Book 6: Iliad Summary for OCR Classical Civilisation Spec

Book 6: Hector and Andromache

1-72 Greeks enjoy success: Agamemnon and Nestor urge Greeks to show no mercy

73-118: Prophet Helenus advises Aeneas and Hector to rally the Trojans and then orders Hector to tell the women of Troy to make an offering to Athene to try to stop Diomedes’ rampaghe

119-236: Glaucus and Diomedes meet in battle (story of Bellerophon)

237-368: Hector arrives in Ilium and meets his mother Hecabe. The offering to Athene is made (in vain) and Hector converses with Paris and Helen

369-395: Hector converses with his wife Andromache who has their baby Astyanax with her

495-529: Hector and Andromache part, as if for the last time, and Hector and Paris meet up and return to battle.

Literary Context

Oral Tradition

  • Glaucus wonders if Diomedes is a god- yet has been given power to distinguish
    • Also says that he would not fight with the gods, despite wounding Ares and Aphrodite

themes within the epics including:

heroism

  • Adrestus supplicates Menelaus
    • Meneleus was going to spare him
    • Agamemnon wants ethnic cleansing: lambastes him for sparing Adrestus
      • Even wants to kill the very babies in the wombs of the Trojans
    • Nestor encourages men not to strip bodies, but to crush all the Trojans: maintaining momentum
    • Prophet Helenus encouraging piety?
      • Give robe to Athene shrine
      • Sacrifice 12, 1 year old heifers
    • Diomedes shown as even better than Achilles: even more terrifying
    • Story of Bellerophon: Anteia tries to seduce him, but he says no: Anteia claims he tried to rape her: Proetus does not kill him, but sends him with tablet to King of Lycia: undertakes three impossible tasks: kills Chimaera, fights Solymi, killed Amazons: then recognised as true son of gods, given daughter of King and half of kingdom. But his son Isander killed by Ares, Laodameia by Artemis.
    • Paris portrayed as fast horse: but vain self loving one that prefers extravagance and pleasure
    • Hector hails Paris as a decent warrior, but then cricises him for giving in too easily

honour and reputation

  • Xenia even more powerful when Glaucus and Diomedes break fighting in middle of battle: esp during Diomedes rampage!
  • Xenia of King of Lycia: 9 days before deciding to ask what Bellerophon wanted
  • Glaucus doesn’t want to tarnish family reputation: that’s what Hippolochus: his father told him- different to AENEAS: unless you count Rome as family- not honour seeking but seeking to meet desinty instead
  • Xenia between Oeneus and Bellerophon: exchanging gifts: guest friends: then Diomedes and Glaucus agree to not kill each other on battlefield
  • Swapping of armour: but Zeus robs Glaucus of his wits to trade gold armour for bronze: value.
  • Hector wields a 5m long spear, contrasted with Paris sitting polishing his weapons
  • DOWNFALL OF GREAT HERO SET UP: Hector turns down Helen in sitting down- wants to see household one last time: foreshadowing
  • Achilles utter slaughter of Eetion: kills all of Andromache’s family inc mum dad and 9 bros
  • Hector has to leave family to defend his families reputation: different reason to AENEAS for leaving family: to found Rome
  • Hector even sees his kleos in the potential capture of Andromache “oh there’s Hectors wife, omg”
  • Hector hopes his son will have greater reputation than his and will bring home battle spoils

Family

  • Glaucus says how family is a continuous line: but says that the most important thing is the story that you leave behind
  • Hector hates Paris: wishes he were dead
    • Attacks him for sitting around polishing his weapon: contradictory? He needed rallying earlier?
  • Does home life, returning to home, tame Hector?
  • Pathos of the knowledge that Astyanax will be thrown off the ramparts if Greeks win: and Andromache/Hector are chatting on the ramparts for the last time

Women

  • The amazons: “who were a match for men” women can fight too
  • Hecabe: strong minded: tries to control Hector when he comes home: offering wine etc: wants to be in control, but not. Hector rejects such wine and says he must leave
  • Helen attacks Paris: wishes she’d found a better, braver husband
    • Unusal: wants him to return to battle, unlike any other woman in the epic who want their men to stay
  • Hector and Andromache swap realms: A in Tower=mans sphere. H at home= womans sphere
  • War is mens business according to Hector

the role of the gods

  • Initially Trojans and Greeks left alone to fight in this Book
  • Athene prayed to by Trojans- yet the Trojans are trying to supplicate her
    • Shows that gods are shared here
    • But in vain
  • Zeus: god of justice strikes Lycurgus blind : who chased Dionysus’ nurses and hit them with whip
  • Zeus robs Glaucus of his wits to trade gold armour for bronze: value.

the power of fate

  • Prophet Helenus instructs Aeneas and Hector to rally the Trojans and then orders Hector to tell the women of Troy to make an offering to Athene to try to stop Diomedes’ rampage

the portrayal of war

  • Adrestus supplicates Menelaus
    • Menelaus was going to spare him
    • Agamemnon wants ethnic cleansing: lambastes him for sparing Adrestus
      • Even wants to kill the very babies in the wombs of the Trojans
    • Nestor encourages men not to strip bodies, but to crush all the Trojans: maintaining momentum
    • Hectors son afraid Of father in armour pg 112
    • Hector gets mourned before death, like Achilles in B18: so sure they will die in battle

 

 moral values

  • Story of Bellerophon: Anteia tries to seduce him, but he says no: Anteia claims he tried to rape her:
  • Proetus doesn’t want to kill Bellerophon- instead sends him with tablet to King of Lycia
  • Piety shown by Hecabe, then even more by Hector: cant pour libation as he is covered in blood
  • Achilles does not strip Eetion’s body: instead cremates him
    • Very different to how Achilles treats Hectors body after he kills his bf

role of Aeneas in Rome’s imperial destiny.

Historical Context

Virgil’s relationship to the regime of Augustus;

the political and historical background in which the Aeneid/Iliad  was written.

  • Laomedon: Mythical King of Troy
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