Based on Richmond Alexander Lattimore’s (1906-1984) translated version
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961.
Image Credit to – Cover design by Sue Allen.
I have taken the honor of publishing my sketch notes on Homer’s Iliad during my studies at The American College of Greece, Athens. I strongly recommend this phenomenal book for any traveler – specifically for those of you wanting to travel to Greece or during your trip.
One of the greatest epics written (c. 8th Century B.C.E) reflecting the cultural aspects of ancient Greece contributing the importance of literature worldwide. The Iliad reveals several events during the final year of the Trojan War. The word Iliad means “poem of Ilios,” one of the names of Troy in Asia Minor.
Artist: Giandomenico Tiepolo, the son of the famous Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, c. 1700’s.
Archaic period – C. 670 B.C.E. The Mykonos Vase is one of the oldest objects which clearly depicts a famous myth, possibly that of the Trojan Horse.
Book 1 (page 59),
Day 1 – 14 – Quarrel takes place on Day 10
Homer’s Iliad starts with a Proem (prooimion – meaning = pro-before; oimē – song) , that clearly conveys the topic of the epic to follow.
The Subject matter here is Achilleus (his patriarch/father being Peleus, and his mother being a goddess, Thetus). It concerns the relation to his one emotion: his anger (wrath). This wrath of Achilleus sets out the hero/protagonist. Homer perceives himself to be the muse (an omniscient narrator who has access to every character’s mind). He characterizes the wrath – being the suffering of the Achaians. The wrath was the death of many. The main quarrel: (Sons of Atreus) Agamemnon (Maneleos), and Achilles. The Cause: Apollo is angry. Why? Agamemnon (King of Mycenes) has disrespected The Priest (Chryses) by not returning his prize (The daughter of Chryses, Chryseis). Apollo places a nine day plague upon the Achaians. However, after returning his prize, Agamemnon takes Achilleus’ prize (Brieses), to which Achilleus sees as an unjust act. Moreover, the war and strife continues even after the plague is lifted.
The remedy for this would be for Agamemnon to return Brieses to Achilleus. Brieses becomes a symbol of Achilleus’ honor. A further intervention of the Gods takes place, when Athena intervenes. She comforts Achilleus by seeking help from Zeus. Athena’s intervention aggravates Hera, whom is the sister and wife of Zeus.
This turns out into a quarrel. The plan of Zeus is very important, as it restores the honor of Achilleus. The cultural denominators are based on the hierarchical importance of the characters, both amongst the mortals and the immortals. Achilles is important, as he is a Prince, the son of Thetus (a Goddess), and Agamemnon is King, the rank of higher importance.
The lack of burial for warriors is yet another realm of the Ancient Greek culture (and part of the plan of Zeus – the will of Zeus was brought on). We notice that burial is of utmost importance, especially for hero’s who have died within the battlefield. When we ask ourselves, how can humans interact with God’s? It is the cultural values which are revealed within the time period: the nature of a hero / of a society that is civilized. Furthermore, the human relationships are important, as it reflects the common fate of all immortals (relating to the ‘human condition’).
- Basic Plots: Achilles agrees to the intervention. The Gods therefore took sides (half with Achaians) and others with Troy. Achilles listens, agrees, and takes an oath that he is to refrain from the battlefields. The Achaians will realize one day. Gregory Nagy – Author. Lines 240 – of 65. HEKTOR = Leader of Trojans. Some day you will be sorry – all you Achaians when the death will come to you. Cause you did not honor.
- NESTOR: He finds wrong, with the key words being ‘honor’ and ‘dishonor’.
- Achilles – speaks to his mother – “Agamemnon dishonored me” – The tragic fate of Achilles (that he should die young), whom advises him to stay away from the battle – so that the honor of Achilles is restored.
Book 1 (Continued)
The narrator speaks in the third person. Homer frequently gives insight into the thoughts and feelings of even minor characters, gods and mortals alike. The timeline: Bronze Age (around the twelfth or thirteenth century B.C.).
The Iliad presents its subject clearly from the outset in the proem. Focus on its opening word: “rage.” Specifically, The Iliad concerns itself with the rage of Achilles—how it begins and how it cripples the Achaian army, and finally, how it becomes redirected toward the Trojans.
Homer invokes a muse to aid him in telling the story of the wrath/rage of Achilleus, the greatest Greek hero to fight in the Trojan War. The narrative begins nine years after the start of the war, as the Achaians sack a Trojan-allied town and capture two beautiful maidens, Chryseis and Briseis.
Agamemnon, commander-in-chief of the Achaian army, takes Chryseis as his prize. Achilleus, one of the Achaeans’ most valuable warriors, claims Briseis. Chryseis’s father, a man named Chryses who serves as a priest of the god Apollo, begs Agamemnon to return his daughter and offers to pay an enormous ransom. When Agamemnon refuses, Chryses prays to Apollo for help.
Apollo sends a plague upon the Greek camp, causing the death of many soldiers. After ten days of suffering, Achilleus calls an assembly of the Achaian army and asks for a soothsayer to reveal the cause of the plague. Kalchas, a powerful seer, stands up and offers his services. Though he fears retribution from Agamemnon, Kalchas reveals the plague as a vengeful and strategic move by Chryses and Apollo. Agamemnon flies into a rage and says that he will return Chryseis only if Achilles gives him Briseis as compensation.
Agamemnon’s demand humiliates and infuriates the proud Achilleus. The men argue, and Achilleus threatens to withdraw from battle and take his people, the Myrmidons, back home to Phthia. Agamemnon threatens to go to Achilleus’ tent in the army’s camp and take Briseis himself. Achilleus stands poised to draw his sword and kill the Achaian commander (Agamemnon) when the goddess Athena, sent by Hera, the queen of the gods, appears to him and checks his anger. Athena’s guidance, along with a speech by the wise advisor Nestor, finally succeeds in preventing the duel.
That night, Agamemnon puts Chryseis on a ship back to her father and sends heralds to have Briseis escorted from Achilleus’ tent.
Achilleus prays to his mother, the sea-nymph Thetis (goddess), to ask Zeus, king of the gods, to punish the Achaians. He relates to her the tale of his quarrel with Agamemnon, and she promises to take the matter up with Zeus—who owes her a favor—as soon as he returns from a thirteen-day period of feasting with the Aethiopians.
Meanwhile, the Achaian commander Odysseus is navigating the ship that Chryseis has boarded. When he lands, he returns the maiden and makes sacrifices to Apollo. Chryses, overjoyed to see his daughter, prays to the god to lift the plague from the Achaean camp. Apollo acknowledges his prayer, and Odysseus returns to his comrades.
But the end of the plague on the Achaians only marks the beginning of worse suffering. Ever since his quarrel with Agamemnon, Achilles has refused to participate in battle, and, after twelve days, his mother, Thetis makes her appeal to Zeus, as promised.
Zeus is reluctant to help the Trojans, for his wife and sister, Hera, favors the Greeks, but he finally agrees. Hera becomes livid when she discovers that Zeus is helping the Trojans, but her son Hephaistos persuades her not to plunge the gods into conflict over the mortals.
- But while the poem focuses most centrally on the rage of a mortal, it also concerns itself greatly with the motivations and actions of the gods. Even before Homer describes the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon, he explains that Apollo was responsible for the conflict. In general, the gods in the poem participate in mortal affairs in two ways.
- Firstly, they act as external forces upon the course of events, as when Apollo sends the plague upon the Achaian army.
- Secondly, they represent internal forces acting on individuals, as when Athena, the goddess of wisdom, prevents Achilleus from abandoning all reason and persuades him to afflict Agamemnon with words and insults rather than his sword. But while the gods serve a serious function in partially determining grave matters of peace and violence vis-à-vis life and death, they also serve one final function—that of comic relief. Their intrigues, double-dealings, and squabbles often appear petty, in a humorous way – in comparison with the slaughter that takes place amongst the mortals. The constant bickering between Zeus and Hera, for example, is of a lighter note than the violent exchange between Agamemnon and Achilles.
- In holding shallow grudges, the gods of The Iliad often seem more prone to human folly/foolishness than the human characters themselves. Zeus promises to help the Trojans not out of any profound moral consideration but rather because he owes Thetis a favor. Similarly, his hesitation in making this promise stems not from some worthy desire to let fate play itself out, but from his fear of annoying his wife. When Hera does indeed become annoyed, Zeus is able to silence her only by threatening to strangle her. Such instances of hurt feelings, and domestic strife, common among the gods of The Iliad, portray the gods and goddesses as less invincible than we might imagine them to be. We expect these sorts of excessive sensitivities and occasionally dysfunctional relationships of the human characters but not the divine ones.
- The clash between Achilles and Agamemnon highlights one of the most dominant aspects of the ancient Greek value system: the vital importance of personal honor, and is brought forward by Homer throughout the Iliad. Both Agamemnon and Achilles pare selfish within their individual glories over the well-being of the Achaian forces. Agamemnon believes that, as chief of the Achaian forces, he deserves the highest available prize being Briseis (Achilleus’ prize), and therefore antagonizes Achilleus (who is the strongest Achaian warrior), to secure what he believes is properly owed to him. This is once again proof of the hierarchy that takes place within their society, in honor of fame – as Dodd’s stresses in his chapter “From Shame-Culture to Guilt-Culture”. This also reflects with Dodds’ note on morality (pthonos / or jealousy): “success is said to produce koros – the complacency of the man who has done too well – which in turn generates hubris, arrogance in rod or deed” (excessive pride or self confidence) – and hubris becomes the “primal evil,” “the sin whose wages is death”. This moralization of pthonos is then led into a “characteristic feature of Archaic religious thought –(to transform the supernatural in general, and Zeus into an agent of justice).
