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The great war epic of Western literature, translated by acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles
Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace.
Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, brings the energy of contemporary language to this enduring heroic epic. He maintains the drive and metric music of Homer’s poetry, and evokes the impact and nuance of the Iliad’s mesmerizing repeated phrases in what Peter Levi calls “an astonishing performance.”
This Penguin Classics Deluxe edition also features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Patroclus, what are you saying! I don’t give a straw For anyone’s fateful foretelling—none that I know of, That is—nor has my goddess mother brought to me Any such word from Zeus.3 What fills my heart And soul with so much bitter resentment is simply That one whose equal I am should want to rob me And take my prize of prestige for no better reason Than this, that he has more power. This indeed bitterly Rankles, after all I have done and suffered for him! That girl the sons of Achaeans
suggested: Just as the hero, in his battlefield accomplishments, becomes like to a god, and thus tempts their deadly anger, so too, the poet sings himself into a condition like to the immortal Muses, at which point he might likewise tempt their jealous vengeance. 6 (p. 37) warlike Protesilaus: As in the case of the entry for Philoctetes immediately below (lines 811-820), the bard gives an account of a well-known figure who set out on the expedition to Troy, but who is now not fighting:
If death in the river perhaps holds some possibility of purification that might lessen the horror of consumption by the fishes, that possibility is quickly eliminated by the complaint of Xanthus, the river-god, that his waters have been polluted by the slaughter that Achilles has wreaked within it. 4 (p. 366) “Very hard it is for the son / Of a river to vie with a child of Cronos‘son”: Achilles, vaunting over the corpse of the ambidextrous Asteropaeus, now responds to his opponent’s initial
I don’t take and strip you, ripping away The cloak and tunic that hide your wretched body, And send you bawling to the speedy ships, beaten From the place of assembly with hard, disgraceful blows!” He spoke, and with the scepter struck the man’s back And shoulders. Thersites cringed and started to cry, While a bloody welt swelled up on his back beneath The golden scepter. Then he sat down, afraid And in pain, and on his face as he wiped his tears Was a foolish, forced expression. The
children or wives Is here and in danger.” And wily Odysseus replied: “How, then, do the allies sleep, right in among The horse-breaking Trojans or somewhere apart? Tell me Exactly, since I want to know in full detail.” And Eumedes’ son answered him thus: “Again I will tell you the truth. There toward the sea he the Carians And crook-bowed Paeonian archers, and near them the Leleges, Caucones, and the valiant Pelasgians, whereas the Lycians And hard-charging Mysians, the horse-borne