Iliad

The Iliad (d/;[1] Ancient Greek: Ἰλιάς Iliás, pronounced [iː.li.ás] in Classical Attic; sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.

Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege; the earlier events, such as the gathering of warriors for the siege, the cause of the war, and related concerns tend to appear near the beginning. Then the epic narrative takes up events prophesied for the future, such as Achilles' imminent death and the fall of Troy, although the narrative ends before these events take place. However, as these events are prefigured and alluded to more and more vividly, when it reaches an end the poem has told a more or less complete tale of the Trojan War.

The Iliad is paired with something of a sequel, the Odyssey, also attributed to Homer. Along with the Odyssey, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the 8th century BC.[2] In the modern vulgate (the standard accepted version), the Iliad contains 15,693 lines; it is written in Homeric Greek, a literary amalgam of Ionic Greek and other dialects. According to Michael N. Nagler, the Iliad is a more complicated epic poem than the Odyssey.[3]

Synopsis

The first verses of the Iliad
Note: Book numbers are in parentheses and come before the synopsis of the book.

(1) After an invocation to the Muses, the story launches in medias res towards the end of the Trojan War between the Trojans and the besieging Greeks. Chryses, a Trojan priest of Apollo, offers the Greeks wealth for the return of his daughter Chryseis, held captive of Agamemnon, the Greek leader. Although most of the Greek army is in favour of the offer, Agamemnon refuses. Chryses prays for Apollo's help, and Apollo causes a plague to afflict the Greek army.

After nine days of plague, Achilles, the leader of the Myrmidon contingent, calls an assembly to deal with the problem. Under pressure, Agamemnon agrees to return Chryseis to her father, but decides to take Achilles' captive, Brisēís, as compensation. Angered, Achilles declares that he and his men will no longer fight for Agamemnon and will go home. Odysseus takes a ship and returns Chryseis to her father, whereupon Apollo ends the plague.

In the meantime, Agamemnon's messengers take Briseis away. Achilles becomes very upset, sits by the seashore, and prays to his mother, Thetis.[4] Achilles asks his mother to ask Zeus to bring the Greeks to the breaking point by the Trojans, so Agamemnon will realize how much the Greeks need Achilles. Thetis does so, and Zeus agrees.

(2) Zeus sends a dream to Agamemnon, urging him to attack Troy. Agamemnon heeds the dream but decides to first test the Greek army's morale, by telling them to go home. The plan backfires, and only the intervention of Odysseus, inspired by Athena, stops a rout.

Odysseus confronts and beats Thersites, a common soldier who voices discontent about fighting Agamemnon's war. After a meal, the Greeks deploy in companies upon the Trojan plain. The poet takes the opportunity to describe the provenance of each Greek contingent.

When news of the Greek deployment reaches King Priam, the Trojans too sortie upon the plain. In a list similar to that for the Greeks, the poet describes the Trojans and their allies.

(3) The armies approach each other, but before they meet, Paris offers to end the war by fighting a duel with Menelaus, urged by his brother and head of the Trojan army, Hector. While Helen tells Priam about the Greek commanders from the walls of Troy, both sides swear a truce and promise to abide by the outcome of the duel. Paris is beaten, but Aphrodite rescues him and leads him to bed with Helen before Menelaus can kill him.

(4) Pressured by Hera's hatred of Troy, Zeus arranges for the Trojan Pandaros to break the truce by wounding Menelaus with an arrow. Agamemnon rouses the Greeks, and battle is joined.

(5) In the fighting, Diomedes kills many Trojans, including Pandaros, and defeats Aeneas, whom Aphrodite rescues, but Diomedes attacks and wounds the goddess. Apollo faces Diomedes and warns him against warring with gods. Many heroes and commanders join in, including Hector, and the gods supporting each side try to influence the battle. Emboldened by Athena, Diomedes wounds Ares and puts him out of action.

(6) Hector rallies the Trojans and prevents a rout; the Greek Diomedes and the Trojan Glaukos find common ground and exchange unequal gifts. Hector enters the city, urges prayers and sacrifices, incites Paris to battle, bids his wife Andromache and son Astyanax farewell on the city walls, and rejoins the battle.

(7) Hector duels with Ajax, but nightfall interrupts the fight, and both sides retire. The Greeks agree to burn their dead, and build a wall to protect their ships and camp, while the Trojans quarrel about returning Helen. Paris offers to return the treasure he took and give further wealth as compensation, but not Helen, and the offer is refused. A day's truce is agreed for burning the dead, during which the Greeks also build their wall and a trench.

