Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
The Iliad

The Iliad [Kindle Edition]

Homer , Barry B. Powell , Ian Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £18.44
Kindle Price: £10.30 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £8.14 (44%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £10.30  
Hardcover £19.99  

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed

Product Description


"Powell, a distinguished Homer scholar and published poet with multiple books on the study of ancient Greek text and classical mythology, faces two challenges common to all translators of Homeric verse: how to capture the essential vigor and concision of oral poetry while remaining readable and how to represent a highly stylized and archaic idiom without sounding stilted. Powell is successful on both counts, offering a clear and energetic translation... Staying true to Homer's poetic rhythms, Powell avoids the modified iambic lines found in Lattimore's, Fagles's, and Mitchell's works. He also avoids Lombardo's tendency to cast Homer in contemporary language and Fitzgerald's anachronisms. This fine version of The Iliad has a feel for the Greek but is more accessible than Verity's translation. Highly recommended." --Library Journal"Barry Powell, the master of classical mythology, has done it again--a powerful translation of the poem that started European literature, His muscular verses are faithful to the original Greek but bring the characters to life. This is a page-turner, bound to become the new standard." --Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules-For Now"With swift, transparent language that rings both ancient and modern, Barry Powell gives readers anew all of the rage, pleasure, pathos, and humor that are Homer's Iliad -- a reading experience richly illumined by the insightful commentary and plentiful images accompanying the text." --Jane Alison, author of The Love-Artist"Barry Powell's clever translation is simple and energetic: sometimes coarse, sometimes flowing, it is always poetically engaged. He lays bare the semantic background of Homer through felicitous phrasing and delivers us a Dark-Age epic, one more suggestive of Norse sagas than the cultural milieu of archaic Ionia. Fresh and eminently readable, Powell's Iliad is likely to stay." --Margalit Finkelberg, editor of The Homer Encyclopedia"This fine translation of the Il

Product Description

The rage sing, O goddess, of Achilles, the son of Peleus,
the destructive anger that brought ten-thousand pains to the
Achaeans and sent many brave souls of fighting men to the house
of Hades and made their bodies a feast for dogs
and all kinds of birds. For such was the will of Zeus.
Thus begins one of the oldest and most important works in Western literature. First recorded in the eighth century BC, Homer's Iliad has captivated readers ever since, and its raw and evocative depiction of warfare is as poignant today as it was in Archaic Greece. It is a song about a war fought long ago, whose themes -- anger, glory, honor, hate, love, death, terror, violence, and forgiveness -- remain timeless.
In this new translation, distinguished Homerist Barry B. Powell provides an original rendition of the epic that is graceful, lucid, and energetic. Powell's tight and balanced rhythms evoke a continuous "stream of sound," approximating Homer's Greek better than any previous English translation. This is an Iliad at its simplest and most direct, though firmly attuned to its astonishing range and complexity.
The translator's accompanying introduction masterfully captures the historical authority of the Iliad as a touchstone of Western culture. Synthesizing a lifetime of inquiry and original scholarship, Powell convincingly shows how the invention of the Greek alphabet made Homer the most studied of ancient poets and placed the Iliad at the core of Western civilization.
Enriched with informative footnotes, illustrations from classical artwork, maps, a Homeric timeline, and a glossary, this new Iliad is sure to become the definitive translation.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11217 KB
  • Print Length: 625 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 019932610X
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (17 Sep 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FVUQ5S0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,002,801 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

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.

Customer Reviews

5 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
There's no question that the Iliad is always a poem worth reading - but which translation and edition to buy is problematic. Powell's translation is the latest in a long tradition and, as a long-time Homeric and Greek scholar, comes to us from a life-time's study of the text.

This is an excellent edition for the student as it comes with a superb introduction: dealing with issues of authorship, transmission of the text, Greek literacy, the Homeric world, a brief summary of the history of Homeric scholarship, and the cultural context, this sites the poem itself brilliantly.

