No gods? What then?

Peterson has completely removed divine intervention from the story. That leaves quite big hole for himself to place his own events and relationships. An example of Peterson filling in this hole is how he enhances relationships in the Iliad to create deeper bonds between human characters. In the Iliad, Achilles shares a mutual love for his slave prize Briseis and when Agamemnon takes her away, Achilles and Agamemnon have a dispute which causes Thetis to ask Zeus to make Agamemnon realize how much the Achaeans need Achilles and therefore sway victory to the Trojan side of battle. In the Iliad, Achilles and Briseis are in love – “You would not let me sorrow, but said you would make me godlike Achilles wedded lawful wife, that you would take me back in the ships to Phthia, and formalize my marriage among the Myrmidons” . Achilles refuses an offer made by Agamemnon to have his prize back and it is only after Patroclus dies that Achilles fights again, and it is at that point that Achilles receive his prize again. In Troy however, Briseis is made a relative of king Priam’s and therefore royalty. Similar events follow Briseis’ in the film however in the film, Achilles isn’t shown to be in love with Briseis, and Agamemnon had no reason to take Briseis other than to make an arbitrary statement about his superiority to Achilles. “Mighty Achilles, silenced by a slave girl. Tonight I’ll have her give me a bath, and then, who knows? ” – Agamemnon. This is what starts the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon in the film. In the Iliad however, Agamemnon takes Briseis because Apollo is enraged by the capture of a priest of Apollo’s daughter Chryseis and sends a plague to the Greeks. Agamemnon sends Chryseis back to Troy and the plague subsides, leaving Agamemnon with no prize. It is then, that Agamemnon desires a prize and takes Briseis from Achilles. In this, Peterson portrays a far more aggressive relationship between Achilles and Agamemnon than in the Iliad.

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Peterson also made other subtle changes in order to strengthen relationships. In the film, Achilles and Patroclus are close friends, cousins even. Achilles is found teaching him how to wield the sword earlier on in the film, and is benign when he learns of Patroclus’ death. Petersen changes a lot about the events surrounding Patroclus. For a start, In the Iliad, It is known that Achilles and Patroclus are lovers. “But Achilles slept in the innermost part of the well-builded hut, and by his side lay a woman that he had brought from Lesbos, even the daughter of Phorbas, fair-cheeked Diomede. And Patroclus laid him down on the opposite side, and by him in like manner lay fair-girdled Iphis, whom goodly Achilles had given him when he took steep Scyrus, the city of Enyeus” – The Iliad book 9. The philosopher Plato later confirms that Achilles and Patroclus were lovers. Not only were they lovers, but in the Iliad, Achilles knew about Patroclus taking his armor and chasing the Trojans, and it was the doing of both Apollo and Hector that caused the death of Patroclus. “And in the hands of Patroclus the far-shadowing spear was wholly broken, the spear, heavy, and huge, and strong, and tipped with bronze; and from his shoulders the tasselled shield with its baldric fell to the ground, and his corselet did Apollo loose” – Book 16 of the Iliad, Patroclus also slays many generals and army leaders in the Iliad before finally dying an honorable death. In the film, Achilles knows nothing about Patroclus leading the Myrmidons to battle, Patroclus kills few men and fights a short battle with Hector before finally being outskilled by Hector. Here is a link to the scene seeing as there isn’t many quotes in it – Click This .
Patroclus is shown to be a lot younger and unskilled then his highly empowered appearance in the Iliad. By doing this, Peterson shows Achilles to be more angry and vengeful in the film than in the Iliad.

Big blocks of text right? That’s it for this post! Until next time 😀

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No Mythology?

That’s right. In the movie Troy, Wolfgang Peterson chose to remove almost all references to mythology that are the fundamentals of multiple events in the Iliad. An example of this is how Aphrodite in the Iliad rescues Paris from Menelaus in book 3. “But him Aphrodite snatched up, full easily as a goddess may, and shrouded him in thick mist, and set him down in his fragrant, vaulted chamber, and herself went to summon Helen.” – Iliad book 3. In the movie, Paris is not rescued by the Gods, rather Hector, his brother. Hector in this scene declares “The fight is over”, and this provokes Menelaus who attempts to strike Paris and is killed by Hector. This is much different to when Paris is saved and Menelaus lives in the Iliad. Another clear example of the lack of gods is when Zeus in book two comes to Agamemnon in the form of Nestor and persuades him to launch a full-on attack at Troy. “And the plan he thought seemed best was to send a false dream to Agamemnon. So he spoke, summoning one with his winged words: ‘Go, evil dream, to the Achaean long-ships, and when you reach Agamemnon’s hut speak exactly as I wish. Say he must arm his long-haired Achaeans swiftly, for here is his chance to take the broad-paved city of Troy.” – Zeus Book 2. This plan backfires, causing Agamemnon to say any who do not wish to fight return to Greece, which they eagerly begin to do, and If not for a speech by Odysseus they would’ve done. Agamemnon then launches the attack from the dream and loses miserably in an attempt from Zeus to show Agamemnon how much the Achaean’s need Achilles. This is another example of how Wolfgang Peterson has excluded mythology from the film.


