Aeneid and Hector
* Outline * I. Aeneas and Hector show leadership through faithfulness and respect to the gods and goddesses. Faithfulness to the gods.
Hector prays to the gods before fighting. Aeneas obeys the god, Apollo, in leaving Dido. Respect for the gods. Hector makes an offering to Dione’s daughter, his mother, and other gods for protection. Aeneas discharges ritual vows to the gods after the fighting. Aeneas and Hector act out of unselfishness. Aeneas acts out of unselfishness by turning away from his emotions. Aeneas leaves Dido for his people and the new Troy.
Aeneas helps his people and encourages them in the burial rites for Misenus. Hector acts out of unselfishness by serving the gods and continuing on his fate. Hector dies because that is the will of the gods. Hector loves his family but continues his fate to bring glory to Troy and his family. Aeneas and Hector do not back down from any situation. Aeneas cries a lot throughout the epic. This shows his human qualities. When Palinurus dies, he takes control of the ship. He leaves Dido in search of his new homeland. Hector fights with heart. Andromache begs Hector not to leave.
He has the strength to let go of his family. Hector, from the Iliad, and Aeneas, from the Aeneid, stand out as great warriors that show many traits of an epic hero. They obey the gods. They put others before themselves. Their motivation is their country and family, rather than personal glory. Hector and Aeneas remain faithful to the gods, acts out of unselfishness, and are strong in tough situations. In most epic poems, the gods and goddesses play important roles. In order for the gods to be on one’s side, one must obey them, pray to them, and offer gifts to them.
Aeneas is a good leader because he performs all of these acts throughout the Aeneid. Virgil points out Aeneas giving gifts to the gods at the beginning of the Aeneid: “As I made offering to Dione’s daughter, my divine mother, and to other gods who give protection to a work begun […]” (Virgil’s Aeneid 66). In the fighting scene later on, Aeneas calls on the gods to steady his aim before throwing the spear at his enemy. Thus, he is successful in wounding his enemy. In contrast, Mezentius relies on himself. He does not call on a god to steady his aim, meaning he thinks he can do everything on his own to be successful.
Mezentius does not aim well because he does not pray to the gods. Aeneas is a good leader because “[…] for burial of the dead, he first in early light discharged his ritual vows as victor to the gods” (Virgil’s Aeneid 331). A good leader takes care of his fellow comrades. Throughout the Aeneid, Aeneas performs the proper funeral rites for his father and for his fellow comrades. He is a courageous warrior filled with compassion. In Book XI, Aeneas prepares funeral rites for the ones who die in battle and send his promises to the gods.
Turnus contrasts with Aeneas as a bad leader because he does not show respect for his comrades. Turnus does not make any offerings. Aeneas proves he is a good leader by caring about his people who have died. He cares about their underworld lives. Aeneas starts the Aeneid with gifts and prayers, and he ends the Aeneid with gifts and prayers. He is constantly praying to the gods for strength; he never disobeys them. Aeneas is a good leader because he puts his faith in the gods in everything he does. Homer shows the difference between Hector’s and Achilles’ obedience to the gods in the Iliad.
Hector wants to please the gods in everything he does. When he is at his moment of death he says, “[…] must long since have been pleasing to Zeus” (Homer’s Iliad 443). Hector says these words before Achilles kill him. He is willing to die to fulfill his purpose. The gods wish that Hector would die. Hector is committed to the gods and his men. Achilles words are different: “Die: and I will take my own death at whatever time Zeus and other immortals choose to accomplish it” (Homer’s Iliad 445). On the contrary, Achilles’ personal needs and concerns come before the commitment to the gods.
Achilles drops out of the war when Agamemnon hurts his feelings. He is not fulfilling the gods’ purpose to stay in the war. Hektor’s fate is to die. He dies fighting and obeying the gods. Throughout the Aeneid, Virgil shows that Aeneas struggles and cries over certain situations. He is an unselfish leader filled with a compassionate heart: “Weeping, I drew away from our old country […]” (Virgil’s Aeneid 65). Virgil uses these moments to point out his human characteristics. Leaders and heroes are sometimes mistaken for superheroes that are exempt from tragic situations.
