Iliad

(Im)proper Use of Demigod Talents College

Human government and military seldom see eye to eye, no matter how vital each is to the other. Homer’s Iliad illustrates such a struggle quite well in its capture of the tension between political authority and military force, most notably the tension perceived between Agamemnon, king of the Achaians, and Achilleus, the most skillful and respected warrior in the Achaian army. This friction is caused by each hero’s demand to have superior honor over the other through the just use of their respective excellencies. The excellency held by Agamemnon is that of political authority, whereas the excellency possessed by Achilleus is that of martial excellence. Because of this competition for superior honor, the reader can understand that political authority is capable of being transcended by martial excellence, and vice versa. Achilleus’ martial excellence has a stronger claim to superior honor than Agamemnon’s political authority because of the injustices committed by Agamemnon through his selfish misuse of power, in which he forfeits his claim to honor, and also because of Achilleus’ just use of prowess on the field of battle.

To distinguish the actions of Achilles and Agamemnon as being just and unjust, respectively, the meaning of...

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