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Homer lived in one of the Greek cities on the Ionian coast of Turkey- probably Smyrna (present day Izmir). He collected and then wrote down stories of the Trojan War. The war had been fought just up the coast at Troy some four hundred before Homer lived. These stories had been told for hundreds of years. They had been recited by great oral poets, storytellers, who were honored by their society for their ability to know by heart thousands of lines of the whole long story of Troy. Homer’s decision to write down these stories is one of the most important moments in all of Western Civilization. It heralds the transformation of the older oral culture to the new culture of writing. And it preserved the text of The Iliad for us.


Homer Chrono


3000 Origins of Minoan civilization on Crete. Time of Homer's "Golden Age," Older than his own Ionian Greek civilization.
1700 Invention of Chariot Warfare. Invasion of Bronze Age Charioteers, come from Russia/Ukraine down into Greece
1300 Creation of Mycenaean civilization in mainland Greece. Agamemnon, Menelaus, Helen.
1250 Agamemnon at Mycenae, Theseus at Athens. Oedipus at Thebes, Minos at Cnossus (Daedalus and Icarus in Labyrinth).
1200 Troy flourishes.Age of Homeric Heroes, Achilles, Agamemnon.
1198-1188 Trojan War, Fall of Troy. (In 2008, scientists Marcelo O. Magnasco and Constantino Baikouzis at Rockefeller University used clues in the text and astronomical data to attempt to pinpoint the time of Odysseus's return from his journey after the Trojan War. The first clue is Odysseus' sighting of Venus just before dawn as he arrives on Ithaca. The second is a new moon on the night before the massacre of the Suitors. The final clue is a total eclipse, falling over Ithaca around noon, when Penelope's Suitors sit down for their noon meal. The seer Theoclymenus approaches the Suitors and foretells their death, saying, "The Sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world." The problem with this is that the 'eclipse' is only seen by Theoclymenus, and the Suitors toss him out, calling him mad. No one else sees the sky darken, and it is therefore not actually described as an eclipse within the story, merely a vision by Theoclymenus. Doctors Baikouzis and Magnasco state that "[t]he odds that purely fictional references to these phenomena (so hard to satisfy simultaneously) would coincide by accident with the only eclipse of the century are minute." They conclude that these three astronomical references "'cohere' in the sense that the astronomical phenomena pinpoint the date of 16 April 1178 BC" as the most likely date of Odysseus' return. This dating places the destruction of Troy, ten years before, to 1188 BC, which is close to the archaeologically dated destruction of Troy VIIa circa 1190 BC.
1100 Destruction of Mycenaean palaces & Minoan civ. New invaders(Dorians). Greek refugees from invasions leave central Greece. Move east across Aegean. Refugees establish colonies on the coast of Turkey (Ionia) .SUPREMACY OF TERRITORIALITY. Unique principle for political organization. Other organizing ideas: Egypt, Mesopotamia and India.
1000 Refugees fleeing Dorian invaders. Establish Ionian colonies.Miletus, Smyrna, Ephesus etc.
776 First Panhellenic games at Olympia. First Olympics. First definite date in Greek history.
750 Homer (writing in Ionia) memorializes Mycenaean civ. Agamemnon, Odysseus, Achilles, Paris, Helen, Hector. Battle of nearby Troy (north up the Ionian -Turkish- coast).
594 Solon's legal revolution.constitutional reform of Athens.
585 Thales of Miletus (Ionia), first scientist of natural world.
550 Miletus in Ionia on coast of Turkey richest Greek city of all. Ionia more advanced than mainland Greece(Athens).
525 Pythagoras of Samos (mathematics). Birth of Aeschylus.
499 Ionian Greek cities rebel against Persian overlord. Destroyed in ensuing war against powerful Persian empire. End of great Ionian Greek cultural centers.Mainland Greece(Athens)estab. new centers of Greek culture.
