The Iliad: Translated by Robert Fagles

The Iliad: Translated by Robert Fagles

Audio CD(Abridged)

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Overview

This masterful new verse translation of Homer's classic story of the Trojan War has been hailed by critics as "an astonishing performance" and "a remarkable tour de force." Robert Fagles, chairman of the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University, brings the energy of contemporary language of this 2,700-year-old epic, while maintaining the drive and metric music of Homer's poetry, as well as the impact and nuance of Homer's mesmerizing repeated phrases.

As a scholar, Fagles praises Homer's directness and simplicity, the breadth of his imagination, and the power of his song. As a translator, he brilliantly captures these very qualities-which makes this Iliad not only a superb literary work, but a tremendous listening experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143059288
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Publication date: 08/17/2006
Edition description: Abridged
Pages: 1
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Homer is a legendary ancient Greek poet, traditionally said to be the author of the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey.

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Chapter One


ILIAD 1

Rage:

Sing, Goddess, Achilles' rage, Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls Of heroes into Hades' dark, And left their bodies to rot as feasts For dogs and birds, as Zeus' will was done. Begin with the clash between Agamemnon— The Greek warlord—and godlike Achilles.

Which of the immortals set these two At each other's throats?

Apollo, Zeus' son and Leto's, offended By the warlord. Agamemnon had dishonored Chryses, Apollo's priest, so the god Struck the Greek camp with plague, And the soldiers were dying of it. Chryses Had come to the Greek beachhead camp Hauling a fortune for his daughter's ransom. Displaying Apollo's sacral ribbons On a golden staff, he made a formal plea To the entire Greek army, but especially The commanders, Atreus' two sons:

"Sons of Atreus and Greek heroes all: May the gods on Olympus grant you plunder Of Priam's city and a safe return home. But give me my daughter back and accept This ransom out of respect for Zeus' son, Lord Apollo, who deals death from afar."

A murmur rippled through the ranks: "Respect the priest and take the ransom." But Agamemnon was not pleased And dismissed Chryses with a rough speech:

"Don't let me ever catch you, old man, by these ships again, Skulking around now or sneaking back later. The god's staff and ribbons won't save you next time. The girl is mine, and she'll be an old woman in Argos Before I let her go, working the loom in my house And coming to my bed, far from her homeland. Now clear outof here before you make me angry!"

The old man was afraid and did as he was told. He walked in silence along the whispering surf line, And when he had gone some distance the priest Prayed to Lord Apollo, son of silken-haired Leto:

"Hear me, Silverbow, Protector of Chryse, Lord of Holy Cilla, Master of Tenedos, And Sminthian God of Plague! If ever I've built a temple that pleased you Or burnt fat thighbones of bulls and goats— Grant me this prayer: Let the Danaans pay for my tears with your arrows!"

Apollo heard his prayer and descended Olympus' crags Pulsing with fury, bow slung over one shoulder, The arrows rattling in their case on his back As the angry god moved like night down the mountain.

He settled near the ships and let loose an arrow. Reverberation from his silver bow hung in the air. He picked off the pack animals first, and the lean hounds, But then aimed his needle-tipped arrows at the men And shot until the death-fires crowded the beach.

Nine days the god's arrows rained death on the camp. On the tenth day Achilles called an assembly. Hera, the white-armed goddess, planted the thought in him Because she cared for the Greeks and it pained her To see them dying. When the troops had all mustered, Up stood the great runner Achilles, and said:

"Well, Agamemnon, it looks as if we'd better give up And sail home—assuming any of us are left alive— If we have to fight both the war and this plague. But why not consult some prophet or priest Or a dream interpreter, since dreams too come from Zeus, Who could tell us why Apollo is so angry, If it's for a vow or a sacrifice he holds us at fault. Maybe he'd be willing to lift this plague from us If he savored the smoke from lambs and prime goats."

Achilles had his say and sat down. Then up rose Calchas, son of Thestor, bird-reader supreme, Who knew what is, what will be, and what has been. He had guided the Greek ships to Troy Through the prophetic power Apollo Had given him, and he spoke out now:

"Achilles, beloved of Zeus, you want me to tell you About the rage of Lord Apollo, the Arch-Destroyer. And I will tell you. But you have to promise me and swear You will support me and protect me in word and deed. I have a feeling I might offend a person of some authority Among the Greeks, and you know how it is when a king Is angry with an underling. He might swallow his temper For a day, but he holds it in his heart until later And it all comes out. Will you guarantee my security?"

