WORLD LITERATURE I (ENG 251)

Homer Study Guide - The Main Characters of the Troy Cycle

Dr. Diane Thompson, NVCC, ELI


  The Main Characters of the Troy Cycle

Greek Deities:

Since many older translations of Homer use Latin names for the various Greek gods, instead of the  Greek names, I have included the Latin names where relevant. The characters are the same, whichever names are being used. The only Greek mortal who regularly undergoes a name change is Odysseus, who is frequently referred to by his Latin name, Ulysses.

Greek Latin   Characteristics
Ares Mars god of war; lover of Aphrodite
Apollo   god of plague for infractions of ritual; angry at Greeks for insulting his priest, Chryses
Aphrodite Venus goddess of love; married to Hephaestus; lover of Ares
Athena Minerva goddess of wisdom; born from Zeus' head; Odysseus' patron
Eris   goddess of strife; threw golden apple which started quarrel between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite over which one was the most beautiful
Hephaestus Vulcan god of the forge; lame; spouse of Aphrodite
Hera Juno goddess of marriage; sister and wife of Zeus
Hermes Mercury messenger god, especially from gods to mortals
Polyphemus   the man-eating Cyclops who trapped Odysseus and his men in his cave; blinded by Odysseus; son of Poseidon
Poseidon Neptune god of the sea, earthquakes and horses; brother of Zeus; father of Cyclops Polyphemus
Thetis   a sea nymph; mother of Achilles; pleads with Zeus to let the Trojans overcome the Greek armies to placate Achilles honor
Zeus Jove/ Jupiter god of the sky and thunderbolts; chief deity; father of many half mortal children; final arbiter of law and order; initiator of the Trojan War


Greek Mortals:

Achilles son of Peleus, a mortal, and Thetis, a sea nymph; greatest Greek warrior at Troy; leader of Myrmidons; quarreled with Agamemnon over Briseis, a war-prize concubine
Agamemnon high king of Greece; king of Mycenae; led Greek armies against Troy; husband of Clytemnestra; sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia to get favorable winds to sail to Troy; killed by Clytemnestra
Calchas Greek seer who advised Agamemnon to return Chryseis in order to stop the plague sent by Apollo
Clytemnestra murdered her husband Agamemnon when he returned from Troy; daughter of Zeus and Leda; sister to Helen
Diomedes brave, wise Greek warrior
Menelaus king of Sparta; brother of Agamemnon; husband of Helen
Helen the immediate cause of the war; wife of Menelaus; either seized by or ran away with Paris to Troy; daughter of Zeus and Leda
Nestor king of Pylos; wise counselor
Odysseus king of Ithaca; father of Telemachus; excellent counselor; devised Trojan Horse strategy; took ten years to return home after the war
Patroclus Achilles' dear friend; killed by Hector who thought he was Achilles because he wore Achilles' armor
Penelope faithful wife of Odysseus
Telemachus son of Odysseus and Penelope


Trojans:

Aeneas Trojan noble; not particularly important until Virgil's Aeneid
Andromache wife of Hector, mother of Astyanax
Astyanax young son of Andromache and Hector; killed by the Greeks to prevent his growing to up avenge Hector's death
Cassandra a Trojan princess, cursed by Apollo to always speak the truth and never be believed; carried off by Agamemnon as a war prize; probably murdered by Clytemnestra
Chryses priest of Apollo, whose daughter is wrongfully kept as a war-prize by Agamemnon
Hecuba wife of Priam; queen of Troy; mother of Hector
Hector son of Priam and Hecuba; father of Astyanax; Troy's finest hero; killed Patroclus; killed by Achilles
Laomedon king of Troy when Hercules and Jason conquered it; father of Priam
Paris love-obsessed son of Priam and Hecuba; judged goddesses' beauty; married Helen after bringing her to Troy; killed Achilles after the Iliad events
Priam king of Troy when Greek armies under Agamemnon destroyed it; father of Hector and forty-nine other children; some by Hecuba, others by concubines
Troilus Trojan prince; son of Hecuba and Priam

Homer Study Guide


© Diane Thompson: 8/13/1998; last updated: January 27, 2012