The Epics of Homer

In our online meetings we read the Penguin edition of The Iliad (Fagles’ translation) ISBN 978-0140275360.

The Iliad

Tips to get you started in your study of The Iliad:

  1. The following are all various names for the Greeks:  Achaeans = Danaans = Argives = Hellenes = Greeks
  1. There are two names for the city of Troy = Ilium
  2. Paris = Alexander (the son of Priam who seduced Helen of Sparta, thereby starting the war)
  3. There is a certain suffix (-ides) that combines with the name of the father that means “son of”.             Many of the heroes are known by this alternate name. “Sons of Atreus” are Agamemnon and             Menelaus; also known as the Atridae (singular Atrides).  Diomedes is sometimes called             Tydides (son of Tydeus)

Research these Greek terms and describe:






More Resources

This handout, compiled by a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, is called “Greek & Latin for Philosophers.”

Here is an outline of each book (section) within the Iliad:

Develop Your Understanding of the Characters

(I take a piece of card stock and cut a long strip to use as a wide bookmark, on which I make notes about characters, putting page numbers for the best descriptions of them, etc.)  Don’t try to do this all at once, necessarily, but as you read collect an understanding of the characters by listing phrases that occur or things that happened to the main characters (add others as you desire):

Quotes that describe him                                                     Main events or actions







Paris: Below Hector is admonishing Paris for leaving the battle for the bedroom.

Paris and Hector








Create another page with the following:

Gods & Goddesses                          Characteristics:                                    Main events or actions:








And, for some Historical Background to help organize your progress through the Great Books:

    • Christianity and Western Thought (Volume I) by Colin Brown [ ISBN: 978-0830839513]  This very readable book from is the first of a 3-volume survey of philosophy and how it interacts with Christianity.
    • The Consequences of Ideas by R. C. Sproul
      An overview of the major philosophers that is interesting and very read-able!
    • If you would like a brief summary of who the important Greek philosophers were, try this website: The Philosophers

OdysseyPicThe Odyssey by Homer

There are so many great helps for reading The Odyssey:

Here is a website with a beautiful, interactive map of ancient Greece: Scroll down to the list of places. Notice the way you can hover over the name of a city or island and it will show you exactly where it is on the map.

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