As is typical of classical poetry, the Iliad is organized by a number of meters and themes or plots. The poem is divided into six Books of the Chiefs, each dealing with a particular event of the war, and a seventh Book of the Embassy, a journey to deliver a ransom to Achilles. The first of these contains the entire exordium (an introductory passage spoken by a narrator or messenger to introduce the action of the poem), the second is the journey of the Greek army to Troy, the third Book of the Catalogue of Ships, the fourth the wrath of Achilles, the fifth the visit of the Greek embassy to Achilles, and the sixth the battle. This is followed by the epyllion (an epilogue) and the postscriptum (a concluding passage). The poem is sometimes subdivided into the first three Books of the Chiefs, the fourth and fifth Books of the Catalogue of Ships, and the sixth Book of the Wrath of Achilles. The Odyssey is generally considered to be a later addition to the epic cycle (see below).
Because of the central role it plays in the epic cycle, the Iliad is one of the primary sources of the Trojan War in Western culture. It strongly influenced the tradition of Trojan War epics such as Virgil's Aeneid and Gottfried Keller's The Trojan War (and arguably the Ilias, which was the name of one of Homer's sources). It is still one of the most highly read literary works in the English language, and has been translated into most of the major European languages. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was a major influence on Medieval and Renaissance epic and on the development of vernacular literature in Europe. Moreover, English, French, and German translations played a central role in the Renaissance humanism and re-translations of the work were a major influence on Goethe, Schiller, and others. Notable modern writers whose works were greatly influenced by the Iliad include Alexander Pushkin, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville, and Franz Kafka. Sophocles (who may have based his play Oedipus Rex on the Odyssey 827ec27edc