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Free Study Guide-The Iliad by Homer-Free Online Book Notes Summary
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CHARACTER LIST

(Note to Students: the spelling of the names of the Greeks, Trojans, and gods will vary from translation to translation. You should check the spellings given below against the spelling in the translation you have used.)

MAJOR CHARACTERS

Achilles

The son of Peleus, king of the Myrmidons, and the sea goddess Thetis. Achilles and the Myrmidons come to Troy as part of the Greek expedition led by King Agamemnon.

Aeneas

A brave warrior and the second in command, behind Hector, of the Trojan forces. The son of Aphrodite, he is often protected by her.

Agamemnon

King of Argos and leader of the total Greek force against Troy. He is the son of Atreus and the brother of Menelaos, King of Sparta.

Alexandros

The name used in the poem for Paris, the Trojan who is largely responsible for the war. He is the son of Hecube and Priam. He abducted Helen from Menelaos' palace in Sparta. In doing this, he brought ruin to himself and his people. Hector accuses him of being cowardly and of going gone mad over his lust for women.

Athena

The daughter of Zeus and the protector of the Greeks, but especially of Achilles, Diomedes, and Odysseus. She is the goddess of wisdom.


Diomedes

The son of Tydeus and Deipylos who succeeded Adrestos as king of Argos. He comes to Troy with eighty ships and is, next to Achilles, the bravest hero of the Greek army. A perfect gentleman, he is known for his wisdom and courteous ways.

Hades

The god of the underworld and brother of Zeus and Poseidon.

Hector

The Prince of Troy. He is the son of Priam (the King of Troy) and Hecube, and the brother of Paris. A brave and noble warrior, he is the leader of all the Trojan forces. He is eventually slain by Achilles.

Helen

The daughter of Zeus and Leda and originally the wife of Menelaos, King of Sparta. Seduced by Paris and under the influence of Aphrodite, she sailed with him to his homeland and there became his lover. After the death of Paris, she married Deiphobos. After the capture of Troy, she reconciled with Menelaos and returned with him to Sparta to be his wife once again.

Hera

The wife of Zeus and also his sister. She fights vigorously for the Greeks, seeing the destruction of Troy.

Menelaos

King of Sparta and brother of Agamemnon. His wife, the beautiful Helen, is abducted by Paris of Troy. In order to take vengeance upon the abductor, Menelaos and his brother gathered the Greek forces and sailed against Troy.

Poseidon

Brother of Zeus and Hades, he is the god of the sea. Poseidon usually aids the Greeks. However, on one occasion, he saves the life of Aeneas, a Trojan.

Priam

The King of Troy and the father of Hector, Paris, and forty-eight other sons. Although he is too old to fight, he is still courageous, as seen when he travels to a Greek camp to ransom the body of Hector.

Sarpedon

The son of Zeus and Laodameia, who is killed by Patroclos. When Zeus sees Sarpedon in danger, he debates the possibility of altering his son's fate, but Hera will not allow it.

Thetis

Wife of Peleus and mother of Achilles. Thetis is a sea goddess, the daughter of Nireus. She is able to influence Zeus on Achilles' behalf, for she has previously done him a favor.

Zeus

The son of Cronos and the king of the immortals. He is the brother and consort of Hera and the brother of Poseidon and Hades.

MINOR CHARACTERS

THE ACHAEANS (GREEKS) AND THEIR ALLIES

Admetos

The king of Thessaly and the father of Eumelos.

Aias

The name given to two heroes in The Iliad. The greater Aias is the son of Telamon, king of Salamii. This strong and courageous warrior is also known as Ajax. The second Aias is the son of Odios, king of Locris. Although he is a brave warrior, he is filled with conceit.

Amphimachos

One of the leaders of the Greek allies, the Epeians, who is killed by Hector.

Antilochos

The brave son of Nestor and one of the more important fighters on the Greek side. He takes part in the chariot race in Book XXIII and fouls the chariot of Menelaos.

Automedon

The charioteer of Achilles and Patroclos. He drives the horses of Achilles after Patroclos is slain by Hector.

Batieians

The people of Batieia, located in central Greece.

Calchas

A soothsayer for the Greeks. He tells Achilles that the plague has been caused by Agamemnon's refusal to return Chryseis to her father.

Clytemnestra

The wife of Agamemnon. Upon his return to Argos, Agamemnon is slain by Clytemnestra, ostensibly because of the sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia.

Danaans

Another name used by Homer to refer to the total Greek force.

Eumelos

The son of Admets and Alcestis who takes part in the chariot race during the games for Patroclos.

Eurybates

One of Agamemnon's heralds.

Idomeneus

Leader of the Cretan force against Troy and one of the bravest warriors on the Greek side.

Laodameia

The wife of Protesilaos, the first Greek slain on Trojan soil. Hermes brought the shade of Protesilaos back to earth so that his wife might speak with him; then Protesilaos died the second time and Laodameia died with him.

