Summary: the Iliad of Homer

Attributing the Iliad Homer (8th century BC) has already nearly three millennia old, dates back at least to the 7th century a. c., and is accepted as not found conclusive arguments against her. Even the division in twenty-four cantos, which undoubtedly dates back, as it has come until today, at the time of the Alexandrian grammarians, probably was not more than a restoration of much older rapsodicas divisions, many of which could be due to the same poet.

The Iliad relates not, as it seems to get rid of the title, the war of Troy or Ilion, but only one episode of it: that of the anger of Achilles. This episode takes place in a very short time, exactly in fifty-one days. Really Angers are two and not one. And the passage from one to the other divides the poem into two parts: the first Achilles decides not to fight anymore; in the second it is thrown back to combat.
Action is the last of the ten years war. A terrible plague invades the achaeans camp: is the God Apollo who hurts men and animals, down from Olympus, with the invisible and deadly darts of the plague. Apollo come as well its Crises priest, to whom the Supreme Chief of the Allied army, Agamemnon, did not want to restore his daughter Chryseis. Agamemnon eventually returns it, but wants compensation, and seizes Briseis, the slave of Achilles. Hence was born the wrath of Achilles, who retires on the shores of the sea, in her shop, and refuses to continue fighting.
Achaeus army was made up of many mesnadas come each with his boss from the regions of continental Greece and the Islands; in total, some hundred and twenty thousand men. Of course, as not to fight Achilles, do not fight nor their soldiers, the myrmidons, formidable tesaliotas come to Thessaly, with Peleus, from the island of Aegina.

Reconstruction of the Homeric Troy
The great battles of the Iliad are four: the first takes place the day twenty-two, and occupies the cantos III-VII (the first is the approach of the poem, while in the second magazine is passed to the two armies). After the promise of Zeus of Achilles, Thetis, mother of Achilles will be Avenged with a serious defeat of the achaeans, it would be natural that we did expect this defeat.
But the achaeans are not defeated, although they are not winners: indeed, the concern of the defeat is in the air throughout the battle, despite the value of Diomedes (fifth voice); so much so that, after the battle, and requested a truce to bury the dead, the achaeans built a wall and a ditch for protection of their ships. Why precisely do to build this wall and this pit in the last year of the war and not before? Because now it is not Achilles; While he was present and he fought, nobody ever thought the walls of Defense need.
The second battle has effect twenty-five day (eighth song). In this the achaeans are defeated, but are not overcomers; and he both persists and deepens the concern of the defeat, the same Agamemnon proposes to send an Embassy to Achilles, present, excuses and promises, to desist from his wrath and go to the fight. The Embassy filled the beautiful ninth canto.
The true and precipitous defeat takes place in the third battle, day 26, which occupies one third of the totality of the poem, from canto XI to XVIII. Starting from Agamemnon, all the best achaean warriors give great value tests; but both Agamemnon and Ulysses and Diomedes are injured. The Trojan hero Hector (son of Priam, King of Troy) has sunk the doors of the bawn; behind it the Trojans are thrown furious, save the pit and arrive at the ships of the achaeans; in these, jumping from one to another, huge, tight, behind the protection of his invincible shield, AJAX attempts to repel the assault. But neither AJAX achieved it. The ship of Protesilaus is burnt.

Achilles mourns over the body of Patroclus
(detail of an oil painting by Gavin Hamilton, c. 1762)
From a corner of the camp, Achilles sees the glow of the fire. But Achilles, store or next to the shore of the sea, is not indifferent to what happens to your around. At a certain point, view Nestor passing next to him in his truck to save a wounded. It assails you curious to know who is, and sends his fraternal friend Patroclo to find out. The wrath of Achilles is about to give up. We are in the middle of the eleventh song in the middle of the poem. Patroclus goes and returns; Achilles asks at least it will put on their armor, and participate in the battle. Achilles allows it. Accompanied by the myrmidons, the soldiers of Achilles, Patroclus battle enters and meets Hector, who gives death. Hector, in glorious victory momentum, strips patroclus of his weapons and is the same with the arms of Achilles.
Then erupts new and fiercest Achilles pain: new and more terrible anger erases and replaces the first. Achilles back to battle. Again, first, despite being unarmed, while Hephaestus, quickly, makes him new ones. It stands on a slope and only proffered a triple cry, and even to horses enemies is raising them of terror long mane, and fleeing to Troy, dragging with them in disorder trucks and armed men.
And we got to the fourth and last battle, on the 27th. Once in possession of the new weapons and gathered the myrmidons, Achilles throws to running through the ranks enemy, seeking only to Hector, and knocking down and killing anyone who comes to pass. Songs twenty and twenty-one are full of the wrath of Achilles. The Trojans have fled to take refuge behind the walls. Only Hector stays outside. And in front of him, finally, Achilles. They look at the Trojans from the walls; look at the achaeans from camp, lined up and immobile as a wall of bronze. And Achilles kills Hector. Traded his fury on compassion by the pleas of King Priam, Achilles agrees to deliver the corpse of his son. Canto XXIII celebrated the funeral of Patroclus; the latter, the funeral of Hector. The poem ends with this Act of mercy, in a feeling of universal mercy and unhappiness.

Priam pleads with Achilles to allow you bury your child
(detail of an oil painting by Gavin Hamilton, c. 1775)
The world presents to us by Homer in the Iliad is an aristocratic world vertebrate around the notion of arete, of excellence. What the Homeric heroes wanted, the motor that moved them, was to highlight, have his day of glory. This glory materialized in the recognition by the group, which granted a geras, a reward for its distinction of symbolic honour. Snatch someone his geras was to deprive him of his honor, his glory. That was the root of the conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles. And this explains the non-arbitrary delinquencies with which the poet describes in the Iliad the aristeiai, the day of glory of the various heroes. This desire to Excel, distinguish, had a correlative in the ambition of an immortality in fame and explains the high consideration of the poet responsible for perpetuating that glory for future generations.
When Aristotle, in the poetics, praised Homer for having known to choose among the numerous mitico-historico material of the Trojan war a particular episode and for having made him the vital center of his poem, not only put forward, as a corollary of his claim that poetry is not history, a fecundisima theoretical truth, but a truth indeed illuminating and explaining the aesthetic keys to the Iliad, first poetic manifestation of the Western world: the poem is great precisely because the instinctive sense that the poet had boundary, moderation and definitive perfection, which are the most obvious cannons what for centuries tend to recognize in poetry called classic.
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