Useless Information About ‘The Iliad’ That You May Find Interesting

 (Achilles, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

An earlier installment of this ‘Did You Know?’ series mentioned that there are 666 speeches given by characters in Homer’s, The Iliad. Yet, as television salesmen would say, ‘but wait, there’s more.’ Here are a few more facts and statistics about The Iliad that will probably not cause any enlightenment whatsoever, but, nonetheless, should be entertaining.

Useless fact cluster number one:

  •   The Iliad contains over 300 similes.
  • There are so many similes in the epic poem that they take up around 1,100 lines of poetry.
  • The similes make up around 7% of The Iliad.

 

Now we move on to war. As The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, it is not surprising that battles and bloodshed take a primary role in Homer’s multi-thousand year old epic poem. 

  •   In all, around 5,500 lines of poetry are dedicated to describing war and armed conflict in The Iliad.
  • There are around 300 specific armed encounters—duels, skirmishes or battles—that occur during the poem.
  • In these numerous bloody scenes, Homer mentions the deaths of around 342 people.
  • The wide majority of these are Trojans, with a grand total of 281 specifically mentioned deaths.
  • Around 170 of these Trojans were given unique names by Homer.

 

Written by C. Keith Hansley

Source:

  • The Iliad by Homer, translated by E. V. Rieu and edited/introduced by Peter Jones. New York: Penguin Classics, 2014.
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2 COMMENTS

  1. The main action of the Iliad predates the death of Achilles which admittedly is foreshadowed. Homer does tell of the horse in the Odyssey, but our main account comes from Virgil

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