Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Homer's The Iliad. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Iliad
- When Written: Uncertain, but recently dated to around 710-760 BC
- Where Written: Unknown
- When Published: Manuscripts existed throughout antiquity. The oldest surviving copy is from the 10th century AD.
- Literary Period: Classical (Ancient Greek)
- Genre: Epic poem
- Setting: The city of Troy and its outskirts, located on the northwest coast of Anatolia (modern day Turkey)
- Climax: The slaying of Hector by Achilles
- Antagonist: Hector, Paris, Apollo, Aphrodite
- Point of View: Third person omniscient
The Epic Cycle: Along with the Iliad and the Odyssey, there were several other ancient Greek poems that concentrated on the events of the Trojan War, filling out the events not mentioned in the Homeric epics. Titles included the Cypria, the Aethiopis, and the Little Iliad. It is often suggested that these works were written after the two Homeric epics, and most of them are much shorter than Homer’s masterpieces. Altogether they formed a narrative of the war, known as the Epic Cycle. However, all of the texts of the Epic Cycle have been lost, with just fragments remaining.
The Cult of Homer: Homer’s epics were considered the foundational works of ancient Greek literature and culture. Adoration for Homer was so great that in some places he was nearly revered as a god. Shrines dedicated to Homer have been discovered, and it is thought that he was the subject of what is now known as an ancient Greek "hero cult", a religious practice dedicated to individuals who were considered to be greater than men but not quite gods.