The Iliad of Homer is the major work we have about the Trojan War. Ilus, the son of Tros, founded the city of Troy, which was called Ilium after him. The Iliad was a very important piece of literature for the ancient Greeks, considered a source for history and religion.
In the very first line of the Iliad, the poet addresses the Muse, who inspires him with song, and asksher to sing (through him) the story of the wrath of the son of Peleus, aka Achilles. Achilles is angry with King Agamemnon for reasons shortly to be divulged, but first, the poet lays blame at the feet of Achilles for the death of many of the Achaean warriors. (Homer refers to the Greeks as 'Achaeans' or 'Argives' or 'Danaans', but we call them 'Greeks', so I will use the term 'Greek' throughout.)The poet then also blames the son of Zeus and Leto, aka Apollo, who has sent a plague to kill the Greeks. (The parallel blame of gods and mortals is common throughout the Iliad.)
Before returning to the wrath of Achilles, the poet elaborates on Apollo's motives for killing Greeks. Agamemnon holds dishonored the daughter of Apollo's priest Chryses (Chryseis). Chryses is willing to forgive andeven bless Agamemnon's ventures, if Agamemnon will return Chryses' daughter, but instead, the haughty King Agamemnon sends Chryses packing.
To repay the indignity Chryses has suffered, Apollo the mouse god rains arrows of plague on the Greek forces for 9 days. (Rodents do spread plague so the association between a mouse function and delivering plague makes sense even if the Greeks weren't completelyaware of the connection.) The Greeks don't know why Apollo is angry, so Achilles persuades them to consult the seer Calchas, which they do. Calchas reveals that Agamemnon is responsible. He adds that the plague will only lift if Chryses' daughter is freely restored and appropriate offerings are made to Apollo.
Agamemnon is not happy with the prophecy, but realizes he must comply, so he agrees,but only on condition that Achilles hand over Briseis, the woman Achilles received as a war prize from the sack of Thebe, a city in Cilicia, where Achilles had killed Eetion, father of the Trojan prince Hector's wife Andromache.
Achilles agrees to hand over Briseis because Athena (one of the three female goddesses, together with Aphrodite and Hera, who was involved in the judgment of Paris, also awar goddess, and the sister of the war god Ares), tells him to, but at the same time, he sulkily quits the Greek forces. Achilles further complains to his nymph mother Thetis, who, in turn, brings the complaint to Zeus, the king of the gods. Thetis asks that since Agamemnon has dishonored her son, Zeus should honor him. Zeus agrees, but faces the wrath of his wife for his involvement in theconflict. When Zeus angrily dismisses Hera, he queen of the gods turns to her son Hephaestus, who comforts, but won't help her because he still vividly recalls the anger of Zeus when he pushed Hephaestus off Mt. Olympus. (Hephaestus is depicted as lame as a result of the fall, although this is not specified here.)
Book of the Iliad
Muse - There were three Muses originally, Aoede (song), Melete(pracice), and Mneme (memory), and later nine. They were the daughters of Mnemosyne (Memory).
• The Muse - without the inspiration of the Muse, Homer couldn't write. There were three Muses originally, Aoede (song), Melete (pracice), and Mneme (memory), and later nine. They were the daughters of Mnemosyne (Memory). The Muse of song was Calliope.
• Achilles - best warrior and most heroic of theGreeks, although he is sitting out the war.
• Agamemnon - lead king of the Greek forces, the brother of Menelaus.
• Zeus - king of the gods. Zeus attempts neutrality.
Known as Jupiter or Jove among the Romans and in some translations of the Iliad.
• Apollo - god of many attributes. In Book I Apollo is known as the mouse and therefore plague god. He is upset with the Greeks because they have...