Archeptolemos

The charioteer of Hector who is killed by Teueros in Book VIII.

Asios

A Trojan ally who is killed by Idomeneus at the Greek wall.

Astyanax

The young son of Hector and Andromache, sometimes called Scamandoris.

Bellerophontes

The grandfather of Sarpedon and Glaucus. He once visited the home of Diomedes' grandfather, leading to a pledge of friendship between Diomedes (a Greek) and Glaucus (a Trojan).

Briseis

The daughter of Briseos of Lyrnessus. She was taken as captive prize by Achilles, but was later seized by Agamemnon to replace his lost Chryseis.

Cassandra

The daughter of King Priam who is endowed with the gift of prophecy. This gift was given her by Apollo with the stipulation that she would submit to his physical desires. When she refused the god, he punished her by ordaining that no one should believe her prophecies.

Cebriones

The brother of Hector who is killed by Patroclos.

Chryseis

The daughter of Chryses, priest of Apollo. Chryseis was the captive prize of Agamemnon, but was returned to her father after the plague of Apollo came upon the Greek forces. As a replacement, the king took Briseis, the captive of Achilles.

Chryses

The priest of Apollo and the father of Chryseis.

Dardanos

The son of Zeus and Electra and the mythical ancestor of the Trojans.

Dares

The priest of Hephaistos in Troy and the father of Idaeus.

Deiphobos

The son of Priam and Hecube. He married Helen after the death of Paris. After the capture of Troy, Deiphobos is slain by Menelaos.

Dolon

The Trojan spy who, in Book X, is killed by Diomedes and Odysseus.

Glaucus

Second in command of the Lycians, who are allied with Troy. He forms a friendship pact with Diomedes, the Greek hero.

Hecube (also spelled Hekuba)

The wife of King Priam and the mother of Hector and Alexandros.

Helenos

The son of Priam and Hecube. He is known for his prophetic powers.

Laodice

The daughter of Priam and Hecube in whose form Aphrodite appears to Helen.

Pandaros

A Lycian archer who, according to Homer, has the heart of a fool. Athena uses this Trojan ally to break the peace treaty between the Greeks and the Trojans. She causes him to shoot an arrow at Menelaos, injuring him.

Podes

The friend of Hector who is killed by Menelaos.

Polites

One of the sons of Priam.

Polydora

The youngest son of Priam and Laothoe. He is slain by Achilles.

Poulydamas

A Trojan warrior who frequently counsels Hector.

Rhesos

A king of Thrace and an ally of Troy.

Scamandros

Another name for Astyanax, the son of Hector and Andromache. The name also refers to a Trojan warrior killed by Menelaos.

Tros

The father of Ilos and the ancestor of the Trojan kings.

GODS (IMMORTALS)

Aphrodite

The goddess of love. She is the daughter of Zeus and Dione and the mother of Aeneas, the Trojan warrior. She protects the Trojans during the war, especially her son, Paris, and Helen.

Apollo

The son of Zeus and Leto, he is the god of music, poetry, healing, and civil constitutions. He is the chief protector of the Trojans, although he seems to concentrate on Hector.

Ares

The son of Zeus and Hera and the lover of Aphrodite, he is the god of war, detested by the other immortals. He fights on the Trojan side and is wounded by Diomedes and Athena.

Artemis

The daughter of Zeus, she is the goddess of hunting who supports the Trojans.

Asclepios

The god of medicine, who is betrayed by Homer as the "blameless physician." His sons, Machaon and Podaleirios, are the chief physicians of the Greeks.

Athena

The daughter of Zeus and the goddess of logic and wisdom. She supports the Greeks throughout the fighting.

Briareos

The hundred-handed giant who, with Thetis, aided Zeus when the other gods were in rebellion.

Cronos

The father of Zeus who was dethroned by his son.

Dione

The mother of Aphrodite by Zeus.

Enyo

The goddess of war who accompanies Ares in battle.

Hebe

The goddess of youth and the cupbearer of the gods.

Hephaistos

According to Homer this god is the son of Hera and Zeus, but later tradition states that Hera gave birth to him independent of Zeus. He is the god of fire and sides with the Greeks.

Hermes

The son of Zeus and Maia. He is the herald and ambassador of the gods. He guides Priam to the tent of Achilles.

Iris

A messenger of the gods.

Leto

The mother of Apollo and Artemis by Zeus. Incurring the wrath of the jealous Hera, she was forced to take refuge on the island of Delos, where she gave birth to her two children.

Nereus

He is an old god of the sea and the father of Thetis, the mother of Achilles.

Persephoneia

The wife of Hades, King of the underworld.

Phoibos

Epithet of Apollo, meaning "bright" or "pure".

Rheia

The mother of Zeus by Cronus.

Xanthos

The son of Zeus, he is the god of one of the rivers in Troy and fights against Achilles.

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