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Syfy (ended 2010)

Greek Mythology, The Iliad and The Odyssey and the entire show dissected

  • Avatar of AngJeAreteAfer

    AngJeAreteAfer

    [1]Mar 12, 2007
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    1001
    Edited on 01/04/2008 3:28pm
    Edited 6 total times.
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  • Avatar of 123home123

    123home123

    [2]Mar 12, 2007
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    Sorry to say but I doubt many people will be visiting your blog to glean those pearls of wisdom from on high. You haven't posted at all on this forum and suddenly you are insulting everyone left and right. A litany of garbage? Pseudo-classical reasoning? People that have no clue what they are talking about? Real nice way to introduce yourself.

    Yes, there is a lot of Greek mythology on the show but if you would deign to come down to our lowly level, you would see that there are also many references to modern American political history, from the current war in Iraq, Watergate, the Kennedy assassination, the Reagan-Carter presidential debates and more.

    There are also elements from European history in and around the time of World War II. And what about Tom Zarek? There are parts of Nelson Mandela, Yassir Arafat and others in his character. The tone of the miniseries and the early episodes intentionally reflected the post-9/11 world. None of this has anything to do with Greek mythology.

    Ronald Moore is not rewriting the Odyssey and the Iliad as you seem to be claiming. He is using elements from those works as part of a new creation. Although characters like Apollo and Athena have call signs based on Greek deities, what about Colonel Tigh, Dee or Gaeta? Or even William "Husker" Adama? President Roslin doesn't have a Greek name either.
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  • Avatar of 123home123

    123home123

    [7]Mar 12, 2007
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    Fair enough. You are free to join the forum (though you certainly don't need my permission to do so). Just stay away from any put-downs of other users. If you think this board is lacking in Greek mythological analysis, then you should add your insights. Any and all good-faith comments are welcome. The only threads that I close are duplicates, nonsense/off-topic threads, game threads and hate threads. Anything else that has at least a loose connection with the show is acceptable.
    Edited on 03/12/2007 6:30pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of Chainblast

    Chainblast

    [8]Mar 13, 2007
    • member since: 09/13/04
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    I happen to agree with the OP.

    EDIT: That is I agree with the show being neck deep in Greek mythology, poems and legends.
    Edited on 03/17/2007 10:06pm
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  • Avatar of jezzasparky

    jezzasparky

    [9]Mar 13, 2007
    • member since: 03/13/07
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    I read the blog - Very interesting reading you make some good points and some of it I found myself agreeing with - however - at the start of the piece it says that a lot of the points/comparisons made are set in stone. But...

     

    I have a few points I feel need to be made

     

    1 – we do NOT know what the outcome of Ellen's DNA test was (Baltar said he 'will never tell' - I think that's right?)

    2 – You seem to think that the writers are specifically following the Iliad and Odyssey – yet in BOTH of those texts Helen was innocent, taken against her will and didn't sleep around. (it is only the later/other texts that show her as being 'easy')

    3 – Athene's main role did not start in the Iliad and Odyssey (for example the Perseus myth – which came before the Trojan cycle)

    4 – There are more than 12 gods in Greek mythology – and which of them were the 12 Olympians varies depending on which myths you're looking at, which part of Greece they are from, which time frame…

    5 – You say the characters are Mycenaean except for Paris – However Aeneas is a Trojan (like Paris) - not Greek

    (6 - edited to add this - Demeter is a female deity (goddess of fertility) and is the sister of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades - is it really likely that they would use a male character in the show to represent her?)

    7 – Hermes is not the main god that keeps Achilles alive in the Iliad!

    8 – Achilles WAS NEVER IN THE TROJAN HORSE – HE WAS ALREADY DEAD BY THEN!!! That is why the Greeks had to come up with the horse strategy – they had lost their best fighter.

    9 - Aeneas DID NOT leave Troy with "The Sword of Troy" - there is no such thing in the texts. He left with the "palladium" (a statue of Athene that fell from heaven) and the 'household gods' of Troy.

