The Iliad – which characters are mentioned by name the most?

This visualisation shows how often characters are mentioned by name in The Iliad, aka the Trojan war epic (looks best on desktop):


The Iliad has been translated many many times, and these figures are based on Lang’s 1888 translation, which I got from Gutenberg.

Pretty surprised to see how low Paris, Helen, and Aphrodite are! Odysseus I thought would be higher too. I can’t help thinking I made some glaring error. But, I did a manual check of some numbers and confirmed them. It might be a quirk of this particular translation.

Also, I got the numbers in a fairly unsophisticated way, only counting direct name mentions (Github). So “Paris” gets counted, but things like “The young prince of Troy” or “Son of whoever” doesn’t. Likewise, if it says something like “Wife of Menalaus” that would be a point for Menalaus, not Helen. So there’s some noise there.

Also surprised Petroclus is so high. But it’s largely due to his strong prominence in books 16 & 17. He barely gets a mention up to then.

The next step is to compare this with some other translations.

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