Achilles, the great runner, responded: "Don't worry. Prophesy to the best of your knowledge. I swear by Apollo, to whom you pray when you reveal The gods' secrets to the Greeks, Calchas, that while I live And look upon this earth, no one will lay a hand On you here beside these hollow ships, no, not even Agamemnon, who boasts he is the best of the Achaeans."

And Calchas, the, perfect prophet, taking courage:

"The god finds no fault with vow or sacrifice. It is for his priest, whom Agamemnon dishonored And would not allow to ransom his daughter, That Apollo deals and will deal death from afar. He will not lift this foul plague from the Greeks Until we return the dancing-eyed girl to her father Unransomed, unbought, and make formal sacrifice On Chryse. Only then might we appease the god."

He finished speaking and sat down. Then up rose Atreus' son, the warlord Agamemnon, Furious, anger like twin black thunderheads seething In his lungs, and his eyes flickered with fire As he looked Calchas up and down, and said:

"You damn soothsayer! You've never given me a good omen yet. You take some kind of perverse pleasure in prophesying Doom, don't you? Not a single favorable omen ever! Nothing good ever happens! And now you stand here Uttering oracles before the Greeks, telling us That your great ballistic god is giving us all this trouble Because I was unwilling to accept the ransom For Chryses' daughter but preferred instead to keep her In my tent! And why shouldn't I? I like her better than My wife Clytemnestra. She's no worse than her When it comes to looks, body, mind, or ability. Still, I'll give her back, if that's what's best. I don't want to see the army destroyed like this. But I want another prize ready for me right away. I'm not going to be the only Greek without a prize, It wouldn't be right. And you all see where mine is going."

And Achilles, strong, swift, and godlike:

"And where do you think, son of Atreus, You greedy glory-hound, the magnanimous Greeks Are going to get another prize for you? Do you think we have some kind of stockpile in reserve? Every town in the area has been sacked and the stuff all divided. You want the men to count it all back and redistribute it? All right, you give the girl back to the god. The army Will repay you three and four times over—when and if Zeus allows us to rip Troy down to its foundations."

The warlord Agamemnon responded:

"You may be a good man in a fight, Achilles, And look like a god, but don't try to put one over on me— It won't work. So while you have your prize, You want me to sit tight and do without? Give the girl back, just like that? Now maybe If the army, in a generous spirit, voted me Some suitable prize of their own choice, something fair— But if it doesn't, I'll just go take something myself, Your prize perhaps, or Ajax's, or Odysseus', And whoever she belongs to, it'll stick in his throat.

But we can think about that later. Right now we launch A black ship on the bright salt water, get a crew aboard, Load on a hundred bulls, and have Chryseis board her too, My girl with her lovely cheeks. And we'll want a good man For captain, Ajax or Idomeneus or godlike Odysseus— Or maybe you, son of Peleus, our most formidable hero— To offer sacrifice and appease the Arch-Destroyer for us."

Achilles looked him up and down and said:

"You shameless, profiteering excuse for a commander! How are you going to get any Greek warrior To follow you into battle again? You know, I don't have any quarrel with the Trojans, They didn't do anything to me to make me Come over here and fight, didn't run off my cattle or horses Or ruin my farmland back home in Phthia, not with all The shadowy mountains and moaning seas between. It's for you, dogface, for your precious pleasure— And Menelaus' honor—that we came here, A fact you don't have the decency even to mention! And now you're threatening to take away the prize That I sweated for and the Greeks gave me. I never get a prize equal to yours when the army Captures one of the Trojan strongholds. No, I do all the dirty work with my own hands, And when the battle's over and we divide the loot You get the lion's share and I go back to the ships With some pitiful little thing, so worn out from fighting I don't have the strength left even to complain. Well, I'm going back to Phthia now. Far better To head home with my curved ships than stay here, Unhonored myself and piling up a fortune for you."

The warlord Agamemnon responded:

"Go ahead and desert, if that's what you want! I'm not going to beg you to stay. There are plenty of others Who will honor me, not least of all Zeus the Counselor. To me, you're the most hateful king under heaven, A born troublemaker. You actually like fighting and war. If you're all that strong, it's just a gift from some god. So why don't you go home with your ships and lord it over Your precious Myrmidons. I couldn't care less about you Or your famous temper. But I'll tell you this: Since Phoebus Apollo is taking away my Chryseis, Whom I'm sending back aboard ship with my friends, I'm coming to your hut and taking Briseis, Your own beautiful prize, so that you will see just how much Stronger I am than you, and the next person will wince At the thought of opposing me as an equal."

