Study Questions — Iliad (Introduction & Book 1)
1. There seems to be much attention paid to women in ancient Greek society, but this does not necessarily mean that they have the same status as the men that seem to dominate things during times of war. From what we can tell in the portion of the text we have read so far, what sort of value are women given in this culture? How is this similar or different from the role they played in ancient Mesopotamia, the land of Gilgamesh?
2. The Greek gods play a significant role in the Iliad, much more than we can appreciate with the excerpts of the poem we are reading. But, based on what we do see in the text (and not your own outside knowledge of ancient Greek gods), describe the relationship humans have to the divine in this society. How does it compare to what we see in Gilgamesh?
3. We might expect to find quite a few examples of courageous and honorable behavior among the heroes of the Trojan War. Surely, we see these within the Iliad, but we also see much that seems less than virtuous or wise. But, perhaps this can all be explained by the fact that their concepts of courage, honor, and virtue are not our own. Comment.