The Iliad by Homer

The IliadAfter reading and thoroughly enjoying The Odyssey in college, I vowed to read its predecessor and finally came round to it.

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy The Iliad with the same rapt delight as I did The Odyssey.  Perhaps Homer is best read, in parts, with a group who can then share their introspections.

Reportedly written in the 8th century BC, it is a Greek epic poem written about the battles of the Achaeans and the Trojans during the well-known Trojan War.  While the writing was surprisingly easy to digest, the multitude of characters was not and the battles, depicted with graphic gore seemed endless.

Achilles, a brutal and headstrong warrior is merciless and swift in his role in battle.  He abhors Agamemnon for taking one of the women he has kidnapped and claimed for his own which creates a festering rift between the two.

King Agamemnon is self-centered and quick to judgment, often to the detriment of his soldiers.  He seems unfazed by the carnage around him and seems only to have concern over his own needs.

Beloved friend to Achilles, Patroclus is extremely devoted to him, yet doesn’t share his zealousness for battle.  The ties that bind their relationship are known by all which leads to the demise of one.

Zeus, the king of the Gods seems disinterested in the war and only after his wife Hera’s urgings, takes action to intervene.  He tries to maintain neutrality and to set the stage for the other gods to do the same, but is convinced by Achilles’ mother to support the Trojans.

A meeting with Homer would surely be delightful.  A stroll through modern-day Greece would likely prove unnerving so we’d steer clear and focus on the mysteries of this famed poet’s life.  I’d love to ask him about his simple, yet lengthy poetic style.  Perhaps he could educate a new generation of up and coming bards.

My rating for The Iliad is a 8 out of 10.

Please share your own reviews or comments by using the link below.

Next up, Sir Max Beerbohm’s The Happy HypocriteThe Happy Hypocrite


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