When my sister asked me what I was reading and I told her it was The Iliad, her response was "Why?" The only answer I could give her I borrowed from Mallory when asked why he'd want to climb Everest - "Because it's there." The Iliad falls into that group of books I wanted to read before I died. Done.
Obviously it's not a casual read. For me, with the exception of Achilles, Odysseus, and Agamemnon, it was a little bit problematic keeping track of the different characters. I had to go back and refresh my memory whether they were Trojans or Greeks far too many times. But that might just indicate a deficiency with the reader.
It takes place during the Trojan War, but if you read it expecting to find the story of the Trojan Horse like I did, you'll be disappointed. (Serves me right for thinking I was learning something from watching a Brad Pitt movie.) Historically that event took place in between The Iliad and The Odyssey and Homer never wrote about it. It's in Virgil's The Aeneid. Who knew?
I feel a little guilty giving The Iliad fewer stars than I give most books written by authors like Steve Berry, James Rollins, and Jeffery Deaver, but that's the way it goes. It's an indication of how much I enjoyed reading it and not its historic or cultural significance.