The Iliad of Homer

In our meetings we read the Penguin edition of The Iliad (Fagles’ translation).

 To get started in your study of The Iliad:

Names can be confusing! The following are all various names for the Greeks:  Achaeans = Danaans = Argives = Hellenes = Greeks!  The city of Troy is also called Ilium.  Paris is sometimes Alexander–he’s the son of Priam who seduced Helen of Sparta, thereby starting the war. Also, there’s 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. The sons of Atreus were Agamemnon and Menelaus, who were also known as the Atridae (singular Atrides).  Diomedes is sometimes called Tydides (son of Tydeus).

Research these Greek terms and define:





Keep Track 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 main characters.  Don’t try to do this all at once, but, as you read, collect an understanding of the characters by listing phrases about them, or things that happened to them (add others as you desire):

Quotes that describe                       Main events or actions







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:









ESPECIALLY NICE!! This 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.

This webpage compiled by a professor at University of South Florida, summarizes each book. Here is a webpage that describes the characters in The Iliad–

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.
  • If you would like a brief overview of Greek history, try this website:

OdysseyPicThe Odyssey by Homer

There are so many great helps for reading The Odyssey:

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