The Iliad


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This particular version of the Iliad, the story of the siege of Troy, is a translation by Samuel Butler, first published in 1898.


Iliad, (Song of Ilion; Song of Ilium) this epic Homeric poem tells the story of the Trojan War and the battle of Troy (Ilium), one of the most important and well-known events in Greek mythology when the gods still visited mortals. It tells of Achilles, leader of the Achaeans and his great wrath towards King Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks. Narrated by one informed by the Muses, it includes other such important Achaean and Trojan figures as Zeus, Patroclus, Diomed, Ajax, Menelaus, Hector, Hecuba, Helen, Paris, and Aeneas. Iliad is a glorification of war and the bravery of Achilles, demi-god and great military warrior.



A war started over a single fruit. This is where the tale of the Iliad began. It developed over time to become one of the great epics of our society, one that many people all over the world have come to like, sympathizing for each of the characters. Homer's creative use of the Greek language makes it far more interesting, his lengthy descriptions give the mind something to picture. Its as if you were there, standing next to each of the main warriors as these things happened to them. Homeric similes make the picture even more vivid, comparing the Greek and Trojan warriors to everything from deities to boars. Not only is this a tale of war, but the fights that occur between men when their pride gets hurt. How every man has that one thing he will always be mad about. The characters may seem devoid of human emotions, but eventually develop individual personalities. In only a few parts does it seem like only a listing, that the deaths that occur are not actually real people. You can relate to the main characters, sympathize or even hate them as you go through. The Greek gods are an extreme part of this tale. The war started because of gods, and they continued interfering all through the story. Even such things as sleep and ruin are characterized as being actual deities, showing us a side of Greek culture that not many knew of. An overlying theme in this book is based off of the Greek word aritei. This is the one thing every Greek warrior thrived for. It was honor. This honor could be found in battling a more experienced opponent than yourself, even if it did end in your death. Killing a man lower in rank, killing him after promising something to him, or defacing an enemy after his death could all result in the loss of aritei, immediately resulting in the lowering of one's honor. The Iliad is truly entertaining, whether you are reading it for the entertainment or historical value. So please, go, enjoy this amazing story of pride, honor, love, and war.--Submitted by Jessi Kluvich


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Recent Forum Posts on The Iliad

"Liquid gold" source?

It is often quoted that Homer called olive oil "liquid gold." Can anyone provide a source for this? Thanks.


Diomedes of the Loud War Cry

I really do not think Diomedes receives enough credit for all that he accomplished within the Iliad, especially in Book V with his glorious battle with Aeneas and the wounding of Aphrodite and Ares. In my opinion the chapters on Diomedes are some of my favorites within the poem itself.


How does Book 24 relate to Book 1 of the Iliad?

I have an essay that I have to write that is due next Tuesday, yet our professor still has the class stuck on Book 20. May I please have some help for ideas that I may implement in this essay ? Thank You Very Much :D


Achilleus & Patroklos

Achilleus & Patroklos; Were they friends or lovers or both?


Questions about Chryseis

I just finished re-reading the Iliad. The first time I read it was years ago. In that version I think I read that Chryseis was a priestess of Apollo. In the version that I just read, she is only the daughter of a priest of Apollo. I am curious, does anybody know; Who/what Chryseis was before the Greeks captured her? Was she a priestess of Apollo herself or just the daughter of a priest of Apollo? Could she have been a member of the priest class? (In The Histories, Herodotus refers to a caste system in Egypt during a time when there was considerable contact between the Greeks and Egyptians. The Egyptian caste system had seven different castes including a warrior class at the top and an untouchable class at the bottom) Does her status vary from translation to translation? Did the Greeks ever sack any temple of Apollo anywhere? I am a new member of this forum. I can't wait to hear from you guys. Sincerely, Ainia


Which translation is this?

Hi, can anyone help me to identify this translation of The Iliad (It has become something of an obsession for me now): "Sing the wrath, O Goddess, the baleful wrath of Achilles son of Pelus, that laid on the Achaens ten thousand sorrows, and sent away goodly souls of heroes to Hades, and themselves it gave to dogs and all the birds; and the counsel of Zeus was fulfilled, from the day when first Atreides, king of men, and the divine Achilles quarrelled and stood apart. Who among the gods set them twain to fight?" I've taken it from the first chapter of East and West by C. Northcote Parkinson, where the author describes it as "the opening lines of The Iliad". In the bibliography at the end of the book, he has "Homer, The Iliad, translated by E.V.Rieu, Penguinn Classics, 1950. So I got a copy of that exact book, but this it not it. This book begins "The Wrath of Achilles is my theme....". Really it's a much plainer version of that verse, without that kind of "old-world" sound to it (excuse my lame description of how the text sounds to me!) I have googled some phrases from the quote, and the closest I've found is a version by Walter Leaf, Andrew Lang and Ernest Myers, 1873, but it is still significantly different. I am beginning to think Parkinson made this up, i.e. paraphrased from several translations he had read, and then just looked up the most "current" translation for his bibliography, which would have been Rieu's. But there is something about the particular language that I really like, and I'd really like to find if it's an existing translation. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!


Need help with these topics about the Iliad?

I have to choose one of these topics for a paper I am writing on the Iliad and I could not find much information online. Does anyone have any insight on any of these topics? Compare and contrast... ~ The simile in which Paris is compared to a horse and Hector a snake ~ The speech of Andromache with that of Helen ~ Hector's speech to Andromache with Achilles to Patroclus Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Help finding specific examples..?

I need help finding specific examples of Violence, Epic simlies/heroic figures, and emotional roller coasters/emotional scenes in this book. Help will be GREATLY appriciated.


Need Help with Iliad!

hey all. i have to find instances of the following things in the iliad. I have read the book, but it has been a while. I am in a bind and any help would be much appreciated. i need to cite the line in the text where the event occurs. If you could even help with the harder ones, i can do the easy ones. Thank you guys i just have so much on my plate right now. Here is the list. 1. Eating & drinking 2. Lovemaking (between man and woman) 3. Lovemaking (between god and goddess) 4. Giving birth 5. Marital discord 6. Marital harmony 7. Spinning or weaving 8. Sending a written message 9. Threshing (not winnowing) grain 10. Sailing 11. Fishing 12. Trading armor 13. Building 14. Playing a musical instrument 15. Forging (metal) 16. Robot maidens 17. Defiling a corpse. 18. Human sacrifice 19. Boxing 20. Chariot racing let me know if you email anything


I need some help....

HI everybody!!:smash: I have a to do a paper for a world lit class and I am confuses about the topic she assigned. It says: . What are menís relationships to their gods in the Iliad/Odyssey or Oidipos/Antigone; for instance, Odysseos is cursed to wander by a god but also sometimes assisted and saved by another. Oidiposí entire life is oppressed by an oracle. Antigone feels her conscience, what she calls the laws of the gods, is a higher authority than Kreon, the king. Believe it or not she is an accredited Literature teacher. I know there are a lot of smart people on this forum that could really shed some light on the subject. Thanks in advance, Mark


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