Note: This synopsis is somewhat brief and may be slightly inaccurate because I wrote the synopsis a while after I read the book. The other synopses on this site are better.
About the Iliad: The Iliad is one of the earliest known works of literature. It is imputed to have been written by someone named Homer, who may or may not have existed. The Iliad seems to have a sequel, called the Odyssey, for which I have also written a synopsis.
This story is synopsized from The Great Books of the Western World 1st Edition.
Synopsis: Paris of Troy kidnapped Helen, the wife of Menelaus. King Agamemnon chose to lead the Achaeans to rescue Helen and sack Troy (which would involve looting the city and enslaving the women and children). While the ships were at Troy, Chryses, a priest of Apollo, went to the Achaeans to request the release of his daughter, whom Agamemnon had kidnapped.
Agamemnon refused to release Chryses' daughter, so Chryses prayed to Apollo. Apollo shot arrows at the Achaeans for nine days until they assembled. The seer Calchas said that Apollo was angry because Agamemnon dishonored Chryses and that Agamemnon must release Chryses' daughter.
Agamemnon eventually agreed to do so, but took Briseis, one of the slave women of Achilles. Achilles gave her up but complained to his mother, the nymph Thetis. She went to Jove and begged him to give Achilles honor.
Achilles stayed aboard his ship with his Myrmidons while the rest of the Achaeans left the ships to fight the Trojans.
Menelaus challenged Alexandrus (a.k.a. Paris) to single combat to determine who would keep Helen. Menelaus defeated Alexandrus with the help of Minerva, but Venus rescued Alexandrus. Even so, Menelaus won, so the Trojans were going to give Helen and her wealth back to Menelaus.
The gods had previously ordained that Troy would be sacked after ten years, and they still had to give glory to Achilles. Therefore, they convinced the Trojans to break the pact and attack anyways.
The Achaeans and Trojans fought. The gods pestered both sides, causing one or another to win depending upon which side they preferred. Eventually, Jove threatened them so that they would stop. At this point, only Jove was screwing up the battle, and he helped the Trojans win by making Hector practically invincible. The Achaeans were driven back to their fortifications.
The chief Achaeans gathered together to decide what to do, and Ulysses came up with the plan of getting help from Achilles. They sent Phoenix to Achilles to offer him the return of Briseis and some treasure, but he wouldn't listen.
The chief Achaeans then had to choose whether to fight or flee. The chose to fight, and Nestor had the idea of sending someone to capture a Trojan and find out their plans. Diomed and Ulysses volunteered.
Similarly, Hector decided to send someone to see how well the ships were guarded, and Dolon volunteered.
Diomed and Ulysses came upon Dolon and captured him. Dolon told them that the Trojans were keeping good watch, but their allies were not. Dolon offered them a ransom for his life, but Diomed killed him anyways.
With Dolon's information, Diomed and Ulysses found the Trojans allies and managed to kill a number of them while they were sleeping.
In the morning, the Achaeans and Trojans fought again. Agamemnon killed alot of Trojans, so Jove sent Iris to warn Hector to stay away from Agamemnon until he's wounded. Before long, Coon wounded Agamemnon with a spear. Although Agamemnon fought on for a time, he eventually retreated.
Hector then reentered the battle, at which point the Trojans began slaughtering the Achaeans. The Achaeans were driven back to their ships and only managed to keep the ships from being burned because Neptune rallied the Achaeans.
At this point, the Achaeans were on the verge of retreat. With help from Venus, Vulcan, and Sleep, Juno distracted Jove so that Neptune could help the Achaeans. With Neptune's help, the Achaeans routed the Trojans.
Then Jove awoke and found out what Juno had done. Juno blamed Neptune, but Jove didn't believe it. Jove called the gods together at Olympus. Juno informed Mars about the death of his son, Ascalaphus, and he would have attacked the Achaeans had not Minerva warned him that Jove would punish him.
Jove then sent Iris to tell Neptune to stop fighting. Neptune agreed to do so, though he was angry about it. Jove also sent Apollo to heal Hector and rally the Trojans.
With the help of the gods, the Trojans were almost able to burn the Achaeans' ships. Patroclus asked Achilles for permission to attack the Trojans, and Achilles grudgingly agreed. However, Achilles told Patroclus only to save the ships and not to attack Troy.
Patroclus wore Achilles armor and took the Myrmidons to fight the Trojans. He drove the Trojans away from the ships like he was supposed to, but he didn't stop there. Apollo prevented Patroclus from taking Troy, and Hector killed Patroclus.
Naturally, the Achaeans and Trojans fought over the corpse of Patroclus. Eventually, Nestor made his way back to the ships and told Achilles that Patroclus was killed. Achilles decided to attack the Trojans for revenge. He didn't have any armor, so the best he could do right then was scare the Trojans away with his war cry. Then he went back to the ships and mourned Patroclus.
Thetis convinced Vulcan to make Achilles even better armor so that Achilles could fight. Achilles ran around, slaughtering everyone. Neptune convinced Aeneas, son of Venus, to fight Achilles, but Achilles won. Even so, Neptune rescued Aeneas so that he would be able to go on more adventures.
Hector retreated from Achilles.
A river tried to wash Achilles away when he filled it with corpses, but Neptune and Minerva sent him to fight on land instead. Vulcan topped the river's flood and coerced the river to stop chasing Achilles.
The Trojans all hid in the city, but Hector went out to fight Achilles. Minerva, in the form of Deiphobus, went with him to urge him on. Then Achilles promptly killed Hector because Minerva didn't help him.
Achilles then mourned Patroclus and had a great celebration in Patroclus' honor. Then Achilles dragged Hector's corpse around, but the gods poured ambrosia on Hector's corpse so that Achilles couldn't destroy it.
The gods sent Thetis to Achilles and told him to accept a ransom from King Priam for Hector's body. Achilles agreed to do so. Then Achilles and Priam had a nice chat.
Adventure Hooks: At the ruins of Troy, try to stop the gods from interfering with people's lives. Also, try to stop the "society of rape", where people can kidnap eachother's wives.
Copyright (C) 2006 Steven Fletcher. All rights reserved.