    10 - It strikes me that at least some of your info about the Trojan War comes from the movie "Troy". I think it needs to be said that this film is COMPLETELY inaccurate to the original story - people die in it who do not die in the texts, people survive who don't survive! - and the story has in other ways been changed almost beyond recognition. It is Absolutely NOT a good source of information for greek mythology!

    (btw - I did my degree in "Greek and Roman Studies" ie - this topic)

    Edited on 03/13/2007 6:12am
    Edited 5 total times.
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  • Avatar of pennyrua

    pennyrua

    [10]Mar 13, 2007
    • member since: 01/16/07
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    I have to agree with jezza. While you make some interesting points and many of the allusions certainly make sense, there are a number of flaws in your theory. I was taking everything you wrote on board until you made reference to the "Sword of Troy" that is a cinematic device employed by the writers and producers of the film 'Troy'. It has absolutely no basis in mythology. Also you seem to think that Aeneas is a part of (the 'author' known as) Homer's Iliad and Odyssey but  Aeneas is mentioned in two lines in the entire poem the 'Iliad' and not at all in the 'Odyssey'. The character we know as Aeneas is from the Roman novel 'The Aeneid' by Virgil (which was written -as opposed to recited) hundreds of years after Homer and is a literary myth from a different culture entirely than Homer's. Its origins are in the early Roman/Latin charter myth. If the creator of BSG are using the myth of Aeneas together with Greek mythology as a plot device, it would not be very surprising. However the basis of your argument is that they are using Homeric mythology - when referring to human characters in any case. They may also be keeping Ovid in mind.

    I think you make a good point and clearly there is someone in the BSG team who is aware of the mythological references. However you could also be wrong -only the writers really know. I believe the ethos of these forums is to be respectful of all users and their opinions.

    I feel I should admit that I recently finished a degree in classical civilization and my thesis was called 'Heroism in Epic Cinema' where there were chapters on Achilles and the film 'Troy' as well as the reception of Helen of Troy in all her forms. She gets a pretty bad write-up on your blog and I think you should research her a little more thoroughly, she is a much more rounded character in myth than you give her credit for.   

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  • Avatar of jezzasparky

    jezzasparky

    [13]Mar 14, 2007
    • member since: 03/13/07
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    AngJeAreteAfer wrote:
    "You don't need to tell me how much they butchered Troy just on their own whims. Menelaus killed by Hector, and sorts of other garbage. And I had just accepted some details from it that I didn't remember and hadn't even realized..

    "Butchered" - VERY good word!!!:-) Sorry if I came across a bit strong on that point - but that movie just makes my blood boil!!!

    Please may I suggest you also take out the point about Ellen being blonde being a reference to Helen - we don't know for sure what Helen looked like - but if I remember correctly ancient Greek artists show her as being brunette, I don't think Homer ever actually says himself.

    Edited on 03/14/2007 2:35am
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  • Avatar of MichaudMR

    MichaudMR

    [14]Mar 14, 2007
    • member since: 03/22/06
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    You just have to love Hollywood History.

    These are the guys who gave us the Battle of Sterling Bridge and forgot the bloody bridge!

    Don't even get me started on "The Patriot."  As an instructor of American History I cringe every time I hear about one of my colleagues running that movie in their classroom.

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  • Avatar of jezzasparky

    jezzasparky

    [16]Mar 14, 2007
    • member since: 03/13/07
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    AngJeAreteAfer wrote:

    I seem to remember, near the end of the Iliad, a scene involving retribution and defending Achilles's honour and the god present for the entire scene is Mr. Hermes. That would make him the god present in defending Achilles's "immortal destiny" or such....

    But again, that could just again be considered the interest of Zeus, because of all the gods I'd say Hermes "least" has his own will, he's pretty much just Zeus's right hand man. So a loose point regardless.

