June 2, 2017

Homeric Greece

Look primarily at state institutions of Homeric Greece. The descriptions of Homer in every Greek community, we see the king. He is the bravest and most skilled wars; he leads his comrades into battle. According to his divine origin, he is the hereditary connoisseur of the eternal law given and stored by the gods; for he is the judge, the defender of justice; he is the representative of the community before the gods, and bring them sacrifices and prayers for her. So, the captain and the judge, the king was the mediator between people and gods. The Royal power was considered in Homeric Greece, a divine institution. The gods ancestor of the present king, had divine origin, it passed by inheritance from generation to generation, usually from father to eldest son. However, receiving it had to have qualities that make a worthy scepter. The Greek king must be brave in battle, wise in Council, eloquent in the national Assembly. He should surpass all physical strength and martial art. The weak, aged or non-belligerent little kings obeyed.

In the Homeric period of Greek history, the king owned vast lands, large herds had the means to treat their companions in the ornate Palace, a vast courtyard which was encircled by a stone wall. In addition to land, which constituted his property, in the use of the king was the state land, was established by the law natural duties in his favor. The king received the voluntary gifts; receive, at its Sana’a judges, fines from the guilty; in the event of war, and received benefits for the troops. On religious holidays, he was given the best pieces of consecrated animal sacrifice. As is clear from the observations of Homer, with the spoils, the Greek king was given the best from it; in particular, gave him the most beautiful captive, precious things, a good weapon. Energetic kings ruled with absolute power; there was no resistance and handed down arbitrary, harsh and unjust their actions are. From too much abuse of power was maintained, they fear the wrath of the gods and public opinion. To find out public opinion and to act according to him, the Greek king of Homer’s era have gathered the Council of nobles and elders, usually in the Palace, for lunch; convened the people’s Assembly; it is deliberated in the square; the heralds kept order. Nevertheless, any Council of nobles or popular Assembly had no governmental power; the king was not obliged to comply with their decisions.

The king was presented to the national Assembly that his thoughts. Grandees sitting beside him on the stones, and expressed their opinions; each ranging speech took in hand the talking stick, supplied to the Herald. People stood around; he expressed sympathy with a shout of approval; in the absence of sympathy was silent; and limited to its role; has approved or disapproved of the matter, he had to obey. Odysseus says in Homer: “Polyarchy is bad; must be one ruler, the king, to whom Zeus has given the scepter of power” (Iliad 2, 204); – these famous words Express a common belief of the time. When Thersites dared to condemn Agamemnon, Odysseus beat him to tears. Nevertheless, in the Homeric era the Greek “shepherds of the peoples” was found useful not to act arbitrarily, and to persuade the nobles and the people in the fairness and reasonableness of its decisions, to the obedience was hard. Agamemnon tells Menelaus that the king must not be arrogant, should give honor to everyone, to speak kind tone (Iliad 10, 68). Odysseus says, “When brave men ruled by a good king, honoring the gods and guarding the justice, the earth gives a bountiful harvest of wheat, barley, and other fruits, the herds multiply, and the sea provides many of the fish” (Iliad 19, 108). “The ideal ruler of the heroic times – a brave king, ingenious in the war, surpassing all the others mind so that nobles agree with him, and the people devoted to him” (Grot). The king ruler of men, as Zeus the king of gods.

The social order of Homeric Greece

Public and moral life of Homeric Greece is, however, still at a low stage of development; the physical ardor of passion, anger, hatred, love of plunder, revenge engage people in violence, murder, and military predation. However, we see that there is a counterweight to the attraction of these evil forces of the soul: there are humane feelings, poor but live the concepts of law, morality, and religious obligations; in the heart of the Greek it was the germ of civilization.

Military and similar hunting, which also met the danger was considered in Homeric Greece the only occupation worthy of a nobleman. Respect for the brave warrior. He is wearing a helmet and armor with kneepads, an indoor large shield, rushes hiking to hit enemies or racing against them on the war chariot, swift-footed steeds ruled by the skillful hand of a faithful companion; he throws the enemy spear. A man evading war, called “a useless encumbrance of the earth.”Nevertheless, the militancy will not overpower the mental life. In the poems of Homer, the Greek king connected with noble companions their Union of friendship, of brotherhood in arms; on the merry feasts they like to hear singing, music, recitations of songs about heroes; it softened the rampant feasts; their fun is not violent Orgy. With an ordinary naiveté of Homer’s songs are described in their peers.

Crafts and trade among the Greeks of the Homeric era

Terms of navigation and trade of the Greeks in Homer’s poems are almost exclusively limited to the Islands of the Aegean Sea and the shores of Asia Minor and Greece. About Italy, Sicily, Corfu island (if the island of the Phaeacians really Kerkyra), on the Epirus coast Homer knows only vague rumors. The black sea is to him unknown; he had only heard about the Thracians and “tamers of horses” living in the Scythian land, He knows about “the river” of Egypt, hundred-gated Thebes, lying, according to him, near the sea, on Libya, but knows only by the dark rumors. The Northern shore of Africa remained much later in Homer’s time an unknown country. 150 years after first Olympics, when the Greeks wanted to sail to Libya, it was difficult to find a Greek pilot, who knew how to sail there – so says the legend of the founding of Cyrene. Often mentioned in the songs of Homer “the men of Sidon,” cunning merchants coming to the Islands and coast of Greece: they bring clothes, clothing, dishes, Handicrafts, gold, silver, tin, electric (or amber, or metal alloy, having in its composition of gold), and for these goods from the Greeks exchanged skins, wool, slaves. Cyprus, Crete and other Eastern Islands well known to Homer. The Greeks had there colonies; in Crete, they saw so many cities that account Homer’s there were almost a hundred of them. The Cretans and Carians – the terrible sea robbers. The Phoenicians only occasionally, when convenient, grab a young nobleman or deceive the Greek husband’s deceptive words. Robbery at sea lasted for ending the turmoil in the land, says the historian Grote, and the Aegean Sea at all times more than other seas suffered from piracy; for the Greeks of Homer constantly asked to bring them foreigners, for the honest cases they had sailed, or with a bad intention.

Urban life in Homeric Greece had already received a high development. In the cities were good houses, magnificent palaces and temples; the city was encircled by walls; around them were the vineyards and olive groves. The Greek cities were artisans; Homer mentions carpenters, blacksmiths, tanners, potters, turners, worked articles of horn. Clothes and carpets make Homer women. Were the soothsayers, were doctors. Poor women spun wool employed to cost to feed the children (Iliad 12, 434). However, the writing is still unknown to the Greeks. Fine art are still in very rough condition. By the way, is mentioned on the painting. All those excellent things that marvel the Greeks of the Homeric era, good arms, beautiful tableware, precious necklaces, or received from the East, or attributed to divine artists, Hephaestus the Daedalus; bronze things – commonly, Hephaestus.

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