Golden Age - Sample Essay
The shield that Hephaestos makes for Achilles depicts Greek culture of both the Heroic and Homeric age and also foreshadows the future of the Greek civilization. The shield and its significance also seems to presage the coming of the Golden Age of Athens in its details. There are many reasons also as to why Homer took such pains to include this telling description of Greek culture though this poem. Homer’s description of the Greek culture is accurate in it has all the ages combined because in the detailed description all the ages work together to form the shield as do they to make the Greek culture. He uses the knowledge that he has of the past, depicts the era that he is living and uses all of this to project the future.
The shield that Hephaestos made for Achilles depicted the culture of the Heroic age in several ways. The shield depicts the whole world and all of its entities as well as the mortal people that lived there and their civilization. The types of interpretations that are on the shield that represent the Heroic Age are those of the city at war. There are several very descriptive areas that the shield depicts that are very common of war time. A dispute over the death of a man and what exactly caused it and who there is to blame is a perfect illustration of this time. It also seems that there is always peace that surrounds war to remind the people of what the men are dying for. It also seems that the agriculture is there also to remind the civilization of their roots and what brings them their prosperity. It isn’t evident that there is a hero in this area of the shield, because I think that Achilles is the hero and he holds the shield as it is a key to the peaceful future.
I also think that there are areas on the shield that Homer is trying to describe the time that he is living in. These times seem to be those in between the city at war and the city at peace. This is era of coming of age for the Greek society. They aren’t exactly dancing celebrating the prosperity yet but, they aren’t in a terrible war anymore. Homer seems to think that the world is most beautiful when it is at peace, but he still glorifies bravery of men at war and their heroic deed. I think this shows a time where the Golden Age is on the horizon, but ties still bind them to the ways of the past.
Through the depiction of the city at peace, Homer is describing the Golden Age of Athens. This is a point in time where the city is most prosperous and the people are living in peace and happiness. A wedding procession on the shield is a perfect picture of this. In this city it seems to me what is happening, is exactly what the soldiers at war were fighting for. There is a flourishing economy and an up rising of education and culture. It’s befitting that the city of war is in the middle of the city at peace, almost as a constant reminder of where they came from and be sure not to fall back into it.
Homer took such time and pain to depict all of this in Achilles shield not just as a beautiful lyric but also for a power learning tool. I think the reason behind his detailed description was to educate on the beauties of peace and not war. He made the shield a full circle to symbolize the importance of learning from history, and trying not to repeat it. I also believe that this circle representation was done to show the people just how far the have come and to show them how far they can go. I also think Homer could have completed such a detailed description to show the people of his time, that they have a lot to look forward to and the Golden Age was coming,
I think that Homer was most accurate in his description of the Golden Age and the future of Athens. His description of the Heroic Age was more toward the negative and he depicted mostly the evils of it. I don’t think that everything about that time was dark and that it had no heroes, because Achilles lived then and brought some hope during that time. I think that Homer was most accurate in describing the Golden Age because of the prosperity of the people and how fast they advanced in all aspects of society. I think that Homer described the Greek civilization as it was, one of the greatest civilizations of all times.