The Iliad, Book II

Book I Book II Book III Book IV Book V Book VI Book VII
Book VIII Book IX Book X Book XI Book XII Book XIII Book XIV Book XV 
Book XVI Book XVII Book XVIII Book XIX Book XX Book XXI Book XXII

Achaean War Council & Catalogue of Ships

True to his word to Thetis, Zeus sent a deceitful dream to Agamemnon which would bring destruction to the Greeks. In the guise of Nestor, he told Agamemnon that Hera had persuaded him to bring victory to the Greeks and so he should prepare his troops for battle and they would defeat the Trojans.

When he awoke at dawn, Agamemnon firstly called a council of his senior advisors, told them about his dream and said he would test the morale of the Greek troops by ordering them to sail home; his advisors must dissuade them. When all the Greek troops had gathered like swarms of bees, Agamemnon, holding the spectre made by Hephaestus and handed down to him via his father from Zeus, addressed them but his test almost backfired: he told them Zeus had ordered them to return home in disgrace with the war not won; the Greeks outnumbered the Trojans but the latter had held out for nine years because of the help from numerous allies so they should return home.

Agamemnon and the leaders of the Greeks from the film Troy.

The Greeks took Agamemnon at his word and ran to their ships. They were only stopped by Hera sending Athena to Odysseus who told him to stop the Greeks leaving. Holding Agamemnon’s spectre of authority, he persuaded individual leaders and groups of men to return to the assembly. One soldier, Thersites, who was universally detested by the Greek leaders, shouted abuse at Agamemnon: he kept the best of the plunder and women that the soldiers won; the other soldiers were cowards, more like women than men; they should return home and leave Agamemnon behind; he had insulted Achilles, a far better man than him and was lucky he was still alive.

Odysseus hit his back and shoulders with the spectre, saying he could expect far worse if he ever uttered such abuse again against the leaders. Odysseus, having been praised by the other troops for the way he had dealt with Thersites, addressed the assembly: he understood their desire to return home to their wives after nine years but it would be humiliating to return home without victory; he reminded them of the omen at Aulis interpreted by Calchas of a snake sent by Zeus which ate nine birds and was then turned into a stone, signifying they would fight at Troy for nine years and would have victory in the tenth year.

This morale boosting speech was followed by one from Nestor who reminded them of their oaths and plans and of the good omen of a flash of lightning on the right as they had set sail; he advised Agamemnon to lead the men into battle by tribe and clan so that they would support each other; he would then discover whether it was the gods’ will stopping him capturing Troy or his men’ cowardice. Agamemnon praised the advice he had been given and told the Greeks to prepare for battle.

Led by Agamemnon, sacrifices were made to the gods in the hope of victory and the Greek troops assembled for battle. Athena inspired them with bravery and the gleam of their armour flashed like a mighty fire as they gathered in huge numbers and with much loud noise like many flocks of birds, as many as the flowers and leaves and flies, their leaders moving amongst them to bring order and Agamemnon standing out like a bull amongst cattle.

Catalogue of Ships from the film Troy.

Homer then listed a detailed catalogue (see below) of the various Greek contingents: their leaders, the countries and towns they had come from, the number of ships and men from each area. The ground groaned as these vast numbers marched towards Troy. Disguised as Polites, one of Priam’s sons who had been posted as a lookout, Iris was sent by Zeus to Hector to alert the Trojans to the imminent threat from the Greeks. Hector dismissed the Trojan assembly and led out their troops against the Greeks. Homer then listed a detailed catalogue (see below) of the Trojan contingents and their leaders.

