The World of Heroes

The World of Heroes

 

 

Students learn about:  Characteristics and types of heroes and leaders, Heroic society, and Heroic narratives. 

 

The world of heroes explores conceptions of heroism and examples and conceptions of good and bad leadership and behaviour expected of men and women through the lens of Greek and Roman epic. They study two seminal and rich poetic narratives, Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid, the latter with emphasis on the first six books. Both describe the trials and tribulations of two heroes and their families in the aftermath of the Trojan War. The victorious Greek hero Odysseus is not allowed to enjoy his homecoming: after ten years he still is wandering the world, presumed dead by his beleaguered family. The Trojan Aeneas, meanwhile, has little time to grieve over the city, wife and life he lost, as he is destined to found what will become the empire of Rome, ruled by his descendant Augustus. 

 

Students examine the Odyssey and Aeneid as examples of heroic epic as a genre, exploring its story- telling techniques, poetic devices and fictional world, rooted in one of the great sagas of Greco-Roman mythology. They analyse the actions, decisions and attributes of the epics’ characters both within the context of the epic world and in comparison with the central cultural and social values of early Greece and the age of Augustus. They also relate the characters of epic to the world of today, exploring their own norms and expectations for leadership and heroic conduct.