Brief summary of ‘The Iliad’: an epic of humanity

Brief summary of ‘The Iliad’: an epic of humanity


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Time is a ruthless and fierce critic. Nothing can escape the so-called lindy effect, much less literature. The classics, those monuments that have withstood the passing of the centuries with nobility, are proof of this.

One in particular is backed by more than two millennia of history (and counting). We refer to 'The Iliad‘, Work that is part of, together with‘The odyssey', Of the so-called trojan cycle.

Much ink has run since its appearance. This review will be just a small line among all those that have been written about the work attributed to Homer.

Homer and the people as a writer

The work was born in the orality and lasts thanks to the collective memory, transmitted from generation to generation thanks to aedos (poets who related these epics by heart). It is calculated that barely in the 8th century BC. was transferred to a written medium.

The composition of The Iliad Y The odyssey is usually attributed to Homer, an Aedo from Ancient Greece. However, there is much controversy regarding its authorship, even its existence is doubted. This is known as the Homeric question.

The Iliad: between gods and men, the wrath of Achilles

The Iliad narrates the events that occurred during the trojan war (also called Ilium). But nevertheless, only covers 51 days of the tenth and final year of the war.

The confrontation between Achaeans and Trojans was due, according to myth, to abduction of Helena, queen of Sparta and wife of Menelaus, by Paris, prince of Troy.

The beginning of the Iliad

The story begins with a plague that strikes the Achaean camp. The solution seems simple: Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, must return the slave Chryseid to her father, Crises. Pressured by his army, the atrid gives in, but in compensation he stays with Achilles' slave, Briseida.

This is how the common thread of the entire work is established: achilles anger. The son of Thetis will refuse to participate in the war due to the affront he has suffered.

While this is happening, Achaeans and Trojans are facing each other vigorously. The gods also participate.

Trojan War Characters

This small table will help to understand the composition of each side:

The death of Patroclus

On both sides there are casualties, but the climax comes with the death of Patroclus, great friend and comrade in arms of Achilles.

In one of the attacks between Achaeans and Trojans, Patroclus dons the armor of Pelida. Already on the battlefield, he is killed by Hector, prince of Troy.

The news reaches Achilles, who further enrages and he just wants revenge, deciding to participate in the Trojan war.

His mother, Thetis, asks Hephaestus to make a new armor. Finally, Agamemnon returns Briseis.

The description of the battlefield is impressive. On the one hand, the gods fighting each other. On the other hand, Achaeans and Trojans are tirelessly fighting.

Zeus, father of gods and men, observe everything as a great referee. Achilles, more out of revenge than bizarre, advances among the Trojans without meeting resistance.

These are garrisoned behind the walls, but Hector does not manage to enter and there is the final battle between both heroes.

Hector's death: an eye for an eye, a Trojan for an Achaean

The Achilles wrath it is unstoppable. If we add divine armor to this, Hector's chances are few.

The battle ensues and Achilles murders the Trojan prince before the stupefied gaze of his father, Priam. He takes the corpse, ties it to his car and, without respecting the funeral protocol for heroes fallen in combat, takes it to his camp.

Twelve days have elapsed since Hector's death, at the end of which Priam, with the help of Hermes, manages to enter the Achaean camp and plead with Achilles for the body of his son.

Shaken, the pelida returns the corpse in exchange for a ransom and Eleven days of funerals are decreed for Héctor.

Hostilities cease. Finish the work.

The Iliad, value and legacy

Where, then, does the enormous value of this epic lie? The question is misleading, because its value moves in different directions.

As a historical text, it delimits structures of thought and the worldview of an entire people.

Furthermore, let us remember that these works were born from orality and were part of the collective memory of the Greeks.

Its literary value lies in the precise use of ornaments and aesthetic elements. The epithets it presents The Iliad are widely known.

Nothing is missing or left over, the most important actions unfold without distracting elements from a fascinating epic tale.

It also has a didactic and pedagogical value. Effectively, these heroes are models of values ​​for a people.

As almost divine beings, they fulfill an educational role from which an entire cultural tradition is rescued and preserved.

An epic of humanity

The immortality of The Iliad has turned her into a classic. Its themes, characters and ideals do not remain static, but are updated with each reading.

So much has been written about it and so much more will be written, for its value is inexhaustible. Long ago it ceased to be the epic of Ancient Greece, to become the epic of humanity.

With a review, it is impossible to even delve into one of their characters or songs, but we can invite you to read it.

Each page is a delight and each character is so alive that you will not believe that it is a work of more than two millennia. And if you've already read it, we recommend that you do what you would do with any good movie, recommend it.

What do you think of this review? Would you like us to review another work? What was your experience with The Iliad? If you have any questions or suggestions about our content, just leave us your comment.

Professional and Master in Literature from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. I have dedicated myself to teaching, a work for which I have a lot of affection and admiration. As a professional, I insist on constant research in the area of ​​Arts and Humanities. The result of this has been specialized articles published in both digital and physical magazines. Passionate about the study of poetry, I currently intersperse my time between writing, studies, work, and physical and personal development.


Video: The Iliad by Homer. Themes