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Definition: Iliad from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

(1603) 1 a : a series of miseries or disastrous events b : a series of exploits regarded as suitable for an epic 2 : a long narrative; esp : an epic in the Homeric tradition

Il•i•ad•ic \॑i-lē-॑a-dik\ adj


Summary Article: Iliad (Greek Iliados, ‘of Ilium’, i.e. of Troy)
from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

The epic poem of 24 books attributed to HOMER (8th century bc) recounting the siege of TROY. PARIS, son of PRIAM, king of Troy, when a guest of MENELAUS, king of Sparta, ran away with his host's wife, HELEN. Menelaus induced the Greeks to lay siege to Troy to avenge the perfidy, and the siege lasted ten years. The poem begins in the tenth year with a quarrel between AGAMEMNON, king of Mycenae and commander-in-chief of the allied Greeks, and ACHILLES, the hero who had retired from the army in ill temper. The Trojans now prevail, and Achilles sends his friend PATROCLUS to oppose them, but Patroclus is slain. Enraged, Achilles rushes into the battle and slays HECTOR, the commander of the Trojan army. The poem ends with the funeral rites of Hector.

He [the translator] will find one English book and one only, where, as in the Iliad itself, perfect plainness of speech is allied with perfect nobleness; and that book is the Bible.

matthew arnold: On Translating Homer, Lecture iii (1861)
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2012

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