The Iliad By Homer

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The Iliad By Homer
The Iliad By Homer

  The Iliad is an epic poem, meaning a grand, very long poem about gods and heroes. Homer wrote down the Iliad around 750 B.C. It is the oldest written poem in western civilization.

Iliad Characters

Achilles – Protagonist

Achilles is the leader of Myrmidons who fight on the side of the Achaeans against Troy. He is the son of Thetis, a sea goddess, and Peleus a mortal.


Hector is a brave and fierce warrior and prince of Troy. He is fighting for his city and family as much as honour and glory.


Agamemnon a powerful and proud man is the top commander of the Achaean army. He is a good fighter, but his leadership style is harsh, but his leadership style is harsh, and he shows no mercy is harsh, and he shows no mercy to enemies. Agamemnon is often called Atrides.


Achilles’s sea-goddess mother protects and advocates for him throughout the poem.


Brother of Hector and 2nd son of Priam.


Friend of Achilles. They were raised together.


The King of Sparta, the younger brother of Agamemnon.


The next great warrior of Geeks after Achilles.


The Queen of Troy.

Priam King of Troy

Character Map

Character Map Iliad
Character Map Iliad


          The Iliad is an epic poem, meaning a grand, very long poem about gods and heroes. Homer wrote down the Iliad around 750 B.C. It is the oldest written poem in western civilization. Greece had suffered several hundred years of a dark age – as in no writing prior to this. It is the story of Achilles and the Iliad, which Homer himself did not invent was told by word of Mouth.

            Book one of The Iliad is entitled The Quarrel Between Agamemnon and Achilles. In this book, Homer introduces the conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles. The story of Book 1 begins nine years after the war began. In the tenth year of the Trojan War, Achilles, the greatest fighter for the Achilles, is furious.

About the Homer

            Homer is known for his two epic poems – The Iliad and The Odyssey. He was the greatest poet of ancient Greek. He lived during the era of the Trojan war in the early 12th century. It is uncertain where exactly he was born and lived. Plato, Aristotle, Dante Joseph Conrad, and James Joyce were very much influenced by Homer’s work. He was also known as Blind Bard. He composed a collection of poems that depicts the events of the Trojan War in a book of poetry titled the Epic Cycle. He also included a collection of 33 Greek songs honoring various gods.

Theme Of The Iliad

            Iliad covers a bunch of universal topics from love and friendship to honor and glory as presented in the epic poem. There are some important themes in the poem:

  • Honor and Glory
  • The Intervention of The Gods
  • Love
  • Mortality
  • Fate and Free will
  • Pride

The setting of The Poem

            The Iliad is written in a dactylic hexameter. It is as dominant in Greek and Latin poetry as iambic pentameter is in English. The dactylic foot is formed with one long followed by two short syllables. It has a total of six feet.

For example: _UU_UU_UU_UU_UU_UU_

            Here ( _ ) symbol is for long syllables and (U) is used for short syllables.

Book 1 Of The Iliad Summary

            In the beginning, Homer invokes the Muse to help him tell this story. The story is about the rage of Achilles, the greatest Greek hero to fight in the Trojan War. The story starts with Priam the king of Troy having two sons – Ilector and Paris. Once Paris starts liking the Queen of Sparta name Helen, who is already married. Helen is the wife of Menelaus the king of Sparta.

Helen also started liking Paris and both of them secretly leave for Troy. This incident enrages Menelaus and he goes to his brother Agamemnon for help. Agamemnon promised to help her and then calls all the kings of Greece. Which included the King of Ithaca, Odysseus, the great warrior Achilles, his cousin Patroclus, Ajax, etc. Together they all start marching on Troy.

            Price Paris challenges Menelaus to sword fighting but Paris is defeated by Menelaus. Soon a fight breaks out between the armies of both countries. One day some soldiers of Greece capture two beautiful girls. Chryseis and Briseis are brigs with them. Agamemnon commander in chief of the Achaean army takes Chryseis as his Prize. Achilles one of the Achaean’s most valuable warriors, claims Briseis. Chryseis’s father a man named Chryses who serves as a priest of the god Apollo, begs Agamemnon to return his daughter and offers to pay an enormous ransom. When Agamemnon refuses, Chryses prays to Apollo for help.

            Apollo sends a plague upon the Greek camp causing the death of many soldiers. After ten days of suffering, Achilles calls an assembly of the Achaean army and asks for the cause of the plague. Calchas a soothsayer reveals the plague as vengeful and strategic more by Chryses and Apollo. Agamemnon says he will return the girl if Achille gives him, his prize, the girl, Briseis. Agamemnon’s demand humiliates and infuriates and proud Achilles. Agamemnon threatens to go to Achilles’s tent in the army’s camp and take Briseis himself. Achilles stands poised to draw his sword and kill the Achaean commander. Athena’s guidance, along with a speech by the wise advisor Nestor, finally succeeds in preventing the duel.

            That night, Agamemnon puts Chryseis on a ship back to her father and sends heralds to have Briseis escorted from Achilles’s tent. Achilles prays to his mother the sea – goddess Thetis to ask Zeus, King of the Gods, to punish the Achaeans. Meanwhile, the Achaean commander Odysseus is navigating the ship that Chryseis has boarded. When he lands, he returns the Chryseis. Chryseis, overjoyed to see his daughter, Prays to the god to lift the plague from the Achaean camp. Apollo acknowledges his prayer.

            But the end of the plague on the Achaeans only marks the beginning of worse suffering. Ever since his quarrel with Agamemnon, Achilles has refused to participate in battle and after twelve days Thetis makes her appeal to Zeus, as promised, asking him to honor her son by granting the Trojans victory while Achilles remains out of the battle. Zeus is angered and says that helping the Trojans would force him into a fight with his wife. Hera supports the Achaeans. However, he agrees and bows his head as a sign of promise.

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