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The Iliad. Agenda: Information about Text Homer Mythological Background. Important Names, Dates and Terminology. 8 th century BCE 1184 BCE Homer Description The Homeric Question Epic Oral Tradition. Important Themes, Motifs and Narratological Elements. CHOICE and PERSUASION

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the iliad
The Iliad
  • Agenda: Information about
    • Text
    • Homer
    • Mythological Background
important names dates and terminology
Important Names, Dates and Terminology
  • 8th century BCE
  • 1184 BCE
  • Homer
    • Description
    • The Homeric Question
  • Epic
  • Oral Tradition
important themes motifs and narratological elements
Important Themes, Motifs and Narratological Elements
characteristics of homeric text
Characteristics of Homeric Text:
  • Beginning in medias res
  • Cinematic presentation of events and of warfare
    • Look for sense imagery in the text
  • Use of SIMILES
  • Use of PARALLELISM when discussing events, characters and gods
homeric cycle
Homeric Cycle
  • Series of texts about Troy
  • Some tell the same stories as the Homeric epics
  • Many tell entirely different stories
  • What still exists contains only a part of the entire story of the Trojan War
mythological stories you need to know
Mythological Stories You Need to Know
  • Helen and the Suitors
  • Wedding of Peleus and Thetis
  • Hecuba’s Dream of the Burning City
  • Judgment of Paris
  • Assembling the Suitors
  • Sacrifice of Iphigenia
helen and the suitors
Helen and the Suitors
  • Helen: daughter of Tyndareus
  • Clytemnestra: daughter of Tyndareus; twin of Helen; (later) wife of Agamenon
  • Penelope: niece to Tyndareus


  • Agamemnon: king of Argos; son of Atreus; brother of Menelaus
  • Menelaus: brother of Agamemnon
  • Odysseus: king of Ithaka; (later) husband of Penelope
  • Ajax: son of Telemon; great warrior
hecuba s dream of the burning city
Hecuba’s Dream of the Burning City

Priam = Hecuba



Hektor (m. Andromache) Cassandra

Paris (m. Helen) Polyxena

Deiphobus Creusa

Polydorus 47 other daughters

46 more sons

wedding of peleus and thetis
Wedding of Peleus and Thetis
  • Thetis: water nymph, daughter of Nereus
  • Peleus: mortal man, son of Aeacus, King of Aegina
  • Thetis and Peleus are the parents of Achilles
wedding of peleus and thetis cont
Wedding of Peleus and Thetis (cont.)


  • Aphrodite: goddess of love
  • Apollo: god of healing, music, prophecy
  • Ares: god of war
  • Artemis: goddess of the hunt
  • Athena: goddess of wisdom, strategy
  • Demeter: goddess of the Harvest
  • Hephaistos: god of fire and metal craft; son of Hera and Zeus; crippled because he was thrown by Zeus
  • Hera: wife of Zeus
  • Hermes: messenger god
  • Poseidon: god of the sea
  • Zeus: king of the gods; (very unfaithful) husband to Hera
wedding of peleus and thetis cont12
Wedding of Peleus and Thetis (cont.)
  • ERIS: Goddess of Discord, not invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis
  • Golden apple inscribed “To the Fairest”
assembling the suitors
Assembling the Suitors
  • Agamemnon
  • Menelaus
  • Odysseus
  • Ajax
  • Achilles – the most difficult to find
gaining a strong wind
Gaining a Strong Wind

Agamemnon = Clytemnestra


| | |

Iphigeneia Electra Orestes

key aspects of the epic s opening
Key Aspects of the Epic’s Opening
  • Emphasis on the 1st word
  • Invocation of the Muse


  • What events are set into motion in the opening 2 pages?
  • Who is who?
  • What are the key words?
  • Are any of the themes mentioned earlier present in this segment of text?
for next class
For Next Class
  • You are instructed to wrote a response to something you find difficult in the text.
  • Pick a passage of no more than 20 lines that you find important and/or difficult and write about it. We will use these student-chosen passages as the basis for discussion next class.