fairest goddess. Aphrodite gave
Helen to Paris who stole her away to Troy. Agamemnon and Helen’s husband
Meneleus came after her with an army. In the Iliad the goddesses Hera and
Athena help the Achean Greeks in the battle against the Trojans who are
assisted by Aphodite. Zeus likes to see the gods and goddess strive against
one another so he has encouraged other deities to take sides while he remains
neutral. Apollo, Artemis, and Ares have sided with Troy. Hephaestus, Hermes,
and Poseidon have sided with the Achaean Greeks. During the Iliad prayers
to gods assisting your side are beneficial and against your side are futile.
Bravery during battle is often assisted by deity allies and counteracted

Question: in the odyssey, to what extent was a man’s fate determined by how he treated women?

Answer: Strictly, a man’s fate is not determined by anything he does. But
it is given to him by women, The Fates. But within the realm of life there
are results that come from actions. Odysseus had to treat both Calypso
and Circe in very precise ways to get what he wanted. These were both
goddesses. Nausicaa and her mother Arete had to be treated well also.
Penelope was his goal. You might call this high treatment, but in the
course of the Odyssey he actually does little for her. In fact in
the Odyssey Agagamemnon shows little evidence for mistreating Clytemnestra,
but she kills him anyway. In like wise Penelope does not kill Odysseus
even though she could have. But it dos not seem that his treatment of
Penelope is the deciding factor.

Question: what is odyssues’ bow symbolize?

Answer: Not his strength, but rather his skill. To Artemis her bow
symbolizes death.

Question: why is the bow Odysseus’ weapon of choice?

Answer: At that time bow and arrow was not a very accurate weapon. It
was not easy to use and required a great deal of training and practice.
Arrows were difficult to make and could only be used once in battle. But
the arrow could be used when you enemy was at a great distance. The thing
to do was use arrows first and then when they were closer cast a spear.
When they got closer still the sword was used. Odysseus used this very common
strategy on the woers. He was quite skillful so he could kill many of the
woers with just arrows. But then he had to cast spears. The last woers
were dispached with a sword.

Question: How is the feminine represented in the text (e.g. images,
language, characters and ideas)?

Answer: These are the adventures of warriors, yet women are mentioned
constantly, as companions, prizes, goddesses, and wives. It has been suggested
that the mentioning of the wounds is feminine because the women would have to
mention them in their mourning. Women cannot suffer the wounds but they can
sing about them in sympathy.

Question: What important gender-issues does Homer raise within the poem?

Answer: Homer does not raise gender issues but reports life as he finds it.
But he does deal with spiritual aspects of life and includes gender roles
within that realm. Both sexes must make their peace with the divine. Homer takes a ntural view that depicts women in roles along with men. But though mortal women seems powerless against the men, yet the goddesses have tremendous power. Even though Hera schemes like a women might in the culture of the time, still her powers exceed those of all mortals and even those of many of the deity men. Furthemore the named goddesses far outnumber the named gods suggesting a feminine role in the spiritual realm far beyond the feminine role in the mortal one.

Question: What improtant questions or issues does Homer raise about the
role of women in religion -vs- in society?

Answer: Homer plainly admits the importance of women with regard to the
goddesses. The women are expected to understand the needs of goddesses
better than men. Men are shown as needing to submit to goddesses but it is not clear that this need relates to the role of mortal women.

Question: Analylitical paper on the Disguises in the Odyssey.

Answer: There are two basic issues relating to disguises in the Odyssey:
Deities used disguises to trick mortals, and wisdom to the ancient Greeks
involved both knowledge and guile. Odysseus uses disguises because he
is guileful. But goddesses may use disguises for other reasons. This should be considered. It may be a way of explaining how deities work their ways behind the scenes.

Question: the suffering of hecuba

Answer: After Troy fell she suffered beyond measure. She suffered so much
that it is doubtful if any living person can empathize with her. Her suffering
is beyond my understanding.

Question: why are most of the slaves of the wars then all women?

Answer: The men were trained as warriors so they would make poor slaves.
They would be too combative. The women were trained to be subserviant.

Question: Do you know anything about the theory that Cassandra was not killed by Clytemnestra, but lived to be the mother of descendents on the island of Zacynthus or Xante?

Answer. No. I do not.

Question: Who/What is Eurylokhos?

Answer: Eurycholus is one of the companions of Odysseus who serves as a
captain during the Circe episode (Odyssey, Book X)

Question: what is the predominant theme on the meaning of the story iliad

Answer: The Iliad starts with the god Apollo, “It was Apollo…”. It is significant that Apollo is the god of prophesy and poetry for the goal to the Iliad was to explain in poetry the ways of god to men. Primarily the Iliad is an explanation of the divinity that operates in and around life itself. As a book of action the predominant theme in the Iliad is the tragedy of Hector. Oddly this tragedy is seen in its opposition and a drama of the conquest of Hector with Achilles the ultimate victor. And so there are big themes intertwined.

Question: the Troyan Horse picture

Answer: Click here

Question: who is tantalus?

Answer: Tantalus was an evil king of Sipylus in Lydia who committed many
crimes against the gods including killing his son and serving his body at
a banquet for the gods. For his crimes he is eternally punished in Tartarus
by being offered food and water which moves constantly out of his reach.

Question: Who was Helen’s father who gave her in marriage? And what was
her child’s name? Who was the lover of Achilles who lured him to be killed
by Alexandros?

