Although Zeus’ complex plans are clear to the reader of the Iliad, the will of the gods is much more unclear to the men on the Trojan battlefield. The soldiers are forced to watch for omens that the gods send them, and deciding what is truly a sign from a god can be difficult to interpret. The clearest sign of any god’s support comes in the form of Zeus’ eagle, which signals to soldiers that Zeus is on their side. When men choose to ignore it, as Hector does in Book 12, the consequences can be dire.
Zeus’ Eagle Quotes in The Iliad
The The Iliad quotes below all refer to the symbol of Zeus’ Eagle. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Iliad published in 1998.).
Book 12 Quotes
Fight for your country—that is the best, the only omen!
Zeus’ Eagle Symbol Timeline in The Iliad
The timeline below shows where the symbol Zeus’ Eagle appears in The Iliad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...fresh reinforcements, Hector once again pushes the Trojans forward. Great Ajax taunts Hector, and another eagle sweeps past the Achaeans, which the Achaeans take as a positive omen. Hector criticizes Ajax’... (full context)