In the tenth year of the Trojan War, tensions are running high among the Achaians (a super-ancient name for the Ancient Greeks). First, the priest Chryses comes to ask their leader, King Agamemnon, to release his daughter, whom Agamemnon was holding captive. When Agamemnon refuses, the priest prays to the god Apollo to send a plague against the Achaians.
After nine days of plague, the Achaians assemble again and demand that Agamemnon give the girl back. Agamemnon eventually agrees, but only if he gets to take Briseis, the girlfriend of Achilleus, the greatest warrior of the Achaians. Even though Achilleus gives her up, he becomes so enraged that he refuses to fight any more. That and he prays to his mother, Thetis, who happens to be a goddess, to pull some strings with the other gods so that the Achaians will start getting defeated in battle and realize how much they depend on him.
Achilleus's mom definitely spoils him. She gets Zeus, the king of the gods, to agree to Achilleus's request. Sure enough, the next day the Trojans make a successful counterattack, led by Hektor, their greatest warrior. Several days of violent fighting follow, at the end of which the Trojans have the Achaians pinned against the beach, and are threatening to burn their ships. At this point, Achilleus's best friend Patroklos asks for permission to go into battle in Achilleus's place. Achilleus grants Patroklos's request, and even lets him wear his armor. Patroklos's gambit is successful – when the Trojans see him, they think he must be Achilleus and become absolutely terrified. The plan goes off the rails, however, when Hektor kills Patroklos – with the help of the god Apollo and a minor Trojan warrior named Euphorbos. Hektor then takes the armor off Patroklos's body.
When Achilleus learns of the death of his friend, he experiences terrible grief and swears revenge. He sends his mother, Thetis, to get a new suit of armor made especially for him by the fire-god, Hephaistos. The next day, Achilleus rejoins the battle and kills many Trojans, including Hektor in a one-on-one battle.
But Achilleus isn't satisfied. For the next few days, he continually abuses Hektor's body in gruesome ways, even after Patroklos has received a proper funeral. The gods don't like this, and send a message down to Achilleus telling him to give up the body. When the Trojan King Priam – Hektor's father – comes unarmed, by night, to ask for his son's body, Achilleus agrees. The two men eat together and experience a moment of shared humanity. Achilleus grants the Trojans a grace period to perform their funeral rituals. The poem ends with the funeral of Hektor – though we know that soon Achilleus will die and Troy will be captured.
Homer (/ˈhoʊmər/; Ancient Greek: is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest of ancient Greek epic poets. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.
When he lived is unknown. Herodotus estimates that Homer lived 400 years before his own time, which would place him at around 850 BC, while other ancient sources claim that he lived much nearer to the supposed time of the Trojan War, in the early 12th century BC. Most modern researchers place Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC.
The formative influence of the Homeric epics in shaping Greek culture was widely recognized, and Homer was described as the teacher of Greece. Homer's works, which are about fifty percent speeches, provided models in persuasive speaking and writing that were emulated throughout the ancient and medieval Greek worlds. Fragments of Homer account for nearly half of all identifiable Greek literary papyrus finds.
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The Odyssey tells the story of the long and painful returban of Odysseus from the
Trojan War to his homeland of Ithaka. This new translation by Martin Hammond complements his translation of The Iliad. It aims to capture as closely ...
This edition of one of the most enduringly popular and familiar books of the Odyssey
- the encounter of Odysseus and his men with the cannibal Cyclops Polyphemos - grew out of the classes taken at the Joint Association of ...
The 'red Macmillan' Iliad in the edition of W. Leaf, which had served since the
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Books XVII and XVIII of the Odyssey feature, among other episodes, the disguised Odysseus' penetration
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Michael Silk covers the poem's historical context, composition and extensive influence in this distinctive critical
introduction to Homer's Iliad, the earliest epic poem, and the earliest known work of literature in ancient Greece. Silk relates its literary power to the ...
The series consists of a text without commentary but with a brief apparatus criticus at
the foot of each page. There are now over 100 volumes, representing the greater part of classical Greek and Latin literature.