The Iliad, composed approximately in the middle of the eighth century bc, constitutes the leading and oldest known example of heroic epic. The Homeric epic presents the conflicts that took place during the last year of the 10-year lasting Trojan War, offering a realistic description of battle wounds. We studied the text of The Iliad in ancient Greek and in the translations in modern Greek and English and searched for all recorded injuries to the pelvis and lower extremities. A total of 16 traumatic injuries of pelvis and lower extremities were described, including 7 fatal wounds, while in 9 cases, the outcome was unknown.
The Iliad remains the oldest record of Greek medicine and a unique source of surgical history. To study the vividly reported events is a great experience, particularly for a surgeon.