What does the Iliad reveal about the earliest days of Greek culture?

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The Iliad reveals much about Greek culture as it existed before the Classical Age. As other contributors have already pointed out, we see within this poem the primacy of warfare in the era. Additionally, the Iliad reveals much about the religious life of the early Greeks: how sacrifices were carried out, for example, or beliefs about the power of fate. Indeed, destiny is a critical theme within the Iliad and a power before which even Zeus must bow.

At the same time, one might have a sense when reading the Iliad that, for all that warfare and feats of glory may have been prized, the poem does seem to ruminate on the tragedy of warfare. We see this in book 6, for example, in the famous scene wherein his wife, Andromache, begs Hector not to fight, on account of his family. (We also receive, in this same scene, a glimpse into the terrible fate which might await his family, when Troy would finally fall.) Additionally, one can point towards Achilles himself in self-imposed exile. While it is true that...

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