Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Epic Heroes Were the Image of Masculinity

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Epic heroes like Achilles, Odysseus, and Aenas were warrior-type males who fought enemies and wars with great strength and exceptional courage.  Most of the time they had little regard for their own personal safety.  That, particularly characterized Achilles.  Odysseus on the other hand was cautious and wise.  He was a complex and strategic thinker.  Aenas had a deep devotion to God and would fight for his people and country.

Those epic heroes were the image of masculinity.  They fought wars which they won.  They had great moral convictions.  They were strong and courageous.  They did not shrink from challenges, they instead charged forward for God, people and country.  They did not only capitalize on their physical strength, they had great minds as well.

The long years in between periods of history saw the transformation of the idea of masculinity from the time of the epic heroes to the modern day masculinity.  However, on those times when, again, nations went to war, the ‘heroes’ in men once again surfaced.  They were aggressive and patriotic, and they sacrificed and felt honored by serving in the war.

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Different times had different norms.  The ‘war’ is now on athletics.  Physical strength was no longer for combat but it became healthy physique for athletics.  Athletes have to compete, whether it is against one’s self or an opponent.  Like in combat, they need to have the will to win, a strong character and of course, the fire of nationalism.

Media has the most experience in defining and presenting masculinity.  They came up with stereotypes like: he has a sense of humor, he is aggressive, he is in control and is decisive, he is successful, and lastly he gets angry too, meaning he is being human.

The perception or idea of masculinity do not seemed to have changed from the epic heroes, to the athletes at the Olympics and to the present-day or modern men.  Very evident, therefore significant are; love of God and country, courage, character and success as traits that truly make a man masculine.


“Epic Traditions: the Hero--Homer to Virgil to Dante to Milton.” 13 November 2006.

“Common Stereotypes of Men in Media.”  Media Stereotyping.  13 November 2006.

“Characters of the Classical Epic.”  13 November 2006.

Bourke, Dr. Joanna.  “The Image of Man.  The Creation of Modern Masculinity. By Professor George L.

Mosse.” February 1997.  Updated 26 March 2002.  13 November 2006.


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