(8) The next morning, Zeus prohibits the gods from interfering, and fighting begins anew. The Trojans prevail and force the Greeks back to their wall, while Hera and Athena are forbidden to help. Night falls before the Trojans can assail the Greek wall. They camp in the field to attack at first light, and their watchfires light the plain like stars.

Iliad, Book VIII, lines 245–53, Greek manuscript, late 5th, early 6th centuries AD.

(9) Meanwhile, the Greeks are desperate. Agamemnon admits his error, and sends an embassy composed of Odysseus, Ajax, Phoenix, and two heralds to offer Briseis and extensive gifts to Achilles, who has been camped next to his ships throughout, if only he will return to the fighting. Achilles and his companion Patroclus receive the embassy well, but Achilles angrily refuses Agamemnon's offer and declares that he would only return to battle if the Trojans reached his ships and threatened them with fire. The embassy returns empty-handed.

(10) Later that night, Odysseus and Diomedes venture out to the Trojan lines, kill the Trojan Dolon, and wreak havoc in the camps of some Thracian allies of Troy's.

(11) In the morning, the fighting is fierce, and Agamemnon, Diomedes, and Odysseus are all wounded. Achilles sends Patroclus from his camp to inquire about the Greek casualties, and while there Patroclus is moved to pity by a speech of Nestor's.

(12) The Trojans attack the Greek wall on foot. Hector, ignoring an omen, leads the terrible fighting. The Greeks are overwhelmed and routed, the wall's gate is broken, and Hector charges in.

(13) Many fall on both sides. The Trojan seer Polydamas urges Hector to fall back and warns him about Achilles, but is ignored.

(14) Hera seduces Zeus and lures him to sleep, allowing Poseidon to help the Greeks, and the Trojans are driven back onto the plain.

(15) Zeus awakes and is enraged by Poseidon's intervention. Against the mounting discontent of the Greek-supporting gods, Zeus sends Apollo to aid the Trojans, who once again breach the wall, and the battle reaches the ships.

(16) Patroclus cannot stand to watch any longer and begs Achilles to be allowed to defend the ships. Achilles relents and lends Patroclus his armor, but sends him off with a stern admonition not to pursue the Trojans, lest he take Achilles' glory. Patroclus leads the Myrmidons into battle and arrives as the Trojans set fire to the first ships. The Trojans are routed by the sudden onslaught, and Patroclus begins his assault by killing Zeus's son Sarpedon, a leading ally of the Trojans. Patroclus, ignoring Achilles' command, pursues and reaches the gates of Troy, where Apollo himself stops him. Patroclus is set upon by Apollo and Euphorbos, and is finally killed by Hector.

(17) Hector takes Achilles' armor from the fallen Patroclus, but fighting develops around Patroclus' body.

(18) Achilles is mad with grief when he hears of Patroclus' death and vows to take vengeance on Hector; his mother Thetis grieves, too, knowing that Achilles is fated to die young if he kills Hector. Achilles is urged to help retrieve Patroclus' body but has no armour. Bathed in a brilliant radiance by Athena, Achilles stands next to the Greek wall and roars in rage. The Trojans are dismayed by his appearance, and the Greeks manage to bear Patroclus' body away. Polydamas urges Hector again to withdraw into the city; again Hector refuses, and the Trojans camp on the plain at nightfall. Patroclus is mourned. Meanwhile, at Thetis' request, Hephaestus fashions a new set of armor for Achilles, including a magnificently wrought shield.

(19) In the morning, Agamemnon gives Achilles all the promised gifts, including Briseis, but Achilles is indifferent to them. Achilles fasts while the Greeks take their meal, straps on his new armor, and heaves[clarification needed] his great spear. His horse Xanthos prophesies to Achilles his death. Achilles drives his chariot into battle.

(20) Zeus lifts the ban on the gods' interference, and the gods freely help both sides. Achilles, burning with rage and grief, slays many.

(21) Driving the Trojans before him, Achilles cuts off half their number in the river Skamandros and proceeds to slaughter them, filling the river with the dead. The river, angry at the killing, confronts Achilles but is beaten back by Hephaestus' firestorm. The gods fight among themselves. The great gates of the city are opened to receive the fleeing Trojans, and Apollo leads Achilles away from the city by pretending to be a Trojan.

