Forum

Parallels in Homer and Sophocles

Pharaoh Meremptah of the 19th Dynasty plays a similar role to Akhenaten in the 18th Dynasty. That is, both were Moses figures. Akhenaten (as Oedipus) is a leading figure in Sophocles. Meremptah (as Priam) is a leading character in Homer. In Sophocles, the two successors of Akhenaten, namely Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun, are merged together in the character of Eteocles, a name that is actually an adaptation of the name Smenkhkare. Quoting from Chapter 16 of the on-line book:

"The role of Eteocles in the Oedipus plays represents a composite of Smenkhare and Tutankhamun. Polyneices (Biblical Phineas) was first banished by Eteocles I (Smenkhare). He returned nine years later to attack Eteocles II (Tut). Considering that Smenkhare and Tut ruled one after the other and that they were full brothers, the confusion is somewhat understandable. Given the nature of their births, they would have been more like twins than brothers (even though separated by nine years in age)."

www.domainofman.com/book/chap-16.html

Meremptah's two successors were Seti II and Amenmesses. Seti II seems to have ruled as co-regent for about six months until the assassination of Meremptah. Amenmesses seized the throne of Meremptah, but upon his death, Seti II ruled again. He was then killed by Siptah. In Homer, the historical figures of Amenmesses and Seti II are apparently merged, much the same way Smenkhkare and Tut are merged in Sophocles. The following pharaoh, Siptah, is a close parallel to Panehesy of the 18th Dynasty. Siptah covets the throne of Amenmesses and Seti II as Panehesy earlier coveted the throne of Smenkhkare and Tut.

Curiously, in Sophocles the deaths of Polyneices and Eteocles are linked just as the death of Achilles is tied in Homer to that of Hector.

According to Robert Graves ("The Greek Myths"), Tyndareus was only the foster father of Helen, and that her actual father may have been Zeus (a.k.a. the ruling Great King in my model). The mother of Helen is called Leda (who is also called the daughter of Tyndareus!), however Leda is according to Graves a form of the "original Nymph-Goddess" Leto. This may reveal the typecasting of Helen's mother rather than her actual name. Also according to Graves, Priam's wife Hecabe/Hecuba had twins Helenus (male) and Cassandra (female), who both received the gift of prophesy.

Priam was probably not the actual father of any of Hecuba's children. He was certainly not the father of Paris. (This is also apparent from the role of Hector in the Iliad.) Hecuba was Priam's second wife, and we must suspect that Hecuba had been previously widowed, specifically by the true father of Paris (Khaemwaset), afterwhich Paris was considered one of Priam's "fifty sons".

This all leaves the actual genealogy of Helen in question. Cassandra ("she who entangles men") in Greek myth. Her name certainly associates well with Helen, but it isn't clear whether the two should be equated. (Helenus is apparently male, but is in some instances is equated by Graves to Helen of Troy, or at least in the index to the work.) Cassandra is considered a neglected wife of Agamemnon. She, her two sons by Agamemnon, and Agamemnon himself are murdered by another of his wives called Clytaemnestra, who is yet another nominal daughter of Tyndareus (alternatively considered a daughter of Zeus). Whew!

Well, I still have quite a bit of reading to do before proceeding any further. I definitely need to study the relevant sections of "The Greek Myths" by Robert Graves again. I've also picked up additional analysis on Troy, some of it quite fresh:

1)The Trojan War by Barry Straus (2006)
2)Helen of Troy by Bettany Hughes (2005)
3) The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles and with a detailed survey by Bernard Knox (1990). This book also has useful charts.

I've also picked up three general histories of ancient Greece:

4) Persian Fire by Tom Holland (2006), which is actually more about Greece than Persia.
5) A History of Greece to 322 BC by N.G.L. Hammond (3rd ed., 1986)
6) The Early Greeks by R.J. Hopper (1976)
7) The Greeks Overseas by John Boardman (4th ed., 1999)

I already mentioned three other books in previous posts:

8) The End of the Bronze Age by Robert Drews (1993)
9) In Search of the Trojan War by Michael Wood (1985)
10) The Greek Myths by Robert Graves (Complete Edition, 1992)

Responses To This Message

Parallels in Homer and Gomer