More specifically, Poseidon intervenes and saves Aeneas, telling him that his death at this point would be "beyond destiny" (Iliad XX 336). If the poet allowed Aeneas to die at this point it would have been a terrible inconvenience to Virgil when he wrote “The Aeneid” recounting Aeneas after this point in the Trojan War. Plus it would a real point of contention to all the genealogists and heralds who trace most of the European families back to Aeneas post war son, Ascanius. (Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae). So his death becomes “beyond destiny”; beyond the realm of possibility in The Iliad.
Similarly when the Greek army before Troy briefly regains the upper hand and almost captures the city; this would-be event is designated as beyond the allotment of Zeus (Iliad XVII 321). Once more not an option the story teller told for this tale.
So framed by Nagy’s nuance, “beyond destiny” designates the unthinkable to the poet and the “twenty thousand smiling faces” listening to the retelling of the tale in Ancient Athens. To consider for a moments any of the story elements that are designated Beyond Destiny is to consider the unraveling of The Iliad. It is to ponder the demise of the very foundation of the Greek civilization. It is to question the very foundation of our lives. Maybe the gods were wise to make certain things beyond the destiny of mortal men.
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