'Sing, O muse, of the rage of Achilles, son of Peleus', the opening words of Homer's Iliad, have a strong claim to be the opening words of Western literature. Whether Homer ever existed, and what role he played in the text's emergence out of oral tradition have been debated for centuries.
Although full of allusions to the wider story of the Trojan War, the Iliad focuses on the events of a few weeks, Achilles dispute with Agamemnon and his withdrawal from battle, the death of his comrade Patroclus, his duel with Hector, and the eventual restoration of Hector's body to his father Priam; a series of incidents driven by the central theme of Achilles' wrath.
The Catalogue of Ships in Book Two is remarkable for a portrait of the Greek world with significant correspondences to the historical reality of the late Bronze Age, hundreds of years before the poem is believed to have been written down in the 8th Century BC.
Free online texts
Gutenberg: The Iliad, translated into English blank verse by William Cowper (1791, Appleton & Co. edition 1860). Multiple formats.
Gutenberg: Iliad - books I-XII with an introduction, a brief Homeric grammar, and notes, by D.B. Munro (1890). Greek language edition with English notes in multiple formats.
Gutenberg: Iliad books 13-24 with notes, by D.B. Munro (1890). Greek language edition with English notes in multiple formats.
Wikisource: The Iliad of Homer, translated by Alexander Pope (1715-20). Online text.
Wikisource: The Iliad of Homer, translated by Theodor Alois Buckley (1876). Online text, currently incomplete.
Wikisource: The Iliad of Homer rendered into English prose for the use of those who cannot read the original, translated by Samuel Butler (1898). Online text.
Wikisource: The Iliad, translated by Augustus Taber Murray (1924). Online text.
About the Iliad: by Translator Herbert Jordan.
Ancient Greece Declassified: Dying for Immortality in Homer's Iliad with Andrew Ford, podcast by Lantern Jack.
BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: The Trojan War. Radio discussion presented by Melvyn Bragg.
BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: The Iliad. Melvyn Bragg with Edith Hall, Paul Cartledge and Barbara Graziosi.
BBC The Forum: The Iliad - Beauty, Brutes and Battles. Radio Discussion presented by Bettany Hughes.
Communitywalk.com: Iliad map.
The Conversation: Guide to the classics: Homer's Iliad, by Chris Mackie.
Cummings Study Guides: The Iliad.
Gods, Achaeans and Troyans, an interactive visualisation of the Iliad's characters.
Gutenberg: A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect, by D.B. Munro (1891). Multiple formats.
Internet Archive: The Homeric Catalogue of Ships, by Thomas W. Allen (1921). Multiple formats.
Librivox: The Iliad - public domain audiobooks.
Memrise: Homeric Vocabulary - flashcard course using Owen and Goodspeed's lists, by Darth Newdar.
Memrise: Iliad Bk I - flashcard vocabulary course by Mia Smith. Search Memrise using 'Homer' or 'Iliad' for other similar courses.
Published English translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey - list by Ian Johnston.
Shmoop Study Guides: The Iliad.
Textkit: Homeric Greek - A Book for Beginners, by Clyde Pharr (1920).
The Trojan War Podcast, by storyteller Jeff Wright.
University of Virginia Library: Mapping the Catalogue of Ships.
Youtube: Iliad Proem, read in Greek with English text translation.
Youtube: The Iliad Book 23 (62-107), Read in Greek by Dr. Stanley Lombardo.
The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes
Homer: The Odyssey.
Sophocles: Philoctetes - explores the archer's abandonment by the Greeks and subsequent arrival at Troy.
Sophocles: Ajax - explores the rivalry of Ajax and Odysseus at Troy after the death of Achilles.
Euripides: Rhesus - dramatises an incident from Book X of the Iliad.
Euripides: Helen - tells a variant legend in which Helen never reached Troy.
Euripides: Iphigenia at Aulis - dramatises the events which preceded the departure of the Greek fleet for Troy.
Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.
Bloom's Western Canon - The Iliad is listed.