Answer: Helen’s father Tyndareus gave her away in marriage. Helen’s
children were possibly Iphigenia with Theseus. By Meneleus she may have given
birth to Hermione, Aethiolas, Maraphius, Pleisthenes, and perhaps Nicostratus.
Hermione has the best chance of being really her daughter but some stories
indicate she was barren after the rape by Theseus. Polyxena was the lover
of Achilles, but she may not have loved him. She did lure him to his death
and she paid for this act with her life.


Answer: A homeric hero is a man, often born of one mortal and divine
parent, who has great courage and strength, is famous for bold acts, and is
favored by the divinities. Notice that the word ‘hero’ is related to the
word ‘Hera’ which means protectress. A hero is a man that provides protection
and is celebrated for what he does. In the Homeric case the celebration is
that a poem is written about him. Of course, the celebration is not successful
unless the material is poetic. I leave it to the student to answer the part
about Achilles.

More than the result the struggle of the hero needs consideration. It would seem that the motivation for engaging in the struggle may be devine. But the agony of the struggle is evident. Some are up to it and others are not and even fall dead.

Question: Oddyseus was a traveller, in wich places did he travel and with whoom?

Answer: The details of his travels are spelled out in the Odyssey of Homer,
written in 750 BCE. The exact location of the places that he visits are vague and mysterious. There is a suggestion that his adventures are related to the voyages of the Mycenaeans that seem to have been made at the same time. Somewhere in the Mediterranean region is often cited but there are those who suggest more distant places, even the British Isles. The most reasonable suggestion is that his travels included mailand Greece, Crete, Nothern Africa, Southern Italy, and Sicily. But there is also a possibility that all his travels were confined to Greece and the Islands around Greece.

Sadly, though he started with over 300 men in the expedition only he survived. During his 10 year journey none of his mortal companions survived the 3rd year. But his immortal companions stayed with him until the end. Athena never forgot him and finally convinced Zeus to let him go home.

Question: What does Ino look like, and what is her scene in “The Odyssey?”

Answer: She is illustrated:
Click here

She gives Odysseus an imperishable garment which keeps him from drowning
after his ship is gone. This is a time of great doubt and questioning for Odysseus. He even doubted that the gift of Ino would save him. That she did this is wonderful but why she did this is not clear. Ino began life as a mortal and led a rather complex life with many adventures. Later in her life she was immortalized as a sea divinity. But she is not listed as a Nereid. Perhaps she acted because she owed a favor to Athena.

Question: What are the virutes of the women in the Odyssey?

Answer: What is interesting is the diversity, but each women has her own

Question: Why did Athena take such a liking to Odysseus she helped him out so much, but never acted like Circe or Calypso…Did she like him, or were there other reasons behind her helping so much?

Answer: Athena is the goddess of wisdom. She helps any one who is crafty
and wise. Odysseus was particularly crafty and wise. In fact one of the maorals of the story is that you should be crafty and wise.

Question: Penelope and Telemakhos: a complicated relationship between mother and son. Analyze the process of Telemakhos’ assertion of independent manhood and Penelope’s reluctant acceptance of it.

Answer: An interesting paper topic. It is all in the Odyssey.

Question: how do the women in the iliad view the men

Answer: Women play such a prominent role in the Iliad that one theory
states that Homer is a woman. Another possibility is that Homer put the
Iliad together from pieces written by women. In either case you can read the
Iliad for their view.

Question: What was Helen’s significance in the Iliad?

Answer: Helen was the face that launched a thousand ships. Her beauty was
the reason for the war. Homer paints her as a regretful tool of Aphrodite.
But Herodotus suggests she is part of a contiuous struggle for vengence.

Question: In the Iliad, what is the purpose of fighting over Sapredon’s body? Explain the burial process with war. I think it has to do with the body being buried with honor vs. having the body left to be devoured by dogs (a disgrace)..

Answer: First they struggled for the armor of the fallen warrior. This
was a remarkably valuable prize in those days. Then they fought for the
honor of burning the body, which was the custom in those days.

Question: What is Homer’s view of women, as expressed by his account of both mortal women and goddwesses in the iliad. what strategies do mortal women and goddesses use in the poem to pursue their goals?

Answer: This question is best answered by reading the Iliad.

Question: who is kirke?

Answer: Circe. ‘Kirke’ means church in German but this has no bearing on
Circe. Circe’s name means most directly ‘falcon’ but probably relates to the
word ‘circle’ as the path the falcon flies. ‘Kirke’ as ‘church’ derives from
the Greek word ‘kuriakon’ which means the lords house. The word ‘circle’
comes from the word ‘circus’ meaning ring. Kirke is a transliteration of the name Circe in Greek.

Question: What were all of the Call Points of Odesseus? Atleast 5 of them?


  • Troy, City of Priam
  • Land of the Cicones who lived on the southwestern coast of Thrace
  • Land of the Lotophagi (the Lotus eaters), Egyptians according to Herodotus
  • Cyclop’s Island, the island of Gioura, Greece
  • Country of the Winds of King Aeolus, islands of Lipari (the Aeolian Islands) that include Stromboli, off Sicily.
  • Land of the Laestrygons, An ancient people of Campania in Italy, fabled to be cannibals
  • Aeaea, Island of Circe, the promontory of Circeii. (Cape Circeo between Anzio and Gaeta, on the west coast of Italy, now part of the magnificent Parco Nazionale del Circeo extending to Capo Portiere in the north, and providing a reminder of the ancient Pontine Marshes before they were drained, rich in wildfowl and varied tree species.)
  • Erebus, where Hades rules
  • Island of the Sun
  • Ogygia, Island of Calypso, Gozo in Malta
  • Land of the Phaeacians, the fabled inhabitants of the island of Scheria,
    (Possibly identified with Corfu).
  • Ithaca

A possible story map but opinions vary.>

Question: you have mentioned that there is one critic who argues that the Odyssey was written by a woman. What is that critic’s name and where can I find some quotable material?