    Hermes does it on Zeus' orders  (because Achilles' mother asked him to and he owed her big time!) However, who's to say that Leoben does not act on someone else's orders aswell? Your point may still be valid

    Edited on 03/14/2007 8:46am
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  • Avatar of pennyrua

    pennyrua

    [17]Mar 14, 2007
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    Really good thread strangely. Has peaked my interest. I agree that the films are just a waste of time.  The Iliad is an astounding piece of western literature and cannot be translated to the screen it seems. I need to re-read the Odyssey. I am reading Joyce's Ulycees at the moment and it is all connected.
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  • Avatar of Mangalore

    Mangalore

    [18]Mar 14, 2007
    • member since: 03/21/06
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    Frankly, the implication of mythology are so loose that while possibly an inspiration for episodes or some general storylines I do not see some big masterplan behind it.

    You seem very fixated on the Iliad. Why not the story of "Jason and the Argonauts"? You have a captain who is protected by Athene travelling to a new world (in this case to kind of steal something), you have a great bunch of Greek heroes travelling with him and going through lots of ordeals on the way.

    People draw parallels between anything they know so it comes in my eyes naturally that people knowing the Iliad or the Odessey would draw parallels with that instead of other as fitting stories. The old testament would work well, too,
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  • Avatar of Nethicus

    Nethicus

    [19]Mar 14, 2007
    • member since: 04/11/06
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    Read the blog.  Great stuff.  I picked up on some of it earlier, but missed the Odyssey and Iliad references.

    I think that you have Cavill wrong, though.  I think he's the God of War, Ares, as he was the one who appeared on Caprica to announce the end of hostilities.  He's also been the one most insistent on wiping out the "human plague" from the galaxy.

    I'm also wondering about Hades.  He's a brother of Zeus, and shares dominion over the world with him, so I'd think that his pecking order would be 2 or 3.  Is Doral possibly Hades and not Poseidon?  It would explain his penchant for torment.

    And for Apollo and Hera-- they've already appeared on the show.  But if Hera is the son of Odysseus and Athena, that is one big ol' mythology buster as Athena sprouted from Zeus' head, and that would make her daughter her own step-mother.  Geez, sounds like an episode of the O.C. 
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  • Avatar of wedgeantilles54

    wedgeantilles54

    [20]Mar 15, 2007
    • member since: 09/05/03
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    I will grant that you have some excellent points about how greek mythology plays into the show but you are putting way too much wieght on the amount of influence it has

    There has been discussion on the influences of greek mythology before but those where many months ago, and most people frankly find the referneces that play to world we live in and our recent past to be of more relevance to the overall tone and disucssion of the show.

    There are a good number of references to norse mythology as well particualarly in the naming of ships, and some locations. Examples would be the battlestar valkriye (sorry if i spelled it wrong) and Rangar Anchorage, which suggests that show is drawing on the mythology from several different cultures

    I don't think that you can infer anything from baltar's comments about Ellen's test as to if she is a cylon or not considering everyone passed that took it cause baltar was more concerned with staying alive than doing his job on that, granted it did work as we know since it showed the Sharon was a cylon. Also i do not see ellen as anysort of parael character to hellen because the war which started the series had nothing to do with her and while she started some conflicts within the fleet they where minor

    Turning to Col tigh., there are people who relate him to captain Ahab from Moby Dick because of his looks durring the whole New Caprica story arc and along with his actions durring that story arc.

    Also there have been whole episodes that have been built around more modern events and references to them, and the Illiad while parts of it can fit to this story is more about a long sieige and war, which not what happens in this story (yes i have read the Illiad) and think if any of the storys that have been metioned apply it would be either the oddessey or the aniead which was written by a Roman not a Greek and deals with the events that would lead to the founding of rome, or the myth of how rome was founded. ( I got this from a class i took in college).

    So overall while the greek references are there i don't think they are meant to be the overpower refernces that you make them out to be in your posts and blog, but are there to help the story with that while rooted in mythology is meant to deal with the issues of the current day and the references to more recent events are meant to be what people catch frist and to spark disscussion amoug the viewers. Which they certainly have done on these boards

    Fianlly i must say you did make some good conclusions and provide some good insights you might have turned alot of people off to what you had to say with your intial post

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