The Greek-Trojan War in The Iliad


The gods and goddesses that the Greek people believe in make up the
Greek mythology studied today. These divine characters represent a family
living on Mount Olympus who intervene frequently in the lives of the human
characters in Greek plays. They are omnipresent, for they are always observing
mans actions and working through human nature. The gods are a higher power, and
provide explanations for otherwise unexplainable events. The gods help humans
in trouble and give them guidance about the future. The Olympians influence men
on earth both psychologically and physically. In Homer\'s epic poem, The Iliad,
the intervention of such divine powers as Athena, Apollo, and Zeus play
significant roles in the lives of the characters and the events of the Greek-
Trojan War.
Athena plays a very influential role in the Greek-Trojan War. She is
the most constant divine supporter of the Greeks and divine enemy of the Trojans.
Athena\'s function is to be a goddess of pro-Greek warfare. She came to the aid
of the Greeks many times throughout the war. For instance, Athena came down
from the sky to stop Achilleus from attacking Agamemnon (Willcock). Andre
Michalopoulous confirms this action by quoting what Athena says to Achilles :

I came from heaven to stay thine anger, if perchance though wilt
hearken to me, being sent forth of the white-armed goddess Hera,
that loveth you twain alike and careth for you. Go to now, cense
from strife, and let not thine hand draw the sword.(65)

Achilles listens to Athena\'s request, and therefore he returns his sword
to its sheath, and withdraws from battle. Athena also assists Achilles in his
battle with Hektor. Malcolm Willcock quotes, “After deceiving Hektor into
fighting Achilles,she comes to his aid by returning his sword to him” (244).
This intervention is the greatest assist of a divine power to a human being in
The Iliad.
Athena also plays an influential role in the battles of Diomedes.
Martin Mueller reveals, “Athena is closest to Diomedes. “ She is with him at
the beginning and end of his aristeia and she addresses him without disguise”
(136). Athena also urges Diomedes to fight Aphrodite. With this command, she
removes the cloud from his eyes which made him able to see the gods.
Furthermore, as Robert Graves states, “She put fresh strength into his legs and
arms,” which allowed him to sustain in battle with Aphrodite (104). Athena
instructs Diomedes not to attack any other gods; but, Diomedes does not take her
advice, and fights against Apollo and other gods, which causes Diomedes to
retreat until he is saved by being reunited with Athena. This powerful goddess
assistsd Diomedes greatly as she does the other characters in The Iliad.
Another Greek warrior who is helped by Athena was Pandaros. Athena
encourages him to break the truce with Menelaos , but, as Willcock states, “
This does not lessen his own responsibility for his treachery - He is a fool to
be persuaded” (46). Then, she switches to Menelaos\' side, to prevent any
serious harm from the arrow that was shot. Athena protects these warriors as
she protects the other Greeks. She usually protects the characters who were
natural winners. Athena supports those who have the potential to be successful
and therefore she assists many of the Greek heroes (Willcock).
In Addition to Athena, Apollo also plays an influental role in the
Greek-Trojan War. Apollo is the most important divine supporter of the Trojans.
Willcock tells us, “He is the archer god who strikes from afar, the god of
disease and healing” (4). Apollo\'s first intervention occurs after Agamemnon
had taken Apollo\'s priest daughter as a war prize. Apollo sends a nine day
pestilence upon the Greeks. “Pack animals were his first target, and dogs, /
but soldiers, too, soon felt transfixing pain from his hard shots and pyres
burned night and day” (Iliad I. 23-24). Apollo also intervenes in the Greek-
Trojan War to assist the human characters. One of the warriors Apollo assists
is Pandaros. In fact, Apollo is the one who gave Pandaros his bow after he
broke the truce with Menelaos by shooting an arrow at him. But, this passage
does not truly refer to the actual action of Apollo handing Pandaros his bow,
but rather that, as Seth Schein believes, “Pandaros was a specifically good
archer” (57). Because he is a good archer, it is believed that Pandaros is
blessed by the god of archery.
Agenor, Hektor\'s half brother, is another Trojan warrior that Apollo
aids. Agenor is debating on whether or not to run into the city of Troy to