About the Iliad: Preliminary
The Iliad has endured as masterful, influential literature for more than 2,500 years, in part because the poet wove into his work themes which encompass almost the entire range of human experience and emotion.
In Alexander Pope's words:
"Homer not only appears the inventor of poetry, but excels all the inventors of other arts, in this, that he has swallowed up the honour of those who succeeded him. What he has done admitted no increase, it only left room for contraction or regulation. He showed all the stretch of fancy at once; and if he has failed in some of his flights, it was but because he attempted everything. A work of this kind seems like a mighty tree, which rises from the most vigorous seed, is improved with industry, flourishes and produces the finest fruit: nature and art conspire to raise it; pleasure and profit join to make it valuable: and they who find the justest faults, have only said that a few branches which run luxuriant through a richness of nature, might be lopped into form to give it a more regular appearance."
The poem's epic stature demands a larger-than-life setting, which it surely has: the Trojan War. The action occurs during the penultimate year of the decade-long Greek siege of the citadel of Troy (or Ilium), in what is now Turkey.
To continue, click one of the following links:
Main Characters (Mortal)
Gods & Goddesses
The Iliad: Who & How Authored?
Achaeans, Argives, Danaans, or Greeks?
What did the Greeks' wall look like?
How--and whether--to translate winged words?
Did the besiegers sleep in tents, huts--or nothing?
Spelling Homeric names: Akhilleus or Achilles? Aeantes or Ajaxes?