The Iliad by Homer (as translated by Samuel Butler)
Homer's epic poem dates back to the eighth century, BC. The classic adventure story that follows the fate of two great armies takes place over just a two-week time period. The Iliad and Homer's The Odyssey are the greatest poems to come from ancient oral tradition.
The epic tale begins nine years after the start of the Trojan war between the Greeks and the Trojans. The Greek (Achaean) army has just taken the town of Chryse, and two beautiful maidens have been captured. The leader of the Achaean army, Agamemnon, takes one maiden, Chryseis, for himself. The second maiden, Briseis, is granted to Achilles, the most able and heroic of the Achaean soldiers.
Chryseis' father is a priest under the god Apollo, and when Agamemnon refuses to return his daughter, he sends a plague upon the Achaean army. After many die, Agamemnon agrees to return Chryseis. Upset about losing his prize, Agamemnon demands that Briseis be taken from Achilles and give to him. Achilles, insulted and angered by this offense, quits the Achaean army and vows revenge.
As gods begin to take sides, the war increases in intensity and many lives are sacrificed. Troy becomes stronger and stronger, threatening to defeat the Achaean army once and for all. Will Achilles let go of his pride, rejoin his comrades, and defend his homeland?
The Iliad was praised by the likes of Socrates and Plato, and continues to enthrall scholars today. It has been adapted into countless adaptations, literary and film.