Until relatively recently, the epicentre of Europe’s literature and the basis of much elite education were the three great classical epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer and The Aeneid of Virgil. The most esteemed, The Iliad, retains its hold over the European imagination despite being seldom read today, save in translation. Apart from the questions raised by the concept of its centrality to a European culture determined and dominated by a North European sensibility - it is essentially a Mediterranean work - it also raises questions about the centrality of war to the collective imagination and the need to celebrate it in school.