Homer

Homer
Question:
Scholars vary in their dating of the Iliad and the Odyssey, which are attributed
to Homer (whether identified as a single individual or an accumulation of poets working under the name). Many scholars deem the written form of the poems to be the product of the eighth and sevenths centuries BCE and in many ways reflecting the social conventions of that period, but they also recognize that the poems had an oral basis that extended centuries earlier. In this sense, these texts represent how poets of the “Homeric age” were remembering Mycenaean palace societies from centuries before, but often in ways that conformed to contemporary experiences. Like the Hebrew book of Exodus, they reflect how people comprehended both present and past by contemplating how they related to each other.
For this assignment, contemplate Odysseus’ encounter with the Cyclops named Polyphemus amid his travels in the central Mediterranean (far from Troy and his home city of Ithaca, which are in the eastern Mediterranean). Why would Homeric poets of this time consider such memories of the remote past, as contained in the Odyssey 9, to be significant and compose a text or circulate oral traditions about them?
Your response should reflect consideration of the following issues:
a. Homeric social structures, morality, and reciprocity
b. the significance of culture and cultural difference for social or ethnic identities
c. the ideological implications of historical memories and the composition of history
?Formatting: 1-­-1.5 pages, New Times Roman, double-­-spaced, normal margins
Structure:
First Paragraph: Thesis and 2 Solid Supporting Arguments Second Paragraph: Supporting Argument 1
Third Paragraph: Supporting Argument 2
Citations: Provide specific citation of relevant passages of the Odyssey in your text, either as part of a sentence [“According to the Odyssey 9.115-­-142…”] or as a
???parenthetical insert [“…then Odysseus explored the new land that he encountered (Odyssey 9.115-­-142)”]
Books and Lines: book.line (Odyssey 9.115 is book 9, line 115)
?The link of Odyssey:
http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Greek/Odhome.htm

Also, here is the information from the PPT that our teacher put on the web, please focus on it because the last assignment has lots of information from it.
Why Do Western Civ. Courses Treat Palace Societies as Origins of Western Civilization?
Is anything about them distinctly “western?” Is anything about them meaningfully distinct from Near Eastern societies.
To have “western civilization,” we need to define the beginning of “civilization”
?The Eastern Mediterranean and its Interconnected Systems during the “Bronze Age”: 1700-1200
1. Empires: Egypt and the Hittite Empire (in Turkey)
3. The regions are inhabited by various peoples (Minoans, Myceneans) in “palace societies.” No Greeks.
4. Some of these people may define themselves in regional terms as “Achaean.”
Great Online Resource for Aegean Prehistory:
?
?From Gangs to “Palace” Societies People in regions that do not produce sufficient
agrarian wealth tend to be organized into “gangs”: a. Familial bonds: families share wealth
b. Patron-client relationships: people/families with resources have followers
c. Gangs fight or negotiate with other gangs
?Palace Societies
In parts of the (pre-)Greek world that have sufficient agrarian resources, gangs give way to “palace” societies:
a. Farmers produce excess food.
b. Successful gang leader takes excess food and
redistributes it to followers
c. Gang leader and his family uses wealth and power to:
a. Pay soldiers
b. Pay administrators
c. Organize religious practice
?Basic Chronologies
1. Minoans: c. 2700 BCE-1500 BCE
a. Crete, Aegean islands
b. Contacts and cultural exchange with Egypt and Canaanites of the Levant

?Basic Chronologies
Mycenaeans: 1700-BCE-1200 BCE
a. Sites at Greek mainland, Crete, Aegean Islands, Turkey, and other places
b. Trade with Hittite kingdom, the
Levant, and Egypt (shipwreck of south coast at Cape Gelidonya, Turkey c. 1200 BCE)
Mycenaean palace societies:

?Palace Societies: Tributary/Redistributive Economies
a. Palaces and their bureaucracies serve as centers of collection and redistribution of wealth for a wider agrarian society.
b. Palace societies have diplomatic and commercial contact with each other.
?Palace Societies
The following features of “palace” societies distinguish them from “gangs.”
a. Royal figure with religious charisma b. Royal succession
c. Writing (Linear A and Linear B)
d. Administration and standing army
*When gang leaders take from peasants, its plunder. When kings take from peasants, its “tribute” or “tax.”
?Linear B and Homer
1. (w)anax: royal figure
2. basileus: chief administrator
3. Megaron: room of a palace
System Failures
-So long as the Hittite kingdom, Egyptian kingdom, and palace societies maintain internal stability and interconnectivity, the Mediterranean world is stable.
-This harmonious balance is fragile. The collapse of one system could destabilize other systems.
System Failures
1250 BCE-1200BCE see complete and utter collapse. Scholars attribute it to a host of different factors, all of which may contribute:
a. Foreign invaders (“Dorian” Invasions, Sea Peoples)
b. Civil wars
c. Natural Catastrophe/Climate Change
d. Organic system collapse (system creates expanded bureaucracy and higher population, which it
eventually cannot support through collection and redistribution)

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