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The Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline Alexander

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  325,035 ratings  ·  6,378 reviews
With her virtuoso translation, classicist and bestselling author Caroline Alexander brings to life Homer’s timeless epic of the Trojan War

Composed around 730 B.C., Homer’s Iliad recounts the events of a few momentous weeks in the protracted ten-year war between the invading Achaeans, or Greeks, and the Trojans in their besieged city of Ilion. From the explosive
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Hardcover, 558 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by Ecco (first published -750)
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Bob Babcock Fagles attention to meter makes for an enjoyable read.
Stuart Dummit Recently got the sense that I was missing out on understanding some basics of Western Culture, so I started working backwards until I realized I…moreRecently got the sense that I was missing out on understanding some basics of Western Culture, so I started working backwards until I realized I should start at the beginning. Gilgamesh, then Homer, then Plato and Aristotle. I'd read bits of the Iliad in the past, but never the whole of it. More of the Odyssey, but, again, never enough to truly say I had "read" either. So, Lauren, don't feel crazy! If you are, you've got company. The Introduction by Bernard Knox in the Robert Fagles translation is quite good and is making me confident that I'll be triumphant in my quest. Worth it? I think it shall be. (less)

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Emily May
3 stars

Two mysteries were solved by my finally finishing The Iliad.

1) It is so obvious why these Ancient Greek stories have survived for so many years-- it's all gory violence and sex. Homer tapped into these marketing tools early.

2) I now understand why puritanical attitudes toward female sexuality developed. Pretty much everything bad that happens is caused by Helen of Troy - "slut that I am" - running off with Paris, and Hera seducing Zeus. The ancients must have read this and been like "
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Grace Tjan
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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J.G. Keely
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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jessica
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
as a native english speaker, im not exposed to translated books very often; so this reread is the first time where i have truly comprehended the significance of a translation and how it can either make or break a story.

i first read parts of ‘the iliad’ back when i was in school and i just remember the text being very stiff and formal. it did not hold my attention at all because i couldnt understand it. but as i have come to love this story over the years (through retellings and other media), i
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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,
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Fergus
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone knows the Iliad. And everyone talks about it. But here, I only want to discuss one forgotten element of it. An element ESSENTIAL to constructing a valid modern worldview - for EACH of us.

I always evaded applying this element to my daily life. But I was wrong - so wrong.

Rei Pasa! Those two words sum it all up.

They were written by a Greek gentleman who was roughly the contemporary of Homer - Heraclitus, the ancient pre-Socratic philosopher.

Rei pasa - everything changes.

Inevitably.

As
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Meredith Holley
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grads
Recommended to Meredith by: Professor Borin
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 ...more
Alison
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Lisa
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Did you really LIKE the Iliad, mum?"

My son has just finished reading it, and his question is valid. Do you really LIKE to read line after line of gory murder, repeated endlessly from song to song?

I evaded the question, speaking of fantastic opening lines, of classic art and immense influence on other authors. And then I capitulated - a little:

"The Odyssey is much more interesting as a story!" I said.

"So you didn't like it then?"

"I liked reading it!"

And we agreed that some books just ARE. As a
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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
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Ines
This is a must read for every italian boys and girls at school ( many years ago the ministry of education put it with Dante, and Manzoni as a fixed programm to study for all the young italians); we begin to study "Iliade" from middle then up to High school ...and then at College if you choose humanistic studies...
i will never forget my teacher at "Liceo Classico" kind of "Classical studies high school" that gifted us with brilliant lessons about Dante, Boccaccio,Petrarca, Manzoni, Omero and
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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.
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
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Luís C.
The text is fixed in writing in the sixth century BCE. It refers to even older periods but very confusingly however, from the point of view of its historical understanding. It was composed from the ninth century.
It is a text known to all Greeks, many of whom could recite very large sections. One learned to read with, one learned to recite it and to seek edifying meaning, one was entertained with and one also learned the metric and more generally the poetics.

If one day you are in Greece, enjoy
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Adina
Last year I attended a conference where one of the speakers stated that literature starts with Homer. I love to read so I thought that maybe I should see what the fuss is about with the cradle of the written word. I do not like poetry but I said that maybe it is time to learn how to appreciate it. Well, it didn't go well. I appreciate its worth but It was a chore to read and I had to stop after 100 pages or so. No more epic poems for me.
Madeline
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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
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Loretta
This was a terribly hard read for me. I struggled to finish it, but finish it I did. ...more
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
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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 ...more
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
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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
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Trevor
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, literature
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
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Ritwik
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Listening to the Iliad I realized just how much I vacillate. If I lived then would I have been a Greek or a Trojan? I can see both sides: obviously Helen was abducted, but Menalaeus saw her as a prize, not as a wife, and, therefore, was probably not his only one. Greece was known to invade and vanquish territories surrounding them. This just gave them an excuse. Troy defended themselves valiantly. Their army was not the same size as Greece, but they had a mighty walk that could not be breeched ...more
Jonathan
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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João Fernandes
description

“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
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Stevelvis
Feb 17, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emer (A Little Haze)
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emer (A Little Haze) by: Penelope
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
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Terry
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Darwin8u
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2011
description

I would love to write like a blast of a sudden squall
whose strong five-beat rhythm can with light and thunder, churning
the dark page into a fury, and countless words
surge and toss on its pages, high-arched and white-capped,
and crash down onto the Internets in endless ranks:
just so did the translators charge in their ranks, each simile
packed close together.
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In the Western classical tradition, Homer (Greek: Όμηρος) is considered the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest of ancient Greek epic poets. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.

When he lived is unknown. Herodotus estimates that Homer lived 400 years before his own time,
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