496 Birth of Sophocles.(d. 406)
495 Birth of Pericles. (d. 429)
484 Birth of Herodotus. (d. 430?)
490 Battle of Marathon. (How far from Athens?). War Against Persia.
480 Xerxes of Persia prepares another invasion of mainland Greece. Crosses the Hellespont with troops, animals on bridge of boats. New upstart democratic Athens the target. Army=2 million men(Herodotus).
480 Battle of Salamis on Sept 23, in front of Athens. 1200 Persian ships to 300 Greek. Athens wins. Birth of Euripedes.
468 Sophocles wins prize for tragedy. Defeats older dramatist Aeschylus.
458 Aeschylus, The Oresteia trilogy.
456 Death of Aeschylus. (b. 525)
460-429 Age of Pericles , Anaxagoras, Protagoras, Sophocles.
447 Pericles rebuilds the Acropolis. The Parthenon.
441 First performance of Sophocles'Antigone . Sophocles general in war against rebellious Samos.
431-404 PELOPONNESIAN WAR.Athens attempts impose supremacy. Sparta opposes.
430 First performance of Oedipus. Death of Herodotus.
425 Historian Thucydides. A general in Peloponnesian War.
415 Athen's ill-fated expedition to conquer Sicily. Euripede's anti-war The Trojan Women.
411 Defeat of Athens in Sicily. Athens in decline.
406 Death of Euripedes. Sophocles speaks at funeral, commemorates his great rival, and death of Sophocles months later.
404 Final confrontation: Athens vs. Sparta. Athens surrenders. End of the great Golden Age of Athenian democracy. All the great men of the 5th Century Golden Age now dead.
400 Plato student of Socrates . Death of Thucydides.
399 Execution of Socrates. Hemlock.
384 Birth of Aristotle. (Stagira in the north).
364 Aristotle comes to Athens. Student of Plato.
359 Philip II King of Macedon.
350s Rise of Macedon in the north. Transfer power out of hands of fractious democracies. Rise of well-organized monarchy.
356 Birth of Alexander. (d. 323)
347 Death of Plato. (b. 429)
344 Aristotle marries niece of wealthy Hermias.
343 Aristotle becomes tutor to Alexander.
338 King Philip of Macedonia defeats Athens-Thebes at Chaeronea. Young Alexander present. Distinguishes self as brilliant warrior. Alex & Hephaestion to Athens with Athenian dead. Only time Alex ever in Athens. Statues of Philip &Alexander erected on Acropolis.
336 Assassination of King Philip.Alexander King of Macedonia. Birth of Zeno (in Cyprus) Stoicism, the Stoa=porch. End of heroic age of Greek philosophy.
334 Aristotle returns to Athens.Establishes own school in the Lyceum.
333 Battle of Issus: Alex defeats Darius. Darius flees, leaves wife, mother. Sisygambis, in hands of Alexander.
332 Alexander conquers all Egypt. Almost no opposition.
331 Battle of Gaugamela: Alex defeats Persians. Darius dies in the oxcart by the river, a Greek soldier finds him.The soldier brings water to the dying Emperor. Alex arrive son scene and weeps.
330 Alexander adopts Persian dress, Greeks angry.Birth of Euclid, studies in Athens then to Alexandria. New exciting cultural center of Alexandria.
329 Alexander marries Sogdian princess Roxanne. A new life as "husband."
323 DEATH OF ALEXANDER (June 13) .Ptolemy brings body to Alexandria. Aristotle leaves Athens. Wont allow Athens to sin against philolosophy twice.
322 DEATH OF ARISTOTLE. The philosopher is gone one year after his student.
322 Ptolemies rule in Egypt 300 years. Cleopatra the last of the Ptolemies in Egypt. Flowering of Alexandria.
315 Zeno comes to Athens.
300 Euclid comes to Alexandria, new center of science. Library of Alexandria, greatest in world.
146 Rome conquers all of Greece.

The Iliad

The Iliad

This outline of the Iliad was prepared by William Fredlund in August, 2000. The Iliad narrates a story that takes place during a period of fifty-one days at Troy. The events of fifteen days and five nights are shown in detail in the story while the remaining time is only indicated briefly in the narration such as the nine days of plague in Book I. The story opens in the ninth year of the war. The line numbers of the Greek text are indicated in parenthesis. All English translations, including the Robert Fagels edition that we use in class, provide you with the line numbers of the original Greek text.

