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The Iliad

by Homer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Homer's Epic Cycle (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
30,68531658 (4.03)10 / 1399
The centuries old epic about the wrath of Achilles is rendered into modern English verse by a renowned translator and accompanied by an introduction that reassesses the identity of Homer. In Robert Fagles' beautifully rendered text, the Iliad overwhelms us afresh. The huge themes godlike, yet utterly human of savagery and calculation, of destiny defied, of triumph and grief compel our own humanity. Time after time, one pauses and re-reads before continuing. Fagles' voice is always that of a poet and scholar of our own age as he conveys the power of Homer. Robert Fagles and Bernard Knox are to be congratulated and praised on this admirable work.… (more)
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  1. 312
    The Odyssey by Homer (Voracious_Reader, caflores)
  2. 241
    The Aeneid by Publius Virgilius Maro (HollyMS)
  3. 91
    Beowulf by Beowulf Poet (benmartin79)
  4. 41
    The Táin by Táin author (inge87)
  5. 31
    Tiger at the Gates by Jean Giraudoux (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Giraudoux imagines the events in Troy when Paris shows up with Helen
  6. 42
    Ransom by David Malouf (GCPLreader)
  7. 22
    The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (alalba)
  8. 22
    The Dismissal of the Grecian Envoys by Jan Kochanowski (sirparsifal)
  9. 22
    Troy [2004 film] by Wolfgang Petersen (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Very free interpretation (not adaptation) that in many ways improves on the original. No childish gods, no rambling digressions. Visually spectacular. The dialogue is a bit cringeworthy now and then, but it does have flashes of brilliance. Only for the most broad-minded admirers of Homer - or those who find the Greek bard unsatisfactory. PS Caveat: the Director's Cut is gratuitously gory!… (more)
  10. 14
    The Death of King Arthur by Simon Armitage (chrisharpe)
  11. 18
    The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (Jitsusama)
    Jitsusama: An ancient classic revolving around Greek Myth. A great help to better understand the mythology of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
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English (269)  Spanish (23)  Italian (6)  Dutch (5)  French (4)  Catalan (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (313)
Showing 1-5 of 269 (next | show all)
How do you review a work like The Iliad? It's one of the oldest extant pieces of Western literature, from another time and place. Trying to review it in the same way I'd review the latest thriller to hit the shelves would obviously be folly at its most follish. And yet Homer's famous work does stand up pretty well even by modern standards.

There are some quirks which mildly detract from the piece: the soul-destroying catalogue of ships near the start; the large chunks of text that are repeated verbatim et literatim once or even twice; the endless characters who show up in the battle scenes only to be killed off, usually accompanied by a pile-up of similes that would make David Gregory Roberts blush; but these are artefacts of the work's oral history. No one was going to remember fifteen thousand lines of poetry without some repetition or recurring motifs or plenty of red-shirts.

There are also what are ostensibly huge omissions. The story covers fifty days during the ninth year of the Greek siege of Ilium, Paris's abduction of Helen, the cause of the war, is mentioned a few times, but "The Judgement of Paris", the reason both behind the abduction and the reason both Hera and Athene are so desperate for Ilium to fall throughout the story, is only mentioned in a couple of lines in the final book. Similarly the work ends with Hector's funeral, shortly before the incident of the Trojan Horse and Achilles' death, by far the most famous events of the Trojan war. But of course, these aren't really omissions. The story is about Achilles and Hector, about what drives them both onward to certain death in battle when an easier life beckons. The war itself is a poignant background, and is portrayed with absolutely brutal realism, and there are enough mentions of the past and prophecies of the future to essentially cover the entire war. But for all its hundreds of characters and vast scope, it's really a moving story of the inglorious nature of war and the whimsy of the gods. ( )
  imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
How do you review a work like The Iliad? It's one of the oldest extant pieces of Western literature, from another time and place. Trying to review it in the same way I'd review the latest thriller to hit the shelves would obviously be folly at its most follish. And yet Homer's famous work does stand up pretty well even by modern standards.

There are some quirks which mildly detract from the piece: the soul-destroying catalogue of ships near the start; the large chunks of text that are repeated verbatim et literatim once or even twice; the endless characters who show up in the battle scenes only to be killed off, usually accompanied by a pile-up of similes that would make David Gregory Roberts blush; but these are artefacts of the work's oral history. No one was going to remember fifteen thousand lines of poetry without some repetition or recurring motifs or plenty of red-shirts.

There are also what are ostensibly huge omissions. The story covers fifty days during the ninth year of the Greek siege of Ilium, Paris's abduction of Helen, the cause of the war, is mentioned a few times, but "The Judgement of Paris", the reason both behind the abduction and the reason both Hera and Athene are so desperate for Ilium to fall throughout the story, is only mentioned in a couple of lines in the final book. Similarly the work ends with Hector's funeral, shortly before the incident of the Trojan Horse and Achilles' death, by far the most famous events of the Trojan war. But of course, these aren't really omissions. The story is about Achilles and Hector, about what drives them both onward to certain death in battle when an easier life beckons. The war itself is a poignant background, and is portrayed with absolutely brutal realism, and there are enough mentions of the past and prophecies of the future to essentially cover the entire war. But for all its hundreds of characters and vast scope, it's really a moving story of the inglorious nature of war and the whimsy of the gods. ( )
  leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
Great read. My first epic poem. I know this writing has inspired many and no doubt has contributed to life as we know it today. A wounded soldier, a Mother's love, enemies and conquers, gods and goddesses, power, pride, fear, and death all eloquently told...Fagles has done Homer proud. ( )
  ReneeNL | Jun 29, 2020 |
I have a confession to make: I have a Masters in Ancient History but this is the first time I've read The Iliad in its entirety. And now for another confession: I really didn't like it as much as I feel I should have.

