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Homer and the Social Values of Greek Aristocrats

The aristocrats' ideas and traditions on organizing their communities and about proper behavior for everyone in them—that is, their code of social values—represented, like the reappearance of agriculture, fundamental components of Greece's emerging new political forms. The aristocratic social values of the Dark Age underlie the stories told in the Iliad and Odyssey1, two book-length poems that first began to be written down about the middle of the eighth century B.C., at the very end of the Dark Age. Despite the ancient origins of Homeric poetry, the behavioral code that it portrayed2 primarily reflected values established in the aristocratic society of Greece of the Dark Age before the rise of political systems based on citizenship.

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