Controversy aside, there is no question that both the Iliad and the Odyssey had a deep and far-reaching effect on the legends and myths of the ancient Greeks. Some of the most renowned characters of mythology play roles in either one or both of these epics: Achilles, Ajax, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Helen, Paris, Hector, Odysseus, Penelope, etc. are all vividly portrayed. They are heroes and heroines, but they are also human, with flaws and foibles like the rest of us.
The Greek gods and goddesses also take active parts in the stories, and it is in the Iliad and the Odyssey that we meet with the Olympians Aphrodite, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Zeus, Hera, and Hephaistos, among other divinities. In these works of Homer, relationships between mortals and immortals are established, and the very character and attributes of the gods and goddesses are codified. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the the Iliad and the Odyssey are perhaps our best sources for information on a significant number of mythological figures.
Homer in Art
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The Iliad and The Odyssey
We recommend Robert Fitzgerald's magnificent translations of these compelling epics.