Homer’s Iliad: Liberty and Responsibility

This is a Reading List based upon a Liberty Fund Conference on “Liberty and Responsibility in Homer’s Iliad.”

Liberty and Responsibility in Homer’s Iliad


Homer’s Iliad is one of the foundational texts of the Western tradition, and an essential work for understanding Greek civilization. The Iliad offers a rich and varied tapestry of the human condition in war, by considering the relationship of the human to the divine, the public to the private, and peace to war. Some questions that could be raised have to do with the differing conceptions of liberty and responsibility in Achilles and Hector. What are the sorts of obligations that bind them? What freedom do they have to act within these obligatory ties or to act outside of them? What does Homer’s depiction of the gods’ interventions in human affairs say about freedom? What about the role of fate? What does the depiction of the heroism in the Iliad tell us about the human condition and its possibilities?

Guide to the Readings

Edition used:

See also in the Online Library of Liberty:

For additional reading see:

Session I: Among God and Heroes

Homer’s Iliad

Session II: The Fragility of Mortality

Homer’s Iliad

Session III: Luck, Fate, and Doom

Homer’s Iliad

Session IV: Love and Death

Homer’s Iliad

Session V: The Shield of Achilles

Homer’s Iliad

Session VI: Remembering Achilles’ Humanity

Homer’s Iliad