An Epic Poem
Written around 750 B.C.
Classical Greek Poet
Homer told stories
He wrote about
preserving honor- the
most important thing.
He was a blind man
whose date of birth is
The “Iliad” comes from the word Ilion, which was
another name for the city of Troy, located in Asia
Around 1200 B.C. the Greeks fought against Troy
(the Trojans) in the great Trojan War.
Homer composed the Iliad, which tells the part of the
story of the Trojan War, around 350 years after it
The theme stated at the beginning of the Illiad is “the
rage of Peleus’ son Achilles” and the consequences of
Glory of War
Role of Women in Ancient Civilization
Military Glory over Family Life
Human Life and the Role of the Gods
What types of epics are the Iliad
and the Odyssey?
Iliad – War Epic
Odyssey – Journey
Epic Form: Structure
A long poem, typically one derived from ancient
oral tradition, narrating the deeds and
adventures of heroic or legendary figures, or the
history of a nation.
Homer’s uses formulaic, or fixed, expressions that
made verses easier to remember, to be able to recite
it to audiences later.
Epic Form- Long Speeches
The lengthy, formal speech is another typical
element of the Homeric epic form.
Homer’s characters commonly express thoughts and
feelings by delivering long speeches addressed to
other characters. (Especially at moments of crisis,
characters deliver long monologues in which they
address their own souls or inner spirits.)
Literary Element: “Homeric”
Epithets: compound adjective used to
describe a quality of a person.
Epithets came about as a result of
composing and listening to oral poetry.
Ex. “brilliant Achilles,” or “Hector
breaker of horses,” or “blazing-
Epic Form: The Invocation/ “in
Homer begins the Illiad powerfully by stating the
epic’s theme and invoking one of the Muses.
The Muses are nine goddesses in Greek Mythology who
were believed to preside over all forms of art and science.
One of the defining features of a Homeric Epic is how
the story opens in medias res.
“in medias res”- is Latin for “in the middle of things.”
Reading a Greek epic from the beginning is like tuning
into a story already in progress. Many of the story’s events
have already taken place, but information about those
events is revealed later in the poem through flashbacks.
The Illiad recounts only PART of a long series of
events in the Trojan War.
Homer concentrated on a period of less than two
months into the tenth year of the war.
According to legend, the war was fought because of
a quarrel among gods and the resulting incidents of
betrayal among mortals.
How did the Trojan War start 10 years
Eris, Goddess of Discord
Angry because she, Eris, was the only god not invited
to the wedding of the Sea Goddess Thetis to King
Peleus, Eris tossed the Golden Apple marked “For the
Fairest” into the banquet.
Who is the Fairest?
Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena each
wanted the golden apple.
Zeus would not choose between them
because he did not want the goddesses to be
angry with him.
They chose the Trojan prince Paris to
make the decision of which goddess was the
Hera offered to make
Paris ruler of Europe
Athena offered to let
Paris lead Sparta in a
victory over the
Paris the most
beautiful woman in
Paris Chooses Aphrodite
The most beautiful woman in the
world is Helen, the wife of King
Menelaus, King of Sparta.
Aphrodite helps Paris go to
Menelaus’ court and abducts
The Beginning of War
Greek King Menelaus called on all those who were loyal to him
including the help of his brother, Agamemnon, King of
They gathered a huge army, and built a thousand ships to carry
the army to Troy to reclaim Helen and to sack a city for its
Helen of Sparta was now called “Helen of Troy”
She was “The face that launched a thousand ships”
The Trojan War
The battle raged for 10
A prophet predicted
that Troy could be
captured only with the
help of Greek
Where the Iliad Starts…
o For nine years the Greeks attacked Troy, with
the Trojans at first resisting them.
o Suddenly, in the tenth year of the war, an
unforeseen event triggered a bitter quarrel
between Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek
forces, and Achilles, the greatest of the Greek
o It is at this point that the Iliad begins…
The Hero Achilles
Knowing of the prophecy, and worried
that her son would be killed in war,
Achilles’ mother dipped him in the
river Styx to make him immortal.
His only weakness was the place on his
heals where she held him.
During the war, Achilles is forced to
give up his war prize, a slave girl, to
Agamemnon, and so he refuses to fight.
Patroclus, his friend, asks Achilles if he
may ride out in his armor so the
Trojans would lose heart.
Achilles agreed to allow his friend Patroclus to wear his armor.
The next day Patroclus was killed and stripped of the armor by
the Trojan hero Hector, who mistook him for Achilles.
Achilles was overwhelmed with grief for his friend and rage at
Achilles kills Hector. He desecrated the body, dragging it
behind his chariot before the walls of Troy.
Finally Paris, aided by Apollo,
wounded Achilles in the heel
with an arrow; Achilles died of the wound.
10 Years of War
The Gods are tired of watching men kill each
other, and decide to help end the war. Athena
whispers an idea in the Spartan hero Odysseus’s
The Trojan Horse
Odysseus tells them they
will build a huge horse of
Some would climb inside
The rest would sail around
the tip of the island, where
they could not be seen.
One would stay behind
and tell the Trojans that he
had been abandoned by
the Greeks, and that the
horse was an offering to
The Fall of Troy
The Trojans believed
They had a huge
banquet to celebrate
the end of the war.
At night the men from
inside the horse came
out and unlocked the
gates to the city.
The Burning of Troy
The city is invaded by the
The Trojans are drunk and
spent from their night of
revelry, unable to fight
The Spartans destroy and
burn the city.
Aphrodite saves Helen
from the destruction.
The War Ends
accepts Helen back.
The Warriors can now
Odysseus leaves for
home, and his wife