The Iliad is a beautiful poem that begins half way into the tragic, ten-year Trojan War. It was written by the blind Greek poet Homer, anywhere from the 12th to 7th century, as historians are not sure when Homer lived.
The cause of this catastrophic war was the abduction of the Spartan Queen Helen by Paris, a Trojan prince. But Menelaus, Helen’s husband, gathered his friends and allies, and went to rescue Helen.
In this war, the gods of Mt. Olympus took sides except for Zeus, the chief god who played a neutral part in the war. Hera, his wife, heavily favored the Greeks along with her daughter Athena, whose favorite was Odysseus, King of Ithaca. Aphrodite favored the Trojans, while Poseidon, the sea-god, was partial to the Greeks.
The gods took sides after a quarrel between the Mycenaean king, Agamemnon, and his best warrior, Achilles. The ‘wrath’ of Achilles took place when Agamemnon refused to part with a hostage. Achilles then accused him of being greedy. Thus ensued a bitter relationship as one tried to hurt another. Achilles, wishing to uphold his honor, finally went to his mother, Thetis, who pleaded with the ruler of the gods on Mt. Olympus, Zeus, for the Trojans to be favored.
Fate also played a role of importance in the outcome of the Trojan War. Fate was determined by the Fates themselves. There were three Fates, who were in control over life and death.
It was because of Achilles’ honor that the gods played a role in the war, when he went to his mother, who in turn persuaded Zeus to favor the Trojans. Therefore, military prowess became insufficient to win the war.