Answer: ‘The role of women, or female characters generally. This is so prominent that Samuel Butler wrote a book suggesting that the Odyssey was written by Homer’s daughter.’ reference

Question: Can you create a picture of society&govt. of Homer’s Odyssey?

Answer: Yes, but the answer would require a thesis of perhaps 250 pages.

Question: can u help me form a thesis on the representation of only mortal wo
men in the Iliad?? please

Answer: They are very diverse. One interesting fact is that in the Iliad
they do not fight, but other stories include the Amazons, who do fight. Does
the fact that Thetis visits her son suggest the mortal mothers visit their
sons? Achilles has women servants. Do the other men also have women servants?
Who cooks?, men or women?

Question: What rights, respnosibilities, and powers do they have?

Answer: in the age of heroes there were no rights or responsibilities,
only the power to fight.

Question: what was that attitude of women?

Answer: Their attitude must have been a good one or the society would have
collapsed. They also got excellent representation in this work about men.

Question: Is Athena a man or a woman?

Answer: A goddess such as Athena has the role and function of a woman
except that she rules her domain absolutely. The goddesses of the ancient
Greeks had much more authority and responsibility than their mortal
counterparts. Goddesses such as Athena did not do chores nor did she
stay at home. But though a goddess presented the picture of sexual
desirability they did not have to worry about being sexually molested or
raped. They could easily overpower a mortal man and they could defend
themselves against another god. Persephone was raped only with the will
of Zeus. Finally the life of a goddess was not all fun and games. They had a realm to maintain. This involved promulgating laws and probably held formal meeting during which they heard appeals and settled petitions.

Question: How was sexism portrayed in the Iliad? Show quotes to support this evidence.

Answer: This question is best answered by reading the illiad.

Question: How is Sappho a response to Homer?

Answer: Sappho’s writing, unlike Homer’s, is set on a much smaller
human stage, and her topic is exclusively love, not war.

Question: what female picture emerges from the Odyssey

Answer: No single picture emerges but the importance of the female. Females in the Odyssey have many roles.

Question: compare and contrast Penelope, Medea and Clytemnestra

Answer: This is a possible question for a student.

Question: To which muse is the invocation given in the Odyssey?

Answer: At the time the Odyssey was written there was only one muse. This
one muse contained all of the features of the later nine muses. In other words
there is no difference between saying ‘Tell me O muse’ and ‘Tell me all ye

Question: What is the significance of the underworld in the Iliad?

Answer: The underworld is the repository of the souls of the dead. It seems as though it is the underworld because the dead fall to the ground and are buried there. Only the deities were in the upper direction. The smoke from the sacrifices rose to the deities while the dead souls drifted down into the earth. In book XV Homer states “When he had thus spoken his eyes were closed in death, his soul left his body and flitted down to the house of Hades, mourning its sad fate and bidding farewell to the youth and vigor of its manhood”

Question: who is ini in oddyssey

Answer: “Ino daughter of Cadmus, also called
Leucothea, saw him. She had formerly been a mere mortal, but had
been since raised to the rank of a marine goddess”

Question: In the Iliad, do you know how most women probably felt about being a war prize?

Answer: They were not very happy. Consider the following passage about
“Briseis, fair as Venus, when she saw the mangled body of
Patroclus, flung herself upon it and cried aloud, tearing her
breast, her neck, and her lovely face with both her hands.
Beautiful as a goddess she wept and said, “Patroclus, dearest
friend, when I went hence I left you living; I return, O prince,
to find you dead; thus do fresh sorrows multiply upon me one
after the other. I saw him to whom my father and mother married
me, cut down before our city, and my three own dear brothers
perished with him on the self-same day; but you, Patroclus, even
when Achilles slew my husband and sacked the city of noble Mynes,
told me that I was not to weep, for you said you would make
Achilles marry me, and take me back with him to Phthia, we should
have a wedding feast among the Myrmidons. You were always kind to
me and I shall never cease to grieve for you.”
She wept as she spoke, and the women joined in her lament-making
as though their tears were for Patroclus, but in truth each was
weeping for her own sorrows” Iliad, Book XIX

Question: ….. my paper is about the women (important ones) in the Odyssey
> and if they ultimately serve in the patriarchal society of the Odyssey to
> impede or help the hero (Odysseus) accquiring kleos

Answer: The society of Odysseus was not nearly so patriarchal as the society of Homer and the lack of patriarchy of Odysseus is sometimes concealed. It is Calypso who mainly concerns his fame because she wants to conceal him, with the result that he will receive no fame.

Question: were can i go to get some info on homer like a biography type thing?

Answer: Truthfully, there is no information on Homer. Information that he
was blind, male, bearded, from Cos, etc. is all unsubstantiated. That he wrote
both the Iliad and the Odyssey is even in question.

Question: Why does Athena disguise herself as a man when she goes to visit Telemokos? Is there significance in a man’s disquise vs. a woman’s disguse?

Answer: When Athena visits a worshipper she always assumes the guise of
an influentiatial friend of the worshipper so her advise is taken easily.
An older man would be more influential to telemachos than a woman.


