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Characters in The Iliad

The Achaeans

Achilles. The son of Peleus and Thetis. The most powerful warrior in the
Achaean army and in The Iliad overall. The commander of the Myrmidons.
Proud, stubborn, and wrathful. The main subject of The Iliad is Achilless
rage at Agamemnon for stealing Briseis, his war prize.

Agamemnon. King of Mycenae. The leader of the Achaean army. The


brother to King Menelaus of Sparta. Arrogant, inconsiderate, and careless.
He plunges the Achaeans into a crisis by stealing Briseis from Achilles,
which causes Achilles to leave the battlefield.

Patroclus. Achilless close friend, companion, and confidant. He grew up


with Achilles in Phthia under the care of Peleus. Dedicated to Achilles and
the Achaean cause. Patroclus supports the enraged Achilles and attempts to
hold the Trojans back in Achilless armor.

Odysseus. A skilled warrior and the brightest of the Achaean commanders.


One of the Achaeans two best public speakers. He serves as a mediator in
Achilles and Agamemnons dispute and prevents them from making
irrational decisions.

Diomedes. The youngest of the Achaean commanders. Bold and impulsive.


When he is motivated by Athena, he wounds two gods, Aphrodite and Ares.

Great Ajax. The second most powerful warrior in the Achaean army. An
Achaean commander. His incredible size and strength allows him to
wound Hector twice. Fights alongside Little Ajax.

Little Ajax. The son of Oileus. An Achaean commander. Small and swift.
Fights alongside Great Ajax.

Nestor. The oldest Achaean commander. King of Pylos. Extremely wise.


Acts as a military advisor to the Achaean commanders. One of the
Achaeans two best public speakers.

Menelaus. King of Sparta. The younger brother of Agamemnon. The


abduction of his wife, Helen, by the Trojan prince Paris causes the Trojan
War.

Idomeneus. King of Crete. An admired commander. Leads an attack on the


Trojans in Book 13.

Machaon. A healer. Paris wounds Machaon in Book 11.

Calchas. A prominent soothsayer. Calchas identifies the origin of the


plague of arrows that ravages the Achaeans in the beginning of the poem,
which leads to the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles.

Peleus. Achilless father and Zeuss grandson. Peleus never appears in


person, but his name is mentioned often. In Book 24, Priam appeals to the
memory of Peleus when pleading with Achilles for Hectors corpse.

Phoenix. A kind, elderly warrior. Phoenix cared for Achilles as he was


growing up. Deeply loved and trusted by Achilles. Serves as a mediator in
the dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon.

The Myrmidons. The soldiers under Achilless command, from Phthia.

The Trojans

Hector. A son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. The most powerful
warrior in the Trojan army. Similar flaws to Achilles, but his bloodlust is
not as great. Dedicated to his wife and son. Resents his brother Priam for
causing the war.

Priam. King of Troy and husband of Hecuba. The father of fifty Trojan
soldiers, including Hector and Paris. Benevolent, level-headed, and wise.
Respected by both the Trojans and the Achaeans.

Hecuba. Queen of Troy, the wife of Priam, and the mother of Hector and
Paris.

Paris. A son of Priam and Hecuba and brother of Hector. Paris abducted
Helen, the wife of Menelaus, and caused the Trojan War. Egocentric,
cowardly, and unmanly. Scorned by Hector and Helen.

Helen. Known as the most beautiful woman in the ancient world. Paris
stole Helen from Menelaus and took her to Troy.

Aeneas. The son of Aphrodite, a Trojan nobleman, and a skilled warrior.

Andromache. Hectors wife. She pleads with Hector to leave the war and
save himself.

Astyanax. Hector and Andromaches infant son.

Polydamas. A young commander. Delivers sensible advice to the Trojans,


but Hector rarely acts on it.

Glaucus. A powerful warrior. Nearly duels with Diomedes when they


realize that their families are acquaintances.

Agenor. Fights Achilles in Book 21, allowing the Trojan army enough time
to retreat behind Troys walls.

Dolon. Sent to spy on the Achaeans in Book 10.

Pandarus. An archer whose shot at Menelaus in Book 4 destroys the


temporary truce between the Achaean and Trojan sides.

Antenor. An aristocrat, consultant to King Priam, and father of many


Trojan warriors. Antenor contends that Helen should be returned to
Menelaus so that the war will end, but Paris refuses to comply.

Sarpedon. A son of Zeus. Sarpedons fate appears to be interwoven with


the gods disagreements.

Chryseis. The daughter of Chryses and Agamemnons war prize.

Briseis. Achilless war prize. Agamemnon is forced to return Chryseis to


Chryses, so he takes Briseis as compensation, causing Achilless rage.

Chryses. A priest of Apollo in a town allied with the Trojans. The father of
Chryseis.

The Gods and Immortals

Zeus. King of the gods. The husband of Hera. Remains neutral in human
conflict and tries to prevent other gods from participating. However, in the

Trojan War, Zeus provides assistance to the Trojans after Achilles requests
Thetis to ask him to do so.

Hera. Queen of the gods. The wife of Zeus. Headstrong and conniving. Goes
behind Zeuss back when they disagree. Works with Athena to defeat the
Trojans.

Athena. The goddess of war, handicraft, and practical reason. A daughter


of Zeus. Assists the Achaeans.

Thetis. A sea nymph. The faithful mother of Achilles. At her sons request,
she persuades Zeus to aid the Trojans and punish the Achaeans. When
Achilles rejoins the battlefield, she enlists Hephaestus to construct for him
a new suit of armor.

Apollo. A son of Zeus. The twin brother of Artemis. The god of music,
healing, light, and truth. Supports the Trojans and gets involved on their
behalf.

Aphrodite. The goddess of love. A daughter of Zeus. Married to


Hephaestus but is in a relationship with Ares. Supports Paris and the
Trojans.

Poseidon. The god of the sea. The brother of Zeus. Supports the Achaeans.

Hephaestus. The god of fire and crafts. The husband of Aphrodite. Lame
and crippled. The gods blacksmith. Forges a new suit of armor for Achilles
and rescues him from the river Xanthus.

Artemis. Goddess of the hunt, a daughter of Zeus, and the twin sister of
Apollo. In support of the Trojans.

Ares. God of war. In a relationship with Aphrodite. Supports the Trojans.

Hermes. The messenger of the gods. In Book 24, Hermes delivers Priam to
Achilless tent.

Iris. Zeuss messenger.