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Outline of the Iliad
 

Book 1

A plague has struck the Achaean (Greek) camp brought on by Apollo, who can only be appeased with the return of Chryseis, daughter of a priest of Apollo, to her father. If Agamemnon has to return his war prize, Chryseis, then he will seize Achilles’ war prize, the maiden Briseis, in order to keep face as the leader of the Achaean troops. With this, Achilles is publicly disgraced and, in anger, withdraws all of his troops from battle. Achilles prays to his divine mother, Thetis, and asks her to persuade Zeus to make the Achaeans lose the battle so they will see that they should not have dishonored him.

Book 2

Zeus begins to fulfill his promise to Thetis to bring honor to Achilles.  He deceives Agamemnon with a dream that promises victory.  Agamemnon calls the Achaean leaders together to tell them his dream.  First, he tests the troops by saying that they are going home. Much to his chagrin, the soldiers run for the ships; only Odysseus is able to rally them and shame them into staying.  The troops assemble and all of the Achaean contingents are listed in a catalogue of the ships.  Back in Troy, the Trojans arm to meet the Achaeans and their warriors and allies are catalogued as well.

 

Book 3

Paris challenges any of the Achaeans to a duel and Menelaos accepts. A truce is declared while Agamemnon and Hektor determine the conditions of the duel; Helen is to be awarded to the winner. Helen joins Priam on the walls of Troy and names the Achaean warriors for him.  Then, Priam goes to the battlefield to swear an oath with Agamemnon to respect the results of the duel. Menelaos and Paris fight. When Menelaos wounds Paris, Aphrodite snatches him away to the safety of his bedroom in Troy and to Helen.

 

Book 4

At a council of the gods on Mount Olympos, Zeus considers bringing the Trojan War to an end after nine years and sparing the city of Troy. Hera angrily objects, and Zeus sends Athena to break the truce.  Athena persuades Pandaros, a Trojan nobleman, to shoot an arrow at Menelaos.  Menelaos is wounded, the truce is broken and, as Agamemnon rallies the troops, fighting breaks out.

 

Book 5

With fighting resumed, both armies battle bravely but the outstanding warrior is the Achaean hero, Diomedes, who Athena has inspired with exceptional courage and skill, as well as the ability to distinguish gods from men. However, he must not engage any of the gods with the exception of Aphrodite. Diomedes kills Pandaros and is about to kill Aeneas when Aphrodite intervenes to save her son. When he wounds Aphrodite, Ares comes to help the Trojans. The goddesses, Hera and Athena, join in on the Achaean side.

 

 

 

 

Book 6

Diomedes and the Trojan, Glaukos, are about to fight when they discover they are ’guest-friends’: their grandfathers had visited each other and exchanged gifts. Hektor returns to Troy to ask the Trojan women to make a sacrifice to Athena to win her pity.  He discovers Paris at home with Helen and rebukes his brother for abandoning the battlefield. Hektor takes the opportunity to visit his own home and in a moving scene, says an emotional good-bye to his wife, Andromache, and their baby, Astyanax, before returning to battle.

 

Book 7

Back on the battlefield, Hektor proposes a duel with one of the Achaeans. However, none of the Achaeans is brave enough to accept the Trojan heroes challenge. Nestor chides the warriors until nine of the Achaean champions volunteer to fight Hektor. Finally, Telamonian Ajax is chosen by lot and the warriors engage in a ferocious fight, but the duel ends in a draw as night falls. Both sides agree to a truce to bury the dead, and the Achaeans build a wall and a trench to defend their ships and fortify their camp.

 

Book 8

The battle resumes. At a council on Olympus, Zeus tells the gods that he is planning on bringing the war to an end and orders them not to interfere on either side. He decides to give the day’s victory to the Trojans. Hera and Athena try to help the Achaeans, but are stopped by Zeus who foretells Patroklos’ death and Achilles' return to the fighting. The Trojans reach the Achaean wall and Hektor persuades the Trojans to camp on the plain for the night in order to retain the advantage for the morning’s assault.

 

Book 9

The Achaean leaders hold an assembly. Agamemnon, on the verge of tears, proposes to go home, but Diomedes and Nestor dissuade him, for it is fated that Troy will eventually fall. Agamemnon admits his mistake at having insulted Achilles and Nestor convinces him to return Briseis and offer Achilles splendid gifts in reconciliation. Odysseus, Telamonian Ajax and Phoenix, Achilles aged tutor, are sent as emissaries to Achilles' tent with Agamemnon’s offer, if he will return to battle. Achilles, putting his injured pride above all else, rejects their appeals.

 

Book 10

Worried about their situation, Agamemnon can’t sleep so he calls upon Diomedes and Odysseus to scout out the Trojan camp that night. On the way, they capture Dolon, a Trojan nobleman sent by Hektor to spy on the Achaeans. After extracting advantageous information from Dolon, they kill him. They then sneak into the Trojan camp, brutally murder Rhesos, a Trojan ally, and twelve of his warriors, and lead off their magnificent horses as spoils.

