The Homeric Hero

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The Homeric hero legitimized the Olympic games, as the competitions provided the ancient Greeks the opportunity to obtain kléos áphthiton. The Olympic games were a reflection of the Homeric culture established in the epic poetry. During The Iliad, the pan Hellenic competitions reflected the necessary skills required to be victorious on the Homeric battlefield, as they included boxing, javelin, chariot racing, footracing.cr52 These same events were present during the Olympic games, as well as other pan Hellenic competitionscr. Additionally, the Olympic games included poetry reading as a main event, which further demonstrates how the Homeric poetry influenced the cultural identity of the Greekscr. The prizes awarded for winning the ancient Olympic…show more content…
In the passage, the spokesman questions the Arcadians about the Olympic games, asking “‘And what,’ said the [Persian] man, ‘is the prize for which they contend?’ “An olive- wreath,’ returned the [Arcadian men], ‘which is given to the man who wins’ […] Hearing the [Arcadian] men say that the prize was not money but a wreath of olive, he [the Persian] could not forbear from exclaiming before them all: ‘Good heavens! Mardonius, what manner of men are these against whom thou has brought us to fight?- men who contend with one another, not for money, but for honour!’” Herodotus most likely fabricated this conversation, as reciting direct quotes spoken in the presence of Xerxes by a few Arcadians, was likely impossible for him to obtain. However, the dialogue nonetheless reflects the Greeks’ attitude towards the Olympic games. The conversation shows that the Greeks prided themselves on striving for kléos, rather then a monetary reward. The Persian man’s expression of fear, upon learning that the prize was not a monetary reward, illustrates that the Greeks believed the desire to obtain kléos áphthiton granted the Greeks superiority over the Persians. The social context of this conversation, further demonstrates that the Greeks prided themselves on their desire for kléos

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