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Ancient Greek and Roman Myth Characters Essay

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Lucius Junius Brutus

Lucius Junius Brutus was one of the founders of the Roman Republic (Course Slides n. pag.), who led the rebellion against the last Roman king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus known for his tyranny. Being the son of Tarquinia, who was the daughter of one of the former Roman kings, he originated from a noble family. According to Titus Livius, Brutus started his rebellion against the king after the rape of a noblewoman Lucretia by the king’s son (Titus Livius 1.58-1.60). After the successful rebellion in 509 B.C., Brutus made the people swear an oath that they “would not suffer any man to reign in Rome” (Titus Livius 2.1). Brutus is often mentioned as an example of a person who was devoted to the Republic; he also served as its consul. His devotion was further confirmed when he watched his sons being capitally punished for treason but withstood it (Titus Livius 2.4-2.5).

Telemachus

Telemachus was the son of Penelope and Odysseus (Ulysses) (Greek mythology), and one of the main characters of Homer’s The Odyssey (Homer, The Odyssey Book I). In The Odyssey, he is first portrayed as a scared boy, but, as the story unfolds, he becomes brave. Homer tells how Telemachus matures while looking for his father; upon returning home, he protects his mother from numerous ladies’ men, taking revenge upon them (Homer, The Odyssey book XVII). Telemachus is an example of a devoted son. He departs to find his father whom he only had seen in babyhood upon being told that he was alive. Having accomplished numerous feats, he finds his father and protects his home from malevolent suitors.

Hector

Hector (Greek mythology) was the firstborn son of Priam and Hecuba (who were the king and the queen of Troy), the prince of Troy, the husband of Andromache, and the father of Scamandrius. He is known as the military leader of the city of Troy during the Trojan War (Homer, The Iliad book II; Course Slides n. pag.). As an important figure of the Trojan War, he is one of the characters of Homer’s The Iliad. It is stated that Hector is portrayed not only as of the greatest warrior of Troy but also as “a good son, a loving husband, and father, and a trusty friend” (“Hector” par. 1). During the war, he is said to have accomplished numerous feats and bested many enemies. However, he was slain by Achilles; his body was desecrated and dragged after Achilles’ chariot, but Priam came to Achilles and begged him to return his son’s body for a funeral; proper respect was to be shown to the great warrior (Homer, The Iliad book XXIV).

Romulus

Romulus (Roman mythology) is the legendary founder of the city of Rome, a son of Rhea Silvia the Vestal and Mars the God of War. Romulus is often mentioned along with his twin brother, Remus; a famous statuette portrays them as babies suckling a she-wolf (Powell 62; Course Slides n. pag.). Plutarch, a prominent Greek historian, wrote about Romulus in his treatise The Parallel Lives (Plutarch 1.1-29.7). The historian tells about how the two brothers were deciding where to establish a new city, and disagreed on which hill it should be built; the brothers decided to watch birds and wait for an omen, and Romulus deceived Remus to win. Remus was furious and started ridiculing Romulus, for which action he was killed, most likely by Romulus (Plutarch 9.4-10.2). The legend, therefore, tells of how Romulus founded Rome, sacrificing his brother for the future of the city, and tying the city to war, which is also connected to the belief that Romulus’ father was Mars the God of War (Course Slides n. pag.).

Medea

Medea (Greek mythology) was the daughter of Aeetes, the king of Colchis, a granddaughter of Helios, and a lover and helper of Jason the Argonaut. She is usually depicted as a young woman, often practicing witchcraft or murdering her young children she had had with Jason. Medea is one of the characters of Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica. In this epic poem, she assists Jason in his quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece (Apollonius Rhodius book 3-4). She fell in love with Jason after being shot by Eros (Apollonius Rhodius book 3, 275-298); he married her afterward. She was a good wife and gave him two sons; however, later she was abandoned by Jason, and to revenge him, she killed these children (Course Slides n. pag.). The myth shows how barbaric women can be in their anger, expressing the general attitude of the Ancient Greek culture towards women.

Mars

Mars (Roman mythology) was the son of Juno, and the god of war, as well as of agriculture (Powell 183-184). Because he was the father of Romulus, who established Rome, he was often called the founder of the Roman people (Isidore of Seville 128). He was worshiped under several names, and a Roman poet Publius Papinius Statius calls him “the most violent of gods” (Statius book 9, 1-31). However, he was considered one of the most important gods of Rome, because the Roman people were often forced to fight with their neighbors to survive. On the other hand, the fact that Mars was the father of Romulus, and that he was also connected to husbandry, makes Mars strongly associated with creation, not only destruction. The Latin name for the month March was derived from Mars’ name, and March was a good month to go to war (Powell 183), as well as the month when it gets warmer and it is possible to plant crops.

Works Cited

Argonautica. Trans. R. C. Seaton. n.d. Web.

. n.d. Web.

Homer. . Trans. Samuel Butler. n.d. Web.

. Trans. Samuel Butler. n.d. Web.

Isidore of Seville. . Trans. Stephen A. Barney, W. J. Lewis, J. A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Web.

Plutarch. . n.d. Web.

Powell, Barry B. A Short Introduction to Classical Myth. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2002. Print.

Thebaid. Trans. J. H. Mozley. n.d. Web.

. The History of Rome. Trans. Rev. Canon Roberts. 1996. Web.

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