In ancient Greek religion, Nike was a goddess who personified victory. Her Roman equivalent was Victoria; the word νίκη nikē is of uncertain etymology. R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin. Others have connected it to Proto-Indo-European *neik-, making it cognate with Greek νεῖκος and Lithuanian ap-ni̇̀kti. Nike was variously described as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, the sister of Kratos and Zelus, and Styx the daughter of Ocean was joined to Pallas and bore Zelus and trim-ankled Nike in the house. She brought forth Cratos and Bia, wonderful children. In other sources, Nike was described as the daughter of the god of war. Ares... O defender of Olympos, father of warlike Nike. Nike and her siblings were close companions of the dominant deity of the Greek pantheon. According to classical myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titanomachy against the older deities. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she is portrayed in Classical Greek art.
Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves. Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength and victory. Nike was a close acquaintance of Athena, is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Nike is one of the most portrayed figures on Greek coins. After victory at the Battle of Marathon, Athenians erected the Nike of Callimachus. Names stemming from Nike include among others: Nikolaos, Nicola, Nicolai, Niccolò, Nicolae, Klaas, Ike, Nikita, Nika, Naike, Nikki and Veronica; the sports equipment company Nike, Inc. is named after the Greek goddess Nike. Project Nike, an American anti-aircraft missile system is named after the goddess Nike. Since Giuseppe Cassioli's design for the 1928 Summer Olympics, the obverse face of every Olympic medal bears Nike's figure holding a palm frond in her right hand and a winner's laurel crown in her left.
The Honda motorcycle company's logo is inspired by the goddess Nike. Winged Victory of Samothrace Altar of Victory Nike of Paeonius Ángel de la Independencia Smith, William. William Smith, LLD. William Wayte. G. E. Marindin. Albemarle Street, London. John Murray. 1890. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Media related to Nike at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of Nike at Wiktionary Goddess Nike
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the other Homeric epic; the Odyssey is fundamental to the modern Western canon. Scholars believe the Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia; the poem focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca, his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed Odysseus has died, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage; the Odyssey continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe the original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an aoidos a rhapsode, was more intended to be heard than read; the details of the ancient oral performance and the story's conversion to a written work inspire continual debate among scholars.
The Odyssey was written in a poetic dialect of Greek—a literary amalgam of Aeolic Greek, Ionic Greek, other Ancient Greek dialects—and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter. Among the most noteworthy elements of the text are its non-linear plot, the influence on events of choices made by women and slaves, besides the actions of fighting men. In the English language as well as many others, the word odyssey has come to refer to an epic voyage; the Odyssey has a lost sequel, the Telegony, not written by Homer. It was attributed in antiquity to Cinaethon of Sparta. In one source, the Telegony was said to have been stolen from Musaeus of Athens by either Eugamon or Eugammon of Cyrene; the Odyssey begins after the end of the ten-year Trojan War, Odysseus has still not returned home from the war because he angered the god Poseidon. Odysseus' son Telemachus is about 20 years old and is sharing his absent father's house on the island of Ithaca with his mother Penelope and a crowd of 108 boisterous young men, "the Suitors", whose aim is to persuade Penelope to marry one of them, all the while reveling in Odysseus' palace and eating up his wealth.
Odysseus' protectress, the goddess Athena, requests to Zeus, king of the gods, to allow Odysseus to return home when Odysseus' enemy, the god of the sea Poseidon, is absent from Mount Olympus to accept a sacrifice in Ethiopia. Disguised as a Taphian chieftain named Mentes, she visits Telemachus to urge him to search for news of his father, he offers her hospitality. Penelope objects to Phemius' theme, the "Return from Troy", because it reminds her of her missing husband, but Telemachus rebuts her objections, asserting his role as head of the household; that night Athena, disguised as Telemachus, finds a crew for the true prince. The next morning, Telemachus calls an assembly of citizens of Ithaca to discuss what should be done with the suitors. Telemachus is scoffed by the insolent suitors by their leaders Antinous and Leiocritus. Accompanied by Athena, he departs for the Greek mainland and the household of Nestor, most venerable of the Greek warriors at Troy, who resided in Pylos after the war.
