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The Iliad / The Odyssey

by Homer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Homer's Epic Cycle (1-2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,848352,210 (4.16)59
Homer's Iliad and Odyssey are unquestionably two of the greatest epic masterpieces in Western literature. Though more than 2,700 years old, their stories of brave heroics, capricious gods, and towering human emotions are vividly timeless. The Iliad can justly be called the world's greatest war epic. The terrible and long-drawn-out siege of Troy remains one of the classic campaigns, the heroism and treachery of its combatants unmatched in song and story. Driven by fierce passions and loyalties, men and gods battle to a devastating conclusion. The Odyssey chronicles the many trials and adventures Odysseus must pass through on his long journey home from the Trojan wars to his beloved wife. Though the stormy god of the ocean has sworn vengeance against him, and witches and sirens try to lure him off course, Odysseus is clever and has the brilliant goddess Athena on his side.… (more)
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» See also 59 mentions

English (31)  French (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Ajax and Odysseus wrestle for sport.
The winner gets a tripod worth 12 oxen...the loser gets a woman everyone agrees is worth 4. ( )
  arewenotmen | Jan 13, 2020 |
A classic's classic, these tales are like the ESPN of history. A long listing of who's who in ancient history. Interestingly, while they do contain some of the standard items attributed to the, others are not actually in these two stories. It pays to read them. ( )
  Velmeran | Jan 26, 2019 |
It's a damn Greek tragedy!
The Iliad takes us through the battle of Troy and the Greek invasion. We are able to Marvel at great warriors like Hector and Achilles. We are able to hear of their struggles and their woes and eventually their deaths.
The Odyssey takes us through the 10-year struggle to return home after the Trojan War has ended. Odysseus battles mystical creatures and the Wrath of the Gods as he tries desperately to come back home to his throne.
Homer is definitely a master of the Greek epic. His writing resembles that of a playwright of modern day and even harkens back to a bit of Shakespearean feeling in the emotion of the characters. This is definitely a classic for the ages and in my opinion one that should be read once by everyone. ( )
1 vote SumisBooks | Jun 27, 2018 |
Birthday gift from my Sis-in-law!
1 vote capriciousreader | Mar 20, 2018 |
THE ILIAD

The wrath of Achilles not only begins the oldest piece of Western literature, but is also its premise. The Iliad has been the basis of numerous clichés in literature, but at its root it is a story of a war that for centuries was told orally before being put down by Homer in which the great heroes of Greece fought for honor and glory that the men of Homer’s day could only imagine achieving.

The story of the Trojan War is well known and most people who have not read The Iliad assume they know what happens, but in fact at the end of the poem the city of Troy still stands and a wooden horse has not been mentioned. The Iliad tells of several weeks in the last year of the war that revolve around the dishonorable actions of Agamemnon that leads to Achilles refusing to fight with the rest of the Greeks and the disaster it causes in the resulting engagements against the Trojans. But then Achilles allows his friend Patroclus to lead his men into battle to save the Greek ships from being put to the torch only for Patroclus to advance to the walls of Troy and be slain by Hector. The wrath of Achilles turns from Agamemnon to Hector and the Trojans, leading to the death of Troy’s greatest warrior and the poem ending with his funeral.

Although the actions of Achilles and Hector take prominence, there are several other notable “storylines” one doesn’t know unless you’ve read epic. First and foremost is Diomedes, the second greatest fighter amongst the Greeks but oftentimes overlooked when it comes to adaptations especially to other important individuals like Odysseus, Menelaus, and the pivotal Patroclus. The second is how much the Olympians and other minor deities are thought to influence the events during this stretch of the war and how both mortals and immortals had to bow to Fate in all circumstances. The third is how ‘nationalistic’ the epic is in the Greek perspective because even though Hector is acknowledged the greatest mortal-born warrior in the war on both sides, as a Trojan he has to have moments of cowardice that none of the Greek heroes are allowed to exhibit and his most famous kill is enabled by Apollo instead of all by himself. And yet, even though Homer writes The Iliad as a triumphant Greek narrative the sections that have Hector’s flaws almost seem hollow as if Homer and his audience both subconsciously know that his epic is not the heroic wrath of Achilles but the tragic death of Hector.

The Iliad is the ultimate classic literature and no matter your reading tastes one must read it to have a better appreciation for all of literature as a whole. Although the it was first written over 2500 years ago, it shows the duality of heroic feats and complete tragedy that is war.

THE ODYSSEY

The crafty hero of The Iliad is in the last leg of his long ten year journey home, but it not only his story that Homer relates to the reader in this sequel to the first war epic in literature. The Odyssey describes the Odysseus’ return to Ithaca after twenty years along with the emergence of his son Telemachus as a new hero while his faithful wife Penelope staves off suitors who are crowding their home and eating their wealth daily.

Although the poem is named after his father, Telemachus’ “arc” begins first as the reader learns about the situation on Ithaca around Odysseus’ home and the search he begins for information on his father’s whereabouts. Then we shift to Odysseus on a beach longing to return home when he is informed his long sojourn is about to end and he sets off on a raft and eventually arrives among the Phaeacians, who he relates the previous ten years of his life to before they take him back home. On Ithaca, Odysseus and his son eventually meet and begin planning their revenge on the Penelope’s suitors that results in slaughter and a long-awaited family reunion with Penelope.

First and foremost The Odyssey is about coming home, in both Telemachus’ and Odysseus’ arcs there are tales of successful homecomings, unsuccessful homecomings, and homecoming that never happen of heroes from The Iliad. Going hand-in-hand with homecomings is the wanderings of other heroes whose adventures are not as exciting or as long as Odysseus’. Interwoven throughout the poem with homecomings and wanderings is the relationship between guests and hosts along with the difference between good and bad for both that has long reaching consequences. And finally throughout Odysseus’ long journey there are tests everywhere of all types for him to overcome or fail, but the most important are Penelope’s both physical and intimate.

Even though it is a sequel, The Odyssey is in complete contrast to The Iliad as instead of epic battle this poem focuses on a hero overcoming everything even the gods to return home. Suddenly the poet who gave readers a first-hand account of war shows his readers the importance of returning from war from the perspective of warriors and their families. Although they are completely different, The Odyssey in fact compliments The Iliad as well as completing it which means if you read one you have to read the other. ( )
1 vote mattries37315 | Jun 23, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (49 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Homerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adler, Mortimer JEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Armstrong, W. C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruijn, J.C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butcher, S.H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butler, SamuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fagles, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flaxman, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Friedrich, Wolf HartmutAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hutchins, Robert M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lang, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lattimore, RichmondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oldenburg Ermke, Frans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pope, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, M.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spoelder, C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voß, Johann HeinrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Von der Mühll, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
An Friedrich Leopold
Grafen zu Stolberg
1780
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Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans.
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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This work contains both (and only) The Iliad and The Odyssey. It should not be combined with either work separately or with Greek versions of the same texts (due to the "dead languages" exception).
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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