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The world depicted In Homers Odyssey and Aeschylus Agamemnon was one quite remote from the modern concept The society of archaic Greece was one based on communities of local landowners who joined together and accepted the rule of a chief landowner Under this ruler or basileus the large landowners held aristocratic power and formed the head council boule while the families of lesser wealth were represented in the assembly comprised of all male citizens The purpose of this hierarchy of power was to unify the territory as well as offer representation for all its inhabitants while allowing the reigning basileus to maintain power by giving him the final say in social judicial and military matters Thus the necessary qualifications for a basileus were with regard to this social and political system The premier determinant was a basileus skill in warfare Because archaic Greek cities were in constant battle over territory and control of power a basileus ability to defend territory from outside assault or resolve civil dispute within the poleis was of great importance Along with his martial expertise however a basileus also had to be fair administrator and a generous suppliant to his people Therefore the extent to which Odysseus and Agamemnon the basilei in the Odyssey and Agamemnon respectively are virtuous characters is in reference to their capability or lack of it as rulers While Odysseus emerges as a generally good ruler Agamemnon exemplifies the opposite in his shortcomings as an archaic basileus Leadership always carries with it the dependence of followers but also the risks of disappointment and possible disaster In Homers Odyssey Odysseus certainly faces misfortune associated with these risks in his attempts to return home with his men after their triumphant efforts in the Trojan War From these disasters however Odysseus actions and their implications offer insight into his personality and the values that he embodies As an appropriate hero should Odysseus displays bravery intelligence astuteness and competency as well
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