Homer: The Iliad 


- Homer's great epic story of heroic man in the Late Bronze Age: The Iliad and The Odyssey

An Outline of The Iliad:

  1. The Judgment of Paris: Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena
  2. Menelaus and his brother, the great Mycenean King Agamemnon demand retribution: they gather kings and warriors from throughout the Pelleponessus:
    Nestor, Ajax, Diomedes, Achilles (whose mother Thetis hides him), and Odysseus (who plays mad to escape the draft).
  3. The Sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis enables the fleet to sail.
  4. The Iliad tells the story of four weeks during the tenth year of the siege of Troy.
  5. The warriors on both sides have fought each other to a standstill, gods (Hera, Athena and Poseidon) vs. gods (Apollo, Aphrodite) and men (Agamemnon, Menelaus, Diomedes, Ajax, Odysseus, and Nestor) vs. men (Hector, Paris, Aeneas, and Priam).
  6. Achilles falls out with Agamemenon over a trophy of war, the Trojan woman Chyseis. He refuses to fight and his men, the Myrmidons, retire from the field.
  7. The Trojans, led by Hector, drive the Greeks back into the sea and threaten to burn their boats.
  8. Patroclus, wearing Achilles' armor, leads a counterattack but is killed by Hector.
  9. Achilles joins the battle and revenges the death of his friend by slaying Hector. 
    He desecrates Hector's corpse and drags the body behind his chariot around 
    the walls of Troy.
  10. Priam comes alone to Achilles camp and begs Achilles to surrender the corpse of his son. The Iliad ends with the burial of Hector.
  11. Achilles is killed in battle, shot in the heel.
  12. In the tenth year of the war, Odysseus devises a plan to break the siege: the Greeks pretend to give up the battle and leave behind a great wooden horse as a gift. The Trojans jubilantly draw the horse within their gates where a contingent of Greek warriors hidden in the belly of the horse emerge and set fire to the city. Troy is sacked and pillaged.

Notes to Book One  (Page references are to the Fitzgerald translation) 

77 Achaeans - Greek forces who seek to win back Helen from the Trojans
Agamemnon - leader of the Greek forces; ruler of Argos; brother of Menelaos; both are the sons of Atreus.
Zeus - the most powerful of the gods
The son of Zeus by Leto - a reference to the god Apollo, archer, singer, and god of wisdom

78 Chryses - priest of Apollo whose daughter Khryseis had been captured by the Greeks
Argives- another name for Greek forces
Olympus - home of the gods
Priam's city - the city of Troy, ruled by King Priam
Danaans - another names for the Greeks

79 Achilles - Greek warrior who tries to persuade Agamemnon to return Chryseis
Hera - goddess who is wife of Zeus; she supports the Greeks against the Trojans
Calchas - Greek priest who interprets signs from the gods

80 The Archer - another name for Apollo

81 Clytemnestra - the wife of Agamemnon [she will murder him upon his return from war]

82 Ajax, Odysseus, Idomeneus - Greek heroes 

83 Myrmidons - Greek forces directly under the command of Akhilleus
Briseis - slave girl whom Akhilleus has taken captive and kept as his own prize
Son of Peleus - Akhilleus, whose father Peleus was mortal but whose mother Thetis was divine

84 Pallas Athena - Goddess of wisdom, justice, and the hunt; she supports the Greeks against Troy
Hera- Goddess of marriage and fidelity who is the wife of Zeus and supports the Greek side against Troy

85 Hector- hero of the Trojan army
Nestor - elder statesman among the Greeks; from the city of Pelos

87 Patroklos - close friend of Akhilleus [only after Hektor kills Patroklos will Akhilleus fight again]

88 Odysseus - the central figure in the Odyssey; the craftiest of Greek heroes

90 Mother of Achilles - the goddess Thetis

96 Son of Cronos - Zeus

Hephaistos - son of Hera; craftsmen for the gods