Achilles' chest was a rough knot of pain Twisting around his heart: should he Draw the sharp sword that hung by his thigh, Scatter the ranks and gut Agamemnon, Or control his temper, repress his rage? He was mulling it over, inching the great sword From its sheath, when out of the blue Athena came, sent by the white-armed goddess Hera, who loved and watched over both men. She stood behind Achilles and grabbed his sandy hair, Visible only to him: not another soul saw her. Awestruck, Achilles turned around, recognizing Pallas Athena at once—it was her eyes— And words flew from his mouth like winging birds:

"Daughter of Zeus! Why have you come here? To see Agamemnon's arrogance, no doubt. I'll tell you where I place my bets, Goddess: Sudden death for this outrageous behavior."

Athena's eyes glared through the sea's salt haze.

"I came to see if I could check this temper of yours, Sent from heaven by the white-armed goddess Hera, who loves and watches over both of you men. Now come on, drop this quarrel, don't draw your sword. Tell him off instead. And I'll tell you, Achilles, how things will be: You're going to get Three times as many magnificent gifts Because of his arrogance. Just listen to us and be patient."

Achilles, the great runner, responded:

"When you two speak, Goddess, a man has to listen No matter how angry. It's better that way. Obey the gods and they hear you when you pray."

With that he ground his heavy hand Onto the silver hilt and pushed the great sword Back into its sheath. Athena's speech Had been well-timed. She was on her way To Olympus by now, to the halls of Zeus And the other immortals, while Achilles Tore into Agamemnon again:

"You bloated drunk, With a dog's eyes and a rabbit's heart! You've never had the guts to buckle on armor in battle Or come out with the best fighting Greeks On any campaign! Afraid to look Death in the eye, Agamemnon? It's far more profitable To hang back in the army's rear—isn't it?— Confiscating prizes from any Greek who talks back And bleeding your people dry. There's not a real man Under your command, or this latest atrocity Would be your last, son of Atreus. Now get this straight. I swear a formal oath: By this scepter, which will never sprout leaf Or branch again since it was cut from its stock In the mountains, which will bloom no more Now that bronze has pared off leaf and bark, And which now the sons of the Greeks hold in their hands At council, upholding Zeus' laws— By this scepter I swear: When every last Greek desperately misses Achilles, Your remorse won't do any good then, When Hector the man-killer swats you down like flies. And you will eat your heart out Because you failed to honor the best Greek of all."

Those were his words, and he slammed the scepter, Studded with gold, to the ground and sat down.

Opposite him, Agamemnon fumed. Then Nestor Stood up, sweet-worded Nestor, the orator from Pylos With a voice high-toned and liquid as honey. He had seen two generations of men pass away In sandy Pylos and was now king in the third. He was full of good will in the speech he made:

"It's a sad day for Greece, a sad day. Priam and Priam's sons would be happy indeed, And the rest of the Trojans too, glad in their hearts, If they learned all this about you two fighting, Our two best men in council and in battle. Now you listen to me, both of you. You are both Younger than I am, and I've associated with men Better than you, and they didn't treat me lightly. I've never seen men like those, and never will, The likes of Peirithous and Dryas, a shepherd to his people, Caineus and Exadius and godlike Polyphemus, And Aegeus' son, Theseus, who could have passed for a god, The strongest men who ever lived on earth, the strongest, And they fought with the strongest, with wild things From the mountains, and beat the daylights out of them. I was their companion, although I came from Pylos, From the ends of the earth—they sent for me themselves. And I held my own fighting with them. You couldn't find A mortal on earth who could fight with them now. And when I talked in council, they took my advice. So should you two now: taking advice is a good thing. Agamemnon, for all your nobility, don't take his girl. Leave her be: the army originally gave her to him as a prize. Nor should you, son of Peleus, want to lock horns with a king. A scepter-holding king has honor beyond the rest of men, Power and glory given by Zeus himself. You are stronger, and it is a goddess who bore you. But he is more powerful, since he rules over more. Son of Atreus, cease your anger. And I appeal Personally to Achilles to control his temper, since he is, For all Greeks, a mighty bulwark in this evil war."

