By Katherine Callen King

Historical Epic deals a complete and obtainable advent to 6 of the best historic epics – Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Apollonius of Rhodes' Agonautica.

- offers an available advent to the traditional epic
- deals interpretive analyses of poems inside of a complete ancient context
- features a exact timeline, feedback for extra readings, and an appendix of the Olympian gods and their Akkadian counterparts

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The Homeric world, therefore, reflects many histories of many regions and many periods, all preserved in the oral-formulaic art language of professional bards. Even though most scholars believe that Homer composed, or at least polished, the Iliad and the Odyssey with the help of writing, the oral tradition in which he was clearly trained accounts for many stylistic features that may seem strange to modern readers. It was a language that evolved with the dactylic hexameter verse in which epic stories were sung, a language that spoke in phrases and scenes as well as individual words.

The princes all swore, never thinking that their oath would later involve them in a foreign war. Some years later Aphrodite, for whom marriage is never a constraint, fulfilled her promise to the young judge. Paris, who had by this time been reunited with his royal parents, managed to get himself sent to Sparta as an envoy from Troy. Menelaos, good host that he was, welcomed him, and then, a trusting sort, he left his beautiful wife and the handsome young prince together while he attended to business elsewhere.

Ishtar, Queen of Heaven, is the goddess of life and death, of natural cycles. One of the ancient ways for a community to gain control over nature was for the king to celebrate a Sacred Marriage with Ishtar in her holy temple. Ishtar, filled with the king’s seed, would ensure overflowing fields and barns. As many myths about Ishtar and her consorts indicate, however, there was danger involved for the king, who, if asked, would have to surrender his life force completely to the goddess, losing his identity as individual actor in the human world, and undergoing the equivalent of death.

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