Iliad Questions and Answers
by Homer

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Explain the heroic code as seen in the Iliad through the bond of friendship, the customs of hospitality, the concept of loyalty, and courage in battle.

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A crucial and widely encompassing aspect of the heroic code in The Iliad is the sacred oath—the reason why Helen's former suitors have all come together at great personal cost to fight the Trojans as allies of her husband, Menelaus. Hesiod is one of the ancient sources who provides this background plot setting to the epic. Much of the loyalty we see in the Iliad relates directly to this sacred oath.

Helen is the daughter of Zeus (in swan form) and Leda (a mortal married to Tyndareus, King of Sparta). As a demi-goddess and a princess of astounding beauty, Helen attracts many noble and powerful suitors. Tyndareus is afraid to choose among them for fear of retaliation—both against himself and the suitor who is selected.

Odysseus happens to be one of the suitors and comes up with a clever plan that helps Tyndareus solve this problem. All the suitors must agree to take a sacred oath of loyalty to the man who becomes Helen's husband. Tyndareus seals the oath with the sacrifice of a horse (a...

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