A STEP BEYOND
TESTS AND ANSWERS
_____ 1. The Iliad starts with
A. a description of the Trojan horse
_____ 2. Agamemnon's camp suffered a plague because of
B. an invocation to the muse of poetry
C. the quarrel between Agamemnon and Menelaos
A. Achilleus' jealousy
_____ 3. Homer opens his poem
B. Apollo's anger
C. Poseidon's interference
A. with a detailed background of the Trojan War
_____ 4. One thing apparent about Homer's gods was that
B. with Thetis' visit to Zeus on Mount Olympos
C. in the ninth year of the Trojan War
A. they were all equally powerful
_____ 5. In Book II the army's desertion was halted through the efforts of
B. they possessed exaggerated human characteristics
C. they were always treated seriously in poetry
A. I and II only
_____ 6. The Book II survey of the Achaian host is generally referred to as
B. I and III only
C. II and III only
A. "The Shield of the Brave"
_____ 7. Achilleus' flaw was
B. "The High and the Mighty"
C. "The Catalog of Ships"
A. in his heels
_____ 8. Paris agreed to a duel with Menelaos after
B. his passionate pride
C. his inability to think strategically
A. he saw Helen's face
_____ 9. Homer's technique with the beautiful Helen was to
B. a lecture from Hektor
C. Aphrodite's intervention
A. describe her face in loving detail
_____ 10. The destruction of Troy could be traced to
B. refrain from detailed description
C. convert its one blemish into an asset
A. the ill will of Hera, queen of the gods
B. Agamemnon's breaking of the truce
C. Pandaros' failed attempt on Agamemnon's life
11. What is the cause of Achilleus' wrath? Describe the event and the reasoning behind his reactions.
(See Book I and Book IX.)
12. What are Homeric epithets? Describe their use. (See the Introduction.)
13. Who is the real hero of the Iliad?
_____ 1. Book V, which describes the furious battles, has been called
A. the Aeneid
_____ 2. When lots were cast to find an opponent for Hector, the winner was
B. the Diomedeia
C. the Achaian Epic
A. Telemonian Aias
_____ 3. Odysseus attempts to reconcile Achilleus by
A. promising eternal fealty to the hero
_____ 4. The bad omen identified by Polydoros was
B. offering him the ship he had admired
C. revising Agamemnon's message
A. the eagle with the serpent in its claws
_____ 5. Achilleus' fatal decision was to
B. the raven beneath the coat of mail
C. the albatross perched on the wall
A. allow Patroklos to wear his armor
_____ 6. Achilleus' imminent death was prophesied by
B. defy Zeus in front of the other gods
C. disguise himself as a Myrmidon
A. a horse
_____ 7. Homer offers a symbolic episode in
B. a blind seer
C. the weeping Briseis
A. the wailing of Priam and Hekabe
_____ 8. Before his classic battle with Achilleus, Hektor
B. the battle between Achilleus and the river god
C. Poseidon's assistance of the Argives
A. prayed to Athene
_____ 9. The beginning and end of this epic poem
B. fled in fear
C. asked his mother's blessing
A. shed light on Achilleus' development
_____ 10. The Iliad concludes with
B. show the lighter side of the gods on Mount Olympos
C. reveal Homer's concern for justice
A. an elaborate funeral banquet
B. the somber predictions of the gods
C. the plans for the Trojan horse
11. Describe the use and range of similes in the Iliad. (See the Introduction.)
12. Describe the character of Nestor. What makes his speeches so special? (See Major Characters,
Book XI, The Critics.)
13. Would you say the Iliad is a prowar or antiwar poem?
11. Because of a plague sent by Apollo, Agamemnon is forced to return a girl, Chryseis, he had taken
as a war prize. To compensate for this loss- and the accompanying loss of face- Agamemnon takes
Achilleus' prize, Briseis, away from him. Achilleus feels this is an attack on the code of honor by which
warriors fight. They take great risk to prove themselves courageous in battle, and the prizes they receive
are one indication of how nobly they perform. He is also shamed at being singled out among the Achaians
for this stripping and is embarrassed that it is done in front of everyone. He reasons that the war is being
fought over a woman who was taken from one man by another (Paris ran away with Helen, who was
married to Menelaos) and feels his situation ought to be accorded the same respect. After all, what is the
value of the heroic code if it can be subverted by one man's spur-of-the-moment decision?