Aeneas is a great leader not because he is put in difficult situations; Aeneas is a great leader because he leads and does not let his emotions show through those difficult situations. Virgil shows Aeneas’ human qualities by giving him someone to love and then that person being taken away from him in a blink of an eye. For example, Aeneas has a hard time choosing to stay with Dido or to continue on his mission. Dido worries about herself: “Dido’s struggle is between her sense of duty and the divinely inspired love, Aeneas’s between his human love and his divinely appointed duty” (Daniels 172).
Aeneas shuts off his feelings for Dido, like a light switch. He is not selfish with his feelings. Aeneas knows what choice he will make: “Apollo tells me I must make for: Italy; named by his oracles. There is my love; there is my country” (Virgil’s Aeneid 108). Aeneas’ love is his new homeland, not Dido. He listens to Apollo instead of Dido. Aeneas has human emotion piety, which is duty towards family, country, and gods. Aeneas always fulfills his duty to his family, his fated city, and his gods. Leaders have the ability to focus on what is important and staying on track with their goal.
Aeneas realizes his future homeland is more important than his relationship with Dido. If Aeneas were selfish, he would have stayed with her. But instead, he thinks of his people and his fate of the gods. When Aeneas carries Pallas’s body, he is filled with tears. The good leader that he is, Aeneas does not mourn over it long. In the Aeneid, Virgil shows that nothing blinds his sense of duty. Aeneas is a dutiful servant. He is a strong, unselfish leader because he has the strength to place his people;s emotions above his to meet their needs.
Aeneas has to leave his men to cry over the loss of eager Orantes and Amycus. He shows great devotion to his men. Aeneas mourns over Palinurus’ death: “So grieving, and in tears, he gave the ship her head before the wind, drawing toward land at the Euboian settlement of Cumae” (Virgil’s Aeneid 159). Being a leader does not mean one is strong all the time and does not cry. Being a leader means one still leads even when he wants to break down and give up. He takes control of the ship immediately after his friend dies. Even through the tough times, Aeneas puts on a strong face for his people.
Aeneas is a good leader because he is not selfish with his own desires, but instead cares for the desires of his people for the new homeland. Achilles starts the epic with anger: “Sing, Goddess, Achilles rage […]” (Homer’s Iliad 1). He acts out of anger throughout the entire poem. Achilles relates to a small child: when he does not get his way, he throws a temper tantrum. Achilles has one family member: his mother, Thetis. The only reason he goes to her is to cry when things get tough. Achilles recognizes it is not his fault for the war.
Therefore, he proceeds in a selfish act and withdraws himself which shows lack of leadership towards his men. He does not have any care for his warriors and their opinions. Achilles wants his troops to suffer from him not being there. He wants their hate to go towards Agamemnon. Achilles is thinking about himself and being selfish. A leader or a hero would never back down from his task. On the other hand, Hector continues to fight even though the war is not his fault. When the war is challenging, he does not go crying to his mother and does not come out of the war. Hektor is known as the family man.
He is fighting for his wife, Andromache, to free her life of slavery. Hector spends time with his wife and son and puts war to the side. He devotes his attention and love to his family while Achilles sits alone in his tent. When Andromache begs Hector not to return to war, he still continues to go and fight. Not staying with his family as he would like to shows an act of unselfishness. Achilles’ reason for fighting is personal glory and respect. Hector’s reason for fighting is for his family and Troy. Hector’s qualities and characteristics best represent those of an epic hero.
The best leaders are those that put others before themselves. Many rulers relax and take a break from all the stress while controlling their people about everything that needs to be done. A good ruler helps his people instead of sending out orders. In Book IV of the Aeneid, Virgil shows Deiphobe informing Aeneas that Misenus needs a burial before Aeneas can enter the underworld. Many leaders act with selfishness towards their people, demanding them to do all the work that needs to be done. But, “Aeneas himself went first in labor, cheering his fellows on, with implements like theirs in hand” (Virgil’s Aeneid 166).
Instead of ordering his people on what needs to be done for the funeral rights, Aeneas performs the burial for his comrade’s death. Not only does he help, he encourages his people and has a good attitude. Aeneas shows great responsibility and unselfishness for taking charge. When the Trojans reach Latium, he continues to act as a good ruler by sending gifts to Latinus and making plans for a new orderly city. A good leader always has a plan. Virgil shows in the Aeneid that Aeneas’ absence in Book IX does not affect his role as a good leader. His spirit is still with his people.