Answer: You gain this information best by reading both the Iliad and the
Odyssey. By researching this topic for yourself you gain a much better
appreciation and understanding of these very interesting and useful books.

Question: Does Penelope suspect that the stranger is Odysseus and is that why she acts the way she does??

Answer: Penelope is very kind and considerate to strangers and that is why
she acts that way. The ancient Greeks felt you should be kind and considerate
to strangers because the gods would visit you in the guise of a stranger. If
you were unkind to a god you were punished severely. She knows that the
wooers are not gods because they act so greedily. Had a single one of
the wooers been kind she might have married him, but since none were she
just pined for Odysseus.

Question: the roles of the insects in the odyssey

Answer: Odysseus checks to see if worms have eated his bow in his absence.
Honey from bees is the only substance used to sweeten things, and it must be
used in libations to the divine sometimes.

Question: Who is Melatho

Answer: ” She was daughter
to Dolius, but had been brought up by Penelope, who used to give
her toys to play with, and looked after her when she was a
child; but in spite of all this she showed no consideration for
the sorrows of her mistress, and used to misconduct herself with
Eurymachus, with whom she was in love.” Odyssey, Book XVIII.

Question: What did Nausicaa look like and what was her importance in The Odyssey I need to know what she looked like before the end of the week.

Answer: No one knows what Nausicaa looked like. The following image is a
possibility: fresco of a woman from Mycenae

Question: how did athena affect the movement of the plot in the iliad

Answer: The Iliad is not a novel and it is wrong to assign it a plot. It
is more like a history, but it is also a spiritual guide. The Iliad helps
the reader to plan his/her own journey through life.

Question: meaning of hospitality

Answer: “The punishment for failure to help strangers who throw themselves on your mercy or to treat guests with the proper hospitality is severe; it was administered in ancient Greece by the Furies, demonic fiends who were capable of pursuing then sucking the blood of offenders, until they were as hard and dry as mummies. –“

Question: What is theRelationship between Naussica ad Oddysseus?

Answer: Nausicaa is the salvation of Odysseus. Even a young maiden can be
a man’s salvation; Even a man as rugged and as wise as Odysseus. And
salvation, when it comes is just as soft and sweet as as a maiden’s kiss.

Question: how similar is antigone in Sophocles’s Antigone to the women in the Iliad and the Odyssey

Answer: This question is best answered by reading the various works.

Question: What years were these poems written

Answer: The dates of Homer’s works are not known but are believed to be in
the neighborhood of 750 BCE.

Question: deadly females stage

Answer: Some females in the Odyssey are deadly: Scylla, Charybdis, and the
Sirens. Others are powerful but not so deadly: Circe and Calypso. But it is
clear that most women are not so deadly. When Odysseus and his men sack
Ismarus of the Ciccones they take wives and much substance. And through
the journey Odysseus is served by many handmaids. Nausicaa, the princess, is
on a laundry task when she finds Odysseus. There is quite a contrast between
the deadly and more normal almost helpless females. The deadly females suggest
the goddesses who have the power to be quite deadly. The normal mortal female
seems more helpless.

Question: What is western culture to do with the view of women promoted by ancient myth (Iliad/gilgamesh)?

Answer: There is no certainty here but myth seems to express ideas which
are often found in the subconscious. Some myths seem to promote negative
valuations of women which seem unfair. Others represent female power that is
beyond the bounds of mortal women. One can only hope that a study of myth
will reveal insight into a productive role of women in society. But we
know that some values taken for granted by contemporary society were
established by beliefs in myths. These values will not be changed unless
belief in the myth is shaken.

Question: who is Odysseus’ enemy and why?

Answer: One point of the Odyssey is that with Athena at your side you can
deal with any enemies. Thr Greeks are not like the Christians who believe
that life can be resolved into a conflict between good and evil with God
fighting for good and the devil fighting for evil. The Devil is not in the
Odyssey, nor is there a single representative of Evil. Odysseus does conflict
with Poseidon on several occaisions, but Poseidon does not represent his
general opposition. Rather Poseidon is just one of many immortals who test the
resolve of Odysseus.

Question: Explain how Homer uses chronology in telling the story of Odysseus.

Answer: One should read the Odyssey to fully understand this aspect of the
Odyssey. The story is not told in a chronologically linear manner. It should
be clear from this fact that Homer is not interested in the reader focusing
on the chronology as the primary fact of the story. Many authors have laid out
the chronological facts of the story but they have trivialized the point of the
story. The story is about the relationship of man and god and not about the
relation between men, nor is it about the relation between man and nature. The
fact that it makes a good story is very incidental to its purpose. But the
chronoligical structure does help it become a good story. This has led so to
believe that it is just a story which Homer made up. Rather it is a history
which Homer has organized. The ancient Greeks believed the story was true in
every detail.

Question: where can i find a lot of information on laestrygones?

Answer: Most information is in the Odyssey. There they sink all but one
of the ships of Odysseus and most of his men drown. It is also said that the
land if the Laestrygones has summer nights so short the shepards taking out
their flocks in the morning met those returning at sunset.

Question: where can i find a picture of Brisies?

Answer: Briseis:

Question: role of achilles shield

Answer: “And first Hephaestus makes a great and massive shield, blazoning well-wrought emblems…” The contrasts between war and peace are sharp. The pictures on the shield of Achilles are symbols representing the Greek Ethos and its antithesis. It is about the city at war and the city at peace. The city at peace is prosperous. Peace allows joy, love, sexuality, continuance of the species, law and justice, festivals and harvest, all life in perfect balance. The antithesis is the city at war, where hate, chaos, death and destruction conflict with the Greek Ethos.

