The Iliad Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Richmond Lattimore's translation.
'[…] but you, Hektor, go back again to the city, and there tell
your mother and mine to assemble all the ladies of honour
at the temple of grey-eyed Athene high on the citadel;
there opening with a key the door to the sacred chamber
let her take a robe, which seems to her the largest and loveliest
in the great house, and that which is far her dearest possession,
and lay it along the knees of Athene the lovely haired. Let her
promise to dedicate within the shrine twelve heifers,
yearlings, never broken, if only she will have pity
on the town of Troy, and the Trojan wives, and their innocent children.' (6.86-95)
Once again, the theme of worship-as-a-two-way-street comes up. Helenos thinks that if the women of Troy make a good enough offering to Athene, then she will help them. Unfortunately, things don't turn out that way.
'Father Zeus, is there any mortal left on the wide earth
who will still declare to the immortals his mind and his purpose?
Do you not see how now these flowing-haired Achaians
have built a wall landward of their ships, and driven about it
a ditch, and not given to the gods any grand sacrifice?
Now the fame of this will last as long as dawnlight is scattered,
and men will forget that wall which I and Phoibos Apollo
built with our hard work for the hero Laomedon's city.' (7.446-453)
Bad things happen when humans try to build things without the gods' permission. Or is Poseidon more angry because he thinks the wall will have a kind of immortality? Talk about a fragile ego.
'Then, Achilleus, beat down your great anger. It is not
yours to have a pitiless heart. The very immortals
can be moved; their virtue and honour and strength are greater than ours are,
and yet with sacrifices and offerings for endearment,
with libations and with savour men turn back even the immortals
in supplication, when any man does wrong and transgresses.' (9.496-501)
Let's break down what Phoinix is saying here. First he says, Achilleus should stop being such a jerk. Then he says, even the gods stop being jerks, when people offer them stuff. Now, we all know that Achilleus just got offered a ton of stuff. But, he's still not being nice. Does he think he's better than the gods, or something? That doesn't sound very pious.