Homer in contemporary warfare
University of Wisconsin--Stout. Research Services
MetadataShow full item record
This article explores the concept of honor in the Homeric expression of battle presented in the Iliad and in contemporary warfare. Through the use of literary analysis and contemplation of social evolution, honor is examined and applied to the Homeric model of war still present today. In the Iliad, Homer presents themes of honor that we still see today when examining warfare. These themes range from the concept of arête or masculine excellence, the difference between the Greek concepts of honor (timê) and glory (kleos) from contemporary understanding of honor, and the dialectic nature of war. Using these themes, Homer is able to lay the foundations for warfare that we still use as a framework for analyzing battle today. Greeks believed that honor was gained by the prestigious through wealth, power, and strength, however in the Iliad Homer also developed themes of personal interest, loyalty, and empathy that we associate with honor today. As this paper will demonstrate, contemporary accounts of war still represent the Homeric concept of excellence in battle, but they are imbued with cultural perspectives which give contemporary warfare a divergence. However, despite this cultural divergence, the presence of honor among men in battle represented by the Homeric narrative will likely always remain.