“And he forged the Ocean River’s mighty power girdling round the outmost rim…” The Ocean is the eternal symbol of change. In life, change is the only constant factor. The symbolism on the shield of Achilles is the essence of Greek culture, hence it becomes a theme for Homer.

Question: Does Homer’s writing reflect humanism and rationalism and if so, how? Also, what does the story tell us about the state of Greek politics and why do you think the Greeks found this story so compelling?

Answer: It is a great story well told. The compelling nature of the story is
as evident to them as to us. The story does not describe Greek politics, but
it did inspire it. Many of the values of Homer were touted by the Classical
Greek politicians. Homer is not man centered, but rather god centered. He
is humanistic only in so far as he is rational. His rationality stems from
the important role of Athena in his works. The role of Fates and Dike
are supportive of this. He is also careful to develop the causes of things.

Question: what do you mean when you say that homer is humanistic only in so far as he is rational? Could you give me an example of how each are portrayed?

Answer: Humanism focuses on the activities of human beings to the exclusion of theology. Events are explained in terms of their causes by reference to scientific principles. Homer is concerned with the ralation of man and god and is totally theological. But Homer deals carefully with causal chains of events usually with a divinity at the beginning of the chain. Even so the divinities are limited by fate and what is right and just. As a result the Greeks begin to understand the causes of things more in terms of natural laws and less in terms of theology. By the time of Aristotle the contribution of the divinities in causes has been limited to the first mover. Thus, Homer can be seen as the beginning of a way of thinking that results in humanism even though he is totally theological.

Question: I am trying to write a paper on the role of women in Homer’s works, both the Iliad and The Odyssey. I have found quite a bit of information, and your web page has been very useful. I thank you. I would like to look at the role of “stranger” or “travel” and how he is supposed to be recieved by the women in the home. For example, when Odysseus goes on his journey is greeted by several different women, in different ways. Have you noticed any pattern that ties these responses together? Or any actual “appropriate” way for them to behave? Some ideas I had were that some goddesses, such as Circe and Calypso, want him to stay and be their sexual partner, while other, or rather human women just seem to be nice, but don’t really start anything sexual, and instead seem more asexual than would seem typical given his appearance and countenance. Do you have any ideas or suggestions in this area? I would greatly appreciate any feed you had on this subject.

The ancient Greeks had to be especially careful with strangers. Gods and
goddesses often disguised themselves as strangers to test people. If you tested
bad you would be punished. If you tested good you would be rewarded. This
is probably why Odysseus received so many gifts from the Phaecians. Circe
and Calypso did not need to worry about this because they could recognize
a god or goddess easily.

Question: What are Zeus’ and Agamemnon’s typical reactions when crisises arise? And How do they react when they muse make decisions they don’t want to make ( for instance, when Zeus must give up Sarpedon and Agamemnon Chryses?)

Answer: Read the Iliad to find the answer.

Question: Why is it that Zeus is often sucessful and Agamemnon not sucessfull as a leader?

Answer: See above.

Question: how does homer present women in the poem the illiad? And what logic does Homer use when he decides to present one sort of woman one way and another sort another way?

Answer: See above.

Question: Do women have agency, or the power to act, or are their lives completely circumscribed by men?

Answer: This varied a lot. Atalanta was only slighty restricted by men.
When she traveled she was able to defend herself. Women such as Helen,
Penelope, and Clytemnestra were restricted to their homes but within their
homes there were few restrictions. But there were a number of women such
as Briseis, whose were literally slaves, and sex slaves at that. This
should be contrasted with the men, who were also restricted. Most people
were restricted to a neighborhood where they were known. Nobles were less
restricted, while male slaves were very restricted.

Question: Who were the controlling females in the Odyssey?

Answer: There is a sense in which Penelope controlled everything.

Question: what role does Aphrodite play to Helen, in the Iliad and then the Odyssey?

Answer: Aphrodite provides Helen with the powers that come from her being
the most beautiful woman in the world. If she is the most beautiful then she
is also the sexiest and the most attrative to men. She gets away with things
that no other woman can do. But was her beauty the cause of the deaths of
all those men? This seems unlikely to have been Aphrodite’s plan. But once
the war was in full swing Aphrodite spared no effort to assist Helen in the
pursuit of her goals.

Question: Was penelope a good role model for all women during homers time?

Answer: Penelope was a role model for all time.

Question: what did literature meant to the greeks?

Answer: Literature was a key to knowledge and learning.

Question: what was the name of the woman who captured odyseus and held him prisoner for ten years?

Answer: No one. Calypso, a goddess, held him for 7 years. Circe, another
goddess, held him for one year. In both cases he was captivated rather
than captured.

Question: Do you know of any time that Persephone made an appearence in the Odyssey, the Iliad, or the story of King Edipus?

Answer: There is no mention of Persephone in the Iliad but she is mentioned numerous times in the context of the voyage of Odysseus to Hades.

Question: What role did Athena play in the Odyssey?

Answer: She personified the wisdom that Odysseus needed to survive.

Question: what are some examples of penelopes homeric womanly virtue? is
she just a dimpering doormat? how far does mausicaa fit this model?

Answer: You should read the Odyssey to answer this question.

Question: I am writing an essay : “Examine the relationships between the female deities and the male heroes in the Odyssey and the Iliad”. Which passages or books should I be focusing on?

Answer: This is determined by reading the Iliad.

