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The Iliad of Homer/Audio Cassette and Book PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Iliad of Homer/Audio Cassette and Book
Author: Homer
Publisher: Published September 1st 1987 by Cram Cassettes Study Guides (first published -720)
ISBN: 9781556514258
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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The Iliad is one of the two great epics of Homer, and is typically described as one of the greatest war stories of all time, but to say the Iliad is a war story does not begin to describe the emotional sweep of its action and characters: Achilles, Helen, Hector, and other heroes of Greek myth and history in the tenth and final year of the Greek siege of Troy.

30 review for The Iliad of Homer/Audio Cassette and Book

  1. 5 out of 5

    Grace Tjan

    What I learned from this book (in no particular order): 1. Victory or defeat in ancient Greek wars is primarily the result of marital spats and/or petty sibling rivalry in Zeus and Hera’s dysfunctional divine household. 2. Zeus “the father of gods and men” is a henpecked husband who is also partial to domestic abuse. 3. If you take a pretty girl who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo as war booty and refuse to have her ransomed, Apollo will rain plague on your troops. And he won’t be appeased un What I learned from this book (in no particular order): 1. Victory or defeat in ancient Greek wars is primarily the result of marital spats and/or petty sibling rivalry in Zeus and Hera’s dysfunctional divine household. 2. Zeus “the father of gods and men” is a henpecked husband who is also partial to domestic abuse. 3. If you take a pretty girl who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo as war booty and refuse to have her ransomed, Apollo will rain plague on your troops. And he won’t be appeased until you return the girl and throw him a ginormous BBQ party involving hundreds of cattle at his temple. 4. If an arrow or a spear were thrown at you in battle, more often than not, it would land on your nipple or thereabout. Or alternatively, it would pierce your helmet and splatter your brain. 5. Paris is a proper guy’s name, not just a name for capital cities or bratty heiresses. 6. Brad Pitt in man skirt* Achilles is the badassest warrior there ever was. 7. Real men eat red meat, specifically: a. sheep chines; b. fat goats; and c. the long back cuts of a full-grown pig, marbled with lard. 8. The most valuable booty are (in no particular order): a. bronze tripods (each worth 12 oxens) and armors; b. swift war stallions; and c. pretty women (each worth 4 oxens, if also skilled in crafts). Lesbians are particularly prized. 9. There is nothing more glorious for a warrior than to sack enemy cities, plunder their wealth, kill all their men, bed their pretty women and enslave their children. 10. The only men who matter are warriors, but if you are a woman, the range of roles that you could play is rather more diverse. You could be: a. a runaway wife who sparks a cosmic battle between your thuggish hubby’s city-state and your cowardly boyfriend’s (1); b. a war booty with a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome (2); c. a manipulative uber bitch (who also happens to be a goddess) (3); d. a long-suffering wife and mother (4). (1) Helen (2) Briseis (3) Hera (4) Andromache But whatever role you choose to play, you will still be the bone of contention between men and the armies that they lead. All the major conflicts in the story are triggered by women, or specifically by their sexuality: Helen’s elopement with Paris launched a thousand Argive ships against Troy; Agamemnon’s desire to bed Briseis, Achilles’ lawful prize, caused a nearly unhealable rift between them; and Hector’s desire to protect his wife from the dismal fate of being an Argive sex slave inspired him to fight Achilles to the death. Homer’s mortal women might be meek and mild, but his goddesses can kick ass with the best of them, and even occasionally best their male counterparts: Zeus is not above being manipulated by Hera, and Ares the God of War actually got whacked on the head by Athena. *Troy, Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Warner Bros. 2004. What I find most surprising about the Iliad is the amount of graphic, X-rated violence that it contains. The violence is not the biblical slaying and smiting, but something much more voyeuristically gory: “…the one Peneleos lanced beneath the brows, down to the eyes' roots and scooped an eyeball out --- the spear cut clean through the socket, out behind the nape and backward down he sat, both hands stretched wide as Peneleos, quickly drawing his whetted sword, hacked him square in the neck and lopped his head and down on the ground it tumbled, helmet and all. But the big spear's point still stuck in the eye socket ---." I imagine that this kind of anatomically precise, brain-splattering, gut-spilling action scenes made the Iliad popular with the Romans, who routinely went to the Colosseum to watch gladiators hack each other to death, but there is only so much of it that I could take in one sitting, which is why it took me almost three months to finish it. It is not that I’m particularly sensitive to fictional death and dismemberment --- and after all, this book is a war book --- but the sheer amount of such scenes, as well as their mind-numbing repetitiveness made for tedious reading. It doesn’t help that many of these deaths happened to seemingly throwaway characters, barely introduced in three or four lines, merely to be summarily (and gorily) dispatched in another half a dozen lines on the same page. The Iliad is assumed to be the written version of a much older oral poem, and such characters might represent collective memories of real Bronze Age warriors, but by Zeus, hundreds of pages of them being hacked, cleaved and skewered to death almost did me in. Now, what is the purpose of such meticulously catalogued carnage? Was Homer trying to present War with all its attendant horrors to shock his audience into pacifism? Or was the old guy just trying to write an 8th century BCE equivalent of a blockbuster action-adventure movie with enough gore to satisfy his young male demographic? The Iliad both celebrates and laments the warrior spirit: the haughty pride and terrible thirst for vengeance and plunder that set men to distant shores, intent on razing cities and putting its inhabitants to slaughter, but also the stark, tragic consequences of such acts. I actually find the gods’ politicking and manipulations more interesting than the actual war. The Greek gods are blissfully free of any human notion of morality --- which makes the problem of theodicy much more simpler to solve than in the Judeo-Christian model. The Olympian gods do not move in mysterious ways: they are moved by caprice and petty grievances. Why did we suffer such an ignominious defeat, despite all that we had done to win Zeus’ favor? Well, it happened that just before the battle was about to begin, Hera seduced him and subsequently put him to sleep with the help of Hypnos, whom she bribed with one of the Graces. A perfectly logical and very human explanation. The story gets much more interesting in the last five books. The Olympian gods entered into the fray and the effect is sometimes like watching WWE SmackDown: “Bloody Ares lunged at it now with giant lance and Athena backed away, her powerful hand hefting a boulder off the plain, black, jagged, a ton weight that men in the old days planted there to make off plowland --- Pallas hurled that boundary-stone at Ares, struck his neck, loosed his limbs, and down he crashed and out over seven acres sprawled the enormous god and his mane dragged in the dust.” Or maybe an episode of Super Friends : “How do you have the gall, you shameless bitch, to stand and fight me here? …. But since you’d like a lesson in warfare, Artemis, just to learn, to savor how much stronger I am when you engage my power ---“ The gods are “deathless”, so you know that there won’t be any lasting harm from their catfight, but the cost of battle to all too mortal men is heavy indeed. This was a time when war was as elemental as they come: no mercy was shown to the enemy on the battlefield, save one that pertained to a warrior’s honor, which was to be buried with full honors by his family and comrades. When mighty, “stallion-breaking” Hector finally succumbed to Achilles in a strangely anticlimactic duel, his father Priam went to Achilles’ camp and “kneeling down beside Achilles, clasped his knees and kissed his hands, those terrible, man-killing hands that had slaughtered Priam’s many sons in battle.” Troy’s old king begged for his son’s body, and in the magnificent, poignant last book, Homer showed us the real cost of war, both on the vanquished and the triumphant. By the will of the gods, Achilles’ death would soon follow: his destiny was ultimately no different from the rest of tragic humanity, fated to suffer and die by callous, immoral gods for causes that were entirely beyond their ken. “So the immortals spun our lives that we, we wretched men live on to bear such torments ---“

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    I have conquered The Iliad. I can truly call myself a Greek Mythology lover now. Angst, love, honor, angst, family, drama, death, angst. Did I mention angst? No, I'm not talking about Beverly Hills, 90210. Oh Ancient Greece, you were a very mixed up angsty place. This is basically how it went down. (These memes are dark and full of spoilers) I've said it before and I'll say it again. I was born too late. Where's the Tardis when you need it?

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    Pablo Picasso spent his entire life trying desperately to do something new, something unique. He moved from style to style, mastering and then abandoning both modern and classical methods, even trying to teach his trained artist's hand to paint like a child. In 1940, four French teens and a dog stumbled upon a cave that had lain hidden for 16,000 years. Inside, they found the walls covered in beautiful drawings of men and animals. When the Lascaux caves were opened to the public, Pablo Picasso vi Pablo Picasso spent his entire life trying desperately to do something new, something unique. He moved from style to style, mastering and then abandoning both modern and classical methods, even trying to teach his trained artist's hand to paint like a child. In 1940, four French teens and a dog stumbled upon a cave that had lain hidden for 16,000 years. Inside, they found the walls covered in beautiful drawings of men and animals. When the Lascaux caves were opened to the public, Pablo Picasso visited them, and as he stared at the prehistoric hunting scenes, was heard to remark in a despondent tone: "We have invented nothing". The Iliad is equally as humbling to a writer, as complex, beautiful, and honest as any other work. The war scenes play out like a modern film, gory and fast-paced, the ever-present shock of death. Though some have been annoyed at how each man is named (or even given a past) before his death, this gives weight to the action. Each death is has consequence, and as each man steps onto the stage to meet glory or death, Homer gives us a moment to recognize him, to see him amidst the whirling action, and to witness the fate Zeus metes. The psychological complexity and humanism of this work often shocked me. Homer's depiction of human beings as fundamentally flawed and unable to direct their own lives predicts existentialism. The even hand he gives both the Trojans and the Argives places his work above the later moralizing allegories of Turold, Tasso, or even Milton. Of course, Homer's is a different world than theirs, one where the sword has not yet become a symbol for righteousness. In Homer, good men die unavenged, and bad men make their way up in the world. Noble empires fall to ravenous fire and the corpses of fresh-limbed young men are desecrated. Fate does not favor the kind, the weak, the moral, or even the strong. Fate favors some men now, others later, and in the end, none escapes the emptiness of death. Though Homer paints some men as great, as noble and kind and brave, these men do not uphold these ideals for some promised paradise, but simply because they are such men. There is something refreshing in the purity of the philosophy of living life for yourself and yet expecting no entitlement for your deeds. A philosophy which accepts the uncontrollable winds of fate; that when the dark mist comes across our eyes, no man knows whence he goes. Later traditions make other claims: that the righteous will be rewarded, that the lives of good men will be good and the bad will be punished. In thousands of years of thinking, of writing, of acting, have we gained nothing but comforting, untenable ideals? Then Picasso was wrong, we have invented something, but it is only a machine which perpetuates itself by peddling self-satisfaction. I read and enjoyed the Fagles translation, which may not be the most faithful, but strikes that oft-discussed balance between joy of reading and fidelity. He makes no attempt to translate the meter into English, which is a blessing to us. The English language does a few meters well, and Homer's is not one of them. The footnotes were competent and interesting, though I could have stood a few more of them; perhaps I am in the minority. I also thoroughly enjoyed Knox's introductory essay. I would normally have had to research the scholarly history of the book myself, and so Knox's catch-me-up was much appreciated.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Holley

    At my college graduation, the speaker was a gruff professor. He was one of those older men whom people somewhat patronizingly describe as a teddy bear to convey the idea that while he looks like Santa Claus, they wouldn’t be surprised to see him arraigned on assault charges at the local courthouse. I liked this professor in general, and his graduation speech was a grand: warm congratulations on a crisp early-summer day. He decided to inform us, however, that anyone who had not read The Iliad and At my college graduation, the speaker was a gruff professor. He was one of those older men whom people somewhat patronizingly describe as a teddy bear to convey the idea that while he looks like Santa Claus, they wouldn’t be surprised to see him arraigned on assault charges at the local courthouse. I liked this professor in general, and his graduation speech was a grand: warm congratulations on a crisp early-summer day. He decided to inform us, however, that anyone who had not read The Iliad and The Odyssey should not be graduating from college. I was one of those lucky (lucky?) folks, like an illiterate kid graduating from high school. I decided to rectify the situation as soon as possible, and I spent an indefinite number of hours in the next few, sunny weeks laying in a hammock on my porch, the boy I loved commiserating with me about this wonderful book. It is a warm, sharp memory. That was mumble mumble years ago, and this summer, I thought that since I just graduated again, I would read it again. It was a good choice. Warm, summer days in the hammock with limb-chopping, flashing helms, and mountain goats rushing down the hillside. I can’t find this quote I’m thinking of, but I’m pretty sure it’s from Beowulf, and it goes something like, “Brave men should seek fame in foreign lands.” Google does not think that quote exists, so maybe I dreamed it, which is really neither here nor there, but kind of weird. Something about that quote, about this book, and about the way this book reminds me of that quote, makes my blood beat close to my skin. I get this feeling that my heart grows too big for my ribs, and my eyeballs get tight, as though I’m going to cry. But, my heart doesn’t pound, and no tears come. That is how this book feels to me. This story is about what Homer doesn’t describe as much as what he does, and reading it evokes some kind of mirroring response from my body. The Iliad is the almost-death of Achilles, the almost-destruction of Troy, and reading it is an almost-panic-attack, an almost-sob. It is the absent top step in a flight of stairs. But, oh man, that flight of stairs. How do you even make that? It’s not possible to spoil this story because Homer is always one step ahead, tripping you up about what story he’s telling. So, just because I think it’s fun (and, also because it seems kind of absurd to write a “review” of The Iliad, so I’m wandering in the dark here), I’m going to give a brief summary: This story is about a bunch of guys fighting over some women fleshlights and jewelry. Mostly the women fleshlights. Everyone’s been at this war for nine years (sidebar: weirdly, when I read that it was nine years, I thought, “NINE YEARS? WHO WOULD FIGHT A WAR FOR THAT LONG? Oh, wait . . . .”). As you probably know, the war initially started because Paris, a Trojan, stole Helen, who was the iPhone 5 of fleshlights, from Menelaus, an Argive. The Argives are at their ships; the Trojans are in Ilium, behind the city walls. There’s lots of blood and guts and pillaging throughout. This story, Homer clearly tells us, is about Paris and Helen’s betrayal of Menelaus, and it is about the death of Achilles. The story opens with Agamemnon, the king of the Argives, having stolen a fancy new fleshlight from Achilles, who is a child of a water nymph. Achilles refuses to continue fighting if Agamemnon is going to take his fleshlight. Then, Achilles has this beautiful, beautiful moment where he questions the very nature of fighting over fleshlights. We are all pawns in the petty squabbles of the gods. The gods are easily my favorite parts of this story, though it is not really about them in a certain way. It is not really about them in the way that any discussion of a god is not really about the god. On the one hand, it is about how our lives are just pawns in this squabbling, incestuous, eternal Thanksgiving dinner in the sky. On the other hand, it is still about the pawns. The gods are compelling on their own, but my heart tries to escape my chest not because of their story, but because, yes, humans do live and die by some kind of petty lottery run by a rapist married to his sister. Yes. And maybe there is someone bold and wonderful in the sky, like the grey-eyed Athena, but we still live and die by the thunder of a maniacal drunk uncle. Yes, that seems true. So, in the midst of the chopping of limbs, the shatteringly beautiful similes, death after death, and the machinations of the dysfunctional immortal family, this story is about the betrayal of Menelaus and the death of Achilles. The thing that is absolutely, hands-down the most insane about this story to me is that those two events are deeply vivid in my mind in connection to this book, but neither of them actually happens here. How is that possible?! How do you plant enough seeds about an event in a reader’s mind that when she closes a book, those seeds grow into whole, robust images about the event? My blood does that thing where it tries to get out of my skin just from thinking about that. I can picture Achilles's death so vividly, picture lying in that hammock and reading it after I graduated from college, but that never happened. Homer just planted the seeds of his death in my brain, and they grew from my constant pondering over them. Helen and Paris sailing away grew in my mind through Helen’s beautiful regrets. This is a story that I could think about for days: Helen’s mourning, like the women I’ve seen apologize for causing their husbands’ abuse (no, you didn’t cause this); war, and the futility of killing each other, as though we are controlled by the Kardashians of the sky. What causes violence? We say women cause violence because they push our buttons, so we’re driven to maim and kill because of the betrayals and button pushing. We say that something eternal, God or the gods, cause violence because they control our fate, they appear to us as birds and as wisdom and lead us on our night-blind path of life, but they lead us erratically: drunk, hysterical drivers and us with no seat belt, so we grasp for mere survival. Homer describes those motivations for violence so beautifully. But, ultimately I think that is all bullshit, and I think the bullshitness of it is there in this story, too. It is there in Achilles challenging Agamemnon. It is there in Achilles mourning Patroclus. Oh, Patroclus, about whom I haven’t even freaked in this review. What a shame. Anyway, though, people are not violent because we were betrayed or because of supernatural trickery. Our violence is ours; it is our choice and our responsibility. Life is barbarous and cruel around us, but that is its nature, and we can only shape ourselves through and around it. When we expect life to be gentle and obedient, we are usually doing nothing more than justifying our own cruelty. I don’t think there is an answer to any of this in The Iliad, but it is beautifully told in both the positive and negative space. It is blood-poundingly, eye-achingly told. As my professor said, everyone should read this, and if you can read it in the sun, lying in a hammock after your graduation, all the better.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I’m often kept up at night brooding on my troubles, wishing I could find some solace that would help me sleep. But now I know that the best way to keep insomnia at bay is to get out of bed, hitch up my chariot, tie the corpse of my mortal enemy to the back, and drive around for a few hours, dragging him, until I cheer up and can go back to sleep. The Iliad is unmatched, in my reading, for works that describe the bloody, ridiculous, selfish lengths people will go in order to feel better. The stic I’m often kept up at night brooding on my troubles, wishing I could find some solace that would help me sleep. But now I know that the best way to keep insomnia at bay is to get out of bed, hitch up my chariot, tie the corpse of my mortal enemy to the back, and drive around for a few hours, dragging him, until I cheer up and can go back to sleep. The Iliad is unmatched, in my reading, for works that describe the bloody, ridiculous, selfish lengths people will go in order to feel better. The sticks and stones fly (and gouge out eyes, smash skulls, slash livers and veins until the blood sprays–this poem is definitely not for the squeamish), but the real weapons of the Trojan War are name-calling, cheating at games, and stealing your best buddy’s girlfriend or mixing bowl or ox. Most of the action occurs when somebody gets his feelings hurt, the baddie won’t apologize, and the sensitive one throws a fit, which can involve letting all of his friends die while he gets an olive-oil massage, or else razing a city, raping the women, and joyriding over other men’s bones. The Iliad suggests that even at its most glorious, war can be advocated only by people with the emotional lives of spoiled four-year-olds.... For more thoughts, see my post: http://alisonkinney.com/2015/07/23/ho...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Ἰλιάς = Iliad, Homer The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Characters: Ajax, Odysseus, Helen of Troy, Menelaus, Paris, Hector, Achilles, Agamemnon, Aeneas, Sarpedon, Priam, Cassandra, Patroclus, Diomedes, Ajax Oileus, And Ἰλιάς = Iliad, Homer The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Characters: Ajax, Odysseus, Helen of Troy, Menelaus, Paris, Hector, Achilles, Agamemnon, Aeneas, Sarpedon, Priam, Cassandra, Patroclus, Diomedes, Ajax Oileus, Andromache, Briseis, Hecuba, Nestor, Akhilleus تاریخ نخستین خوانش: اول ژانویه سال 1973 میلادی عنوان: ایلیاد؛ شاعر: هومر؛ مترجم: سعید نفیسی؛ تهران، بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب، 1334؛ در 720 ص؛ موضوع: داستان جنگ تروا - سده 08 پیش از میلاد عنوان: ایلیاد؛ شاعر: هومر، مترجم: میرجلال الدین کزّازی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، 1377؛ در 579 ص؛ شابک: 9643053865؛ چاپ دوم 1381؛ چاپ پنجم 1385؛ چاپ ششم 1387؛ شابک: 9789643053864؛ موضوع: داستانهای کهن از نویسندگان یونانی - سده 08 پیش از میلاد اثر حماسی از هومر، شاعر نابینای یونانی ست، داستان جنگ تروا، بخاطر ربودن هلن، زن زیباروی منلاس، یکی از فرمانروایان یونان، به دست پاریس پسر پریام، شاه ایلیون (تروا) است، خواستگاران هلن، باهم پیمان بسته بودند، که چنانچه گزندی به هلن رسید، شوی او را برای مکافات مجرم یاری دهند. از اینروی سپاهی بزرگ، به فرماندهی آگاممنون، و با حضور پهلوانانی همچون: آشیل، اولیس، پاتروکل، آیاس (آژاکس) و... آراستند و به سوی شهر تروا روانه شدند، تا هلن را از پاریس بازپس بگیرند. سپاهیان یونان، ده سال تروا را محاصره کردند، ولی با رشادتهای پهلوانان تروا، به ویژه: هکتور بزرگترین پسر شاه، و برادر پاریس، و پشتیبانی خدایانی همچون: زئوس، آفرودیت، و آپولون طرفی نبستند. در آن سالها آشیل، بزرگوارترین پشتوانه ی یونانیان با آگاممنون اختلاف داشت، جبهه را رها کرده، و در گوشه ای به همراه یاران خویش نبرد را نگاه میکرد. تا اینکه پاتروکل پسرعموی آشیل، با لباس و جنگ ابزار آسمانی آشیل، به نبرد رفت. ولی با نیرنگ زئوس، و دشمنی آپولون، و دیگر خدایان هوادار تروا، پاتروکل شکست خورد، و به دست هکتور کشته شد. آشیل از این رویداد خشمگین شد، و اختلافش با آگاممنون را کنار بگذاشت، و پس از تشییع جنازه ی پاتروکل، به نبرد تن به تن با هکتور پرداخت، و او را شکست داد. سپس به جنازه ی هکتور بی احترامی روا داشت، و آنرا با خود به اردوگاه یونانیان آورد. پریام شاه تروا، به یاری خدایان شبانه خود را به اردوگاه آشیل رساند، و با زاری از او درخواست کرد، که جنازه ی پسرش را به او برگردانند، تا بتواند مراسمی در خور بزرگی پهلوان حماسه ساز ترتیب دهد. پس از گفتگوی بسیار، آشیل پذیرفت، و داستان ایلیاد اثر هومر، با توصیف سوزاندن هکتور در تروا، و به سوگ نشستن مردمان شهر برای هکتور به پایان میرسد. در کتاب: ایلیاد، و همچنین در کتاب دیگر هومر: اودیسه، هرگز اشاره و سخنی از نحوه ی پایان نبرد تروا، و سرنوشت تراژیک آشیل نیست. داستانهای اسب تروا، در آثار نویسندگان رومی، همچون: ویرژیل، و اووید آمده است، و افسانه ی رویین تن بودن آشیل و ماجرای پاشنه ی آشیل او را نیز، که به مرگش میانجامد را، شاعر سده ی نخست میلادی: استاتیوس، در کتاب خود با عنوان: آشیلید، برای نخستین بار آراسته و پرداخته است. ا. شربیانی

  7. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    TROY VI: THE INVENTION OF ACHILLES “The Classics, it is the Classics!” William Blake is said to have exclaimed, with pointed reference to Homer, “that Desolate Europe with Wars!” Blake's exclamation might not be as atrocious as it sounds at first. There might be some truth to this, a universal truth. Significantly however, this is not how the ancients understood it. They understood war as the catastrophe that it is. Strabo, the Roman geographer, talking about the Trojan wars, puts it thus: “For it TROY VI: THE INVENTION OF ACHILLES “The Classics, it is the Classics!” William Blake is said to have exclaimed, with pointed reference to Homer, “that Desolate Europe with Wars!” Blake's exclamation might not be as atrocious as it sounds at first. There might be some truth to this, a universal truth. Significantly however, this is not how the ancients understood it. They understood war as the catastrophe that it is. Strabo, the Roman geographer, talking about the Trojan wars, puts it thus: “For it came about that, on account of the length of the campaign, the Greeks of that time, and the barbarians as well, lost both what they had at home and what they had acquired by the campaign; and so, after the destruction of Troy, not only did the victors turn to piracy because of their poverty, the still more the vanquished who survived the war.” It is in this spirit that I chose The Iliad as my first read for The World War I centenary read. However, over the war-hungry centuries throughout the middle ages and right till the World Wars, this sense of the Epic was twisted by manipulating the images of Achilles & Hector - Hector became the great defender of his country and Achilles became the insubordinate soldier/officer - the worst ‘type’, more a cause for the war than even Helen herself. Of course, Achilles’ romance was never fully stripped but Hector gained in prominence throughout as the quintessential Patriot. Precisely because of this the Blake exclamation might have been more valid than it had a right to be. This is why there is a need to revisit the original tragic purpose of the Epic - most commentators would say that (as above) this original purpose was against ALL wars. But there is much significance to the fact that the epic celebrates the doomed fight of two extinct peoples. The Iliad starts on the eve of war and ends on the eve of war. Of a ten year epic war, the poem focuses its attention only on a couple or so of crucial, and in the end inconclusive, weeks (for it does not end with any side victorious but with Hector’s death). In fact, it opens with both both Hector & Achilles reluctant and extremely ambivalent towards war. And closes with both Hector & Achilles dead - by mutually assured destruction! In that clash of the Titans, the epic defines itself and creates a lasting prophecy. However, before we explore that we need to understand Hector & Achilles better and also the Iliad itself. In Medias Res The Iliad opens in medias res, as it were, as if the epic-recitation was already on its way and we, the audience, have just joined. It is part of Homer’s genius that he creates a world already in process. The art of Iliad is then the art of the entrance, the players enter from an ongoing world which is fully alive in the myths that surround the epic and the audience. The poem describes neither the origins nor the end of the war. The epic cuts out only a small sliver of insignificant time of the great battle - and thus focuses the spotlight almost exclusively on Hector & Achilles, narrowing the scope of the poem from a larger conflict between warring peoples to a smaller one between these two individuals, and yet maintaining its cosmic aspirations. So the important question is who are Hector & Achilles and why do these two heroes demand nothing less than the greatest western epic to define and contrast them? The Long Wait For Achilles In Iliad, how single-mindedly we are made to focus on Hector, but all the while, the Epic bursts with an absence - that of Achilles! After the initial skirmish with Agamemnon and the withdrawal that forms the curtain-raiser, Achilles plays no part in the events described in Books 2 through 8; he sits by his ships on the shore, playing his harp, having his fun, waiting for the promised end. “The man,” says Aristotle in the Politics, “who is incapable of working in common, or who in his self-sufficiency has no need of others, is no part of the community, like a beast, or a god.” Hector is the most human among the heroes of The Iliad, he is the one we can relate with the most east. The scene where Hector meets Andromache and his infant son is one of the most poignant scenes of the epic and heightened by Homer for maximum dramatic tension. On the other hand, Achilles is almost non-human, close to a god. But still human, though only through an aspiration that the audience might feel - in identifying with the quest for kleos, translated broadly as “honor”. ‘Zeus-like Achilles’ is the usage sometimes employed by Homer - and this is apt in more ways than the straight-forward fact that he is indeed first among the mortals just as Zeus is first among the gods. Zeus and the Gods know the future, they know how things are going to unfold. Among the mortals fighting it out in the plains of Ilium, only Achilles shares this knowledge, and this fore-knowledge is what allows him (in the guise of rage) to stay away from battle, even at the cost of eternal honor. Fore-knowledge is what makes Achilles (who is the most impetuous man alive) wiser than everyone else. Hector on the other hand takes heed of no omens, or signs, nor consults any astrologer. For him, famously, the only sign required is that his city needed saving - “and that is omen enough for me”, as he declares. He is the rational man. He is the ordinary man. Roused to defense. But everything Hector believes is false just as everything Achilles knows is true - for all his prowess, Hector is as ordinary a soldier as anyone else (except Achilles), privy to no prophecies, blind to his own fate. Elated, drunk with triumph, Hector allows himself to entertain one impossible dream/notion after other, even to the extent that perhaps Achilles too will fall to him. That he can save Troy all by himself. Hector & Achilles: The Metamorphosis Like other ancient epic poems, the Iliad presents its subject clearly from the outset. Indeed, Homer names his focus in its opening word: menin, or “rage.” Specifically, the Iliad concerns itself with the rage of Achilles—how it begins, how it cripples the Achaean army, and how it finally becomes redirected toward the Trojans. But, it also charts the metamorphosis of Achilles from a man who abhors a war that holds no meaning for him to a man who fights for its own sake. On the other side, it also charts how the civilized Hector, the loving family man and dutiful patriot Hector becomes a savage, driven by the madness of war. Before that, an interlude. The Other Life Of Achilles One of the defining scenes of the Epic is the ‘Embassy Scene’ where a defeated Agamemnon sends Odysseus & co to entreat Achilles to return to the battle. That is when Achilles delivers his famous anti-war speech. This speech of Achilles can be seen as a repudiation of the heroic ideal itself, of kleos - a realization that the life and death dedicated to glory is a game not worth the candle. The reply is a long, passionate outburst; he pours out all the resentment stored up so long in his heart. He rejects out of hand this embassy and any other that may be sent; he wants to hear no more speeches. Not for Agamemnon nor for the Achaeans either will he fight again. He is going home, with all his men and ships. As for Agamemnon's gifts, “I loathe his gifts!“ This is a crucial point in the epic. Achilles is a killer, the personification of martial violence, but he eulogizes not war but life - “If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies . . . true, but the life that's left me will be long . . . “  (9.502-4) Hector & Achilles: The Battle Royale Notwithstanding Achilles’ reluctance and bold affirmations of life, slowly, inevitably, Homer builds the tension and guides us towards the epic clash everybody is waiting for. But though it might seem as preordained, it is useful to question it closely. The confrontation is crucial and deserves very close scrutiny. We must ask ourselves - What brings on this confrontation? On first glance, it was fate, but if looked at again, we can see that Homer leaves plenty of room for free-will and human agency - Hector had a choice. But not Achilles - instead, Achilles' choice was exercised by Patroclus. This calls for a significant re-look at the central conflict of the epic: it might not be Hector Vs Achilles! Patroclus and Hector instead are the real centerpiece of the epic - Achilles being the irresistible force, that is once unleashed unstoppable. It is a no-contest. Hence, the real contest happens before. This is because, that unleashing depended entirely on Hector and Patroclus - the two heroes who only went into battle when their side was in dire straits - to defend. Both then got caught up in the rage of battle, and despite the best of advice from their closest advisors, got swept up by it and tried to convert defense into annihilation of enemy - pursuing kleos! It is worth noting the significant parallels between Hector and Patroclus, while between Hector and Achilles it is the contrasts that stand forth. Hector, instead of just defending his city, surges forth and decides to burn the Achaean ships. Now, the Achaean ships symbolize the future of the Greek race. They constitute the army’s only means of conveying itself home, whether in triumph or defeat. Even if the Achaean army were to lose the war, the ships could bring back survivors; the ships’ destruction, however, would mean the annihilation—or automatic exile—of every last soldier. Homer implies that the mass death of these leaders and role models would have meant the decimation of a civilization. Which means that the Achaeans cant escape - in effect, Hector, by trying to burn the ships is in effect calling for a fight to the death! This decision was taken in the face of very strong omens and very good advice: In the battle at the trench and rampart in Book Twelve, The Trojans Storm the Rampart, Polydamas sees an eagle flying with a snake, which it drops because the snake keeps attacking it; Polydamas decides this is an omen that the Trojans will lose. He tells Hector they must stop, but Hector lashes out that Zeus told him to charge; he accuses Polydamas of being a coward and warns him against trying to convince others to turn back or holding back himself. Hector is driven on by his success to overstep the bounds clearly marked out for him by Zeus. He hears Polydamas’ threefold warning (yes, there were two other instances too, not addressed here), yet plots the path to his own death and the ruin of those whom he loves. Thus, sadly, Hector pays no heed and surges forth. Which is the cue for the other patriot to enter the fray - for Patroclus. And thus Hector’s own madness (going beyond success in defense) in the face of sound advice brought on a crises for Achaeans to which their prime defender and patriot, Patroclus responded - and then paralleling Hector’s own folly, he too succeeded and then went beyond that to his own death. Thus Patroclus too shows that knows no restraint in victory; his friends too warned him in vain, and he paid for it with his life. By this time Hector had no choice, his fate was already sealed. Achilles was about to be unleashed. The most important moment in Iliad to me was this ‘prior-moment’ - when Hector lost it - when he lost himself to war fury: Hector’s first act of true savagery - towards Patroclus and his dead-body. “lost in folly, Athena had swept away their senses, “ is how Homer describes Hector and his troops at this point of their triumph. Achilles, Unchained. Yet, Homer gives Hector one more chance to spurn honor and save himself and diffuse/stall the mighty spirit of Achilles that had been unleashed on the battlegrounds. In his soliloquy before the Scacan gate, when he expects to die by Achilles' hand, he also has his first moment of insight: he sees that he has been wrong, and significantly enough Polydamas and his warnings come back to his mind. But he decides to hold his ground for fear of ridicule, of all things! So even as all the other Trojans ran inside the impregnable city walls to shelter, Hector waited outside torn between life and honor (contrast this with Achilles who had chosen life over honor, the lyre over the spear, so effortlessly earlier). Hector instead waits until unnerved, until too late. And then the inevitable death comes. Thus the Rage was unleashed by two men who tried to do more than defend themselves - they tried to win eternal honor or kleos - the result is the unleashing of the fire called Achilles (his rage) which burns itself and everything around it to the ground. What better invocation of what war means? I ask again, what better book to read for the centenary year for The World War I? The Last Book The last words of The Iliad are : “And so the Trojans buried Hector, breaker of horses.” Thus, fittingly, Homer starts with the Rage of Achilles and ends with the Death of Hector. This is very poetic and poignant, but it is time for more questions: Again, why start and end on the eve of battle? Because that is the only space for reflection that war allows. Before the madness of the fury of war or of disaster descends like a miasmic cloud. To use Homer’s own phrase, “war gives little breathing-room”. Thus, we end the Epic just as we began it - in stalemate, with one crucial difference - both sides’ best men are dead. The two men who could have effected a reconciliation , who had a vision beyond war, are dead. Homer’s Prophecies It is made very clear in The Iliad that Achilles will die under Trojan roofs and that Hector will find his doom under the shadow of the Achaean ships - or, both are to die in enemy territory. Though Iliad leaves us with full focus on Hector’s death and funeral, there is another death that was always presaged but left off from the story - That of Achilles’ own. Why? Achilles' death is left to the audience to imagine, over and over again, in every context as required. The saga of Hector & Achilles, of the doomed-to-die heroes, leaves one death to the imagination and thus effects a very neat prophetic function. Once Hector committed his folly, once Patroclus rushed to his death, and once Achilles is unleashed, the rest is fixed fate, there is no stopping it. So Homer begins and ends in truce, but with destruction round the corner - as if the cycle was meant to be repeated again and again, stretching backwards and forwards in time - Troy I, Troy II, … to Troy VI, Troy VII, … where does it end? Homer knows that the threshold is crossed, the end is nigh - even Troy’s destruction is not required to be part of the epic - with Hector’s death, the death of Ilium is nigh too and so is Achilles’ own death and past the myths, the death of the Greek civilization, and maybe of all civilization? The epic leaves us with the real doomsday just over the horizon, horribly presaged by it, in true prophetic fashion. The Pity of War The pity of war is The Iliad’s dominant theme, but it uses themes such as love, ego, honor, fear and friendship to illuminate the motive forces behind war. In another ancient epic, Gilgamesh, the death of a friend prompts a quest which ends in wisdom and an affirmation of life; in The Iliad, the death of the fabled friend leads to a renunciation of wisdom and a quest for death itself! In Gilgamesh, the hero learns the follies of life and rebuilds civilization; in The Iliad, Achilles comes into the epic already armed with this knowledge and moves towards seeking death, choosing to be the destroyer instead of the creator. The Iliad is an epic of unlearning. It mocks optimistic pretensions. In The Iliad, the participants learn nothing from their ordeal, all the learning is left to the audience.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    Read as part of my degree and as part of my love of classics, however it didn't compare to The Odyssey which I adored - possibly due to the lack of mythological creatures and rather more battles and lists of ships and names, which made it that much harder to struggle through. Still a great read as one of the original classics but I would choose The Odyssey over the Iliad anytime.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Araz Goran

    الالياذة وهوميروس يجعلان منك طفلاً صغيراً تتحدث مع نفسك طيلة ايام قراءة الملحمة تمارس الهلوسة الهوميرية بكل جنونها، تستفيق هواية المعارك في مخيلتك، تتحمس، تغضب،تشارك بعقلك وانفعالاتك، تبكيك مشاهد مصرع الابطال، تلهبك ساحة المعارك المكتظة بصليل السيوف وتدافع الاجساد المتعطشة للدماء والمجد قبل كل شئ، يتلاعب بك هوميروس كيفما يشاء هو وآلهته الخالدة وأبطاله شبه المجانين ، يرتحل بك في العالم القديم في بلاد الاغريق، في طروادة، في معبد دلفي، في جبال الاولمبوس.. نادر أن تشعر بالغربة وأنت تقرأ في الملحمة ن الالياذة وهوميروس يجعلان منك طفلاً صغيراً تتحدث مع نفسك طيلة ايام قراءة الملحمة تمارس الهلوسة الهوميرية بكل جنونها، تستفيق هواية المعارك في مخيلتك، تتحمس، تغضب،تشارك بعقلك وانفعالاتك، تبكيك مشاهد مصرع الابطال، تلهبك ساحة المعارك المكتظة بصليل السيوف وتدافع الاجساد المتعطشة للدماء والمجد قبل كل شئ، يتلاعب بك هوميروس كيفما يشاء هو وآلهته الخالدة وأبطاله شبه المجانين ، يرتحل بك في العالم القديم في بلاد الاغريق، في طروادة، في معبد دلفي، في جبال الاولمبوس.. نادر أن تشعر بالغربة وأنت تقرأ في الملحمة نادراً ما تجد نفسك بعيداً هناك، لم يكن من الجيد أن تقوم بإخفاء نفسك خلف جدران طروادة العظيمة، لم يكن لك الحق في التخلي عن المعركة ،فهنا إما أن تكون أو لا تكون، هيكتورياً أو مواكباً لغضبة " أخيليوس " سريع القدم المتدثر دائماً بلباس الحرب والغضب معاً، لقد ولد مع الغضب وارتحل مع جنونه اينما حل.. حينما سمع بمقتل " باتروكلوس " كاد أن يجز رقبته بخنجره لولا أن قبض على يديه ومنعه إبن نيستور الحكيم.. صراع محتدم بدأ بإختطاف الجميلة "هيلينا" من أرض الاغريق على الكسندروس "بارس" ذاك الشقي الذي جلب الويلات لبلاده الذي وصفه هيكتور ذاته مرة " ايها المعتوه، ليت الارض قد بلعتك من قبل أن ترى النور في مدينة برياموس" ..أتفق أن باريس كان هواياً للنساء مفتونا بجماله ومحباً لهذا النوع من المغامرات التي تدفعه نفسه إلى خطف النساء والرجوع بهن إلى طروداة كـ سبيات وأسيرات في قصره، لم يخطر أنه قد جلب الوبال على شعبه قد تسبب في هلاك أمته ومحوها من خريطة العالم حين أفتتن بـ " هلينيا" الجميلة زوجة مينلاؤس شقيق الملك أجامنون، إختطفها من القصر وأبحر بها إلى طروادة لتصبح محظية له هناك.. ما أن أدرك مينلاؤس ذلك الذي حدث حتى قام بتحفز أخيه على تجهيز العدة وشن غارة على طروادة التعيسة، أجابه شقيقه إلى ذلك بل وأجتمع جميع قبائل وملوك وسادة الاغريق على مشاركة الحملة الساعية أولاً لأرجاع زوجة مينلاؤس وثانياً نهب كنوز طروادة التي كانت ذائعة الصيت في مقدار كنوزها وغناها التي كانت تتباهى بها في العالم القديم.. وصل المدد من كل مكان واحتشدت القوات الاخيبة والدانائيين مجتمعين لبدء الحملة والسطو على طروادة المجيدة معقل هكتور ومن قبل ذلك برياموس ذلك الشيخ الهرم حبيب الالهة.. بعد تسع سنوات من الابحار ومكابدة العناء كما تصف الملحمة، وصلت الحشود العظيمة يتقدمها أجاممنون الملك بنفسه ومع شقيقه المترف الأحزان، وسيد الغضب والقتال سريع القدم كما يصفه هوميروس " أخيليوس " أو أخيل البطل الاغريقي الخالد الساغي دائماً وراء المجد وتحطبم اسوار المدن العتيقة والابنية الشاهقة على رؤوس اصحابها وسبي اجمل نساء البلاد الاخرى.. أخيليوس الذي لم يداهمه يوماً الشبع من قتل الابطال في صيحات القتال ولا منازلة الجبابرة وسحقهم في مشاهد درامية كثيرة، كان آخرها مع هكتور صاحب طروادة.. أخيليوس هناك جالساً في خيمته غاضباً تغني إلهة الشعر نفسها في وصف عنفوان غضبه، يصب اللعنات على اليوم الذي قرر فيه الابحار ومقاتلة اهل طروادة، ذلك لم يكن بسبب تلك المحظية التي قرر اجاممنون أن يبقيها لنفسه، خريسئيس الفاتنة التي عشقها أجاممنون وتمرد على بطله اخيليوس وانتزع تلك الجميلة من بين ذلك الاسد الهائج المسمى أخيليوس.. أخيليوس وحيوان الغضب في داخله تحولا إلى جبل لا يتزحح قرر فيها أن يترك الآخيين ليواجهوا مصيرهم في مواجهة الطرواديين الذي كانوا يتلهفون لمثل هذا النزاع المؤدي إلى فصل اكبر قوة عن ميدان ابناء الاغريق، الذي قرروا ان يواصلوا الحرب بدونه.. تلك الغضبة هي التي تأسست عليها الإلياذة - اي غضبة أخيليوس - وهي التي كانت البداية لكتابة هذه الملحمة الخلابة.. والتي مطلعها :- " غّنِ لي يا ربة الشعر عن غضبة أخيليوس بن بيليوس المدمرة، التي ألحقت بالآخيين مآسي تفوق الحصر ، ودفعت إلى العالم الآخر (هاديس -العالم السفلي) بأرواح الكثيرين من الابطال البواسل ،بينما جعلت من أجسادهم لقمة سائغة للكلاب وكل أنواع الجوارح، وهكذا تحققت مشيئة زيوس ، غّنِ ممن جاءت هذه الغضبة بادئة من حيث أخذ الشقاق بين (أجاممنون) ملك الرجال وبين أخيليوس (شبيه الآلهة) ... من مِن بين الآلهة هو ذلك الذي دفع الأثنين إلى الصراع فيما بينهما.. أنه (أبوللون) الوضاء، فهو الذي أدى غضبه إلى انتشار الطاعون المشؤوم بين المقلتلين وإلى هلاك الرجال " ما أن بدأت بقراءة هذا الأبيات الأولى حتى شعرت بألفة غريبة تجاه ما أقرأ وكأنها منحوتة لتبقى خالدة وعصية على النسيان وعلى ظهر الحياة تدب كلماتها ورونقها الساحر الملئ بالمتناقضات والجنون، مساحة كبيرة من الخيال والشغف تمنحها لك الأبيات الأولى وهي تقنتص عمداً مخيلة القارئ للذهاب بعيداً جداً حيث لا وجود إلا لتلك الثلة من الأبطال والمدن الحصينة والسفن المقوسة التي تحمل على ظهرها ذلك العدد الهائل من المقاتلين المطالبين بالمجد، تلك السفن السائرة في ضباب البحر ومشاهد الغروب الخالدة.. وكم كان قلب أخيليوس قاسياً حينها وهو يجدف في حق أصحابه هناك ويتركهم سريع القدم وهم يُقتلون على يد هيكتور أبن برياموس وبقية الطرواديين، صرخات نيستور الحكيم تملأ ساحة القتال منادياً بالويل على من ينسحب من المعركة ويذكرهم بالمجد في كل حين،أجاممنون في حالة الغضب والرثاء وهو يشاهد حشود الطرواديين متقدمة نحو سفن الآخيين منذرة بإحراق السفن نفسها.. أوديسيوس ربيب الآلهة يصيد أرواح الطرواديين برحمهه الذي لا زال يخترق الأجساد الطروادية، الثنائي أياس يتضرعان للآلهة أن لا يمنح النصر للطرواديين، ومازالت رماح الآخيين تنحرف عن مسارها بإرادة " زيوس " الذي لم يكن يأبه لتلك التضرعات الذي قدمها أجاممنون ومن قبله نيستور الحكيم ولا للقرابين التي تم ذبحها لهذا الإله القاسي الذي مكن الطرواديين من الغلبة في الكثير من الجولات حتى كاد أجاممنون أن يعلن الانسحاب نحو السفن خوفاً من إحراق السفن المقوسة والوقوع في شرك أعدائهم، لولا يقظة الثنائي أياس الذين استبسلا للدفاع عن السفن والذود عن آخر ما تبقى من المعنويات للآخيين المتمركزين عند السفن، نقطة التحول حدثت عندما هب باتروكلوس يحض أخيليوس على القتال ويذكره بمآل الاغريق الذي سيكون بشعاً على يد الثائرين من اهل طروادة ومن خلف بعض الآلهة التي كانت ترغب في سحق الجيش الاغريقي.. باتروكلوس حاول ان يسكن غضبة اخيليوس، لم يستطيع ذلك الشقي ان يفعل شيئاً سوى يتدرع بدرع اخيليوس ويواجه حشود الطرواديين وحده.. ولقد علم اخيليوس هنالك معنى الالم معنى الغضب لأول مرة، معنى الفناء، معنى العدم، معنى الخواء، معنى ان تفقد كل شئ لأجل لا شئ.. معنى أن تكون محبطاً حتى من نفسك، من يقينك انك قد عاينت احزان العالم في قلبك، استجواب ذرات الحقيقة الخافتة التي تنادي بك إلى العالم الفاني.. لم يكن غضباً بل حزناً دفيناً وكأنه كان يعلم أن الايام تخبئها له وهو على أرض طروادة.. أخيليوس تمزق هناك ومزق ماحوله.. *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** هذه الملحمة أستطيع أن أقول من أجمل ما قرأت وما سأقرأ حتى، تحفة أدبية مذهلة حقاً وهي تحكي تلك الأحداث بصورة مشوقة ساحرة عصية على الادراك أنها كلمات مجردة ،كأنها أستخرجت من بئر الجمال القابع في سحر هذا العالم كله.. مذهلة تبقى هذه الملحمة في مخليتي صعبة النسيان والتأليف مرة أخرى.... عاطفي تلقائي غريب ساحر بارع .. ليست مجاملة بل هي حقيقة، بل وقطرة ساكنة من بحر جمال هذه الرائعة الانسانية.. وأدرك تماماً أن لو اجتمع ممثلوا وفنانوا العالم على أن يجسدوا هذه الملحمة على أرض الواقع أو كلوحة أو لما استطاعوا إلى ذلك سبيلا.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ من الملاحظ عدد الشخصيات في الملحمة كبير جداً جداً لا يمكن حصرها ، أسماء كثيرة لمقاتلين وآلهة وأبطال معظمها تأتي كشخصيات هامشية لا وزن لها في عملية بناء الملحمة ،إن هي إلا مجرد ورقة يلقي بها هوميروس في صيحة الحرب فأما أن تتعرض للقتل مباشرة بعد ذكرها وهو غالباً مايحدث، أو أنها تتعرض للنسيان من قبل هوميروس وكما قال النقاد " أن هوميروس كان يغفو أحياناً أثناء تأليفه للملحمة " ، ومن الجدير بالذكر أن هناك شخصية تعرضت للقتل في بداية المعارك التي أشتعلت بين الطرواديين والدانائيين ثم ذُكر بعد ذلك وهو يقاتل ثانية في صيحة الحرب وللسوء حظه قُتل مجدداً .. ذلك ما يضفي في رأيي جواً من البراءة والغرابة في القصة وكأنها تجري خارج حدود الزمن.. ونصيحة لا تحفظ إلا أسماء الشخصيات الرئيسية في الملحمة وإلا سيختلط عليك الشخصيات ويصيبك نوع من الملل تجاه الكتاب، تابع دائماً ولا تهتم، جمال الملحمة في الاستمرارية ومواكبة جنون وحالات هذيان هوميروس.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ يكفي أن أقول أن الترجمة التي قرأتها لا توجد كلمات تصف مدى اتساقها وجمالها وأبداعها الادبي والذوق الرائع في إختيار المفردات والجمل وعمق حقيقي في الترجمة، المترجم أحمد عتمان ومعه عدد من المترجين الآخرين قضوا سنوات عدة ليخرجوا بهذه الطلة البهية الراقية، من أجمل الترجمات التي قرأتها، يستحق الثناء والتقدير والشكر لهذا المجهود الجبار الذي هو بالفعل تحفة لا يقدرها إلا أصحاب الذوق الأصيل في الأدب.. .............. ليست مراجعة هي تلك التي كتبتها، بل مجرد خواطر عن الكتاب راق لي أن أضيفها هنا..

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    After reading The Illiad I faced a quandary- how do you review one of the most important and enduring works of creativity in human history? What can you say that hundreds of thousands of others haven't? My answer to this question is that I must join the chorus of those who have come before me and sing the praises of what is one of the best stories I have ever read, as fascinating and gripping now as it no doubt was when it was penned nearly three millennia ago. There are many reasons why this book After reading The Illiad I faced a quandary- how do you review one of the most important and enduring works of creativity in human history? What can you say that hundreds of thousands of others haven't? My answer to this question is that I must join the chorus of those who have come before me and sing the praises of what is one of the best stories I have ever read, as fascinating and gripping now as it no doubt was when it was penned nearly three millennia ago. There are many reasons why this book has endured. It is a story of love, hate, vengeance, fate, pettiness, grief and war, bloody and prolonged war - a microcosm of human life and the furies that drive us to excess. You know the story. Paris steals Helen away to Troy. Agamemnon and the Greeks raise and army and lay seige to that great city. Achilles, the greatest warrior history has ever seen, fights and dies, a poison arrow embedded in his ankle. The Greeks roll a massive wooden horse up to Troy's gates, and the war ends in trickery and massacre. You know all this, but trust me, you don't know it the way The Illiad tells it. This is a glorious read, the brutal blows and shrieks of war leap from the page, and the human passions that drive the protaganists are vivid and compelling. You will read this book and wonder at how something from another time, translated from it's original tongue, can so totally enthrall a modern reader. It's powerful, heady stuff. So many images from this story are carved into my synapses. Hector and Achilles stalking the battlefield like avatars of death, scything down opponents in their tens. Priam begging Achilles for the return of his son's mangled body. Heroes cut down mid-fight, their souls headed for the underworld, their deaths mourned even by the gods on Olympus, who watch and guide the battle from above. There are a handful of books that every reader must experience - books that are milestones in human culture. The Illiad is one of these books. I don't know how I lived more than three decades before I read it, and it makes me nostalgic for a time I never lived through, when a high school education in the classics was something that everyone received.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Loretta

    This was a terribly hard read for me. I struggled to finish it, but finish it I did. 😕

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    The story of the siege of Troy is one of heroism and tragedy. There are so many unforgettable characters here - both gods and heroes - that it is like watching an old black and white movie with those incredible crowds like in Ben Hur. You can see the vast encampment of Greeks around Troy, you can smell the cooking fires and hear the laughter in the camp - the jeers at the wall and the frustration on both sides as the siege goes on and on. The epic battles near the end the claim the lives of some The story of the siege of Troy is one of heroism and tragedy. There are so many unforgettable characters here - both gods and heroes - that it is like watching an old black and white movie with those incredible crowds like in Ben Hur. You can see the vast encampment of Greeks around Troy, you can smell the cooking fires and hear the laughter in the camp - the jeers at the wall and the frustration on both sides as the siege goes on and on. The epic battles near the end the claim the lives of some of mythologies greatest heroes - Achilles and Hector - are beyond description. The Rouse translation is a bit dry but still does a great job of bringing this classic tale to life. I would love to hear from commenters on alternate translations, but this one which is a bit of a classic is the only one I have tried.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Foolish me. I thought I was going to look at the different editions of The Iliad and choose the one most readable but did not reckon with the overwhelming beauty of the language and story. The truth is, it does not matter which edition you choose, so long as you read at least one. It is inevitable that you will find yourself drawn to the question of the most beautiful and complete rendition but you may (wisely) concede defeat at the beauty of each. The Homeric epics are said to be the greatest s Foolish me. I thought I was going to look at the different editions of The Iliad and choose the one most readable but did not reckon with the overwhelming beauty of the language and story. The truth is, it does not matter which edition you choose, so long as you read at least one. It is inevitable that you will find yourself drawn to the question of the most beautiful and complete rendition but you may (wisely) concede defeat at the beauty of each. The Homeric epics are said to be the greatest stories, martial stories, ever sung or written of all time, so if for some reason they did not resonate for you in high school, you may want to revisit what your teachers were talking about. When they describe the death of a man in the full bloom of his strength looking like an flower in a rainstorm, head and neck aslant, unable to withstand the beating rain, we understand. I listened to the audio of Stephen Mitchell’s streamlined translation, and it was utterly ravishing and compelling. The Iliad is one episode among many in Homer’s epics, and it may have been assumed that listeners of the original spoken performance would be familiar with all the players in this war. It is argued by some, including British scholar M.L. West, that The Iliad has had pieces added to it over the years. Stephen Mitchell follows West’s scholarship and strips out the extra passages, a notion expanded upon in a review of Mitchell’s translation by classicist Daniel Mendelsohn in The New Yorker (2011). Mitchell’s translation may be the most readable, the most listenable one in English. It is also the shortest. Mitchell also shortens the lines in English so that they have speed and momentum for an impressive delivery. The recent (2017) Peter Green translation, begun when Green was nearly 90 years old, is similarly easy to read; Green tells us that he began in a relaxed attitude for diversion and completed the whole within a year. Colin Burrow reviewed Green's translation in the June 18th 2015 edition of the London Review of Books. Neither the writing or the reading of this version is anguished or tortured, and Burrow points out that Green was a historian but didn't allow that to obfuscate or weigh down the poetry. The Green & Mitchell versions both retain a long recitation of those who prepared their ships to sail with Agamemnōn to Troy to bring back Helen, the wife of Menelaös. One imagines ancient listeners shouting when their region is named, much along the lines of the cheering section of a field game, when each player’s name is called. And later, as the blow-by-blow of the battle proceeded, one imagines each region cheering when mention of their leader is declaimed, though some died horrible deaths. This is another reason to read this ancient work: We live and die not unlike one another, we who lived so far apart in time, and perhaps the ardor young men of today have for the sword and for fame will be doused by the utterly desolate manner of death recounted here, one in particular that I cannot forget: a spear through the buttock and into the bladder meant a painful and ugly death. However, it is true that Achilles chose fame over life, knowing that his exploits in Troy would mean his physical death but his fame amongst men would be sung for “thousands of years.” One wonders how the ballad was delivered—in pieces or over a period of days—perhaps in sections by different singers? Caroline Alexander, after a lifetime of her own research into the Homeric epics argues in The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War that the work certainly required days to recite, and may have been performed in episodes. The length of the piece suggests the piece was once short enough to be memorized, leaving room for invention and modification as befits the oral tradition. I wonder now which European language has the most translations, and do they sometimes dare to attempt translations from ancient Greek to, say, French, and then to English? It seems we have enough scholars understanding ancient Greek to give us satisfactory versions without resorting to piggybacked translations. An attempt was made by John Farrell in the Oct 30, 2012 edition of the Los Angeles Review of Books to untangle the English translations and sort them for clarity and poetry. Those of us who love this work will read them all, especially the fascinating introductions to each in which the scholars themselves wax eloquent about what they loved about it. Mitchell's introduction is especially accessible and impelling: I could hardly wait to get to the story. I have read reviews of people who prefer Lattimore, Fagles, Fitzgerald, or Lombardo translations and all I can say is I’m not the one to quibble about great works. Daniel Mendelsohn "graded" four translations in the article discussing Mitchell's translation. It must be a curse and a blessing both (for one's self and one’s family both) to understand ancient Greek and to feel the desire to translate Homer. All the questions any editor/translator must address, e.g., spelling, which edition is ‘original,’ more poetry or prose, whether to render the translation literally or by sense…how exhausting the decisions, but how exciting, too. In the end, whichever edition gives you the greatest access for your first attempt to breach the ramparts of this ancient work is the one to choose for a first read. The other editions will naturally come later, once you have the sense of the story, a few names nailed down, and have that deepening curiosity about the poetry and the beauty. One last observation is that the men in this epic were mere playthings of the gods, gods that could be cruel, petty, jealous, and vengeful. These gods were helpful to individual men or women insofar as it helped their cause vis à vis other gods. There was striving among men, but most of the time human successes or failures had less to do with who they were than with who they knew. Was it ever thus.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I have now read The Iliad for the first time since my college days. I almost wonder if I actually read the whole book back then. It seems so different now, so much more all-encompassing, universal and timeless in dealing with men at war, issues of honor, duties of leadership, fate, individuals and community. Certainly the gods seem more petty and childlike than I remembered. On this reading it is both more brutal and more beautiful than I expected; in that way I would guess it mirrors life. It a I have now read The Iliad for the first time since my college days. I almost wonder if I actually read the whole book back then. It seems so different now, so much more all-encompassing, universal and timeless in dealing with men at war, issues of honor, duties of leadership, fate, individuals and community. Certainly the gods seem more petty and childlike than I remembered. On this reading it is both more brutal and more beautiful than I expected; in that way I would guess it mirrors life. It also does seem relevant to the contemporary world these thousands of years later with the themes of honor, fate, love/hate, loyalty and fealty, leadership-good and poor, what is a true leader. I was also struck by the human-seeming nature of the gods. They had more power and immortality, but they were petty and, at times mean and spiteful. There also played games with human lives and destinies. Though they perhaps brought a vague order to human's lives, there was no nobility to their existence. I likely will read The Iliad again before long (I already have a kindle copy of Catherine Alexander's translation for comparison). I enjoyed Fagles' translation very much and found his descriptive writing often beautiful, his war and battle scenes brutally clear. All in all, I'm very glad I have finally returned to Homer's world. ..................................................................................................... My original rating was 2* from my recall of reading a different translation while in college (?Lattimore) many years ago. I very much enjoyed Fagles' Odyssey and look forward to trying a new version of The Iliad as a more "mature" adult.

  15. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 3+ out of 5 stars to The Iliad, a Greek lyrical work written around 800 BC by Homer. Ah The Trojan War. We all know of the horse, but how did it come together? Who was at war? And why? You'll need to read The Iliad & The Odyssey to figure all that out... of the two, I preferred the Odyssey. I still found the story fascinating and enjoyed the read. But it's a lot to digest. It's amazing when you realize these works are almost 3000 years old. Such beauty in his words. And to thi Book Review 3+ out of 5 stars to The Iliad, a Greek lyrical work written around 800 BC by Homer. Ah The Trojan War. We all know of the horse, but how did it come together? Who was at war? And why? You'll need to read The Iliad & The Odyssey to figure all that out... of the two, I preferred the Odyssey. I still found the story fascinating and enjoyed the read. But it's a lot to digest. It's amazing when you realize these works are almost 3000 years old. Such beauty in his words. And to think about everything we've learned over the years... about war... and the Trojan horse... both the virus and the trickery. There are some valuable lessons in this work. If only more would give it a chance! About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    I don't know why I read this. It isn't on The List (I guess because it's technically a poem, not a novel), and it wasn't assigned reading or anything. But for whatever reason, reading The Iliad has been on my mental to-do list for a while now, and last week I finally picked it up. My first reaction: dude, this epic is epic. (thank you, I'll be here all week) It's full of dudes getting killed in really exquisite detail, dudes talking about killing or not killing dudes, dudes mourning dead dudes i I don't know why I read this. It isn't on The List (I guess because it's technically a poem, not a novel), and it wasn't assigned reading or anything. But for whatever reason, reading The Iliad has been on my mental to-do list for a while now, and last week I finally picked it up. My first reaction: dude, this epic is epic. (thank you, I'll be here all week) It's full of dudes getting killed in really exquisite detail, dudes talking about killing or not killing dudes, dudes mourning dead dudes in a totally-not-homoerotic way, and dudes yelling at each other about the chicks who ruin everything. The battle sequences are long and action-packed, everybody is Zeus's kid or nephew, the men are men and the women are decoration. It's pretty awesome, is what I'm saying. Second big reaction: I was surprised at how small the scope of this poem actually is. At the beginning, the Trojan War has already been going on for ten years, and the poem really only covers the last month or so. It's really interesting, because the poem seems to be about how the stupid actions of a few powerful people can have far-reaching and horrible consequences. The whole driving force in The Iliad is this: Menelaus takes Achilles's favorite chick Briseis (who, thanks to Movies in Fifteen Minutes, will always be known as Temple Babe in my head) for his own, and Achilles throws a massive snit fit and refuses to fight in the Trojan War until the king stops raping Achilles's girlfriend and lets Achilles go back to raping her instead. Because of this, loads and loads of people die, and the gods are no help whatsoever because they're all on different sides and keep messing things up. That's the whole story: a bunch of guys who are fighting a war because of some guy stealing somebody's girlfriend all die horrible deaths because some other guys are having a fight over somebody's girlfriend. The lesson, of course, is that women ruin everything. Normally this would be cause for me to get out my Feminist Rage Hat, except for the fact that the goddesses in this story kick so much ass I can't even get that angry about how lame Helen and Briseis are. (even Andromache isn't too bad, because she gets some really lovely scenes with Hector) All in all, a pretty awesome, fast-paced action story with enough gore and bromance to keep everybody happy. I'm glad I took the time to read it. (also if anyone's curious, I read the Richard Lattimore translation and found it very readable and well-done)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sherif Metwaly

    هناك أعمال أدبية، مهما بلغَتْ شهرتها، ومهما بلغ احتفاء القراء بها، تظل لغزًا مُحيرًا بالنسبةلي، ودائمًا أجد بيني وبينها حاجزًا خفيًا يمنعني من خوض تجربتي الشخصية معها، وفي الغالب لا أفكر في اختراق هذا الحاجز وحدي، إنما أنتظر من يأخذ بيدي ويشجعني على ذلك بمشاركتي التجربة، وهذا ما حدث معي في هذه الرحلة، مع الإلياذة. بدايةً، هناك سبب آخر - بجانب الحاجز الخفي - كان يدفعني دائمًا لتأجيل قراءة الإلياذة، وهو أنني لم أفهم يومًا تصنيف هذا العمل، تارة أجد من يقول أن الإلياذة هي ملحمة يونانية أسطورية، وتارة هناك أعمال أدبية، مهما بلغَتْ شهرتها، ومهما بلغ احتفاء القراء بها، تظل لغزًا مُحيرًا بالنسبةلي، ودائمًا أجد بيني وبينها حاجزًا خفيًا يمنعني من خوض تجربتي الشخصية معها، وفي الغالب لا أفكر في اختراق هذا الحاجز وحدي، إنما أنتظر من يأخذ بيدي ويشجعني على ذلك بمشاركتي التجربة، وهذا ما حدث معي في هذه الرحلة، مع الإلياذة. بدايةً، هناك سبب آخر - بجانب الحاجز الخفي - كان يدفعني دائمًا لتأجيل قراءة الإلياذة، وهو أنني لم أفهم يومًا تصنيف هذا العمل، تارة أجد من يقول أن الإلياذة هي ملحمة يونانية أسطورية، وتارة أجد من ينقدها بكوْنها من أشهر الأعمال الشعرية لهوميروس، وتارة أخرى أقرأ مراجعات لأصدقاء تمتدح بالأساس ترجمة دريني خشبة التي صبغت العمل بصبغة أسلوبية عذبة جعلت له مذاقًا مختلفًا وأكثر جمالًا؛ وبعد انتهائي من رحلتي مع عالم الإلياذة أقول: كل هذا غير مهم، الأهم من هذا كله أن تخوض تجربتك مع هذا العمل بنفسك، وتراه كما تشاء، ففي كل الأحوال، ومهما كانت رؤيتك للعمل، سواء كان شعرًا أو روايةً أو كتاب تاريخ حتى!، ستستمتع، وستندمج مع الحكاية. وأنا في منتصف رحلتي مع الإلياذة كتبتُ هنا أنني لا أعلم تصنيف ما أقرأ، ولكن ما أعلمه ومتأكدًا منه أنني مستمتع، الأمر شبيه باحساسي عندما يدعوني أحد أقاربي على عزومة، فأجد على منضدة الطعام طبقًا لا أعلم ما به، فأتذوقه، فيعجبني وأظل أتناول منه حتى أكاد أنفجر من الامتلاء،حسنًا، أعلم أنه تشبيه غريب نوعًا، ولكنه بالفعل يصف تجربتي مع الإلياذة بدقة. لستُ من عاشقي الأساطير اليونانية، وبالتالي فإن القصة ذاتها لم تبهرني، إنما أبهرتني الترجمة العظيمة لدريني خشبة كمعظم من قرأوا الإلياذة بترجمته، تلك الترجمةالتي جعلت للحكاية روحًا مختلفة، وهذا التناغم المبهر بين القصة الأسطورية لهوميروس والتعبيرات الشعرية الرنانة لدريني خشبة مع التأثر بالقرآن الكريم، هذا المزيج كان كفيلًا بصُنع إلياذة أخرى، إلياذة يتقاسم فيها كلًا من المؤلف والمترجم مواطن الابداع والجمال. تجربة ممتعة، ولغز جديد لم يعد لغزًا بالنسبة لي بعد الآن. كل الشكر للصديقة العزيزة للغاية/ رضوى عبد الباسط، التي رشحتْ العمل لنقرأه سويًا، كانت خير رفيقة لاختراق الحاجز الخفي بيني وبين الإلياذة، وكانت السبب في خوض هذه التجربة الجميلة. تمت

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fernando

    La Ilíada, este inmortal poema épico griego que la historia de la literatura le atribuye a Homero (comentaré esto más adelante), es un libro sobre la guerra, pero que también habla de una época, en la que Troya o Ilión es el campo de batalla donde se pone de manifiesto la perfecta conjunción de dioses, héroes y hombres, quienes luchan a la par y en distintos planos, como el terrenal y el del Olimpo. Este es un libro que habla sobre la cólera de Aquiles y la bravura de Héctor y nos involucra rápid La Ilíada, este inmortal poema épico griego que la historia de la literatura le atribuye a Homero (comentaré esto más adelante), es un libro sobre la guerra, pero que también habla de una época, en la que Troya o Ilión es el campo de batalla donde se pone de manifiesto la perfecta conjunción de dioses, héroes y hombres, quienes luchan a la par y en distintos planos, como el terrenal y el del Olimpo. Este es un libro que habla sobre la cólera de Aquiles y la bravura de Héctor y nos involucra rápidamente como testigos de traiciones y alianzas tanto entre los dioses del Olimpo como en los pueblos guerreros que combaten entre sí, puesto que los dioses apoyan tanto a teucros como a aqueos y sobre ellos inclinan la balanza alterándoles sus destinos, insuflándoles valor o aconsejándolos al punto ante una maniobra o proceder inadecuado. Los héroes, conscientes de sus destinos afrontan con honor y hombría lo que los dioses les imponen sin discusión. Estas acciones están claramente narradas en un capítulo previo al recrudecimiento de la guerra, casi en su etapa final cuando Homero nos dice: "Así habló el Cronida y promovió una gran batalla. Los dioses fueron al combate divididos en dos bandos: encamináronse a las naves Hera, Palas Atenea, Poseidón, que ciñe la tierra, el benéfico Hermes de prudente espíritu, y con ellos Hefesto, que, orgulloso de su fuerza, cojeaba arrastrando sus gráciles piernas; y enderezaron sus pasos a los troyanos Ares, el de tremolante casco, el intenso Febo Apolo, Ártemisa, que se complace en tirar flechas, Leto, el Janto y la risueña Afrodita." Más allá de que el rapto de Helena de Troya por Paris, hermano de Héctor desencadene la guerra, aunque esta ya estaba esta ya dispuesta por los mismos dioses (algo que anticipaba ya Hesíodo en su Teogonía). Es que es un conflicto ineludible porque así está escrito y efectivamente desencadenará en un enfrentamiento que durará diez años. La tan famosa cólera de Aquiles, que se desdobla en dos partes: la de su enemistad con Agamenón por apropiarse este de Briseida, una doncella tomada como botín de guerra y por otro lado la muerte de su queridísimo amigo y escudero Patroclo a manos de un capitán licio, con remate de Hector y ayuda del dios Ares. Es llamativa y sugerente esta "cólera" de Aquiles ante la muerte de Patroclo. A mí, personalmente, me hizo pensar que Patroclo oficia prácticamente como amante de Aquiles, puesto que es llamativo que haya varios capítulos que hablan del llanto, la pena y el duelo que Aquiles realiza sobre Patroclo, además de los interminables funerales y exequias que a este le dedica. Pensemos esto: si el primer hexámetro del poema comienza diciendo: "Canta, oh diosa, la cólera del Pelida Aquiles; cólera funesta que causó infinitos males a los aqueos y precipitó al Hades muchas almas valerosas de héroes, a quienes hizo presa de perros y pasto de aves -cumplíase la voluntad de Zeus- desde que se separaron disputando el Atrida, rey de hombres, y el divino Aquiles.", esto evidencia claramente que la hecatombe que viviremos a través de las casi 500 páginas del libro responden a una simple "vendetta" de Aquiles por la muerte de su amadísmo amigo, arrastrando consigo a cuanto guerrero, rey, dios o mujer se encuentre en su camino. Son muchas las muertes que desencadena esta cólera. Es incluso llamativo que los dioses del Olimpo acepten todo este lío. Además, si uno presta atención al desarrollo de la historia, Aquiles aparece al principio del mismo y luego, enfurruñados por sus demonios internos, desaparece para retornar casi al final del libro, cuando vuelve a la batalla para vengar a Patroclo sobre Héctor. Espero que los fieles lectores de Homero no se sientan ofendidos por este comentario ¡(y que la furia de los dioses griegos no caiga sobre mí!). Los personajes de la Ilíada son numerosos. Son tantos que cuando el aedo (así le llamaban a los bardos helénicos en su época) narra las hazañas personales de Héctor, Aquiles, Idomeneo, Diómedes o Ajax Telamonio lo hace enumerando decenas de nombres. Son tantos que perdí la cuenta y me pregunto por qué no los anoté. Me atrevería a decir que supera los 559 nombres que Tostoi creó en "La Guerra y la Paz". Otro detalle interesante son los atributos que Homero le da tanto a dioses como a héroes (Aquiles, "el de los pies ligeros", Apolo "el que hiere de lejos", Zeus "el que nubes reúne", Hera "la de brazos nevados", etc.), esto hace que al atribuirle al personaje características divinas o heroicas lo eleve por sobre los otros de menor linaje o jerarquía. Es un detalle que me agradó sobremanera. La descripción de las batallas, el realismo, la sangre y la violencia, no lograron convencerme mucho. Se tornan un tanto repetitivas sus descripciones y hipérboles. Recuerdo la forma tan vívida en la que Virgilio relata las de la Eneida y siento que son más reales aún, pero esto es una cuestión más relacionada a la traducción realizada que a los gustos personales. Los personajes en el libro son variados, como también los son así sus influencias, actitudes y predominancia para la historia. A mí me agradó mucho encontrarme por el lado de los teucros, lisios y dárdanos a Héctor, el del casco brillante, Eneas (personaje principal de la Eneída de Virgilio, uno de mis libros preferidos, que continúa la caída de Troya), Paris, Sarpedón, Polidamante y Agenor. Por el otro lado descubro a aqueos, dánaos y mirmidones y entre ellos a Aquiles, el de las grebas hermosas, a Ulises (quien continuará esta historia en la Odisea), al bravo Menelao, hermano de Agamenón, al intrépido Diómedes, a Ayax Telamonio (valiente guerrero al que ningún dios ayuda) y al polémico Agamenón, parte clave de la historia y que junto a la Odisea, lo narra Esquilo en otro regreso después de la guerra, junto con la Orestíada. Muy interesante fue leer este poema épico en el otro plano, el de los dioses, puesto que se desarrolla casi a la par el mismo conflicto, ya que, como cito anteriormente, cada dios apoya a quien más quiere. Es fundamental la intervención de Hera, Palas Atenea, Febo Apolo, Ares, Poseidón y Afrodita en la contienda, puesto que hasta entre ellos mismos batallan, causándose graves heridas. Los veo como dioses falibles, demasiado humanos y más notoriamente en Zeus, ya que por momentos, el viejo Crónida es perverso, muy parcial y protector de Héctor, y en otros manipulador e incluso terco y obstinado. De hecho es necesario que por momentos su esposa Hera lo engañe o le haga entrar en razón ante acontecimientos demasiado desfavorables e injustos para con los aqueos. Por último, me hago una pregunta. ¿Fue realmente Homero quien relató los poemas en forma oral? Me apoyo en la teoría de algunos especialistas que aseguran que fueron varios los aedos que contaban al pueblo la epopeya griega de la Ilíada y la Odisea a partir de distintas historias. Me resulta difícil creer que un hombre complemente ciego pueda narrar con tanto lujo de detalle los ornamentos de los guerreros, la descripción de los dioses, la violencia de las batallas, los ríos, el Olimpo, todo lo que sucede en los mares que surca Ulises en la Odisea, etc. Es más, estoy de acuerdo con que pueda haber dictado los poemas a los que después lo habrían relatado en público, aumentando la cantidad de detalles. Porque no estamos hablando de un Jorge Luis Borges o John Milton quienes quedaron ciegos ya entrados en años sino de un hombre que fue privado de su visión toda su vida. Pero, por otro lado digo: ¡quién soy yo para cuestionar a semejante poeta! No soy nada más que un simple lector, un gotita de agua en ese vasto océano que es la literatura, que se apasiona con los heroicos versos que narran las hazañas de Aquiles, Héctor, Ulises y tantos héroes y dioses, gracias a la eterna gloria de Homero, uno de los padres de las letras más ilustres.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Proença

    "E assim foi o funeral de Heitor, domador de cavalos." Páginas e páginas de cabeças e membros decepados, de tripas pelo chão, onde "a terra corria negra de sangue." Mortos, mortos, mortos sem fim... Ainda assim, serei eu demasiado romântica (e ignorante) ao dizer que a Ilíada é uma história de amor(es)? O amor entre Paris (Príncipe de Tróia) e Helena. O rapto da mulher de Menelau é a origem do ataque a Tróia pelos gregos, comandados pelo irmão, Agamémnon. O amor entre Aquiles e Pátroclo. É com a m "E assim foi o funeral de Heitor, domador de cavalos." Páginas e páginas de cabeças e membros decepados, de tripas pelo chão, onde "a terra corria negra de sangue." Mortos, mortos, mortos sem fim... Ainda assim, serei eu demasiado romântica (e ignorante) ao dizer que a Ilíada é uma história de amor(es)? O amor entre Paris (Príncipe de Tróia) e Helena. O rapto da mulher de Menelau é a origem do ataque a Tróia pelos gregos, comandados pelo irmão, Agamémnon. O amor entre Aquiles e Pátroclo. É com a morte deste que o belo herói esquece a ofensa de Agamémnon e renuncia à sua decisão de não lutar mais, iniciando, assim, a queda dos troianos. O amor de Heitor pela família e pela sua Ília. Por elas, sacrifica a sua "amada vida"; domina o medo que tem de Aquiles e luta até ao fim. O amor de Príamo pelo filho Heitor. Para recuperar o seu corpo beija as mãos do seu assassino. O amor de Febo Apolo por Heitor. Com que carinho ele cuida do seu cadáver que todas as noites é arrastado, à volta do corpo de Pátroclo, pelo enlouquecido Aquiles. O amor de Zeus pelos troianos (entre os quais tem filhos: Sarpédon e Helena) que o obriga a guerrear com outros deuses. Aquiles é o herói da Ilíada. Porque é invencível na batalha [morre (não na Ilíada) pela seta de Paris, encaminhada por Apolo, por vingança dos deuses]. Mas Aquiles é um mercenário; não luta por um ideal, mas sim pelos despojos de guerra; e por vaidade, para que o seu nome se imortalize. O verdadeiro herói da Ilíada será Heitor. Mata e morre por dever, por amor. Ele está sempre presente até ao final do poema, que termina com o seu funeral. Nesta obra, a vida das mulheres tem pouco valor. Pedem aos deuses que protejam os seus entes queridos; choram-nos quando morrem; são usadas como prémios para os vencedores. Mas será que as dos homens valem mais? Para juntar à pira de Pátroclo, Aquiles degolou, sem luta, doze nobres troianos (e dois cães). A Ilíada é um poema de guerra. Mais de metade das suas páginas são descrições de homens a serem chacinados. No entanto, em momento algum me aborreceu. E tantas vezes o meu rosto se encharcou de lágrimas! Porquê? Se não tem aquelas frases profundas, elaboradas, e com que nos identificamos, tentando-nos a copiá-las e guardá-las. Mas tem humanidade. É um relato da natureza humana - com as suas paixões, ambições, orgulho, crueldade, vaidade, solidariedade, e tantos bons e maus sentimentos - que faz desta obra um poema imortal e infinitamente mágico e belo. (Jacques-Louis David - The Loves of Paris and Helen) (Nikolai Ge - Achilles And The Body Of Patroclus) (Karl Friedrich Deckler - The Farewell of Hector to Andromaque and Astyanax) (Briton Riviere - Dead Hector) (Alexander Ivanov - Priam Asking Achilles For Hector's Body)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ritwik

    They lived in a house where a narrow enfilade made up for a pitch to make up for an amateurish game of cricket with one opening to the hall room and the other two to a bedroom and kitchen facing opposite to each other. As any elder sibling is wont to do, he sneaked into the younger sibling’s bedroom and passed taunts in an attempt to slake his vengeance for the previous match lost. The challenge of a re-game to settle the dust on who is the better player would finally lead to a recollection of They lived in a house where a narrow enfilade made up for a pitch to make up for an amateurish game of cricket with one opening to the hall room and the other two to a bedroom and kitchen facing opposite to each other. As any elder sibling is wont to do, he sneaked into the younger sibling’s bedroom and passed taunts in an attempt to slake his vengeance for the previous match lost. The challenge of a re-game to settle the dust on who is the better player would finally lead to a recollection of past games which were remembered distinctly by the two challengers in a way that favored them. The younger brother readily accepted the challenge of a replay of the previous final to settle the mad confusion of pride. In a series of events rife with verbal intimidation and disagreements they reached up to the last ball of the final over where the younger brother had to take up a run to win the game. The bowler weighed his options and decided to propel the final ball to the weak-spot of the batsman, a well-known weakness although taking the risk of the batsman correctly anticipating it. The ball was bowled out of the reach of the batsman with its first bounce onto the floor which would in its further movement move inwards leaving the batsman with no option other than to send the ball into the hallway and in order to completely execute the shot the batsman had to shift to his weaker leg leaving him in an awkward position which made it a difficult shot to play. As feared by the bowler, the ball was anticipated correctly and was successfully sent into the hallway and the batsmen hurtled towards the opposite end to get the single run and win the game. Little did he realize the ball dragged across the complete diagonal of the hall and reached for the showcase containing the statue of the famed discus thrower. The statue was bought from Italy by a young man with the same smile the boy had when he reached the crease and made the winning run. The toppling sound of the statue wiped the familiar grin of the little boy’s face. He launched a frenzied run towards the showcase. He dropped to his knees and held the tiny piece of the disc thrower’s ankle which was separated from the statue owing to the ball’s force. Contrary to reacting like a child and blaming his ill-fate, he marveled at the lithe body frame of the man holding the disc, the smooth curves of the statue and why it held a special place in his father’s heart. It wasn’t just the materialistic build of its physical form. It existed among all the other antiques in the shelf but it held a special place in his father’s remembrance of his younger days indulging in Greek mythological sculptures and paintings. It had held him in a peculiar state of rapture every time he glanced at the statue. That is the exact point of commencement of a passion the younger brother still pursues to this date. His love for statues depicting stories of an expansive mythology where men talked to the Gods, where empires fell, where heroes retaliated against a higher force, how men exulted and pride blinded them, how the Gods would favour their mortal child and often fought against other deathless Gods only realizing the mortality of humans and their petty battles leading to nothing other than a purposeless satiation of one’s ego. What merely seemed like stories found a home in the boy’s heart. The passion sill goes strong. Have you ever been deeply conscious of a passion you pursue so as to precisely depict the impingement of an ongoing rush of adrenaline hitting you every time you think of it? The tragedy, the unending conquest of humans as well as the Gods to extend their hands and rapaciously grab onto something higher than self ultimately leading to their downfall. The realization of hubris and the rationale behind it and yet repeating our mistakes seem to be a common theme yet the circumstances and the reasoning behind it always make the stories worth the read. This conspicuous theme with a backdrop of bloody violence and unfair dealings to the mortals leaves with the same expression and the same learnings which could be possibly abstracted from other pieces of Greek literature but it still connects me to the human side of events guided by force. Interesting thing about force is the way a human being would perceive it. It might just be the different emotions depicted as Gods. Or simply an ephemeral piece of conscious driving motives in the characters. I had originally intended to write a review sticking to my usual skeptical reader perspective trying to base them on facts and giving ratings depending on the degree of mitigating my skeptical nature towards a book but I have failed in doing so and I’m happy I did. I apologize for the disjointed review though and would gladly agree that my bias towards Greek mythology drove me to give this book a 5 star rating. Also, this probably might be the only passion I share with my father and in a recent telephonic conversation since we hardly meet thrice a year I told him I was reading ‘Iliad’. He replied, “Now? But you already know the complete story.” And yes I would still give it a 5-star if I re-read it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    I read the Odyssey at Uni and really loved it. A romp off to parts unknown with a man who is good company from a distance. As with much of fiction, the people I am delighted to spend lots of time with on the page are not necessarily those I would want to spend anytime with otherwise. I’ve always meant to get around to reading this. I mean, this Homer guy only wrote two books and I had enjoyed the other one, so … so, a mere twenty years later (how time flies) I got around to reading this one. The p I read the Odyssey at Uni and really loved it. A romp off to parts unknown with a man who is good company from a distance. As with much of fiction, the people I am delighted to spend lots of time with on the page are not necessarily those I would want to spend anytime with otherwise. I’ve always meant to get around to reading this. I mean, this Homer guy only wrote two books and I had enjoyed the other one, so … so, a mere twenty years later (how time flies) I got around to reading this one. The problem was that I knew exactly what this one was about. You know, this is about Helen getting taken to Troy after Paris wins her after he judges which of the goddesses is the most beautiful which pisses off the Greeks and then there’s the siege and sacking of Troy after that rather clever trick with the wooden horse. Not much point reading this one if you already know the whole damn story. Now, you might be thinking – this guy should have put a spoiler alert at the start of this. You might also be thinking – this guy probably thinks it’s okay not to put a spoiler alert on this because everyone already knows this story. Umm, I haven’t put a spoiler alert on this because I haven’t told you anything that is actually in this story yet. Look, I know, I’m as surprised as you are. “Bugger me with a brick”, as a friend of mine would say. The idea Homer could be allowed to get away with writing a book about something everyone knows it is about and not actually writing about any of these things is, to say the least, rather frustrating. I’m sure that in some countries there is probably even a law against this sort of thing. It might just be me, but I would have thought that if you are going to write the FIRST epic in the Western Literary Tradition it does seem somewhat presumptuous to assume people know the back story. I know I can be naïve at times, but if first is to mean anything, surely it doesn’t really allow the writer to assume everyone already knows the back story. Instead, this book starts a mere 9 years after the war had began. There is precious little by way of explaining how we got here. And it ends the day before the final battle for Troy and before anyone seems to have come up with the idea of a wooden horse with a hollow middle. Spoilers start more or less now – if you are worried. A lot of this is boys’ own adventure stuff. Also a bit like the Godfather films in which they seem to have decided not to kill any two major characters in exactly the same way. Bronze swords knocking out teeth before plunging through skull with attendant buckets of blood and spraying brain matter plays, be well assured, a large part in this book. If I have any criticism at all it is that the war bits were over-long and after a while became all a bit same/same. In fact, by close to the end I was thinking I had had more than enough and was looking forward to the whole thing being over. And then that totally unexpected end! Jesus, what a way to finish a book. I was blown away. Achilles does not really come out of this book looking too good. I know he is meant to be a bit of a hero (the only things I knew about him before this being he had been dipped in a river as a child to protect him from harm and held by the ankles, so therefore these were his only venerable parts – and of course, none of this is actually mentioned here, though I suspect you are meant to already know). The whole book revolves around Achilles being annoyed at having his girlfriend taken from him and him spending most of the time in a petulant rage about to go home, stuck in one of his ships while all hell is breaking lose around him. Hector certainly seems the ‘better man’ in all this – even though he is a Trojan. This was something else I hadn’t expected. The thing I really like about the Greek Gods – and the reason Plato said that the poets shouldn’t be allowed to write stories about them – is that they are just this huge dysfunctional family. Nothing they like better than getting involved in human affairs and causing infinitely more trouble than they are worth. I also like that even when they know the outcome of something – Troy will fall, for example – that doesn’t stop them remaining loyal and supporting their favourite side all the same. It is as if the West Moorabbin Under Twelves are being put up against Manchester United all stars team and the dads of the under twelves are turning up to support their kids. Everyone knows the outcome, but all the same… “Go Johnny!” A lot of this is of more than just passing interest in the sense that it gives a fascinating (and tragically realistic) account of the horrors of warfare in the ancient world – and these horrors are many and graphic. Both sides foresee what is to happen to the women of Troy once the battle is over, for example, and this is none-too-pretty. All the same, after book after book of this I was well over these endless descriptions. But then book 24. Hector has been killed. Achilles killed him to revenge the death of his friend Patroclus, who Hector had killed and tried to quarter and feed to the dogs. Achilles is overpowered by grief for his friend and as a mark of respect slaughters 12 boys of Troy as an offering at the funeral of Patroclus (hard to express my disgust at this – not the act of a ‘hero’). He also spends days dragging Hector’s body about (ironically enough, attached to his chariot by the ankles) around the funeral site of his friend in some sort of bizarre ritual that is neither improved in report nor in deed, I think the line ran). I had never really thought about the significance of bodies after they have died in war – but psychologically, knowing (or worse, as in this case, not knowing, but assuming) what the enemy are doing to the dead body of your child, is, without question, unspeakably horrible. To regain his son’s body and to give it a proper funeral, Priam goes to Achilles and is helped there by the gods. He kisses the hand of his son’s murderer and begs for his body so as to be able to give him a proper funeral. Like I said, a remarkably moving end to the poem. I used to think that a good definition of a classic would be ‘a book that is rarely about what you think it is about before you read it’. As always, I was much too timid in my definition. It seems that a classic is NEVER about what you think it will be about before you read it. If they are particularly good classics, they are also not about what you think they were about while you were reading them either. This is an excellent case in point.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    What can I possibly say? Truly one of the greatest works of art our species has produced, remaining profoundly moving, thrilling, philosophically rich and emotionally complex well over 2000 year later. I have read other translations in the past but this new version from Caroline Alexander knocked my damn socks off. Pope’s version is poetry of the highest order, and was probably my favourite up till now, but the distance between it and the “original” is pretty immense. What this version lacked in What can I possibly say? Truly one of the greatest works of art our species has produced, remaining profoundly moving, thrilling, philosophically rich and emotionally complex well over 2000 year later. I have read other translations in the past but this new version from Caroline Alexander knocked my damn socks off. Pope’s version is poetry of the highest order, and was probably my favourite up till now, but the distance between it and the “original” is pretty immense. What this version lacked in poetry it made up for in immediacy, clarity and (from what I can tell from research) fidelity. Nothing felt forced, nothing too modernised and nothing too artificially antique. I would unhesitatingly recommend this translation as the new gold standard. If you have read the Iliad long ago, or only know it by reputation, or mistakenly believe it just to be lots of macho killing, or do not expect to find subtle, believable female characters inside...well...all I can say is you should give this new version (yes, the first by a woman. And, yes, that does matter) a go.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emer

    So how do you fairly critique something that originates circa 700BC?!?!? I mean it's kinda crappy to give this any less than four stars... But you know me... Admittedly I found this a little hard to read at times. I think partly my own fault because I kept mixing up who was who, Greek or Trojan etc and also because I'm not entirely sold on this particular translation I read. The Project Gutenberg version of the Iliad is in a very recognisable poem format and I had expected this to be similar but So how do you fairly critique something that originates circa 700BC?!?!? I mean it's kinda crappy to give this any less than four stars... But you know me... Admittedly I found this a little hard to read at times. I think partly my own fault because I kept mixing up who was who, Greek or Trojan etc and also because I'm not entirely sold on this particular translation I read. The Project Gutenberg version of the Iliad is in a very recognisable poem format and I had expected this to be similar but with helpful "extras". I need those annotations!!! But instead this was in a novel format and that jarred with me for a number of the initial books (aka chapters). So I did dip into the other, more poetic translation from time to time. The story itself is the very definition of an epic. Gods, heroes, villains, victims...humans. That's the one thing I really take from reading the Iliad. The main characters are so flawed and human. I wasn't expecting that. And it's funny!!! Kind of a sarky wit which I really liked! It's a little bit violent... well it's about a war so not really a shock on that count. But above all it is beautiful in its exploration of the tragedies of human existence. It begs the question as to the value of a life; is living more important than honour, than loyalty. What is fate? And do we accept it without a second thought to the other possibilities of the future? This is definitely a book I would recommend to everyone to read. It's not perfect; at times it's rather repetitive and it does suffer from momentary dullness... But then there are these sparks of life in the pages! These jewels of wit and of natural storytelling... And it's soooo worth it! four stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    João Fernandes

    “The true hero, the true subject, the center of the Iliad, is force. Force as man’s instrument, force as man’s master, force before which human flesh shrinks back. The human soul, in this poem, is shown always in its relation to force: swept away, blinded by the force it thinks it can direct, bent under the pressure of the force to which it is subjected. Those who had dreamed that force, thanks to progress, now belonged to the past, have seen the poem as a historic document; those who can see th “The true hero, the true subject, the center of the Iliad, is force. Force as man’s instrument, force as man’s master, force before which human flesh shrinks back. The human soul, in this poem, is shown always in its relation to force: swept away, blinded by the force it thinks it can direct, bent under the pressure of the force to which it is subjected. Those who had dreamed that force, thanks to progress, now belonged to the past, have seen the poem as a historic document; those who can see that force, today as in the past, is at the center of all human history, find in the Iliad its most beautiful, its purest mirror.” - Simone Weil War The Iliad is, first and foremost, a war poem. It sings of the ten-year siege between the Achaeans and the Trojans, a war of which we see only the last hour. I particularly liked the above quote by Simone Weil in her 'L'Iliade ou le Poème de la Force', because one of the main strengths of this Homeric epic is its ability to describe the horrors and the futility of war, despite the clear difference in morals and tactics between the Trojan War and modern conflicts. I was surprised by how graphic the text was. 2500 years old and still capable of being so vividly gruesome, despite the fact we see similar things in the media all the time. Unlike modern literature, where one of the goals of the text is to make the reader care for characters' fates (otherwise why read on?), The Iliad introduces characters simply to have them killed by a main character in the same page: not caring for their deaths makes the battle scenes slightly more bland. However, it is not the violence of the warriors' acts that makes them so captivating: it is the realism of war that, despite having changed (I personally haven't met anyone speared through the guts recently) remains a cruel reminder of the thin line between living or dying. Of Gods and Men The other thing I loved about this text is the question on the free will of men. Do the heroes of the Iliad truly deserve recognition, or are they simply puppets controlled by the gods for their own petty squabbles? This is a world where gods fight amongst men in the battlefield. This is a world where every man-at-arms has some lineage or another they can call to, and throw on the face of the adversary as a ten-minute speech instead of fighting. In fact, recent Trojan statistics revealed 90% of Trojan men are sons of King Priam, the Thirsty. The whole of the Trojan War, this pit where thousands upon thousands came to die, was caused, ruled over and ended by the Olympian gods. They deflect spears from off their protégées, they guide their heroes' weapons to their mark, they breathe hope to their loved ones and they cast doubt and bring despair to their foes. In a world where a man's every action is scrutinised, judged and possibly altered by the gods of the Olympus, should we treat them as soldiers with a personality and a purpose? Or should we see them as pieces in a chess game the gods refuse to play because they are too busy throwing fistfuls of those pieces at each other? “God of the earthquake—you’d think me hardly sane if I fought with you for the sake of wretched mortals... like leaves, no sooner flourishing, full of the sun’s fire, feeding on earth’s gifts, than they waste away and die.” -Apollo to Poseidon, Book XXI Did Diomedes, a mere human, truly spear Ares, God of War, through the guts? Athena was the one guiding his spear, Athena the one who gave him the strength and breathed courage into him. Did Hector kill Patroclus? Apollo was the one who first attacked him, Apollo was the one who drove Hector to Patroclus. Does Agamemnon's pathetic excuse for his childish behaviour towards Achilles hold? Did the gods and the Furies really make him rage against Peleus' son, or is he simply denying responsibility for his actions, because he truly believes he has no free will of his own? It is a tricky question, one that I thought was very well explored, and with a great tension-relief in the gods' foolishly fighting each other in Book XXII. There is something about Aphrodite being punched in the breasts by Athena and Hera boxing Artemis straight in the face with her own bow that makes these immortal gods less of 'glorious masterminds' and more as 'jealous prickly idiots'. But still the question remains: did the Archaeans, Menelaus and Odysseus, Agamemnon and Diomedes, win the Trojan War over Priam and his sons? Or did Hera, Athena and Poseidon win a petty no-matter little war over Apollo, Aphrodite and Ares? Achilles Achilles is one of the main characters of the Iliad, well known to this day for his place in this epic and his tendon issues. Son of the lesser goddess Thetis and Peleus, King of Phthia, he is one of the leaders of the Achaean army. The book deals with his falling out with the marshall of the army, Agamemnon King of Mycenae, over a slave girl that is taken by the leader of the army from Achilles. Much like the falling outs of the gods and war generals in the history to follow, a personal feud escalates with disastrous consequences for the common soldier when Achilles begs his mother to make Zeus support the opposing army so that the Achaeans will have to come begging on their knees for mighty Achilles' pardon and support. Achilles is an interesting character in that he has an intrinsic duality to him in everything he does. He has a mortal side and an otherworldly side, being a goddess' issue. As such, cheated of immortality by his father's mortality, he is no more than a man, and in truth a subject to Agamemnon. But as the progeny of a king and a goddess he has a glorified sense of self, holding his honour above all others. Achilles situation is so interesting because he is forced to choose between his two sides when his mother tells him: “two fates bear me on to the day of death. If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies . . . true, but the life that’s left me will be long, the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.” - Achilles, Book IX Achilles chooses his honour over his life, like many a man in the text would. For Peleus' son at the beginning of the epic, honour is all that's left to him, his death being inevitable. Agamemnon strips him of that same honour by stealing his "prize", and Achilles can never forgive it. Curiously, when 'losing his honour', he does not recede to his 'long life in fatherland' option. He stays, because he still wants to die in glory, except he needs to die waddling in more glory now. So like a spoilt child, in his own self-absorbed wailing, he gets thousands of his countrymen killed, simply because it shames his bully and because it will enlarge his own eventual victory. This is Achilles for most of the book. A horrid, spoilt child, who time after time refuses to try to reverse the massacre he created or even to help those going through it. In his egocentrism, he truly has become equal to the gods. By the time he does something, thousands have perished by Zeus' promise to Thetis and her son. Achilles finally sends to the war his best friend, Patroclus (it seemed a bromance to me more than a love relationship, but I know there's some controversy over whether they were lovers or not). Patroclus is the only human relationship Achilles seems to hold dear, having not even heeded the pleas of his tutor Phoenix. Their friendship seems to be, as is proven later, the only thing Achilles values above himself and his honour. Patroclus dies fighting Hector and Apollo, and there goes Achilles' awful rage against Agamemnon. Hector is now the target, Agamemnon suddenly forgiven, and the duel promised since the beginning of the book is staged under the battlements of Troy: Hector breaker of Horses, Prince of Troy, versus brilliant Achilles, grief-ridden friend. I love that Achilles' redemption arc is not driven by the death of Hector. He doesn't feel guilty for killing Hector: war is war. He savages his corpse, which the gods protect. Achilles does not kill Hector for glory, as he so many times wishes he had; he does it because Hector took away his friend, the reflection of his own humanity. And yet it is not in murder, in avenging his friend, that Achilles finds his peace with his imminent doom. It is in empathy, the most basic of human emotions, the one that the gods could not have given to men for the simple fact that they have none. It is in seeing Priam, King of Troy, a supplicant before his knees, begging for his son's corpse, that he sees himself as he cried over Patroclus. It is in Priam he sees Peleus, his father, when the news reach him of his son's death. It is in this old, kind man that he sees so many others who, like him, loved and lost someone. It is in the empathy he feels, and in his generosity towards Priam, that he truly embraces his fate and realises there are more important things than dying in glory, more important things than being the greatest of the Achaeans, and living forever, if only in name. The true strength of man is not in their arms but in their unwillingness to become monsters in the face of the atrocities the world throws at them. Their true strength is in embracing their humanity. As Apollo puts it: “The Fates have given mortals hearts that can endure” So ends The Iliad, with Hector's funeral in Troy, both sides knowing that after the hero's celebrations they'll both return to the fighting - Achilles waiting patiently for the death he knows will soon follow Hector's, Paris' arrow that Apollo will guide to his heel. This Achilles is not the one in Book I. Book XXIV Achilles will not be remembered as the whiny brat that had his brethren killed; he will be remembered as a hero, a man who found immortality in glory. Because in embracing his humanity, he has finally become worthy of being truly immortal, living forever in Homer's great words.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Manny

  26. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Am I really going to bother reviewing Homer’s _Iliad_? I mean, what am I going to say that hasn’t been said by generations of scholars, reviewers or readers? Does another drop in the ocean matter? Well, even if it doesn’t I’ll give it a go I guess. Reading the _Iliad_ was mostly done by me as a correction to a perceived gap in my education. I had always known bits and pieces about the poem and its heroes from various sources and the culture in general, but I had never read the poem itself. Given Am I really going to bother reviewing Homer’s _Iliad_? I mean, what am I going to say that hasn’t been said by generations of scholars, reviewers or readers? Does another drop in the ocean matter? Well, even if it doesn’t I’ll give it a go I guess. Reading the _Iliad_ was mostly done by me as a correction to a perceived gap in my education. I had always known bits and pieces about the poem and its heroes from various sources and the culture in general, but I had never read the poem itself. Given that it is a foundational text (perhaps *the* foundational text along with its sister epic The Odyssey) of the western canon it’s a pretty big gap. Well, I did it! I found myself both compelled and, I will admit it, sometimes bored by the text (though mostly only when we came upon the epic tradition of having the lineage of each character spelled out in gruesome detail before said hero was gruesomely despatched by an enemy’s spear thrust). Still, once I made it through Book II’s interminable catalogue of the Achaean heroes who came to Troy along with the number of ships and men they brought with them I knew that nothing could stop me. My biggest surprise was probably the way in which the heroes, all seemingly spawned by gods, are not all that unlike superheroes in a comic book: forces of raw destruction whose primary wish is for glory and the mad rush of violence and battle. And yet even these great figures pale next to the gods who play them like puppets on a string watching events unfold before them and giving a nudge here and there when the outcome for their favored side is in doubt (indeed, for me some of the most humourous moments came about when a god would unceremoniously pluck a warrior from the ground and punt him into the distance in order to keep him safe like some giant hand in a gamer’s favourite RTS strategy game). It was these images and analogies, inadequate as they may seem, that kept springing to mind for me as I read of the epic battle between the Achaeans and the Trojans. It was, in that sense at least, a surprisingly modern text for me. The poem is chock-full, on both sides of the conflict, of men who are larger than life. Of course the great exemplars of each side, Achilles and Hector, stand heads and shoulders above the rest, but both armies are lousy with seeming giants whose every action in battle is a superhuman carnage fest; the roll call of the Achaeans alone is impressive: wily Odysseus, prideful Agamemnon, wise Nestor, courageous Diomedes, and both the Greater and the Lesser Ajax. Of course, if you’re not a hero and don’t boast either a god or at least a royal personage in your near lineage, then you’re really just spear fodder whose primary purpose is to allow the real fighters to show off their skill in the art of death-dealing. Indeed fighting is all about the individual fighter's glory and his desire for booty...stripping the corpses is more important than pursuing a tactical advantage. Ego is all. This is a frightening vision of what a world of superheroes might look like with the lowly peons at the whim of their violence and glory-seeking. The boast and the taunt are also on full display. Each hero seeks to undermine his opponent with a war of words before the spear has even left his hand. Lineages are vaunted, or disparaged; deeds are proclaimed, or ridiculed; most of all threats are made and reciprocated. Old Spidey of the glib tongue has nothing on these guys. (“I too could battle the deathless gods with words — it's hard with a spear, the gods are so much stronger. Not even Achilles can bring off all his boasts…” – Hector) The violence in the poem is explicit and all-pervasive, a veritable orgy of death and dismemberment. From the brains splattered inside helmets by a spear’s intrusion, to the “lethal hit that’s loosed [a body’s] springy limbs”, we are constantly presented with a panoply of violence that brings down the mists of death, a “dark [that] came whirling down across [their] eyes”, upon the stricken warriors. Homer was apparently no prude and was happy to indulge his audience’s apparent appetite for such scenes. The battle scenes are also truly cinematic, both in their colourful gore and in the superhuman skill displayed by the combatants, as foe after foe is handily dispatched in an almost balletic whirl of pure violence. Achilles is perhaps the most conspicuous in this, no more so than when he at last enters the fray near the end of the poem, maddened at the death of his friend Patroclus, and fells Trojans left and right: Achilles now like inhuman fire raging on through the mountain gorges splinter-dry, setting ablaze big stands of timber, the wind swirling the huge fireball left and right — chaos of fire — Achilles storming on with brandished spear like a frenzied god of battle trampling all he killed and the earth ran black with blood.…so as the great Achilles rampaged on, his sharp-hoofed stallions trampled shields and corpses, axle under his chariot splashed with blood, blood on the handrails sweeping round the car, sprays of blood shooting up from the stallions' hoofs and churning, whirling rims — and the son of Peleus charioteering on to seize his glory, bloody filth splattering both strong arms, Achilles' invincible arms Indeed the rage of Achilles is a primal thing. The seemingly excessive violence of his comrades and their enemies prior to his entering the fray is made to seem a pale, simpering thing in comparison. Achilles is a whirl of bloodlust, hatred and retribution whose only aim is the eradication of the Trojans and their great prince Hector as payment for the death of his old friend. Despite the great power that each of these heroes displays, it is not necessarily an altogether innate function of the hero’s mighty thews and prowess alone, for it is made evident throughout the text that the real perquisite for success is the blessing of a god, regardless of the native power and skill of the individual fighter. The gods seem at first content to mostly sit on the sidelines, restricting themselves to aiding and abetting their favourite hero with a nudge here and a push there until, with the advent of Achilles and his killing rage, even Zeus fears that the outcome of the battle may change and the decrees of fate may be unbalanced by a mere mortal. He then lets the gods loose and they fight for their chosen sides in a free-for-all that is impressive in its violence and imagery where one telling things comes immediately to the fore: the gods are much less interested in maintaining the balance of fate for the betterment of the cosmos than they are at using this excuse to fight their own grudge matches against perceived and real slights from their divine rivals. In many ways the gods are perhaps even more prevalent in the battle for Troy than are the human participants. This is fitting given the fact that a contest amongst the major goddesses, and the perceived slight of its result by the losers, were the direct antecedents to the war that would destroy a civilization. I’m not sure how Paris could have judged the beauty contest between Aphrodite, Athena and Hera in a way that wouldn’t have ended in bloodshed and mass genocide, but he certainly didn’t try very hard once the goddess of love dangled the prospect of Menelaus’ beauteous wife before him. This picking of love above worldly authority or wisdom and supremacy in war may seem like a purely pacific and even noble choice, but it often seems that even love as expressed in _The Iliad_ appears to be a fundamentally selfish thing. Helen, the human paradigm of beauty, and her divine patron Aphrodite, are both interested in ‘love’ not as something that expresses affection or devotion to another, but rather something that glorifies the self. Helen’s beauty is a great power and she uses it to glorify her own position. She deserts her husband and child for Paris and even this ‘love’ seems to be more a reflection of her own egoism and an expression of her power over him than any sort of true affection for the son of Priam. That being said there is one set of relationships that seem to look beyond the demands of heroic culture and the vanity of the self: these are primarily seen in the quiet moments of humanity in Hector’s love for his wife and child (and really for all of his family, even spoiled bratty Paris, and for Troy itself). One could also point to the love of Priam for his dead son, and the need to redeem his mutilated corpse at any cost (even unto walking into the enemy camp with only a servant and a cart full of booty), as another example of the love of others overcoming the love of self. There were a plethora of great moments in the poem, but this review is already getting overlong, so allow me to simply name the ones that immediately spring to mind: the night raid of Diomedes and Odysseus into the Trojan lines, the lone stand and battle cry of Odysseus after the Achaeans run in terror from pursuing Trojan warriors, the coming ashore of the Nereids at the bidding of Thetis to comfort Achilles, Athena’s arming with the storm-shield of Zeus, the gathering of the Rivers in Olympus, Hephaestus boiling a river god in his own bed in defence of Achilles, and the empowerment of Achilles before his death-dealing drive amongst the Trojans to name but a few. In the end this was a greatly entertaining read that surprised me in many ways. Of course, it wasn’t all dismemberment and bloody glory, there was human suffering and despair (both at the hands of the ‘heroes’ and of the gods) and many questions raised about freewill versus one’s fate (Fate seems to have the deck stacked in his favour). I was constantly surprised at little touches made by Homer: Zeus being wooed by Hera so she could distract him from aiding the Trojans (in the course of which he enumerates the allures of his former lovers as part of his seduction strategy…what a charmer!); Hector deciding to leave his men to face death alone in a tight moment and the twin episode of Hector’s very real fear of death, such a great fear that he actually runs away from Achilles in panic before deciding to face his fate (not exactly the inhuman hero I was expecting to see); Agamemnon showing himself to be a blustering politician, attempting to save face and excuse himself at the same time as he tries to apologize to Achilles. The fact that the poem both begins and ends in medias res may leave some modern readers a bit baffled (we enter the fray ten years after the war’s inception and leave with the city of Troy still standing), but it truly is a tour de force of the poet’s art. Whether Homer was one man or many, whether he composed it primarily from an amalgam of the existing tradition of epic poetic devices or it came primarily from the mind of a genius it is a work that does stand the test of time and is well worth the time of any reader (or listener) ancient or modern.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Yani

    Estuve mentalmente metida en la guerra entre aqueos y troyanos de agosto a diciembre. Al menos, no duró tanto como la verdadera (diez años en total). Ilíada es un poema épico extenso y arduo, repleto de descripciones de armas y combates, pero que compensa cada queja con unos pasajes sublimes y una naturalización de personajes que sorprende. Breve reposición de argumento: Ilíada se concentra en la interminable ira de Aquiles, el mejor guerrero de los aqueos, a causa del robo de su botín, que i Estuve mentalmente metida en la guerra entre aqueos y troyanos de agosto a diciembre. Al menos, no duró tanto como la verdadera (diez años en total). Ilíada es un poema épico extenso y arduo, repleto de descripciones de armas y combates, pero que compensa cada queja con unos pasajes sublimes y una naturalización de personajes que sorprende. Breve reposición de argumento: Ilíada se concentra en la interminable ira de Aquiles, el mejor guerrero de los aqueos, a causa del robo de su botín, que incluía a Briseida. Por supuesto, en la batalla se va a sentir su falta, a pesar de que entre los griegos hay otros buenos guerreros. Mientras tanto, los dioses luchan en el Olimpo porque algunos protegen a los aqueos (Hera, Atenea, Poseidón) y otros a los troyanos (Apolo, Ares, Afrodita). Zeus inclina la balanza de la victoria porque tiene un plan que, obviamente, no voy a revelar. Podría decir que los veinticuatro cantos son temáticos y los mortales y los inmortales se reparten el protagonismo. Por su composición oral, hay versos que se repiten muchas veces porque funcionan a modo de “repaso”, así que no tengo ningún motivo para quitar estrellas por eso. También se advierten incoherencias (pequeñas, pero incoherencias al fin) entre una acción A y una acción B, algo que sería imperdonable en un texto escrito. Sin embargo, las fallas no lo hacen menos perfecto. A mí me encantó igual. Hay historias muy ricas que se cuentan en mitad de una pelea (los oponentes hablaban mucho entre sí antes de matarse…), recuperaciones de mitos conocidos y no tanto, heroísmo, crueldad, desesperanza. Lo único que obstaculiza un poco la lectura del libro son las descripciones de las armas, las naves, los ejércitos y algunos combates cuerpo a cuerpo que aportan material para situarse espacialmente, por ejemplo. Y es muy bueno detenerse en ellas porque señalan aspectos culturales, históricos y sociales. El problema es que causan sensación de stand by, como si no fueran a terminar nunca. Afortunadamente, lo hacen. Una vez que se reinicia la acción, hay poco para molestarse y mucho para marcar. Los cantos del final son geniales, fueron una especie de premio a mi paciencia de lectora. A partir del XIX aparecen (y reaparecen) elementos que vuelven todo más dinámico. Los personajes no están desarrollados psicológicamente. No hay una evolución paulatina de ellos, sino que actúan de forma radical. Aquiles, que rumia su cólera lejos del combate, puede ser tan bárbaro como piadoso, así como también Zeus parece tan omnipotente como amigable. Tal vez los matices no abunden, pero se me hizo imposible no ponerme del lado de alguno de los personajes para esperar que su destino (desde temprano, ellos mismos se van a encargar de avisar cómo y cuándo van a morir) no se cumpla. Por alguna razón, uno ya siente que los conoce y se vuelven naturales, de carne y hueso. Y aprendí que Zeus es implacable hasta cuando Hera lo distrae. Comentario femenino que no quiero omitir y que puede llegar a servir: en esa época las mujeres no eran más que objetos que en el "mejor" de los casos se utilizaban como premios y aseguraban descendencia y, en el peor, eran molestas, necesitaban un par de gritos e impulsaban riñas patéticas. Ese momento ya no se puede cambiar, pero sí se puede tener en cuenta antes de decidir revolear el libro por la ventana. Y además está Atenea como equilibrio, cuyas intervenciones son fascinantes y muy importantes. Las inmortales llevan una ligera ventaja en todo este asunto. Ilíada requiere tiempo y atención, dos cosas necesarias para no abandonarla y que actualmente los libros se olvidan de pedirle al lector. Se aprende mucho más en sus páginas que en la búsqueda disgregada de algunos mitos y las repeticiones de Homero permiten descansar en algunos puntos para concentrarse en otros. La Historia, la filosofía, la forma de ver el mundo que poseían los griegos es material para un relectura (si es que no lo piden en la universidad, como es mi caso), pero la primera puede hacerse tranquilamente. Lo realmente "malo" de este libro es que lleva a leer más textos antiguos para completar el panorama y mi lista de to read lo está sufriendo. Y ya estoy en proceso de recuperación para seguir con la Odisea.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Knjigoholičarka

    Neka za večni svedok ostane pisani trag, Da koristit' časni Gudrids ne znam tupava, Niti podesit' datum re-reada knjige ove, O plavokosom vojskomori Ahilu Bredu Pitu.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stevelvis

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. THE ILIAD by HOMER translated by Robert Fagles Oh My God, I absolutely HATED the Iliad. If you want to read a bunch of reviews by people who loved this book, go to Amazon and read the reviews there. The fans of this book will say that this is the ultimate book of war and this is the best translation ever, that this story shows the courage and manliness and heroics of the soldiers on both sides of the Trojan war even as they are being manipulated by the gods who are having their own arguments amon THE ILIAD by HOMER translated by Robert Fagles Oh My God, I absolutely HATED the Iliad. If you want to read a bunch of reviews by people who loved this book, go to Amazon and read the reviews there. The fans of this book will say that this is the ultimate book of war and this is the best translation ever, that this story shows the courage and manliness and heroics of the soldiers on both sides of the Trojan war even as they are being manipulated by the gods who are having their own arguments amongst themselves. Perhaps I have simply read the wrong translation as there seems to be the opinion that the translation by Rouse while less poetic is more prosaic and a better read as much of the repetitious poem is edited out. The Iliad takes place in the 10th year of the Trojan War and its location is between the Argive Greek ships on the beach, the city of Troy, the battlegrounds between the beach and the city, and a tiny bit of story among the Olympiad gods. Actually there is very little of the action that isn't a bloody fight to the death on the battlegrounds. The story takes place in only about 40 days of the 10th year of the war and leaves out all of the most interesting action: the abduction of the princess Helen by Paris the Prince of Troy which starts the war, and the final days of the war in which the city is sacked and Achilles and many of the heroes are killed. What you are left with is an argument at the beginning of the story between Achilles and King Agamemnon, followed by nearly nonstop bloody fighting leading up to the death of Hector the hero of Troy. The story begins by saying that so many thousands of soldiers were killed in the war that it would be impossible to name them all. Then in the next paragraph, the attempt to name all of them begins as you have almost 600 pages of characters who are strangers with no part other than to be introduced and led off the stage as they have been killed by one or another of the heroes. I read the Iliad because I wanted to read the Odyssey and so decided to read both of the epics together and in order. For anyone else I can now recommend skipping the Iliad altogether, and just go on to the Odyssey. The Iliad was a struggle for me, a very experienced reader, to make it all the way through. More than once I wondered if I should just stop or was it worth reading to the end. Well, now I can say with no problem that I should have skipped it entirely. It was a total waste of my time. I can't imagine being forced to read this as a book assignment in school. It might have turned me off of reading forever. If you're a teacher, please, have mercy on your students, just assign the 10 or 20 good pages. If you're thinking of reading the Iliad for pleasure, go to the bookstore and pick it up and read a few pages and then flip it forward and read another page. Try that a few times and you'll probably decide against it like I should have. The Odyssey on the other hand is a wonderful book that is thoroughly enjoyable, and full of the adventure, mystery and mythology that I had wrongly expected out of the Iliad.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vasilis Manias

    Κανονικά θα πρέπει να αφαιρέσω ένα αστεράκι από όλα τα βιβλία που έπεσαν στα χέρια μου μέχρι σήμερα. Και εξηγούμαι. Πριν πολλά πολλά χρόνια, όταν πρωτοδιάβασα το Όνομα του Ρόδου, υπήρχε στην αρχή του βιβλίου μία σκηνή όπου ο Έκο περιγράφει με τη σημείωση "η ζωγραφική είναι η λογοτεχνία των φτωχών" ένα βιτρό που κοσμεί τους τοίχους του μοναστηριού. Μέσα σε κοντά δέκα σελίδες ξεπετιούνται σύμπαντα ολόκληρα, ζωές και άνθρωποι και έρωτες και πίκρες και εικόνες πολύχρωμες, μία αλληλουχία διαδοχικών αλλ Κανονικά θα πρέπει να αφαιρέσω ένα αστεράκι από όλα τα βιβλία που έπεσαν στα χέρια μου μέχρι σήμερα. Και εξηγούμαι. Πριν πολλά πολλά χρόνια, όταν πρωτοδιάβασα το Όνομα του Ρόδου, υπήρχε στην αρχή του βιβλίου μία σκηνή όπου ο Έκο περιγράφει με τη σημείωση "η ζωγραφική είναι η λογοτεχνία των φτωχών" ένα βιτρό που κοσμεί τους τοίχους του μοναστηριού. Μέσα σε κοντά δέκα σελίδες ξεπετιούνται σύμπαντα ολόκληρα, ζωές και άνθρωποι και έρωτες και πίκρες και εικόνες πολύχρωμες, μία αλληλουχία διαδοχικών αλληλεπιδρούμενων κοσμων που αφορούσαν μία μοναχά ταπεινή τοιχογραφία. Ομολογώ πως την Ιλιάδα δεν την είχα διαβάσει ΠΟΤΕ ολόκληρη. Πάντα πίστευα πως "ξερω την υπόθεση άσε που έχω δει και την ταινία με τον Μπραντπίτ", πάντα πίστευα πως τελειώνει με τον Δούρειο Ίππο, δυστυχώς για μένα η ραψωδία Ω κλείνει με το "και έτσι ετάφη ο Έκτορας" (wtf!!!!). Και αυτό γιατί οπως όλοι μας, έτσι και εγώ την ειχα διδαχτεί στο σχολείο με τον λάθος τρόπο αλλά πάντα είχα στην καρδιά μου τη ραψωδία Σ, στην οποία ο ποιητής περιγράφει μέσα σε τέσσερις σελίδες την Ασπίδα του Αχιλλέα, που ο ίδιος ο Ήφαιστος έφτιαξε μετά το θάνατο του Πάτροκλου παραγγελία της Θέτιδας ώστε ο ηρωας να εκδικηθεί το θάνατο του αδερφικού φίλου του με τις τιμές που άρμοζαν σε θεό. Και δεν είχα κάνει ποτέ το συσχετισμό με τον θείο Ουμπέρτο και τον τρόπο που είχε διαλέξει να αποδώσει τιμές στο Απόλυτο Λογοτεχνικό Αριστούργημα όλων των εποχών, στο ομορφότερο παραμύθι του κόσμου. Η πολυπλοκότητα του σύμπαντος των χαρακτήρων και η εξέλιξη αυτών, οι μάχες και πάνω από όλα ο σεβασμός με τον οποίον στέκοντας διαρκώς όλοι τόσο απέναντι στους Θεούς όσο και απέναντι στους εχθρούς τους, είναι από μόνα τους αρκετά για να βάλουν το έργο που από όλους χαρακτηρίζεται ως "ο ορισμός του έπους" στη θέση του σημαντικότερου βιβλίου που έπεσε ποτέ στα χέρια μου. Και κάθε άλλο παρά τυχαίο είναι το γεγονός πως η Ιλιαδα διδάσκεται στα σχολεία όλης της γης όπως επίσης και το γεγονός πως ο Καζαντζάκης αφιέρωσε σημαντικό μέρος της ζωή του στη μετάφραση του έργου (ο Κακριδής στην εισαγωγή της Οδύσσειας αναφέρει πως εκδόθηκε το 1955 μετά από δουλειά που κράτησε συνολικά 14 χρόνια!). Γιατί η Ιλιάδα δεν είναι μόνο οι απίθανα ιστορούμενες στιγμές της μάχης, δεν είναι η πίκρα για τα δεινά του πολέμου, δεν είναι οι αναρίθμητοι υπερήρωες που διαρκώς γλιτώνουν το θάνατο με τις παρεμβάσεις των θεών, δεν είναι ο δειλός Αγαμέμνωνας, δεν είναι ο πολυμήχανος Οδυσσέας, δεν είναι ο θηριώδης Αίαντας, δεν είναι ο Παρης που δε δίνει με τίποτα πίσω την Ελένη του, δεν είναι ο χαροκαμένος Πρίαμος, είναι ο τρόπος με τον οποίο οι πάντες έχουν μάθει και αντιμετωπίζουν τη ροή της ζωής και την υστεροφημία τους. Οι μάχες ολοκληρώνονται με τιμές και δώρα προς τους αντιπάλους και σπονδές στους θεούς, οι εκεχειρίες δε σπάνε ποτέ, όσοι σκυλεύουν τους νεκρούς έχουν κακό τέλος, φίλοι και εχθροί τρώνε στο ιδιο τραπέζι, και ο θάνατος παραμονεύει διαρκώς θνητούς και αθανάτους χωρίς όμως κανείς ποτέ να τον φοβάται και να τρέχει σαν δειλός μακριά του. Με λίγα λόγια. Έπος.

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