Questions tagged [the-iliad]

For questions about The Iliad, the epic poem by Homer. Use in conjunction with [homer]. If the question is regarding the original text in Greek, use with the [greek-literature] tag.

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In the Iliad, why does Homer list every captain involved in the Trojan war?

In book two of the The Iliad (which you can read online), Homer does something that I find strange: he interrupts the story to list the name of every captain involved in the Trojan war: And now, O ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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Why does this copy of the Iliad mention "the will of God"?

In my copy of the Iliad, which is a Mentor Book published in April 1938, it opens like this: An angry man—there is my story: The bitter rancour of Achillês, prince of the house of Peleus, which ...
Mithical's user avatar
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19 votes
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Why does the Iliad start "in the middle"?

The Iliad starts at kind of an odd spot. It starts by describing the argument between Agamemnon and Achilles (Akhilleus in my translation) over the women they have acquired from raids. It mentions off-...
auden's user avatar
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16 votes
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Did Homer base the Iliad and the Odyssey on mythology?

Homer's two epic poems follow the story of the Trojan War through various perspectives. Did Homer make up the stories, or was there some kind of historical/mythological predecessor that he retold (or ...
Matrim Cauthon's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
368 views

What is a bootless oath?

In Book X (10) of The Illiad Hector (edition: Britannica Great Books of the Western World (The Illiad and The Odessey together), rendered into English prose by Samuel Butler) swears the following oath ...
Mirte's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
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Why does the portrayal of fate in the Odyssey differ from that of the Iliad?

In the Iliad, fate and the will of the gods are two distinct concepts. This is shown when Zeus is tempted to save his son, Sarpedon, from his predestined death in battle, though he ultimately chooses ...
gray's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
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Why does Aphrodite speak like this while disguised as the old woman?

In Book III of The Iliad, there's an incident where the goddess Aphrodite disguises herself to speak to Helen. The translator wrote her speech like this: Now she took the shape of an old woman who ...
Mithical's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why is the oath sworn to Dolon by Hector a "bootless" one?

In this question I asked abouth the following oath "May Jove the thundering husband of Juno bear witnes that no other Trojan but yourself shall mount those steeds, and that you shall have your ...
Mirte's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
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Why are all of these things described as "ambrosial" in "The Iliad"?

In Book XIV of The Iliad, when Hera is preparing to distract Zeus on Mount Ida, her preparations are described: She closed the doors, and first she washed every speck and stain from her lovely body ...
Mithical's user avatar
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7 votes
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What does "branch of Ares" mean in book II of "The Iliad"?

I have been reading the Iliad in the Penguin Classics edition (translated by Emile Victor Rieu and Martin Hammond), and in the second book, when Homer is naming the groups of Achaeans and Trojans, the ...
benfd's user avatar
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7 votes
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Can the Odyssey be consumed independently of the Iliad?

The Odyssey is largely a sequel to the Iliad, both of them being attributed to Homer and describing events which are roughly part of a single overall story (Odysseus first fighting in the Trojan War ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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Why is Helen's speech here in the Iliad described as being given "warmly"?

In Book VI of The Iliad, when Hector has come to try to get Paris to fight, Helen chips in with her point of view: Hector answered nothing, but Helen said warmly: "Brother dear, I am ashamed; I ...
Mithical's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
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Meaning and addressees of Hector's threats

The scene: Zeus and Apollo have just revived Hector who received a near-fatal blow from a boulder thrown by Ajax. Apollo and Hector then lead a refreshed Trojan onslaught on the Greeks, compelling ...
Soyuz42's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
592 views

Why do Athena and Talthybios speak "plainly" in the Iliad?

In Book IV of the Iliad, there are several instances where the translation refers to someone speaking "plainly": Athena now took the form of a Trojan, the doughty warrior Laodocos Antenor's ...
Mithical's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
643 views

What does Nestor's love of a "good horse" have to do with anything?

In Book IV of The Iliad, there's a part where King Agamemnon is going through the soldiers and talking to everybody. He speaks to Nestor at one point: He passed on to Nestor, and found him among his ...
Mithical's user avatar
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What are "inward meats" in Homer?

In both the Iliad and the Odyssey there are many mentions of "inward meats," such as: When the thigh-bones were burned and they had tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest up small, put ...
gorignak's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
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Why was it necessary to put out Patroclos' pyre with wine in the Iliad?

In Book XXIII of the Iliad, after Patroclos' body has been burnt, Achillês tells the Greeks to put out the pyre with wine: Now the people were all gathering round Agamemnon. They made such noise and ...
Mithical's user avatar
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5 votes
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Meaning of "lovers" in Hector's monologue in the "Iliad"

In the twenty-second book of the Iliad, where we see the inner monologue of Hector before fighting against Achilles, there is this interesting metaphor(?) which I couldn't give a nice explanation to: ...
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5 votes
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Has any writer claimed that Hector, not Achilles, is the true hero of the Iliad?

From his farewell to his wife Andromache in Book VI to the splendid description of his funeral with the which the epic concludes, Hector exhibits many of the hallmarks of the archetypal protagonist of ...
Soyuz42's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
645 views

Vultures and wives? What does this expression mean?

Extract from Pope's translation of the Iliad, Book XI, describing Agamemnon's rampage during the third battle: Wide o’er the field with guideless fury rolls, Breaking their ranks, and crushing out ...
Soyuz42's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
148 views

Retelling of Odysseus story with humour and anachronisms (audiobook)

I heard this in audio form, probably on a cassette or maybe CD, borrowed from a public library in England in the early noughties (2001-2006). I don't know how old it was, or whether or not it was an ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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4 votes
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228 views

Is there a connection between Achilles's talking horse in the Iliad and Balaam's talking donkey in the Bible?

At the end of Book XIX of The Iliad we find that Achilles's horse spontaneously begins talking to him: Automedon, whip in hand, sprang up behind the horses, and after him Achilles mounted in full ...
Alex's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
103 views

What does this passage about the sun and Hera mean in the Iliad?

In Book XVIII of the Iliad, after Patroclos's body has been recovered, there's this passage about the sun setting: Then the Achaians were glad indeed to draw back the body of Patroclos out of the ...
Mithical's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
400 views

What is the difference between the narration of the Fall of Troy in The Aeneid, The Iliad, and The Odyssey?

I have not fully read Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey and I'm only in the Book 3 of The Aeneid. All I know is that in the Iliad, there is the fighting of the Trojan War. In the Odyssey, there is a ...
hope's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
161 views

What does "reet fain" mean in Poseidon's message to Agamemnon in the Iliad?

In Book XIV of The Iliad, when Poseidon is encouraging the Greeks while the Trojans are attacking their ships, he says this to Agamemnon while disguised: But the famous Earthshaker kept no blind man'...
Mithical's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is there any connection between Paris of Troy and Paris of Verona?

I just noticed that a character in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has the same name as a character in Homer's Iliad: Paris. In both stories, Paris is one of two men who wish to be with the same woman; ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
188 views

Why is it so important to Aias that he die in the light as opposed to the mist in "The Iliad"?

In Book XVII of The Iliad, when Patroclus is killed and Zeus has turned the tide to the favor of the Trojans, we have this statement by Aias: Aias and Menelaos also saw that the victory was passing ...
Mithical's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Specificity in ancient depictions of Olympus?

The highest peak in Greece is Mount Olympus, near the northwestern Aegean coast. Was this taken as the literal home of the Olympian gods by worshipful ancient Greeks, or was it merely figurative to ...
Noah J's user avatar
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