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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ground is dark with blood
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...
Published on 24 Aug 2009 by bernie

versus
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
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. This version of the epic story is I understand less "poetic" in structure than others and indeed it does appear to have a straightforward dramatic narrative structure. I have for some time had an
interest in...
Published on 28 Nov 2004 by GeeJayBee


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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 "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Iliad (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."
-Translated by Stanley Lombardo, 1997

"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, 1963

"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, 1951

"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, 2008

"An angry man-there is my story: the bitter rancor of AchillÍs, prince of the house of Peleus, which brought a thousand troubles upon the Achaian host. Many a strong soul it sent down to HadÍs, and left the heroes themselves a prey to the dogs and carrion birds, while the will of God moved on to fulfillment."
-Translated and transliterated by W.H.D. Rouse, 1950

"Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing!
That wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain;
Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore.
Since great Achilles and Atrides strove,
Such was the sovereign doom,
and such the will of Jove!"
-Translated by Alexander Pope, 1720

"Achilles sing, O Goddess! Peleus' son;
His wrath pernicious, who ten thousand woes
Caused to Achaia's host, sent many a soul
Illustrious into Ades premature,
And Heroes gave (so stood the will of Jove)
To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey,
When fierce dispute had separated once
The noble Chief Achilles from the son
Of Atreus, Agamemnon, King of men."
-Translated by William Cowper, London 1791

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 ArÍte (to be more like Aries, God of War.)

Troy - The Director's Cut [Blu-ray]
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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
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. There we are - not so tough, is it?
But The Iliad is far more than a study of an invincible warrior: it is the story of a young man's expatiation: a growth into maturity, or, if you like: a reparation of a character. Through Achilles' initial childish reactions he gradually begins to realise the error of his ways, which culminates with the death of his beloved Patroclus. It is the story of a man that loses everything which he holds dear, and yet gains one of humanity's greatest abilities: the act of compassion. Achilles gains a heart.
What we can discover in this character's reformation is similar to Shakespeare's King Lear - a monarch who proudly and foolishly relies upon his loved ones, losing them in return, and reduced to a mere man: decrepit, and yet reborn a better man, by learning the art of compassion to the likes of a homeless beggar.
Shakespeare's Lear and Homer's Achilles attain noble virtues that are sorely needed to redeem both protagonists' foolish actions at the beginning of their respective pieces of literature.
If it is your wish to experience the pure magic of literature's brightest gem, then trust me - click Add To Basket now! If this would be your first epic poem to read ... then all the better, because Homer is the measure of all epic poetry. If you resent the...price tag in comparison to the one pound classic's - then bear in mind this: if you are a lover of classic literature of all ages, then this could well be the best... (money)... you will ever spend.
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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
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
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
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. Some may find the long battle sequences tedious or gory, but I would argue that the descriptions of man unleashing his anger and animal base, laced with the heroic code, are exhilerating; the story also has tenderness, humility and sorrow. A tale for all times, done justice by this translation. I recommend that you read it.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 star achievement - but 3 star enjoyment, 28 Nov 2004
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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. This version of the epic story is I understand less "poetic" in structure than others and indeed it does appear to have a straightforward dramatic narrative structure. I have for some time had an
interest in the classical historic periods of Greece and Rome and I think that this sustained me in getting to the end. The book is at its best when engaging the central cast of the dozen or so well known names. The dialogue and speeches are captivating and resonate in a Shakespearean manner.
The epic and heroic nature of the story and the central characters is well conveyed as is the savage and brutal nature of the hand to hand fighting. However the problem of the booklies with the vast sections (over 150 pages) which depict far too much "A speared B", "C shattered the head of D" etc etc, wherein the blow by blow slaughter of a vast peripheral cast of 100's of unrememberable names is recounted ad nauseum.
This however is magnificently countered by the last third of the book after the re-entry into the conflict firstly of Patroclus and then more importantly of Achilles. The story then soars to its epic conclusion.
I have to admit that this was a book I thought I should read, but although it is clearly a work of considerable achievement and merit, hand on heart I have to question the judgement of those who overstate the enjoyment factor. This is certainly a book I am glad to have read but most likely it will remain on my book shelf as testament to the fact I have done so rather than the likelihood I will ever pick it up again. I suspect that the copies of those less honest will have the same destiny.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A readable translation, 6 July 2004
By 
B. Siviter (Black Country, UK) - See all my reviews
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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 work (or, what I know of it from research but not being able to read ancient Greek!), separate it from the gobbledigook of the archaic and flowery prose, and present a work that a modern reader can tolerate. Not something I would read for pure leisure, but the most readable translation I have come across.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A simple educational exercise, 22 Mar 2014
By 
George W. Steed (Lodz, Poland) - See all my reviews
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Should I credit Professor Fitzgerald or Homer? This is one book that every English reader should read (along with the Odyssey and The Aeneid). Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire belongs in the same 'must read' category. Later writings all seemed connected in some way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great purchase, 13 Feb 2013
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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. It is a first-class translation, and exactly what I have been seeking.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unknown Homer, 3 Oct 2004
By 
Jan Dierckx (Belgium, Turnhout) - See all my reviews
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(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 civilization. They probably are right but let me give you another reason to read the Iliad: the humour of Homer. I give two examples. When things turn sour for the Greeks and the Trojan soldiers almost destroyed their camp, Nestor - the military advisor for he's to old to fight - calls the young Greek soldiers at his side and tells them how brave and invincible he was when hé was young. You can imagine the Greeks listening politely but impatiently to Nestor's sermon. What Nestor means is that the youth of today is worthless. I've heard this before. What makes you smile is the bragging of Nestor and the fact that apparently the youngsters are worthless since three thousand years. Later on, when some of the gods reproach Zeus with not helping the Trojans, Zeus answers: 'You know my wife! If she finds out I'm helping Troy she will be mad at me!' If Homer was the father of literature then Zeus was the father of the henpecked husbands. If you are reluctant to read Homer, try to discover
some other examples of Homer's humour
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The Iliad (Oxford World's Classics)
The Iliad (Oxford World's Classics) by Homer (Paperback - 10 July 2008)
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