The Book

Homer's The Iliad, Richmond Lattimore translation, 1951



The Poet

Bust of Homer from the British Museum



Achilleus' Rage

The Rage of Achilles, as he prepares to draw his sword on Agamemnon

click on image above


The Poet

Statue of Homer 




Detailed map of Homeric GreeceWelcome to An Annotated Guide of Book 1 of Homer's classic epic, the Iliad. What you will find here is Richmond Lattimore's 1951 blank verse translation of the Iliad, annotated with scholarly notes, images, a flash movie or two, and some video clips. To help enhance your experience, click on the map to the right; a larger, downloadable PDF file will open in a new window. This is a very large file, so if you have a dial-up connection, it will take some time to load. When you are done, hit the back button in your browser's navigation bar to return to this page. The image of Achilleus and Agamemnon in the sidebar to the left functions in the same manner. This is the background image that you see on every page, hidden behind all the text and images.

The Annotations

The annotations are clearly designated with a two-toned double underline, and when you move your cursor over each of these indicators, a tool-tip will open, and it will provide some interesting or necessary textual and visual background that will enhance your reading and viewing experience.

In these tooltips you will find a great deal of material to enhance your experience. Please take the time to view them as you read.

The Poet

The Iliad is from the oral tradition of story-telling. Homer was never the scribe of the Iliad, but although it was not written down until long after his death, the story is attributed to the great blind poet of Greece.

The Story

Aphrodite directs the abduction of Helen by ParisHomer's Iliad takes place over the course of fifty-four days, plus one night, during the tenth year of the Trojan War. Covering twenty-four books, the story has a book-end pattern of twenty-three days of no fighting action, four days of periodic fighting, one night of epic battle, four more days of periodic fighting, and it closes with twenty-three days of more no fighting (funerals and mourning fill the last twenty-three days). The epic has little-to-no introduction, so it must be assumed that the story, that is, what happens before the Iliad, was entirely to familiar to all listeners.

The earliest known image of the Trojan HorseHelen, the wife of a Greek king, Menelaos, has been abducted by Paris and taken back to Troy. The Greeks have laid seige to the city and its surrounding cities for a decade, and while many of Troy's allies have fallen to defeat and slavery, the strong walls of King Priam's city still stand. The epic battles in the Iliad make it clear that the Trojans can not hold out their enemies much longer; however, it takes the Trojan Horse, a clever deception on the part of the Greeks, to finally get inside the walls and bring defeat to the city. The fall of Troy happens after the close of the Iliad.