Book 24 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

Overwhelmed with grief for Patroclus, Achilles cannot sleep. Each night, he ties Hector’s body to his chariot and drives around the tomb three times, but Hector’s remains are protected from damage. 

The gods argue over what should be done with Hector's body; ultimately Zeus orders Hera to send Thetis to tell Achilles that he must return it to Priam.

Against his wife’s advice, Priam takes Hermes as his protector and ventures into the Achaean camp with gifts for Achilles in exchange for Hector's body. After an impassioned plea from Priam, Achilles agrees to give up the corpse and orders his serving women to wash and anoint it before wrapping it in a beautiful cloak. He also agrees to a twelve-day reprieve from fighting, so Hector may receive a proper burial.

When Priam returns home with Hector's body, all of Troy mourns their loss by singing dirges and burning him on a pyre after nine days of gathering wood. On the tenth day, they put out the fire with wine and bury the bones under a mound before holding a feast in honor of their lost hero.

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Book 23 Summary