The Trojan War
The Trojan Cycle
The Iliad is just one of many texts that existed in antiquity that dealt with the mythology of the Trojan War. It was part of a larger collection of Ancient Greek epic poems that narrated events that occurred before, during, and after the war. These texts as a whole are called “The Epic Cycle” or sometimes just “The Trojan Cycle,” since “The Epic Cycle” can also refer to a longer mythological cycle that included the Titanomachy, the Theban Cycle (see chapter 37), and the Trojan Cycle.
All but two of the epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, are lost. We have only fragments of the other epics, as the myths of the cycle are also recounted by other ancient sources. These sources include Virgil’s Aeneid (book 2) which recounts the sack of Troy from a Trojan perspective; Ovid’s Metamorphoses (books 13-14), which describes the Greeks’ landing at Troy (from the Cypria) and the judgment of Achilles’ arms (Little Iliad); and Quintus of Smyrna’s Posthomerica, which narrates all the events after Achilles’ death up until the end of the war. The death of Agamemnon and the vengeance taken by his son Orestes (part of the Nostoi) are the subject of later Greek tragedy, especially Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy (see chapter 30).
The philosopher Proclus also discussed the epics of the Cycle in his work Chrestomathia. From Proclus, we have summaries of the plots of each work of the Epic Cycle and Trojan Cycle. The works of the Trojan Cycle are the Cypria, the Iliad, the Aethiopis, the Little Iliad, and the Sack of Ilium (or Ilioupersis), the Nostoi, the Odyssey, and the Telegony.
The Cypria (attributed to various authors) tells the events leading up to the Trojan War. It describes the Judgement of Paris, followed by Menelaus and Agamemnon’s mission to recruit allies to go to war with Troy. A compilation of fragments of the Cypria can be found here.
The Iliad of Homer tells of the war itself, and especially the deeds of Achilles.
The Aethiopis (attributed to Arctinus of Miletus) tells of the deeds and death of Penthesilea, and the death of Achilles. A compilation of fragments of the Aethiopis can be found here.
The Little Iliad (attributed to Lesches of Mitylene) tells of the Judgement of Arms, the death of Paris, and the construction of the Trojan Horse. A compilation of fragments of the Little Iliad can be found here.
The Sack of Ilium (Ilioupersis) (attributed to Arctinus of Miletus) tells of the defeat of Troy and the fates of various Trojans, including Laocoon, Andromache, and Priam. A compilation of fragments of the Sack of Ilium can be found here.
The Nostoi, Odyssey, and Telegony recount the events after the war.
For further discussion of the Nostoi, Odyssey, and Telegony, see chapter 30.
Greek literary handbook, 5th century CE
[content warning for the following source: suicide (On the Little Iliad)]
[On the Cypria] This [the Epigoni] is continued by the epic called Cypria which is currently eleven books. Its contents are as follows. plans with to bring about the Trojan War. arrives while the gods are feasting at the marriage of and starts a dispute between , , and as to which of them is the most beautiful. The three are led by , at the command of , to on for his decision. , tempted by the promise of marriage to , decides in favour of . Then builds his ships at ‘s suggestion, and Helenus foretells the future to him. orders to sail with him, while prophecies about what will happen afterwards.
next lands in Lacedaemon and is hosted by the sons of , and afterwards by in Sparta, where during a feast he gives gifts to . After this, sets sail for Crete, ordering to provide the guests with all that they need until they depart. Meanwhile, brings and together, and, after their union, they put very great treasures on the ship and sail away by night. stirs up a storm against them and they are carried to Sidon, where takes the city. From there, he sailed to and celebrated his marriage with .