12. Epithets are short characteristic phrases that describe a quality or skill or position of someone.
Some examples are "the lord of men" (Agamemnon); "good at the war cry"
(Diomedes); and "swift-footed" (Achilleus). Epithets may be remnants of a previous oral
tradition handed down intact to Homer. They are used partially to fill out the meter of the poem and
sometimes are given to characters because they fit the metrical pattern of their names. They add a heroic
dimension to the characters they describe, and the repetition of these qualities enlarges them over the
course of the poem.
13. a. The true hero of the poem is Achilleus. He is the most important warrior, and the whole plot
hinges on his anger and its consequences. Although he doesn't appear in most of the poem, his influence
is felt throughout it. He is the one character actually to undergo change, and that is the theme of the Iliad.
After he is finally made to recognize that his pride has gone too far, he tempers his anger by reaching out
to Priam in peace.
b. Hektor is the hero of the Iliad. The noblest and purest of the characters, he fights for a cause he
doesn't really believe in, because he is defending his home. He is a great warrior but also a peace-loving,
domestic man, as shown by his love for his parents, wife, and children.
c. Homer believes Achilleus and Hektor are both heroes. They perform gloriously, and each represents
the power of his respective army. But both are also human: Achilleus' grief transforms him and shows his
emotional depth; Hektor's love of family shows his humane side.
11. Similes are a poetic means by which Homer can take us out of the war at hand and bring in other
aspects of life to expand his canvas. Often the scenes come from peaceful and domestic activities back
home, reminding us of the virtues war is fighting for and providing a kind of encyclopedia of information
on Greek life. Often the similes compare warriors to animals on the hunt, and this exposes the underside
of brutality and inhumanness that war brings out in people. Also, similes frequently refer to natural
powers like storms and tidal waves. This makes the stakes of the battles seem larger, as if two warriors
fighting represented elemental battles of the universe.
12. Nestor is portrayed as the elder statesman of the Achaians. Even though he can no longer fight the
way he used to, he certainly can tell us about the way he used to fight. His speeches are long-winded and
he tends to wander a bit because of age, but his elaborate tales always have a purpose. By drawing on
either his own past exploits or those of legendary heroes, he seeks to provide moral examples to his
friends. The past serves as a model for present behavior.
13. a. The Iliad clearly shows the horror of war. On the battlefield we see mutilation of bodies
graphically presented again and again. The pictures of life at Troy are filled with lamentation and grief
over the fallen Trojan heroes. Great heroes on both sides die- Patroklos for the Achaians and Hektor for
the Trojans. Both losses are felt strongly by Achilleus and the house of Priam, respectively. The cause of
the war is not described with approval, and in the end the slaughter seems needless.
b. The Iliad, in spite of its graphic battle descriptions, glorifies war. Achilleus and Hektor, the greatest
fighters for either side, are presented as heroes with almost divine power. They are noble warriors
fighting for a code of honor, upholding their social traditions. By and large the warriors are depicted as
great and glorious men, performing fantastic and heroic feats. Though they die, they die for their ideals.
[The Iliad Contents]
TERM PAPER IDEAS
- What are the character differences between Achilleus and Odysseus, and what have they come to
stand for in history?
- What is the Doloneia?
- Describe Homer's attitude toward the character of Paris.
- What is the term aristeia, and to whom does it refer?
- Why does Agamemnon take Briseis away from Achilleus?
- What is the plan of Zeus, and how does it affect the poem?
- Why do Hera and Athene support the Achaians?
- What is the teichoscopeia?
- Explain the significance of stripping a corpse of its armor. How does Homer use such an event?
- Describe the heroic code of honor.
- What is the aegis?
- What is the significance of the scene at Troy in Book VI?
- In terms of the plot of the Iliad, what happens when so many of the Achaian leaders are wounded
in Book XI?
- How does shaming operate in the Iliad?
- How do we learn of domestic life other than that at Troy?
- "Patroklos is a sacrificial victim." Explain.
- What is the theomachia?
- What is ate, and which characters are primarily related to it?
- Explain the significance of the fight between Achilleus and the river Xanthos.
- What do the funeral rites and games for Patroklos tell us about the world of the Iliad?
- Do you feel Achilleus is right or wrong to be so angry at Agamemnon? Explain.
- What relationship does Poulydamas have to Hektor?
- Aphrodite and Helen exchange sharp words in Book III. What is the significance of their
- What forces Achilleus finally to reenter the war?
- Explain the significance- for Achilleus and for the poem- of Achilleus' return of Hektor's body to
[The Iliad Contents]
- One of Homer's three interchangeable terms for Greeks (also Argives, Danaans).
- Greek hero, son of Peleus and Thetis. A great warrior, possessed of fierce ideals and
- Trojan warrior taken by Menelaos and Agamemnon, but denied ransom and killed.
- The powerful shield used by Athene and Zeus, derived from a thundercloud.
- Commander-in-chief of the Greek forces, king of Mykenai.
- Trojan warrior, killed by Achilleus.
- Another name for Achilleus, meaning "descendant of Aiakos."
- Plural name for the two Greek warriors named Aias.
- Son of Telemon (Telemonian Aias), a huge Greek warrior; also the son of Oileus, another
- Major Trojan warrior. Virgil named his epic, The Aeneid, after him.
- Another name for Paris, Trojan prince, instigator of the war due to his capture of
- Trojan elder, who urges the return of Helen.
- Son of Nestor, a Greek warrior. Figures heavily in the funeral games for Patroklos.
- Goddess of love and beauty, guider of Helen.
- Archer god, main protector of the Trojans.
- Furious god of war, often war itself.
- Another name for Hermes, who guides Priam to the Achaian camp.
- One of three interchangeable terms for the Greeks (also Danaans, Achaians).
- A Greek city, domain of Diomedes.
- The point at which a hero displays his most intense courage and valor.
- Goddess of the hunt, Trojan supporter.
- Son of Ares.
- Child of Hektor and Andromache.
- Moral or spiritual blindness that overtakes a character and causes ill judgment.
- Wise goddess of war, protectress of Achilleus and one of the main Greek supporters.
- Another name for Agamemnon usually, but also for Menelaos; means "son of
- Captive girl originally awarded to Achilleus but taken by Agamemnon, precipitating the
"wrath of Achilleus."
- CATALOG OF SHIPS
- Long descriptive passage in Book II outlining all the battle contingents at
- Captive girl taken by Agamemnon. Apollo forces him to return her by sending a plague
on the Greek forces.
- Father of Chryseis, priest of Apollo.
- DACTYLIC HEXAMETER
- The metrical form used by Homer in his epic poems, consisting of six
feet of variable quantity.
- One of three interchangeable terms for the Greeks (also Argives, Achaians).
- Trojan contingent headed by Aineias.
- DECEPTION OF ZEUS
- Passage in Book XIV in which Hera seduces Zeus.
- Brother of Hektor.
- Great Greek warrior, son of Tydeus (sometimes referred to as Tydeides). Book V is
often called the Diomedeia because of his powerful exploits.
- Trojan spy caught by Diomedes and Odysseus in Book X, which is called the Doloneia after
- EPIC CYCLE
- Group of poems by various authors that make up the entire story of the Trojan War.
- Short descriptive term used by Homer to describe a character, frequently repeated
throughout the poem.
- Goddess of strife.
- Love-power governed by Aphrodite.
- Trojan warrior, killed by Menelaos. His death in Book XVII is described in a famous
- Greek warrior, wounded in battle.
- Trojan warrior, ancestral friend of Diomedes, who spares his life.
- Ruler of the underworld, brother of Zeus and Poseidon.
- Wife of Priam, mother of Hektor.
- Greatest and most beloved Trojan warrior, arch enemy of Achilleus, son of Priam and
Hekabe, husband of Andromache.
- Beautiful woman; wife of Menelaos but mistress of Paris. The Trojan War is fought on her
- Trojan warrior, brother of Hektor.
- Lame god of the blacksmith's art, creator of divine armor for Achilleus.
- Ever-scheming and powerful goddess; wife of Zeus, major defender of the Greek cause.
- Also called Argeiphontes, god who protects Priam.
- HOMERIC HYMNS
- Group of narrative poems sometimes attributed to Homer.
- Divine substance that runs through the immortals' veins instead of blood.
- Large mountain near Troy.
- A herald of Priam.
- Kretan commander, a great Greek fighter.
- Another name for Troy, from which the Iliad gets its name.
- Messenger of Zeus.
- Soothsayer for the Greeks.
- Trojan warrior killed by Patroklos, sparking a fierce battle over his body.
- Largest of the Greek islands, whose forces are led by Idomeneus.
- One of the ancient Greek gods, overthrown by Zeus, his son.
- Mother of Helen, perhaps by mating with Zeus in the form of a swan.
- Trojan warrior, killed by Achilleus.
- Physician for the Greeks.
- The "Gorgon": snake-haired creature whose severed head stared from the
- Large Greek room.
- Legendary hero whose story is used by Phoinix to persuade Achilleus to fight.
- Ruler of Sparta, brother of Agamemnon, cuckolded husband of Helen.
- Father of Patroklos.
- Greek fighter, companion of Idomeneus.
- One of the nine goddesses who inspire the various arts, invoked by Homer to begin the Iliad.
- Powerful Greek city, ruled by Agamemnon.
- Greek contingent led by Achilleus.
- Sea nymphs, companions of Thetis, daughters of Nereus.
- Elder statesman of the Greeks, a great talker.
- Brilliant Greek warrior and counselor. His travels home from the war are the subject of
Homer's epic, the Odyssey.
- Father of one of the fighters called Aias.
- Primal waters surrounding the world, depicted on the divine shield of Achilleus.
- Mountainous abode of the immortals.
- Trojan warrior who breaks the truce in Book IV.
- Another name for Alexandros, Trojan prince.
- Greek commander, comrade of Achilleus, whose death causes Achilleus to reenter the
- Father of Achilleus.
- An elder of the Greeks, old friend of Achilleus.
- Son of Priam, killed by Achilleus.
- Fierce god of the sea and of earthquakes, brother of Zeus and Hades, defender of the
- Trojan warrior and friend of Hektor.
- King of Troy, father of Hektor and many others.
- Greek city, domain of Nestor.
- Ancient Greek singer who recited epics.
- Trojan ally, killed by Diomedes; possessor of great horses.
- Son of Zeus, a Trojan fighter whose death almost causes Zeus to intervene.
- SKAIAN GATES
- Landmark gates before the walls of Troy.
- River that crosses the plain of Troy (also called the plain of Skamandros). Also
referred to as Xanthos.
- Greek city, home of Menelaos.
- "View from the wall": referring to Helen's description of the Greek
forces as seen from the Trojan walls.
- Father of one of the Greek fighters called Aias.
- Younger brother of Telemonian Aias, a great archer.
- "Battle of the gods": referring to the immortals' fight in Book XXI.
- Offensive Greek fighter; a buffoon and a whiner.
- Sea goddess, mother of Achilleus.
- Walled city on the coast of Turkey; also called Ilion.
- Father of Diomedes; sometimes referred to as Tydeides.
- Father, perhaps, of Helen.
- Another name for the river Skamandros.
- Most powerful of the immortals, a thunder-and-lightning sky god. His plan outlines the plot of
THE STORY, continued
[The Iliad Contents] [PinkMonkey.com]
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