Achilleus and Hector
Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus and its devastation.
Achilles reluctance to fight, his open criticism of the war, his heartbroken acceptance that he will in fact lose his life in a wholly pointless campaign…
Achilles isn’t even in his essence a military figure. He is famously vulnerable and unnaturally defined by his mortality. He has been raised to know the arts of healing, and tricked into going. And yet he is the hero because he alone has the nature and the stature to think and speak as an individual. He alone stands apart and challenges heroic convention.
The greatest war story ever told basically commemorates a war that established no boundaries, won no territory, and furthered no cause. Worse yet, it’s hero dies a pointless death.
St. John’s College core curriculum reading list
- HOMER: Iliad, Odyssey
- AESCHYLUS: Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides, Prometheus Bound
- SOPHOCLES: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, Philoctetes, Ajax
- THUCYDIDES: Peloponnesian War
- EURIPIDES: Hippolytus, Bacchae
- HERODOTUS: Histories
- ARISTOPHANES: Clouds
- PLATO: Meno, Gorgias, Republic, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Symposium, Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophist, Timaeus, Phaedrus
- ARISTOTLE: Poetics, Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, On Generation and Corruption, Politics, Parts of Animals, Generation of Animals
- EUCLID: Elements
- LUCRETIUS: On the Nature of Things
- PLUTARCH: Lycurgus, Solon
- NICOMACHUS: Arithmetic
- LAVOISIER: Elements of Chemistry
- HARVEY: Motion of the Heart and Blood
- Essays by: Archimedes, Fahrenheit, Avogadro, Dalton, Cannizzaro, Virchow, Mariotte, Driesch, Gay-Lussac, Spemann, Stears, J.J. Thompson, Mendeleyev, Berthollet, J.L. Proust