Book I, The Rage of Achilles
Day one to day twenty-one
The quarrel of Achilles and Agamemnon(1-53).
Chryses appeals to Agamemnon(12-32).
Chryses appeals to Apollo (33-43).
Apollo sends the plague (44-53).
The plague lasts nine days.
Council of Achaeans (54-187).
The quarrel gets worse (188-194).
Intervention of Athena (194-326).
Heralds go to Achilles (327-348).
Achilles with Thetis (348-430).
The embassy of Odysseus to Island Chryse (430-476).
Return of embassy (477-487).
Anger of Achilles (488-492).
Eleven day absence of the Gods.
Intercession of Thetis (493).
Thetis with Zeus (493-533).
Zeus and Hera quarrel (533-570).
Hephaestus reconciles parents (571-611).
Olympian peace, banquet, sleep (595-611).
Book II, Agamemnon's Dream and the Armies Assemble
The night of day twenty-one and day twenty-two
Zeus sends dream to Agamemnon(1-47).
Council of Achaean elders (48-483).
Speech of Agamemnon (48-210).
Great simile: swarms of bees (87).
Athena rushes to Odysseus (166)
Odysseus man of winning words.
Thersites scene, mutiny attempt (211-278).
Calming speeches, Odysseus etc, (279-393).
Sacrifice and breakfast (394-483).
Catalog of ships (484-785).
Zeus sends Iris to Trojans (786-815).
Catalog of Trojans (816-877).
Book III, The Book of Paris and Helen
Day twenty-two
The preparations for truce (1-120).
Menalaus vs Paris (15-37).
Great simile: stepping on snake (34).
Hector and Paris (38-120).
Menalaus agrees to fight Paris (120).
Our first view of the fabled beauty Helen.
Helen's view from the wall (121-244).
Conclusion of truce (245-313).
Combat between Menalaus and Paris (314-382).
Aphrodite rescues losing Paris (382).
Aphrodite sends Helen to Paris (383-448).
Helen and Paris make love (446).
Agamemnon claims victory (449-461).
Book IV, The Gods and War
Day twenty-two
The breaking of the truce (1-219).
Council of the gods (1-73).
Zeus/Hera: "you want to devour Priam" (35).
Pandaros wounds Menalaus (74-147).
Great simile: like fly on a baby (131).
Agamemnon and Menalaus (148-219).
Agamemnon reviews troops (220-421).
Battle begins again (422-544).
Individual combats and full battle (517-544).
Book V, The Book of Diomedes
Day twenty-two
Athena helps the Achaeans (1-453).
The deeds of Diomedes to wounding (1-113).
Diomedes vs Aeneas (114-418).
Diomedes wounds Aphrodite (327).
Gods on Olympus (367).
Athena vs Aphrodite (419-453).
Apollo saves Aeneas (445-453).
Trojans winning under Ares (454-626).
Diomedes giving ground (626).
Tlepolemus vs Sarpedon (627-710).
Hera and Athena intervene for Achaeans (711-846).
Diomedes wounds Ares (847-906).
Hera and Athena return to Olympus (907-909).
Book VI, The Book of Hector
Day twenty-two
The battle, Nestor encourages Achaeans (1-72).
Hector with Helen (73-118).
Hector with his mother Hecuba (237-311).
Hector with his brother Paris (312-340).
Hector with Helen (340-369).
Hector with his wife Andromache (370-502).
Hector with his son (460-485).
One of greatest scenes in whole of Iliad.
Hector returns to battle (503-529).
Book VII, Hector vs Ajax
Day twenty-two/twenty-four
Trojans gain ground (1-16).
Combat of Hector vs Ajax (17-312).
Council in Agamemnon's tent (313-344).
Trojan army assembles (345-380).
Speech of Priam, supper, end of day (380).
