The reported thoracic injuries in Homer’s Iliad

Here we present the ‘Abstract‘ of the corresponding paper by Apostolakis E, Apostolaki G, Apostolaki M, Chorti M.

Abstract

Homer’s Iliad is considered to be a prominent and representative work of the tradition of the ancient Greek epic poetry. In this poem Homer presents the battles which took place during the last year of the 10-year lasting Trojan War between Achaeans and Trojans. We wanted to examine the chest wounds, especially those which are described in detail, according to their localization, severity and mortality. Finally, there are reported 54 consecutive thoracic injuries in the Iliad. The mostly used weapons were the spear (63%), the stones (7.4%), the arrow (5.5%) and the sword (5.5%). We divided the injuries according to their severity in mild (those which did not cause serious injury to the victim), medium (those which cause the victim to abandon the battlefield), and severe (those which cause death of the victim). According to this classification, the reported injuries were mild in 11.11%, medium in 18.52%, and severe in the last 70.37% of the reported cases. In other words, 89% of the injuries belong to the medium or severe category of thoracic injury. As far as the mortality of the injuries is concerned, 38 out of 54 thoracic injuries include death, which makes the mortality percentage reach 70.37%. Concerning the “allocation of the roles”, the Achaean were in 68% perpetrators and the Trojans in only 32%. In terms of gravity, out of 38 mortal injuries 30 involve a Trojan (78.95%) and the remaining 8 an Achaean (21.05%). The excellent and detailed description of the injuries by Homer, as well as of the symptoms, may reveal a man with knowledge of anatomy and medicine who cared for the injured warriors in the battlefield.

(Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21087529)

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