And Agamemnon, the warlord:

"Yes, old man, everything you've said is absolutely right. But this man wants to be ahead of everyone else, He wants to rule everyone, give orders to everyone, Lord it over everyone, and he's not going to get away with it. If the gods eternal made him a spearman, does that mean They gave him permission to be insolent as well?"

And Achilles, breaking in on him:

"Ha, and think of the names people would call me If I bowed and scraped every time you opened your mouth. Try that on somebody else, but not on me. I'll tell you this, and you can stick it in your gut: I'm not going to put up a fight on account of the girl. You, all of you, gave her and you can all take her back. But anything else of mine in my black sailing ship You keep your goddamn hands off, you hear? Try it. Let everybody here see how fast Your black blood boils up around my spear."

So it was a stand-off, their battle of words, And the assembly beside the Greek ships dissolved. Achilles went back to the huts by his ships With Patroclus and his men. Agamemnon had a fast ship Hauled down to the sea, picked twenty oarsmen, Loaded on a hundred bulls due to the god, and had Chryses' daughter, His fair-cheeked girl, go aboard also. Odysseus captained, And when they were all on board, the ship headed out to sea.

Onshore, Agamemnon ordered a purification. The troops scrubbed down and poured the filth Into the sea. Then they sacrificed to Apollo Oxen and goats by the hundreds on the barren shore. The smoky savor swirled up to the sky.

That was the order of the day. But Agamemnon Did not forget his spiteful threat against Achilles. He summoned Talthybius and Eurybates, Faithful retainers who served as his heralds:

"Go to the hut of Achilles, son of Peleus; Bring back the girl, fair-cheeked Briseis. If he won't give her up, I'll come myself With my men and take her—and freeze his heart cold."

It was not the sort of mission a herald would relish. The pair trailed along the barren seashore Until they came to the Myrmidons' ships and encampment. They found Achilles sitting outside his hut Beside his black ship. He was not glad to see them. They stood respectfully silent, in awe of this king, And it was Achilles who was moved to address them first:

"Welcome, heralds, the gods' messengers and men's. Come closer. You're not to blame, Agamemnon is, Who sent you here for the girl, Briseis.

Table of Contents

Mapvi-vii
Translator's Prefaceix
Introductionxvii
Iliad1
Major Characters493
Catalogue of Combat Deaths502
Index of Speeches506
Suggestions for Further Reading514

