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Ancient Greece

Homer's Iliad

History >> Ancient Greece

The Iliad is an epic poem written by the Greek poet Homer. It tells the story of the last year of the Trojan War fought between the city of Troy and the Greeks.

Main Characters

Greeks Trojans There were several gods who played a role in the story including many of the Olympians such as Zeus, Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Apollo, and Ares. On the side of the Trojans are Apollo, Aphrodite, and Ares. On the side of the Greeks are Poseidon, Hera, and Athena. Zeus tries to remain neutral.

General Plot

When the story opens, the Trojan War has been raging for nearly 10 years. The Greeks are camped outside the walls of Troy.

Agamemnon and Achilles Argue

Agamemnon is holding captive a woman named Chryseis. Her father offers to pay Agamemnon to release her, but he refuses. Then her father prays to Apollo to help him. Soon Apollo is attacking the Greeks. Eventually, the Greek leaders, led by Achilles, force Agamemnon to release Chryseis. However, in order to get back at Achilles, Agamemnon seized a lady named Briseis from Achilles.

Achilles Refuses to Fight

Achilles becomes very angry with Agamemnon. He refuses to fight any longer. He even asks his mother, Thetis, to pray to Zeus to help the Trojans. Although Zeus has remained neutral so far during the war, he decides to help the Trojans.

The Fight Continues

The fight between the Trojans and the Greeks continues. The gods get even more involved. When Hector is hit by a giant rock thrown by Aias, Apollo heals Hector, making him even stronger and faster than he was before. With Hector leading them, the Trojans push the Greeks back toward the shore.

Patroclus is Killed

Just as it looks like the Greeks are going to lose the war, Achilles' best friend Patroclus begs Achilles to fight. Achilles once again refused. Patroclus then put on Achilles armor and entered the battle. He was fighting well and the Greeks were gaining ground until he ran into Hector. Hector killed Patroclus and took his armor.

Achilles Enters the Battle

Grief stricken over losing his friend, Achilles vows to avenge his death. He has the Greek god Hephaestus forge him new armor and rejoins the battle. Soon the Greeks have pushed the Trojans back to the city of Troy. Achilles and Hector finally face off in battle. After a long fight, Achilles kills Hector.

Achilles Dies

Achilles had one weakness, his heel. When his mother dipped him into the River Styx, she held him by the heel. It was the only place he was vulnerable. The god Apollo knew about his weakness. When Paris released an arrow at Achilles, Apollo guided the arrow to strike Achilles on the heel. Achilles quickly died from the wound.

Trojan Horse

Odysseus came up with an idea as to how the Greeks could get behind the walls of Troy. They built a large wooden horse. Some of the soldiers hid inside the horse while the rest of the Greek army got into their ships and sailed away. The Trojans thought that they had won the battle and that the horse was a gift. They rolled the horse into the city and began to celebrate their victory.

During the night, the Greek ships returned. Odysseus and his men snuck out of the horse, killed the guards, and opened the gates. The Greek army entered the gates and destroyed the Trojans. The Greeks had finally won the war.

Interesting Facts about the Iliad Take a ten question quiz about this page.

For more about Ancient Greece:

Overview
Timeline of Ancient Greece
Geography
The City of Athens
Sparta
Minoans and Mycenaeans
Greek City-states
Peloponnesian War
Persian Wars
Decline and Fall
Legacy of Ancient Greece
Glossary and Terms

Arts and Culture
Ancient Greek Art
Drama and Theater
Architecture
Olympic Games
Government of Ancient Greece
Greek Alphabet

Daily Life
Daily Lives of the Ancient Greeks
Typical Greek Town
Food
Clothing
Women in Greece
Science and Technology
Soldiers and War
Slaves

People
Alexander the Great
Archimedes
Aristotle
Pericles
Plato
Socrates
25 Famous Greek People
Greek Philosophers

Greek Mythology
Greek Gods and Mythology
Hercules
Achilles
Monsters of Greek Mythology
The Titans
The Iliad
The Odyssey

The Olympian Gods
Zeus
Hera
Poseidon
Apollo
Artemis
Hermes
Athena
Ares
Aphrodite
Hephaestus
Demeter
Hestia
Dionysus
Hades

Works Cited

History >> Ancient Greece


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