Peterson has effectively taken Greek Gods out of the question, but why would he do such a thing? Well, If you think about it, what would you rather see? Gods doing absolutely everything for man, or man showing his own power to cause war, fight , and triumph over other nations? Although the prospect of gods battling each other may sound appealing to some audiences, Wolfgang Peterson chose to produce a movie with man being the coordinator of his own life. This idea represents mans own capacity for conflict in battle and if gods were to intervene, this idea would have been masked with one of divine intervention. Although this isn’t a key theme in the film, the intervention of the gods can also disturb the idea of Glory, and being remembered forever. This theme is shown through Achilles’ lust for glory and the quote to finish the film. “If they ever tell my story, let them say I walked with giants, men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die, let them say I lived in the time of Hector, tamer of horses, let them say, I lived in the time of Achilles” – Odysseus. This is an idea intended to enhance the view of glory on human accomplishment and how honor never dies. If you take this to thought, there is not really that much honor in your actions being manipulated by greater beings, and so if Peterson were to actively include the gods in his plot line, his idea would have not been nearly as well represented as it is now. This is what leads Peterson to exclude important events like the two mentioned above and eliminate divine intervention altogether.

That’s it for mythology! Until next time 😀

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The Iliad and Troy are not the same!

So, I want to explain how the Iliad is different to the movie Troy, but first you may want to know what these things are altogether. Homer’s Iliad is an epic poem whose words have echoed through thousands of years to this present day. Homer is dated to have lived in circa 850B.C His poem was written in Homeric Greek and then translated into English in later days and is used as evidence to determine classical culture to this day. Troy is a 2004 film directed by Wolfgang Peterson starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom. This was produced with quite different intentions to the Iliad as such is required to appeal to a modern audience, in contrast to the Iliad which was a poem written in ancient times where audiences expect much different things in order for themselves to be entertained. This inspired many controversial changes in the movie compared to the Iliad, the most prominent being the lack of godly assistance as was prominent in the Iliad.
So, the Iliad is an ancient text written for ancient people, and the movie Troy is a Hollywood targeted film set to appeal to a more modern audience? Yep, Troy is a modern film intended to entertain and please the modern person and the Iliad is an ancient text written for unknown reasons passed down for generations.

That is that. Now you might wonder who Homer was. Well, this is a topic commonly debated. Homer has been estimated to live in circa 850B.C seeing as Herodotus estimated Homer to of lived 400 years before his time. However it is not known whether Homer was a name of a man or rather simply a Profession/Type of poet. This is strange, since modern dating dates the war to have taken place in circa 1240B.C which means that Homer wrote the story 400 years after the war.
Wolfgang Peterson on the other hand, is a german director who is the author of movies such as Poseidon and In the line of fire. He has no known classical background in his life and simply wrote his film as a means to gain fame and money.
We can easily distinguish clear differences between the mysterious case of “Homer” and the hollywood director Wolfgand Peterson, and therefore it can be understood how Peterson may want to make changes to the Iliad.

And there you have it! Until next time 😀

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Ello internet browser! You have just stumbled upon the first, of many blog posts I, Josh Jackson, will make in order to complete a level two NCEA standard for classical studies! If you’re not my teacher, then I suggest you don’t bother reading this, (unless of course you have a fascination with delightful points that separate the movie Troy from the epic poem the Iliad). I am going to infuse your time with my ecstatic ability to point out the obvious and subtle differences between the movie Troy directed by Wolfgang Peterson, and the epic poem Homer’s Iliad. But wait there’s more! I am not only going to do that, but I am also going to attempt to explain Peterson’s reasoning behind these differences! So without further ado, I shall finish up this intro and so you may indulge in the magic that is classics!

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