Iliad, The (Myths and Legends of the World)
One of the greatest of ancient Greece, the Iliad tells of events during the final year of the Trojan Warlegendary war between the Greeks and the people of Troy that was set off by the kidnapping of Helen, wife of the king of Sparta; inspiration for Homer's epics the Iliad and the Odyssey. Iliad means "poem of Ilios," one of the names of the city of Troy in .
The Greek poet Homer is credited with creating the Iliad. Some scholars, however, doubt that Homer ever existed and suggest that the poem was woven together by generations of storytellers. In any case, the Iliad had a tremendous impact on Greek culture and holds an important place in world literature.
Background of the Trojan War. Long before the events described in the Iliad, the Greeks had been drawn into a war with Troy because of the beautiful Helen of Troy Helen was actually Greek, the wife of King Menelaus of Spartaancient Greek city-state. She lived happily with Menelaus until Prince Paris of Troyromised the most beautiful woman in the world by the goddess ame to Greece in search of the famous beauty. Paris took Helen back to Troy. Honoring a pledge to Menelaus, the kings and princes of Greece joined together to rescue Helen and set sail for Troy with their armies to wage war.
The war between the Greeks and the Trojans dragged on for nine years, with neither side gaining a decisive advantage. Involved in the background were the major Greek gods and goddesses, who supported or opposed certain of the humans in the struggle. In the tenth year of the war, events came to a head, leading ultimately to victory for the Greeks and the destruction of Troy, outcomes predetermineddecided in advance by the gods.
The Story of the Iliad. As the Iliad opens, a dispute between two Greek leadershe hero and King AgamemnonGreek king and commander of Greek forces in the Trojan War; later killed by his wife, Clytemnestra of Mycenae, commander of the Greek armiesets in motion events that shape the course of the war. The trouble begins when Agamemnon receives a young woman, the daughter of a priest of , as a prize of war. The priest appeals to Apollo, who sends a plague to the Greek camp. When the Greeks learn the cause of the sickness, they force Agamemnon to give up his prize.
To make up for his loss, Agamemnon demands the woman...
(The entire section is 1083 words.)
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