Vocabulary in Iliad

Vocabulary Examples in Iliad:

Book I 6

"merman's..."   (Book I)

A merman is a mythological creature with the head and body of a man and the tail of a fish.

"ambrosial..."   (Book I)

The adjectival form of “ambrosia.” The noun form originally referred to the food of the gods and was later used to denote anything of perfection that appeals to the senses—in this case, beautiful hair.

"subjection..."   (Book I)

The noun “subjection,” is defined as the state of being under the authority of another person.

"Argives..."   (Book I)

This noun is another name for the Greek forces. The word Argives derives from the ancient city of Argos.

"Ilius..."   (Book I)

Ilius is the Latin name for the city of Troy. The ancient Greek word for Troy was “ilion,” and both terms gave the Iliad its name, which loosely means “a story about Ilion or Ilius.”

"Achaeans...."   (Book I)

The “Achaeans” is the primary name given to the Greek forces that opposed the Trojans in The Iliad. The army consisted of various ancient tribes located in and around present-day Greece. In The Iliad, the Greeks are variously called Achaeans, Achaians, Argives, and Danaans—whatever name suited the poet's needs in a given line.

"monger..."   (Book II)

The noun “monger” refers to a dealer or trader, usually in something disreputable.

"Pergamus..."   (Book IV)

Pergamus was the citadel, or main, fortified area, of Troy. Here we see Apollo observing the war from this area, showing his military involvement in the Trojan cause.

"Gorgon..."   (Book V)

A gorgon is a monster with snakes for hair and whose glance can turn a person to stone. There are three Gorgons in Greek mythology, the most famous of which is Medusa, who is killed by Perseus.

"threshing-floor..."   (Book V)

A threshing-floor is the place where grain is separated from the seeds and husks.

"chaff ..."   (Book V)

The noun “chaff” refers to the waste left after grain has been harvested. It can also refer to something unnecessary.

"dandled..."   (Book VI)

The verb “dandle” refers to playfully bouncing a small child up and down in one's hands or upon one's knees.

"cubits..."   (Book VI)

A cubit is an ancient unit of measurement approximately equal to a forearm, typically falling between 18 and 21 inches.

"Chimaera..."   (Book VI)

The Chimaera or “Chimera,” is a mythological fire-breathing monster with the body of a goat, the head of a lion, and the tail of a serpent. In Greco-Roman mythology, she is slain by Bellerophon, who shot an arrow at her from the flying horse, Pegasus.

"thyrsi..."   (Book VI)

A thyrsus is a staff ornamented with flowers or pine cones carried by the followers of Bacchus, the god of wine.

"baldric..."   (Book VII)

The noun “baldric” refers to a leather strap worn across the chest to hold a sword.

"Far-Darter..."   (Book VII)

A “far-darter” is another epithet for the god Apollo, who was an expert archer.

"Gorgo..."   (Book VIII)

The word “Gorgo” is another name for a Gorgon, which refers to any one of the three sisters who had snakes for hair and the power to turn anyone who looked at them to stone. The Gorgons were named Stheno, Euryale and Medusa.

"tripod..."   (Book VIII)

The noun “tripod” in ancient Greek culture refers to a three-legged cauldron, often used in rituals or presented as a prize.

"chine..."   (Book IX)

The noun “chine” is a cut of meat that contains a portion of the backbone.

"anointed..."   (Book X)

The verb “anointed” here refers to the dabbing or smearing of oil in a ceremonial way. Here the warriors purify themselves before offering up wine to Minerva (Athena).

"centaurs..."   (Book XI)

Centaurs are mythological creatures with the body of a horse and the trunk and head of a man. They are notorious for being wild and lusty, and said to be overly indulgent drinkers and carousers. Centaurs are commonly characterized as violent and uncultured beings.

"breastworks ..."   (Book XII)

Breastworks are temporary walls, usually measuring about chest-high.

"demigods..."   (Book XII)

Demigods are the offspring of both a god and a mortal. Many of the heroes in the Iliad, including Achilles, are demigods.

"ford..."   (Book XIV)

A ford is a shallow place in a stream or river where people are able to cross.

"soughed..."   (Book XIV)

The verb “sough” means a soft moaning, whistling or rushing sound. This is the past tense form, and it is pronounced like the word sighed.

"allotment ..."   (Book XV)

The noun “allotment” refers to Hector’s share of whatever the Trojans have been able to take from the Greeks.

"Dodona in your sway, where your prophets the Selli..."   (Book XVI)

Dodona was the site of a shrine to Jove, and the Selli were a brotherhood of ascetic priests who went barefoot and slept on the ground. Theirs was an order dedicated to Jove.

"two talents..."   (Book XVIII)

A talent is supposed to have represented the value of an average man's work for nine years. The talents in this passage are presumably two talents of silver, equal to about 60 lb. of silver (or 30 lb. each), which makes their value considerable.

"bellows..."   (Book XVIII)

A bellows is a device which expels air when pressed together, usually used to stoke a fire.

"laid him on a litter..."   (Book XVIII)

This passage refers to laying a body out on a bed or a base of some kind before carrying it from the battlefield.

"heirloom..."   (Book XXIII)

The noun “heirloom” means a valued possession handed down through a family.

"vestments..."   (Book XXIV)

The noun “vestments” refers to robes or gowns, especially ones worn in rituals or ceremonies.