In the meantime, and , while stealing the cattle of Idas and Lynceus, were caught in the act, and was killed by Idas, and Lynceus and Idas by . gave them immortality every other day. next informs of what has happened at his home. returns and plans an expedition against with his brother, and then travels on to . , on a tangent, tells him how Epopeus was utterly destroyed after seducing the daughter of , and the story of , the madness of , and the story of and . Then they travel over Hellas and gather the leaders. When pretends to be mad in order to avoid joining the expedition, they [ and ] see through the trick by (at the suggestion of Palamedes) seizing his son for punishment. All the leaders then meet together at Aulis and sacrifice. The incident of the serpent and the sparrows takes place before them, and foretells what is going to occur. After this, they put out to sea, and reach Teuthrania and sack it, mistaking it for . Telephus comes to the rescue and kills Thersander, the son of , and is himself wounded by . As they set out from Mysia, a storm comes on them and scatters them. first land at Scyros and married Deidameia, the daughter of Lycomedes. He then heals Telephus, who had been led by an oracle to go to Argos, so that he could be their guide on the voyage to . When the expedition had regrouped for a second time at Aulis, , while out hunting, shot a stag and boasted that he surpassed even . The goddess was so angry about this that she sent stormy winds and prevented them from sailing. then told them of the anger of the goddess and advised them to sacrifice to . They attempt to do this, sending a message to fetch , claiming she must come to marry . , however, snatched her away and transported her to the Tauri, making her immortal, and putting a stag in place of the girl upon the altar.
Next they sail as far as Tenedos. While they are feasting, is bitten by a snake and is left behind in Lemnos because of the stench of his infected wound. Here, too, argues with because he is invited late. Then the Greeks try to land at , but the Trojans prevent them, and Protesilaus is killed by . then kills Cygnus, the son of , and drives the Trojans back. The Greeks gather up their dead and send messengers to the Trojans demanding the surrender of and the treasure with her. Because the Trojans had refused, they first assault the city, and then go out and sack the country and cities in the region. After this, wishes to see , and so and arrange a meeting between them. The next wish to return home, but are restrained by . then drives off the cattle of , sacks Lyrnessus and Pedasus and many of the neighbouring cities, and kills Troilus [ son of ]. carries away Lycaon [ son of ] to Lemnos and sells him as a slave, and out of the spoils receives as a prize, and . Then follows the death of Palamedes, the plan of to help the Trojans by detaching from the Hellenic confederacy, and a catalogue of the Trojan allies.
[On the Aethiopis] The Cypria, described in the preceding book, is followed by the Iliad of Homer, which is followed in turn by the five books of the Aethiopis, the work of Arctinus of Miletus. Their contents are as follows. The , the daughter of and of Thracian race, comes to aid the Trojans. After showing great skill, she is killed by and buried by the Trojans. then kills for insulting him for his supposed love for . As a result, an argument starts amongst the about the killing of , and sails to Lesbos. After sacrificing to , , and , he is purified by from bloodshed. Then Memnon, the son of , wearing armour made by , comes to help the Trojans. tells her son about Memnon. A battle takes place in which is killed by Memnon, and Memnon is killed by . then receives immortality from and gives it to her son; but routs the Trojans, and, rushing into the city with them, is killed by and . A great struggle for the body then follows, picking up the body and carrying it to the ships, while drives off the Trojans behind. The then bury and lay out the body of , while , arriving with the and her sisters [ the ], mourns her son, whom she afterwards steals away from the pyre and transports to the White Island. After this, the pile a cairn for him and hold games in his honour. Lastly, an argument beginsbetween and over the arms of .
[On the Little Iliad] Next comes the Little Iliad in four books by Lesches of Mitylene. Its contents are as follows. The judgment of the arms of takes place, and , through the interference of , gets them. then becomes mad and destroys the herd of the and kills himself. Next lies in wait and catches Helenus, who prophesies about the capture of Troy, and , according to the prophecy, brings from Lemnos. is healed by Machaon, and fights in single combat with and kills him. The dead body is brutalized by , but the Trojans retrieve and bury it. After this marries , brings from Scyros and gives him his father’s weapons, and the ghost of appears to him. Eurypylus the son of Telephus arrives to help the Trojans, shows his skill, and is killed by . The Trojans are now in a tight siege, and , by ‘s instruction, builds the wooden horse. disguises himself and goes in to as a spy. Recognized by Helen, he plots with her to take the city. After killing some of the Trojans, he returns to the ships. Next he carries the Palladium out of with help of . Then after putting their best men in the wooden horse and burning their huts, the main body of the sail to Tenedos. The Trojans, thinking their troubles are over, destroy a part of their city wall and take the wooden horse into their city and feast as though they had conquered the .