Truce, burial of dead (381-432).
Achaeans build a wall (433-464).
Sun goes down, Achaeanas share meal (465-482).
Troops lay down, blessing of slumber (482).
Book VIII, The Short Battle
Day twenty-five
Assembly of the gods (1-52).
Inconclusive battle (53-67).
Midday intervention of Zeus (68-77).
Advance of Trojans under Hector (78-197).
Hera angered by course of battle (198-252).
Advance of Achaeans (253-315).
Hector pushes Achaeans back (316-349).
Zeus foils Hera and Athena (350-484).
Nightfall ends battle (485-565).
Great simile: watch fires like stars (555).
Book IX, The Embassy to Achilles
The evening of day twenty-five
Council of Achaeans (1-181).
Speech of Agamemnon (16-28).
Meeting in Agamemnon's tent (89-181).
Odysseus leads embassy to Achilles (180).
Emb finds Achilles singing of men's fame (186).
Important: Achilles like Homer, the poet/singer (186).
Important: Achilles on death (400).
Speech of Phoenix (431-605).
Achilles on honor (644-655).
Report of failed embassy (669-713).
Book X, The Book of Dolon
The night of day twenty-five
Plans for nighttime spying (1-339).
Achaeans plan spying (1-298).
Trojans plan spying (299-339).
Dolon meets Diomedes/Odysseus (370-468).
Killing of Dolon (455).
Diomedes/Ody in Trojan camp (469-525).
Return of Dio/Ody to Achaeans (526-579).
Book XI, Book of Agamemnon
Day twenty-six which lasts til Book XVIII
The Aristeia of Agamemnon=The Bravery of Agamemnon.
"Now dawn rose from her bed" (1).
Preparation for battle (1-66).
Great simile: warriors like reapers (67).
Balance of power (67-83).
Great scene: The Gods (75).
The test of Agamemnon(supremacy) (84-283).
Advance of the Trojans (284-309).
Counterattack of Odysseus/Diomedes (310-367).
Slackening of Achaeans/wounds (368-595).
Achilles sends Patroclus to Nestor (596-848).
Book XII, The Battle Around the Wall
Day twenty-six
The wall, history of the wall (1-35).
Preparation for battle (36-107).
Attack of Trojan ally (108-194).
Attack by Hector (195-289).
Attack of Sarpedon (290-429).
Hector smashes the gate (430-471).
Trojans break in (430-471).
Book XIII, The Battle for the Ships
Day twenty-six
Poseidon interferes on Achaean side (1-125).
Battle at the center (126-205).
Poseidon intervenes again (206-329).
Zeus/Poseidon opposition on battlefield (345-360).
Bravery of Idomeneus (361-454).
Battle over corpse (455-575).
Combat of Menelaus (576-672).
Trojans prepare assault (673-837).
Book XIV, Hera Outflanks Zeus
Day twenty-six
Nestor takes stock of situation (1-152).
Nestor and three wounded heroes (27-40).
Agamemnon's fear and Odysseus' response (42).
Four leaders take counsel (41-134).
Hera seduces Zeus (153-362).
Hera and Zeus make love (346).
Fighting continues (363-522).
Preparation for battle (363-388).
Ajax fights Hector (402-439).
New onslaught by Achaeans (440-505).
Flight of Trojans (506-522).
Book XV, Zeus Assumes Command
Day twenty-six
Zeus awakes, argue with Hera (1-77).
Zeus' plan for whole war (49).
Is there no human freedom?
Hera maneuvers against Zeus (78-156).
Zeus orders Poseidon out of battle (157-219).
Apollo heals Hector (220-262).
Apollo helps Trojans (263-389).
Patroclus goes to Achilles (400-404).
Battle around the ships (405-746).
Hector vs Ajax (405-591).
Hector advances (592-673).
Ajax retreats (674-746).
Book XVI, The Book of Patroclus
Day twenty-six
Patroclus asks to wear Achilles' arms (1-100).
Patroclus & Myrmidons arm (130-220).
Patroclus' deeds (257-418).
