Differences between Greek and Roman heroes

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Report Thread starter 5 months ago
Help! I’m trying to write an essay about the differences between Greek and Roman heroes, maybe including the examples of Achilles and Aeneas, but I don’t know where to start? What different values do these heroes have?
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Report 5 months ago
I’ve struggled with this too,but this is what I’ve cobbled together:

Roman (based of Aeneas as presented in the Aeneid):
- Pietas is key- duty to city/state, family and the gods
- the ability to Ramon rational (ratio) and stoic
-Clementia- mercy- though arguably Aeneas doesn’t show this by the end of the epic
- Not giving into furor
- Up holding traditional Roman values- like discipline, hard work ect- and not giving into the decadence and idleness of the east- the Romans thought those from the east were lazy and loved exceeds- e.g they are described as wearing gold and purple and dripping with perfume- where as the Romans saw themselves as hardy and hard working
- Fighting for Gloria is tricky- soldiers hoped to win glory and when looking at Pallas he is celebrated for all the deaths he caused, but I don’t think it was supposed to be the main reason to fight- that should be for the gods or the state- so things like collecting spoils of war for yourself was frowned upon

Greek ( I studied the Odyssey so these values might vary a bit from Achilles)
-Kleos- do everything you can to earn it
-Time- linked to kleos and measured by the amount of gift and praise you won
- piety
- Favour of the gods- a hero was important when they received divine intervention
- courage and skill in battle- normally a formidable warrior
- Achieves great deeds- sorry, seems obvious
- Strong and handsome- Homer puts a lot of emphasis on Odyssey being beautiful or godlike
- noble birth
- For a negative hubris is also a common trait

There are probably plenty more for both, but these are just some that I’ve gathered form the text book and reading the epics. Hope this helps
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Report 3 months ago
Hm I'm not the most experienced Classicist (in Y10 and not even finished my GCSE courses yet in Latin and Greek) but I think a difference that really glared out to me when reading the Aeneid vs the Odyssey was how Aeneas seems to be a much more complex character, whereas Odysseus seemed very fixed and only ever 'heroic' (I think that is really emphasised by Homer's use of epithets etc.)

Also I think to role of women as heroes is also very different. I suppose in the Odyssey Penelope could be considered our 'heroin,' but mostly due to her fidelity to her husband, in contrast with the terrible actions of women such as Clytemnestra. Essentially what makes her a heroin is her exceptional performance in the feminine sphere (if that makes any sense?)

In the Aeneid I would say our heroins are Dido, and maybe even the more minor character of Camilla. Both of these women have very masculine traits. The former is the founder of a city, the latter is a warrior. I think it's almost funny how the minute they both start to show very feminine traits (such as Dido falling in love with Aeneas, or Camilla being distracted by a soldier's shiny armour), Virgil kills them off.

I don't know if my answer has been the most helpful but I hope it at least gives you some ideas. A really interesting question I'd love to look into when I have some more time for further research etc. (these ideas were all kind of off the top of my head so I don't have any quotations to back them up- sorry!)

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