- Achilleus would rather defend his claim to Briseis, his personal spoil of victory and thus what he believes is properly owed to him, than defuse the situation. Each man considers deferring to the other a humiliation rather than an act of honor or duty; each thus puts his own interest ahead of that of his people, jeopardizing the war effort.
- The descriptions of the feasts that take place are important to the symbolism as a social activity for the Achaian soldiers. Certain rules of hospitality governs the activity of eating. A good example would be when Odysseus, Phoinix, and Aias are invited into Achilleus’s hut – as a sign of hospitality, he first prepares a meal before they discuss business. As when Patroklos dies, Achilleus refuses to eat. As with the concluding scene, where Achilleus and Priam share a meal together.
- The focus is on matters of the relationship between the mortals and the immortals. Thus keeping an elevated tone, with matters pertaining to life, death, and the fate of the mortal characters.
- The basic plot is the suffering of the Achaians under the plague.
- Conflict: After the argument between Achilleus and Agamemnon, Achilleus refuses to fight or to assist the Achaians in battle.
- Complication: Nestor suggests that Patroklos lead the Myrimidons, wearing Achilleus’s armor, and thus leads to his death.
- Climax: Achilleus receives new armor from Hephaistos (son of Hera), takes revenge on the Trojans, and kills Hektor.
- Suspense: Achilleus abuses the body of Hektor, to which he is eventually convinced (Thetis, his mother) to return the body to the King (Priam).
- Conclusion: The funeral of Hektor. An emotional connection is reflected between Achilleus and Priam. The scene also reveals the culture of the Trojans, which is doomed to fall. The constant foreshadowing of Achilleus’ death is once again reflected when the funeral of Hecktor takes place.
Book 2 (page 76)
Day 15, evening.
To help the Trojans, as promised, Zeus sends a false dream to Agamemnon in which a figure in the form of Nestor persuades Agamemnon that he can take Troy if he launches a full-scale assault on the city’s walls.
The next day, Agamemnon gathers his troops for attack, but, to test their courage, he lies and tells them that he has decided to give up the war and return to Greece. To his dismay, they eagerly run to their ships.
When Hera sees the Achaians fleeing, she alerts Athena, who inspires Odysseus, the most eloquent of the Achaians, to call the men back. He shouts words of encouragement and insult to provokes their pride and restore their confidence.
He reminds them of the prophecy that the soothsayer Kalchas gave when the Achaians were first mustering their soldiers back in Greece: a water snake had slithered to shore and devoured a nest of nine sparrows. Kalchas interpreted the sign to mean that nine years would pass before the Achaians would finally take Troy. As Odysseus reminds them, they vowed at that time that they would not abandon their struggle until the city fell.
Nestor now encourages Agamemnon to arrange his troops by city and clan so that they can fight side by side with their friends and kin. The poet takes this opportunity to enter into a catalog of the army. After invoking the muses to aid his memory, he details the cities that have contributed troops to the Greek cause, the number of troops that each has contributed, and who leads each contingent. At the end of the list, the poet singles out the bravest of the Achaians, Achilleus and Ajax (Aias) among them. When Zeus sends a messenger to the Trojan court, telling them of the Greeks’wonderful formation, the Trojans formulate their own troops under the command of Priam’s son Hektor.
The poet then catalogs the Trojan forces.
By the end of Book 2, Homer has introduced all of The Iliad’s major characters on the Greek side, followed by his catalog of the Trojan troops.
Homer provides description of two important figures, Odysseus and Nestor. Though both of these figures appear in Book 1 and the army’s flight to its ships in Book 2 motivates their first important speeches and thus establishes a crucial component of their role in the epic: they are the wise, foresighted advisors whose intellect and clarity of mind will keep the Achaians headstrong. Furthermore, in successfully restoring the troops’ morale, Odysseus and Nestor (King of Pylos) confirm their reputation as the Achaeans’ most talented rhetoricians.
In addition to prompting the speeches of Odysseus and Nestor, the Achaeans’ flight to the ships serves three other important purposes in the narrative. First, it shows just how disastrous the Achaians (Greek) situation has become: even the army’s foremost leader, Agamemnon, has failed to recognize the low morale of the troops; he is bewildered by his men’s willingness to give up the war. The eagerness with which the troops flee back to the harbor not only testifies to the suffering that they must have already endured but also bodes ill for their future efforts, which will prove much harder given the soldiers’ homesickness and lack of motivation.
But second, and on the other hand, by pointing out the intensity of the Greeks’ suffering, the episode emphasizes the glory of the Greeks’ eventual victory. Homer’s audience knew well that the war between the Greeks and Trojans ended in Troy’s defeat. This episode indicates just how close the Greek army came to abandoning the effort entirely and returning to Greece in disgrace. That the troops prove able to rise from the depths of despair to the heights of military triumph conveys the immensity of the Greek achievement.
Third, the flight to the ships indirectly results in the famous catalog of the Achaian forces. Nestor’s advice that the troops be arranged by city ensures that the soldiers will be motivated: by fighting side by side with their closest friends, they will have an emotional investment in the army’s success, and their leaders will more easily be able to identify them as either cowardly or courageous.
Even though the catalog of forces seems tedious to us—though it does build tension by setting up an all-out conflict—it inspires us to the immensity and greatness of the forces. The poet seems to invoke all nine Muses as he proclaims, “The mass of troops I could never tally . . . / not even if I had ten tongues and ten mouths”.
Book 3 (page 100)
The Trojan army marches from the city gates and advances to meet the Achaians. Paris, the Trojan prince who precipitated the war by stealing the beautiful Helen from her husband, Menelaus, challenges the Achaians to single combat with any of their warriors. When Menelaus steps forward, however, Paris loses heart and shrinks back into the Trojan ranks. Hektor, Paris’s brother and the leader of the Trojan forces, chastises Paris for his cowardice. Stung by Hektor’s insult, Paris finally agrees to a duel with Menelaus, declaring that the contest will establish peace between Trojans and Achaians by deciding once and for all which man shall have Helen as his wife. Hektor presents the terms to Menelaus, who accepts. Both armies look forward to ending the war at last.
As Paris and Menelaus prepare for combat, the goddess Iris, disguised as Hektor’s sister Laodice, visits Helen in Priam’s palace. Iris urges Helen to go to the city gates and witness the battle about to be fought over her. Helen finds the city’s elders, including Priam, gathered there. Priam asks Helen about the young Achaians he sees, and she identifies Agamemnon, Ajax, and Odysseus. Priam marvels at their strength and splendor but eventually leaves the scene, unable to bear watching Paris fight to the death.
Paris and Menelaus arm themselves and begin their duel. Neither is able to win with their spear. Menelaus breaks his sword over Paris’s helmet. He then grabs Paris by the helmet and begins dragging him through the dirt, but Aphrodite, an ally of the Trojans, snaps the strap of the helmet so that it breaks off in Menelaus’s hands. Frustrated, Menelaus retrieves his spear and is about to stab it into Paris when Aphrodite whisks Paris away to his room in Priam’s palace. She summons Helen there too. Helen, after accusing Paris for him being a coward, lies down in bed with him. Back on the battlefield, both the Trojans and the Greeks search for Paris, who seems to have magically disappeared. Agamemnon insists that Menelaus has won the battle, and he demands Helen back.
Book 2 leads into an introduction of the Trojan’s winning in Book 3.
While the first two books introduce the commanders of the Achaian forces, books 3 and 4 introduce the Trojan forces.
Priam (King of Troy), Hektor, Paris, and Helen of Troy (formerly, of course, queen of Sparta) all make their first appearances in Book 3, and their personalities begin to emerge.
Book 4 (page 113)
Meanwhile, the gods engage in their own duels. Zeus argues that Menelaus has won the duel and that the war should end as the mortals had agreed.
But Hera, who has invested much in the Achaian cause, wants nothing less than the complete destruction of Troy. In the end, Zeus gives way and sends Athena to the battlefield to rekindle the fighting.
Disguised as a Trojan soldier, Athena convinces the archer Pandarus to take aim at Menelaus. Pandarus fires, but Athena, who wants merely to give the Achaians a pretext for fighting, deflects the arrow so that it only wounds Menelaus.
Agamemnon now rallies the Achaian ranks. He meets Nestor, Odysseus, and Diomedes, among others, and spurs them on by challenging their pride or recounting the great deeds of their fathers.
The Battle breaks out, and the blood is spilt. None of the major characters are killed or wounded, but Odysseus and Great Ajax kill a number of minor Trojan figures.
The gods also become involved, with Athena helping the Achaians and Apollo helping the Trojans. The efforts toward a truce have failed utterly.
Book 5 (pg. 128)
Tydeus (Aineias is the father of Tydeus) Diomedes (the son of Tydeus), breaker of horses.
Dares – Priest of Hephaistos (of Troy) Lykaon (Father of Pandaros).
