, 6 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
Why and how might a man slaughter large numbers of his fellow human beings? It's a terrible topic. I don't think there are any exact parallels in other cultures to the situation in the US right now. The shocking recent shootings have culturally & politically specific causes.
But FWIW, the Homeric poems are also deeply interested in a version of this question. Odysseus and Achilles both go on killing sprees, and slaughter not only those who have hurt them, but also bystanders: Lycaon pleading for his life, Amphinomos the suitor who tried to run away.
There are at least 3 common factors in these massacres. 1. Killer has great weapons, readily acquired (the special bow; the divine weapons made by Hephaestus, given by Thetis). "Weapons themselves can tempt a man to fight".
2. Killer has been through years of war, loss of his friends & home, has already killed many people, has a huge sense of grievance & entitlement & righteous rage, & lives in a culture where men are praised and rewarded for aggression and killing.
3. Killer is helped, inspired and authorized by a vastly more powerful figure (a goddess, in the Homeric cases; you can apply it as you will), who has own desire for glory & attention and doesn't care much about human life in general.
But there were no video games in archaic Greece.
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