3) For all that the culture of Homer's Iliad is alien to the modern reader - harsh, violent, obsessed with honour, despising weakness, glorying in death - it is a very human text: it is emotions (pride, anger, love, hate, friendship, desire) which dominate and drive the narrative, not reason. The characters routinely ignore good advice when it is given, let stubbornness get the better of them time and again, and never, ever stop to think things through. Their passions overwhelm them in a way that is both exaggerated and also very true to how people actually run their lives.
What I find most interesting about the humans in the Iliad is that, for them, death is just something that happens. It was all around them: battle, disease, starvation, wild animals, floods, storms. One's own mortality was lurking nearby waiting to confront one at any given moment. Yet this did not lead these people to live their life like frightened rabbits hiding down holes, scared of danger. Quite the opposite: they threw themselves into their own lives, and deaths, with gay abandon, hunting their own mortality down, grabbing it by the neck, and throttling it.
In other words, it depicts humans as all passionate, over-emotional, and carefree - almost careless - with their own lives. Mortality doesn't breed fear; it breeds a devil-may-care perspective on physical danger.
The elf stands as counterpoint to this. If you were immortal, you would treat your life like a precious piece of porcelain and swathe it in yards of cotton, because death would mean missing out on thousands, nay, millions of years of experiences - you would want more than anything to be still around in a billion years' time to see how it all turns out. You would also, being jaded by age and the feeling of having seen everything before, probably view emotions with a heavy dose of skepticism. Why let temporary feelings perturb your carefully-worked out plans, your painstakingly-created work of art, your eons-long ponderings on the nature of your own navel?
4) Everything is Ancient Greeks. I knew that there was a longstanding legend, rumour or piece of propaganda which held that Britain was colonized by refugees from Troy. But, in reading around The Iliad, I also learned that the invading army of Achaeans mostly never made it home but were instead rumoured to have spread around Europe and founded its various civilizations. So you have this strange alternative history presented in which the conflict results in the emigration of Greeks and Trojans to all the far-flung corners of the known world, bringing with them the seeds of their culture and inevitably, one supposes, clashing with the locals. I can't be the only person who immediately starts thinking of campaign ideas: Achaean warriors ending up in ancient China or Japan, anyone? Trojan refugees in aboriginal Australia - no takers? Odysseus ends up sailing over the ocean and finds himself in pre-Maya Mexico, perchance?