Homer's Definition of Leadership and Honor as Presented in the Iliad

In his Iliad, Homer uses the character of Diomedes to personify his definition of effective leadership, often juxtaposing him with the unproductive and cowardly Agamemnon. Homer believes that the bravery to assert one’s opinions and the willingness to act independently, even against authority, constitutes a successful leader. After suffering severe casualties and losses at the hand of Hector and the Trojans in Book 9, it is Diomedes who first denounces Agamemnon’s plans of retreat and unifies the Achaean forces with words of promise. Later that same book, following the failed embassy to Achilles, Diomedes alone instills hope in the Achaean kings by seizing control from the flustered king and ordering Agamemnon to fight in the front lines himself. Finally, Diomedes is forced to bravely save the Achaean cause again in Book 14 when tempted with thoughts of surrender and home by Agamemnon - he exerts his authority and bravely refuses to retreat, encouraging his comrades to continue fighting. Diomedes' effective leadership saves the Achaean forces from the incompetent rule of Agamemnon and leads to the eventual fall of Troy.

Homer first explicitly equates bravery and independence with leadership while describing the panicked...

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