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Page 246

STORIES OF GREECE AND ROME
THE STORY OF ACHILLES

the hand of Paris. So Achilles was slain on the very place where he had killed Hector.
But the Greeks carried off his body and his armor and brought them to the ships. For seventeen days they mourned over his body, and on the eighteenth day they gave it burial by the side of his friend Patroclus. Over them both the Greeks raised a great mound that was the wonder of men in after times.
Many other chiefs, both Greek and Trojan, besides Hector and Achilles, met their doom on the plains before the gates of Troy during the ten long years that the Greeks laid siege to the city, for the gods gave victory now to the Greeks and now to the Trojans. But in the end, through the craftiness of Ulysses, the gates of the city were opened and the Greek hosts swept through the streets. They took the city with all its rich treasures, and Menelaus won back his wife, the beautiful Helen.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biographical and Historical Note. There is much doubt as to the date and authorship of both the great poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, but it is commonly believed that they are the work of Homer, a blind poet, who lived in the eighth century B.C. The events which the poems celebrate occurred about 1000 B.C. It is generally supposed that Homer earned his living as a minstrel, traveling from town to town and reciting his poems to the music of his harp. There is much uncertainty as to his birthplace, as the following couplet shows:
" Seven wealthy towns contend for Homer dead Through which the living Homer begged for bread."
The Iliad and the Odyssey are two of the oldest poems in existence. They were sung originally in the Greek language, but many translations, both verse and prose, have been made into the modern languages.

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