Book 23 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

Achilles and his troops mourn Patroclus, and Achilles expresses his grief by dragging Hector’s body in circles around the Trojan walls. 

In the night, Patroclus’s ghost appears to him, admonishing him for not burying his body properly and requesting they be buried together in death.

Men are sent to gather wood for a massive funeral pyre; it is one-hundred square feet in total and is set alight with wine, fat from sheep and cattle, and jars of honey and oil. Four horses, two dogs, and the twelve captured Trojans are added to the pyre. The bones of Patroclus are gathered separately into a golden jar for burial whilst a mound is built over the site as a memorial to the fallen hero.

Meanwhile, Aphrodite protects Hector’s corpse from being damaged by animals or the sun, and Apollo conjures dark clouds over it as a symbol of mourning. After proper burial procedures have been followed for Patroclus, Achilles holds funeral games such as chariot racing, boxing, wrestling matches, foot races, duels, discus, archery, and spear throwing.

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Book 24 Summary