[On the Sack of Ilium (Ilioupersis)] Next come two books of the Sack of , by Arctinus of Miletus, with the following contents. The Trojans were suspicious of the wooden horse and, standing around it, debated what they should do. Some thought they should hurl it down from the rocks, others burn it up, while others said they should dedicate it to . At last this third opinion won out. Then they turned to joy and feasting, believing the war was at an end. But at this very moment, two serpents appeared and destroyed and one of his two sons, a sign that alarmed the followers of so much that they withdrew to . Sinon then raised the fire-signal to the , having previously gotten into the city using deception. The Greeks then sailed in from Tenedos, and those in the wooden horse came out and fell upon their enemies, killing many and storming the city. kills , who had fled to the altar of Herceius; finds and takes her to the ships, after killing . the son of Ileus, while trying to drag away by force, tears away with her the image [statue] of . At this, the Greeks are so angry that they decide to stone , who only escapes from the danger threatening him by taking refuge at the altar of . The Greeks, after burning the city, sacrifice Polyxena at the tomb of : murders Astyanax [ son of ]; takes as his prize, and the remaining spoils are divided. Demophon and Acamas [ sons of ] find and take her with them. Lastly the Greeks sail away and plans to destroy them on the high seas.
Taken from: https://www.theoi.com/Text/EpicCycle.html#Cypria
After the Iliad
Although Achilles death is not included in the Iliad, the poem hints at the future in Book 22, during Hector’s death scene.
Greek Epic Poem, ca. 8th century BCE
[337-366] Then of the gleaming helm replied, in a feeble voice, “At your feet I beg, by your parents, by your own life, don’t let the dogs devour my flesh by the hollow ships. Accept the ransom my royal father and mother will offer, stores of gold and bronze, and let them carry my body home, so the Trojans and their wives may grant me in death my portion of fire.”
But fleet-footed glared at him in answer, “Don’t speak of my parents, dog. I wish the fury and the pain in me could drive me to carve and eat you raw for what you did, as surely as this is true: no living man will keep the dogs from gnawing at your skull, not if men weighed out twenty, thirty times your worth in ransom, and promised even more, not though Dardanian bid them give your weight in gold, not even then will your royal mother lay you on a bier to grieve for you, the son she bore, rather shall dogs, and carrion birds, devour you utterly.”
Then of the gleaming helm spoke at the point of death, “I know you truly now, and see your fate, nor was it mine to sway you. The heart in your breast is iron indeed. But think, lest the gods, remembering me, turn their wrath on you, that day by the Scaean Gate when, brave as you are, kills you, with ’s help.’
Death enfolded him, as he uttered these words, and, wailing its lot, his spirit fled from the body down to , leaving youth and manhood behind. A corpse it was that noble addressed, “Lie there then in death, and I will face my own, whenever and the other deathless gods decide.”
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
In antiquity, Achilles’ death was dramatized by the Aethiopis, a five book epic which focused on the Ethiopian hero, Memnon, who fought on the Trojan side in the war. The epic only survives now as brief mentions and summaries in the works of other authors. The surviving epitomes (summaries) of the Aethiopis can be read here.
The Judgement of the Arms was the contest over who should get the armour of Achilles after his death. There were two contenders, Odysseys and Ajax. They were the ones who rescued Achilles’ body from the battlefield after he was killed by Paris and they each had a substantial claim to being the second best of the Achaean heroes after Achilles.
The Judgement of the Arms was narrated in the lost epic the Little Iliad. The surviving fragments and epitomes of the Little Iliad can be read here.
The contest for Achilles’ armour and Ajax’s madness after he loses is also the plot of Sophocles’ tragic play, the Ajax, which can be read here.
There was a prophesy, gained under torture and duress from the Trojan seer, Helenus, that the Greeks would not be able to win the war without the bow of Philoctetes, given to him by Heracles. Unfortunately, the Achaeans had abandoned Philoctetes on the island of Lemnos on their way to Troy because he had an enchanted wound on his foot from a snakebite that would not heal and which gave off a horrendous stench. According to some sources, there was another part of the prophesy which said that the Greeks would not be able to win without the aid of Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles.
So Odysseus went on a mission to get the bow of Philoctetes. This story is dramatized in Sophocles’ tragic play called Philoctetes, which also features Neoptolomus as part of the embassy which goes to Lemnos to fetch the bow. The Philoctetes can be read here.
