The Iliad

The Iliad

by Homer

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The Iliad is an epic poem attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. The Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9788826041803
Publisher: Homer
Publication date: 03/23/2017
Sold by: StreetLib SRL
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 12,918
File size: 840 KB

About the Author

Homer, a Greek poet best known for The Odyssey and The Iliad, was likely born sometime between 750 BC and 1200 BC. Some historians believe he was an individual man, while others believe he did not exist at all and instead was the combination of multiple Greek poets. It is also surmised that Homer was blind, but this is derived from the character Demodokos in The Odyssey. Although his history remains one of the greatest literary mysteries, Homer is widely considered one of the most profound poets and storytellers of all time.

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The Iliad

By Homer, Samuel Butler


Copyright © 2017 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-4445-5


The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles — Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans — Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another.

And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel? It was the son of Jove and Leto; for he was angry with the king and sent a pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son of Atreus had dishonoured Chryses his priest. Now Chryses had come to the ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and had brought with him a great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the sceptre of Apollo wreathed with a suppliant's wreath, and he besought the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus, who were their chiefs.

"Sons of Atreus," he cried, "and all other Achaeans, may the gods who dwell in Olympus grant you to sack the city of Priam, and to reach your homes in safety; but free my daughter, and accept a ransom for her, in reverence to Apollo, son of Jove."

On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for respecting the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but not so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly away. "Old man," said he, "let me not find you tarrying about our ships, nor yet coming hereafter. Your sceptre of the god and your wreath shall profit you nothing. I will not free her. She shall grow old in my house at Argos far from her own home, busying herself with her loom and visiting my couch; so go, and do not provoke me or it shall be the worse for you."

The old man feared him and obeyed. Not a word he spoke, but went by the shore of the sounding sea and prayed apart to King Apollo whom lovely Leto had borne. "Hear me," he cried, "O god of the silver bow, that protectest Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest Tenedos with thy might, hear me oh thou of Sminthe. If I have ever decked your temple with garlands, or burned your thigh-bones in fat of bulls or goats, grant my prayer, and let your arrows avenge these my tears upon the Danaans."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He came down furious from the summits of Olympus, with his bow and his quiver upon his shoulder, and the arrows rattled on his back with the rage that trembled within him. He sat himself down away from the ships with a face as dark as night, and his silver bow rang death as he shot his arrow in the midst of them. First he smote their mules and their hounds, but presently he aimed his shafts at the people themselves, and all day long the pyres of the dead were burning.

For nine whole days he shot his arrows among the people, but upon the tenth day Achilles called them in assembly — moved thereto by Juno, who saw the Achaeans in their death-throes and had compassion upon them. Then, when they were got together, he rose and spoke among them.

"Son of Atreus," said he, "I deem that we should now turn roving home if we would escape destruction, for we are being cut down by war and pestilence at once. Let us ask some priest or prophet, or some reader of dreams (for dreams, too, are of Jove) who can tell us why Phoebus Apollo is so angry, and say whether it is for some vow that we have broken, or hecatomb that we have not offered, and whether he will accept the savour of lambs and goats without blemish, so as to take away the plague from us."

With these words he sat down, and Calchas son of Thestor, wisest of augurs, who knew things past present and to come, rose to speak. He it was who had guided the Achaeans with their fleet to Ilius, through the prophesyings with which Phoebus Apollo had inspired him. With all sincerity and goodwill he addressed them thus: — "Achilles, loved of heaven, you bid me tell you about the anger of King Apollo, I will therefore do so; but consider first and swear that you will stand by me heartily in word and deed, for I know that I shall offend one who rules the Argives with might, to whom all the Achaeans are in subjection. A plain man cannot stand against the anger of a king, who if he swallow his displeasure now, will yet nurse revenge till he has wreaked it. Consider, therefore, whether or no you will protect me."

And Achilles answered, "Fear not, but speak as it is borne in upon you from heaven, for by Apollo, Calchas, to whom you pray, and whose oracles you reveal to us, not a Danaan at our ships shall lay his hand upon you, while I yet live to look upon the face of the earth — no, not though you name Agamemnon himself, who is by far the foremost of the Achaeans."

