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THE ILIAD (Special Edition Prepared for the The Oxford Library of the World's Great Books) [Leather Bound]

Robert: Translator0 Homer ( Fitzgerald , W. T. Mars
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Leather Bound: 664 pages
  • Publisher: Franklin Library / Oxford University Press (1983)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0018NKM3I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,745,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives.

He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems. Both works attributed to Homer - The Iliad and The Odyssey - are over ten thousand lines long in the original. Homer must have had an amazing memory but was helped by the formulaic poetry style of the time.

In The Iliad Homer sang of death and glory, of a few days in the struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans. Mortal men played out their fate under the gaze of the gods. The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller's tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.

We can never be certain that both these stories belonged to Homer. In fact 'Homer' may not be a real name but a kind of nickname meaning perhaps 'the hostage' or 'the blind one'. Whatever the truth of their origin, the two stories, developed around three thousand years ago, may well still be read in three thousand years' time.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ground is dark with blood 24 Aug 2009
By bernie VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
With many books, translations are negligible, with two obvious exceptions, one is the Bible, and surprisingly the other is The Iliad. Each translation can give a different insight and feel to the story. Everyone will have a favorite. I have several.

For example:

"Rage--Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles,
Murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many souls,
great fighters' souls. But made their bodies carrion,
feasts for dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving towards its end.
Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,
Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles."
-Translated by Robert Fagles, 1990

"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 heroes did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures for so were the counsels of Zeus fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles first fell out with one another."
-Translated by Samuel Butler, 1888

"Rage:
Sing, Goddess, Achilles' rage,
Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks
Incalculable pain pitched countless souls
Of heroes into Hades' dark,
And let their bodies rot as feasts
For dogs and birds, as Zeus' will was done.
Begin with the clash between Agamemnon--
The Greek Warlord--and godlike Achilles.
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170 of 179 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literature's Brightest Gem 17 Mar 2002
Format:Paperback
If you are looking for the best translation of Homer's The Iliad, then look no further. Fitzgerald's succinct, yet informative, translation is as close to the original 2700-year-old presentation you can get without taking ancient Greek lessons. Take my advice: steer clear of those verbose, lengthy, and particularly misleading prose translations of literature's greatest charm.
The Iliad was created as an epic poem - and that is how it should be experienced, not as the modern format of the novel. Fitzgerald's verse translation flows, it captivates, in fact it transports you to the towers of Ilium, and the aura of Achilles, literature's greatest warrior.
So, exactly what is The Iliad all about? The very first lines of the poem can answer this question - in part:
"Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Achilles' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Achaean's (Greek's) loss on bitter loss" (I.1-3)
The Iliad is the story of Achilles, the "almost immortal" Greek hero of the Trojan war, and his anger at being slighted by his own ally General - Agamemnon. This results with literature's infamous temper tantrum. Achilles the great warrior sulks, refusing to fight, which in turn causes many Greek deaths. Now, if you're thinking that "all this Greek/Trojan war stuff sounds a bit tough, I'll forget about buying this book", and you're just about to select BACK on your browser... then WAIT a minute! The whole Trojan war thing can be simply summed up in one sentence - The Greek princess Helen is stolen from her husband by the Trojan prince Paris and taken to his Troy, all the Greeks say "Oi! You can't do that!" and nine years down the line Achilles, Agamemnon and cuckolded Menelaus are still pounding away at Troy's (Ilium's) walls.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Homeric epithets 28 Sep 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A really excellent translation; my only quibble being that Fitzgerald does away with the epithets to make for easier reading. While this is not a problem unless you're a classics nerd, I personally enjoy the repetitions and feel that without them the "special Greekness", as G. S. Kirk has it, is lost. Far from being monotonous, "swift-foot'd Achilles" appeals in a way "the great runner, Prince Achilles" can never do.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ancient classic that still resonates today 24 Nov 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Not only is The Iliad a classic tale, it is surprisingly relevant to us in the 21st century. It may have been written over 2500 years ago, but it raises interesting questions about war and its effects. The battle scenes are exciting, but the best thing about this epic is the way Homer describes the effects of the conflict on the warriors and their families. Some crave the glory war brings, others only fight because it is their duty. Most striking about The Iliad is how similar the ancient Greeks were to us today.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars monumental 10 Aug 2004
Format:Paperback
Whenever I approach a great classic for the first time I do so with trepidation: would it live up to it's reputation? would I understand why it is regarded as a classic? would I enjoy reading it or would it feel like swimming through treacle? I usually come out of the other side at least understanding why classics are regarded as such, usually having found the experience at the very least enlightening, often wishing I had kept in tough with my old English Master for deeper insights (Big Frank McCombie, I still think of you!). Finishing this great work brought all the usual feelings after reading classic literature, but with the added spice of deep enjoyment, an almost spiritual feeling of connection with readers and listeners over the millennia, such is the power of The Iliad.
This translation is written in the original form of hexameters, although rhyming is in little evidence (unless it is too subtle a scheme for my blunt brain); to the modern reader this style may appear intimidating or off-putting, but I can reassure you, it is eminently readable, bringing clarity and sense to what could otherwise be an obtuse mess of a tale; I never found myself losing the meaning with my mind distracted by a nursery rhyme rhythm(ti tum-ti tum-ti tum-ti tum, ti tum-ti tum-ti tum).
The language used mixes ancient phrases and the famous Homeric epithets with modern phrases with which the reader can relate, although an occasional phrase would grate as being either too modern or not modern enough, sounding like a school teacher trying to speak teenage slang, but I would emphasise that these instances are rare and don't detract from the overall excellence.
As for the tale itself, this is the core of heroic ideals.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great job, would recommend
Published 10 days ago by L. Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple educational exercise
Should I credit Professor Fitzgerald or Homer? This is one book that every English reader should read (along with the Odyssey and The Aeneid). Read more
Published 5 months ago by George W. Steed
5.0 out of 5 stars A great purchase
I have been looking for this edition for a long time (I already have matching 'Odessey') The book is beautifully produced on high quality paper with gold edging, and leather bound. Read more
Published 18 months ago by K. R. Whittington
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Buy
I was very pleased with this item. Made an excellent present.My neice was well pleased.Great Value.
Arrived very quick.Would certainly recommend.
Published on 22 Jun 2012 by Michael
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint-hearted
I enjoyed this a lot, although I now feel like a world expert on the different ways to behead, disembowel, mutilate and variously kill and wound other human beings - there is a lot... Read more
Published on 23 Oct 2009 by Dr. P. M. Stoneman
5.0 out of 5 stars all good.
the book arrived in good time and in pristine condition. it is a great translation of the Iliad, very accessible and clear.
Published on 9 Oct 2009 by Hannah Reade
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 star achievement - but 3 star enjoyment
I have just finished this book and I have to admit that for much of the time it was both highly enjoyable in parts but a big mental effort for much of the time. Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2004 by GeeJayBee
5.0 out of 5 stars The unknown Homer
(Before I start, let me presume you know the story).If people want you to read Homer they say things like: he's the father of western literature or: he stood at the cradle of our... Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2004 by Jan Dierckx
3.0 out of 5 stars A readable translation
We have three separate copies of the Iliad, but this is the only one that can actually be read... the translator managed to take the feelings and imagery present in the original... Read more
Published on 6 July 2004 by B. Siviter
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