This essay was for a Greek Mythology class. It was to be on the subject of war and what it achieves. This was and is my response.

The subject is war. It is a human activity that has been around since the dawn of time. In the 21st century we like to think that the human race has risen above war, but we all know that is ridiculous. As the time this paper is being written, the United States is currently engaged in one war in the Near East and seems to be sliding toward another in Syria. What purpose these conflicts serve or will serve is debatable. It does seem that in Homer's day the subject of war was far easier to define.

Wars are fought for many reasons. In our times some wars have been fought for resources, some have been fought for freedom of nations or a group of people the American Civil War is a good example. Some wars are fought for revenge the European theater during the Second World War is an excellent example, Germany trying to even the score of losing the First World War. And yes wars have been fought over religion, territory, and just pure hatred of a nation or a group of people.

During the time of Homer war is what made men and nations great. Skill in battle is what gave men the reputation of greatness. This is true for the epic sagas as it was during the actual times. Men such as Hector of Troy and Achilles of Greece made their reputations as warriors and were respected and feared as fighters. Agamemnon made his reputation as a warrior, but also being totally ruthless in his tactics. Killing his own daughter to gain favor from Artimis shows that. But the ruthlessness was what was needed to survive as a king. The nations that had such leaders usually thrived. In the example of Odysseus, he was no doubt could be as ruthless, but he used his cleverness to survive and make his kingdom of Ithaca strong.

The Bronze Age was about warrior nations, this was the way it was. One could use the example of the Persian Empire as proof of the warrior mentality. Conquest of other lands was the key to wealth, and how heroes were made. Look to the battles of Marathon where Athens outnumbered by vast numbers and yet Milt aides defeated the Persian king Darius. And how could one forget the stand at Thermopylae by Leonidas and the 300 Spartans made in defense of Greece. Making a stand for freedom the stuff of greatness, and there are times there was greatness. The stand at the Alamo in 1836, made heroes of Crockett, Bowie, and Travis. I guess you could say that the tread of these fights and many more battles since could lead back to the traditions of Homer and the Iliad.

The impact on families and the price paid in body and spirit to my mind is likely the same then as it is now. Wives and children waiting for fathers and brothers who sometimes make it home, and if the gods will it or today if the Lord wills it they come home. But in the days of Homer, the price of losing a war has a very high price. The women of the losers become the booty of the winners, the children either become slaves or are killed. This state of affairs went on for many centuries The Greek-city states, the Persians, the Roman Empire, the Huns all of these nations made sure that war to the loser had a very high price tag to pay.

I think that war is an inevitable chain of events that sometimes has to happen. There are people and things that need to be stopped. In the 1800's Napoleon had to be stopped. Slavery in the United States had to be stopped with the Civil War at a high cost. Hitler and the Nazis had to be stopped with an ocean of blood and misery. I have been a student of history my entire life, studying the battles, tactics and the consequences of the wars, from the tales of Homer at the walls of Troy to the sands of the Persian Gulf and most every where in between. It is my conclusion that war will always be part of our existence, but there is no real glory, just pain.

"What is war good for?" The song asks? Nothing! Not a Bloody Thing!