Few pieces of literature have had the same impact on the world as Homer’s epics, and the recent BBC/Netflix venture Troy: Fall of a City is just the latest in a long line of modern and ancient adaptations and reinventions sprawling from the Iliad and the Odyssey. The epics themselves began as stories, passed down from generation to generation by ancient bards before the alphabet existed – by the time the epics were written down they described events some 500 years in the past!
For the ancient Greek audience that heard the epics performed, they would have been as familiar with the characters, places and narrative beats as we are with the legendary exploits of King Arthur – probably more so. It might surprise modern readers of the Iliad then that it covers only a few weeks in the ninth year of the ten year war – (spoilers) it doesn’t even include the Trojan horse! The timeline is deliberately blurred: why would it take nine years before Paris duels Menelaus? Surely that would happen in the first week! The 2004 film Troy ‘solved’ this by reducing 10 years to a week, and Troy: Fall of a City avoided the issue simply by referring to years as having past with confusing vagueness.
But perhaps this is unavoidable: when we consider that most of the intended audience would only hear sections of these epics at any one time, and the language of the texts is deliberately old fashioned even for the ancients (it’s as if a modern author wrote in the style of Shakespeare), the timelessness may well be an intended part of these epics to increase their mythic status. This timelessness in the Iliad means that even if it technically spans just a few weeks, the events are representative of the whole war.
Unfortunately for the film industry, the epics are truly timeless classics.
- Are my grades good enough for Oxbridge? Grades are an area of much misunderstanding when it comes... Read more >
- Download a Biology Personal Statement “Assisting with the post mortem of a dairy cow during... Read more >
- What’s the Most Important Part of Your Application? An application to Oxford or Cambridge involves various different elements,... Read more >
- Social and Political Sciences Reading List We’ve brought together a wide-ranging bibliography to help those applying... Read more >
- Geography and Earth Sciences Reading Lists Whether you’re looking at Geography, Earth Sciences (Geology), or Land... Read more >
- Download a Medicine Personal Statement Read our sample Medicine personal statement for application tips. Read more >
- For Your Reference: Admissions Test Factfiles The majority of Oxford courses, and an increasing number of... Read more >
- Experimental Psychology & Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) Reading List If you are interested in Psychology, Oxford offers the Psychology... Read more >
- MLAT overview If you’re applying for Modern Languages, or their joint schools, you... Read more >
- Access and Financial Support at Oxbridge As two of the world’s top universities, both Oxford and... Read more >
- Law: answer like a pro Law is a notoriously competitive subject; this, along with the... Read more >
- Physical, Mathematical & Chemical Sciences Reading Lists If you’re applying for Physics, Natural Sciences (P), Maths, Computer... Read more >
- Personal Statement Action Plan: Section 1 of 2 The UCAS personal statement will be a key part of... Read more >
- What makes a good interview? The notion of an academic interview with prominent Oxbridge academics is a major... Read more >
- Using stats: dos and don’ts When making an application, you must be careful about using... Read more >
- Taking a Gap Year There are a number of advantages to taking a gap... Read more >
- Pooling: Fast Facts You may have heard people talk about “pooling”, or maybe... Read more >
- Biological Sciences & Medicine: answer like a pro What kind of questions can you expect in an Oxford... Read more >
- Download an English Personal Statement “My background as a student at a European School, including... Read more >
- Music Reading List Applying for Music at Cambridge or Oxford requires a range... Read more >
- January’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to... Read more >
- 20 Real-Life Oxford and Cambridge Interview Questions The Oxford and Cambridge interviews are notorious for having academically... Read more >
- History Reading Lists The main challenge in the step up from school to... Read more >
- Is a “Religious Morality” rational? One of our Oxbridge graduate tutors, Emma, looks into the... Read more >