Why No Wooden Horse?

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Secret Alias
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Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:59 pm

How could the Illiad leave out the best part of the story? Why no wooden horse? Almost as strange as Moses not crossing the Jordan in the Pentateuch.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

andrewcriddle
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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:06 am

Secret Alias wrote:How could the Illiad leave out the best part of the story? Why no wooden horse? Almost as strange as Moses not crossing the Jordan in the Pentateuch.
The Illiad leaves out the fall of Troy altogether.
It is covered in retrospect (including the wooden horse) in the Odyssey.

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Blood
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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by Blood » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:22 am

Secret Alias wrote:How could the Illiad leave out the best part of the story? Why no wooden horse? Almost as strange as Moses not crossing the Jordan in the Pentateuch.
Because that part was invented after the Illiad had been written?
“The only sensible response to fragmented, slowly but randomly accruing evidence is radical open-mindedness. A single, simple explanation for a historical event is generally a failure of imagination, not a triumph of induction.” William H.C. Propp

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Secret Alias
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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:36 pm

Yes it could be. But it is odd the way the Odyssey makes an oblique reference to the story, so bare that it certainly means the story was well known enough at the time of composition that it could be summoned with literary vapors. It's odd the way seminal ancient works like the Illiad and the Pentateuch end without resolution like this. If this was a musical score, it's odd not to go back to the original note rather than ending on a fifth or fourth. There is no 'happy ever after.' It's like Star Wars without the destruction of the Death Star.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

lpetrich
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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by lpetrich » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:13 am

Not only that, the Iliad was mostly about a monthlong episode in the Trojan War, Achilles vs. Hector.

The Trojan Horse itself has been variously explained as a siege engine, a boat, or even an earthquake (Trojan Horse, A few “facts” about the Trojan Horse | Glyn Iliffe). Siege engines go back at least 2500 years, and they include battering rams for beating down gates and towers for climbing over walls (Siege engine).

Chris Weimer
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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by Chris Weimer » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:16 am

You keep saying Pentateuch, but really you ought to be saying "Genesis and Deuteronomy." There were more than two epics on Troy, and the Trojan Horse is described in the Iliou Persis:
Next come two books of the "Sack of Ilium", by Arctinus of
Miletus with the following contents. The Trojans were suspicious
of the wooden horse and standing round it debated what they ought
to do. Some thought they ought to hurl it down from the rocks,
others to burn it up, while others said they ought to dedicate it
to Athena. At last this third opinion prevailed. Then they
turned to mirth and feasting believing the war was at an end.
But at this very time two serpents appeared and destroyed Laocoon
and one of his two sons, a portent which so alarmed the followers
of Aeneas that they withdrew to Ida. Sinon then raised the fire-
signal to the Achaeans, having previously got into the city by
pretence. The Greeks then sailed in from Tenedos, and those in
the wooden horse came our and fell upon their enemies, killing
many and storming the city. Neoptolemus kills Priam who had fled
to the altar of Zeus Herceius (1); Menelaus finds Helen and takes
her to the ships, after killing Deiphobus; and Aias the son of
Ileus, while trying to drag Cassandra away by force, tears away
with her the image of Athena. At this the Greeks are so enraged
that they determine to stone Aias, who only escapes from the
danger threatening him by taking refuge at the altar of Athena.
The Greeks, after burning the city, sacrifice Polyxena at the
tomb of Achilles: Odysseus murders Astyanax; Neoptolemus takes
Andromache as his prize, and the remaining spoils are divided.
Demophon and Acamas find Aethra and take her with them. Lastly
the Greeks sail away and Athena plans to destroy them on the high
seas.
The whole cycle from the golden apples to the adventures of Odysseus' sons are represented in several works: Cypris, Iliad Aethiopis, "Little Iliad," Iliou Persis, Nostoi, Odyssey, and then Telegony. Add on the hymns and Hesiod and that's the closest you'll get to the Greek religious canon.

neilgodfrey
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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:52 pm

Classical Closure edited by Roberts, Fowler, Dunn discusses the "problem" of seemingly incomplete endings in much of ancient Greek and Latin literature. We see the same in the Gospel of Mark and Acts.

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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by neilgodfrey » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:33 pm

I have just been reading Van Seters' The Primeval Histories of Greece and Israel Compared and have learned that the Trojan War was understood to be more than just a great war, but was rather the event that was sent by Zeus to all but destroy humanity, like the biblical flood. As the Flood ended the age of giants and angels copulating with women, so the Trojan war ended the age of heroes with its various progeny of semi-divine heroes.

From the Hesiod-Homerica collection:
'There was a time when the countless tribes of men, though wide-dispersed, oppressed the surface of the deep-bosomed earth, and Zeus saw it and had pity and in his wise heart resolved to relieve the all-nurturing earth of men by causing the great struggle of the Ilian war, that the load of death might empty the world. And so the heroes were slain in Troy, and the plan of Zeus came to pass.'
If Achilles was the greatest of the heroes (Zeus had him born to a human father knowing that he would usurp his own place as head of the gods if he himself mated with Thetis), his killing of Hector marked his (Achilles') doom. He knew from the prophecy of his mother that once he killed Hector he himself was destined to be slain.

Viewed as the conflagration sent by Zeus to end the age of the heroes the ending of the Iliad (appropriate for its stated theme of the "wrath of Achilles" and the fulfilment of the will of Zeus) is dramatically complete.

Adding the wooden horse to focus on the destruction of the city itself would in fact be a distraction from the theme of Zeus's will being acted out and the doom of the age preceding the "normal one" of ours.
Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so was the will of Zeus fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another.
Achilles' wrath itself can thus be understood as part of Zeus's plan to hold him back from the battle to allow many more heroes to die before he himself intervened and thus sealed his own end.

andrewcriddle
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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:17 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:33 pm


From the Hesiod-Homerica collection:
'There was a time when the countless tribes of men, though wide-dispersed, oppressed the surface of the deep-bosomed earth, and Zeus saw it and had pity and in his wise heart resolved to relieve the all-nurturing earth of men by causing the great struggle of the Ilian war, that the load of death might empty the world. And so the heroes were slain in Troy, and the plan of Zeus came to pass.'
There is an interesting discussion of this fragment from the Cypria at Momos Advises Zeus

Andrew Criddle

neilgodfrey
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Re: Why No Wooden Horse?

Post by neilgodfrey » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:41 am

Very interesting, indeed. I have added the article to my little bibliography on this text.

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