Thereon the seer spoke boldly. "The god," he said, "is angry neither about vow nor hecatomb, but for his priest's sake, whom Agamemnon has dishonoured, in that he would not free his daughter nor take a ransom for her; therefore has he sent these evils upon us, and will yet send others. He will not deliver the Danaans from this pestilence till Agamemnon has restored the girl without fee or ransom to her father, and has sent a holy hecatomb to Chryse. Thus we may perhaps appease him."

With these words he sat down, and Agamemnon rose in anger. His heart was black with rage, and his eyes flashed fire as he scowled on Calchas and said, "Seer of evil, you never yet prophesied smooth things concerning me, but have ever loved to foretell that which was evil. You have brought me neither comfort nor performance; and now you come seeing among Danaans, and saying that Apollo has plagued us because I would not take a ransom for this girl, the daughter of Chryses. I have set my heart on keeping her in my own house, for I love her better even than my own wife Clytemnestra, whose peer she is alike in form and feature, in understanding and accomplishments. Still I will give her up if I must, for I would have the people live, not die; but you must find me a prize instead, or I alone among the Argives shall be without one. This is not well; for you behold, all of you, that my prize is to go elsewhither."

And Achilles answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, covetous beyond all mankind, how shall the Achaeans find you another prize? We have no common store from which to take one. Those we took from the cities have been awarded; we cannot disallow the awards that have been made already. Give this girl, therefore, to the god, and if ever Jove grants us to sack the city of Troy we will requite you three and fourfold."

Then Agamemnon said, "Achilles, valiant though you be, you shall not thus outwit me. You shall not overreach and you shall not persuade me. Are you to keep your own prize, while I sit tamely under my loss and give up the girl at your bidding? Let the Achaeans find me a prize in fair exchange to my liking, or I will come and take your own, or that of Ajax or of Ulysses; and he to whomsoever I may come shall rue my coming. But of this we will take thought hereafter; for the present, let us draw a ship into the sea, and find a crew for her expressly; let us put a hecatomb on board, and let us send Chryseis also; further, let some chief man among us be in command, either Ajax, or Idomeneus, or yourself, son of Peleus, mighty warrior that you are, that we may offer sacrifice and appease the anger of the god."

Achilles scowled at him and answered, "You are steeped in insolence and lust of gain. With what heart can any of the Achaeans do your bidding, either on foray or in open fighting? I came not warring here for any ill the Trojans had done me. I have no quarrel with them. They have not raided my cattle nor my horses, nor cut down my harvests on the rich plains of Phthia; for between me and them there is a great space, both mountain and sounding sea. We have followed you, Sir Insolence! for your pleasure, not ours — to gain satisfaction from the Trojans for your shameless self and for Menelaus. You forget this, and threaten to rob me of the prize for which I have toiled, and which the sons of the Achaeans have given me. Never when the Achaeans sack any rich city of the Trojans do I receive so good a prize as you do, though it is my hands that do the better part of the fighting. When the sharing comes, your share is far the largest, and I, forsooth, must go back to my ships, take what I can get and be thankful, when my labour of fighting is done. Now, therefore, I shall go back to Phthia; it will be much better for me to return home with my ships, for I will not stay here dishonoured to gather gold and substance for you."

And Agamemnon answered, "Fly if you will, I shall make you no prayers to stay you. I have others here who will do me honour, and above all Jove, the lord of counsel. There is no king here so hateful to me as you are, for you are ever quarrelsome and ill-affected. What though you be brave? Was it not heaven that made you so? Go home, then, with your ships and comrades to lord it over the Myrmidons. I care neither for you nor for your anger; and thus will I do: since Phoebus Apollo is taking Chryseis from me, I shall send her with my ship and my followers, but I shall come to your tent and take your own prize Briseis, that you may learn how much stronger I am than you are, and that another may fear to set himself up as equal or comparable with me."