Question: what is the comparison of the hardshipsfaced by Helen and Andromache because of the war?

Answer: Both were wives of Trojans and faced slavery after the war.
Adromache faced the death of her baby son while Helen was childless in Troy.
Helen was threatened with death but she became the wife of her former husband.
Adromache became the consort of her husband’s killer’s son. After she bore him
four children he abondoned her for a younger, more beautiful woman. Helen bore
no more children and lived well with her former husband until after he died.
One story then has her crucified for starting the Trojan war. Andromache loses two husbands to death before she dies. Both women lead extremely tragic
lives but if Helen was in fact crucified, her life ended more tragically than
Andromache. The fact that Helen was raped twice certainly adds to her pathos.

Question: the relationship of the female gods with the male heroes

Answer: Male heroes had to respect all deities whether male or female.

Question: Do you think that it was impossible for mortals to
have a long term , meaningful relationship with the female deities
hence odysseus returning to penelope ? Did the Greeks disapprove of
this merging of mortal/ immortal?

Answer: You seem to have missed the point of the Odyssey. It is
the relationship man has with the divine. The trick is to cultivate the
right deities. Athena is the most important and she is female. Calypso is
the wrong deity and this needs to be realized. Odysseus could not achieve
his destiny if he gave in to such a silly goddess.

Question: Compare the pain of Odysseus to that of Penelope.

Question: Their pain is not comparable. Both suffered greatly.

Question: if women were so influential why did the greek writers portray them as helpless individuals, and what effect did it play in the novels such as the odyssey and iiliad?

Answer: Neither the Iliad, nor the Odyssey is a Novel. A novel is usually
a work of fiction that romanticizes life. Neither the Iliad nor the Odyssey
are a work of fiction. The events of these works were believed to be true by
their author. Rather than romanticizing Homer has spiritualized the story.
Read these stories carefully to realize that the women are not helpless. Read
these books to realize that some women are extremely oppressed like Briseis,
while others are extremely powerful, like Penelope. Because Penelope is
plying her tears she looks weak, but she is actually manipulating. What she
does is organize the situation so that her husband can return and take over.
Without her help he would have faced an army that would have done him in just
as Agamemnon was done in.


Answer: The ancient Greeks had no concept of sin and Penelope had the
favor and protection of Athena to keep her from making a mistake.

Question: In the Iliad, there are two worlds of conflict: the masculine and
the feminine world of domestic life especially between Hector and Andromache

Answer: The interesting thing about Homer is the extent to which these
worlds are united. Mostly we see a man’s interpretation of the woman’s world.
There are few women that give their report.

Question: do you have a picture of a really old copy of the odyssey? if so that would be great. thanks

Answer: See: Homeric Papyri

Question: How does the presentation of sexual episodes in the Odyssey relate to the story as a whole? Thank you!

Answer: The Odyssey is a journey through life and sex is an important
part of that journey.

Question: What roles did The Three Graces play in The Iliad and the Odyssey?

Answer: You obtain this information by reading the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Question: what does the word demodocus

Answer: Demodocus is the bard of Alcinous in book VIII of the Odyssey. His
description is similar to Homer himself. The word itself means something like
build fancy or fancy builder.

Question: do you have all of the Epithets?

Answer: The book by Bell has quite a few.

Question: Why is penelope an epic hero?


  • Penelope is an important character in an Epic
  • She remains faithful to her husband for 20 years.
  • She confounds the wooers for many years and still maintains control
    of her husbands estate.
  • She sets the wooers up so her husband can destroy them.

Question: how does homer in the iliad use the role of women and to what purpose?

Answer: It is not correct to treat Homer as a creative author who wrote a
work of fiction. Homer tried to reveal the truth as he knew it. He could
rearrange the truth and he could be selective, but he could not alter it.
The fact that he includes women in so many roles indicates the he thought
women were an important factor in the nature of reality. In their quest
for the divine men would have to relate to women in very positive ways.

Question: how does athena influence odyssey

Answer: It is not Athena, but her realm that is important. A man needs a
lot of knowledge and cunning to survive and prosper. Judging from the
experience of Penelope, women need knowledge and cunning too.

Question: How succesful has the author been in making the story of teh Trojan War, made famous by homer’s epic ‘The IIiad’, accesible to a contemporary audience?

Answer: The size of this site reflects current interest. A lot of
questions have been answered.

Question: What is Circe the personification of in Odysseus life?

Answer: The temptation of the easy road that leads to ignominity.

The temptation in life is to hold a small victory and not realize that
this is just one battle in a long struggle.

Question: the womwn of thucydided

Answer: Thucydides has Pericles remark that ” the greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or criticizing you,” an attitude which reflects the extremely marginalized position of women in ancient Greek life (Thucydides, 2.45.2).

Question: what is role of athene in odysseus acheivments?

Answer: Athena is the personification of his wisdom.

Question: Explain how the Homeric Characters of Helen, Andromache and Briseis
function in comparison with the images of women in Thucydides

Answer: ‘Thucydides has Pericles remark that ” the greatest glory of a woman
is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or
criticizing you,” an attitude which reflects the extremely marginalized
position of women in ancient Greek life (Thucydides, 2.45.2).’
Helen, Andromache and Briseis, act consistently with this idea.