As the battle rages, Pandarus(Trojan) wounds the Achaian hero Diomedes. He had already wounded Menelaos in Book 4. Diomedes asks Atrytone (daughter of Zeus) to help. He spoke in prayer to the grey-eyed Athena (Pallas Athena). Diomedes prays to Athena for revenge, and the goddess offers him superhuman strength and extraordinary power. Athena Pallas tells Diomedes to take revenge. She warns him, however, not to challenge any of the gods, except Aphrodite. Diomedes fights like a man possessed, slaughtering all Trojans he meets. The overconfident Pandarus meets a gruesome death when Diomedes strikes him with his spear, and Aineias (father of Tydeus) ((cup-socket / hip), the noble Trojan hero immortalized in Virgil’s Aeneid, likewise receives a wounding at the hands of the divinely assisted Diomedes.
When Aineias’s mother, Aphrodite, comes to his aid, Diomedes wounds her too, cutting her wrist and sending her back to Mount Olympus. Aphrodite’s mother, Dione, heals her, and Zeus warns Aphrodite not to try her hand at warfare again. Aphrodite is referred to as the “coward goddess” who rescues Paris. When Apollo goes to tend to Aineias, Diomedes attacks him (Apollo) as well. This act of aggression breaches Diomedes’ agreement with Athena, who had limited him to challenging Aphrodite alone among the gods. Apollo, issuing a stern warning to Diomedes, effortlessly pushes him aside and whisks Aineias off of the field. Artemis and Leto take care of Aineias. Aiming to enflame the passions of Aineias’s comrades, he leaves a replica of Oineus’ body on the ground. He (Apollo) also rouses Ares, god of war, to fight on the Trojan side.
With the help of the gods, the Trojans begin to take the upper hand in battle. Hektor and Ares prove too much for the Achaians; the sight of a hero and god battling side by side frightens even Diomedes. The Trojan Sarpedon kills the Achaian Tlepolemus (son of Herakles and leader of the men from Rhodes). Odysseus responds by slaughtering entire lines of Trojans, but Hektor cuts down still more Greeks. Finally, Hera and Athena appeal to Zeus, who gives them permission to intervene on the Achaians’ behalf. Hera rallies the rest of the Achaian troops, while Athena encourages Diomedes. She withdraws her earlier injunction not to attack any of the gods except Aphrodite and even jumps in the chariot with him to challenge Ares. The divinely driven chariot charges Ares, and, in the seismic collision that follows, Diomedes wounds Ares. Ares immediately flies to Mount Olympus and complains to Zeus, but Zeus counters that Ares deserved his injury. Athena and Hera also depart the scene of the battle.
Artemis and Leto takes care of Aineias. Apollo speaks to Ares to stop Diomedes. Aineias recovers. Aineias kills two great men of Danaans (sons of Diokles – Orsilochos, Krethon).
Iris helps Aphrodite off the battle field. Ares gave the gold-bridled horses, with Iris – making their way towards Olympos. Dione (Mother of Aphrodite) tends to her wounds. Hera (white arms) speaks to Pallas Athena. Hera asks Zeus if he is not angry with Ares. Zeus tells Athena to go after Ares.
Athena accuses Ares of being a two-faced liar for having cided with the Trojans, breaking the pact.
Ares asks for help, after being struck by Pallas Athene.
Book 6 (pg. 153)
The Ideals of Homeric and Greek culture are revealed within two characters: Glaukos (Guest of Hospitality) and Diomedes (Friendship and Hospitality) that derive from the awareness of the ‘human condition’. Humans having a common fate – suffering and dying, also conclude that they are compassionate towards each other. This condition becomes of great importance, and is further revealed towards the end of the Iliad, alongside the the plan of Zeus: In order to restore Achilleus’ honor, as his honor was violated when Breisis was taken away. Thetis begs Zeus, along with the intervention of Athena, and Hera. This plan of Zeus is a central theme and plays the primary plot throughout the Iliad.
With the gods absent, the Achaian forces again overwhelm the Trojans, who draw back toward the city. Menelaus considers accepting a ransom in return for the life of Adrestos, a Trojan he was contemplating on killing, but Agamemnon persuades him to kill the man outright. Nestor senses the Trojans weakening and urges the Achaians not to bother stripping their fallen enemies of their weapons but to focus instead on killing as many as possible while they still have the upper hand. The Trojans anticipate downfall, and the soothsayer Helenus urges Hektor to return to Troy to ask his mother, Queen Hecuba, along with her noblewomen, to pray for mercy at the temple of Athena. Hektor follows Helenus’s advice and gives his mother and the other women their instructions.
He then visits his brother Paris, who has withdrawn from battle, claiming he is too grief-stricken to participate. Hektor and Helen corn him for not fighting, and at last he arms himself and returns to battle. Hektor also prepares to return but first visits his wife, Andromache, whom he finds nursing their son Astyanax by the walls of the city. As she cradles the child, she anxiously watches the struggle in the plain below. Andromache begs Hektor not to go back, but he insists that he cannot escape his fate, whatever it may be. He kisses Astyanax, who, although initially frightened by the crest on Hector’s helmet, greets his father happily. Hektor then departs. Andromache, convinced that he will soon die, begins to mourn his death. Hector meets Paris on his way out of the city, and the brothers prepare to rejoin the battle.
Book 7 (pg. 168)
Day 16, and dawn of Day 17.
With the return of Hektor and Paris the battle escalates, but Apollo and Athena soon decide to end the battle for the day. They plan a duel to stop the present bout of fighting: Hektor approaches the Achaian line and offers himself to anyone who will fight him. Only Menelaus has the courage to step forward, but Agamemnon talks him out of it, knowing full well that Menelaus is far stronger than Hektor. Hektor declares that if he were to die, that his body be returned for burning/burial. Nestor, too old to fight Hektor himself, passionately persuades his comrades to respond to the challenge. Nine Achaeans finally step forward. A lottery is held, and Great Ajax wins.
Hektor and Ajax begin their battle by throwing spears, but neither proves successful. Ajax strikes Hektor. The two are about to clash with swords when heralds (Apollo), spurred by Zeus, call off the fight on account of nightfall. The two heroes exchange gifts and end their duel with a pact of friendship.
That night, a feast is kept amongst the Achaians. Nestor gives a speech urging the Achaians to ask for a day to bury their dead. He also advises them to build fortifications around their camp.
Meanwhile, in the Trojan camp, King Priam makes a similar proposal regarding the Trojan dead. Priam’s advisor Antenor asks Paris to give up Helen and thereby end the war. Paris refuses but offers to return all of the loot that he took with her from Sparta. But when the Trojans present this offer to the Achaians the next day, the Achaians sense the Trojans’ desperation and reject the compromise.
Both sides agree, however, to observe a day of respite to bury their respective dead. Zeus and Poseidon watch the Achaians as they build their fortifications, planning to tear them down as soon as the men leave.
Book 8 (pg. 182)
In Book 8, Zeus warns prohibiting any other gods (in book 5, we have Apollo and Aphrodite, in in book 1, Athena, Hera, and Apollo). Homer reveals the fate with the weighing of the two armies, that the plan of Zeus, for the losing of the Achaians will prove Achilleas’ importance.
Zeus taking sides – the side of the Achians will be losing today. The FATE – cannot change – MOIRA. Zeus cannot save his son Sarpendon. Since it is upon fate for Achaians to lose.
Nestor – old man of wisdom – is almost Corrupt by Hektor –
Diomedes – (made Hybris) – tries to help Nestor. Diomedes – (son of Tydeus).
Nestor – his importance is from book 1, along with the importance of Odysseus. Until Nestor realizes it’s the will of Zeus to realize that the Trojans are meant to win. It was too obvious. Nestor advises them to back off, but Diomedes hesitates (because he is ashamed – which is the shame of the culture of Honor).
Zeus reiterates his plan in Book 8.
- “Hektor will not be defeated – until pursued.
- Achilles will come back after Hektor kills PATROKLOS (Plan of Zeus).
- Ends with fires – Achaians are leading Attack on Troy – but because they were winning until now (the Trojans) – according to keeping the Achaians to stay – because they got carried away with their winning (the Trojans). They are carried away – with this extra-ordinary. Achaians are very afraid – Agamemnon is in tears. Book 2 – Agamemnon – was laughing – saying that they should leave. In this case – Diomedes revokes –Agamemnon – HIERARCHY – Agamemnon is the King of all and General – Diomedes is also – but not equal – not behaving like a King.
Nestor proposes that they should discuss things at a dinner assembly, with all main leaders.
Agamemnon takes the advise of Nestor. In the meeting – Nestor suggests – that it was not rite to betray Achilles – THE QUARREL – BETWEEN ACHILLES AND AGAMEMNON.
The solution: He proposes – Gifts and Breisis – in order for Achilles to come back.
Nestor proposes these gifts etc. Agamemnon acknowledges his folly (ATTI) = and Apology / a kind of Divinity of Folly – to do stupid things.
Agamemnon – acknowledges his blind folly ….
Embassy – is sent. Aias = Ajax. Phoenix – is the bravest after Achilles (Aias is the strongest) Phoenix – ACHILLES was raised by Phoenix. The tutor of Achilles. Phoenix IN BOOK 9 = VERY IMPORTANT.
He loves him like a father.
Two Herolds / priors are also sent along. They were all chosen for a certain. Odysseus is a very good speaker. Achilles is very proud and angry. “THE WRATH OF ACHILLES” …..
They go by night – as the fires are burning (Trojans) …. And expecting horrible disasters to take place in the morning.
The structure and plot is important and image – ICONOPLASTIKI – All reinforces each other.
