Iliad

The Books of Homer's Iliad

Ajax, Odysseus, and Phoenix Meet With Achilles in Book IX of the Iliad
Ajax, Odysseus, and Phoenix Meet With Achilles in Book IX of the Iliad. Clipart.com

The Iliad, an epic poem attributed to Homer and the oldest extant piece of European literature, is conventionally divided into 24 books. Here you'll find an approximately one-page summary of each book, a description of the major characters and sometimes places, and an English translation. For help identifying the topic of each book, phrases or tags follow the summary link. Books 1-4 have cultural notes to help you as you start reading the Iliad.

[The Odyssey | For a Greek version of The Iliad, see ​The Chicago Homer.]

 

  1. I Summary.
    Supplication. Plague. Quarrel.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.
    Cultural Notes on Iliad Book I

     

  2. II Summary.
    Greeks and Trojans get ready for battle.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.
    Cultural Notes on Iliad Book II

     

  3. III Summary.
    Paris single combat with Menelaus.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.
    Cultural Notes on Iliad Book III

     

  4. IV Summary.
    Quarrel among the gods.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.
    Cultural Notes on Iliad Book IV

     

  5. V Summary.
    Athena helps Diomedes. He injures Aphrodite and Ares.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  6. VI Summary.
    Andromache begs Hector not to fight.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  7. VII Summary.
    Ajax and Hector fight, but neither wins. Paris refuses to give up Helen.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  1. VIII Summary.
    2nd battle; Greeks beaten back.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  2. IX Summary.
    Agamemnon returns Briseis to Achilles.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  3. X Summary.
    Odysseus and Diomedes capture a Trojan spy.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  4. XI Summary.
    Nestor urges Patroclus to persuade Achilles to lend him his armor and his men.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  1. XII Summary.
    Trojans get through Greek walls.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  2. XIII Summary.
    Poseidon helps the Greeks.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  3. XIV Summary.
    Largely through the shenanigans of the gods, the Trojans are driven back. Hector is wounded.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  4. XV Summary.
    Apollo sent to heal Hector. Hector burns Greek ships.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  5. XVI Summary.
    Achilles lets Patroclus wear his armor and lead his Myrmidons. Hector kills Patroclus.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  6. XVII Summary.
    Achilles learns Patroclus is dead.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  7. XVIII Summary.
    Achilles mourns. Shield of Achilles.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  8. XIX Summary.
    Reconciled with Agamemnon, Achilles agrees to lead the Greeks.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  9. XX Summary.
    Gods join the battle. Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Hermes, and Hephaestus for the Greeks. Apollo, Artemis, Ares, and Aphrodite for the Trojans.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  10. XXI Summary.
    Achilles winning. Trojans retreat.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  1. XXII Summary.
    Hector and Achilles meet in single combat. Death of Hector.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  2. XXIII Summary.
    Funeral Games for Patroclus.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.

     

  3. XXIV Summary.
    Hector desecration, return, and burial.
    Major Characters of the Book.
    English Translation.
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Your Citation
Gill, N.S. "Iliad." ThoughtCo, Feb. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/the-books-of-homers-iliad-119149. Gill, N.S. (2017, February 20). Iliad. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-books-of-homers-iliad-119149 Gill, N.S. "Iliad." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-books-of-homers-iliad-119149 (accessed November 24, 2017).