The son of Peleus was furious, and his heart within his shaggy breast was divided whether to draw his sword, push the others aside, and kill the son of Atreus, or to restrain himself and check his anger. While he was thus in two minds, and was drawing his mighty sword from its scabbard, Minerva came down from heaven (for Juno had sent her in the love she bore to them both), and seized the son of Peleus by his yellow hair, visible to him alone, for of the others no man could see her. Achilles turned in amaze, and by the fire that flashed from her eyes at once knew that she was Minerva. "Why are you here," said he, "daughter of aegis-bearing Jove? To see the pride of Agamemnon, son of Atreus? Let me tell you — and it shall surely be — he shall pay for this insolence with his life."

And Minerva said, "I come from heaven, if you will hear me, to bid you stay your anger. Juno has sent me, who cares for both of you alike. Cease, then, this brawling, and do not draw your sword; rail at him if you will, and your railing will not be vain, for I tell you — and it shall surely be — that you shall hereafter receive gifts three times as splendid by reason of this present insult. Hold, therefore, and obey."

"Goddess," answered Achilles, "however angry a man may be, he must do as you two command him. This will be best, for the gods ever hear the prayers of him who has obeyed them."

He stayed his hand on the silver hilt of his sword, and thrust it back into the scabbard as Minerva bade him. Then she went back to Olympus among the other gods, and to the house of aegis-bearing Jove.

But the son of Peleus again began railing at the son of Atreus, for he was still in a rage. "Wine-bibber," he cried, "with the face of a dog and the heart of a hind, you never dare to go out with the host in fight, nor yet with our chosen men in ambuscade. You shun this as you do death itself. You had rather go round and rob his prizes from any man who contradicts you. You devour your people, for you are king over a feeble folk; otherwise, son of Atreus, henceforward you would insult no man. Therefore I say, and swear it with a great oath — nay, by this my sceptre which shalt sprout neither leaf nor shoot, nor bud anew from the day on which it left its parent stem upon the mountains — for the axe stripped it of leaf and bark, and now the sons of the Achaeans bear it as judges and guardians of the decrees of heaven — so surely and solemnly do I swear that hereafter they shall look fondly for Achilles and shall not find him. In the day of your distress, when your men fall dying by the murderous hand of Hector, you shall not know how to help them, and shall rend your heart with rage for the hour when you offered insult to the bravest of the Achaeans."

With this the son of Peleus dashed his gold-bestudded sceptre on the ground and took his seat, while the son of Atreus was beginning fiercely from his place upon the other side. Then uprose smooth-tongued Nestor, the facile speaker of the Pylians, and the words fell from his lips sweeter than honey. Two generations of men born and bred in Pylos had passed away under his rule, and he was now reigning over the third. With all sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus: —

"Of a truth," he said, "a great sorrow has befallen the Achaean land. Surely Priam with his sons would rejoice, and the Trojans be glad at heart if they could hear this quarrel between you two, who are so excellent in fight and counsel. I am older than either of you; therefore be guided by me. Moreover I have been the familiar friend of men even greater than you are, and they did not disregard my counsels. Never again can I behold such men as Pirithous and Dryas shepherd of his people, or as Caeneus, Exadius, godlike Polyphemus, and Theseus son of Aegeus, peer of the immortals. These were the mightiest men ever born upon this earth: mightiest were they, and when they fought the fiercest tribes of mountain savages they utterly overthrew them. I came from distant Pylos, and went about among them, for they would have me come, and I fought as it was in me to do. Not a man now living could withstand them, but they heard my words, and were persuaded by them. So be it also with yourselves, for this is the more excellent way. Therefore, Agamemnon, though you be strong, take not this girl away, for the sons of the Achaeans have already given her to Achilles; and you, Achilles, strive not further with the king, for no man who by the grace of Jove wields a sceptre has like honour with Agamemnon. You are strong, and have a goddess for your mother; but Agamemnon is stronger than you, for he has more people under him. Son of Atreus, check your anger, I implore you; end this quarrel with Achilles, who in the day of battle is a tower of strength to the Achaeans."

And Agamemnon answered, "Sir, all that you have said is true, but this fellow must needs become our lord and master: he must be lord of all, king of all, and captain of all, and this shall hardly be. Granted that the gods have made him a great warrior, have they also given him the right to speak with railing?"