Question: desire in life

Answser: Odysseus wants nothing more than to be home with his wife and
son. He says to Calypso, ‘Be not wroth with me hereat, goddess and queen.
Myself I know it well, how wise Penelope is meaner to look upon than
thou, in comeliness and stature. But she is mortal and thou
knowest not age nor death. Yet even so, I wish and long day
by day to fare homeward and see the day of my returning.
Yea, and if some god shall wreck me in the wine-dark deep,
even so I will endure, with a heart within me patient of
affliction. For already have I suffered full much, and much
have I toiled in perils of waves and war; let this be added
to the tale of those.’

Question: Are women’s roles different among the gods than among mortals?

Answer: Yes they are. Every goddess is a queen with a realm that she
rules. In classical times no women were queens, and in Mycenaean times
there were queens but they did not rule. In Minoan times there may have been
queens that ruled. Mortal women spent a considerable time bearing and raising
shildren, while the goddesses spent little time with this. The bearing may
have caused an inconvenience for a goddess like Leto but raising of divine
offspring is not required.

Question: who was the woman who turned the men into farm animals

Answer: Circe, but she is an immortal goddess. A mortal woman cannot
perform this type of transformation.

Question: I would like to get pictures of Calypso and a brief exlenation of
what they mean. I am really interested in the one painted by Max Beckman in
1943 titled Odysseus and Calypso

Answer: Max Beckman

Samuel Palmer (1805–1881) The Departure of Ulysses from the Isle of Calypso, 1848–9

Question: How do te women in the Odyssey relate to the hero?

Answer: This question is best answered by reading the Odyssey.

Question: What does Odysseus’s trip to the Underworld tell us about the
Greeks understanding of life and death?

Answer: It tells us very little. This is one of the most difficult aspects
of the Odyssey. The weakness of Archeology is that it focuses so much on
death and life has to be induced from a preoccupation with death. What
archeology tells us is quite different from what is in the Odyssey. The
burial practices of the Mycenaeans are quite different from the burial
practices of the classical Greeks, and yet what is described in Homer differs
from both of these. We will have to conclude that we know much more about
death from Archeology because this is what archeology focuses upon. There
can be no doubt that the ideas in the Odyssey had an effect, but we must
be very careful in our tracing of that effect to what we can substantiate.

Question: How does Menaleus learn that Odysseus is alive?

Answer: Read the Odyssey for an answer.

Question: Where does Telemachus go when he leaves Ithaca? Why?

Answer: Read the Odyssey for an answer.

Question: What two plot lines are the gods working on in books one through four? Whish gods do what for whom?

Answer: Read the Odyssey for an Answer. This question is more interesting
for the Iliad.

Question: how does homer’s life relate to the representation of slaves,
work or housing in the odyssey?

Answer: Nothing is known of Homer’s life so we have no way of knowing this
relation. Since his poems relate to events hundres of years before his time,
and since we have no knowledge of his time either, it is hard to draw
conclusions about Homer from his poems.

Question: Were the Siren’s in both the Iliad and The Odyssey?

Answer: The Sirens were only in the Odyssey.

Question: =Can you direct me as to where I could find good critical essays/works
regarding the role of Hospitality in The Odyssey? Including woman and/or other
characters in The Odyssey

Answer: This question is best answered by reading the Odyssey.

Question: I have read The Odyssey thoroughly and know examples of
hospitality. Can
you direct me as to where I can find websites or other sources on the web to
get a “critical” view on hospitality in The Odyssey? I have several hard back
books, but am lacking other sources for my paper, for instance electronic ones.

Answer: For a good paper on this subject you have to provide the critical
view. You do this by interpreting the words in the Odyssey. From this
you determine if the view is consistent. You also relate this view to other
practices. For expert information you might look at different translations
to see if there are ambigous words included. You could compare the Odyssey
to other contemporary works, such as the Iliad or works by Hesiod. You
could also look at books that reference the Odyssey to see if they also
mention hospitality.

Question: Who is the god of animals?

Answer: Artemis is the goddess of wild animals. Domesticated animals
have individual associations. Hera is the goddess of cows, peacocks, and
cuckoos. Aphrodite is the goddess of doves.

Question: What is the significane of Odysseus’ visit to Hades in the Odyssey?

Answer: Odysseus goes to Hades to consult with a seer who is no longer
living. He also gains news of other persons, some of whom have also died. He
also establishes facts about the nature of the afterlife which are quite
influential on later authors.

Question: What is Odysseus’ reaction to Telemachus’ reaction when he
reveals that he isn’t the beggar but really is Odysseus?

Answer: Read the Odyssey to answer this.

Question: What is the significance of Odysseus’ visit with Eumaios in the
Odyssey? Which book could i find the answer in?

Answer: You need to read the entire Odyssey anyway.

Question: What was the only adventure undertaken by Odysseus, in the
Odyssey that was not told in flashback? And if u don’t want to answer this
question could you at least tell me which book i may find it in?

Answer: You need to read the entire Odyssey anyway.

Question: I’ve already read the entire Odyssey…that’s why i asked the above

Answer: The question is is it more important to have answers to questions
such as you pose or is it more important to read the Odyssey with understanding
and the answer is the later. The Odyssey is so important a foundation upon
which thought and literature is based that it is worth reading many times. And
it seems so well written that each time you read it you will learn more new
thoughts and insights. It was not until my third reading of the Odyssey that
I realized how important it was as a spiritual resource. As a companion to the
Bible it can be a source of spiritual inspiration and understanding. And as a
contrast to the Bible it provides balance that allows a tolerant view of
religion that is so important in our global economy. I have every confidence
that your rereading of the Odyssey will be your step toward world peace.

Question: why does athene assume her roles in the odyssey and why

Answer: Athena is the goddess of wisdom.

