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Iliad of Homer

The 18th Chapter of the Iliad by Homer vividly paints the picture of the Shield of Achilles, which is given such ornate description throughout the chapter. The Achilles Shield is a literary sketch of an artwork, or an ecphrasis. This shield can be asserted to be a clear metaphor that depicts the world during the time of Homer, who richly describes the images that can be found in this possession of Achilles. What can be found in the shield are the heavenly bodies, pictures of two contrasted cities, the ocean, a dance floor, a sheep farm, among other things.

It can thus be argued that the shield is a representation of the age of civilization where Homer has existed, as he translates his observation into a vivid metaphorical imagery. One can observe in the shield such startling contradictions that truly describe reality in a fairly accurate manner. For instance, the war and peace scenario was mentioned, as with the constant conflict that humans encounter. Another notable image is that of the city where law and order prevails, yet war and conflict also exist.

This is reality according to Homer, who recognizes that even the peaks of civilization can never be without human strife or conflict. The Bronze Age Greece, as with any other periods in human history, shows the nature and cycle of order and conflict. In the context of the story of the Trojan War, the shield can thus represent a portrait of the city that would soon be ravaged by a brutal and uncompassionate war.

The City at War and the City at Peace is how Homer describes the city-state, which is the political order of civilization in Ancient Greece. The shield offers interpretations of the values and realities that existed and observable during those periods in history. The Bronze Age is therefore characterized by the increasing splendors of civilization coupled with the reality of conflict and war.

Reference

Homer. (1950). The Iliad. E. V. Rieu, trans. United States: Penguin Classics.

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