From there, Telemachus rides overland, accompanied by Nestor's son Peisistratus, to Sparta, where he finds Menelaus and Helen, who are now reconciled. While Helen laments the fit of lust brought on by Aphrodite that sent her to Troy with Paris, Menelaus recounts how she betrayed the Greeks by attempting to imitate the voices of the soldiers' wives while they were inside the Trojan Horse. Telemachus hears from Helen, the first to recognize him, that she pities him because Odysseus was not there for him in his childhood because he went to Troy to fight for her and about his exploit of stealing the Palladium, or the Luck of Troy, where she was the only one to recognize him. Menelaus, meanwhile praises Odysseus as an irreproachable comrade and friend, lamenting the fact that they were not only unable to return together from Troy but that Odysseus is yet to return. Both Helen and Menelaus say that they returned to Sparta after a long voyage by way of Egypt. There, on the island of Pharos, Menelaus encountered the old sea-god Proteus, who told him that Odysseus was a captive of the nymph Calypso.
Incidentally, Telemachus learns the fate of Menelaus' brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and leader of the Greeks at Troy: he was murdered on his return home by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. The story shifts to the suitors, who have only just now realized that Telemachus is gone. Angry, they kill him as he sails back home. Penelope overhears their plot and worries for her son's safety; the second part recounts the story of Odysseus. In the course of his seven years in captivity of Calypso on the island of Ogygia, she has fallen in love with him though he has spurned her offer of immortality as her husband and still mourns for home, she is ordered to release him by the messenger god Hermes, sent by Zeus in response to Athena's plea. Odysseus builds a raft and is given clothing and drink by Calypso; when Poseidon learns that Odysseus has escaped, he wrecks the raft but, helped by a veil given by the sea nymph Ino, Odysseus swims asho
Nonnus of Panopolis was a Greek epic poet of Hellenized Egypt in the Imperial Roman era. He was a native of Panopolis in the Egyptian Thebaid and lived at the end of the 4th or in the 5th century CE, he is known as the composer of the Dionysiaca, an epic tale of the god Dionysus, of the Metabole, a paraphrase of the Gospel of John. The epic Dionysiaca describes the life of Dionysus, his expedition to India, his triumphant return to the west, it was written in Homeric dialect and in dactylic hexameter, it consists of 48 books at 20,426 lines. There is no evidence for the life of Nonnus, it is known that he was a native of Panopolis in Upper Egypt from his naming in manuscripts and the reference in epigram 9.198 of the Palatine Anthology. Scholars have dated him from the end of the 4th to the central years of the 5th century, he must have lived after the composition of Claudian's Greek Gigantomachy as he appears to be familiar with that work. Agathias Scholasticus seems to have followed him, with a mid-6th-century reference to him as a "recent author".
He is sometimes conflated with St Nonnus from the hagiographies of St Pelagia and with Nonnus, the bishop of Edessa who attended the Council of Chalcedon, both of whom seem to have been contemporary, but these associations are mistaken. Nonnus' principal work is the 48-book epic Dionysiaca, the longest surviving poem from antiquity, it has 20,426 lines composed in Homeric dialect and dactylic hexameters, the main subject of, the life of Dionysus, his expedition to India, his triumphant return to the west. The poem is thought to have been written in the early 5th century; the poem is traditionally regarded by scholars as being inconsistent in literary quality, but it still has value due to its preservation of many myths about Dionysus that otherwise may not have been preserved. His Paraphrase of John survives, its timing is a debated point: textual analysis seems to suggest that it preceded the Dionysiaca while some scholars feel it unlikely that a converted Christian would have gone on to devote so much work to the Dionysiaca’s pagan themes.
