By Rodrigo Ferreyra, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
We are all familiar with Homer’s Iliad
. We know about the Trojan War, the romance between Paris and Helen and the mighty Olympian gods. Most of all, we know the heroes. Whether it is Achilles
, Odysseus or Ajax
, they all possess outstanding characteristics such as bravery, physical skill, and virtue.
But we must also acknowledge that these Homeric heroes did not enjoy these attributes by mere chance. They, in fact, were conceived in this way as embodying another group of individuals, one which was to be portrayed as close to the gods.
In Homer’s Greek, Heroes meant lord, that is, the ruling class. In this way, the heroes were to some extent god-like, looking down on commoners, just as deities looked down on mortals.