Writing Assignment – Week 7

Thus far in our reading of the Iliad we have looked closely at rhetorical displays (e.g. lamentation, the embassy). In many ways it is possible to see heroic boasts as yet another type of rhetorical display. In Scroll 13 there are, at least, the two boasts of Idomeneus (13.374-383, 13. 446-45), with a boast of Deiphobos in between (13.413-416), and Menelaos’ boast later on (13.620-639). Using one (or more) of these as a starting point and finding at least one earlier example from the Iliad, craft a well-supported and articulate post of 350-400 words that addresses the following questions: What are the typical features of this kind of rhetorical display? How does boasting play an important role in crafting one’s heroic identity? And finally, in what ways is boasting explicitly connected to other rhetorical displays?
*Please* be sure to respond to and engage with at least one other post (unless you are initial).

NB: Initial posts should be 350-400 words; each reply should be around 100 words.

13 thoughts on “Writing Assignment – Week 7

  1. Matt Braley

    In the Iliad boast play an important role in creating an image of the hero. The hero uses the boast to exclaim his superiority over the other warrior. For example Deiphobos boast “Asios lies not now all unavenged. I think rather as he goes down to Hades of the Gates, the strong one, he will be cheerful at heart, since I have sent him an escort.” (13.414-416). Deiphobos basically insulted Asios by saying look I won and nobody is around to avenge you. This act is the humiliating the lost warrior. Also back in book 1 “Run away by all means if your heart drives you. I will not entreat with you to stay here for my sake.”(1.173-174) This is what warriors do to make their hero image. The insult, kill, and humiliate other warriors to make themselves look more powerful.
    Many of the Boast in the Iliad share many characteristics. Most of these boast take place during the killing of a warrior or right before the killing of a warrior. Then the boast will usually contain some sort of humiliating dialog about how the warrior was beaten. But in the case of Idomeneus and Orthryoneus, Though Orthryoneus is dead Idomeneus as an insult offers to give Orthoneus a wife and to join him in storming Illion. “Othryonceus, I congratulate you beyond all others if it is here that you will bring to pass what you promised to Dardanian Priam, who in turn promised you his daughter. See now, we also would make and we would fulfill it; we would give you the loveliest of atreides’ daughters, a bring her from argos to be your wife, if you joined us and helped us storm the strong-founded city of ilion The boast also usually serve to build the ego of the winning warrior by yelling there triumph.

    1. Jace Austin

      Great Initial post Matt! I love the comments you made about boasting because I agree most of the boastings are to mock the opposing warrior in the Iliad.But to add to this I was wondering would you consider for instance the characters before assembly would say as I am such and such I should be able to speak freely and most of the time its Diomedes because of how young he is and since he has thoroughly proved himself he constantly reminds the older men of what he has accomplished for them.(14.109-14.132)

      1. Robert Moore

        One thing to add to your “train of thought” is that I feel that not only do the warriors boast after a battle they have done well in, but they feel partially accomplish there goals of the war that they are in. All the warriors that are in the Iliad are fighting for different reasons and this is what keeps them going. The boasting is mechanism employed to keep there hopes up and for them to know that they are fighting for something greater. For example, Achilleus is fighting for eternal glory in the first half of the epic and so he boast by claiming a war prize, which he had taken from himself (1.148-171). Homer is also trying to show us how warriors boast in different situations such as Achilleus and Menelaos. Can we say that what they are fighting for changes from first part of the epic to the last?

    2. Brianna Belske

      Excellent initial post. This is a very interesting question for this week. I agree that the warriors like to insult the ones that they kill to make their own standings higher. In a way could their boasting be a means of jealousy towards the other warrior? I especially like how you brought up the scene between Idomeneus and Othryoneus. Othryoneus joined the battle to get Priam’s daughter Kassandra and as Idomeneus main insult is to say that Othryoneus made the wrong decision in joining the side of the Trojans. When he could’ve been offered the same thing from the Achaians.
      Idomeneus also I feel boasts and challenges Deïphobos. “Deïphobos, are we then to call this a worthy bargain, three men killed for one? It was you yourself were so boastful. Strange man. Do you rather come yourself and stand up against me so you see what I am like, Zeus’ seed, come here to face you.” (13.446-449) I see this as another one of Idomeneus boastful acts because he in a way is insulting Deïphobos but also challenging him.

      1. Maddy Lee

        Brianna, great response. I was reading the comments in the back of the book (pg. 548)and there was an important section on the vaunting speech by Idomeneus. The book claims that these vaunting speeches regard anger towards a hierarchy. I think this is an interesting thought. The vaunt Idomeneus gave was more of a rivalry speech between him and Deiphobos. What do you think? Do the other warriors display the same rivalry? Maybe that gives them encouragement to continue fighting in order to gloat.

