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The fighting on the plains continues and Diomedes meets Glaucus, but instead of fighting, these two champions have a chat and realise they are of mutual descent. They exchange some gifts of armour and part as friends, a little oasis of humanity in the pitiless desert of war. Meanwhile, inside Troy, we meet Hector's wife Andromache to remind us that the Trojans are not dissimilar to the Greeks and their women are equally worried for the future.

Hector, 'tamer of horses,' son of king Priam and greatest Trojan warrior, challenges any Greek to combat. Agamemnon persuades Menelaus not to accept, and instead, Ajax, having drawn lots for the honour, marches out to meet the prince. The pair clash but without a decisive blow, and Ajax proves the master. Darkness then calls a halt to the fight and they part, once again loaded down with gifts. The next day a truce is called so that the dead can be gathered and cremated.

Slightly fed up that the war has not ended by now, Zeus absolutely forbids the gods to intervene this day. Hector is magnificent and leads his army in a rousing charge which pens the Greeks back behind their fortified camp by the shore. Hector camps his army outside the city, such is his confidence in total victory the next day. Book 9 — Achilles Refuses Agamemnon's Appeal. Things look so bad that Agamemnon considers throwing in the towel and sailing home, but he is persuaded to try and tempt Achilles to rejoin the fight by offering him a mass of treasure. Odysseus wily king of Ithaca and especially smooth talker leads Phoenix and Ajax who all tell Achilles to think of the men, their suffering, and the glory he can win.

Achilles refuses and now loses the moral high ground.


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His pride will cost many lives. A sort of intermission where both sides hold a meeting and decide to send spies into the enemy camp to check out their positions and weaknesses. The Greeks come out of their camp fighting as never before and drive the Trojans back to Troy, but then the tide swings and the Greeks are forced to retreat with many wounded, including Agamemnon and Odysseus.

The Trojans, with Hector and Sarpedon leading the way, break down the walls and smash the gate of the Greek camp. The Greeks panic and flee for their ships. To keep the momentum with the Greeks, Hera, with the help of Aphrodite, distracts and seduces Zeus on Mt. Hector, meanwhile, is injured by a rock thrown by the now less-than-friendly Ajax. Zeus awakens to see the Trojans in peril and forbids any more intervention from Poseidon.

Apollo joins the fighting, and with his help, the Trojans once more drive the Greeks back into their camp. Hector, enjoying his best day of the war, leads his men to the ships and calls for fire to set them all ablaze. A key book. Patroclus, best friend of Achilles, remembers the advice of Nestor and begs the great warrior to join the fighting and, if not, then allow him to lead the fearsome Myrmidons wearing Achilles' armour.

Achilles consents and the fate of his friend and his own is now sealed. The Myrmidons manage to put out the fire amongst the ships, and Patroclus even kills Sarpedon but then rashly charges the Trojans back to Troy. Apollo intervenes and strikes the hero's armour from his body, and he is killed by the spear of Hector.

SparkNotes: The Iliad

Now Achilles will be really angry. Troy's fate is also sealed this day. The two sides fight for the body of Patroclus, but the Trojans win and strip his body. Hector dons the armour of Achilles, but the Greeks renew their efforts and finally manage to take the naked corpse back to their camp for proper burial. Achilles is told of the death of his friend and is predictably livid. He swears revenge on Hector. To fight, though, he needs armour, and this is promised him by his mother Thetis who enlists the master craftsman god Hephaistos.

There follows a lengthy description of Achilles' new shield which is decorated with a myriad of fantastic scenes. Agamemnon and Achilles are reconciled and everyone has a big feast before the big battle of the 'morrow. Achilles knows now that he will die, and it will be at the hands of Paris and Apollo, but revenge drives him on undeterred. Zeus calls for the gods to take their places in the coming battle. Battle commences on the plains.


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  6. Achilles sweeps all before him, but Hector is saved from a confrontation by Apollo who whisks him away in a cloud. Achilles is still chopping away at the Trojans and bags himself 12 captives to slaughter later at the funeral of Patroclus. He drives so many of the enemy into the river Xanthos that the river god rises in indignation and chases Achilles back to the Greek camp. The gods begin fighting each other in a painless and inconsequential parody of the more brutal battle on the plain.

    Meanwhile, the Trojans are driven back, and all flee into their city, all except one: Hector, who makes a stands at the Skaian Gates.

    How It All Goes Down

    Hector, blaming himself for his own stupidity and camping out on the plains instead of safely inside the city walls, prepares to meet his fate. Priam bites his fingernails from the walls of Troy as he sees Achilles approach in his gleaming armour. Not only does the Iliad put the act into action, but it puts the philosophy in there, too. Bad Guys bit of disposable nothing. For instance, why fight at all? Why not just sit around and wait for the war to end or for death or whatever else is coming down the pike?

    Yeah, probably. Leading to the deaths of a lot of others? Um… maybe not. See what we mean? Through question after question, through fight after fight, the Iliad is slowly working out the ethics of war, the morals of individuals, and how our individual humanity fits into the greater social fabric. But, you know, with a lot of awesome gore and people totally getting stabbed through the eyeballs and stuff. All rights reserved. The Iliad Introduction.

    The Iliad - what is it really about?

    Cite This Page. Logging out…. Logging out You've been inactive for a while, logging you out in a few seconds I'm Still Here! W hy's T his F unny? Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the great epic poem attributed to Homer, telling the story of an intense episode in the Trojan War. It is framed by the wrath of the Greek hero Achilles, insulted by his leader Agamemnon and withdrawing from the battle that continued to rage, only returning when his close friend Patroclus is killed by the Trojan hero Hector.

    Battle Lines

    Achilles turns his anger from Agamemnon to Hector and the fated destruction of Troy comes ever closer. Paul Cartledge A. See all episodes from In Our Time. Paul Cartledge at the University of Cambridge. Barbara Graziosi at Princeton University. Emlyn-Jones, L.

    Hardwick and J. Robert Fowler ed. James M. Seth L. Popular culture, poetry, music and visual arts and the roles they play in our society. This episode is related to Public domain books.


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