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Penguin Classics Homer The Iliad
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, a masterpiece of literary criticism and scholarship which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2004
This is specifically a review of Martin Hammond's translation of the Iliad (I've noticed that reviews for different editions often appear lumped together). This is by far the best translation of the Iliad I have ever encountered and it led me to finally read the Iliad from beginning to end without skipping bits or skimming. It is a modern prose translation but is also extremely faithful to the meaning of the original Greek (since the translator is not forced to try to turn his translation into verse). I simply cannot recommend it enough. Another touch that I like is that Hammond has given the different characters names that are far closer to the original Greek (e.g. Achilleus, Aias, Patroklos, Hektor).
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 1998
I highly recommend this translation of the classic Homeric epic. I have read many fine translations of this work, but Robert Fagles' translation is by far the best I've seen. Fagles manages to bring the story to life while still maintaining a sense of the poetic beauty of the original. Far from being a dusty and archaic rendition, this translation is instead very much "alive", and truly captures the excitement and beauty of this classic tale. I discovered many new insights that I had missed in my earlier readings of Homer's Illiad, and Robert Fagles' translation makes it clear why this is such a long-standing literary classic.
Also, the "introduction" by the well-respected classicist, Bernard Knox, is a great source of additional,up-to-date information about both the Illiad and the Homeric period of Ancient Greece.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
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

"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

"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."
-Translated by Stanley Lombardo

"Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Akhilleus' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men--carrion
for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.
Begin it when the two men first contending
broke with one another--
the Lord Marshal Agamémnon, Atreus' son, and Prince Akhilleus."
-Translated by Translated by Robert Fitzgerald

"Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son of Achilleus and its devastation, which puts pains thousandfold upon the Achains,
hurled in the multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished since that time when first there stood the division of conflict Atrecus' son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus."
-Translated by Richmond Lattimore

"Sing, goddess, of Peleus' son Achilles' anger, ruinous, that caused the Greeks untold ordeals, consigned to Hades countless valiant souls, heroes, and left their bodies prey for dogs or feast for vultures. Zeus's will was done from when those two first quarreled and split apart, the king, Agamemnon, and matchless Achilles."
-Translated by Herbert Jordan

"An angry man-there is my story: the bitter rancor of Achillês, prince of the house of Peleus, which brought a thousand troubles upon the Achaian host. Many a strong soul it sent down to Hadês, and left the heroes themselves a prey to the dogs and carrion birds, while the will of God moved on to fulfillment."
-Translated an transliterated by W.H.D. Rouse

You will find that some translations are easier to read but others are easier to listen to on recordings, lectures, Kindle, and the like. If you do not see information on specific translators, it is still worth the speculation and purchase.

Our story takes place in the ninth year of the ongoing war. We get some introduction to the first nine years but they are just a background to this tale of pride, sorrow and revenge. The story will also end abruptly before the end of the war.

We have the wide conflict between the Trojans and Achaeans over a matter of pride; the gods get to take sides and many times direct spears and shields.

Although the more focused conflict is the power struggle between two different types of power. That of Achilles, son of Peleus and the greatest individual warrior and that of Agamemnon, lord of men, whose power comes form position.

We are treated to a blow by blow inside story as to what each is thinking and an unvarnished description of the perils of war and the search for Arête (to be more like Aries, God of War.)

Troy - The Director's Cut [Blu-ray]
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, a masterpiece of literary criticism which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2013
The translation was pretty good, and it had been formed to be an easy to read version of the story. Not helpful for an academic purpose, since there is no line numbers down the pages, you have to use the note at the top and count yourself. Not that much of a problem, but it made my disseration take somewhat longer when finding line references for quotes.
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on 22 June 2015
The classic battle for Troy, this book captures the atmosphere perfectly. Unlike most people's perception The Iliad does not feature the wooden horse and the fall of Troy, but sees the reader join the battle in its 10th year of war. The book cleverly takes us into the past but also prophecies the future so that come the end of the book we know of things that are to happen after the last page. Many heroes are depicted in the book but also all the human flaws. I love the way it shows how even the best of heroes show a full range of emotions and characteristics, both good and bad. The story is told with Gods and Goddesses overruling all decisions, and for me these create the most humourous parts, and like real siblings they fight and squabble and try to get the better of each other to help their personal favourites in the war. A great read and a great incite into the ancient Greek, whether you take this for fact or fiction or a as I believe a mix of the two. 5 Stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2012
Having worked with several translations alongside Monro's edition of the Greek text, I can say that this is one of the most accurate modern translations available. Hammond is literally faithful where others are not. He is comparatively free from idiom and rarely feels the need to use more words than are necessary. The more casual reader should turn to Rieu. If a delivery in metre is desired, well, then your choices are many.
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on 14 March 2015
What can one say about Robert Fagles scholarly translation of one of the world’s most famous poems? The story of Achilles heated dispute with Agamemnon together with its tragic consequences all set against the background of the Trojan War is a story known, at least in outline, to most of us. The particular arrangement of words in in early Greek epic poetry, the dactylic hexameter, determined by the kind and number of metrical units in a line cannot however be retained in translation, even though it is necessary to obtain a complete understanding of Homer’s work. Fagles has attempted to retain some flavour of it, while still giving an accurate translation of the text. Those of us unprepared to learn the language in which this poem was written, should read, I think, several eminent translations, among which Fagles’ would feature, in order to get the best impression of the original work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2014
The print edition is superb - the Kindle edition is replete with errors (hundreds of typos, formatting errors, no line numbers). Not to be recommended, a complete waste of money, and I would expect a replacement free of charge if these problems are ever properly sorted out in a future edition.
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