The Heroes of the Iliad as Indo-European Gods: A Mythological Rosetta Stone: Part 7 of 9

The Heroes of the Iliad as Indo-European Gods: A Mythological Rosetta Stone: Part 7 of 9

O'Gravy

Hector – Kali (The Demon of the Dark Age)

This identification will seem the strangest by far, at first, but if the reader agrees that the parallels thus far have revealed a true pattern, they will be rewarded for trusting a bit further. Duryodhana of the Mahabharata is considered to be the incarnation of the demon of this dark age, Kali, and this is confirmed in the Mahabharata as well as by Georges Dumezil (Gods of the Ancient Northmen). Duryodhana conspires to trick Yudhishthira into losing his kingdom in the fateful dice game, and is the hell-bent motive force pushing the war forward. He is also the primary warrior on the Kaurava's side, wreaking havoc on the Pandava forces. His skin is said to be made of lightning and his name means “hard to kill.”

It is in the structural position of Hector's character: his role as prince, heir to the Trojan throne, primary and fearsome warrior for his side, and one-on-one opponent of the Lord of Wind, that he best fits this archetype. As previously mentioned, the one-on-one battles between Bhima and Duryodhana, including the final formalized bout in which Duryodhana's thigh is crushed by Bhima, form a central part of the war narrative. In the same way, the face-offs between Ajax and Hector, including the formalized bout where they prove evenly matched and exchange gifts, form a central part of the Iliad. Bhima crushes Duryodhana's thigh with a mace as Ajax smashes Hector with a large rock. Hector's “Kali” character may also be seen in the sheer destruction he wreaks on the Greeks: no other warrior on either side kills as many men as Hector, and his body count in the war is said to be 31,000. The Greeks describe him as “incredible dynamite” and a “maniac,” and he strikes terror in even their bravest leaders. One of his epithets is “manslaughtering,” and this is far from accidental.

However, there is an undeniable shift in the Greek epic of the negative traits of the “Kali” archetype onto the more unlikeable character of Paris. In the dice game that sets the conflict off in the Mahabharata and which parallels the theft of Helen as well as the death of Baldr and the temporary death of Lleu (as argued in a previous section), it is Duryodhana rather than Karna the Sun God hero who tricks and defeats Yudhishthira, the Lawful Sovereign hero, and in the winnings takes Yudhishthira's wife as a slave. It is also Duryodhana about whom a terrible prophecy is pronounced at his birth, which tells that Duryodhana (like Kali) would cause the end of the universe. In contrast, it is instead Paris who in the Iliad is prophesied to bring the destruction of Troy, as Paris takes the more active and destructive role of setting off the war via his deceptive wife taking. As a result, we can see that the Greeks desired to make Hector a more purely noble character, his sins shifted to Paris leaving a more black and white moral dichotomy between the two. In Hector's opposition to the war he even is reminiscent of the noble figure of Bhishma (discussed later), which is not at all Duryodhana's stance in the Mahabharata.

However, the other elements confirm that Hector is still the Duryodhana archetype at root. The death scene of the morally questionable Duryodhana brings to the front all of the noble traits contained within this sometimes demonic figure. Having been mortally wounded by dishonorable means, struck below the belt while Krishna aided Bhima with illusions and advising, Duryodhana indicts all the Pandavas for their trickery and dishonorable actions. The gods shower flowers on him, while the Pandavas weep for their disgraceful behavior and Duryodhana's glory is vindicated. Duryodhana is said to go to heaven before the Pandavas do and is there seated in glory for his bravery, loyalty, and strong rulership. It seems fair to say that from such a germ of nobility the Greeks derived the noble character of Hector. As Duryodhana is killed via dishonorable means, due to the illusions and assistance of Krishna, so Athena creates illusions of Hector's brother to mislead him in the battle, and when Achilles throws his spears Athena continually returns them to him, giving Achilles an insurmountable advantage over Hector. As Bhima strikes Duryodhana dishonorably below the belt, and is derided for his dishonorable fighting, Achilles purposely dishonors and attempts to desecrate Hector's body after death (though it is protected by Apollo and Aphrodite). This leads to an outcry from the gods and ultimately paints the Greek hero in a dishonorable light, which is contrasted with Hector's nobility, just as Duryodhana's death highlights his own nobility and the dishonor of the Pandavas. These death scenes are so similar in the structural elements that they even preserve the surprising fact that the great warriors Hector and Duryodhana both are struck by fear and flee their opponent just before the final portion of the confrontation, knowing that the tides and the gods have turned against them.

The Demon of the Dark Age: (Hector, Duryodhana/the Demon Kali)

- The central warrior of the “opposition”

- Son of the king and heir to the kingdom

- Wreaks immense slaughter on the army of the gods of society

- Fights Lord of Wind one-on-one in an arranged match which they fight to a draw or nearly a draw

- Fights Lord of Wind several other times and is smashed by a blunt object in one of these face offs

- Dies through the trickery or divine collaboration of his opponent and is seen as noble but mistreated in death

- Flees before the end of the final fight

The Sun Riders Telegram Link