The story of the Trojan Horse was told in the Little Iliad and the Sack of Troy, neither of which survive. It is also referred to in the Odyssey. The longest version of the story that survives from the ancient world is not Greek, but Roman. It appears in the second book of the Aeneid.
Greek Epic Poem, ca. 8th century BCE
[485-520] [. . .] when they had satisfied their desire for food and drink, resourceful spoke to the bard, saying, “Demodocus, I praise you above all mortal men, one taught by the , ’ daughter, or perhaps by , for you sang the ’ fate with truth and feeling, all of their actions and their suffering, all the efforts they exerted, as if you had been there, or heard it from one who was. Now, come, change your theme, and sing of the making of the Wooden Horse, that fashioned with ’s help, that noble contrived to have dragged inside the citadel, filled by cunning with warriors who then sacked . Tell the tale as it happened, and I will say to all mankind that the god has given you freely of the power of divine song.”
At his words the bard, inspired by the god, began, and raising his voice picked up the tale at the point where the had burned their camp, boarded their oared ships, and sailed some way off, leaving glorious and the rest sitting inside the Horse, at the Trojan’s meeting place. The Trojans themselves had dragged it into the citadel. There it stood, while the people sat round it, discussing it endlessly to no conclusion. Three suggestions were considered: to cut through the hollow timber with pitiless bronze, or drag it to the edge of the rock and over the cliff, or let it stand there, as a grand offering to the gods, in propitiation, which is what happened in the end. For it was their destiny to be destroyed when the city accepted that huge horse of wood, where the best of the Argives lay hidden, bringing death and ruin to .
Then he sang how the left their hollow hiding place, and poured from the horse, to sack the city. He sang how the other warriors dispersing through the streets, laid waste high , but , the image of , together with godlike , sought ’ house. There, said the tale, fought the most terrible of fights, but conquered in the end, with the help of great-hearted .
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2004 All Rights Reserved
Latin epic poem, 19 BCE
[228-297] Then in truth a strange terror steals through each shuddering heart,
and they say that has justly suffered for his crime
in wounding the sacred oak-tree with his spear,
by hurling its wicked shaft into the trunk.
“Pull the statue to her house”, they shout,
“and offer prayers to the goddess’s divinity.”
We breached the wall, and opened up the defences of the city.
All prepare themselves for the work and they set up wheels
allowing movement under its feet, and stretch hemp ropes
round its neck. That engine of fate mounts our walls
pregnant with armed men. Around it boys, and virgin girls,
sing sacred songs, and delight in touching their hands to the ropes:
Up it glides and rolls threateningly into the midst of the city.
O my country, O house of the gods, and you,
Trojan walls famous in war! Four times it sticks at the threshold
of the gates, and four times the weapons clash in its belly:
yet we press on regardless, blind with frenzy,
and site the accursed creature on top of our sacred citadel.
Even then , who, by the god’s decree, is never
to be believed by Trojans, reveals our future fate with her lips.
We unfortunate ones, for whom that day is our last,
clothe the gods’ temples, throughout the city, with festive branches.
Meanwhile the heavens turn, and night rushes from the ,
wrapping the earth, and sky, and the ’ tricks,
in its vast shadow: through the city the Trojans
fall silent: sleep enfolds their weary limbs.
And now the Greek phalanx of battle-ready ships sailed
from Tenedos, in the benign stillness of the silent moon,
seeking the known shore, when the royal galley raised
a torch, and Sinon, protected by the gods’ unjust doom,
sets free the Greeks imprisoned by planks of pine,
in the horses’ belly. Opened, it releases them to the air,
and sliding down a lowered rope, Thessandrus, and Sthenelus,
the leaders, and fatal , emerge joyfully
from their wooden cave, with Acamas, Thoas,
’ son , the noble Machaon,
, and who himself devised this trick.
They invade the city that’s drowned in sleep and wine,
kill the watchmen, welcome their comrades
at the open gates, and link their clandestine ranks.
It was the hour when first sleep begins for weary mortals,
and steals over them as the sweetest gift of the gods.
