in book five of the iliad what where the conflicts between gods

at the end of the book what were the conflict between gods

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 2
Add Yours

I'd head straight to the study guide for this question; it has everything you need.


The gods choose champions, but their decisions are not arbitrary. The will of the gods in this case has something to do with the characters of mortals. Diomedes is the chosen champion of Athena; he is not beloved for nothing, but because he is a strong warrior, faithful to the gods and loyal to his commander. We first saw him in the last book, when he patiently bore the abuse of Agamemnon and encouraged Sthenalus to do the same. This brief moment establishes his character's loyalty and respect for the chain of command, preparing us for his re-introduction in this section as the chosen champion of the goddess Athena.

With gods behind them, single warriors seem worth more than whole armies. Diomedes smashes through the Trojan ranks with Athena's help, just as later Hector drives the Achaeans back with Ares by his side. Homer writes not exactly of real men, but of heroes. (It was the work of the Athenian tragedians centuries later to tear Homer's heroes down to human scale.) His vision of battle is one where single men, when inspired or chosen, can drive back the entire opposing army. In Homer, war is not pure chaos or mass violence; war is an arena in which individual warriors make all the difference. The armies fail or succeed because of the actions of single men. Homer glorifies the place of an individual's valor and strength.

His heroes are of a stronger race of men: many times throughout the Iliad, men perform astonishing feats of strength. Diomedes wounds Aeneas by throwing a giant boulder at him, "a huge thing which no two men could carry / such as men are now, but by himself he lightly hefted it" (5. 303-4). (Incidentally, this line shows that either Homer was writing long after the events he was supposedly portraying or at least that there are lines that were added to the Iliad long after the supposed time of the Trojan War.) Homer writes about a heroic past, one where men are supposedly stronger than any living during Homer's own time. Homeric heroes talk to gods, and are chosen by them; with some help, they can even fight against the gods on the battlefield and win.

Aeneas is one of the gods' favorites. Both Aphrodite and Apollo are determined that he should not die, spiriting him away and shielding him with their own bodies. He is destined to be one of the few survivors of Troy, and, long after Homer's time, the Romans claimed descent from him. Aeneas' treatment reveals how single-minded the gods can be once they have made a decision; or, alternatively, his treatment shows how the gods must act under the dictates of fate.

We see here gods who can be wounded. They bleed ichor, blood of the gods, but they cannot die. Greek divinities have limits on their power: although Aprhodite is unmatched in the realm of love (her power will later master Zeus himself) in battle she is vulnerable. On the other hand, it is impossible for a mortal to oppose a god without divine help. Aphrodite is an exception because she has no battle prowess, but even in her case Diomedes wounds her after he has been given great strength by Athena. And when Diomedes wounds Ares, he is only able to do so because Athena drives and directs the spear.