Achilles interrupted him. "I should be a mean coward," he cried, "were I to give in to you in all things. Order other people about, not me, for I shall obey no longer. Furthermore I say — and lay my saying to your heart — I shall fight neither you nor any man about this girl, for those that take were those also that gave. But of all else that is at my ship you shall carry away nothing by force. Try, that others may see; if you do, my spear shall be reddened with your blood."

When they had quarrelled thus angrily, they rose, and broke up the assembly at the ships of the Achaeans. The son of Peleus went back to his tents and ships with the son of Menoetius and his company, while Agamemnon drew a vessel into the water and chose a crew of twenty oarsmen. He escorted Chryseis on board and sent moreover a hecatomb for the god. And Ulysses went as captain.

These, then, went on board and sailed their ways over the sea. But the son of Atreus bade the people purify themselves; so they purified themselves and cast their filth into the sea. Then they offered hecatombs of bulls and goats without blemish on the sea-shore, and the smoke with the savour of their sacrifice rose curling up towards heaven.

Thus did they busy themselves throughout the host. But Agamemnon did not forget the threat that he had made Achilles, and called his trusty messengers and squires Talthybius and Eurybates. "Go," said he, "to the tent of Achilles, son of Peleus; take Briseis by the hand and bring her hither; if he will not give her I shall come with others and take her — which will press him harder."

He charged them straightly further and dismissed them, whereon they went their way sorrowfully by the seaside, till they came to the tents and ships of the Myrmidons. They found Achilles sitting by his tent and his ships, and ill- pleased he was when he beheld them. They stood fearfully and reverently before him, and never a word did they speak, but he knew them and said, "Welcome, heralds, messengers of gods and men; draw near; my quarrel is not with you but with Agamemnon who has sent you for the girl Briseis. Therefore, Patroclus, bring her and give her to them, but let them be witnesses by the blessed gods, by mortal men, and by the fierceness of Agamemnon's anger, that if ever again there be need of me to save the people from ruin, they shall seek and they shall not find. Agamemnon is mad with rage and knows not how to look before and after that the Achaeans may fight by their ships in safety."


Excerpted from The Iliad by Homer, Samuel Butler. Copyright © 2017 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Translator's Preface
Introduction, by Erwin Cook
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6
Book 7
Book 8
Book 9
Book 10
Book 11
Book 12
Book 13
Book 14
Book 15
Book 16
Book 17
Book 18
Book 19
Book 20
Book 21
Book 22
Book 23
Book 24
Books 1–12, by Hal Cardiv and Erwin Cook
Books 13–24, by Natalie Trevino and Erwin Cook
Names in the Iliad