But what of the translation itself? As Powell himself states, it's almost impossible to render Homeric Greek into readable English, and I like that this doesn't turn the poem into prose as some translations do, making it into a pseudo-novel. At the same time, however, this isn't always the most readable of texts: 'The rage, sing, O goddess, of Achilles, the son of Peleus' is more syntactically convoluted than Lattimore's 'Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son, Achilleus'. Powell has a penchant for short sentences and over-punctuation which make the text feel a bit stilted at times ('... and made their bodies a feast for dogs and all kinds of birds. For such was the will of Zeus' as opposed to Lattimore's 'but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished').

So this is an ambitious project and one to be applauded. I enjoyed reading this very much and think the notes and introduction are excellent and very helpful for students and general readers. This sits somewhere between the sheer grand readability of Lattimore's still classic translation, and the crib-like translation of the Loeb edition.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An earthy, solid and easy to read translation 10 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a weighty tome in the best sense of that word. It feels solid in the hand, like a Homeric weapon. It has an excellent introduction and it tells the tale well in ordinary, yet moving language.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  50 reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stirring Translation 2 July 2013
By Thomas A. Holmes - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Essentially, when reviewing translations, one has to acknowledge the credentials of the translator, trust that the translator works to express the best possible reading of the material, going beyond literal translation to consider the nuance, sound, and accessibility for the reader. At times, translators must recognize that a literal translation of idiom does not work, but respectable translations offer notes of explanation for these seeming variances from the original text. For most of us who are not studying the texts but reading them for pleasure, relying on the good faith of the translator helps us to center on the tale itself. Powell's translation of Homer's THE ILIAD, in that context, is a solid read. This text will be useful in the classroom, with its maps, its notes, its explanations--all the additional apparatus one would expect of a scholarly translation of an ancient text.

How does it work as a text for reading for pleasure? I can best illustrate the character of Powell's translation by placing it side-by-side with other notable translations. In the passages below, Hector offers his dying words to Achilles, who has just killed him.

Here is the Robert Fitzgerald translation (1974):

Then at the point of death Lord Hektor said:

"I see you now for what you are. No chance
to win you over. Iron in your breast
your heart is. Think a bit, though: this may be
a thing the gods in anger hold against you
on that day when Paris and Apollo
destroy you at the Gates, great as you are."

The Robert Fagles translation (1990) offers this version of the event:

At the point of death, Hector, his helmet flashing,
said, "I know you well--I see my fate before me.
Never a chance that I could win you over . . .
Iron inside your chest, that heart of yours.
But now beware, or my curse will draw god's wrath
upon your head, that day when Paris and lord Apollo--
for all your fighting heart--destroy you at the Scaean Gates!"

One can see right away some differences in these two translations. Fitzgerald presents a different form of delivery. Note, for example, the sentence structure that sounds convoluted in comparison with contemporary English; Fitzgerald's attempt to preserve iambic pentameter to elevate the language of the passage has uneven success. Fagles offers a translation that sounds less stilted, but he also elaborates the scene, preserving detail ("his helmet flashing") and illuminating character insight (Hector knows that he is dying, so of course he sees his fate--Fagles has him say so). Fagles also has Hector offer a more detailed prediction, naming the specific site of Achilles' future downfall. One can see that if the goal is a line-for-line translation, Fitzgerald's text may seem closer, but Fagles offers spirit and zest to his translation without violating the spirit of the story. I find Fagles' translation more successful as a result.

So, how does Powell's translation fit in? Note how his work resembles Fagles':

Then, dying, Hector whose helmet flashed answered:
"I know you too well. I knew this would be--that I could not persuade
you. The heart in your breast is of iron. Only think of this--
that I will become the anger of the gods on that day when Paris
and Phoibos Apollo kill you at the Scaean Gates, though you
are great!"

In his translation, Powell presents Hector as a more self-conscious instrument of the gods, changing his relationship to the gods. In Fagles' translation, Hector believes he "will draw god's wrath," but in Powell's, Hector transforms into anger. Powell has a slightly different take on the character, emphasizing how little choice is afforded any of the actors in this conflict. Powell's Hector, as a result, seems even more doomed.

Practically any translation will offer some degree of variation in character presentation, as the translators work within their own personal understanding and experiences. That means that as readers, we will have preferences. In my case, I prefer the Fagels translation. I find in it a good balance of poetic, illustrative language, and solid drama. I like the idea that Hector has a bit of a poet in him, and "Iron inside your chest, that heart of yours" has a more musical and expressive quality than "The heart in your breast is of iron"--at least to my ear, and to see "Only think of this" when the translator means "Think only of this" throws me off.