A team of Italian scholars is producing a full commentary of the poem, book by book, of which several parts have been published. They have shown that Nonnus was as learned in Christian theology as in pagan myth. A complete and updated bibliography of Nonnus scholarship may be found at Hellenistic Bibliography's page at Google Sites. Editions and translations of the Dionysiaca include: Bilingual Greek-English edition: W. H. D. Rouse, Dionysiaca, With an English Translation by W. H. D. Rouse, Mythological Introduction and Notes by H. J. Rose, Notes on Text Criticism by L. R. Lind, 3 vols. Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge Bilingual Greek-French edition: F. Vian, Nonnos de Panopolis, Les Dionysiaques, 19 volumes, Paris Bilingual Greek-Italian edition: D. Gigli Piccardi, Nonno di Panopoli, Le Dionisiache, BUR, Milano Nonno di Panopoli, Le Dionisiache, a cura di D. del Corno, traduzione di M. Maletta, note de F. Tissoni, 2 vols, Milano 1997. F. Tissoni, Nonno di Panopoli, I Canti di Penteo. Commento, Firenze 1998Editions and translations of the Paraphrase include: The only complete translation into English: Prost, Mark Anthony.
Nonnos of Panopolis, The Paraphrase of the Gospel of John. Translated from the Greek by M. A. P. Ventura, CA: The Writing Shop Press, 2006 The last complete edition of the Greek text: Nonni Panopolitani Paraphrasis S. Evangelii Joannei edidit Augustinus Scheindler, accedit S. Evangelii textus et index verborum, Lipsiae in aedibus Teubneri 1881A team of scholars are now re-editing the text, book by book, with ample introductions and notes. Published so far: C. De Stefani, Nonno di Panopoli: Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni, Canto I, Bologna E. Livrea, Nonno di Panopoli, Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni, Canto B, Bologna M. Caprara, Nonno di Panopoli, Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni, Canto IV, Pisa G. Agosti, Nonno di Panopoli, Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni, Canto V, Firenze R. Franchi, Nonno di Panopoli. Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni: canto sesto, Bologna K. Spanoudakis, Nonnus of Panopolis. Paraphrase of the Gospel of John XI, Oxford C. Greco, Nonno di Panopoli, Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni, canto XIII, Alessandria E. Livrea, Nonno di Panopoli, Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni, Canto XVIII, Napoli D. Accorinti, Nonno di Panopoli, Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni, Canto XX, Pisa Kalamos and Karpos Cameron, Alan, "The Poet, the Bishop, the Harlot", Wandering Poets and Other Essays on Late Greek Literature and Philosophy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 81–90, ISBN 978-0-19-026894-7.
On Nonnus and his context: D. Accorinti - P. Chuvin, Des Géants à Dionysos. Mélanges de mythologie et de poésie grecques offerts à Francis Vian. Alessandria L. Miguélez-Cavero, Poems in Context. Greek Poetry in the Egyptian Thebaid 200-600 AD, Berlin Robert Shorrock, Myth of Paganism: Nonnus and the World of Late Antiquity. Shorrock, Robert; the Challenge of Epic. Allusive Engagement in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus. Leiden: Brill, 2001 K. Spanoudakis, Nonnus of Panopolis in Context. Poetry
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
Hesiod was a Greek poet thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is regarded as the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject. Ancient authors credited Homer with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars refer to him as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, early economic thought, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping; the dating of Hesiod's life is a contested issue in scholarly circles. Epic narrative allowed poets like Homer no opportunity for personal revelations. However, Hesiod's extant work comprises several didactic poems in which he went out of his way to let his audience in on a few details of his life. There are three explicit references in Works and Days, as well as some passages in his Theogony that support inferences made by scholars; the former poem says that his father came from Cyme in Aeolis and crossed the sea to settle at a hamlet, near Thespiae in Boeotia, named Ascra, "a cursed place, cruel in winter, hard in summer, never pleasant".