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The Iliad 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 211 reviews.
Rumination More than 1 year ago
It is strange reading a classical Greek story invoking the Roman names of the Gods. Surely there are better translations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the greatest stories that Homer has ever told is The Iliad. It is a historical fiction that was told by Homer, a blind story tell. He told it more than 2,000 years ago in Greece. Most of the characters in his story come from Greece. This story takes place in Troy. At the time, Sparta and itâ¿¿s allies were fighting Troy and its allies. Homer gives great details on what happens and where a scene is happening and that really helped me read this story. One of the main characters, Achilles, was my favorite because he was brave, strong, and everyone liked him accept King Agamemnon. He took his lover away, which makes Troy almost defeat Sparta because Achilles asked Zeus take make Troy win Intel The king gives back his lover. There is also a lot of Greek Mythology like the gods and many of the creatures of ancient Greece like some of the hell hounds and Medusa . The theme of this story is about how hatred can make you do unbelievable things that can be good and bad. I think think that is the theme because in the story many men become hateful and they do crazy things and eventually get punished. One of the things I didnâ¿¿t like in this story was that it would always tell you to much about the simplest things, and it is a complicated read. I would recommend this book for anyone who is a good reader and someone that likes Greek Mythology. Much more happens in this story but if you want to find out then youâ¿¿ll have to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and the odyssey too. Must read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beginning was a little confusing. But once you got into it it's not that confusing anymore. As long as you know Greek Mythology. I mean I'm in 6th grade and I inow quite a lot of Greek Mythology.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This work is one of the most influential in the Western corpus, and that we even have a written record of it is a stroke of luck. PLEASE, this is NOT a 'book', it is a POEM that was written in verse, almost certainly by more than one person.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The paragraph format makes the story much more readable. The verse format would do things arbitrarily cut a sentence in the middle for no apparent reason 'in English anyways' and start a new line with the remainder of the sentence. It makes no sense to preserve the verse form when the verse qualities are lost in translation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the absolute best books I have read in a long time..when I first read in High School, I did not see that the characters seem real and the words were so colorful and inviting, the created a beautiful work of art.
AndrewCottingham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The translation is a little dated
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in Ancient Greece, The Iliad is an epic poem about a decade-long war. The book starts when the Trojans and Achaeans have already been at war for years. The war itself begins because Paris (a Trojan), steals Helen, the wife of Menelaus (an Achaean). This gives the Achaeans an excuse to load up their ships and head to Troy to attack them. Helen is the woman behind the infamous ¿face that launched a thousand ships.¿ ***SPOILERS*** Paris¿ brother Hector is a great warrior, unlike Paris, and because of this he leads the Trojan side of the battle. The Achaeans¿ greatest warrior is Achilles, but a falling out with Agamemnon (Menelaus¿ brother, leader of the Greeks) over spoils of war causes Achilles to refuse to fight. It¿s not until Hector kills his close friend, Patroclus, that Achilles rejoins the war to avenge his friend¿s death. Confused yet? It¿s pretty straight forward while you¿re reading it, but it sounds convoluted when you try to summarize it. It¿s considered the greatest war story ever told and so obviously there are a lot of battle scenes. I really liked the moral dilemmas, but after awhile the battles seemed repetitive. I loved The Odyssey, (Homer¿s book that followed one of the warriors on his journey home after the Trojan War), so much because it¿s one man¿s journey and every aspect of his adventure is new and unexpected. With the Iliad, Homer has to convey the exhaustion the men feel after fighting the same battle for years. The fatigue was contagious and I felt it about half way through the book. Things pick up towards the end because big players are dying and you know it¿s all coming to a head. The plot is frustrating at times, because the meddlesome gods cause more problems than they solve. They¿re petty and territorial and they choose humans that they want to champion and they don¿t care who is hurt along the way. It also seems to remove the element of free choice in the warriors; lives. They can choose to do something, but the gods will just prevent it from happening if they want to. After Hector is killed there is a brief mention of Helen's loneliness. She was taken from her home and is treated horribly by most people in Troy because they see her as the reason for the war. Hector was always kind to her and she realizes that none of her only friends is now dead and the loneliness is overwhelming. Even though this is a tiny part, it was really poignant to me. She¿s always painted as a guilty party in this legend, leaving her husband for another man, causing a war, etc. I never thought about how terrible her life must have been. I couldn't believe that the infamous Trojan Horse makes no appearance in The Iliad. It's my own fault for assuming it was part of the book, but I kept waiting for that part ... and then it ended. Apparently the Trojan Horse in mentioned in The Odyssey, which I remember, and then the full story is found