The Heart of Achilles

Characterization and Personal Ethics in the Iliad
Graham Zanker
Explores the moral choices and values Homer offers in his Iliad


In The Heart of Achilles, Graham Zanker addresses the task of reconstructing the ethical thought-world in which the characters of the Iliad live and move. It is only against this background, Zanker argues, that we can convincingly place the ethical status of the heroes and their actions. This in turn helps us to form a comprehensive view of the Iliad's characterization of its people, especially that of Achilles, by examining all his responses to the question of allegiance, the value of heroic prowess, and of life itself.

Graham Zanker is Senior Lecturer in Classics, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Praise / Awards

  • "[Zanker] has succeeded impressively in providing a reconstruction that will stand as a welcome refinement of current received opinion about the morals and motives of Homer's heroes. Its trenchant critical acumen and pellucid writing style make The Heart of Achilles must reading for all senior students of Homer, undergraduate and beyond."
    --James P. Holoka, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
  • "[Zanker] investigates altruistic behavior in the epic with professional sophistication but in a way that makes his investigation available to a wide audience from undergraduates to advanced scholars. . . . [A] very useful interpretative study." "

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 184pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1996
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08400-5

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  • $30.95 U.S.