“The Iliad is a powerful, beautiful, and awe-inspiring work of ancient
Greece. It combines the horridness and sometimes mundaneness of
war into a epic poem filled with art, illustrious descriptions, and a
myriad of wonderful literary images…”
Humanities I
Mrs. Cave-Mattie
Note that a circumflex (^) indicates a long vowel sound (Leto,
which will have the circumflex over the e is pronounced LAY-toe)
 An accent mark (`) indicates stress. (Menelaos, with the accent
mark over the a, is pronounced men-a-LAY-os)
 Terms that apply to Greeks: (and there are many different
spellings that you will see)
Ex. Kalkhas Thestorides means Kalkhas, son of Thestor
Terms that apply to the Trojans:
The suffix –ides means “son of”.
If you look online for any information on The Iliad, you will likely
find SEVERAL different spellings for ALL characters. This is due to
the many different translations of the epic.
 The same god or man may be referred to by many different
names within the same translation.
It focuses on a few days toward the end of the ten
year Trojan War between the Greeks and the Trojans.
It is the story of the anger of the Greek hero Achilles,
who, insulted by his commander-in-chief,
Agamemnon, withdraws from the war, leaving his
fellow Greeks to suffer terrible defeats at the hands of
the Trojans.
Achilles rejects the attempts by the Greeks to
reconcile, and instead, he allows his companion,
Patroclus, to lead his troops in his place.
Patroclus is slain, and Achilles eventually turns his
anger against the Trojans.
Literary critics argue that the story is
completely centered around the “rage of
Achilles”, rather than the Trojan War itself.
 It is often referred to as the ancient Saving
Private Ryan tale, which tells us the raw
details of war, leaving nothing to the
 Achilles, an amazing man, warrior, and
hero, who shows that true friends
defend each other until the end.
Although the focus of the tale is on the
character Achilles, the harsh depiction of
war is also quite evident.
 The fighting that takes place is often
described without any regard to filtering
› "He brought him down with a glinting jagged rock,
massive, top of the heap behind the rampart's edge,
no easy lift for a fighter even in prime strength,
working with both hands, weak as men are now.
Giant Ajax hoisted it high and hurled it down,
crushed the rim of the fighter's four-horned helmet
and cracked his skull to splinters, bloody pulp..."
Many suggest that if the story were set in
today’s society, it would be in an inner
city location. The two opposing gangs,
The Greeks and The Trojans, would make
every attempt to lay to waste each
other’s cities and livelihood.
"But the will of Zeus will always overpower the will of men."
Another key element is the extraordinary role of the
polytheistic beliefs of the Trojans and Achaeans.
Many actions are taken or acted upon as a result of
"theistic" beliefs and supposed "divine intervention".
Different "gods" were interpreted as being for
different armies
› Apollo for the Trojans
› Athena for the Achaeans
Most of the people that are in the story all seem to
believe that most or all of their actions are already
predetermined or in the control of the "gods".
Homer continues to stress the ability of the gods to
control mortal lives, actions, and consequences.