The image of LIGHT is very IMPORTANT for the GREEKS – Light (daylight) – beloved / Hades – is hateful. So brightness is associated with DIVINE – (Diomedes mistakes Glaukos is a god – BRIGHTNESS WITH GODS). So fire is light and therefore pleasant / beloved.
OMINOUS SIGHT – Darkness.
They find him – he plays his LYRE and singing.
- He cries also.
- He is very nice to them (but angry with Agamemnon).
- He receives them well – drink and food.
- Odysseus speaks first: RELATE CAREFULLY THE SPEECHES BETWEEN ALL OF THEM – AND RESPONSE TO ACHILLES.
He gives a beautiful speech.
- Achaians are in danger
- Mentions the gifts.
- Pleeds for Achilles to return –
- Achilles responds with indignation … no gifts are enough for life to be brought back.
- He wants to leave the next day
- His mother – two options – live short life or live long life if he leaves the next few days.
- Odysseus was a good choice
Achilles says the following:
Answers – I hate a man that’s says one and does another. But Odysseus did not lie. He spoke the truth. Because Achilles thinks that Odysseus should know better – that this way of OFFERING APOLOGIES – IS NOT THE PROPPER WAY. He was in PUBLIC WHEN HE WAS FIRST VIOLATED IN HONOR IN PUBLIC (ACHILLEUS). Agamemnon … committed this offense. This violation – the honor of Achilles – In public and in person. Code of HONOR.
- Is his PEDAGOGY (the method and practice of teaching) …
- Adopted father – figure of Achilles.
Before he tells Achilles to come back – about his life – TO THE PALACE of Peleus.
After prohibiting the other gods from interfering in the course of the war, Zeus travels to Mount Ida, overlooking the Trojan plain. There he weighs the fates of Troy and Achaia in his scale, and the Achaian side sinks down. With a shower of lightning upon the Achaian army, Zeus turns the tide of battle in the Trojans’ favor, and the Greeks retreat in terror. Riding the Trojans’ surge in power, Hektor seeks out Nestor, who stands stranded in the middle of the battlefield. Diomedes scoops Nestor into his chariot just in time, and Hektor pursues the two of them, intent on driving them all the way to the Greek fortifications, where he plans to set fire to their ships. Hera, seeing the Achaian army collapsing, inspires Agamemnon to rouse his troops. He stirs up their pride, begs them to have heart, and prays for relief from Zeus, who finally sends a sign—an eagle carrying a fawn in its talons. The divine symbol inspires the Achaians to fight back.
As the Achaians struggle to regain their power, the archer Teucer kills many Trojans. But Hektor finally wounds him, reversing the tide of battle yet again. Hektor drives the Greeks behind their fortifications, all the way to their ships.
Athena and Hera, unable to bear any further suffering on the part of their favored Greeks, prepare to enter the ordeal, but Zeus sends the goddess Iris to warn them of the consequences of interfering. Knowing that they cannot compete with Zeus, Athena and Hera relent and return to Mount Olympus. When Zeus returns, he tells them that the next morning will provide their last chance to save the Achaians. He notes that only Achilleus can prevent the Greeks’ destruction (the plan of Zeus).
That night, the Trojans, confident in their dominance, camp outside their city’s walls, and Hektor orders his men to light hundreds of campfires so that the Greeks cannot escape unobserved. Nightfall has saved the Greeks for now, but Hektor plans to finish them off the next day.
Book 9 (Books 9 and 10 take place during the same evening) – Evening of Day 18
With the Trojans poised to drive the Achaeans back to their ships, the Achaean troops sit brokenhearted in their camp. Standing before them, Agamemnon weeps and declares the war a failure. He proposes returning to Greece in disgrace. Diomedes rises and insists that he will stay and fight even if everyone else leaves. He buoys the soldiers by reminding them that Troy is fated to fall. Nestor urges perseverance as well, and suggests reconciliation with Achilles. Seeing the wisdom of this idea, Agamemnon decides to offer Achilles a great stockpile of gifts on the condition that he return to the Achaean lines. The king selects some of the Achaeans’ best men, including Odysseus, Great Ajax, and Phoenix, to communicate the proposal to Achilles.
The embassy finds Achilles playing the lyre in his tent with his dear friend Patroklos. Odysseus presents Agamemnon’s offer, but Achilles rejects it directly. He announces that he intends to return to his homeland of Phthia, where he can live a long, prosaic life instead of the short, glorious one that he is fated to live if he stays. The fate of Achilleus was known to Thetis. Achilleus could return to his father and die happy yet forgotten, or, he could die at Troy and be remembered forever as a hero (as revealed by Dodds in chapter two “From Shame-Culture to Guilt-Culture”.
Achilles offers to take Phoenix, who helped rear him in Phthia, with him, but Phoenix launches into his own lengthy, emotional plea for Achilles to stay. He uses the ancient story of Meleager, another warrior who, in an episode of rage, refused to fight, to illustrate the importance of responding to the pleas of helpless friends. But Achilles stands firm, still feeling the sting of Agamemnon’s insult. The embassy returns unsuccessful, and the army again sinks into despair.
- Phoenix explains how he became attached to Achilles – as if its his own son. Like incest. He is cursed and exiled – never to have children of his own.
- Meleager – STORY = THE LESSON – TO DRAW – is to forgive – for prayers of forgiveness – LITAI –
- Folly/foolishness – to do stupid things – = Allegory – represented as DIVINITIES – ATTI – LITAI.
- He is trying to say – that people should Forgive. Whoever honors – and forgives his enemy – will be honored by ZEUS – but not — will be ATTI – FOLLY TO DO THE STUPID THINGS AND THE RESULT OF IT. Achilles refuses. Asks PHOENIX TO STAY. He adds – for Hektor – he will not oppose him – until the burning of the ships. Appeals to his emotions. AJAX – only says they should depart. “relent their anger” but not Achilleus. When there is a master speaker, it is ODYSSEUS – We should have known better – as Odysseus is very much like Achilleus. Odysseus relays the message. Axaj says it was a mistake to offer all the gifts in the start.
FORMULA’S – Division of day and night – ROSY FINGER DAWN : Achilles is always the one with long haird Achilaians.
- DAWN / WHITE ARMED HERA
Achilleus – answers to Odysseus – like in Book ½ – accuses Agamemnon – on Greed / cowardness / Obituary (list of the dead) / = the hierarchy should be respected, but is dishonored. Achilleus acknowledges his love for Breisis.
Book 10 (Same night as Book 9)
Evening of day 18
The Greek commanders sleep well that night, with the exception of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Eventually, they rise and wake the others. They convene on open ground, on the Trojan side of their fortifications, to plan their next move. Nestor suggests sending a spy to infiltrate the Trojan ranks, and Diomedes quickly volunteers for the role. He asks for support, and Odysseus steps forward. The two men arm themselves and set off for the Trojan camp. A heron sent by Athena calls out on their right-hand side, and they pray to Athena for protection.
Meanwhile, the Trojans devise their own acts of reconnaissance. Hector wants to know if the Achaeans plan an escape. He selects Dolon, an unattractive but lightning-quick man, to serve as his scout, and promises to reward him with Achilles’ chariot and horses once the Achaeans fall. Dolon sets out and soon encounters Diomedes and Odysseus. The two men interrogate Dolon, and he, hoping to save his life, tells them the positions of the Trojans and all of their allies. He reveals to them that the Thracians, newly arrived, are especially vulnerable to attack. Diomedes then kills Dolon and strips him of his armor.
The two Achaean spies proceed to the Thracian camp, where they kill twelve soldiers and their king, Rhesus. They also steal Rhesus’s chariot and horses. Athena warns them that some angry god may wake the other soldiers; Diomedes and Odysseus thus ride Rhesus’s chariot back to the Achaean camp. Nestor and the other Greeks, worried that their comrades had been killed, greet them warmly.
- Agamemnon – and Menelaus cannot sleep
- Start with Nestor
- To send SCOUTS – towards the Trojans.
- DIOMEDES & ODYSSEUS
- DOLON ALSO GOES – FROM TROJON (DOLOS – TRICKERY AND DECEIPT).
- He is a SUBTHIENT – SEERS …. A PROPHET …. THEREFORE it was a crime to kill him.
- It’s a war – if DOLON gives up on Trojans – then he can get up to anything.
- Odysseus and Diomedes acted badly here – WAR IS NOT A NICE THING … HOMER SHOWS US THIS EVERYWHERE.
- Attack the sleeping people and the snow white horses. Athena helps them on the way.
- Apollo wakes up to try and help.
- They offer sacrifice to Athena – (She is on their side) — they are not always just and fare – The Gods are therefore also CRUEL.
In pursuit of the beautiful Helen stolen by Trojan Prince Paris, an Achaian battle fleet has sailed for Greece. For nine years the army has camped on the plains before Troy.
Achilleus – Achaians greatest warrior Hektor – Troy’s greatest warrior
Despite this lack of continuity between books 9 and 10, some symmetry nevertheless exists between the two halves of the night. In each case, a meeting of the Achaean command yields a proposal by Nestor to send an expeditionary force to provide the Achaians with fresh information. Odysseus goes on both expeditions. The mission to Achilles’ tent ends in failure, while the mission toward Troy brings success.
