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The Homeric World (J199/21)

The Trojan War

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Trojan War, one of the best known events of Greek mythology.
[Source: BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time]

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According to the traditional version of the story, the war began when a Trojan prince, Paris, eloped with the Spartan queen Helen. A Greek army besieged Troy for ten years before the city was finally overrun and destroyed. Some of the most familiar names of Greek mythology are associated with the war, including Achilles and Hector, Odysseus and Helen of Troy - and it has also given us the story of the Trojan Horse.The war is the backdrop for Homer's epic poem The Iliad, and features in many other works from classical antiquity. For centuries it was assumed to be a mythical event. But in the nineteenth century a series of archaeological discoveries provided startling evidence that Troy might really have existed, leading some scholars to conclude that there could even be some truth behind the myth. So does the Trojan War story have any basis in fact? And why has it proved such an enduring legend?With:Edith HallProfessor of Classics at King's College LondonEllen AdamsLecturer in Classical Art and Archaeology at King's College LondonSusan SherrattLecturer in Archaeology at the University of SheffieldProducer: Thomas Morris.

The Iliad

[Source: BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time]

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the great epic poem attributed to Homer, telling the story of an intense episode in the Trojan War. It is framed by the wrath of the Greek hero Achilles, insulted by his leader Agamemnon and withdrawing from the battle that continued to rage, only returning when his close friend Patroclus is killed by the Trojan hero Hector. Achilles turns his anger from Agamemnon to Hector and the fated destruction of Troy comes ever closer. With Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at King's College London; Barbara Graziosi, Professor of Classics at Princeton University; and Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture at Clare College, Cambridge.

The Odyssey

[Source: BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time]

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss The Odyssey by Homer, often claimed as the great founding work of Western Literature. It's an epic that has entertained its audience for nearly three thousand years: It has shipwrecks, Cyclops, brave heroes and seductive sex goddesses. But it’s also got revenge, true love and existential angst. The story follows on from Homer's Iliad, and tells of the Greek hero Odysseus and his long attempt to get home to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss what has given the Odyssey such a fundamental position in the history of western ideas, what are the meanings behind the trials and tribulations that befall Odysseus and how the Odyssey was composed and by whom. With Simon Goldhill, Professor of Greek at King's College, Cambridge; Edith Hall, Leverhulme Professor of Greek Cultural History at Durham University; Oliver Taplin, Classics Scholar and Translator at Oxford University.

The Bronze Age Collapse

[Source: BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time]

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss The Bronze Age Collapse, the name given by many historians to what appears to have been a sudden, uncontrolled destruction of dominant civilizations around 1200 BC in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia. Among other areas, there were great changes in Minoan Crete, Egypt, the Hittite Empire, Mycenaean Greece and Syria. The reasons for the changes, and the extent of those changes, are open to debate and include droughts, rebellions, the breakdown of trade as copper became less desirable, earthquakes, invasions, volcanoes and the mysterious Sea Peoples.

Article: Economic collapse: The real message of the fall of Troy

[Source: BBC News]

helen

Interesting article on the fall of the Bronze Age Mycenaean world