The Iliad

  • BOOK I.

  • ARGUMENT.

  • THE CONTENTION OF ACHILLES AND AGAMEMNON.

  • Narrator

    In the war of Troy, the Greeks having sacked some of the neighbouring towns, and taken from thence two beautiful captives, Chryseis and Briseis, allotted the first to Agamemnon, and the last to Achilles.

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  • Chryses, the father of Chryseis, and priest of Apollo, comes to the Grecian camp to ransom her; with which the action of the poem opens, in the tenth year of the siege.

  • The priest being refused, and insolently dismissed by Agamemnon, entreats for vengeance from his god; who inflicts a pestilence on the Greeks.

  • Achilles calls a council, and encourages Chalcas to declare the cause of it; who attributes it to the refusal of Chryseis.

  • The king, being obliged to send back his captive, enters into a furious contest with Achilles, which Nestor pacifies; however, as he had the absolute command of the army, he seizes on Briseis in revenge.

  • Achilles in discontent withdraws himself and his forces from the rest of the Greeks; and complaining to Thetis, she supplicates Jupiter to render them sensible of the wrong done to her son, by giving victory to the Trojans.

  • Jupiter, granting her suit, incenses Juno: between whom the debate runs high, till they are reconciled by the address of Vulcan.

  • Narrator

    The time of two-and-twenty days is taken up in this book: nine during the plague, one in the council and quarrel of the princes, and twelve for Jupiter's stay with the Γ†thiopians, at whose return Thetis prefers her petition.

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  • The scene lies in the Grecian camp, then changes to Chrysa, and lastly to Olympus.

  • Narrator

    Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring

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  • Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing!

  • That wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign

  • The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain;

  • Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore,

  • Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore.

  • Since great Achilles and Atrides strove,

  • Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove!