What important roles did gods play in Homers Iliad?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The gods are everywhere in Homer's Iliad and even the background of the Iliad is filled with the gods. The last point is important to underline, because the work begins in res media. Let me give you a number of examples.

  • Before Agamemnon was to sail to Troy, Artemis would not give favorable winds, because Agamemnon killed a stag in her sacred grove. So, he had to sacrifice his daughter.
  • The very reason why the Greeks are pushed back to their ships and being vanquished is because of the outrage of the Greeks in not returning Chryseis, the daughter of a Trojan priest of Apollo. In other words, Apollo is helping the Trojans against the Greeks on account of his priest.
  • There are many moments when the gods enter into the battle directly, such as when Aphrodite saves Paris from death when he is fighting Menalaus.
  • The gods sometimes even enter into the battle with humans and get injured, as when the Greek hero, Diomede, cuts the arm of Aphrodite.
  • At times the gods are also in disguise to give counsel and even trick people.

As can be seen from the above list, the gods play an essential role in Homer's work and world.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial