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The Iliad: A New Translation
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on 14 December 2014
The Iliad is a moving story, and the original is a noble poem. It has been said that poetry is what gets lost in translation, so making a poetic translation naturally involves a degree of re-invention. When the scholar Bentley complained "It's a pretty poem, Mr Pope, but you must not call it Homer", he was missing the point: a literal version would have been no poem at all. The other great poetic version is that of Shakespeare's contemporary Chapman:

"This said, he reached to take his son, who (of his arms afraid,
And then the horsehair plume, with which he was so overlaid,
Nodded so horribly) he clinged back to his nurse and cried.
Laughter affected his great sire, who doffed and laid aside
His fearful helm, that on the earth cast around it light." Chapman

"Thus having spoke, the illustrious chief of Troy
Reached his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy.
The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast,
Scared at the dazzling helm and nodding crest.
With secret pleasure each fond parent smiled,
And Hector hastèd to relieve his child,
The glittering terrors from his brow unbound,
And placed the beaming helmet on the ground." Pope

The Impala edition is a handsome volume, in large, clear type with generous margins.
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on 11 February 2018
The Fagles translation is correctly appreciated. Not only did this volume arrive before the time due, but I have since read it, once again, with great pleasure. I first read the E. V. Rieu translation, when I suppose I was about 12. The Introduction and Notes by Bernard Knox are, as always, a source of fascination, explaining not only what is known about the original creation, but also revealing, with understanding, what is not known. So, some sixty years after my first reading, I return, once again, to this work with great pleasure, remembering the old nurse who recognised Odysseus, when washing him, by the scars from a mauling he received from a boar in his youth; and the the death of the faithful dog, after greeting his master on his return!

As for Wordery, I have spent too much on books sold by them. Their service is excellent, as well as their estimates of time of delivery, their packaging is exemplary. Long may they thrive and prosper!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 February 2013
I came to this book as someone who has a fair-to-middling grasp of 'standard' Attic Greek. I've also dabbled in Ionic, because I enjoy Herodotus.

But I'm getting on in years,and always regarded Homer as something that I could aspire to, but would probably never arrive at. When I flicked through the Iliad or Odyssey, the Greek just looked TOO bizarre and different.

I'd dabbled with one or two 'Homer made easy' books. Some were better than others, but none of them really left me feeling that I was ready for the real thing. Then I found this book, which I can't recommend highly enough to anyone who's standing on the polyphloisboian* shoreline of Homer, and wondering if they dare to take the plunge.

After the usual brief introduction that one finds in all these books (Who was Homer? Did he write it? When? What's it about? How does Greek poetry work? etc, etc.), you turn the page, and WOW - you're in at the deep end! Suddenly you're reading Book 1 of the Iliad in all its glory, and not dumbed-down even slightly! And you CAN read it, because of the copious helps on the facing page.

The Greek is divided up into digestible portions of about 10-12 lines - I found that this was just enough for a daily coffee-time session. The accompanying notes explain the grammar, the vocab, and where relevant provide socio-historical snippets of info.

As I say, I've tried several books as I've struggled to find my way into Homer, and I think this is the best by a VERY long way. I really can't imagine someone buying this and being disappointed by it.

The odd thing is... (and here I admit to being a bit of a Philistine)... the odd thing is that I never much liked the Iliad when I read it in English. But in Greek, I'm finding it HUGELY enjoyable.

Really, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

PS *'polyphloisboian' - No, I'd never come across that word before either! But all will be revealed when you get to Iliad Book 1, line 34!!!
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on 1 April 2016

Yes, attractive cover but the page and binding quality cheap (glued-not sewn) and unattractive (thick paper) recommend EVERYMAN editions instead for a fine quality at similar or less cost.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 5 September 2013
" `... insignificant / mortals, who are as leaves are, and now flourish and grow warm / with life, and feed on what the ground gives, but then again / fade away and are dead.' "

Note: this review is of the translation of the Iliad by Richmond Lattimore (University of Chicago Press, first published 1951: ISBN 0-226-46940-9)

While nearly everyone may be familiar with parts of the story of the Iliad, it probably comes as a surprise to many that Achilles does not actually die in the poem, but his fate is already set. I've read a lot of novels over the years based on stories around the Iliad and the Odyssey, and am familiar with much that happens in the overall storyline, but it's not until you read a really good transation, such as this one (assuming you cannot read the original Greek which I'm sorry to say I cannot) that you `hear' the beauty and compellingly stunning craft of this epic poem.

The lines of description, of action, of beauty and of horror remain true to colour even at this distance of years and culture. So much of the action in the book is of horrific battle scenes, where those who were wounded, unless it was superficial, had little or no chance of survival given the manner of war in those times. The descriptive battle scenes are, even to our `modern' jaded senses still horrific - for example "Patroklos coming close up to him stabbed with a spear-thrust at the right side of the jaw and drove it on through the teeth, then hooked and dragged him with the spear over the rail ... and as he fell the life left him." (16.404-410).

Lattimore's transation, first published in 1951, remains the translation of choice still for many scholars, and I'm glad I have read the Iliad right through in this translation. It is empathetic and retains much of the rhythm and structure of the original poem, according to other commentaries and works on the Iliad that I am currently studying in conjunction with this work.

15,693 lines of epic poetry, if composed by one man, that mysterious `Homer', and written down perhaps some two and a half thousand or more years ago, is a stunning accomplishment even today; to have been able to compose such a beautiful and astonishingly crafted work such a long time ago, especially if it was originally an orally remembered and transmitted work really does boggle the mind to consider. Brilliant stuff.
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on 17 June 2014
I bought this E.V.Rieu translation back in 1959 as a Penguin Classic - it cost 3/6, the first paperback I ever bought! I thought it was about time I bought a replacement.

This is an account of one of the first great journeys of exploration in humanity's history, and it may even be true at its heart. It tells of the journey of Odysseus after the Trojan War, a story that is told in The Iliad. There have been films based on this story, but nothing can beat Rieu's complete translation.

This revised version is a slightly reworked translation by E.V. Rieu's son, D.C.H. Rieu. He has added a timeline to the adventure, a guide to the main characters, an index and a glossary so we can find our way around. This makes it much easier as a study piece.

Reads like a novel, rather than a history book. The English is beautifully written, the story is exciting, and this 3,000 year old adventure holds up well against anything Hollywood can throw at us. An older child who likes reading should be given this as a birthday or Christmas present.
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on 2 August 2017
Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey, as Europe's first literature, are essential reading to every human being. The books reoccur again and again; resurfacing in other literature related to antiquity and the biblical period. It is very satisfying to have a grasp, when Homer is mentioned, in other historical books. They are an essential to mankind, not only for Greek history, but also for human history as a whole.
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on 5 December 2011
Stanley Lombardo's translation of the Iliad, one of the most significant works in the western canon, is to my mind the most accessible translation I've seen. A number of years ago I tried to read a different translation and gave up after a couple of chapters thinking life was to short. However Lombardo's translation is fresh and full of energy and engages you in the story. Some will no doubt find the colloquial elements and modern English not to their tastes prefering their classics to have a more archaic feel. However for the reader new to the Iliad and for the casual reader after an engaging, readable translation this is a great place to start.

There is no such thing, in my opinion, as a perfect translation. Something will always be lost. As such I would recommened those with a strong intererset in the Iliad to consult a number of translations. The most readily available are probably the Lattimore, Fagles, Fitzgerald and Rieu translations (though there are many more).

Lombardo, who is Professor of Classics at the University of Kansas, has also produced translations of The Odyssey and The Aeneid (Links are to Kindle editions. Paperback editions are also available.)
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on 30 November 2015
I've got a very eclectic taste in reading e.get. I have just read all the Harry Potter books and I love Jilly Cooper, and many more, but I also love all the Classics. The Odyssey is fantastic. The first time is a bit heavy going but read it again and you pick up things you may have missed. A great read.
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on 23 August 2016
A must-read for anyone remotely interested in ancient cultures, the Greek pantheon, and - frankly - any kind of literature. Homer's epic will engage you, break your heart, and raise a lot of good questions about warfare. This translation is decent (I had to read the poetic translations for academic work) for a general reading, and very enjoyable. The Odyssey is more of an adventure, per se, but there's nothing like the Iliad to so effectively convey human emotions.
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