See, in dream, before my eyes, seemed to stand there,
saddest of all and pouring out great tears,
torn by the chariot, as once he was, black with bloody dust,
and his swollen feet pierced by the thongs.
Ah, how he looked! How changed he was
from that who returned wearing ’ armour,
or who set Trojan flames to the Greek ships! His beard was ragged,
his hair matted with blood, bearing those many wounds he received
dragged around the walls of his city.
And I seemed to weep myself, calling out to him,
and speaking to him in words of sorrow:
“Oh light of the Troad, surest hope of the Trojans,
what has so delayed you? What shore do you come from
, the long-awaited? Weary from the many troubles
of our people and our city I see you, oh, after the death
of so many of your kin! What shameful events have marred
that clear face? And why do I see these wounds?’
He does not reply, nor does he wait on my idle questions,
but dragging heavy sighs from the depths of his heart, he says:
“Ah! Son of the goddess, fly, tear yourself from the flames.
The enemy has taken the walls: falls from her high place.
Enough has been given to and your country: if Pergama
could be saved by any hand, it would have been saved by this.
entrusts her sacred relics and household gods to you:
take them as friends of your fate, seek mighty walls for them,
those you will found at last when you have wandered the seas.”
So he speaks, and brings the sacred headbands in his hands
from the innermost shrine, potent , and the undying flame.
Meanwhile the city is confused with grief, on every side,
and though my father ’ house is remote, secluded
and hidden by trees, the sounds grow clearer and clearer,
and the terror of war sweeps upon it.
I shake off sleep, and climb to the highest roof-top,
and stand there with ears strained:
as when fire attacks a wheat-field when the south-wind rages,
or the rushing torrent from a mountain stream covers the fields,
drowns the ripe crops, the labour of oxen,
and brings down the trees headlong, and the dazed shepherd,
unaware, hears the echo from a high rocky peak.
Now the truth is obvious, and the Greek plot revealed.
Now the vast hall of is given to ruin
the fire over it: now Ucalegon’s nearby blazes:
the wide Sigean straits throw back the glare.
Then the clamour of men and the blare of trumpets rises.
Frantically I seize weapons: not because there is much use
for weapons, but my spirit burns to gather men for battle
and race to the citadel with my friends: madness and anger
hurl my mind headlong, and I think it beautiful to die fighting.
Now, see, Panthus escaping the Greek spears,
Panthus, son of Othrys, ’s priest on the citadel,
dragging along with his own hands the sacred relics,
the conquered gods, his little grandchild, running frantically
to my door: “Where’s the best advantage, Panthus, what position
should we take?” I’d barely spoken, when he answered
with a groan: “The last day comes, ’s inescapable hour.
is past, is past, and the great glory of the Trojans:
carries all to Argos: the Greeks are lords of the burning city.
The horse, standing high on the ramparts, pours out warriors,
and Sinon the conqueror exultantly stirs the flames.
Others are at the wide-open gates, as many thousands
as ever came from great : more have blocked
the narrow streets with hostile weapons:
a line of standing steel with naked flickering blades
is ready for the slaughter: barely the first few guards
at the gates attempt to fight, and they resist in blind conflict.”
By these words from Othrys’ son, and divine will, I’m thrust
amongst the weapons and the flames, where the dismal
sounds, and the roar, and the clamour rising to the sky.
Friends joined me, visible in the moonlight, Ripheus,
and Epytus, mighty in battle, Hypanis and Dymas,
gathered to my side, and young Coroebus, Mygdon’s son:
by chance he’d arrived in at that time,
burning with mad love for , and brought help,
as a potential son-in-law, to , and the Trojans,
unlucky man, who didn’t listen to the prophecy
of his frenzied bride! When I saw them crowded there
eager for battle, I began as follows: “Warriors, bravest
of frustrated spirits, if your ardent desire is fixed
on following me to the end, you can see our cause’s fate.
All the gods by whom this empire was supported
have departed, leaving behind their temples and their altars:
you aid a burning city: let us die and rush into battle.
The beaten have one refuge, to have no hope of refuge.”
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved
Priam is killed by Neoptolemus during the sack of Troy. This story is also narrated in Book 2 of the Aeneid, the full text of which can be read here.
In a Greek vase painting from the Classical period, Neoptolemus is shown clubbing Priam to death with the body of the dead infant, Astyanax, the son of Hector and Andromache.