in The Aeneid by Virgil. One of my favorite scenes in the book is the exchange between Priam and Achilles. Priam (Hector¿s father) goes to talk to Achilles after his son is killed. He begs Achilles to let him have Hector¿s body. The beauty of this scene is that it strips away ten-years of war and reduces the powerful Priam and Achilles to two grieving men. They aren¿t on opposite ends of an epic battle; they¿re just heartbroken individuals lamenting the cost of war. ***SPOILERS OVER*** In the end, The Iliad is a must read, not because it¿s the best book ever, but because it¿s a cornerstone of literature. It has provided the basis and inspiration for countless war stories in the centuries since its creation. It¿s one of the oldest and most well-known stories in existence and that¿s not something anyone should miss. But I would recommend The Odyssey over The Iliad if you¿re only going to read one, even though that story comes after this one in chronological order.
MickyFine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Homer's epic poem about the war between the Greeks and Trojans requires no review. However, Stanley Lombardo's translation deserves high praise. Lombardo brings the poem to life. In some places the language is gorgeously poetic and evocative as he describes the sea or a sunrise, and in others it is horrifically blunt describing a spear crashing through someone's skull and grey matter oozing out. While Homer's narrative meanders a bit, Lombardo manages to build in tension from the moment Patroclus puts on Achilles armour to the moment where Hector and Achilles finally battle. Lombardo's work is a great translation that really brings the poem to life for a modern audience.
datrappert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lombardo's translation makes this a real page-turner as we head toward the inevitable conclusion we know is coming - when the people we have come to admire the most - the Trojans - are vanquished. Achilles comes off as a spoiled child, and Homer isn't shy about pointing out the bad sides of the other Greek "heroes" as well. It says something about ancient Greek audiences that they listened over and over to a tale that made the enemy more admirable (and pitiable) than their own (supposed?) ancestors. But undoubtedly they were drawn in to the drama of the narrative and the fast action the same way I was.After reading this, I was anxious to read Lombardo's translation of the Odyssey, and I have to say I was disappointed - perhaps not so much with Lombardo, but with Homer. Although the Odyssey has so many of the stories we have grown up with (or simply somehow absorbed by osmosis), the episodic nature of the narrative really doesn't keep you picking it up to read a few more pages as you do with the Iliad.
bookwoman247 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Iliad was o.k., but I kept expecting it to get better. It was so repetetive that I found myself getting bored.The plot went something like this:The Achaeians are taunting the Trojans.The Trojan hero is taunting the Achaeian hero.Athena has decided to intervene for the Achaeians.Apollo has decided to intervene for Troy.The mortals whine and Zues forbids the gods to intervene.The gods whine. Everybody whines.On and on it went. It was interesting in parts, but, frankly, it reminded me too much of a modern football game, or of groups of little boys taunting each other all the time.I stayed with it because I kept hoping it would get better, especially since I loved The Odyssey. Also, it was something that I felt I should read, since it's the foundation of so much Western literature.I kept waiting to read about the Trojan Horse, or about the injury to Achilles heel.I did enjoy some parts. Especially when Hera was nagging Zeus. It gave me a good chuckle.As much as I disliked The Iliad, I love The Odyssey. It seems to me to have been written by an entirely different person, even though the translator is the same.
jclemence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading W. H. D. Rouse's delightful prose translation of Homer's Odyssey, I was excited to pick up his translation of the Iliad. Having never read this classic before, I was expecting something similar to the Odyssey, which of course I did not get! Instead I read an incredibly bloody account of the Trojan War. The story line was very addicting; indeed, I kept waiting and waiting for Achilles to make peace with Agamemnon and get into the fighting. I was impressed with the true manliness and might of Hector. My heart grew heavy reading the account of Patrocles' death. I even felt for poor Hector's dad when he, an old man, had to risk his own life to claim the body of his slain son. I also appreciated the strong emphasis on the importance of morals and ethics, even on the battlefield (and even if they don't quite match my own). In today's American society, where for so many people the idea of ethical behavior or objective morals is foreign, it was refreshing to see men willing to die for their beliefs in an honorable way. Indeed, I kept getting the distinct impression that this story was crafted, in part, to teach young Greek boys how to be upstanding men in their culture. (Perhaps someone with more of a background in Homer than I have can confirm or deny this thought.)All in all, this was a compelling, instructive, manly, bloody, and difficult read. I'm glad I read it, and I can see why it has endured throughout the millennia. Like many classics, I think it will take me several more readings and a lot of contemplation, though, to really understand all that is going on in this story; and in so doing, I have no doubt that it will help me to understand myself better, as well.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I ended up following the dimly-remembered advice of a high school teacher from long ago: "Read The Iliad in prose first to understand the story, then re-read it in a good verse translation to appreciate the language." I didn't set out that way—I started with the Richmond Lattimore verse translation. However, I found it very hard to follow the story and the myriad relationships between the characters while struggling with some of the difficult passages that were (according to the introduction) rendered rather literally. So, I switched.All in all, I liked The Odyssey better, preferring its "adventure story" style to the "history roll call" style of The Iliad. I felt that the latter was a fast-moving action story that, unfortunately, found itself embedded within a rather repetitious and verbose structure that diminished the excitement. I don't know if I'll take the second part of the advice and try another verse translation.
