Thursday, December 6, 2012

Why the Trojan War Matters

In the Trojan War, Myceneans attacked the city of Troy and, after ten long years, succeeded in destroying it around 1184 BC (Eratosthenes).

Let us imagine, for a moment, that you and I are looking at a map of Olympia. Let us also imagine for a moment that, as we look at this map, we happily recall its most important people, places, and events of the last 6,000 years. As protracted and painful as it was, the Trojan War was not, in itself, one of those most important events. The Myceneans destroyed Troy but, soon enough, Mycenae itself was destroyed by others.

We rightly recall this war because Homer wrote about it in his Iliad and Odyssey around 750 BC. Homer’s two books express such density of meaning that they have inspired meaningful literature, painting, and sculpture ever since.

One great privilege we enjoy today is the opportunity to read the Iliad and Odyssey. By doing so, we may deepen the meaning of our own lives. We may do so by actively appreciating the meaning of these epic poems ourselves. We may do so by actively engaging the literature, painting, and sculpture inspired by these poems ever since. And we may do so by weaving the meanings created and inspired by Homer into our own discussions of them as well as into the stories about our own lives that we share with one another.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.