Question: According to Homer, when did the gods intervene in human events?
What does this say about Greek attitudes toward the gods? Any info. and other
sources i could look up would b reallly helpful!! Please e-mail me Thank you.

Answer: Each deity has a plan that they would like to carry out and their
intervention supports that plan. But they have restrictions of law and fate.
Their only real power is in their realm. To affect outside their realm they
must negotate with other deities. But fate limits what they can do. It seems
that fate weaves a number of threads that each person can follow. These
threads are joined a a number of fixed points which define events which the
individual must endure. The deity can redirect the mortal to a differnt
thread at that point. Thus the deity is limited in the intervention that can
be taken. Even so this redirection can have powerful effects.

Question: What is Homer’s attitude towards Helen in the Iliad

Answer: Read the Iliad for this.

Question: “Go sit with Paris yourself henceforth be goddess no longer
never let your feet carry you back to Olympus worry about him and look after
him till he make you his wife, or, for the matter of that, his slave-”
(Iliad, Book III) What does it mean?

Answer: Helen has it easier than most women because she does not bear
any children to Paris, but she is still tired of being his love slave.
She is telling Aphrodite that she should do it instead of Helen. The Greeks
understood the power of love and sex, but they did not think that it was
always positive. Helen seems to say that she wants more than just sex.

Question: who is wife of paris

Answer: Oenone and then Helen.

Question: What does the gods’ behavior symbolize, and what does it tell us about the
ancient greeks?

Answer: The Iliad is an attempt to describe man’s relation to both
real and spiritual world. Descriptions of the gods describe the spiritual world
and its relation to the real world. The Iliad describes the religious behavior
of the ancient Greeks. The classical Greeks used the Iliad as a guide to
how they should behave, much as we use the Bible. But unlike our connection
to the Bible, they did not believe in the Iliad. The Greek idea of the gods
mixes spirituality and knowledge of the real world. The Greeks wanted to know
the causes of things. The gods were related to because it was believed that
they were the cause of many physical events. Each divinity was assigned a unique
realm whose lawful nature they controlled. To know the divinity was to know the
laws of that realm. When knowledge of the laws of the realm were all that was
required the divinity became merely a personification of that realm. A divinity
was not approached unless a Greek had a need that he could not meet by himself.
Thus it is not correct to say that the Greeks believed in a Religion. Rather
they went to the gods when they needed more control of nature than they could provide
by themselves. The Greeks were selectively religious.

Question: One of the questions answered regarding the role of women in The Odyssey is
Women=Culture. How so? Can you provide some examples of this? I find it interesting and
would love to use it is the classroom

Answer: The meaning of culture is debatable but in this context a focus on
artistic expression and artefacts is most relevant. In ancient Greece the
existence of women centers on the home. They are the maintainers of the
activities of the home and the objects located there. Often men are
styled as the posessors while the women are possesions. As an object then
the women represent the activities that the men value. In this way women
equal culture.

Question: What does love say about Penelope that she is faithful to him after all these years? Yes, love is obviously an emotion that Odysseus has but why is this important to the text? Yes, it helps get him home but what, perhaps, does that say about the nature of the Odyssey itself? What is Odysseus going home to? What does it say about his wife that she is faithful to him after all these years?

Answer: Odysseus chooses Penelope because she is mortal. She can sin but does not, or at least she sins like Odysseus likes her to. She is a wife worthy of Odysseus.

The love of Penelope helps Odysseus helps him with his struggle home. But there is more. A man is defined by his family and there is his family too, his father, his son, even his dog, and his dead mother. And he is also a king. But a king in those days was more. It was a person who participated in the divine. It was much more of an honor than a duty. And it was Penelope who provided the kingship. That is why the suitors were so interested in her. Only a few women could do this.

The Odyssey is much more about the nature of the trip than the destination. Odysseus has adventures that are extremely meaningful. You have to study them carefully to determine their meaning. But if you do you may gain insite into your own trips, including that most difficult of trips, your life. When life is view as a journey the trip is everything and the destination nothing.

Question: What roles do women play in the epic? Does Homer paint positive or negative pictures of women? What are some examples and how can they be show to reflect Homer’s view?

Answer: It is quite puzzling that women have no set role in the Odyssey. There are many roles that they play. Seductress, faithful wife. obediant daughter, ogre, lover, worker, etc. Homer paints both positive and negative pictues of women. It would seem that women in the Odyssey can be said to be more self-actualized than the women of the classical times but no one knows why.

Question: what is the structure of the iliad and the odyssey?

Answer: The structure of both of these works is very complex and no one knows why. But they both have in common that they approach a large time frame through a short one. The structure of the Iliad is essentially a few days toward the end of the Trojan War. Achilles seems to be the hero but the structure is better viewed as a tragedy of Hector. We see Hector’s heroism and ultimately his death and transformation to a hero. In the Odyssey the beginning involves the situation with Odysseus and Calypso contrasted with the situation with his son and wife on Ithaca. A few days after the first scene Odysseus is back in Ithaca in disguise. All the rest of the tales are stories he tells during this short period. One interesting point of view that I came across recently is that though the Odyssey cannot be interpreted as a statement of historical colonization and voyages of discovery, the stories can be interpreted as a statement of the feelings that participants in these voyages probably encountered. In fact the Odyssey was written when such voyages were being made and the results reported.

Questions I about Homer and the Role of Women in the Iliad and the

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Including Amazons, Goddesses, Nymphs, and Archaic Females from Mycenaen and Minoan Cultures