Interesting articles I have read or written on my passions. These include marketing and leadership, family as well as all forms of cycling
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Why is this website called Iliad when the content is about cycling, leadership, management and marketing?
I originally started this blog to support me as I trained for the 2012 Absa Cape Epic. It started getting momentum and readers so I thought I would continue. The name came because the Cape Epic is an unreal race of EPIC proportions and I saw a natural connection with the Greek classics.
An epic (from the Ancient Greek adjective ἐπικός (epikos), from ἔπος (epos) “word, story, poem”[) is a lengthy narrative poem that contains stories of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. The Iliad is an EPIC poem attributed to Homer and is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC.
I studied Philosophy, English Literature and Ancient Greece at University. I am enjoying reading the worlds greatest literary works now more than when I was studying! The themes of the poem can give a different perspective on many aspects of life in the 21st Century.
A Brief Background of the Story
The goddess Eris (Discord) was not invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis (Achilles’ parents), so in revenge she threw a golden apple inscribed “for the fairest” into the banquet hall, knowing it would cause trouble. All the goddesses present claimed it for themselves, but the choice came down to three—Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera. They asked Zeus to make the final decision, but he wisely refused.
The most beautiful woman in the world at the time is Helen, a daughter of Zeus and Leda. Helen is already married—to Menelaus, the king of Sparta. Helen’s adoptive father Tyndareus had required all the men who wanted to marry her swear a solemn oath that they would all come to the assistance of Helen’s eventual husband should he ever need their help. Paris visits Menelaus in Sparta and abducts Helen, taking her back to Troy with him, seemingly with her active cooperation. Paris also takes a large part of Menelaus’ fortune.
Menelaus, his brother Agamemnon, and all the rest of Helen’s original suitors, invite others to join them on an expedition to Troy to recover Helen. An armada of some 1,200 ships eventually sails to Troy, where the Achaeans fight for years to take the city, and engage in skirmishes and plundering raids on nearby regions.
The Poem explores the importance of nationhood and identity. This is something I am particularly passionate about having only recently returned from working in London and Asia. I want to promote our fabulous country, our brands and help our children have acccess to as many opportunities as possible.
In the Iliad we are continually reminded how it is impossible to escape one’s fate but paradoxically there is still freedom of choice. My philosophy is that your fate is determined by your responses to the external things that affect you.
Nearly all of the book’s male characters are motivated in some way by considerations of their social standing. Often pride is depicted as a destructive force however it can have benefits. In battle, warriors are often reminded of their reputations to make them fight harder, thereby saving their own lives and those of their comrades. I like to do things that are extreme or outstanding because I enjoy the feeling that I get from this – there is a little bit of personal pride in this and that positively impacts my self-confidence. I hope that this ultimately helps people around me become infected with my enthusiasm and confidence.
We are all faced with mortality. The Iliad doesn’t pull any punches in its portrayal. Not only is death in battle depicted as extremely painful and gruesome, there isn’t any rosy afterlife to look forward to. In fact, in Book 20, Hades, god of the underworld, is terrified that Poseidon will crack open a hole in the earth, and then everyone will see just how bad it is down there. I am not a believer in a “bucket list” at this point in my life. I feel that I will miss too many cool opportunities that arise on the journey if I get to focused on definitives now. I want to live with the love and respect of my family and friends and make sure that any stones I see that look interesting get turned over! This blog is my personal journal as well as public blog and its commentary my reminder on how many amazing things we get to do as we grow old.
People in the Iliad compete in just about everything. Excelling on the battlefield is the most obvious way to get street cred, followed by success in athletics. One of the few times in the Iliad that someone wishes that someone else was better than them is when Hektor prays that his son will grow up to be a better warrior than him. On the one hand, this brings out Hektor’s identity as a family man; on the other hand, it could just mean that he wants to be able to boast about having a better son than anyone else. I am a competitive person but this is more based around how I can improve and do things in a better way rather than being based on beating other people.
Friendship is an important motivation for many characters in the Iliad; at times and can make them act in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Similarly, Achilleus’s extremely powerful friendship for Patroklos makes him forget his rage at Agamemnon and join the battle on the Achaian side. I am fortunate to have met many amazing people in my life. People from all countries, religions and cultures and I hope most consider me a friend.
‘Zeus, and you other immortals, grant that this boy, who is my son,
may be as I am, pre-eminent among the Trojans,
great in strength, as am I, and rule strongly over Ilion;
and some day let them say of him: “He is better by far than his father”,
as he comes in from the fighting; and let him kill his enemy
and bring home the blooded spoils, and delight the heart of his mother.’ (6.476-481)
There are few characters in the Iliad who would ever admit to their being anyone stronger than them! In the quote above and thus Hektor is articulating a a deep non-transactional love. Part of what gives the Iliad its humanity is its portrayal of love in a variety of forms. Some of the most emotional moments in the poem come between Hektor and his wife Andromache, which reveal not only the love of the spouses for one another, but also their parental love for their child. The support and love of family is one of the most important things to cherish and something that can easily be neglected in modern society. This is something that I have been guitly of in the past and don’t want to be guilty of again.Read More
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