Commentary: What Greek Epics and Their Teachings on the Special Relationship Between Fathers and Sons

Greek statue of man's face

Father’s Day inspires mixed emotions for many of us. Looking at advertisements of happy families could recall difficult memories and broken relationships for some. But for others, the day could invite unbidden nostalgic thoughts of parents who have long since died.

As a scholar of ancient Greek poetry, I find myself reflecting on two of the most powerful paternal moments in Greek literature. At the end of Homer’s classic poem, “The Iliad,” Priam, the king of Troy, begs his son’s killer, Achilles, to return the body of Hektor, the city’s greatest warrior, for burial. Once Achilles puts aside his famous rage and agrees, the two weep together before sharing a meal, Priam lamenting the loss of his son while Achilles contemplates that he will never see his own father again.

The final book of another Greek classic, “The Odyssey,” brings together a father and son as well. After 10 years of war and as many traveling at sea, Odysseus returns home and goes through a series of reunions, ending with his father, Laertes. When Odysseus meets his father, however, he doesn’t greet him right away. Instead, he pretends to be someone who met Odysseus and lies about his location.

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First Person in ICE Detention Dies of Coronavirus Complications

CBP detainee

A 57-year-old man from El Salvador became the first individual in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody to die from COVID-19 complications.

Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia passed away early Wednesday morning after being hospitalized and on a ventilator for roughly a week, The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported. Escobar Mejia, a detainee at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, was one of hundreds of individuals in ICE custody who have contracted the novel coronavirus.

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