The problem of the composition of the Iliad meets us
in a peculiarly subtle and difficult aspect on the very threshold of the poem.
The first book seems, even to a careful reader, to be a perfect and indivisible
whole; yet it is here that the severest battles of the critic have been
fought. Lachmann and his school have rightly felt that if the book could once
be disintegrated in spite of its apparent solidity, the task of separation
would be disproportionately facilitated for the rest of the Iliad.