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The Iliad: Translated by Robert Fagles 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Tiger_Holland More than 1 year ago
"Achilles doesn't gladly suffer fools, and Agamemnon's foolishness is shown when he takes away Briseis and rules proudly, claiming war prizes for his own which should, by rights, belong to other men (the slavery issue never gets addressed) but this king of all the Greeks is brought low when Achilles boycotts battle. Since their best and boldest fighter's sitting out, the Greeks are getting hacked to bits by Hector, who's just fighting for his home, but then Zeus speaks, and brings down Trojan doom: they're going to lose. The Greeks march ahead with inexorable forces and Troy buries Hector, the breaker of horses." Here we have the story of the fall of Troy at the hands of the Greeks, though The Iliad actually ends before the fall of Troy, the Trojan Horse comes along in a later book, The Odyssey, and the Greeks are usually called Achaeans or Argives (I think what they're called at any given point has something to do with Homer's metrics and how many syllables his lines needed). The half-god warrior Achilles is the central figure of the story and the action is driven as much by his decisions as it is by the whims of the gods, who take sides in the war and vigorously defend their favorite champions. Achilles meets his opposite in Hector, prince of Troy, who is a family man fighting to defend his own home city, while Achilles is in it for the glory and is fighting for a man he hates. Hector kills Achilles' friend Patroclus, Achilles kills Hector in retaliation, and the war-cycle spirals downward and gets uglier with each passing skirmish. Some themes: Rage: The Iliad is called the epic of menis, rage, the first chapter is titled "The Wrath of Achilles," and the first (and best) line in the whole epic is, "Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles." This killing-anger isn't something the characters can escape from for any length of time. Rage can be hidden, but it always eventually bursts forth again--Achilles even nurtures the feeling. He's furious and refuses to fight for the Achaeans, and then when they bring him presents to appease him, he ain't want to be appeased! Cooler heads don't seem to prevail, here, and the epidemic of rage ensures that The Iliad is endlessly violent and gory--except for Hector's body, which is preserved from decay by the gods, the other casualties of war either get thrown onto pyres or become food for the vultures. Vengeance. An eye for an eye, ad infinitum. Humans love seeking vengeance, like Achilles avenging Patroclus by killing Hector, but the gods are fond of it, too. The gods are big on damage control--they might not be able to stop you from doing something disastrous, but they'll certainly punish you for it after the fact, like Apollo visiting the Achaeans with a plague after they kidnap Chryseis, the daughter of his priest. Doom. Not just fate, but negative fate. Doom hangs over all of Troy and over most of the Achaens that the reader might actually care about: though Achilles is a killing machine, it's possible to empathize with him, and the propheices make it clear that he's going to die at Troy; Odysseus is going to live through the war, but it'll be another long decade before he gets home; Agamemnon is going to be murdered by his wife's boyfriend when he gets home (but since he's a power-hungry tyrant who killed his own daughter, it's not such a loss), and Menelaus is going to regain Helen and go home, but you can't say they'll live at all h
bhalpin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gory, long, and strangely moving. The action is pretty much nonstop, and the characters felt like real people. This is the only translation I've read, so I can't compare to others, but it was pretty smooth reading.
janemarieprice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the original great war story. The translation here is phenomenal. Keeping the epic verse is key to getting a good read of this and here it is beautiful and informative.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read Homer before but reread it recently to rediscover the wonder of the Greeks and Trojans, Achilles, Agamemnon and Hector. It is a delight to wonder at the Gods and mortals and the role of fate in their enterprise. This mythic epic still speaks to us more than twenty-five hundred years after it first began to be recited by the poet Homer. After withstanding the rage of Achilles, the Greeks go up against the Trojans led by Achilles friend Patroclus. But, fate has decreed and with Apollo's help Hector brings the final blow down on Patroclus. At this point you realize why this poem has been read for millenia and loved by many. But just as touching, perhaps more moving are moments like the one described in the epigraph above. For in the next book as Menelaus leads the Greeks to retrieve Patroclus body and the Trojans battle the Argives we are told of Achilles' horses who "wept from the time they had first sensed their driver's death," (lines 493-4, p. 456). This brings home the momentous occasion of Patroclus' death in a way that transcends the battle scenes and suggests it is the fabric of their life that has been rent - not just another battle death.Achilles takes his fight to the Trojans as Book 21 of the Iliad begins with the Trojans routed, one half blocked by Hera with the other half "packed in the silver-whirling river," (line 9). Achilles slays Lycaon, son of Priam, and Asteropaeus, son of Pelegon. Then he goes after the Trojan's allies from Paeona, beating and hacking them "in a blur of kills" (line 235). The blood of the men is so thick that the river rose. But Achilles proceeds to attack and fight the river itself. Continuing until the gods recognize that this cannot stay. Poseidon and Athena come to him and advise him, "It's not your fate to be swallowed by a river:" (line 328). The gods take over from this point and the book chronicles the spectacle of battles among the gods, mirroring the battles of the men below. even through this the river remains a thread that cannot be forgotten. The Trojan's and Hector's days in particular are numbered from this point onward.The final book of The Iliad begins with the games over and the armies scattered, but Achilles remains in grief over the death of his friend Patrocles. He slowly is persuaded that he must return Hector's body to Priam. Even as his mother Thetis mourns the future fate of her son who is also doomed to die, the gods gather and continue to argue over the situation.