Whereas Achilles stews with rage, unwilling to consider the possibility that he might be overreacting to Agamemnon’s insulting actions, Agamemnon displays a levelheaded approach to the Achaian dilemma in heeding Nestor’s recommendation to reconcile himself with Achilles. “Mad, blind I was! / Not even I deny it,” he exclaims, acknowledging his fault in the rift. Yet, despite his seeming eagerness to repair his friendship with Achilles, Agamemnon never issues anything resembling an apology. Though he admits to having been “lost in my own inhuman rage,” he seeks to buy back Achilles’ loyalty rather than work with him to achieve some mutual understanding of their relationship. Achilles isn’t really seeking an apology, nor does he want simple recompense in the form of wondrous gifts. He wants his honor restored and for the outrage that he has suffered: restoration of the honor and glory for which he has worked so hard for.
While Agamemnon’s bountiful offer of sumptuous gifts to Achilles may seem a superficial gesture, it seems important for the ancients’ conception of material possessions, whether won in battle or awarded by kings, as indicators of personal honor. Nevertheless, though Agamemnon is generous in his offerings, which he believes will “honor Achilles like a god,” he still essentially calls for Achilles to accept that his status is lower than Agamemnon’s. “Let him bow down to me! I am the greater king,” he cries out, illustrating that Agamemnon, though perhaps more pragmatic, is just as self-centered as Achilles. As mentioned in Books 2 and 8: the importance of hierarchy.
The embassy to Achilles portrays a rather touching scene in The Iliad. Homer achieves his effect largely through an exchange of narratives, which illuminate Achilles’ upbringing and hint at his ultimate fate. Each side presents these stories to persuade the other side, but Homer uses them to humanize Achilles, as Dodd’s speaks of “the human nature” – to give us a glimpse of his past and future. Although Achilles’ pride and rage define the thematic concerns of the epic, they also result in Achilles’ absence from most of the action of the poem. The embassy scene reveals the pressures that Achilles faced in Phthia and highlights the dilemma that he faces now, thus illuminating his inner struggles and thereby making him a richer character.
Book 11, (pg. 234)
The next morning, Zeus rains blood upon the Achaian lines, filling them with panic; they suffer a massacre during the first part of the day. But, later they begin to make progress. Agamemnon, splendidly armed, beats the Trojans back to the city’s gates.
Plan of Zeus: Zeus sends Iris to tell Hektor that he must wait until Agamemnon is wounded and then begin his attack. Agamemnon soon receives his wound at the hands of Koon, Antenor’s son, just after killing Koon’s brother. The injured Agamemnon continues fighting and kills Koon, but his pain eventually forces him from the field.
This divine intervention (rains blood upon the Achaian lines) delivers suspense to the reader, enabling Hektor to become the first Trojan to cross the Achaean fortifications. The Achaians recognize his presence and realize that in fighting the Trojans they put themselves against Zeus.
Hektor charges the Achaian line, driving it back. The Achaians panic to retreat, but the words of Odysseus and Diomedes give them a renewed sense of courage. Diomedes then hurls a spear that hits Hektor’s helmet. Hektor’s near death experience forces him to retreat. Paris responds by wounding Diomedes with an arrow. The Trojans now encircle Odysseus, left to fight alone. He beats them all off, but not before a man named Sokus gives him a wound through the ribs. Great Ajax carries Odysseus back to camp before the Trojans can harm him further.
Hektor resumes his assault on another part of the Achaean line. The Greeks initially hold him off, but they panic when Paris wounds the healer Machaon (son of Asklepios / fighter and healer). Meanwhile, behind the lines, Achilles sees the injured Machaon fly by in a chariot and sends his companion Patroklos to inquire into Machaon’s status. Nestor tells Patroklos about all of the wounds that the Trojans have inflicted upon the Achaian commanders. He begs Patroklos to persuade Achilles to rejoin the battle—or at least enter the battle himself disguised in Achilles’ armor. Patroklos agrees to appeal to Achilles and dresses the wound of a man named Eurypylos, who has been injured fighting alongside Ajax.
At the same time, however, the epic frequently reminds us of a second case of divine plotting: according to soothsayers, Troy is fated to fall. Homer builds dramatic tension by juxtaposing this prophecy with vivid descriptions of the Achaians’ sufferings and setbacks. He constantly tempts us with the expectation of Trojan defeat while dashing this prospect with endless examples of the Trojans’ success under Zeus’s plan. The reader is left with doubt, and unable to trust either set of signs.
The frequent reappearance of Zeus also reminds the reader indirectly of Achilles, thus keeping our focus on The Iliad’s central conflict. Zeus first enters the war in response to Thetis’s prayers and now inflicts the same sort of damage upon the Achaians. Zeus’s overpowering of the Achaians makes Achilles’ absence all the more noticeable. Perhaps Homer is concerned that the audience, like the Achaians, will miss Achilles. Homer incorporates the wounding of Machaon, whom Nestor whisks past Achilles’ tent toward medical aid, as an opportunity to make Achilles and, perhaps more important, Patroklos appear. The encounter between Nestor and Patroklos does more than present another glimpse of life behind the lines with Achilles and Patroklos; it also sheds some light on the difference in these two men’s attitudes. As the text gives information on the background of Patroklos, we begin to wonder whether Patroklos shares Achilles’ rage and whether he may wish to rejoin the fight despite his loyalty to his friend.
The scene between Patroklos and Nestor also contains an instance of foreshadowing, hinting at what happens when Patroklos does finally rejoin the battle. Homer writes that Patroclus’s “doom” is “sealed” as soon as Achilles calls for him to instruct him to speak with Nestor. It is Nestor who gives Patroklos the idea of returning to battle dressed in Achilles’ armor, by means of which tactic Patroklos meets his death. In book 16, Achilles himself tells Patroklos to wear his armor; but, under the one condition that he does not go further than pushing the Trojans away from the ships. The reference to Patroklos’s doom not only foreshadows Patroklos’s end but also points toward the event that finally motivates Achilles himself to return to battle.
Book 12 (page 258)
(Battle at the gates of Achaians)
We learn that the Achaian fortifications are doomed to be destroyed by the gods when Troy falls. They continue to hold for now. However, the trench blocks the Trojan chariots. Hektor, acting on the advice of the young commander Polydamas, orders his men to disembark from their chariots and storm the ramparts/bulwark. Just as the Trojans prepare to cross the trenches, an eagle flies to the left-hand side of the Trojan line and drops a serpent in the soldiers’ midst. Polydamas interprets this event as a sign that their charge will fail, but Hector refuses to retreat.
The Trojans Glaucos and Sarpedon now charge, and Menestheus, aided by Great Ajax and Teukros (half-brother of Aias who injures Glaucos with an arrow), struggles to hold them back. Zeus prevents his son Sarpedon from being harmed. Sarpedon makes the first breach / tearing a huge hole in the wall, and Hektor follows by shattering one of the gates with a giant boulder. The Trojans pour through the fortifications as the Achaians whom are terrified, shrink back against the ships.
Book 13 (page 271)
Zeus, happy with the war’s progress, decides to withdraw from the scene. However, Poseidon, eager to help the Achaians and realizing that Zeus has left, visits Little Ajax and Great Ajax (Aiantes) in the form of Kalchas and gives them confidence to resist the Trojan assault. Poseidon also gives confidence to the rest of the Achaians, who have withdrawn in tears to the sides of the ships. With their spirits restored, the Achaians again stand up to the Trojans, and the two Aiantes (plural of Ajax) prove successful in driving Hektor back. When Hektor throws his lance at Teucer, Teucer dodges out of the way, and the weapon pierces and kills Poseidon’s grandson Amphimachos. As an act of vengeance, Poseidon influences Idomeneus with a raging power. Idomeneus then joins Meriones in leading a charge against the Trojans at the Achaians’ left wing. Idomeneos cuts down a number of Trojan soldiers but hopes to kill the warrior Deiphobos (son of Priam). Finding him on the battlefield, he taunts the Trojan, who summons Aineas and other comrades to his assistance. Deiphobos is wounded, and Menelaus cuts down several Trojans.
Meanwhile, on the right, Hektor continues his assault, but the Trojans who accompany him, having been mercilessly battered by the two Aiantes, have lost their vigor. Some have returned to the Trojan side of the fortifications, while those who remain continue to fight. Polydamas persuades Hektor to regroup his forces. Hektor fetches Paris and tries to gather his comrades from the left end of the line—only to find them all wounded or dead. Great Ajax insults Hektor, and an eagle appears on Ajax’s right, a favorable omen for the Achaians (reminiscent of Hektor’s ignorance of the symbol in book 12).
The Plan of Zeus: Achilleus stays away, in order to restore his honor.
Book 14 (294)
Nestor notices that the Achaians are losing battle against the Trojans, and debates whether he should join the battle himself, or alternatively report to Agamemnon who is among the company of Diomedes and Odysseus away from the battle-field – as they are both injured. Agamemnon starts losing hope, and suggests that they start moving the ships away from the shore. Odysseus declines. Eventually Diomedes suggests that all three of them should go back into battle, even if it is purely for encouragement amongst the other Achaians.
Upon agreement, they encounter Poseideon who is in disguise. Poseidon tells them that the gods are not entirely against them. Poseidon then hails out a great cry as encouragement towards the Achaians.
