The Iliad and The Odyssey (books)

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The Iliad and The Odyssey (books)

The Iliad and The Odyssey are the founding literature of western culture.  They are also the two most anti-feminist books that I have read.  You should read the Rieu translations which are the most accurate and least politically correct.  These are the ones I linked to.

The Iliad is the ultimate brotherhood story.  The central theme of the story is that you don't mess around with another Greek's woman.  Troy took a Greek woman, Helen, so the Greeks banded together to get her back.  But when Agamemnon got too pushy and tried to take Achilles's woman (contrary to the principles of brotherhood), the Greeks started losing.  Only when Agamemnon returned the woman to Achilles, unmolested, did the Greeks finally achieve real brotherhood, and so won the battle.

Here are some quotes from the Iliad:

Hector talking to Paris, his brother, who seduced Menelaus's wife which caused the war:
Paris, you parody, with your wonderful looks, you sex-crazed seducer, you should never have been born, or married.  How I wish that were the case!  Far better that than to be the disgrace you are now, trusted by nobody.  How the long-haired Greeks must cackle when they see us make a champion of a man because of his good looks, not his strength of purpose or courage.

And when their father, Priam, asked Helen about the Greeks, she said:
I respect and admire you, my dear father-in-law.  I wish I had chosen to die in misery before I came here with your son, deserting my bridal bed, my relatives, my darling daughter and dear friends with whom I had grown up.  But things did not fall out like that, so I spend my life in tears.

Now I will tell you what you wish to know.  The man you pointed out is Agamemnon, son of Atreus, a good ruler and mighty spearman too.  He was my brother-in-law once, slut that I am - unless all that was a dream.

The Odyssey is about men who pursue Odysseus's wife while he is away.  Even though none of men actually get his wife, Odysseus ends up slaughtering them all anyway just because they tried.  Just like The Iliad, the core point here is not to chase other men's women.

Besides the anti-feminism, there is a strong general feeling of brotherhood and honor in these books.  In these stories, honorable behavior is clearly highly valued.