Briseis - Wikipedia
First we need to find out who Achilles and Briseis were. the name of a warrior in Greek legend, one of the central characters in Homer's 'Iliad'. Brisēís also known as Hippodameia (Greek: Ἱπποδάμεια, [hippodámeːa]), was a mythical queen in Asia Minor at the time of the Trojan War. Her character lies at the heart of a dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon that drives the plot of Homer's Iliad. In the Iliad, Achilles likens their relationship to that of man and wife (he often. In 'The Iliad' Briseis is said to have quite a close relationship with Patroclus after she is given to Achilles. Patroclus comforted her after the loss.
Agamemnon sends him out of the Greek camp in response which prompts Chryses to call upon the god Apollo to unleash a plague. Achilles suggests that Agamemnon should give back Chryseis in order to prevent all their men from dying, which leads to an argument that culminates in Agamemnon seizing Briseis and Achilles withdrawing from the battle, as well as calling upon his mother Thetis to petition Zeus to impose suffering upon the Greeks for good measure.
Briseis is then kept as a slave of Agamemnon, only to be returned to Achilles after Patroclus dies in battle. We have some textual evidence that can interpreted as Briseis loving Achilles. Thus, it is clear that there is a distinct imbalance of power in their relationship which makes any assertion of romance problematic. Wherefore I wail for you in your death and know no ceasing, for you were ever kind.
Those scenes did not exist in the Iliad. Briseis is obviously vulnerable, stuck in a camp full of hostile men and in a position where she has no power over her own life. Thus, putting on a stiff upper lip and marrying Achilles is more or less her best option excluding somehow winning her freedom. The reasons for why she wishes to marry Achilles is not exposed but presuming that she does so out of budding affection for her captor and in this case: His rejection of Briseis and these gifts are meant to denote a shift in his worldview, that what he valued before has lost its meaning.
Hence, Ajax the Elder is confused as to why Achilles refuses the compensation of 7 women for the single snatched Briseis Homer, Iliad 9. My point is the Abduction is Love trope has added romantic significance to the figure of Briseis when textually the Iliad provides little to no evidence to support it.
But the fact remains that Homeric, Cyclic, and visual representations of myth had far more affinity for one another than for Hesiodic or lyric poetry. All Greek myth is inherently multiform, due to the local nature of Greek religion and culture. The variations on the taking of Briseis, as evidenced in both visual and verbal narratives, is one such example of the multiformity. I now propose to look briefly at other visual representations of Briseis, in order to explore more deeply the degree of multiformity inherent in what we know as the story of Briseis.
Friis Johansen argues similarly: One late archaic amphora by Oltos, however, represents Achilles in armor on one side and Briseis holding a flower on the other; both are labeled.
Murray, interprets the scene on the tondo, in which a maiden holding a flower faces a youth, as Ariadne and Theseus. The reverse, which is fragmentary, shows a male facing a girl holding a flower. Neils proposes that this girl is in fact Helen, whom Theseus abducted from Sparta.
Briseis - Greek Mythology Link
As I have argued above and will explore further in subsequent chapters, this kind of encounter would be unlikely to be related in the Panhellenized Iliad, but might be a prominent episode in local Aeolic poetic traditions. On the Ilioupersis cup by the Brygos painter, Briseis and Phoinix are depicted together within the tent of Achilles, whose shield hangs on the wall. Both figures are labeled, and Briseis may hold a flower in her left hand, much as in the scenes discussed above.
But it seems clear that the Brygos painting is depicting a narrative of some kind. Again I suggest that this is a traditional scene that finds expression in painting, and may at one time have been represented verbally in epic poetry.
One of the most frequent representations of Briseis depicts her with Achilles at the ransom of Hektor. Several commentators have interpreted the effect of this last mention of Briseis in the Iliad as providing a kind of closure. Likewise the return of Briseis to Achilles presupposes his return to battle, which in turn guarantees the death of Hektor.
All of these scenes suggest a certain degree of multiformity to the Briseis story that is not generally recognized in current scholarship on Briseis, [ 68 ] which sees her as an invented character or at best a minor figure. Many studies have shown that archaic vase-painters often represented scenes that are not found in our Iliad and Odyssey but that are nonetheless traditional scenes from heroic tales.
It is important, however, to make a distinction between the Iliad—the fixed text as we now know it—and Iliadic or Cyclic traditional narratives. I contend that no study of the relationship between the Homeric epics and vase-paintings can succeed without appreciating this distinction. In our Iliad Agamemnon sends two heralds to take Briseis, but, according to another way of telling the story, Agamemnon comes in person. Because of the nature of what survives, we have only a narrow window into the larger tradition from which painters and poets composed their narratives.
Reconstruction of the larger tradition can be difficult and often impossible, but, as an examination of the remaining sources will show, the ancient Greek artistic and epic traditions were at one time very fluid. The Iliad is one way of telling the tale of Troy, but it is by no means the only way.
