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The Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline Alexander

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  372,454 ratings  ·  7,999 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 confrontati
Paperback, 608 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Ecco (first published -800)
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Casey Newsom a really helpful article on some of the basic differences between the translations by Pope, Lattimore, Fagles, and Mitchell here: http://www.newyorker…morea really helpful article on some of the basic differences between the translations by Pope, Lattimore, Fagles, and Mitchell here:

I've read Butler in full, and really liked it. I went to the bookstore and read snippets from each of the four above after I first read the article; knowing what made each one great, I enjoyed them all. Lattimore was the only one I probably won't ever read in full; too boggy, if you will. Mitchell is wonderful but I'm bothered by his omissions. But otherwise I could not say which ones are best; it really is a matter of personal preference: the best one is the one that you connect with the most. To everyone who asks this question I send them the above article and tell them to go down to the store and spend some time with each one to figure it out for themselves.(less)
James Foster I used to read it every year or two. After a pause of a few years, I am reading it again. Every time, it blows me away. I pick up new things. This tim…moreI used to read it every year or two. After a pause of a few years, I am reading it again. Every time, it blows me away. I pick up new things. This time around, I realized how many people and gods were raging from the very beginning. Why wasn't this called the wrath of Agammemnon? Or Apollo? Or Chrysis? and so on.

Is there a difference between rage and wrath?

...well worth reading!(less)
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Emily May
3½ 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 "
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 un
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 vi
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 avoided 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.


As Her
Ahmad Sharabiani
Ἰλιάς = The 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,
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
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is the Trojan War History or Fiction?

Paris kidnaps Helena from Sparta to Troy - Their love affair starts the war

The Iliad plays during the Trojan War; the legendary conflict between the Greeks (Achaeans) and the people of Troy. Prince Paris, son of the king of Troja, fell in love with Helena, wife of the king of Sparta, Menelaus. When Paris and Helena secretly take off together to Troy, Menelaus is furious, which is why his brother Agamemnon then leads the attack of the Greek army against Troy
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
Riku Sayuj


“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
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 Virg
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 stic ...more
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
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. ...more
This was a terribly hard read for me. I struggled to finish it, but finish it I did. 😕
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. ...more
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
The original Marvel movie?

What struck me most about The Iliad on this first read is that it has so much more in common with whichever blockbuster is showing at your nearest multiplex, than it does with novels as we know them today.

It’s just SO cinematic, and the storytelling techniques on show are SUCH familiar ones. Sweeping bird’s eye views of the battlefield; up-close scenes of celebrity combatants fighting one-on-one, complete with trash talk; stirring speeches; even the pre-battle montage o
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem by Homer, which presents his interpretation of the events that took place during a few weeks of the tenth and final year of the Trojan War. Homer's tale of the Trojan War runs from the time of Achilles's falling out with the Greek King, Lord Agamemnon, and shunning from the war to the time when he re-enters it and kills the Trojan hero, Hector, to avenge the death of his friend and companion, Patroclus.

After my reading of The Odyssey, I felt I need to re
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 i
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
Settare (on hiatus)
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading The Iliad. Many parts of it are bizarre and horrifying to the modern reader, but it can certainly be enjoyed within its context. A study guide that offers historical, cultural, and literary context to the ancient epic can significantly enhance the reading experience.
I listened to Elizabeth Vandiver's Iliad of Homer Lecture Series while reading the book and I am so happy that I took the time to do so. I simply would not have enjoyed The Iliad if it we
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
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
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
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
This is a story of battles. It begins with a battle of principles between Achilles and Agamemnon, and as stubborn as they both are, I could sympathize with both views. I enjoyed that.

I appreciated the depiction of the gods and goddesses. They were a dysfunctional family, deeply flawed, and yet human lives were subject to their whims. And although the gods could choose to ignore a prophecy, they’d usually adhere to one with respect. It made for an integrated unfolding of free will and fate.

I coul
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 p
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
Zitong Ren
I read the Iliad. And well, I suppose it what I was expected. It’s very slow and meandering with just event after event. There’s no real effort made to create a connection for the reader to be connected at all with either the plot with the characters. It’s really quite told in a distant way and as someone who is used to reading modern books which is really about being connected with the characters and the plot.

My first attempt to read the book I think was last year, but I didn’t get very far as
Zoe Artemis Spencer Reid
What I got from The Iliad:
Pantheon of Greek gods was one big hell of dysfunctional family.
Zeus was the most indecisive god ever and a terrible father who won't saved his son for fear of losing his face, so he rather just killed all of them.
The only difference between mortals and gods was just immortality and power.
Every moment of your life was literary on the whims of gods.
Heroes were only heroes if gods willed it.
One could be irrational or brave or filled by fear, weak or strong from second to
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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In the Western classical tradition, Homer (Greek: Ὅμηρος) 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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