Iliad

By Homer, Stanley Lombardo (translator),

Book cover of Iliad

Book description

"Gripping. . . . Lombardo's achievement is all the more striking when you consider the difficulties of his task. . . . [He] manages to be respectful of Homer's dire spirit while providing on nearly every page some wonderfully fresh refashioning of his Greek. The result is a vivid and…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Iliad as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I get it. People read Homer’s Odyssey because of the adventures and gods and monsters, but for me, his best was his first epic poem, The Iliad. The opening word of the story is “rage,” and the action never stops until the last line. From clashing swords to souls sent down to the house of death, this could have been a heavy metal opera if only Homer had played an electric guitar instead of a lyre. I chose the Lombardo translation because it captures best the action and heroism and pulse-pounding excitement that keeps me reading this one over…

Some of the most evocative descriptions of ancient Greek athletics -- or indeed, athletics in any era -- appear in this founding text of Western literature. A sports meet held in the plain before besieged Troy is organized by Achilles in honor of the fallen Patroclus, featuring wildly exciting chariot races, wrestling, foot races, discus throwing, and archery. I personally prefer Stanley Lombardo's translation, which has a directness and vitality that brings the text to life. In a boxing match, for example, a certain Epeius fells his opponent Euryalus with just one punch, an uppercut: "His friends  Dragged him through…

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