(22) When Apollo reveals himself to Achilles, the Trojans have retreated into the city, all except for Hector, who, having twice ignored the counsels of Polydamas, feels the shame of the rout and resolves to face Achilles, despite the pleas of his parents, Priam and Hecuba. When Achilles approaches, Hector's will fails him, and he is chased around the city by Achilles. Finally, Athena tricks him into stopping, and he turns to face his opponent. After a brief duel, Achilles stabs Hector through the neck. Before dying, Hector reminds Achilles that he, too, is fated to die in the war. Achilles takes Hector's body and dishonours it by dragging it behind his chariot.

(23) The ghost of Patroclus comes to Achilles in a dream, urging him to carry out his burial rites and to arrange for their bones to be entombed together. The Greeks hold a day of funeral games, and Achilles gives out the prizes.

(24) Dismayed by Achilles' continued abuse of Hector's body, Zeus decides that it must be returned to Priam. Led by Hermes, Priam takes a wagon out of Troy, across the plains, and into the Greek camp unnoticed. He clasps Achilles by the knees and begs for his son's body. Achilles is moved to tears, and the two lament their losses in the war. After a meal, Priam carries Hector's body back into Troy. Hector is buried, and the city mourns.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Ilias
Alemannisch: Ilias
አማርኛ: ኢሊያዳ
العربية: الإلياذة
aragonés: Iliada
asturianu: Ilíada
azərbaycanca: İliada
تۆرکجه: ایلیاد
বাংলা: ইলিয়াড
Bân-lâm-gú: Ilias
Basa Banyumasan: Iliad
башҡортса: Илиада
беларуская: Іліяда
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Іліяда
български: Илиада
Boarisch: Ilias
bosanski: Ilijada
brezhoneg: Ilias
буряад: Илиада
català: Ilíada
čeština: Ilias
Cymraeg: Iliad
dansk: Iliaden
Deutsch: Ilias
eesti: Ilias
Ελληνικά: Ιλιάδα
español: Ilíada
Esperanto: Iliado
euskara: Iliada
فارسی: ایلیاد
Fiji Hindi: Iliad
français: Iliade
Frysk: Ilias
furlan: Iliade
Gaeilge: Iliad
galego: Ilíada
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌹𐌻𐌹𐌰𐍃
한국어: 일리아스
հայերեն: Իլիական
हिन्दी: इलियाड
hrvatski: Ilijada
Ido: Iliado
Ilokano: Iliada
Bahasa Indonesia: Iliad
interlingua: Iliade
íslenska: Ilíonskviða
italiano: Iliade
עברית: איליאדה
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಇಲಿಯಡ್
ქართული: ილიადა
қазақша: Илиада
Kiswahili: Ilias
kurdî: Îlyada
Кыргызча: Илиада
Latina: Ilias
latviešu: Iliāda
Lëtzebuergesch: Ilias
lietuvių: Iliada
Limburgs: Ilias
Lingua Franca Nova: Iliada
lumbaart: Iliad
magyar: Iliasz
македонски: Илијада
മലയാളം: ഇലിയഡ്
Malti: Ilijade
मराठी: इलियड
მარგალური: ილიადა
Bahasa Melayu: Iliad
монгол: Илиада
Nederlands: Ilias
नेपाल भाषा: इलियाद
日本語: イーリアス
нохчийн: Илиада
norsk: Iliaden
norsk nynorsk: Iliaden
occitan: Iliada
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Iliada
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਇਲੀਆਡ
پنجابی: الیاد
Patois: Iliad
Picard: Iliade
Piemontèis: Ilìad
polski: Iliada
português: Ilíada
română: Iliada
Runa Simi: Iliada
русский: Илиада
Scots: Iliad
shqip: Iliada
sicilianu: Iliadi
සිංහල: ඉලියඩ්
Simple English: Iliad
slovenčina: Iliada
slovenščina: Iliada
کوردی: ئیلیادە
српски / srpski: Илијада
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Ilijada
suomi: Ilias
svenska: Iliaden
Tagalog: Iliada
தமிழ்: இலியட்
татарча/tatarça: Илиада
తెలుగు: ఇలియడ్
тоҷикӣ: Илиада
Türkçe: İlyada
українська: Іліада
اردو: ایلیڈ
Tiếng Việt: Iliad
Võro: Ilias
Winaray: Iliada
吴语: 伊利亚特
ייִדיש: איליאדע
粵語: 伊利亞德
Zazaki: İliyad
žemaitėška: Iliada
中文: 伊利亚特