Hesiod's patrimony there, a small piece of ground at the foot of Mount Helicon, occasioned lawsuits with his brother Perses, who seems, at first, to have cheated him of his rightful share thanks to corrupt authorities or "kings" but became impoverished and ended up scrounging from the thrifty poet. Unlike his father, Hesiod was averse to sea travel, but he once crossed the narrow strait between the Greek mainland and Euboea to participate in funeral celebrations for one Athamas of Chalcis, there won a tripod in a singing competition, he describes a meeting between himself and the Muses on Mount Helicon, where he had been pasturing sheep when the goddesses presented him with a laurel staff, a symbol of poetic authority. Fanciful though the story might seem, the account has led ancient and modern scholars to infer that he was not a professionally trained rhapsode, or he would have been presented with a lyre instead; some scholars have seen Perses as a literary creation, a foil for the moralizing that Hesiod develops in Works and Days, but there are arguments against that theory.
For example, it is quite common for works of moral instruction to have an imaginative setting, as a means of getting the audience's attention, but it could be difficult to see how Hesiod could have travelled around the countryside entertaining people with a narrative about himself if the account was known to be fictitious. Gregory Nagy, on the other hand, sees both Pérsēs and Hēsíodos as fictitious names for poetical personae, it might seem unusual that Hesiod's father migrated from Asia Minor westwards to mainland Greece, the opposite direction to most colonial movements at the time, Hesiod himself gives no explanation for it. However around 750 BC or a little there was a migration of seagoing merchants from his original home in Cyme in Asia Minor to Cumae in Campania, his move west had something to do with that, since Euboea is not far from Boeotia, where he established himself and his family; the family association with Aeolian Cyme might explain his familiarity with eastern myths, evident in his poems, though the Greek world might have developed its own versions of them.
In spite of Hesiod's complaints about poverty, life on his father's farm could not have been too uncomfortable if Works and Days is anything to judge by, since he describes the routines of prosperous yeomanry rather than peasants. His farmer employs a friend as well as servants, an energetic and responsible ploughman of mature years, a slave boy to cover the seed, a female servant to keep house and working teams of oxen and mules. One modern scholar surmises that Hesiod may have learned about world geography the catalogue of rivers in Theogony, listening to his father's accounts of his own sea voyages as a merchant; the father spoke in the Aeolian dialect of Cyme but Hesiod grew up speaking the local Boeotian, belonging to the same dialect group. However, while his poetry features some Aeolisms there are no words that are Boeotian, his basic language was the main literary dialect of Homer's Ionian. It is probable that Hesiod wrote his poems down, or dictated them, rather than passed them on orally, as rhapsodes did—otherwise the pronounced personality that now emerges from the poems would have been diluted through oral transmission from one rhapsode to another.
Pausanias asserted that Boeotians showed him an old tablet made of lead on which the Works were engraved. If he did write or dictate, it was as an aid to memory or because he lacked confidence in his ability to produce poems extempore, as trained rhapsodes could do, it wasn't in a quest for immortal fame since poets in his era had no such notions for themselves. However, some scholars suspect the presence of large-scale changes in the text and attribute this to oral transmission, he composed his verses during idle times on the farm, in the spring before the May harvest or the dead of winter. The personality behind the poems is unsuited to the kind of "aristocratic withdrawal" typical of a rhapsode but is instead "argumentative, suspicious humorous, fond of proverbs, wary of women." He was in fact a misogynist of t
In Greek mythology and Roman mythology, a harpy was a half-human and half-bird personification of storm winds, in Homeric poems. They were depicted as birds with the heads of maidens, faces pale with hunger and long claws on their hands. Roman and Byzantine writers detailed their ugliness. Pottery art depicting the harpies featured beautiful women with wings. Ovid described them as human-vultures. To Hesiod, they were imagined as fair-locked and winged maidens, who surpassed winds and birds in the rapidity of their flight. "...the Harpyiai of the lovely hair and Aello, these two in the speed of their wings keep pace with the blowing winds, or birds in flight, as they soar and swoop, high aloft." But as early as the time of Aeschylus, they are described as ugly creatures with wings, writers carry their notions of the harpies so far as to represent them as most disgusting monsters. The Pythian priestess of Apollo recounted the appearance of the harpies in the following lines:"Before this man an extraordinary band of women slept, seated on thrones.
