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The Iliad

I HOPE TO FINISH THIS BOOK SOON, BOOKMARK! Homer's first epic poem was called the Iliad. This is a very interesting poem because of its setting, the Trojan War. He has decided to describe only the tenth year of this great war. Its name came from one of Troy's names, Ilion. I suggest you read the book as these are only summaries.


Book I - “Quarrel, Oath, and Promise” -

The poem begins with a major dilemma, the plague of the Achaeans (Greeks). The Achaeans had destroyed and looted the town of the priest Chryses and distributed the booty among themselves. The lord marshal Agamemnon prize was Chryses daughter, Chryseis. Chryses couldn’t live without his daughter and prayed to Apollo (Chryses was one of Apollo’s priests). Apollo, who favored Ilion (Troy) anyway gladly started killing the Achaean soldiers. The Greeks definately weren’t stupid and demanded Agamemnon to return Chryseis so the plague would be lifted. Agamemnon finally agreed and returned the girl, the killing stopped. Since Agamemnon gave up his prize he demanded a replacement, Prince Achilles (Akhilleus) present, Briseis. Achilles was mad but reluctantly agreed. He went to the ocean and called his mother, Thetis. He told her his unjustice. He left and told his men to retreat. Meanwhile Thetis goes up to Olympus and grabs Zeus’s knees so he can’t refuse her proposal to help the Trojans. That evening they form a plan to help the Trojans without catching Hera’s attention. Hera sides with the Greeks because Paris didn’t give her the golden apple.


Book II - “Assembly and Muster of of Armies” -

Slumber is now upon Olympus, the home of the gods. Zeus is the only one awake. He calls a dream to him and tells it to tell Agamemnon to assemble his armies and storm Ilium (Ilion, Troy) right away. Agamemnon wakes up as the dream flies out the window he tells his men what the dream has told him. Old Nestor says they only believe it because it was Agamemnon’s dream. The troops get to work but are called back. Agamemnon tells him men to load up the ships and head for home, they start following orders. Hera is horrified that Priam’s kingom (Troy) is being left untouched. She immediatley sends wise and just Athena down to stop the stop everyone from Achaeans from leaving. The mans she talks to is Odysseus and tells him to leaving. Odysseus runs down the shorelines and tells every ship captain to stay because they don’t know of Agamemnon’s intentions. The men return and Thersites who Homer calls “the worst soldier on the Achaean side” says that they should leave (he had been hoping for nothing but to return (home) because Agamemnon was a crook and insulted Achilles. An excerpt of a speech of Thersites telling how greedy is follows. “Bronze fills all your huts, bronze and the hottest girls - we hand them over to you, you first when any stronghold falls.” The stupid man is silenced by the King of Ithaca (Ithaki). Later, during the night, Agamemnon and all other commanders, except Achilles, sacrifice a fattened ox. The prayer, which I think is important was a speech by Agamemnon, it follows. “O excellency, O majesty, O Zeus beyond the stormcloud, dwelling in high air, let not the sun go down upon this day into the western gloom, before I tumble Priam’s blackened rooftree down, exploding fire through his portals! Let me rip with bronze the shirt that clings on Hektor and slash his ribs! May throngs around him lie - his friends, head-down in dust, biting dry ground!”. Zeus, who sides with the Trojans does the opposite of what the sacrifice is meant to do - he sends Iris to warn the Trojans of the Greeks attack. Homer also asks his muse to help him recall the names of the men on both sides of this bloody battle. It is not really important so I won’t summarize it.


Book III - “Dueling for a Haunted Lady” -

A deep mist falls on the battlefield of Ilion, but the quarrel goes on. Alexandros (Paris) and his troops charge the Achaeans. Paris is handsome but definately not warlike, he proves this when he sees Menelaus (Menelaos), the one who Ares backs. Paris runs in fear of Menelaus’s wrath (Paris abducted Helen, Menelaus wife). Hektor (Hector) sees his brother retreat and says “You bad luck charm! Paris, the great lover, a gallant site! You should have had no seed and died unmarried. Would to god you had!....” Hektor goes on to say how Alexandros isn’t man enough for Helen. Paris, trying to make himself seem braver and more man-like, brags that he could beat Menelaus in hand to hand combat. Hektor brings it public and everyone agrees whoever wins takes Helen and the Spartan gold home, a truce. Priam is informed as he, Helen, and his servants are recognizing the Achaean soldiers. Back on the field the two their weapons and start the duel. Alexandros hits his enemy first, but only dents his shield. Menelaus prays to the king of the gods then throws his spear and goes all the way to tear Paris’s shirt, but doesn’t kill him. Menelaus then hits him in the head with his sword which shatters. He swears to Zeus and then grabs Paris’s helmet, he drages him thus choking him. Aphrodite can’t stand this and snaps the chinstrap. She puts him in a mist and takes him to his chamber. Helen wishes to be with Menelaus but Paris persuades her her to his bed. Back on the field Menelaus looks in vain for his opponent. Agamemnon anounces that Helen now belongs to the Achaeans, for Alexandros has ran away.


