When you think about Homer, the first person that might come to your mind is a big yellow skinned man, but 2000 years ago Homer was so much more. Sure, it's uncertain if the Homer we know was actually a poet, or even if he actually existed, but whatever the truth might be, everyone knows his two major poems, two masterpieces of literature that saw many works of fiction inspired by them. One of those two poems is the Iliad, a poem about the Troy war. It's not about every single year of war, just a small portion of it: 51 days of siege to the city of Illium (ancient name of Troy, therefore the name of the book), and it focuses mainly on the hero Achilles. It's composed on 24 books and... well, its origins are hard to tell. It wasn't designed as a book to be written: during the first centuries it was transmitedd just by oral tradition. Sure when it was finally written in books something might have changed, and there are a few plot holes here and there that prove it - people might have forgotten something, some changes might have been made - but whatever the original might have been, the Iliad we have today is a very good work of art. The story, like I said, begin when the Trojan was already started - and it's even almost over, it's been nine years. Chryses, a priest of Apollo, ask the Greek to return his daughter, slave of Agamennon, but the Greek hero refuses. Therefore Apollo send a terrible plague on the Greeks. Agamennone give up, but to substitute his slave he take the one that was assigned to Achilles, Briseis. And this is where the main focus of the poem begin, the focus that was invoked in the first line: Achille's rage! He refuses to fight for the Greek, and the following battles go very wrong for them. Achille's best friend, Patroclus, go in battle dressed like Achilles, and is killed by Hector, Troy's major hero. Achilles decides to go back in battle, and kill Hector after a big duel. Without their strongest hero, Troy is doomed. This is a very short synopsis, but there is so much more going on: there are a lot more heroes, and a major part of the poem is about the gods, who fight their own battles and help some of their favorite heroes (or go against some of their "enemies"). Homer depicted the gods as almost human, without any seriousness. Many considers the gods skirmishing the best part of the poem, and for good reason. If you like war stories, you probably love the Iliad.

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  • The gods have a major part in the poem, and often have the funniest or most interesting part
  • Achilles is one of the most popular, strongest and better hero in Greek mythology
  • All the secondary characters (expecially Hector) are as interesting as Achilles, and maybe even more

  • Some descriptions (expecially of shields are weapons) are overly detailed
  • The list of ships and other stuff are way too long
  • Super dense with a lot of things going on at the same time
  • Can be a bit repetitive with all the battles
  • A bit slow to read



Iliad for the win!

In my high school years I was introduced both to the Iliad and the Odyssey. Initially I was captivated by the adventerous spirit of the Odyssey and I also thought that it was better than Iliad. However as I matured I came to appreciate the lessons taught in the Iliad more and I came to love it more than the Odyssey. While the Iliad may not be as direct and straightforward as the Odyssey, its characters, themes and stories are all deeply interconnected and they all strive to highlight two important elements: the glorification of war as well as its tragedy. Both of these elements are refleted in numerous characters and that sharp contrast between the quest for glory and fame at the expenese of dehumanisation truly captures the nature of war. Furthermore the story of Achilles is the ultimate core of the book and his struggle to find peace when his friend, Patroclus, was killed. He kills Hector and drags his body around the battlefield and he does not find peace. He executes Trojan prisoners to express his rage and yet he still does not find peace. Even the burial of Patroclus leaves him with that inner struggle. However what brings him peace is his encouter with King Priam and forgiviness. These are just a few elements that make the Iliad the epic poem that it is. It goes beyond the superficial nature of warfare and really focuses of the complexities and effects of war as well as how humans cope with such circumstances.
Posted by Anonymous on 04-12-2018



Sequels: most of the time, they are way worst from the original work, other times are better. The Odyssey is pretty peculiar, since you might not even consider it a proper sequel. Sure it follows the events after the Trojan war, but it features a completely different story with completely different characters. This time we aren't following a war, the Odyssey is more of a proper adventure, the story of a journey, with a lot of dangers and enemies the hero will have to fight on his path. This hero is Odysseus, or Ulysses like the Romans used to call him, a hero that fought bravely on the Trojan war (and actually helped winning it with the stratagem of the horse - that recently some studies actually proved to be a type of ship), and the king of Ithaca. His travel is full of dangers because the hero have been cursed by the god of the sea himself, Poseidon, for having blinded his son Polyphemus, the famous Cyclop. During his journey Odysseus meet a lot of creatures, a powerful sorceress that turns his friends into pigs, and then giants, monsters, and dangers... and one after another all of his friends die, leaving him the only survivor of the ship. Returning to Itacha is not easy either, because a group of suitors, the Proci, are occupying his home and asking for Penelope (his wife) in marriage. The last part of the poem is Odysseus trickign them - and murdering them all. Besides, a very touching part of the poem is set in Ithaca where Argo, Odysseus' old dog, is the only one to recognize him before dying of old age. The story of Odysseus journey is actually a flashback that the hero tells to other characters - and the fact that this poem have a non-linear narration is pretty amazing, given the age it was written (or oral transmitted, like the Iliad). It's a story full of adventures, with a hero that is not strong but uses his cleverness, intelligence and smartness to solve all of his problems and defeat all of his enemies.

