The Action of Homer, Iliad XVII

In this pdf, readers will find a guide to the action of Book XVII of Homer’s Iliad. In this Book, Homer recounts at some length the complex and confusing battle over Patroclus’ corpse. The guide should be an aid to any reader seeking to understand the plan of Homer’s narrative and should motivate readers to consider the plans of the earlier, less complicated war books.

As the battle unfolds, Homer describes the movements of a litany of characters, descriptions that are relative both to the corpse and to the line of battle. Numbered in the order Homer gives them, the movements relative to Patroclus’ corpse are mapped at the top of the document, while those relative to the line of battle are listed at the bottom. Those not easily incorporated into the map have also been listed in the bottom, as, for example, with movement number thirty-eight. All in all, I count fifty distinct movements.