Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Iliad and Ramayana

Iliad is the epic story of the Trojan War. Ramayana is the epic story of the plight of King Rama. So you may ask me what connection does the two have? Lets look at the similarities:-

1. Root Cause - Women
One of the main themes discussed in the Ramayana is the abduction of Seetha, the wife of Rama by the king of Lanka, Ravana. Its a very popular thought that Ravana was a villain but truth is that he was just acting as a dutiful brother - his sister Surpanaka was humiliated by Rama and she wanted revenge. If Ravana was a true villain he would have done something worse to Seetha than just lock her up in a garden. A women was the root cause of the war in Ramayana, the women being Surpanaka, not Seetha. And if we look further back what caused Rama to leave home but the fatal advice given by the humpback Mantara to Kaikeyi, Rama's step-mother.
In the Iliad, Helen the beautiful newly wed queen of Sparta falls in love with Paris, the prince of Troy. A story behind this is that he actually made Aphrodite, the goddess of love, put a spell on her in return for helping her(Aphrodite) win a bet against Hera and Athena. Helen 'runs away' with Paris to Troy. And what does Helen's husband, Menelaus do? He gathers the forces of Greece and attacks Troy, causing the Trojan War. Here too a women, rather a goddess is responsible for outbreak of war - not Helen, but Aphrodite.
In both cases, women are the root cause of the war.

2. Specialty of cities
This is a very interesting look at the two epics. The common point between Lanka and and Troy is that both were unreachable. The city of Lanka was and still is an island, miles away from any other piece of land. The sea between Lanka and Rameswaram(in India) was then infested with dangerous creatures and crossing that by boat would have been no picnic and not many boats could have taken a whole army across in such a short time. For this specific reason, a bridge that could enable a whole army to march on it was built with rocks.
Troy on the other hand had unbreakable walls. These walls were made by Gods - the wall was by legend built by immortals Poseidon and Apollo. Legend had it that you could only get in to Troy through invitation, which is what the Greeks so cunningly obtained through the Trojan Horse.
In both cases the cities were unreachable and it can also be noted that the bridge and the Trojan horse served the same purpose - breaching the unbreachable.

3. Wandering
Ever read the Odyssey? The wanderings of Odysseus, the legendary king of Ithaca and mastermind behind the plan of the Horse, is very similar to the wanderings of Rama in his early years of exile.
These are just a few points, reading the Ramayana and the Iliad, we can find even more.

Now I am no conspiracy theorist and I'm just telling you the few similarities I noticed, thats all. Many conclusions can be drawn from the above - Homer copied Valmiki or the other way around, both were the same story but told in different versions, etc. I'll leave it to you to decide

Shreerag Plakazhi


  1. hi there,
    good point. I've been wondering exactly the same thing for some time now.
    I don't think Valmiki copied Homer or the other way around, though. I think both of the epics based on somewhat true events in the past.
    From Greek point of view, the events manifested in Homer's Illiad. While in India, the events are written as Ramayana.
    Of course, a geological proof would be nice here.

  2. The character of Rama appears to be so noble that he is still now worshipped as God. Heroes are abundant in Homer and Valmiki sometimes with a few similarities. But Ramayana is more poetic in nature.

  3. Same legend told differently, one a westernised version and another easternised with more ethical values.

  4. they are totally differnt....
    ramayan is brief history of india...
    and it is written nearly 9500 years ago.......
    today also rama's footprints and other marks are available in india...
    ayodhya city..panchvati..rama's setu all are in india present now...

  5. non chaste helen where and where sadhvimani sita ? similar ? LOL . war of Dharma and Adharma of Ramayana where and where war of both manner-less fools
    dude , have you actually saw Ramayana ? and to tell the further don't feel hurt but your making a big mistake when you say Ramayana war happened because of Sita , it was predestined not sita maybe something else coz tyrant ravana's death was motive from startup .. gosh anyone can make blogs this days :|

  6. pls tell me more similariy like intervention of god and godess,two hero

  7. It is well known that the Hellenic civilisations and ancient Indian civilisations originated from the same place (see or the Indo-European language Furthermore it was mentioned that the Ramayan is over 9,500 years old, but this is false, most scholars attribute the Ramayan to around the 8th century BC along with Homer's works.

    As for further similarities between the epics, think Hamuman the greatest warrior and his wrath in the Ramayan and Achilles the greatest warrior and his wrath in the Iliad - the difference being that Hanuman doesn't die whilst Achilles doesn't. If you ask me the parallels are pretty high for two of the greatest epics that founded two civilisations which historically were linked, and the differences between them could easily be due to changes in the stories over time.

    Finally, have a look at some other similarities between Western and Eastern legend in general. Matsya, 1st avatar of Vishnu saved mankind from a giant flood when he advised Manu to build a giant boat (found in the Shatapatha Brahmana written in the 8th century BC), this is very similar to Noah who's story was told in the Hebrew Bible also written in 8th century BC. Similarly the Hindu pantheon of Gods - Indra king of the gods and god of Thunder etc relates heavily to the Greek pantheon with Zeus king of the gods and god of Thunder.

    Just saying there's massive trends that exist between the myths/legends of both civilisations, I wouldn't be surprised if they all originated from the same place and have taken different forms/interpretations since then.

  8. more insights??!!

  9. The parallels between Ramayana and the works of Homer have been noted since ancient times when at least one Greek historians said the works of Homer were known as far east as India. Of course, this is a Greek-centric POV.

    It's been long established that the Greek gods are likely based off of Vedic gods, further proof being found while excavating in Asia Minor and the coast of the Levant. This shouldn't surprised anybody.

    The thing about the Trojan War is that it is mostly mythological. It probably does have a historical basis and that history is blurred with mythology and that mythology is influenced by many things, especially the muddled hand-me-down history of the Indo-Europeans.

    What I'm saying is the events in Ramayana were remembered by the Indo-Europeans but confused with the passage of time and the absorption of different cultures. Then the Trojan War was sandwiched and confused into what had turned into myth. Assuming the Trojan War really did precede a dark age following the Aegean bronze age collapse, it's not surprising.

    Another epic which is considered mythological and historical is the Epic of Gilgamesh. And the Epic of Gilgamesh also has parallels and trends with Ramayana too. Even more so than with Homer. They both include a controversial (possibly) later addition with a similar (but still different) theme. In this case it is probably the historical account of a king (Gilgamesh) sandwiched into it. This is also not surprising, because Elam was likely founded by Indians. Indians who were known to the later Greeks as "Ethiopians" who usually with a name beginning with Cass/Kass/Kas/Kish/Cush/etc.

    This information is largely lost to the Western world. It's mainly Indians who often point out these parallels and speculate their connections.

  10. Dream on myth makers !! Sure ramyana was written in 8th century or someone here is saying 3rd century ....just to fit everything into a Greco roman world view. When we now know with archeological evidence that Tushratta who was a mittani king in 14th century BC existed near Egypt ( King Rama's father is Dushrath and both mean "ten chariots") with kings like Ram-Sin (sin means moon) also being mentioned 18 th century BC work couldn't have got those names if the epic didn't spread to those parts of the world much before. Of course people getting ego boost may believe whatever they want!!

  11. The Ramayana and Mahabharata were written after Alexander came to India in 300 BC. They are based on the Iliad. The Helen of Troy story is true and there are burnt remains of Troy even today. Just google for Troy and But Lanka dahan is imaginary as there is no archeological evidence the Lanka was burnt or there was a ten headed demon like Ravan or monkeys could build a bridge across the sea. It is just an imaginary story based on Helen of Troy but with the objective destroying the reputation of Sri Lanka which was the seat of Buddhism. The idea was remove Buddhism in India by bringing back the Brahmin priests and the cult of Vishnu and then reinstitute the caste system which was abolished by Buddha and Ashoka.

    1. you have pointed out some very good points...

  12. Good differentiation.I feel that Homer indeed copied Valmiki's ideas as he said earlier.