There is no literary work that reflects better than The Iliad both the greatness and the desolation of war. Depicted with a large dose of narrative talent (at the same level – or even on a superior plan – with the talent of any great contemporary writer), the Trojan war depicted by Homer makes you feel present in the middle of those tumultuous events.
All types of characters are invoked in the Homeric poem: from the wise Nestor to the cunning Odysseus, and from the brave Hector to the heroic Achilles – one of the greatest heroes of Greek antiquity. What deserves more emphasis, however, is a set of two deep religious ideas specific for Ancient Greece.
First, there is the notion that the unseen world – where spiritual beings, i.e. “Gods”, live – is much more important than the visible one. Actually, everything that happens in the visible world is directly and strongly influenced by the invisible spiritual realm. And, second, Homer’s heroes emphasize the fact that this mortal life ought to be lived according to man’s destiny after death. That is why for Greek heroes the war was conceived just as a way to obtain the so called κῦδος (kûdos), a spiritual light whose presence (or absence) can help (or not) someone’s soul to get into a better place in the life after death.
It was precisely because one can find such spiritual treasures in The Iliad and other great literary achievements of pagan antiquity, some of the great Fathers and Doctors of the Church such as Saint Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.) recommended to the educated Christians to read and discern wisely such masterpieces.
- Author: Hómēros (~ 8th – 7th century BC)
- Original title: Ἰλιάς, Iliás
- Original language: Attic Greek
- Genre: Epic poem
- The period of creation: ~ 8th – 7th century BC
- Publication year: –
- Public: Adults, teenagers
|The Iliad (Volume I)|
|The Iliad (Volume II)|