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To answer who Briseis is
Kate1148 wanted to know who Briseis is based on. If I remember correctly, she's based on *herself* even though her very small part in the book has been stretched into a full fledged character in the movie. The story of the Iliad is driven by Achilles' wrath. This wrath is directed against Agamemnon and caused by the fact that he took spoils of war away from Achilles and this included Briseis. The difference between the book and the movie is that Achilles doesn't care about the girl in the book (she is his *prize* that he feels he is owed) vs. in the movie where she is turned into a love interest. If I also remember correctly, Patroclus and Achilles are friends not cousins in the book and there is an intimacy implied that goes beyond friendship. This is probably a reason why Briseis was made into what she was, because in the Iliad if there was any 'romantic interest' for Achilles it was probably Patroclus.
I agree that many things in the book have been changed like Agamemnon's premature death, the length of the war, the addition of the Trojan horse, a lot of characters are cut out or their parts are greatly reduced and the removal of the physical presence of the gods (which I think is the largest change). That said, I think this is still a good movie. A lot of liberties were taken but that's to be expected. I understand why some of them were taken for a cinematic version.