        1. Brianna Belske

          Maddy, I definitely agree that the speech Idomeneus is more of a rivalry speech between him and Deïphobos. As for the other warriors, I believe they do show the same rivalry, and I think it’s among each other in the same side, not just rivalry between enemies. Paris when speaking with Hector has a form of rivalry I think for example back in book three when Hector is ‘scolding Paris’ for hiding among the ranks of his own ranks Paris in reply goes back at Hector. In lines 3.58 -75, if you look at it in a way it can be seen as a jealous rivalry between the two brothers. And then there is the rivalry between Achilleus and Agamemnon. But I think rivalry can be a factor of encouragement to continue the fighting and give them a reason to gloat over the fallen.

    3. Kris Adams

      Great post Matt,
      I like all the references to all the different Heros and while readings it there was something I thought about. Could the banter that Hektor and Paris be considered boasts? Hektor is always beating down on Paris for being a coward in battle and having no battle prowess almost boasting that he is better than his brother in battle. While Paris retorts with how it’s not always about battle prowess in life. You could also look at book nine with the speech of Agamemnon to bring Achilles back. He is willing to give Achilles all of these treasures but he still refers to himself as older and kinglier which is boasting himself

    4. Joseph Reid

      Great post Matt!! I love the comments you made about boasting and how many of the boasts share the same characteristics. I liked all the references to all the different heroes. I love your introuduction becuause you used quotes that pertained to the story which helped the readers know what you are talking about. You also concluded very well saying that the boast also usually serve to build the ego of the winning warrior by yelling there triumph.

    5. Sallie Puffer

      Great post everyone. I wonder that boasting is not a way to start bragging rights. So everyone will now how proud the killer is of his defeat on his victim. A lot of The Iliad consists of honor and one’s reputation being built on how skilled of a warrior they are. Thus by the warriors boasting about their kills it’s a way for them to increase their honor. Such is evident in the fact that “Deïphobos made no utterly vain cast from his strong hand, but struck Hypsenor, son of Hippasos, shepherd of the people, in the liver under the midriff, and at once took the strength from his knees. And Deïphobos vaunted terribly over him, calling in a great voice…”(13.410-413 Killing him was not enough he needed to clarify his deed and thus his greatness…”       “Asios lies not now all unavenged. I think rather as he goes down to Hades of the Gates, the strong one, he will be cheerful at heart, since I have sent him an escort.”(13.414-417)

      1. Emmy Sheldon

        Sallie, I completely agree with your point that boasting is another way for the warriors to give themselves honor. I think this point is evident too in Book 7 when Hektor battles Aias. In lines 7.237-243 Hektor is listing all that he has accomplished before the battle begins. “I know well myself how to fight and kill men in battle; I know how to turn to the right, how to turn to the left of the ox-hide….” (7.237-238) Hector is essentially “pumping himself up” here and trying to scare his opponent, Aias. I think this is another example of as you said, building their honor in battle.

    6. Robert Moore

      Awesome Initial Post Matt. I think you are right about the dynamic of the warrior. There is a certain process that one goes through in order to feel like a genuine warrior. I feel that we can take it further and not talk about the dialogue of the warrior also the action that they show in the Iliad. One example of this is when Menelaos takes his armor that is bloodied and it reads “So Menelaos the blameless spoke, and stripping the bloody armor away from his body gave it to his companions, and turned back himself to merge in the ranks of the champions” (13.640-642). The fact that he gave his armour to his companions not only to hold but I feel that he wanted them to admire a piece of a legendary warrior that just came off the battlefield.

  2. Maddy Lee

    This is certainly an interesting question for the week. I have to admit, with all of the similes in book 13 I was anticipating the similes and the vaunting speeches to be tied closely together. This was not the case. Matt, the section of speech you brought up regarding Idomeneus, vaunting about Orthyoneus, is followed by a simile of the fall of Asios by Idomeneus.The simile is found starting on line 13.389. Asios is described as falling like a large tree. The many other similes in book 13 are found after imagery used by Homer. Why is it that more similes are not included with the vaunting speeches of our hero’s? Why does homer follow the slaying of Aios with a simile after the death of Orthyoneus?

    1. Emmy Sheldon

      Maddy, I think you bring up some very interesting questions! I have been asking myself consistently throughout reading the Iliad why and why not Homer chooses to add or omit depending on characters or situations, etc. In regards to why Homer uses a simile after Aios’s death I felt so much emotion in that particular section. Especially in lines 13.390-391 “or like a towering pine tree which in the mountains the carpenters have hewn down with their whetted axes to make ship timber.” This is feeling very personal and through this part in the simile, I feel it makes the loss even greater. Homer makes this much more emotional than other deaths have been. I know its not an answer, but I do agree that this was different and worth looking at.


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