Death of Sarpedon (419-683).
Patroclus' last deeds (684-867).
Hector and Patroclus fight (731-828).
Death of Patroclus (783-855).
Book XVII, The Body of Patroclus; Menalaus' Finest Hour
Day twenty-six
The Aristeia of Menelaus.
Combat over corpse of Patroclus (1-139).
Massed combat over corpse (140-423).
Battle for the horses of Achilles (424-542).
Return of Achaeans with body of Patroclus (543-761).
Book XVIII, The Shield of Achilles
Day twenty-six
Antilochus informs Achilles of Patroclus' death (1-34).
Lament of Thetis for her son (35-64).
Achilles tells Thetis: back to battle (65-147).
Rescue of Achaeans by appearance of Achilles (148-238).
Battle ends: sunset (239-242).
Achilles with corpse of Patroclus (315-355).
Zeus and Hera (356-368).
Important: the Shield of Achilles (468-614).
The two noble cities (478).
Book XIX, The Apology and the Champion Arms for Battle
Day twenty-seven
"As dawn rose up in her golden robe" (1).
Thetis gives Achilles his new arms (1-39).
Peace between Agamemnon/Achilles (40-281).
Important: a changed Achilles (67).
Laments for Patroclus (282-351).
Preparations for battle (351-424).
Achilles arms for battle (351-398).
Achilles & horse Xanthos (399-424).
Book XX, The Book of Aeneas
Day twenty-seven
This is the most important book for Virgil's Aeneid.
Council of Gods (1-75).
Theomachy: divine anarchy (25).
"Go help whom you want"(25).
Combat of Aeneas and Achilles (76-352).
Apollo encourages Aeneas (76-111).
Hera tries to intevene on Achilles side (112-155).
Achilles and Aeneas (156-287).
Poseidon rescues Aeneas (288-352).
Divine protection (300).
Achilles' rage and flight of Trojans (353-503).
Book XXI, The Wrath of Achilles Again
Day twenty-seven
Achilles fights the Trojans in the river (1-232).
Battle of the Gods (385-520).
Ares vs Athena (391-417).
Athena vs Aphrodite (418-434).
Apollo vs Poseidon (435-469).
Artemis vs Hera (470-496).
Gods return home (515-520).
Trojans fight back into city (520-611).
Book XXII, The Death of Hector
Day twenty-seven
Here we see Gods and Men.
Best Book for seeing relationship of Gods and Men.
Is Homer criticizing Gods esp lines 246ff.?
Athena tricks Hector?
Trojans in the city (1-130).
Encounter of Achilles and Hector (131-166).
Gods debate Hector's fate (167-247).
Athena tricks Hector (214-247).
Battle: Achilles-Hector (248-394).
Achilles kills Hector (326).
Achilles' mistreatment of Hector's corpse (395-404).
Priam laments Hector (405-436).
Andromache laments Hector (437-515).
Book XXIII, The Funeral Games
Day twenty-seven/twenty-nine
Achilles and Patroclus' corpse (1-58).
Patroclus appears in dream (59-110).
Burning of Patroclus' corpse (110-225).
Burial of Patroclus' bones (226-257).
The funeral games (257-897).
Book XXIV, Achilles and Priam
Day twenty-nine to day fifty-one
Achilles mistreats Hector (1-21).
Mistreatment goes on for 11 days (22-30).
Council of the gods (31-142).
Thetis goes to Achilles (120-140).
Zeus to Priam: go to Achaeans (143-187).
Priam goes to Achaeans (188-467).
Achilles and Priam (468-676).
Priam arrives Achilles camp (471).
Spectacular scene: Achilles-Priam (507-550).
Prepare Hector's corpse (572-627).
A bed for Priam (628-676).
Priam will bring home Hector (677-804).
Priam departs (677-697).
Priam arrives Troy with Hector (698-718).
Lamentations of Andromache, Hecuba, Helen (719-776).
Build Hector's pyre nine days (777-784).
Burial of Hector (785-804).


The Trojan War
The olympian Gods