Media Attributions and Footnotes
- Lamp 1858,0714.3.b © the British Museum is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike) license
- Mourning of Akhilleus Louvre E643 © Bibi Saint-Pol is licensed under a Public Domain license
- Odysseus Ajax Louvre F340 © Jastrow is licensed under a Public Domain license
- Amphora death Priam Louvre F222 © Jastrow is licensed under a Public Domain license
- After their deaths, Castor and Pollux had to split their immortality between the two of them, and were thus each only half immortal. They were said to spend half their time on Mount Olympus, and half their time in the Underworld. ↵
- "Purified" here refers to the Greek concept of miasma, the idea that death defiles someone or makes them impure. For further explanation, see Mythology Unbound. ↵
- This passage refers to Laocoon's suspicion of the Trojan Horse. Laocoon was said to have tried to convince the Trojans to destroy the horse. Athena, favouring the Greeks, visited a series of punishments upon him (first blinding him, and then sending two large snakes to eat him and his children). An account of Laocoon can be found in Quintus of Smyrna's Posthomerica, 12. 418-538. ↵
Roman: Jupiter or Jove
God of the sky, ruler of the Olympian gods.
See chapter 5.
Titan of justice and order.
Featured in chapter 3.
Personification of conflict and strife. Known for provoking the Judgement of Paris at the start of the Trojan War.
Featured in chapter 26.
A king of Phthia and Argonaut. Father of Achilles, husband of Thetis, and son of Aeacus.
Goddess of marriage, wife of Zeus.
See chapter 6.
Goddess of warfare, wisdom, and craft.
See chapter 9.
Goddess of love and passion.
See chapter 4.
God of travelers and trickery.
See chapter 16.
The name for 2 sacred mountains: Ida in Crete, and Ida in Anatolia. Mount Ida in Crete is sacred to Zeus as his birthplace, while Ida in Anatolia is sacred to Cybele. The two are sometimes conflated.
A Spartan princess, daughter of Leda and Zeus, and wife of Menelaus. Known for her beauty, and for being abducted by Paris and taken to Troy, sparking the Trojan War.
Featured in chapter 26, chapter 28, and chapter 30. Also appears in chapter 22.
A princess of Troy, daughter of Hecuba and Priam, and sister of Hector and Paris. Known for being cursed by Apollo to make accurate prophecies, but for people never to believe her.
Featured in chapter 28 and chapter 30.
A king of Sparta, husband of Leda, father of Clytemnestra and Castor, and stepfather of Helen. Known for being ousted from the throne by his brother Hippocoon, and later restored to it by Heracles.
A prince of Sparta and Argonaut. Son of Leda and Tyndareus, brother of Helen and Clytemnestra, twin brother of Polydeuces/Pollux, and one of the Dioscuri.
Appears in chapter 22.
Called Polydeuces or Pollux.
A prince of Sparta and Argonaut. Son of Leda and Zeus, half brother of Helen and Clytemnestra, twin brother of Castor, and one of the Dioscuri.
Appears in chapter 22.
Goddess of rainbows, and the messenger of the gods.
A king of Pylos and Argonaut. Known for participating in the Calydonian Boar Hunt and the Trojan War, for his wisdom, and for hosting Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey.
A king of Thebes, and son of Jocasta and Laius. Known for accidentally killing his father and marrying his mother Jocasta in fulfilment of an oracle.
Featured in chapter 37.
A king and founder of Athens. The son of Aegeus and Aethra, husband of Hippolyte and later of Phaedra, and father of Hippolytus. Known for his encounters on the road to Athens, and for killing the Minotaur.
See chapter 22. Also appears in chapter 36 and chapter 41.
A princess of Crete, daughter of Pasiphae and Minos, and wife of Dionysus. Known for helping Theseus defeat the Minotaur.
Featured in chapter 22.
King and hero of Ithaca. Known for his cunning, for fighting for the Greeks in the Trojan War, and for his long and challenging journey home from the war, as recounted in Homer's Odyssey.
Featured in chapter 27, chapter 29, chapter 30, and chapter 41. Also appears in chapter 26.
