File:Beginning Iliad.svg
The first verse of the Iliad
File:Homeric Greece-en.svg
Map of Homeric Greece.

The Iliad [1] is the oldest surviving work of Greek literature. It was an oral epic poem. People spoke it without reading it. It was written down in the 8th century BC. It is an epic (or very long) poem with 24 chapters written in hexameter. It is probably based on a real event, the attack on Troy by the Mycenaeans. The poem includes early Greek myths and legends. People usually say that Homer wrote the Iliad. However, scholars are not sure if the poem was really written by just one person.

The story happens during the Trojan War, some time around 1200 BC. It talks about the confrontations of the warrior Achilles and King Agamemnon. The story is only about a few weeks at the end of the war, but it also talks about many of the Greek myths about the war. It tells the story from the wrath of Achilles, to the death and funeral of Hector and the siege of Troy.

Together with its sequel, the Odyssey, it is one of the two major Greek epic poetry.

Some important characters in the Iliad are Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Priam, Hector, Paris, and Helen.


The poem starts with the god Apollo having sent a plague to the Greeks, because they captured the daughter of one of his Trojan priests. Agamemnon is forced to give her back but also takes away the captured Trojan princess Briseis from her owner Achilles. Achilles is angry and refuses to fight. But when his friend Patroclus is killed by Hector, he starts to fight again and kills Hector in a duel. Later Hector's father Priam comes in secret to Achilles to take back his favorite son's body to give it a proper funeral, which Achilles allows him to do. The poem ends with the funeral of Hector.

Related pages


  1. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Language/data/iana scripts' not found.; spelled in English with a single l, as in Greek. The word comes from Ileum, an alternative name for Troy.
  • Fagles, Robert (transl) 1990. The Iliad. Introduction and notes by Bernard Knox. Penguin. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn".. Winner of the Academy of American Poets 1991 London translation award.

Other websites

  • Iliad, online version of the work by Homer (English). Pope translation.
  • Iliad in Ancient Greek: from the Perseus Project (PP), with the Murray and Butler translations and hyperlinks to mythological and grammatical commentary; via the Chicago Homer, with the Lattimore translation and markup indicating formulaic repetitions