I enjoy The Odyssey. Odysseus rocks and I've always had a major soft spot for Telemachus. So it's not that I have anything against Greek epic... just THIS Greek epic. I don't know how much of it was the translation and how much was the work itself, but I just wasn't interested most of the time.

Ultimately, I think this just confirms something that I (and all those who know me) have known for years: Rome > Greece in my little corner of the Classics.
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
Okay listen.

I know the story at the heart of this is a fascinating story. It’s a crossover tale with so many iconic moments and immortal characters. At its heart, I’m not dismissing the *story* behind The Iliad. I read this three time’s for school - once in high school and twice for college classes - and frankly, I guess I’ve had enough? I was excited when this popped out of my TBR Jar because it’s a classic and so different from what I’ve been reading. But it is SO TEDIOUS and SO SEXIST.

I’m impressed by the people who managed to carry such a story down through centuries in the oral tradition - the memorisation, especially of the banal details like who-was-in-which-ship, is impressive. But as a recreational read, I’m just not into it. The only time I can see myself revisiting this one again is if I wanted to write a retelling. And I think a Trojan War retelling would be AWESOME. But otherwise, I’m all set.

It’s not the story, it’s the writing. ( )
1 vote Morteana | Jun 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 269 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (1099 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Homerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pope, AlexanderTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alberich i Mariné, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alexander, CarolineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ģiezens, AugustsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Østergaard, Carl V.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baskin, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bendz, GerhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Björkeson, IngvarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bond, William HenryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boysen, RolfNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Broome, WilliamContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brower, Reuben ArthurEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruijn, J.C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckley, Theodore AloisEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butler, SamuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chase, Alston HurdTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ciani, Maria GraziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crespo Güemes, EmilioEd. lit.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Devecseri, GáborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Due, Otto SteenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Earl of Derby, Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley,Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Erni, HansIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fagles, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flaxman, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fridrihsons, KurtsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gertz, Martin ClarentiusEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hammond, MartinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, TomAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacobi, DerekNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnston, Ian C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kelfkens, C.J.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koolschijn, GerardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lagerlöf, ErlandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lateur, PatrickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lattimore, RichmondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leaf, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Linkomies, EdwinForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lombardo, StanleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luis Segala & Estalellasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manninen, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monti, VincenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, Herbert J.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Myers, ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orléans de La Motte, Louis François Gabriel d'Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parnell, ThomasContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perry, William G. Jr.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pollestad, Kjell ArildTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pope, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rees, EnnisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rhodes, Charles ElbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, Emile VictorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rouse, William H. D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Savage, SteeleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schadewaldt, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schrott, RaoulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segalà i Estalella, LluísTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shankman, StevenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shorey, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stawell, F. MelianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stolpe, JanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svenbro, JesperForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmerman, Aegidius W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vosmaer, C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voss, Johann HeinrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wakefield, GilbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wills, GarryPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Achilles' banefull wrath resound, O Goddesse, that imposd
Infinite sorrowes on the Greekes, and many brave soules losd (Chapman)
The Wrath of Peleus Son, O Muse, resound;
Whose dire Effects the Grecian Army found: (Dryden)
Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing! (Pope)
Sing, o goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achæans. (Butler)
The Wrath of Achilles is my theme, that fatal wrath which, in fulfillment of the will of Zeus, brought the Achaeans so much suffering and sent the gallant souls of many noblemen to Hades (Rieu)
Quotations
And Zeus said: “Hera, you can choose some other time for paying your visit to Oceanus — for the present let us devote ourselves to love and to the enjoyment of one another. Never yet have I been so overpowered by passion neither for goddess nor mortal woman as I am at this moment for yourself — not even when I was in love with the wife of Ixion who bore me Pirithoüs, peer of gods in counsel, nor yet with Danaë, the daintly ankled daughter of Acrisius, who bore me the famed hero Perseus. Then there was the daughter of Phonenix, who bore me Minos and Rhadamanthus. There was Semele, and Alcmena in Thebes by whom I begot my lion-hearted son Heracles, while Samele became mother to Bacchus, the comforter of mankind. There was queen Demeter again, and lovely Leto, and yourself — but with none of these was I ever so much enamored as I now am with you.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Too many heroes
Too much blood, sex, fighting, war
Gods and goddesses
(pickupsticks)
Mannered, ironic,
Pope is scarcely Homeric.
How is it this works?
(bertilak)
Helen of Sparta
Elopes with Paris. Name change
To Helen of Troy
(pickupsticks)
All work and no gifts,
I refuse to fight for you
until my friend dies.
(LeBoeuf)

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140275363, 0140445927, 0140447946, 0140444440, 0451530691

HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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HighBridge

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