A king of Mycenae. Son of Atreus, brother of Menelaus, husband of Clytemnestra, and father of Iphigenia, Orestes, and Electra. Known for his participation in the Trojan War, for sacrificing his daughter Iphigenia, and for being killed by his wife Clytemnestra.
Featured in chapter 26, chapter 27, and chapter 30, and appears in chapter 41.
A prince of Ithaca, and son of Penelope and Odysseus. Known traveling in search of Odysseus after the Trojan War.
Featured in chapter 30.
A son of Oedipus and Jocasta, brother of Eteocles, and one of the Seven Against Thebes. Known for dying in his duel with his brother Eteocles.
Featured in chapter 37.
Maiden goddess of wilderness and the hunt, and twin sister of Apollo.
See chapter 13.
A daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, and sister of Orestes and Electra. Known for being sacrificed to Artemis by her father, and (in some versions) for being made immortal upon her death.
Featured in chapter 13, chapter 26, and chapter 30.
God of the sea.
See chapter 7.
A nereid, daughter of Nereus, and mother of Achilles. Known for raising Hephaestus.
Featured in chapter 8.
A term to describe all the Greeks and people of Greek origin, notably the Greek armies in Homer's Iliad.
A king of Troy. Son of Laomedon, husband of Hecuba, and father of Hector, Cassandra, and Paris. Known for leading Troy during the Trojan War, and for being killed by Neoptolemus.
Featured in chapter 28 and chapter 29.
A Greek hero and son of Menoetius. Known for being a close companion (and possibly romantic and/or sexual partner) of Achilles, for fighting in the Trojan war, and for being killed by Hector.
Featured in chapter 27.
A woman of Lyrnessus, daughter of Briseus and slave of Achilles. Known for being the subject of the conflict that arose between Agamemnon and Achilles during the Trojan War.
Called Chryseis or Astynome.
A Trojan woman, and daughter of Chryses. Known for being given to Agamemnon as a spoil of war at the start of the Iliad but later released.
Appears in chapter 12
A mythical nation of warrior women.
See chapter 23.
God of war.
See chapter 10.
A soldier in the Trojan War, known for being portrayed in the Iliad as being unintelligent, and for being killed by Achilles in revenge for desecrating Penthesileia's body.
Appears in chapter 23.
God of medicine, archery, oracles, and the sun.
See chapter 12.
Personification of the dawn.
Appears in chapter 4.
God of fire, smiths, and craftspeople.
See chapter 8.
A prince of Pylos and son of Nestor. Known for being a suitor of Helen of Troy, and for fighting in the Trojan War.
9 deities of art, music, poetry, and creativity.
Nature spirits or nymphs of the sea.
A king of Argos, known for fighting in the Trojan War as a favoured warrior of Athena. Deified upon his death.
Featured in chapter 27.
A prince of Troy, and son of Priam and Hecuba. Known for being killed and mutilated by either Menelaus or Odysseus, and for meeting Aeneas in the Underworld.
Appears in chapter 41.
A hero in the Trojan War, known for building the Trojan Horse after he was inspired by a dream from Athena.
Featured in chapter 29.
A Trojan priest of Apollo and seer, known for being suspicious of the Trojan Horse and for being punished by Athena because of this.
Appears in chapter 29.
A hero of Locris and son of Oileus. Known for fighting on the side of the Greeks in the Trojan War, and for being killed by Athena in retribution for his rape of Cassandra.
Appears in chapter 7.
Wife of Hector and mother of Astyanax, and later slave of Neoptolemus. Known for her role in the Iliad, and as a symbol of women suffering in the Trojan War.
Featured in chapter 28 and chapter 30. Also appears in chapter 23.
A princess of Troezen, daughter of Pittheus, and mother Theseus with either Poseidon or Aegeus.
Featured in chapter 22.
God of the underworld. Hades may also refer to the underworld itself, the kingdom of Hades.
See chapter 42.
Called Oceanus or Ocean.
The river encircling the earth, or its personification as a Titan. Husband of Tethys and father of the Oceanids.
The soldiers under Achilles' command in the Trojan war.
Maiden goddess of the home and hearth.
Featured in chapter 41.
A city in the Argolis. Associated with the line of Perseus, Tantalus, and the house of Atreus.
See chapter 39.