Allusion in Iliad

Since the long tradition of oral literature helped preserve ancient Greek culture, the Iliad has many allusions to different events in the story. Telling stories of mythology were popular in ancient Greece, and audiences would have been familiar with the references that form the basis of the Iliad. Homer knows this, and he takes little time to explain events that occurred, preferring to allude to them and allow the audience (readers) to fill in the blanks.

Allusion Examples in Iliad:

Book XVII 1

"babel..."   (Book XVII)

The translator of this edition of the Iliad employs an allusion to the Bible that would have been unknown to Homer. Humans created the Tower of Babel so that they could reach God and become his equal. God frustrated this plan and created the "confusion of languages" so that those who, up to that time, had all spoken the same language, could no longer understand each other. Babel thus became synonymous with language that no one can understand.