Before Aeneas leaves to form allies, he instructs his people to pull back within their encampment when Turnus’s army attacks. “Aeneas, had instructed them; if any emergency arose, not to do battle, not to entrust their fortunes to the field, but safe behind their walls to hold their camp. Therefore, though shame and anger tempted them to a pitched battle, even so they barred their gates as he commanded, and compact in towers, armed, awaited their enemy. ” (Virgil’s Aeneid 260) Aeneas’ unselfishness leads to the people’s unselfishness.
Aeneas’ soldiers automatically have the desire to fight back, but they obey Aeneas. In most cases, people would act against their leader if he were not present. For example, if the teacher said not to talk while she left the room, some students would disobey. In this case, all the soldiers obey. If they acted out of selfishness, they would have fought back as they wished to have done. This is the most important scene to showing how great a leader Aeneas is because his people respect his orders without him being there to remind them.
It shows that Aeneas has the impact to influence his people: “Aeneas then is not at all a hero of the type of Achilles, and if we come to the Aeneid with preconceived opinions of what the hero of an epic should be, we run the risk of disappointment and also of losing Virgil’s interpretation of human life” (Glover 35). A person can become a good leader by observing a good leader: “It is quite in character for Andromache in Book 3 of the Aeneid and Iapyx in Book 12 to link Hector and Aeneas together as models of manly virtue for young Ascanius” (Spaeth 278).
Ascanius will become a good leader from watching his father’s leadership skills. While Aeneas is away is Book IV, Ascanius takes charge, taking the role of his father. He promises gifts to Nisus and Euryalus before they leave to go look for Aeneas. Ascanius promises this just as his father, Aeneas, promised gifts to the contestants at the athletic games. Ascanius is like his father because when he kills one enemy, he does not speak with pride over his victory. He does not act out of selfishness, in that he could have boasted over the death. He limits himself with a brief comment. “Only this. Ascanius called out. Ascanius will become a good leader because he takes after his father. In Book III of the Aeneid, Virgil shows Polydorus telling Aeneas that he and his people need to leave Thrace as quickly as possible. Aeneas is an unselfish leader in making his own decisions. Before making a decision, Aeneas talks to the other leaders to hear their opinions: “When faintness of dread left me, I brought before the leaders of the people, my fathers first, these portents of the gods and asked their judgment” (Virgil’s Aeneid 166). Good leaders listen to the opinions of others instead of quickly making a decision.
The fact that Aeneas has ultimate power does not mean he abuses it. In Book V of the Aeneid, the athletic games are being held. In the foot race, Nisus trips Salius so Euryalus will win. Many of the people balk at this scene because of the unfairness. However, Aeneas proclaims Euryalus the winner. Aeneas, being the good leader he is, gives a prize to Salius and Nisus. The most remarkable moment is when Aeneas pronounces Euryalus the winner because the crowd does not protest. The fact that his crowd remains quiet shows that his people trust him and obey his ruling.
A leader usually has people for him and against him. But a great leader has people for him no matter what the circumstances. Aeneas proves he is a great leader. Aeneas and Hektor are two great men that show characteristics of being a leader through their acts of faithfulness and respect to the gods, their unselfishness in their hearts, and leadership through tough situations. Aeneas has a leadership ability that enforces others to act as a leader. No one questions Aeneas in his decision making. His people are more important to him than himself. He is a dutiful servant to the gods by obeying them and serving them.
Hektor shows his leadership by fulfilling the fate of the gods. His fate is to die. Even though Andromache begs him to stay, he fights knowing his death is waiting for him. He does not fight for himself; he fights for his family and Troy. Aeneas and Hektor have the heart of leadership. Works Cited * Homer. The Iliad of Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1951. Print. * Virgil and Robert Fitzgerald. The Aeneid translated by Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Random House, 1983. Print. * “Aeneas: Physical Characteristics” E. D. Daniels The Classical Weekly, Vol. 23, No. 22 (Apr. 4, 1930), pp. 172-173 Published by: Classical Association of the Atlantic States Article Stable URL: http://www. jstor. org/stable/4389465 * “Hector’s Successor in the Aeneid” John William Spaeth, Jr. The Classical Journal , Vol. 46, No. 6 (Mar. , 1951), pp. 277-280 Published by: The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Article Stable URL: http://www. jstor. org/stable/3292802 * “Virgil’s Aeneas” T. R. Glover The Classical Review, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Feb. , 1903), pp. 34-42 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association Article Stable URL: http://www. jstor. org/stable/696316