Nevertheless, Powell has made a remarkable, respectable accomplishment with his translation of THE ILIAD, and I am confident that it will find its way into numerous classrooms. Those who have an appreciation of classic stories will find a great deal to admire in this work. It has been a pleasure to hear this story again from a different, invested voice.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clarity over poetry 28 Aug 2013
By William Kerney - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
How do you compare one edition of the Iliad to another? The easiest way is by looking at the incidentals - this edition of the Iliad has an excellent introduction, and voluminous footnotes that contribute a lot to understanding what is going on, especially when Powell writes things like "Don't worry about this character - even though his name sounds familiar, he doesn't appear anywhere else in the Iliad."

I read several chapters of this translation side by side with Fagles' and Fitzgerald's editions, and noted pretty consistent choices in translation that Powell makes - namely, he focuses more on clarity and accuracy than poetry and power. For example, Fitzgerald's "Orestes the horse-breaker" becomes "Orestes the driver of horses". Much more clear what the guy does, but it doesn't have the same epic oomph to it that I'm used to.

While the clarity interrupted the epic feel of the Iliad with lots of extra words Fagles and Fitzgerald found to be extraneous, it helped me to better understand what exactly was going on. In other words, the Powell edition helped me appreciate the more poetic versions better!

I think this book is very suitable for the high school classroom, as it is much more accessible than the other editions I've read. Powell's version is also illustrated in parts, which certainly helps with the understandability as well.

The reason I am only giving it only three stars is, well, compare the introduction with Fagles' version, and you'll see:

Fagles: "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 sturdy souls."

Powell: "The rage sing, O Goddess, of Achilles, the son of Peleus,
the destructive anger that brought ten-thousand pains to the Achaeans and sent many brave souls of fighting men to the house
of Hades and made their bodies a feast for dogs and all kinds of birds."

It's... just not as good.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Workmanlike, but no poetry 24 Oct 2013
By G. M. Arnold - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I first encountered The Iliad 50 years ago, in my Greek class at a very traditional English Grammar School. (Do they even teach Greek in school these days?) We learned to translate various (carefully-selected) passages in the original Greek, and to give these fragments some context we were also encouraged to read a parallel English-Greek edition. I don't remember whose translation it was, but I have a clear memory of the flowing poetry and excitement in the English version. I'm sure that it deviated quite significantly from the original, but it was thrilling.

This new edition is very careful, scrupulously documented, and uncompromisingly accurate. I enjoyed the academic discussion; what I missed was any real poetry. Maybe it was never there in the first place: maybe earlier translations imposed their own ideas of poetry, in the same way that Disney imposed its sensibility on so many classic children's stories. But I missed it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit informal 5 Jan 2014
By Anonymouse - Published on
Critiquing a new translation of a noted book is done on three levels. The first two are scholarly: the comparison of the translation with the original and the comparison of the new translation with those that have come before. The third is the aesthetic evaluation of the work itself. My knowledge of The Iliad is non-professional. I have been fascinated by myths and mythology since I was a child reading Bullfinch at my grandmother's house, so the chance to read a new translation of The Iliad is appealing. My reading, though, is from a lay perspective.

Powell's Introduction is wonderfully informative and worth reading if you ever come across the book. In it he discusses the oral tradition of the Greeks and how poetry worked, which is similar to the blues and folk music traditions of our era. Poets (and musicians) draw on mental libraries of set pieces to tailor the performance to the tastes of the audience. But while music historians can trace the evolution and repetition of forms, phrases, and motifs for hundreds of years, not much Greek poetry exists for scholarly analysis. Adhering to modern academic standards, Powell is clear about his knowledge gaps and the liberties he has taken when fashioning this translation. All very good.

