War strategy in Iliad

war strategy in iliad

The Iliad is not just an epic which depicts only Achilles’s wrath or Hector’s bravery or the conflict of gods and goddesses. Rather it is a masterpiece which is full of fights or conflict. The Iliad contains the story of the Trojan war. So battles need to be fought, soldiers are killed brutally, plans must be implemented, decisions need to be taken at the right time. So, war strategy or the technique that Homer has described in this book are really important. The trinity of excellent leadership, control and experience has made the war successful.

First of all, Maintaining focused ,powerful, dynamic and centralized leadership is the most important strategy that Homer has described specially in Agamemnon. In the moment of crisis, the willingness and quick action of a leader can change the flow of incident and war. Homer uses Odysseus as a mouthpiece to describe the point. In The Iliad, Odysseus says,” We can’t all be leaders here. Mob rule is a bad thing”. This statement clearly demonstrates the importance of centralized leadership is indisputable. In addition to it, fighting with more enthusiasm in crucial times is also an important thing. When Pandarus hurts Menelaus and both Trojan and Achaean armies join into conflict again, godlike Agamemnon was not hiding or unwilling to fight, rather he was eagerly fighting with the opponent for winning glory. Agamemnon coordinates his troops, encourages his generals and controls the situation. Moreover, he stimulates Idamenenus, the greater Ajax, the lesser Ajax, wise Nestor, far sighted Odysseus and Diomedes. He listens to them with equal importance and collaboration by noting their concerns. Thus Agamemnon is spreading and deputising his infernal will and he is being a good leader.

Secondly,Paraenesis is one of the most common battle strategies in Homeric war.The main theme of Parainesis lies in its ability to turn soldiers into wild beasts driven by instinct and competition with one another. There is an example of Paraenesis in book two of The Iliad. Here Homer clearly differentiates between the common soldiers or the Proletariat(working class people,often used with reference to marxism) and the aristocratic people or the bourgeoisie. Another term for commom man in The Iliad is ‘Hoi Polloi’. A common soldier from the Achaean army insults Agamemnon.But even other soldiers do not pay attention to him because, they focus on who says this, not what is said. However, this soldier is marginalised then and there and was beaten by Odysseus in front of other soldiers. He makes the soldier ashamed of his deeds, tears come up from his eyes. In this way,by maintaining class distinction, the rulers here control over the common soldiers,maintain discipline and repress the ways of any revolution among soldiers. So, this strategy of controlling general people is also important in this war.

Thirdly, the last and most important strategy is having experienced personnel on one’s own who helps in times of crisis. No weapon, troops, charisma or power can replace this specific requirement . Experience brings guidance and a sense of consistency, no matter in what circumstance you find your army. The most experienced member of Greek army is the Gerenian charioteer Nestor. His digressive tales certainly motivates the Greeks by helping to gain courage and valour and encourages them to fight against the enemies with newer strength. He provides some unique and fruitful ideas which only an experienced person can give. For instance, he suggests to operate the spy mission in the middle of the night to know secret information about Trojans. Furthermore, Nestor tells them to build a Greek wall and then bury their dead people. Besides, in the first part of the novel, Nestor tries to settle the conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles. Then, he then suggests Agamemnon to send ambassadors to Achilles in order to request him to join in the war again. He also convinces Patroclus to tell Achilles about Greek misery and tell him to return in the war. Thus, he suggests the best tactic and represents wisdom, old age and experience.

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