In the Western classical tradition Homer is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. At the beginning of the Western canon of literature, these epics have had an enormous influence on its history.
The terms of each challenge will be very clearly stated, but the FIRST RULE, which will apply to all the challenges, is that the piece must be written in the week of the challenge. Any older poems that are entered in the contest will not be eligible for an award.
The Iliad was written in 800 B.C.E in heroic meter: dactylic hexameter. (If anyone would like to have a go at this, I will happily supply a rough guide.) Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. The Iliad mentions the cause of the war: Paris, a Trojan prince, seduced Helen, the wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta and carried her away to Troy. The character of Helen has inspired many works of art and poetry. Below is an extract from Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe.
Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack'd;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appear'd to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa's azur'd arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour!
This is Greek mythology: this is a tale of seduction, love, blood spilled in the name of a woman, battles between heroes, cunning plots, betrayals... Go classical, go modern, go metaphoric..... Have at it.
Strap on that armour and take up your pens (always mightier than the sword).