A cornerstone of Western literature, Homer’s Iliad is the epic tale of the siege of Troy.
After nine years, the Greeks are still fighting to reclaim the beautiful Helen and it is hardly the time for their supreme warrior, Achilles, to drop out of the war. But he does, in revenge against the overload Agamemnon for seizing his concubine, Briseis.
Only the death of his best friend, Patroclus, persuades Achilles to return to battle and confront the Trojan leader Hector in single combat.
This edition features an accessible prose translation by the classical scholar and novelist Samuel Butler, first published in 1898.
In the Western classical tradition, Homer (Greek: Όμηρος) is considered the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest of ancient Greek epic poets. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.
When he lived is unknown. Herodotus estimates that Homer lived 400 years before his own time, which would place him at around 850 BCE, while other ancient sources claim that he lived much nearer to the supposed time of the Trojan War, in the early 12th century BCE. Most modern researchers place Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BCE.
The formative influence of the Homeric epics in shaping Greek culture was widely recognized, and Homer was described as the teacher of Greece. Homer's works, which are about fifty percent speeches, provided models in persuasive speaking and writing that were emulated throughout the ancient and medieval Greek worlds. Fragments of Homer account for nearly half of all identifiable Greek literary papyrus finds.