No! Not women, but rather Gorgons I call them. Once before I saw some creatures in a painting, carrying off the feast of Phineus. I have never seen the tribe that produced this company, nor the land that boasts of rearing this brood with impunity and does not grieve for its labor afterwards." "Bird-bodied, girl-faced things they are. The harpies seem to have been wind spirits, their name means "snatchers" or "swift robbers" and they steal food from their victims while they are eating and carry evildoers to the Erinyes. When a person disappeared from the earth, it was said that he had been carried off by the harpies. Thus, they gave them as servants to the Erinyes. In this form they were agents of punishment who abducted people and tortured them on their way to Tartarus, they were vicious and violent. The harpies were called "the hounds of mighty Zeus" thus "ministers of the Thunderer". Writers listed the harpies among the guardians of the underworld among other monstrosities including the Centaurs, Briareus, Lernaean Hydra, Chimera and Geryon.
Their abode is either the islands called Strophades, a place at the entrance of Orcus, or a cave in Crete. Hesiod calls them two "lovely-haired" creatures, the daughters of Thaumas and the Oceanid Electra and sisters of Iris. Hyginus, cited a certain Ozomene as the mother of the harpies but he recounted that Electra was the mother of these beings in the same source; this can be explained by the fact. The harpies were siblings of the river-god Hydaspes and Arke, as they were called sisters of Iris and children of Thaumas. According to Valerius, Typhoeus was said to be the father of these monsters while a different version by Servius told that the harpies were daughters of Pontus and Gaea or of Poseidon, they are named Aello and Ocypete, Virgil added Celaeno as a third. Homer knew of a harpy named Podarge. Aello, is sometimes spelled Aellopus or Nicothoe. Homer called the harpy Podarge as the mother of the two horses of Achilles sired by the West Wind Zephyrus while according to Nonnus and Podarkes, horses of the Athenian king Erechtheus, were born to Aello and the North Wind Boreas.
Other progeny of Podarge were Phlogeus and Harpagos, horses given by Hermes to the Dioscuri, who competed for the chariot-race in celebration of the funeral games of Pelias. The swift horse Arion was said to begotten by loud-piping Zephyrus on a harpy, as attested by Quintus Smyrnaeus; the most celebrated story in which the harpies play a part is that of King Phineus of Thrace, given the gift of prophecy by Zeus. Angry that Phineus gave away the god's secret plan, Zeus punished him by blinding him and putting him on an island with a buffet of food which he could never eat because the harpies always arrived to steal the food out of his hands before he could satisfy his hunger. Writers add that they either devoured the food themselves, or that they dirtied it by dropping upon it some stinking substance, so as to render it unfit to be eaten; this continued until the arrival of Jason and the Argonauts. Phineus promised to instruct them respecting the course they had to take, if they would deliver him from the harpies.
The Boreads, sons of Boreas, the North Wind, who could fly, succeeded in driving off the harpies. According to an ancient oracle, the harpies were to perish by the hands of the Boreades, but the latter were to die if they could not overtake the harpies; the latter fled, but one fell into the river Tigris, hence called Harpys, the other reached the Echinades, as she never returned, the islands were called Strophades. But being worn out with fatigue, she fell down with her pursuer.
The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege; the epic narrative takes up events prophesied for the future, such as Achilles' imminent death and the fall of Troy, although the narrative ends before these events take place. However, as these events are prefigured and alluded to more and more vividly, when it reaches an end the poem has told a more or less complete tale of the Trojan War; the Iliad is paired with something of a sequel, the Odyssey attributed to Homer. Along with the Odyssey, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, its written version is dated to around the 8th century BC.