Hera, is overjoyed by the sight of Poseidon helping the Achaians. However, she is also in fear of Zeus finding out. Thus, she distracts him with her womanly powers by embalming herself with fragrant olive oil and dresses herself up in sheer beauty. Furthermore, she asks Aphrodite to assist her with the final touches of lovingness and desirability. Hera’s ultimate goal is to help mend the chemistry between Okeanos (god of the ocean), and the sea goddess Tethys: whose relationship is currently unstable. Aphrodite is thrilled by the idea, and hands Hera the gifts. Hera continues with her journey to Zeus, en-route she pays a visit to Sleep (the brother of Death). She asks Sleep to put Zeus into a deep sleep, in order for her to accomplish her further plans. He hesitates, due to a past incident where Zeus gave him a thumping. Hera offers one of the younger Graces to be his wife in return of the favor. When they both reach mount Ida, Sleep takes the form of a bird, and Zeus falls instantly overpowered with lust. Hera is afraid of anyone else seeing them making love. Zeus covers the sky and mountain with mist and cloud. After they have made love, Zeus falls into a deep sleep.
Sleep finds Poseidon on the beach, and informs him on Hera’s plan. Whilst Zeus is asleep, Poseidon leads the Achaians on the attack. Hektor tries to spear Aias which does not harm him. Aias in return throws a large rock at Hektor, hitting him in the chest. Hektor is carried off in a chariot, stopping at the River Xanthos, where he splashes water upon himself, vomits and then faints.
Book 15 (page 309)
The battle continues: The Achaians manage to drive the Trojans out of their encampment. Upon Zeus’s awakening, he is furious, especially when he sees Poseidon helping out the Achaians. In response, Zeus lashes out at Hera for her act of trickery. Hera takes an oath that she had not given Odysseus the idea. He insists that Hera goes to fetch Iris and Apollo.
Zeus announces what ought to take place next: the Trojans will keep on fighting, pressing the Achaians against their ships. Achilleus will send Patroklos into battle in his place. Patroklos will kill Zeus’s son Sarpedon, followed by Hektor killing Patroklos. Achilleus will kill Hektor and the Achaians will win the battle, leading to the fall of Troy.
Zeus sends Apollo to revive Hektor. He reveals himself as the god Apollo and tells him that he ought to return to the battle-field: the god will clear a pathway for him. Hektor retaliates, to which Thoas encourages the greatest Achaian warriors to resist. Apollo puts fear onto them, to which the Achaians literally run away. The Trojans start killing the Achaians and strip them from their armor. Hektor demands that they focus on wrecking the ships. Apollo assists in tearing down the walls and fills the trench with the debris. Soon enough, the Trojans push the Achaians toward their ships, which only allows for long spears to fight from the decks of their ships.
Patroklos leaves the injured Eurypylos, and runs off to find Achilleus. Meanwhile, Teukros (bastard son of Telamon, therefore half-brother of Aias) tries to shoot an arrow at Hektor. Zeus however snaps the string of his bow and misses.
Book 16 (page 330)
The battle continues: Patroklos reaches Achilleus in tears. Achilleus makes fun of him. Patroklos asks for the permission from Achilleus to lead the Myrmidons back into battle (as Nestor had suggested in Book 11).
Achilleus agrees and tells him to wear his armor, upon one condition. The condition being, that he is not to go further than drive the Trojans off the ship. Aias has no more energy to ward off the Trojans from the ship, thus the Trojans start to burn it. Patroklos is told to head into battle with his armor, except for Achilleus’ spear. Achilleus starts warming up the Myrmidons for a battle with his speech of encouragement. Achilleus returns to his hut where he prays to Zeus to give Patroklos courage and success, and that he returns unharmed.
Homer tells us that Zeus follows the first part of the prayer, but not the second. Patroklos drives the Trojans back, as they are struck with terror. Serpedon stands up to Patroklos. When Zeus sees this, he starts to lament the fact that his son Sarpedon is about to be killed. He asks Hera for permission to remove him from the battle and save him from his fate. But Hera denies this, as once you start this, all the gods will stop to save their children.
Patroklos kills Sarpedon’s charioteer, to which Sarpedon kills Patroklos’s horse. Sarpedon misses the second time, and Patroklos hits Sarpedon in the heart. With his dying breath, Sarpedon calls on Glaukos to rally the Lykians and defend his body. Glaukos rushes off obeying the order, but first stops to pray to Apollo to heal the wound that he had received in the arm from Teukros’s arrow. Apollo grants the request.
Glaukos runs off to rally the Trojan leaders, reminding them of the debt they owe to Sarpedon’s greatness. A huge battle erupts around the corpse. Zeus darkens the sky, trying to find a way to kill Patroklos. Zeus puts fear into the heart of Hektor, and turns the Trojans in flight toward their city. He then sends Apollo to take Sarpedon’s body, to cleanse him, and take him home to Lykia for a proper burial.
Patroklos starts moving the Trojans back, but Apollo pushes him back. In response to Patroklos’s fourth attempt, the gods tell him that he is acting against the decrees of fate, that not even Achilleus will take the city. Patroklos backs off.
Hektor wonders whether they should retract inside the walls. Apollo takes the form of a Trojan warrior and tells him to keep fighting on the field. Hektor drives his chariot back into the battle. Hektor immediately comes face to face with Patroklos. Patroklos throws a rock and kills Hektor’s charioteer Kebriones. Hektor jumps down from his chariot to which a fight breaks out over the body of Kebriones, along with other men of either side. Hektor strikes Patroklos between the shoulders, knocks the helmet off his head, shatters his spear, detaches his shield, and takes off his breastplate. In complete defenselessness, Patroklos is speared in the back by Euphorbos. Hektor then stabs him in the guts, mocking him. Patroklos insults him back by saying that Hektor was the third person to kill me. First Apollo, then Euphorbos, and only lastly Hektor.
Book 17, (page 354)
The battle continues: Menalaos, helmed in his bright bronze armor, stands over Patroklos like a “first-born calf the mother cow stands lowing” trying to protect his body with spear and round shield.
Panthoos’ son, Euphorbos (Dardanian / Trojans lead by Aineias), stands before Menalaos threatening him to leave the body of Patroklos. Euphorbos reminds Menalaos “you must now pay the penalty for my brother, whom you killed, and boast that you did it, and made his wife a widow in the depth of a young bride chamber and left to his parents the curse of lamentation and sorrow.”
He tries to stab Menalaos, but Menalaos strikes back, killing him, and stripping him from his armor. Meanwhile, Menalaos debates with himself whether he should try and take back with him the naked body of Patroklos. He heads back to Great Aias (son of Telamon). Great Aias fends the body of Patroklos under his shield.
Hektor carries off the armor of Patroklos (Achilleus). Hektor then announces that the Trojan who manages to get the body of Patroklos can receive a large amount of spoils.
Aias son of Oileus was first to join the Danaans to help great Aias.
Apollo speaks to Aineias.
Achilleus had not known of Patroklos’ death as yet, as his mother often told him “the will of great Zeus; but this time his mother did not tell Achilleus of all the evil that had been done, nor how his dearest companion had perished.”
Zeus pitied the horses of Patroklos (Achilleus): “The mourning horses who longed for their charioteer, while their bright manes were made dirty as they streamed down either side of the yoke from under the yoke pad.” However, since Zeus had sent Athene down to stir the Danaans, his purpose had shifted. Athene put strength into Menalaos in order to get the body of Patroklos. Apollo came and stood beside Hektor, Zeus letting go of a thunder-stroke, gave victory to the Trojans, and terrified the Achaians.
Eventually the mist subsides, and the air is clearer, in order for Achilleus to see better from the ship.
Menelaos told Antilochos (in tears listerning to Menelaos, and hesitant to take the order) to tell the news to Achilleus, in order to try and get the naked body of Patroklos and win off the Trojans. Meriones and Menalaos carried off the body, with the Trojans chasing after.
Book 18, (page 375)
The son of Nestor, Antilochos, weeping gave Achilleus his sorrowful message. A black cloud of sorrow closed on Achilleus. He poured the soil over his head and face, and started tearing at his hair with his hands. All the handmaidens started crying out aloud, with them all beating at their breasts, on their knees, along with all the goddesses (daughters of Nereus), and others.
His mother (Thetis) asks him why he is lamenting. Achilleus responds all these things the Olympian brought to accomplishment. But what pleasure is this to me, since my dear companion has perished, Patroklos, whom I loved beyond all other companions, as well as my own life. I have lost him, and Hektor, who killed him, has stripped away that gigantic armour, a wonder to look on and splendid, which the gods gave Peleus, a glorious present” and wishes that his father (Peleus) had married another mortal woman.
Achilleus forgives Agamemnon in words to his mother, and decides to fight against Hektor.
Iris, the messenger for Peleus’ son, came secretly from Zeus and the other gods, “since it was Hera who sent her”. But Zeus did not know about this.
Thetus wanted Achilleus to wait till she managed to get him a new armor. Meanwhile, the Achaians managed to pull back the body of Partroklos. They heated up water, and washed Patroklos’ body, and anointed it softly with olive oil, shrouding his body from head to toe, and covered with a white mantle.
Hospitality: Hephaistos’ wife Charis welcomes Hera to their home. She tells the story of how Thetis had once saved her. With the help of 20 others, Hephaistos began making the new shield and armor. He made the earth upon it, the sky, the sea’s water, and the sun, and the full moon, along with the constellations. The beauty of two cities of mortal men. A marriage in one, and festivals – leading the brides ….
A long description of the armor in its beauty and artistic endeavors- portraying daily scenes of ancient Greece. The shield includes scenes of an inanimate world – and as society is known – the whole world – the world that Achilleus leaves behind after he dies (not in the Iliad).
Book 19, (page 392)
Thetis carried the armor – like a “hawk” from the snow capped mountains of Olympus. She found Achilleus in the arms of Patroklos crying shrill. He spoke “they are such as are the work of immortals. No mortal man could have made them.” Thetis blew through the nostrils of Patroklos – distilling ambrosia and red nectar, so that his flesh might not spoil.
Achilleus spoke to Agamemnon: “Son of Atreus, was this after all the better way for both, for you and me, that we, for all our hearts’ sorrow, quarreled together for the sake of a girl in soul-perishing hatred?
Achilleus had wished that Artemis had killed his prize (Briseis) beside the ship with an arrow on that day. He states that he is making an end to his anger, and allows it to be a thing of the past. Agamemnon speaks, and makes it clear that it is indeed the fate of the gods that caused the strife. He mentioned the delusions of Zeus, Destiny, Erinys and Hera. Agamemnon shuns ‘Delusion’ away, offering the gifts to Achilleus that Agamemnon had promised through Odysses. Agamemnon prays to Zeus whilst sacrificing the wild boar. Odysseus suggests that they have a meal before Achilleus’ ordering them into battle. Achilleus requests that they are to bring the gifts before the Argives for all to see, and to let Agamemnon swear an oath that he never entered into her bed and never lay with her (Briseis). Achilleus has no appetite to eat or drink, as he is still mourning his dead companion. This scene of mourning the death, and the theme of sharing a meal is accentuated towards the end of the Iliad; when Achilleus and Priam share a meal.
Zeus sends Athene to Achilleus and distils “nectar inside his chest, and delicate ambrosia, so the weakness of hunger would not come upon him”.
Love of Honor: We notice a change that takes place within Achilleus’ character, as his decisions change as the epic progresses.
- He swears not to help. However, after Patroklos is killed; and Achilleus finds out; it triggers a change within him, along with the vengeful battle to kill the Trojans.
- There is great importance within the scene where the fighting over the corpse of Patroklos takes place. The exchanging of corpses – SARPEDON and PATROKLOS.
- The emphasis of Zeus, being the father of the gods, and the plan of Zeus; even he could not change the doom of his own son’s death (Sarpedon).
- With them both being fallen heroes – the culture and tradition in burial is vital.
- Homer shows us how the enemy does not dehumanize their opponent, along with the fact that they share the same culture and values; the same gods, honor to the family, to friendship and hospitality. A dynastic dispute takes place between Poseidon and Zeus (book 14).
Dodds and other scholars signify the role of Ate (stupid things they do) in Agamemnon’s apology; in particular the story of Zeus and his violence towards Ate. Zeus hurls Ate by her (oily) hair from Olympus. However, Ate is not the first to be thrown from the heavens. Hephaistos was also picked up by the foot in book 1.
Book 20, (pg. 404)
Zeus had told Themis to summon all the gods into assembly, except Ocean. Here, we have a change in Zeus’s demands which makes the scene critical; as in book 14, he had told them the opposite. All the gods went to the battle fields, to give help to either side, “as your own pleasure directs you”. Hera went with Pallas Athene, with Poseidon, and generous Hermes and limping Hephaistos. But, Ares went over to the Trojans, and with him Phoibos, and the lady of arrows Artemis, Aphrodite, Leto and Xanthos. The gods stirred on the opponents driving them together. “Thus gods went on to encounter gods; and meanwhile Achilleus was straining to plunge into the combat opposite Hektor”. Hera announces the fate of Achilleus, but that he is not to die in the battle.
Achilleus and Aineias are confronted with each others’ words. Their genealogy is discussed. Poseidon and Athene decide amongst themselves who should win the battle. Because Apollo tricked Aineias into thinking he could challenge Achilleus, Poseidon assists Aineias. Achilleus is then blinded by Poseidon. Poseidon then whisks Aineias off the frontline. Furthermore, when reference is made to the descendents of Aineias “destined to survive” is a reference made to the future of Aineias’s founding of Rome – towards the Roman poet Virgil – who continues with the legend of the “Aeneid”. Poseidon has been taking the side of the Achaians’ – though he is on the side of the Trojans – which is the case due to Destiny (for the origin of the Roman people in the Aeneid). When Achilleus opens his eyes, his spear lies before him, and Aineias has disappeared. We notice a sense of comic relief, when the gods join in the fight amongst themselves.
Phoibos Apollo speaks to Hektor, telling him not to go out alone against Achilleus.
When Hektor sees Polydoros (his brother) dying, he went out to face Achilleus. Athene blew away the spear thrown by Hektor. Phoibos Apollo too helps Hektor, knowingly that it is not yet his time – it saves him time on earth, as life is precious.
Achilleus kills many people on the battle field.
Book 21, (pg. 418)
Achilleus pursues half of the Trojans into the river Xanthus (for the gods, and to the mortals as Scamander). On the riverbank, Achilles mercilessly slaughters Lykaon, a son of Priam – like a demon (divine-like). The Trojan Asteropaios, given a revived strength from the god of the river, makes a brave stand to Achilleus, but Achilleus kills him as well. Achilleus has no intention of sparing any Trojans (as they have killed Patrklos). Dodds too remarks on the character change of Achilleus – something got into him. Achilleus does not have the heart to not kill the young man. Beforehand, Asteropaios was saved during a previous battle. It was common to offer ransom to spare ones own life on the battlefield. Here, Achilleus rejects the ransom (rejects the rules of the game). He throws the corpse into the river for the fishes to eat his body.
He throws so many corpses into the river that its channels become clogged. The river god rises up and protests, and Achilleus agrees to stop throwing people into the water but not to stop killing them. The river sympathises with the Trojans, calls for help from Apollo, but when Achilleus hears the river’s plea, he attacks the river. The river eventually drags Achilleus downstream to a floodplain. He very nearly kills Achilleus, but the gods intervene. Hephaistos, sent by Hera, sets the plain on fire and boils the river until he stops, as there is no honor for a hero to die by drowning.
A great commotion now breaks out among the gods as they watch and argue over the human warfare. Athena defeats Ares and Aphrodite. Poseidon challenges Apollo, but Apollo refuses to fight over mere mortals – reminding us in the difference between the mortal and the immortal. His sister Artemis ridicules him and tries to encourage him to fight, but Hera overhears her and strikes her.
Meanwhile, Priam sees the human slaughter on the battlefield and opens the gates of Troy to his running soldiers. Achilles pursues them and very nearly takes the city, but the Trojan prince Agenor (son of Antenor) challenges him to single combat. Achilleus’ fight with Agenor—and with Apollo disguised as Agenor after Agenor himself has been whisked to safety—allows the Trojans enough time to rush back to Troy.
Book 22, (pg. 435)
Hektor now stands as the only Trojan left outside Troy. Priam, overlooking the battlefield from the Trojan walls, begs him to come inside, but Hektor, having given the overconfident order for the Trojans to camp outside their gates the night before, now feels too ashamed to join them in their retreat. When Achilleus finally returns from chasing Apollo (disguised as Agenor), Hektor confronts him. At first, Hektor considers trying to negotiate with Achilleus, but he soon realizes the hopelessness of his cause and flees. Achilleus epitomizes the cultural values of the hero. Hektor is seen to hesitate, trying to make judgment with his inner psychic self, whether or not he should give ransom. Pride fills both men, equally. If Hektor is to go into the Trojan walls – they would make fun of him. A sense of shame-culture to guilt culture, as Dodds conveys in “The Greeks and the Irrational”. Dodds mentions Ate not being used as an external force, but as disaster; in that inherited guilt that needs to be cleansed. The word and meaning of Kleos describes this transferring of ‘hero’ from father to son – reflecting honor for his family. Ate therefore fulfills the role of punishment, of moral justice for both sides – in sharing equal values.
Apollo assists Hektor – running around the city three times, with Achilleus on his heels – as it is destined for Hektor to be killed, and Achilleus in a different book – along with the actual fall of Troy. Apollo tries to prolong Hektor’s life, but in the same sense – also humiliates him. Students have drawn parallels with Apollo’s prolonging of life – that reflect the sweetness of life, whilst still being on earth. Zeus himself starts to doubt his own plan, and considers saving Hektor; but Athena persuades him that the mortal’s time has come. Zeus places Hektor and Achilleus’ respective fates on a golden scale, and, indeed, Hektor’s sinks to the ground.
During Hektor’s fourth circle around the city walls, Athena appears before him, disguised as his ally Deiphobos (son of Priam), and convinces him that together they can take Achilleus. Hektor stops running and turns to face his opponent. He and Achilleus exchange spear throws, but neither manages to target. Hektor turns to Deiphobos to ask him for a lance; but to his surprise has disappeared, he realizes that the gods have betrayed him. He charges at Achilleus. However, he still wears Achilles’ old armor—stolen from Patroklos’s dead body—and Achilleus knows the armor’s weak points intimately. With a perfect timing, he thrusts his spear through Hektor’s throat. In near death, Hektor pleads with Achilleus to return his body to the Trojans for burial, but Achilleus wants to have the dogs and vultures feast on him. While Hektor dies in this scene, the values that he represents—nobility, self-restraint, and respect are actually brought forward. Indeed, Achilleus later comes around to an appreciation of these very values after realizing the faults of his earlier brutality and self-centered rage – the nature of being a hero, with change in character through experience. Hektor asks Achilleus to promise to respect his corpse for burial. Achilleus does not accept. Dual – Spear of Hektor breaks – He realizes that it was a trick. Just like in book 16 – the begging for burial – refuses burial for dying Hektor (if he could he would eat him raw). This scene prophesizes the death of Achilleus. In the moment of his highest glory, Achilleus’ own death is sealed alongside with Hektor’s. With Hektor wearing Patroklos’ (Archilleus’) armor – we note the excess in pride that leads to his own death (Hybris) – book 17. We also note that human quarreling has horrible consequences, as Achilleus kills Hektor, and the Gods (book 1, 14).
