The Iliad

The Iliad

Book - 1990
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Dating to the ninth century BC, Homer's timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to  the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb Introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace.
Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles brings the energy of contemporary language to this enduring heroic epic. He maintains the drive and metric music of Homer's poetry, and evokes the impact and nuance of the Iliad 's mesmerizing repeated phrases in what Peter Levi calls “an astonishing performance."
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Viking, 1990.
ISBN: 9780670835102
Characteristics: p. cm.
Additional Contributors: Fagles, Robert
Knox, Bernard 1914-2010.


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Feb 03, 2021

Set in the 12th century B.C.E., “The Iliad” tells the story of the last weeks of the 10 year long conflict known as the Trojan war. Troy, or Ilium (thus the name of the poem) had been in a conflict with the Greeks for many years, over Helen of Sparta, who was abducted to Troy. Written originally in Greek and following dactylic hexameter, “The Iliad” starts off with a conflict between the Greek Achilles and Agamemnon, who fought over Briseis and Chryseis, their prizes of war. The early portion of the poem discusses a reinvigoration in the cause for the Trojan war, after nearly a decade of stalled fighting. The pride of Achilles and his unwillingness to fight stirs into action the rest of the events in the poem, including the death of Trojan royalty like Hector. Another Greek epic by Homer, “The Odyssey”, and Virgil’s “The Aeneid” (written in Latin) continue on from the story of “The Iliad”, even maintaining the same dactylic hexameter.
Like many other works from the Greco-Roman Classical Era, complexities in the work arise. In order to fit the meter, among other reasons, different names are used to represent the same groups and people; some are referenced by their relation to other, more prominent or well-known characters in Ancient Greek mythology. Even though this can be confusing for those not well-versed in Greco-Roman mythology, the many references provide a greater and broader view on the ancestral relations between groups, providing a setting for the events of the poem. Placed in its historical context, “The Iliad” would be less difficult to decipher in terms of its use of many names for the same people and groups, as the information would be more interred into the mainstream ancient Greek society and culture.

With a discussion of more mature topics such as warfare and violation, this epic is more suited for more mature audiences. Additionally, the many passing references to different characters, groups, and their heritage, make the poem a more complex read.

Aug 21, 2018

It felt a bit odd to give a star rating to this book as almost 3000 years of existence speaks for itself. I suppose my rating is to express my respect and admiration. I put a lot of time and effort (including some supplementary material) into reading this and it really paid off. It was a real experience for me.

Dec 31, 2017

A highly-readable poetic adaptation of the Iliad, easier to follow even than a lot of prose versions I've seen. The Bernard Knox introductory essay is also a goldmine, whether you're new to Homer and want a sense of what you're getting into, or looking to reread with a more nuanced perspective.

Sep 27, 2016

It's a classic- but it's definitely worth reading.

Aug 27, 2014

A wonderful English translation of an epic poem. A fantastic read.

I have yet to finish this version of the Iliad, however I must say that this rewrite of the masterpiece by Homer is very good. To Homer aficionado's I think that you should read this book and at least try to enjoy the way that Barry B. Powell saw fit to show the world his vision of the Trojan downfall, However be prepared to sit alone while you enjoy this wonderfully new outtake on the Iliad because it is best read alone without constant distractions to take away from the joy of reading a modern interpretation of an all time classic and a beautifully written epic, which will as long as humanity retains any sense of intelligence and understands the value of beautifully written literature will never be forgotten.

Mar 23, 2014

The Iliad had enchanted me so many ways; it is always a good book to return to. The translation of Stephen Mitchell's Iliad relives the story itself, with its liveliness and simplicity. The way Homer wrote the ending was very outstanding, leaving the fans of The Iliad thirsty for more. The years that this book re-tells us is simply outstanding, the work of a miracle in its place. It brings back the battles and drama, matching the exact horror of the battle of Achilles and Hector. In this masterpiece, Stephen Mitchell takes the simple words and re-creates them, forcing us into the tears and drama of this book, entering us in the world of the heroes, Achilles, Hector, Patroclus and Priam. The doors of Mitchell's translation takes the epic poem and makes it into words we can understand, yet can also make it insanely outstanding.

multcolib_hillsdale Nov 16, 2012

"The Iliad is a stunning and powerful poem. Set in the final year of the Trojan War, it tells the story of the wrath of the great Greek hero Achilles and its terrible consequences for the Greeks and Trojans. It features the great heroes of Greek myth, including King Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Ajax on the Greek side, and Hector, King Priam, Queen Hecuba, Paris, and Helen of Troy on the Trojan side. The story begins with an argument between Achilles and King Agamemnon that results in Achilles withdrawing in anger from the fighting, and then follows the terrible outcome of this decision through the violence and deaths of warriors on both sides. Played out against the background of the tragic fall of Troy and Achilles' own imminent death, it raises issues of honor, courage, rage, the nature of forgiveness, and ultimately, the meaning of life in the face of death. It is an unforgettable poem.” Annotation by Professor Walter Englert.

Kdmullerspy Jul 06, 2012

Slightly boring, but okay.

dpecsreads Jun 27, 2012

Currently midway through Book 11.

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Feb 03, 2021

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Nov 12, 2013

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wooknight Apr 27, 2011

Iliad is a story of raw emotions . The story has its roots in Helen being seduced and abducted by Paris and the greeks coalesce together to attack the Trojans. In the 10th year of fighting , Agememnon , King of all greeks takes away Brisieus who was given to Achilles . Achilles cannot forgive the insult and prays to Zeus via his mother to teach the Greeks a lesson . Zeus obliges him via Hector and the rampage continues until one of Achilles beloved comrades , Patrocles joins in the fight to stop Hector but is slain . Achilles slays Hector and takes his body with him to the Greek camp to deny him a burial . Hector's father Priam shows up in the Greek camp in disguise and begs Achilles to give him his son's body back. Achilles breaks down and lets Priam have the body.


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