In the modern vulgate, the Iliad contains 15,693 lines. According to Michael N. Nagler, the Iliad is a more complicated epic poem than the Odyssey. Note: Book numbers are in parentheses and come before the synopsis of the book. After an invocation to the Muses, the story launches in medias res towards the end of the Trojan War between the Trojans and the besieging Greeks. Chryses, a Trojan priest of Apollo, offers the Greeks wealth for the return of his daughter Chryseis, held captive of Agamemnon, the Greek leader. Although most of the Greek army is in favour of the offer, Agamemnon refuses. Chryses prays for Apollo's help, Apollo causes a plague to afflict the Greek army. After nine days of plague, the leader of the Myrmidon contingent, calls an assembly to deal with the problem. Under pressure, Agamemnon agrees to return Chryseis to her father, but decides to take Achilles' captive, Briseis, as compensation. Achilles furiously will go home. Odysseus takes a ship and returns Chryseis to her father, whereupon Apollo ends the plague.
In the meantime, Agamemnon's messengers take Briseis away. Achilles becomes upset, sits by the seashore, prays to his mother, Thetis. Achilles asks his mother to ask Zeus to bring the Greeks to the breaking point by the Trojans, so Agamemnon will realize how much the Greeks need Achilles. Thetis does so, Zeus agrees. Zeus sends a dream to Agamemnon. Agamemnon heeds the dream but first decides to test the Greek army's morale, by telling them to go home; the plan backfires, only the intervention of Odysseus, inspired by Athena, stops a rout. Odysseus confronts and beats Thersites, a common soldier who voices discontent about fighting Agamemnon's war. After a meal, the Greeks deploy in companies upon the Trojan plain; the poet takes the opportunity to describe the provenance of each Greek contingent. When news of the Greek deployment reaches King Priam, the Trojans respond in a sortie upon the plain. In a list similar to that for the Greeks, the poet describes their allies; the armies approach each other, but before they meet, Paris offers to end the war by fighting a duel with Menelaus, urged by his brother and head of the Trojan army, Hector.
While Helen tells Priam about the Greek commanders from the walls of Troy, both sides swear a truce and promise to abide by the outcome of the duel. Paris is beaten, but Aphrodite rescues him and leads him to bed with Helen before Menelaus can kill him. Pressured by Hera's hatred of Troy, Zeus arranges for the Trojan Pandaros to break the truce by wounding Menelaus with an arrow. Agamemnon rouses the Greeks, battle is joined. In the fighting, Diomedes kills many Trojans, including Pandaros, defeats Aeneas, whom Aphrodite rescues, but Diomedes attacks and wounds the goddess. Apollo warns him against warring with gods. Many heroes and commanders join in, including Hector, the gods supporting each side try to influence the battle. Emboldened by Athena, Diomedes wounds puts him out of action. Hector prevents a rout. Hector enters the city, urges prayers and sacrifices, incites Paris to battle, bids his wife Andromache and son Astyanax farewell on the city walls, rejoins the battle. Hector duels with Ajax, but nightfall interrupts the fight, both sides retire.
The Greeks agree to burn their dead, build a wall to protect their ships and camp, while the Trojans quarrel about returning Helen. Paris offers to return the treasure he took and give further wealth as compensation, but not Helen, the offer is refused. A day's truce is agreed for burning the dead, during which the Greeks build their wall and a trench; the next morning, Zeus prohibits the gods from interfering, fighting begins anew. The Trojans prevail and force the Greeks back to their wall, while Hera and Athena are forbidden to help. Night falls, they camp in the field to attack at first light, their watchfires light the plain like stars. Meanwhile, the Greeks are desperate. Agamemnon admits his error, sends an embassy composed of Odysseus, Ajax and two heralds to offer Briseis and extensive gifts to Achilles, who has be