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  • Full of adventures
  • A lot of interesting creatures and encounters
  • The main hero is very smart and intelligent
  • Very fun story, easy to follow
  • Fast paced

  • The story might be a bit too simple: just a almost endless wandering around
  • Odysseus' friends aren't engaging characters and you don't care too much about their deaths
  • If you think about the fact that many of the deaths are bad stuff that happen are actually Odysseus' fault, you might like him a bit less



Nostalgic value.

Both are fine examples of literature, however I think that I would probably have to go with the Odyssey, if for no other reason besides its nostalgic value for me. For one reason or another, the Odyssey has been a part of my life in many different forms throughout the years. When I was a kid, I used to watch a movie adaptation of the Odyssey with my parents and have very fond memories of that. Then when I was in High School, it was one of the first books that I actually enjoyed reading as a young adult, and it influenced me to look deeper into the world of literature.
Posted by Denis_P on 11-16-2017

Sorry Iliad … The Big O Rules!

Have to agree with what all has been said. I had to read both the Iliad and the Odyssey for my high school literature class. The Odyssey was more memorable, although I've forgotten both of them. I've been out of high school for close to 50 years but I do remember I passed my exams. LOL.
Posted by cmoneyspinner on 11-25-2017


I love this book. I am an English teacher, and I have been teaching this book for over twenty years. Every time i re-read it, i find even more things there which I had not yet seen before. I am in love with the journeys and travels and the lessons to be found in this epic. There is a reason this text has lasted for so long, and it is about what happens after war, and the aftermath of war on our cultures, children, wives, civilizations. It's pure genius.
Posted by JoeMilford on 11-13-2017


"Iliad" is very interesting, but I think "Odyssey" is more intriguing and detailed in the events that are told. However, there is no denying that both options are highly relevant in a sphere of historical importance.
Posted by wiseagent on 11-14-2017


I like the Odyssey because it is full of a lot of adventures and interesting encounters with different creatures and the stories are very interesting also to read.
Posted by babyright on 11-13-2017
I love the Odyessy it really a nice storyline with great adventure actions.I love the hero for showing the attributes of a very intelligent and brilliant person. The story has a direction not with so many twist which can make the whole story too bogus and difficult to understand.
Posted by lovely on 11-14-2017
I love both of these, they're masterpieces that will always be remembered. They both have an interesting story and the themes are pretty different so it's hard to simply say that one is better than the other. Achilles is a great character and the gods really show their characteristics in the illiad, while Ulysses is a legend that shows how smart you have to be to survive.
Posted by Tania997 on 11-14-2017
I agree with you--Athena loved Odysseus because of his wit and intellect, being that she was the goddess of wisdom, and his intellect is what achieved the victory at Troy with his Trojan Horse idea. He also had to attain wisdom, I think, through his suffering along his journey home and through all of the mistakes he made along the way, which, actually, got all of his men killed and left him the sole survivor of the journey back from Troy.
Posted by JoeMilford on 11-14-2017
I have not read Iliad or Odyssey, however, I have read many stories from these books bu Homer. In my opinion, stories from Iliad are more popular than Odyssey. The famous war of Troy is featured in the Iliad. Achilles, the hero of Troy war is featured in the Iliad. Well the adventures if Odyssey after the trojan war are also an interesting read, however, I don't think these stories are as popular as the Iliad.
Posted by vinaya on 11-14-2017
I know that we have taken Iliad and Odyssey in our literature classes but I am not that enamored to them because I am not that fond of poems. The story is an easier read for me because in a poem, you have to read between the lines and you also have to solve the idioms there. But anyway, speaking of Greek Mythology, that is another of my weaknesses. And although I know the Greek gods, I always fail to remember their powers and strengths.
Posted by Corzhens on 02-05-2018
I have read both The Iliad and The Odyssey and both are great books which some say is based on oral traditions handed down from generation to generation before Homer decided to write it down. I do believe that it's not entirely fiction and that the Trojan War really happened thousands of years ago. This was substantiated when Troy was discovered in a plain in modern day Turkey.
Posted by Kakashi2020 on 09-26-2018