The Iliad: the Odyssey
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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 have cultural notes to help you as you start reading the Iliad. Share Flipboard Email. Gill is a freelance classics and ancient history writer. She has a master's degree in linguistics and is a former Latin teacher.
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The Iliad and Odyssey: Historical Background. See our timeline. These "Greeks" are relative late-comers to the area we now call "Greece" and likely originated to the East of Black Sea, around the area now called the Caucasus between the Black and Caspian seas, where Russia, Turkey and N. Iran meet. The story of Prometheus -- shackled to mount Caucus -- shows strong connections between their original culture and that of the Sumerians etc. So these Mycenaean people were both influenced by and influenced other great civilizations even before there was written history or, for that matter, writing. Before the Mycenaeans arrived in the region, earlier "Greek" cultures worshipped ancient fertility goddesses probably related to Ishtar, Aphrodite, even Athena and Hera, and appear to have lived a rather peaceable, agricultural lifestyle we assume this because archeological digs show these pre-Mycenaean people lived without military weapons or fortifications