Ancient Greek civilizations are warrior societies. The army is the heart of the community; the best warrior is its pulse. The most successful fighter receives the most power over the society and in many ways becomes its ruler. Homer's epic poem, The Iliad, is about Achilles, however this is not far from saying The Iliad is about the Greeks and what it is to be Greek. Given the importance of the war hero to the Greeks as depicted by Homer, Achilles is not only the focal point of the poem, but also Greek civilization. The warrior heroes embody the society as a whole. This is to say that the values of the warrior heroes are also the values of the civilization. Through the Iliad it is evident that the heroic values the warrior upholds are social and religious as well as personal. Social values include achieving honor, military glory over family life. Religious values include upholding the laws of hospitality and carrying out proper religious burial, as well as valuing the support of the Gods. Finally, personal values of warrior heroes such as Achilles and Hector are the importance of revenge and .
First and foremost, Homer shows that the aim of every hero is to achieve honor. This is more important than life itself. A hero's honor is determined by his courage and physical abilities more so than his wealth and possessions. The highest esteem can only be won in Battle, where the stakes are the highest. . Occasionally, prizes from the spoils of war are awarded for heroism in battle as in the cases of Chryseis and Briseis, who belong respectively to Agamemnon and Achilles. The importance of these captive girls as symbols of honor is evident in the dispute that arises in book one. .
When Paris is summoned to battle Menelaus, but loses heart, Hector objurgates Paris's cowardice calling him, " an object of scorn/ Looked down on by others," and saying Achaeans will, " Laugh loud and long, saying that a prince is our champion/ because he is good looking, though he be both woefully gutless/ and weak.