Footnotes [ back ] 1. See Lord Because of their monumentality and millennial predominance, their versions now seem authoritative, which is the same as saying that they no longer seem to be versions. At Lord23, the difference is explained this way: For the term compression see again Lord25—27, 68—98, 99— For the length of performance see above, p.
Briseis-Achilles Romance? It’s Complicated.
This story pattern is also connected with so-called Ktisis-Sagen foundation sagasin which the conqueror falls in love with a local girl. See Nagy, elaborating on Schmid Because of its first position in the manuscript M where a leaf is missingthe hymn is thought to belong to the group of earlier and longer hymns. See also Janko A well-known example of this way of incorporating variation occurs at Iliad 5.
See Carlisle62—64 as well as Pratt29—30 with note From the T scholia at Iliad See also chapter 3. Apollodorus, who lists by name the towns that Achilles captured, gives Lyrnessos but does not mention Pedasos Epitome 3. Lyrnessos, Pedasos, and Thebe are thought to be located very close to one another near Mt. Ida, not far from the gulf of Adramyttion. In later stages of my argument it will become important that all of these cities are located near the coast opposite Lesbos, historically within the political sphere of Mytiline.
Lyrnessos and Thebe in particular are closely related in the ancient sources. For a complete compendium of all ancient testimonia regarding the location of Lyrnessos, Pedasos, and Thebe, see Stauber91— The quarrel between Aeneas and Priam referred to in Iliad The medieval transmission of the Iliad and Odyssey reflects a text that has become relatively fixed.
Nevertheless, in the Classical period, although variability was limited, significant performance variants are attested that are signals of alternative traditions that once flourished. The variants attested in the Classical period and beyond, even though in most cases they do not survive in the medieval manuscripts, are important.
THE TROJAN WAR: Task 1- Briseis in 'The Iliad' - Homer
In at least one version of the Odyssey, to cite just one example, Telemachus goes not to Sparta, but to Crete. See the scholia at Odyssey 3. In a forthcoming work I discuss the manifold local Cretan epic traditions that are still present in our Iliad and Odyssey.
Matters of geography are the most likely to be at variance with each other in competing local epic traditions. Towns that have competed historically for the same territory have corresponding epic traditions that legitimize their claims.
See AloniNagy a, 75, noteand Higbie In the Panhellenizing process, points of geography become increasingly vague so that local color becomes screened out.
For even earlier formulations of the role of the Panathenaia in shaping the Iliad and Odyssey see Nagy a, 23; b, 43; and a, See especially Nagy a, and note On the general avoidance of fantasy and elements of folk tale in the Iliad and Odyssey in contrast with the Epic Cycle see Griffin and Davies9— The Iliad and the Odyssey, on the other hand, were never understood to belong to any one city. On the local, that is, relatively less Panhellenic nature of the poems of the Cycle see Nagy a,as well as Burgess On the earliest recoverable scope and content of the poems of the Epic Cycle, see especially DaviesScaifeand Burgess See Griffin and Davies9—10 who view these elements as signs of inferior poetryNagy a, andBurgess79 note 12 and Briseis lost family, country and freedom when Achilles sacked Lyrnessus where she lived; yet she found her captivity sweet, until the feud between Achilles and Agamemnonwhich costed so many lives, made her captive of the latter.
Women and trouble For the sake of golden-haired Briseis great trouble came about.
But this should cause no particular surprise, some think, since not seldom there is a woman behind devastating wars, overthrown households, and other disasters. And Briseis, they reason, is the cause of Achilles ' wrath, which: But others say that Achilles is the sole responsible; for he forgot that he had come to Troy in order to fight, and not for the purpose of spending a wonderful time with a new sweetheart.
Besides, they argue, a man is angry when he wishes to be and not because someone else makes him so. When Achilles sacked Lyrnessus, he slew Briseis' husband and her three brothers, and brought her to the Achaean camp as her prize and concubine.
This was a sad day for this girl; for no one loses family and country without pain. And the god, having learned the outrage his priest had suffered, came down from Olympus darker than night, though he is known as the bright one; and shooting his golden arrows against the Achaean camp, he caused a plague that decimated the army.
Agamemnon 's threat When an assembly was called to discuss the plague, the seer Calchas declared that the reason for it was to be found in Apollo 's anger, which Agamemnon had aroused by insulting the priest and keeping his daughter.
Because of this threat, Achilles called the king shameless schemer, and accused him of always taking the lion's share, and using others to pile wealth and luxuries for himself. But to his heralds Eurybates and Talthybius he gave the following orders: If he refuses to let her go, I will myself go with a larger company and take her, which will be all the worse for him. These two came to Achilles ' ship and hut, where they halted abashed without uttering a word; for those who carry out orders, which they themselves deem as unjust, suffer a great disgrace and are filled with shame.
But Achilles helped them out, breaking the silence himself: