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Iliad (ILL-ee-uhd)

Homer’s epic poem of the Trojan War

Common clues: Story of Troy; Story of Achilles; Tale of the Trojan War

Crossword puzzle frequency: 3 times a year

Frequency in English language: 52140 / 86800

The Iliad tells part of the story of the siege of the city of Ilium, i.e. the Trojan War, and is, along with the Odyssey, one of the two major Greek epic poems traditionally attributed to Homer, a supposedly blind Ionian poet. Scholars dispute whether Homer existed, and whether he was one person, but it is clear that the poems spring from a long tradition of oral poetry. The Iliad and the Odyssey are traditionally dated to the 8th century BC, but many scholars now prefer a date of the 7th century BC (e.g. Martin West) or even the 6th century BC (e.g. Richard Seaford). The epics are considered by most modern scholars to be the oldest literature in the Greek language, though some classical Greeks thought that the works of the poet Hesiod were composed earlier.

“The Rage of Achilles” by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Apollo has sent a plague against the Greeks, who had captured Chryseis, the daughter of the priest Chryses, and given her as a prize to Agamemnon. Agamemnon is compelled to restore Chryseis to her father. Out of pride, Agamemnon takes Briseis, whom the Athenians had given to Achilles as a spoil of war. Achilles, the greatest warrior of the age, follows the advice of his mother, Thetis, and withdraws from battle in revenge and the allied Achaean (Greek) armies nearly lose the war.

In counterpoint to Achilles' pride and arrogance stands the Trojan prince Hector, son of King Priam, with a wife and child, who fights to defend his city and his family. The death of Patroclus, Achilles' dearest friend or lover, at the hands of Hector, brings Achilles back to the war for revenge, and he slays Hector. Later Hector's father, King Priam, comes to Achilles alone (however he was aided by Hermes) to ransom his son's body back, and Achilles is moved to pity; the funeral of Hector ends the poem.



This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Iliad".