The Iliad, by Homer

Way, way, way back in time, in the 8th century BC, the Iliad (sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally 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.

Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege; the earlier events, such as the gathering of warriors for the siege, the cause of the war, and related concerns tend to appear near the beginning. Then the epic narrative takes up events prophesied for the future, such as Achilles' looming death and the sack of Troy, prefigured and alluded to more and more vividly, so that when it reaches an end, the poem has told a more or less complete tale of the Trojan War.

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  • Pat M.

    Really interesting discussion. I learned a lot - thanks, everyone!

    July 7

  • Robert

    'Doing' The Iliad in one session is an impossible task...but we had a very good discussion. Brian did a good job of posing questions for us!

    July 6

  • Jan

    Unfortunately Homer and I did not get-together to trade tales. I signed up for 4 book groups in May and I definitely overestimated my reading appetite. The menu has been too big for me.

    July 4

  • Helen S

    I'd recommend Reiu if you're interested in a prose translation.­

    Can't seem to locate my copy, but pretty sure I've got Lattimore or Fagles on Kindle somewhere. . .

    July 2

  • Robert

    Another recommendation on a translation: Stanley Lombardo's. Find it here:­

    June 24

  • Robert

    Used to be, only Greek scholars translated the Iliad. Now 'amateurs' translate or do adaptations, too, so there are dozens and dozens of versions out there. Many swear by Robert Fagles, Richmond Lattimore, Stanley Lombardo, etc.; I'm partial to Robert Fitzgerald's version--maybe because he was an accomplished poet himself, and has described how he learned the subtleties of Greek as he translated. Bottom line: they're all good, because Homer is good!

    May 26

    • Rebecca

      I'm not a translator, but I find that Fagles is my preferred translation, he plays with words brilliantly... but Lattimore's is a little more accessible to the non-literary minded person :)

      1 · June 3

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