slansell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
not sure i would have got through this without the image of Brad Pitt in that leather miniskirt. Basically first half is just Achilles acting like a petulant child, but then it gets going and is still slow going but gets better.
CaptainBroadchurch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Iliad manages the perfectly capture the endless routine drudgery and occassional futility that characterised much of warfare in the ancient world, despite not meaning to. Making it to the end without having once cried with sheer boredom is not so much an achievement, as it is a sign that you're trying far, far too hard.
zangasta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An almost hollow drum whose bluster seriously detracts from what worth there is to be found.
mattviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The movie Troy has revitalized my thirst for The Iliad and the reading of which has long been overdue. I decide to re-read this first work of Western literature in a different literary form: the prose translation by E. V. Rieu, who had first published in 1950 and has since achieved its classic status. Never before had this greatest of ancient Greek poet seemed so vivid, so accessible, approachable, and immediate to the English-speaking readers. This edition in review is a Penguin Classics 1988 revision of Rieu's translation that has timely incorporated the changes in linguistic and cultural idioms. E. V. Rieu's prose translation is as vivid and readable as Professor Richmond Lattimore's verse translation, which I had read in my undergraduate English class. The Iliad is set in the last year of the Greek siege of Ilium, a town in the region of Troy, which is now the northwestern Turkey and it all begins with a quarrel over a woman. On a visit to Sparta, Prince of Troy seduced and ran away with Helen, the wife of the Spartan ruler Menelaus. King Agamemnon, the imperial overlord of Greece, with his brother Menelaus, induced the princes who owe him allegiance to join forces with him against King Priam of Troy. The Greeks for 9 years had encamped beside their ships on the shore near Troy but without bringing the matter to a conclusion, though they had repeatedly looted and captured a number of Trojan towns, under the leadership of Achilles, Prince of Myrmidons, who had cultivated a gripe against Agamemnon.Success of raiding Troy led to a feud between Agamemnon and Achilles. Agamemnon had been allotted a girl named Chryseis as his prize, and he refused to give her up to her father, a local priest of Apollo, when he came to the camp with a ransom for her release. The priest prayed to Apollo and a plague ensued, forcing Agamemnon to give Chryseis up. But the unruly Agamemnon couped himself by confiscating one of Achilles' own prize, a girl named Briseis. It was such violet, public, unjust, and deeply humiliating attack on Achilles' assessment of his significance to the Greek army, along with Agamemnon's seize of Briseis that drove Achilles to withdraw himself and the Myrmidon force from the battlefield.Homer has written the epic with a delay of action, deferring Achilles to later part of the book in order to create a perception that he has covered the entire Trojan War. The Iliad, in this regard, in fact covers a few days of the last year of Trojan War, filling the pages with tight packing of action, the tugging to and fro between the two sides. It only centers on the aristocratic heroes (i.e. Hector, Paris, Aeneas, Achilles, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Diomedes, Ajax, and Odysseus), of whom they are named, but not the general mass of troops.As the Trojans got the upper hand and stormed the Greeks' defenses, Hector, the Trojan Commander-in-chief succeeded in setting fire to one of the Achaean ships. At this point Agamemnon had realized he had wronged Achilles, who had remained obdurate to all entreaties and repeated to the embassy the original accusation that he did all the fighting and Agamemnon got all the rewards. Achilles' bitter and grumpy speech against Agamemnon sheds light to what possibly Homer tries to convey as he has remained restrained in his narrative, leaving much room for private interpretation that one might experience difficulty to supply a definitive answer to question about the one main theme. Achilles had altered his view in life: no compensation could ever pay him back, because all the compensation in the world could not equate the worth of one's life, moreover the Trojans never did him any wrong until death had befallen Patroclus. All he had suffered by constantly risking his life in battle had left him no better off than anyone else. The Iliad tragedizes a hero who had been viscerally wronged: a man who was the son of a great man and a goddess, and yet for whom death and inexorable destiny were waiting. Patroclus' disa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, horrible translation
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm glad I didn't spend money on this; it's full of typos. I won't even ask why the reviews are spammed with PJO roleplayers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Night fury pounces onto you.
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Herp de
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Snapped out of his sleep. ~What's wrong?~ he asked.