Book I Book III

LineEthnic identityNo. of shipsCaptainsSettlements
II.494Boeotians50 of 120 men each(First led by Thersander, then by:) Peneleōs, Leïtus, Arcesilaus, Prothoënor and CloniusHyria, Aulis, Schoenus, Scolus, Eteonus, Thespeia, Graia, Mycalessus, Harma, Eilesium, Erythrae, Eleon, Hyle, Peteon, Ocalea, Medeon, Copae, Eutresis, Thisbe, Coronea, Haliartus, Plataea, Glisas, Thebes, Onchestus, Arne, Midea, Nisa, Anthedon
II.511Minyans30Ascalaphus, IalmenusAspledon, Orchomenus
II.517Phocēans40Schedius, EpistrophusCyparissus, Pytho, Crisa, Daulis, Panopeus, Anemorea, Hyampolis, river Cephissus, Lilaea
II.527Locrians40Ajax the LesserKynos, Opoüs, Calliarus, Bessa, Scarphe, Augeae, Tarphe, Thronium
II.537Abantes of Euboea40ElephenorChalcis, Eretria, Histiaea, Cerinthus, Dium, Carystus, Styra
II.546Athenians50Led first by Menestheus (then by later by Acamas and Demophon, the sons of Theseus)Athens
II.557Salamineans12Telamonian AjaxSalamis
II.559Argives80Diomedes with subordinates Sthenelus and EuryalusArgos, Tiryns, Hermione, Asine, Troezen, Eiones, Epidaurus, Aegina, Mases
II.569Mycenaeans100AgamemnonMycenae, Corinth, Cleonae, Orneae, Araethyrea, Sicyon, Hyperesia, Gonoessa, Pellene, Aegium, Helice
II.581Lacedaemonians (or Laconians)60MenelausPharis, Sparta, Messe, Bryseae, Augeae, Amyclae, Helos, Laas, Oetylus
II.592No name given (Messenians)90NestorPylos, Arēne, Thryon, Aipy, Cyparisseis, Amphigenea, Pteleum, Helos, Dorium
II.603Arcadians60AgapenorCyllene, Pheneus, Orchomenus, Rhipae, Stratie, Enispe, Tegea, Mantinea, Stymphalos, Parrhasia
II.615Epeans of Elis40Amphimachus, Thalpius, Diōres, PolyxenusBuprasium and the lands enclosed by Hyrmine, Myrsinus, Olene, Alesium
II.624Men of Dulichium40MegesDulichium, Echinean Islands
II.631Cephallenians12OdysseusIthaca, Neritum, Crocylea, Aegilips, Same, Zacynthus
II.638Aetolians40ThoasPleuron, Olenus, Pylene, Chalcis, Calydon
II.645Cretans80Idomeneus, MerionesCnossus, Gortys, Lyctus, Miletus, Lycastus, Phaestus, Rhytium
II.653Rhodians9TlepolemusLindus, Ielysus, Cameirus
II.676No name given.30Pheidippus, AntiphusNisyrus, Crapathus, Casus, Cos, Calydnian Islands
II.681Pelasgians, Myrmidons, Hellenes, Achaeans50Achilles (later by Neoptolemus)Pelasgic Argos, Alos, Alope, Trachis, Phthia
II.695No name given.40Protesilaus, later by PodarcesPhylace, Pyrasus, Iton, Antrium, Pteleum
II.711No name given.11EumelusPherae, Boebe, Glaphyrae, Iolcus
II.716No name given.7, with 50 oarsmen each who were also archersPhiloctetes, later by MedonMethone, Thaumacia, Meliboea, Olizon
II.729No name given.30Podalirius, Machaon, two sons of AsclepiusTricca, Ithome, Oechalia
II.734No name given.40EurypylusOrmenius, Hypereia, Asterius, Titanus
II.738(Lapiths)40Polypoetes, LeonteusArgissa, Gyrtone, Orthe, Elone, Oloösson
II.748Enienes, Peraebi22GuneusCyphus, Dodona, Gonnos, banks of the Titaresius
II.756Magnetes40ProthoüsAbout the Peneus and Mt. Pelion
The Catalogue of Ships
Map of Homeric Greece.
LineEthnic IdentityLeadersSettlements
II.815TrojansHectorNone stated (Troy)
II.819DardaniansAeneas, Archelochus, AcamasNone stated.
II.824Trojans of Mt. IdaPandarusZeleia
II.828No name given.Adrestus, AmphiusAdresteia, Apaesus, Pityeia, Mount Tereia
II.835No name given.AsiusPercote, Practius, Sestus, Abydus, Arisbe
II.840Pelasgians, who were spearmenHippothous, PylaeusLarissa
II.844Thracians bounded by the HellespontAcamas, PeiroüsNone stated.
II.846Ciconians, who were spearmenEuphemusNone stated.
II.848Paeonians, archers, “from far away”Pyraechmes (Asteropaios is also recognized as a leader in book XXI)Amydon, river Axius
II.851PaphlagoniansPylaemenes of the EnetiCytorus, Sesamus, along the river Parthenius, Cromna, Aegialus, Erythini
II.856Halizones “from far away”Odius, EpistrophusAlybe
II.858MysiansChromis, EnnomusNone stated.
II.862PhrygiansPhorcys, Ascanius“Far-off” Ascania
II.864MaeoniansMesthles, AntiphusUnder Mt. Tmolus
II.867CariansNastes, AmphimachusMiletus, Mt. Phthires, streams of the Maeander, crest of Mycale
II.875Lycians “from far away”Sarpedon, GlaucusRiver Xanthus
The Trojan Catalogue