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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

008 - The "Dark Age" and Homer

In this episode, we discuss the archaeological evidence for the early "Dark Age" during the 11th and 10th centuries BC, particularly at the site of Nichoria in Messenia and the pottery of the Sub-Mycenaean and Protogeometic periods; the emigration of mainland Greeks to the Aegean islands and the western coast of Anatolia; and the first great author of ancient Greece, a man named Homer, who gives us insight into the society and culture of the early Dark Age through his two great epic poems---the Iliad and the Odyssey

ca. 1200-1000 BC - following the collapse of the Mycenaean palace economy, famine and emigration set the stage for a massive population drop in Greece 
ca. 1125-1050 BC - the period following the Mycenaean Period, is known as Sub-Mycenaean, since the pottery is still recognizably Mycenaean but much inferior in quality
ca. 1050-900 BC - renewed artistic vigor can be seen in the pottery of the Protogeometric style, so called because the designs are simple abstract geometric shapes like horizontal and wavy lines, circles, and semicircles within bands around the neck and belly
ca. 1050-900 BC - Numerous waves of emigration began eastwards into the Aegean islands and the western coast of Anatolia (Aeolia and Ionia)
ca. 900 BC - weapons and tools were beginning to be made with iron (i.e. the Iron Age), foreign trade resumed (at a small scale), small villages began to appear, and populations began to inch upwards at a steady pace
ca. 850-750 BC - composition of Iliad and Odyssey by "Homer"

Greek wordswanax (king in charge of an expedition), basileus (king of a village), demos (village community and people in it), heteroi (companions, i.e. personal followers of basileus), basileutatos (the most kingly), xenia (guest-friendship relationship), xenos (guest-friend), agathos (good), kakos (bad), arete (virtue or excellence), aner (man), aristos (best), aristeia (condition when one is at his/her very best), agon (contest or struggle), time (honor), kleos (glory or renowned fame), klueiv (to hear), aidos (shame)

Recommended Sources for Further Reading:

Supplementary Resources (Videos, Photos, Other Podcasts)

Trojan War The Podcast (20 episodes) - "Jeff Wright gives a serialized telling, in contemporary language, of the myriad stories from Greek myth that together comprise the greatest epic of Western culture: the story of the Trojan War. All the great characters from Homer's Iliad are here - Achilles, Helen of Troy, Odysseus, the Olympian Gods - and all the famous moments from the story - The Trojan Horse, the Judgement of Paris, and Achilles' Heel. Episode after episode, Jeff delivers a conversational, addictive performance."

Myths and Legends Episode 132A Trojan War: The Wars to Come - "In this prelude to the Trojan War, we learn the origin of the most famous Greek hero, and maybe the most reviled Trojan prince. Also, you shouldn't let Hera plan your wedding because a bitter decade-long war might break out because of it, and if you invite Poseidon, you're going to get an immortal horse as a gift to your wedding so, you know, invite Poseidon."

Myths and Legends Episode 132B Trojan War: Some Foolish Thing - "This is the episode where Helen of Sparta becomes Helen of Troy, and an event happens that launches 1000 ships toward the city in the east. This is where it all begins."


Video/The Trojan War | Explained as Short as Possible

The Heritage Podcast Episode 20 Homer and the Epic - "Better call upon a muse…because it’s time to revisit the epic! Focusing on Homer’s Iliad, we see how fate, anger, individualism, and hubris are viewed in the ancient Greek world, and how Homer employed these themes to give ancient Greece her heroes and her history!"

Literature and History Episode 09 Homer's Iliad, Books 1-8 - "Homer’s Iliad is the Tyrannosaurus Rex of ancient epics. And at the core of its 24 books is one shiny metal."

Literature and History Episode 10 Homer's Iliad Books 9-16 -
They’re violent, unreliable, horny, and sometimes just plain weird. They’re the Homeric pantheon."

Literature and History Episode 11 Homer's Iliad Books 17-24 
- "
As the Iliad reaches its spectacular climax, it’s time to ask a big question. Who wrote it?"

MythTake Episode 03 Hector - "We meet the great Trojan hero from the Trojan War, Hector, in his moment of decision. Will he choose to fight the Greek hero Achilles? Or does he take the easy route out? We examine his soliloquy in Homer's Iliad. It’s not easy being a hero!"

Ancient Greece Declassified Ep 03 Dying for Immortality in Homer's Iliad - "For the past three millennia, Homer has inspired and influenced the stories we tell, the art we make, and the way we talk (think of phrases like "Achilles' heel" or "Trojan horse"). From the Romans, who modeled their epics on Homer, to Chaucer and Shakespeare, who both wrote stories set against the backdrop of the Trojan War, to movies like "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" and obviously "Troy", Homer has remained at the forefront of our fictional imagination. So what's the deal with Homer? Why has the Iliad - a tale about a semi-fictional war that happened ages ago - remained so influential?"

Photo/Bronze Age Tholos Tomb at Nichoria

The Heritage Podcast Episode 21 Greek Mythology and The Odyssey - "We'll see how from Chaos came Darkness, from Darkness came Love, and from Love came Light and Day. Before long, the universe had created the gods! Still, the universe was not ready for Greek Civilization. The barbaric world of primordial violence had to be tamed by the anthropomorphic order of the Olympians. From this Age of Olympians, we’ll eventually get to the mythic period after the Trojan War. It’s in this setting that Homer relates to us the story of Odysseus and the decade-long road trip that will take him all over the Aegean!"

Video/Crash Course: A Long and Difficult Journey, or The Odyssey

Literature and History Episode 12 Homer's Odyssey Books 1-8 - "Adventure, monsters, temptresses, and a lot of wine-dark Aegean. Learn about the world of Homer’s Odyssey."

MythTake Episode 27 A Bard and a Horse - "We crack open our copy of Homer's Odyssey! After a chat about the challenges of accessing myths through translation, we take a look at a small episode that makes up a big part of the Trojan War myth."

Literature and History Episode 13 Homer's Odyssey Books 9-16 - "We know Odysseus and Achilles well. But what motivates, and distinguishes these two great Greek heroes?"

MythTake Episode 02 Odysseus and Circe - "Discussing Odysseus’ and Circe’s relationship in book 10 of Homer's Odyssey."

Literature and History Episode 14 Homer's Odyssey Books 17-24 - "As we reach the violent climax of the Odyssey, it’s time to consider Homer’s worldview."

Ancient Greece Declassified Ep 15 Homer's Meta-Odyssey - "The Odyssey - It's such a classic, it has become an everyday word. But why has Homer's epic enthralled audiences for millennia while so many other ancient epics fell out of popularity and were eventually lost? The Homeric epics came out of a long tradition of oral storytelling that stretched back hundreds of years into the Bronze Age. If there was a Homer, he did not just make up all these monsters and adventures off the top of his head. He inherited most of the individual episodes from the oral tradition. If we want to understand what makes the Odyssey great story-telling, we should look not for originality in the story per se, but at how the author weaves all the episodes together, puts them in a certain order to achieve maximum effect, and plays around with different tropes and formulas in order to tell a familiar type of narrative in an exciting way."

Ancient Greece Declassified Ep 18 A History of Epic - "The Homeric epics have been hugely influential over the millennia, and one can find Homeric echoes and influences in countless movies and popular books today. But it's not just their status as influential classics that make the Iliad and Odyssey worth studying. These epics open up a whole world of fascinating questions, not just about ancient Greece, but about human history and society in general. There are elements within the epics that are very similar to other stories told by other cultures in completely different parts of the globe, separated from the Greeks by entire Oceans. How can we explain that?"