The other Achaians gather round and end up stabbing Hektor’s corpse. Achilleus ties Hektor’s body to the back of his chariot and drags it through the dirt. Meanwhile, up above on the city’s walls, King Priam and Queen Hekabe witness the devastation of their son’s body and mourn with grief. Andromache hears them from her chamber and runs outside. When she sees her husband’s corpse being dragged through the dirt, she too collapses and weeps.
The feuds of the gods continue to reflect the battles of the mortals. As the mortal battles become more gruesome, the immortal gods’ conflicts seem more superficial. However, the gods do not bother with the human conflict, even swearing off fighting over the mortals. Besides, Hera ends up doing just that. Although the struggle among the gods may remain unexplained within the plot of the epic, it adds variety, and elevates the conflict onto the epic; also reminding us of the difference between mortality and immortality.
The final duel between Achilleus and Hektor becomes not only a duel of heroes but also of heroic values. While Achilleus proves superior to Hektor in terms of strength and endurance, he emerges as inferior in terms of integrity. His mistreatment of Hektor’s body is a disgrace. We can recall the Importance of Burial in book 17: the struggle of getting the bodies of Patroklos and Sarpedon. Each side had agreed to stop fighting.
Book 23 (pg. 450)
Patroklos’ body has remained unburied. Achilleus commands that that the soldiers respect the body of Patroklos to bid their farewell to him before they take off their war gear. Achilleus mourns the body, and promises to sacrifice twelve of the Trojan children held captive – in honor of Patroklos. Achilleus throws Hektor’s body face down in the dirt. Achilleus refuses to wash off the blood off himself, even whilst at the feast. Once he falls asleep next to the sea, Patroklos appears in his dream. He asks Achilleus to burn his body as soon as possible in order to be accepted into the underworld. Knowing that Achilleus will die soon, the spirit of Patroklos requests that their ashes are placed together in a single urn; so that they can be together in death. Achilleus tries to grasp the ghosts hand, but passes through it.
Achilleus awakes when its morning. He cuts a lock of hair that he had planned to give to the river Spercheios. However, due to him not going home, he places the lock of hair in Patroklos’ hand. Achilleus sacrifices many animals and the twelve Trojan prisoners, and boasts how he will feed Hektor to the dogs. Homer tells us that Aphrodite is guarding Hektor’s body from wild animals, along with Apollo protecting the body from the harmful rays by placing a cloud above. The pyre is not burning strong, thus Achilleus prays to the north and westerly winds to enforce the flames with the help of the messenger Iris. The following morning, the flames are still burning – Achilleus commands that the soldiers put out the fire with their wine. He then instructs them to create a mound, and to gather the bones of Patroklos and place them in an urn. Followed by this, they are to place another burial mound over the earn, as it will soon be needed for his own burial – in order for their bones to be placed together.
Funeral games are prepared, with a range of competitions held in honor of all the men who had died in battle. The first competition will be a chariot race, to which Nestor’s son – Antilochos partakes in. His father gives a long speech with an interesting message conveyed towards skill as opposed to fast horses. This message is in fact directed towards his son. Among the other charioteers are Diomedes, Eumelos, Menelaos and Phoinix acting as referee. During the race, Apollo sabotages Diomedes chariot by stealing his whip, but Athene gives it back to Diomedes; followed by shashing Eumelos’ chariot. Eumelos is initially in the lead, but Diomedes ends up winning the race. Meanwhile, Antilochos cheats in the competition against Menelaus. He is forced to admit it in public, and return the reward. Menelaus forgives the young man, and gives back the gift.
Homer describes Achilleus taking pity on Eumelos’ loss, as Achilleus testifies to him being the better charioteer even though he had lost. This eludes to the scene of Agamemnon’s apology; where humanity is slowly being regained by Achilleus – revealing compassion. Homer tells us of Achilleus’ heart being of iron which contrasts this change in character. This process of change is the development of the hero character. Eumelos ends up receiving a breastplate. More competitions take place with a plethora of prizes ranging from urns, horses, tripods, oxen and women. Achilleus, the hero starts changing in character again. As he has taken his revenge, he slowly begins to revive humanity. He starts acting in the correct manner. Firstly, Patroklos’ body is finally given a burial as afore-mentioned. He tends to go from extreme in character – with the fire not burning, it creates displeasure amongst the gods. Achilleus can be seen as polluting the burial with improper manners.
NB (Important) SCENES:
After days of grieving, Achilleus has still not overcome his sorrow. Each day, he continues to drag Hektor’s dead body from the back of his chariot three times around the mound of Patroklos. Homer narrates the pity of the gods towards Hektor, and continue to protect his body.
Achilleus has come a long way
He told Hektor that the dogs and birds will give him.
- He changes in BOOK 24 – By returning the corpse, and is zeus tells through Thetus to Achilleus to have a dinner.
- The Gods were sorry for Hektor.
- That he should return the corpse, and obey the Gods.
- They even think of sending the ….. (Hera and Athena protests – as more honor to Achilleus).
- GREAT DETAILS – HOW THE TROJANS – HERA AND ATHENA – By choosing the wrong beauty – PARIS etc – how Helen was promised to Paris – we see how this BOOK 24 fits with Book 1 – ilIAD therefore – what is tragedy? Suffering? – its not his duty to give details day by day, or month by month – therefore we have the impression of things.
- The Impression of the two lovers of Helen fight between the two,
- ZEUS SAYS THAT Hektor was dear to him
- That honor also belongs to Hektor – sends ARES
- RANSOM – Tells Achilleus to relax, and forget his sorrow – and make love to a woman.
- The surance for the love of BREISIS.
- Tradition – at the point of death – worth loving – like the Shield he put on 0 book 18 – love is also important as the last thing in lfe
- He agrees to give corpse
- Gifts to Achilleus –
- Hekabe – Achilleus has a heart of iron.
- The lovely gifts are given
- He goes alone – because – it would anger Achilleus – HERMES in guise of young soldier – to Achilleus. He says – Because Priam reminds him of his FATHER (Hermes pretends he is a mortal) = this is a motif.
- Compassion – Priam reminds him of his own FATHER.
- EXCHANGE of good words – PRIAM AND ACHILLEUS
- Priam falls to his knees – humiliating himself for the sake of the burial of his own son.
- He says to Achilleus – he is the most unfortunate.
- Achilleus – cries – and Priam also cry- another mention of DEFINITION OF THE HUMAN CONDITION – book 24 as Good Example.
- The two enemies – recognize the common human condition –
- Helps the old man up – HOLDING SOMEONE UP – IS A GESTURE OF SUPPORT – Tells him a story – TWO STORIES – THE EARNS OF (PEACE GOOD FORTUNE AND BAD FORTUNE)
- He mixes them –
- 525 LINES – Read carefully.
- No human beings only get only good things, or only bad things.
- Holmer tells us – for destined for bad things only – TO WONDER ALONE – WITH NO FRIENDS.
- HOMERIC CULTURE – TO BE FRIENDLESS – is the worst.
- He tells Prium this – as it is a common human fate \
- The second story – she even ate and to rest.
- PRIUM – Achilleus becomes angry because Prium does not want to eat.
- EXPLOSION OF FEELINGS
- Achilleus – Zeus told me to give back the body.
- Achilleus does not take credit – its because he had to.
- Achilleus – then does some – Achilleus orders his soldiers to wash the corpse of Hektor and to place it on the chariot – He lifts it up himself.
- Zeus did not say lift it up.
- ITS FROM HIS OWN PASSION (Achilleus) and thinks of his own death.
- Of course he (achilleus) knew he was being cruel, and that he was angry for widthdrawing – BUT – he is there now.
- After the corpse is up and ready – He speaks about NAIOBI – and to eat and drink.
- The arrows of Apollo killed her children – even a mother – had to eat –
- Meal – share a culture.
- COMPLETE RECOGNITION – BETWEEN EACH OTHER – Aadmires both – for their nobility and looks.
- Admiration of each other
- Priam – trusts Achilleus – by asking for a bed.
- He knows the corpse of Hektor will be given back.
- Even Achilles sleeps – Breisis –
- Priam asks FOR HIM TO DEPART – in case someone else finds him there.
- He escapes
- Casandra and everyone is crying.
- Achilleus gives as many days – for Mourning.
- Achilleus promises Priam as many days – (Zeus did not tell him to do this)
- He asks for 9 days for mourning, one day for burning, etc.
- The 12th day – the battle will start. – REPEATED – Achilleus gives more than he has to.
- The Iliad ends with a SYMPOSIUM – with the eating.
- As we had the funeral games of Patroklos.
- GOLD JAR IN A TOMB – A monument of MORTALITY
- Three Thousand years ago
With great thanks to my Professor Dr. Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldo (Deree – The American College of Greece)
By Demetrios Voulgarellis