We all know the stories of war heroes like Achilles, Theseus, Bellerophon, Hercules, and many more. Stories like The Odyssey, and The Iliad. These legacies have carried through generations with ease.
Seldom do we stop and ask why some men are remembered and others are forgotten. Why so many of our own “war hero’s” are just empty names.
There’s a reason why war veterans now return home with PTSD and shame. Why nobody remembers their names. Why men are told they shouldn’t speak about what happened during war and why young men and women have no guidance.
We no longer live by a Code of Honor.
The greeks had a code of honor that was not only accepted by their own people, but all who neighbored as well.
This code was accepted and followed because everyone believed they were enforced by the gods themselves, and the very last thing you’d want to do is make a god angry.
Warriors lived and died for this code. If you did not abide by the code you were a social outcast rejected by all. It laid the foundation for their entire society and created the rulebook for their military, homelife, and legacy.
Below is a list of important terms with brief descriptions. I’m not going to write about all of them, but they intertwine with one another.
Greek Code of Honor Terms.
Kleos: everlasting glory & fame
Timé: Paid honor or recognition
Arete: excellence (strength, courage, daring, success in battle).
Oikos: Family, the family’s property, and the house
People will argue that only the wealthy followed this code, but we can easily see how it impacted lower classes and they believed they had been cursed by the codes due to Aidos (shame or failure) from previous Oikos (family).
The Impact Of Honor Systems:
Kleos and Timé are the reason why so many men were such great warriors. Without Timé there was no Kleos. Without Arete there was no Timé. Without any Arete you would bring Aidos to your Oikos.
If a warrior had arete, he would eventually receive Timé for his success, which would one day translate into timeless Kleos. Men without honor or glory seldom had choice of wives and couldn’t pass on their legacy. When we speak about Greek Heroes we continue their earned Kleos and Timé.
Battles were often started by letting two of their best warriors, or groups of high Kleos warriors, fight first.
The warriors were not supposed to openly brag about their successes but let their fellow soldiers speak about it and tell bards, who would write grand songs about these warriors.
Why does all of this matter?
Because we have no reason to fight wars without Kleos. No reason to die for a cause. No drive or guidance to earn eternal anything, let alone respect. Why would you fight a war when you know there’s no honor, glory, treasure, wives, or justice?
War has become a nameless corporate machine and men have stopped earning Kleos.
When Greek and Roman warriors came home from a successful war they were showered in affection by their towns. Women would swoon, grandparents would bring offerings, and children would surround warriors to ask about men’s moments of excellence (Arete). The high Kleos warriors would often relax for awhile and then prepare for the next war.
Killing men in of war for your people was the highest honor for men, and they loved you for it.
If you came home from an unsuccessful war men would absolutely speak of who were the weak cowards. If you tried to run or commit acts of shame (Aidos) you wouldn’t just have to answer to the military but your entire city.
Achilles defying the Code of Honor
How many veterans do you know? How many of them have had other men tell you their stories of success or failures? How are we supposed to know who has honor and who was a bitch? We don’t for the most part.
Every once in awhile we’ll hear about a man who did something during war and there’s a momentary applaud from small groups but we do not see epics being written about these men because Kleos is dead for modern men.
Men are constantly taught that war is shameful. That you shouldn’t be proud of your kills, and that you’re not a hero. You MUST readapt into the life you had before and don’t openly discuss what other men did. There is little to no celebration and people grimace when they hear war stories.
War has become the bastard child of money and all was lost when we lost the warriors Kleos.
Our warriors are shamed. Our men die in vain. Without the idea of earning some eternal glory we have watched our young men turn to ticktock videos and limp wristed androgynous weaklings in search of new wave fame for all the wrong reasons.
What do we do ?
We must start promoting honor in men again.
This means we need to shame the weak and dishonorable. We need to tell stories of great men. Write epics. Create environments that pressure men to earn their honor. No more free passes for dudes who are just in shape or a familiar color. They must earn their honor through actions.
Immortalize the men who deserve modern Kleos.
But most importantly, lift up your brothers. Shame is not worth a shit without the ability to redeem yourself. If you see someone being weak the goal should be to drive them to their own honor. You should strive for the same.