The Iliad and The Odyssey were two epics written by Homer. Little is known about
Homer. Some say he was a blind man from the island of Chios. He used the recently learned
Greek alphabet to write down stories in about 700 B. C. . He probably didn't invent the
stories. Instead he wrote down stories that had been passed down for hundreds of years.
The Iliad tells about the Trojan War. The Odyssey is the adventure of how King Odysseus
got home from the Trojan War after wandering for ten years. These two poems became very
popular in Greece. The Greeks memorized large portions of Homer's writings in school.
Others repeated portions in conversation to prove their points on particular issues.
The Iliad begins in the tenth year of
the Trojan War. The poem begins with a fight between the leader of the Greeks, King
Agamemnon of Mycenae, and the Greeks' best fighter, King Achilles. The Greeks had won the
battle and were splitting up their booty. Achilles got a beautiful slave named Briseis as
part of his reward. Agamemnon decided he wanted Briseis. He took her from Achilles.
Achilles became so angry over this that he refused to fight for the Greeks anymore.
Without Achilles the Greeks began losing battles. Finally Patroclos, Achilles' best
friend, thought of an idea. He put on Achilles' armor and went out to fight. The Greeks
won the battle, but Patroclos was killed. When Achilles learned of Patroclos's death, he
agreed to fight again. The Greeks started to win. Troy's best fighter came out to fight
Achilles. In a grueling fight, Achilles killed Hector. Hector's father, King Priam, asked
Achilles for his son's body, and Achilles gave it to him.
Achilles was a half-god. He only had one
weakness, his heal. His mother had dipped him in a sacred river to make him invincible.
While doing so she held him by his heel. This left Achilles' heel unprotected. Achilles
was the strongest and best fighter in The Iliad.
Helen of Troy
The Trojan War was fought during the
Mycenaean Civilization, 1600 - 1100 B. C. Helen was married to King Menelaus of Sparta.
Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy, fell in love with her. Paris kidnapped Helen.
Menelaus's brother was the King of Mycenae. His name was Agamemnon. Agamenon was angered
by the kidnapping. He raised a great army of Greek warriors. The army sailed to Troy. The
Greeks fought the Trojans for ten years.
The Trojan Horse
Odysseus was the King of Ithaca. They
were allies of Menelaus. He grew tired of the fighting and thought up a brilliant plan to
to overthrow the Trojans. Odysseus had his men build a huge wooden horse. They took it to
the gates of Troy. The Trojans were unaware that the Greek army was hidden inside the
hollow horse. During the night, they slipped out of the horse and opened the gates to the
city. The rest of the Greek warriors entered the city and were able to beat the Trojans.
King Priam was killed. The Greeks also took many slaves. They burned Troy. The Greeks were
able to return Helen to Menelaus.
The Odyssey is the story of King
Odysseus's return trip home from the Trojan War to his kingdom of Ithaca. The gods were
angry and Odyssey had a lot of trouble getting home. He sailed from Troy with many ships
filled with gold, slaves, and other treasures he had taken from Troy. He ran into trouble
with the first island he stopped at on his way home. Poseidon, the god of the sea, gave
him trouble the rest of the way.
Odyesseus Slaying the
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|Even after he reached his home he found
that his house had been taken over by suitors who wanted to marry his wife Penelope. With
the help of his son Telemachus, Odysseus killed all the suitors. He was finally able to
rule his kingdom with Penelope.
Odysseus and the Cyclops
The journey home from the Trojan War was
a dangerous one for Odysseus. In one adventure he and his men were captured by a Cyclops.
This was a one-eyed giant who ate people.
Odysseus was able to trick the Cyclops
into getting drunk. He and his men were able to blind the Cyclops with a sharpened wooden
stake. The Greeks then escaped by tying themselves to the undersides of the Cyclops'