 

 

 

 

 

Book 11

Battle resumes the next morning and several prominent Achaean warriors are wounded and must leave the fighting. Achilles watches the defeat and, troubled by the turn of events, sends Patroklos, his comrade-in-arms, to find out about the casualties, since his own wounded pride will not allow him to openly show an interest in the fate of the Achaeans. Nestor urges Patroklos to persuade Achilles to return to battle, or at least let Patroklos and Achilles’ troops, the Myrmidons, resume fighting for the Achaeans.

 

Books 12-15

The battle is bloody. Agamemnon, Diomedes and Odysseus are all wounded and the Achaeans are forced to take refuge behind their wall. Hektor and the Trojans breach the wall and storm the Achaean camp. Poseidon, against Zeus’ previous order, rallies the Achaeans, and Telamonian Ajax and the Lesser Ajax defend the Achaean ships. Hera figures out what Poseidon is up to and seduces Zeus to distract his attention away from the battle. As the Achaeans rally, Hektor is wounded.  Having fallen asleep, Zeus wakes up and threatens the gods to cease their assistance. Hektor returns to the battle, drives the Achaeans back to their ships, and tries to set them on fire.

Book 16

Following Nestor’s advice, Patroklos pleads with Achilles to let him wear his armor and lead the Myrmidons into battle. Achilles warns him to do no more than rescue the ships, which are now burning, and to return once he has driven the Trojans away. The Trojans are driven back and Patroklos kills many of them including, Sarpedon, a mortal son of Zeus. Hera persuades Zeus not to intervene to save him. Patroklos ignores Achilles' warning and pursues Hektor all the way to the walls of Troy where he is finally slain by Hektor, with the aid of Apollo.

 

Book 17

Menelaos attempts to protect Patroklos’ dead body but is driven off by Hektor who strips the corpse of Achilles’ prized armor. A battle immediately develops between the two sides over Patroklos' naked corpse. The Trojans hope to take it back to Troy and mutilate it as a warning to Achilles, while the Achaeans wish to give it the proper funeral rites. Finally the corpse is rescued and safely carried back to the Achaean camp.

 

Book 18

Achilles is beside himself when he learns of Patroklos' death. Thetis, his mother, comes to console him. He wants to rejoin the battle but Thetis foretells that he will die if he avenges his friend. Nonetheless determined, Thetis leaves to procure new armor for her son from Hephaistos, the smith of the gods. The Trojans learn of Achilles return to battle and Hektor rejects advice that they withdraw into Troy for the night. Achilles continues to mourn over Patroklos. An elaborate description is given of Achilles’ new armor.

 

 

 

 

 

Book 19

Achilles calls the Achaean troops to an assembly where he renounces his quarrel with Agamemnon. Agamemnon blames Zeus for their quarrel, returns Briseis to Achilles and presents him with gifts. The troops are given time to rest and eat but Achilles announces that he will fast until Patroklos is avenged. Before returning to battle, Achilles rebukes his horses for not protecting Patroklos. One of them answers by prophesying his death.

 

Book 20

Zeus calls an assembly and permits the gods to openly assist either side. Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Hermes and Hephaistos join the Achaeans while Ares, Apollo, Artemis, and Aphrodite join the Trojans. Fighting resumes and many Trojans die at the hands of Achilles. Achilles is about to kill Aeneas, when Poseidon rescues the Trojan prince, since it is fated that he will be the sole survivor of the house of Priam.

 

Book 21

Achilles brutally slaughters many Trojans in the River Xanthos, which is soon bleeding red and choked with corpses. Angered, the river attempts to drown Achilles with currents and great waves. He is finally rescued by Athena and Poseidon. The gods also battle each other while Zeus looks on. Athena defeats Ares and Aphrodite while Hera drives Artemis from the field. Poseidon challenges Apollo, who defers to his older uncle. Achilles chases the Trojans to Troy, seeking protection within its walls.

 

Book 22

Hektor stands outside Troy’s gates preparing to meet Achilles in single combat. Suddenly overcome with fear, Hektor flees as Achilles pursues him three times around the city walls. Athena deludes Hektor into thinking that he will have divine aid so he turns to fight. After a m’l’e, Achilles kills Hektor, strips off his armor, and fastens his naked body to his chariot by his heels, dragging it around the walls of Troy. Hektor’s parents and wife look on in horror, mourning him and the inevitable fall of Troy.

 

Book 23

Patroklos appears to Achilles in a dream and urges him to hold a funeral for him so that he can enter Hades, the realm of the dead. The next day, the body of Patroklos is placed on top of a funeral pyre, along with sacrifices consisting of several horses, hunting dogs and twelve Trojan noblemen captured by Achilles. Then, Achilles hosts splendid funeral games in Patroklos' honor and distributes prizes to the competitors in the different athletic events. During this time, Hektor’s body is lying on the ground unattended.

 

Book 24

For nine days Achilles continues to mistreat Hektor’s corpse by dragging it around the Achaean camp. The gods are outraged by this and decide that Priam must be allowed to ransom the body of his son. Thetis informs Achilles of the decision and the gods inspire Priam to visit Achilles' tent and beg him to accept a splendid ransom for his son’s body.  Priam and Achilles grieve together for their losses, the body is returned to Troy, and the Trojans conduct funeral rites for Hektor.

 

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