Book IV - "A Bowshot Bringing War"

All the Olympians meet on the tall mountain, Olympus. They discuss what should come of Ilion. Hera and Athena call death to the city with the awful name, but Zeus says otherwise. Their king says “Of all the cities men of earth inhabit under the sun, under the starry heavens, Ilion stood first in my esteem, first in my heart, as Priam did, the good lance, and his people. My altar never lacked a feast at Troy nor split wine, nor the smoke of sacrifice - prerequisite of the gods.” Hera isn’t satisfied though, she bargains with her brother and says that her three dearest cities(Mykene or Mycenae, Argos and Sparta) may be destroyed and she will not get in the way as long as he lets Troy be destroyed at her dirty work. Zeus consents. Athena is sent down and assumes the form of Laodokos, a Trojan soldier. She convinces Pandaros that if he hits Menelaus, the one Ares backs, he would be a hero. The other men hide him behind their shields as he prepares. He aims and hits Menelaus in his side, but his belt of ox-hide prevents the arrow from penetrating a vital area (Athena nudged the arrow to prevent death). The Lord Marshall Agamemnon turns to his brother and sees the blood running down his leg. Agamemnon gets mad, but Menelaus says not to alert anyone. Agamemnon then tells the crier to get Makhaon, son of Asclepius, the healer. Agamemnon then walks around and tells all the captains to be more aggressive and ready for war. After he is done they head out for war and start killing many Trojans. Hektor, who you feel sorry for at this point, observes his losses and retreats. Apollo, the fair-haired god, is disgusted that his city’s army is cowarding. He yells “Forward! Trojans, breakers of horses, will you bow in fury of battle to the Argives? When hit, they are not made of stone to make the cutting bronze rebound! See, too, Akhilleus(Achilles), child of Thetis, is not fighting but tasting the wrath and wrongs beside the ships!”


Book V - "A Hero Strives With Gods"

Diomedes is helped by Athena to his hour of action. He gets into battle with Phegus and Idaios, two brothers. Phegus throws his spear at the brave Diomedes but it freely sails over his left shoulder. Diomedes then throws his spear and hits him right in the heart. Idaios is left unharmed and he reteats to safety. Athena distracts Ares by taking over and sitting him down by Skamander. The Danaans(Greeks) force back the Trojan lines while every captain kills his man. Pandaros, still with his swollen ego from hitting Menelaus, shoots Diomedes in the right shoulder. The arrow is stuck there and gushing blood. Pandaros says “Close up, Trojans! Come on, charioteers! The Akhaian (Achaean) champion is hit, hit hard; I swear my arrowshot will bring him down soon - if indeed it was Apollo who cheered me on my way from Lykia!” Diomedes gets the arrow removed by Sthenelos and prays to his goddess, Athena, to help him take down the one who injured him. Athena grants him the strength and he quickly puts and end to a few Trojans who are in his way. Aeneas looks for Pandaros, his fellow Trojan, so that he might be the slayer of Diomedes. The two take a chariot but Sthenelos sees them and warns his friend. Diomedes leaves instructions with Sthenelos to capture their horses after the enemies are put down. Diomedes blocks an arrow shot at him by Pandaros and replies with a spear, guided fatally by Athena. As Pandaros falls, Aeneas tumbles out of the chariot. The two close in for combat and the Greek injures the son of Aphrodite. Before it becomes to bloody, the beautiful Aphrodite intervenes and rescues her son. Enraged, Diomedes strikes the Golden goddess on the hand. Natural of her character she screams at her wound(which will heal quickly, as she is immortal) and hurls her child away. Apollo catches Aeneas and defends himself against Diomedes fury. Apollo then takes Aeneas back to the safety of Troy. Meanwhile Aphrodite flees to Olympus to nurse her hand. Zeus rebukes her and tells her to leave the wars to their respective gods(Athena and Ares). Hektor calls the cry of war. Diomedes harasses Hektor for needing the support of Ares(who is behind him). Tlepolemos slays the Greek Sarpedon and tries to flee to the safety of his army but does not make it. He begs to Hektor to rescue him so he may die within Trojan walls. Ares’ help is significant in beating back the Greeks. Hera, to her horror, notices this and descends upon the field. She encourages her troops to fight harder. Again Athena helps Diomedes and he stabs the god of war in the waist. He retreats to Olympus to find pity from his father who replies “Do not come whining here, you two-faced brute, most hateful to me of all Olympians...This...truculence comes from your mother, Hera, whom I keep barely in my power...Still, I will have you suffer no longer, I fathered you, after all; ... If you had been conceived by any other and born so insolent, then long ago your place would have been far below the gods.” Thus, Ares was treated and stayed on Olympus. Hera and Athena are content that they had made the bane of all mankind quit the war.


Book VI - "Interludes in Field and City"

The gods have returned to their mountain palace, leaving the war to its own doing. Ajax the greater, with his troops, break through the Trojan line. The Greeks obtain the upper hand and slaughter many Trojans. One unlucky (Trojan) soldier begs Menelaus to spare his life in exchange for riches. Agamemnon hears this plea and puts the Trojan to the spear. Seeing this, Nestor reminded “Friends, Danaans, fighters, companions of Ares, no one should linger over booty now, piling up all he can carry to the ships. now is the time to kill them! Later on strip them at leisure when they lie here dead!”. Priamides tells Hektor to return to Troy and command the women to sacrifice the biggest, most beautiful heifers in honour of Athena in order to gain her favor. Diomedes approaches Glakous(A Trojan) for battle and inquires about his past. The man replies and Diomedes remembers meeting the noble man and therefore can not kill him. They agree to never harm each other and go their separate ways. Hektor returns to his city and house of Priam. He tells his mother that they must sacrifice their twelve best heifers to grey eyed Athena in order to appease her fury against them. He finishes and searches for Alexandros (Paris) to rouse him back into battle. Paris agrees and goes to get dressed. Hektor was told that his wife, Andromakhe, a nurse and his son have insanely rushed to the gates in search of him. He runs through the city and finds them there at the gates. He prays to Zeus that his son, Astyanax, may survive and rule Troy. The bronze armoured soldier returns to the battle. Paris confronts him and asks what caused his brothers delay. Hektor answers him with a statement of how he hears the the soldiers contempt for Paris and that Paris must make amends with Troy and his family if they are ever to drive back the Achaean forces.