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Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

by CTCWeb Editors

The Iliad in Art

Vase painter found their inspiration and themes for their vases in Homer’s stories. The Muses worked through the painters who used the information from the Iliad and the Odyssey to recreate the stories through pictures. Some of these vase paintings illustrate the antagonistic relationship between Achilles and Hektor, the fate of Ajax and rivalries between Trojans and Achaeans throughout the Iliad. Students should use the citations below to read the story of the Iliad through pictures.

Vase Subject

Boston 13.186 Paris Abducts Helen.
Cincinnati 1962.386-388 confrontation of Helen and Paris.
Berlin inv. 30036 Helen meets Paris in Sparta for the first time. Aphrodite and Persuasion are present.
Boston 95.44 The marriage of Menelaos and Helen.
Berlin F 1737 Odysseus and Menelaos come to collect Achilles to participate in the Trojan War.
Louvre G 146 Agamemnon leads Briseis away.

During the Iliad

London E 258 Achilles and Briseis.
London F 157 Odysseus kills Dolon.
Harvard 1977.216.2244 The assembly of the gods.
Munich 1426 Achilles and Hektor fighting over body of Troilos.
Würzburg L 508 Achilles and Hektor fighting
Boston 97.368 Achilles and Memnon, Memnon falls back wounded and near death.
Berlin F 2278 Achilles tending to Patroklos’ wounds.
Boston 97.368 Diomedes wounds Aeneas with a spear. Aeneas tries to defend himself with his sword but is helpless.
Louvre G 115 Menelaos battles against Paris and Ajax battles against Hector.
Florence 4209 Achilles pursues Troilos.
Munich 2044 The battle over the body of Patroklos, stripped of his armor.
Florence 4209 The funeral games of Patroklos.
Boston 01.8027 Achilles receives his armor from his mother, Thetis.
Boston 63.473 Achilles drags Hektor’s body past the tomb of Patroklos.
Harvard 1972.40 The ransoming of Hektor’s body. Priam visits Achilles.
Vienna 3710 The ransoming of Hektor’s body.
Munich 2618 The ransoming of Hektor’s body.

Post Iliad

Philadelphia MS3442 Achilles’ death.
Munich 1470 Ajax carries the dead body of Achilles.
Malibu 86.AE.286 Ajax and Odysseus dispute for the arms of Achilles. The suicide of Ajax.
Louvre E 635 The suicide of Ajax.
Vienna 3695 Ajax and Odysseus quarrel over the armor of Achilles.
London B 280 Aeneas carries Anchises.
Naples 2422 The death of Priam.
London E 336 Menelaos seizes Helen.
Boston 13.186 Menelaos seizes Helen.
Toledo 1967.154 Menelaos seizes Helen.


Choose three portrayals of scene from the Iliad from the above list. Then answer the following questions based on your observations.

1. How closely do the artistic portrayals of scenes from the Iliad follow the Homeric text? List those things that are different between the image and the text.
2. What other author mentions the events of the Iliad that you have chosen in their text? (Hint: Look in the Encyclopedia entries for the characters from the Iliad.)
3. Do the authors make reference to Homer in their text when re-relating an event from the Iliad?

Sites of Origin << Table of Contents >> Odyssey


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Inside Connection

Complementary Resources

CTCWeb Resources

Ancient Weddings

Women in the Oikos: The Stranger Within

Thetis: Protective Mother or Dominated Wife?


Knowledge Builders
Aphrodite, Zeus, Apollo, Hera, and more.

Teachers' Companions
Aphrodite, Athena, Zeus, Apollo and more.

Other Resources
Classical Myth: Aphrodte in Texts

Classical Myths: Aphrodite Images

MythWeb: Aphrodite

Global Glossary Terms
- Aphrodite
- Poseidon
- Athena
- Apollo
- Zeus
- Hera

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