I am a bit unhappy, though, about the text, although I'll say again, I am speaking as a reader, not a scholar. Powell, in choosing an updated idiom, has, in some cases, chosen awkward sentences, weak locutions and jarring words that made my reading experience less pleasant than I wanted it to be. Rather in the way that new editions of the Christian Bible or Book of Common Prayer sound rough compared with their well known predecessors, Powell's translation sometimes seems too modern. It isn't that I require a classic to sound "classical" but sometimes an older form is more comfortable. Two examples in the text:

1. The Argives gathered. The place of assembly was in turmoil. The earth groaned beneath the people as they took their seats. The din was terrific. Seven heralds, hollering, held them back - "if you stop the hullabaloo, you can hear the god-nourished chieftains."

Here Powell makes three word choices with strong aesthetic value: hollering, hullabaloo, and god-nourished. "God-nourished" is likely to be directly from the Greek, there is no modern equivalent and, as explained in the Introduction, these kinds of descriptions flattered the audience who were themselves chieftains who would probably like to consider themselves "god-nourished." A very modern translation would possibly be "god blessed," but "god-nourished" is an excellent image.

"Holler" and "hullabaloo," though, I find odd and too informal. There was a 1965 TV show called Hullabaloo, but it was not until I looked it up that I realized that I had confused Hullabaloo with 1969's idiotic country comedy HeeHaw. (Hullabaloo was also a 1940 musical comedy film.) In my mind "hullabaloo" is a low class word, as is "holler," especially as a homonym of the Appalachian dialect word "holler." I find it curious that Powell, an American of similar age with a somewhat similar set of mental links, chose these dicey words over "shouted" and "clamor."

2. Another word choice I do not care for is "shivery," which Powell uses many times as "shivery", "shivers", "shivered." One online dictionary defines "shivery" as "shaking or trembling as a result of cold, illness, fear, or excitement." Well, which is it? Context does not help because fear and excitement are antonyms. Thus we can put some form of "frightening" or "exhilarating" in every instance of "shiver" and come up with a coherent sentence, but choosing the same face for each occurrence does not work out well. I am unhappy with this ambiguity.

One other point: Ian Morris does Powell no favor by using the "riddle, mystery, enigma" cliché in his introduction.

Although I have reservations about the text, these are personal and aesthetic. Overall, I think this book is a required addition to the scholar's shelf. The Introduction provides very welcome information for the lay reader and the use of a more modern idiom will perhaps make this edition more accessible to a contemporary reader or student.

I received this review copy of The Iliad, a new translation by Bary P. Powell (Oxford University Press) through
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Modern Translation of Homer's Iliad 28 July 2013
By John Kwok - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Scholars and readers alike should have plenty to rejoice in Barry B. Powell's translation of Homer's "The Iliad" as one of the most thoughtful - and accessible - translations ever printed. Powell's new edition is invaluable as a work of scholarship in which Powell not only traces the history of prior translations and scholarship into Homer's identity, but makes the startling claim that the Greek alphabet - which has become the one used throughout the Western world and elsewhere - was developed in part to allow someone to write down Homer's great poem. Powell makes a very persuasive case that Homer was indeed a real person, living sometime in the 8th Century BC, as the Greeks began emerging from their Dark Age following the collapse of Mycenaean Greek civilization; the civilization during which the Trojan War did occur.

Powell tries to adhere as close as possible to the original Greek poetic language, often substituting Greek names for people and places that are better known through the Latinized versions, though the major characters like Agamemnon, Achilles, Hector, Paris, Helen, etc. retain the spellings that have been used consistently in published translations for centuries. But he does so while rendering Homer in an astonishingly fresh and accessible style that should win ample new fans for Homer's great poetic epic, emphasizing the lyrical, almost cantible-like, quality of Homer's poetry.

An example of this can be found in Book 13, Lines 93 - 130 which ends with this passage:

" Thus did the earth-holder rouse up the Achaeans with his
Exhortations. The powerful battalions rallied around the two Ajaxes,
so mighty that even Ares would not have found fault if he went
among them, nor Athena who drives on the army. Those
who were selected for bravery withstood the Trojans and Hector,
meeting spear against spear, shield against overlapping shield,
buckler against buckler, helmet against helmet, man
against man. The horsehair crest with their shining plates
touched together as the men nodded their heads,
standing in thick array against one another. Their spears
were arranged in tiers, brandished in their bold hands.
Their intention as evident: They were eager to fight!"
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category