Maggie_Rum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Classic ancient poem, filled with action, love, violence and war.
collingsruth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As much as I love the Greeks in general, the Illiad is never as good a read as the Odyssey mostly because it's 80% horrible violent fighting and despair at a neverending war and then 20% interesting characters, speeches, and god/mortal interaction. I'll admit, I always end up doing a fair bit of skimming. The emotional resonance and epic descriptions are still as strong as the Odyssey, it just doesn't have the same fluid narrative. And then there's the fact that hearing how hundreds of people die in excruciating detail over and over again might be a good lesson against glorifying war, but it's just depressing. Personally, Achilles is just less likable a character. The really enjoyable part of this book is the relations between the gods and the mortals and the question of the inevitability of Fate.
MaryLou0 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this -at last- some months ago. I was a bit disappointed; I think the battle scenes, which appeal so much to many male readers, tend to leave the women readers cold, though, as a one time champion Sportsfighter, I was once a bit attracted to the adrenalin rush of battle myself. Still, I found these gruesome without being riveting.I felt for many of the characters and for Achilles, a demi god and isolated in the human world, but so alien is the culture, so oppressed the women that I couldn't really get absorbed by the story.
seanj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this too quickly and passively. One day I'll give it another shot.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure, but I think this was the edition I read & liked the best - I've read several over the years. I liked the 'full' or 'best translated' versions & the highly edited versions the least. There's a happy medium in there. The full versions have a lot characters & stuff going on that doesn't add to the story & just confuses me. When edited too much, the story loses its flavor. The story line, plot, can't be beat. Much of the motivation of the characters seems weak or over-used, but that's only because it is the great-granddaddy of so much of our current literature, of course.
desultory on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've got the E V Rieu translation - a bit stodgy. It makes Homer sound like he went to an English public school. That can't be right.
sarathena1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another book that I re-read annually. The characters in this story are among my favorites of all time. Their tragedies unfold like a very, very good Soap Opera. Reading it outloud adds a lyrical touch.
Demiguise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The classic story of the Battle of Troy between the Greeks and the Trojans. The long war brought about by the abduction of Helen, who had a "face which launched a thousand ships".
woctune on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hector, Achilles, Odysseus, Zeus, Athena, Priam... it doesn't get any better. Some mornings I look out the window and still think "rosy fingertips of dawn". This translation is very vivid and readable, though not as precise as the Lattimore... or at least that's what I remember from college.
mattviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The movie Troy has revitalized my thirst for The Iliad and the reading of which has long been overdue. I decide to re-read this first work of Western literature in a different literary form: the prose translation by E. V. Rieu, who had first published in 1950 and has since achieved its classic status. Never before had this greatest of ancient Greek poet seemed so vivid, so accessible, approachable, and immediate to the English-speaking readers. This edition in review is a Penguin Classics 1988 revision of Rieu's translation that has timely incorporated the changes in linguistic and cultural idioms. E. V. Rieu's prose translation is as vivid and readable as Professor Richmond Lattimore's verse translation, which I had read in my undergraduate English class. The Iliad is set in the last year of the Greek siege of Ilium, a town in the region of Troy, which is now the northwestern Turkey and it all begins with a quarrel over a woman. On a visit to Sparta, Prince of Troy seduced and ran away with Helen, the wife of the Spartan ruler Menelaus. King Agamemnon, the imperial overlord of Greece, with his brother Menelaus, induced the princes who owe him allegiance to join forces with him against King Priam of Troy. The Greeks for 9 years had encamped beside their ships on the shore near Troy but without bringing the matter to a conclusion, though they had repeatedly looted and captured a number of Trojan towns, under the leadership of Achilles, Prince of Myrmidons, who had cultivated a gripe against Agamemnon.Success of raiding Troy led to a feud between Agamemnon and Achilles. Agamemnon had been allotted a girl named Chryseis as his prize, and he refused to give her up to her father, a local priest of Apollo, when he came to the camp with a ransom for her release. The priest prayed to Apollo and a plague ensued, forcing Agamemnon to give Chryseis up. But the unruly Agamemnon couped himself by confiscating one of Achilles' own prize, a girl named Briseis. It was such violet, public, unjust, and deeply humiliating attack on Achilles' assessment of his significance to the Greek army, along with Agamemnon's seize of Briseis that drove Achilles to withdraw himself and the Myrmidon force from the battlefield.Homer has written the epic with a delay of action, deferring Achilles to later part of the book in order to create a perception that he has covered the entire Trojan War. The Iliad, in this regard, in fact covers a few days of the last year of Trojan War, filling the pages with tight packing of action, the tugging to and fro between the two sides. It only centers on the aristocratic heroes (i.e. Hector, Paris, Aeneas, Achilles, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Diomedes, Ajax, and Odysseus), of whom they are named, but not the general mass of troops.As the Trojans got the upper hand and stormed the Greeks' defenses, Hector, the Trojan Commander-in-chief succeeded in setting fire to one of the Achaean ships. At this point Agamemnon had realized he had wronged Achilles, who had remained obdurate to all entreaties and repeated to the embassy the original accusation that he did all the fighting and Agamemnon got all the rewards. Achilles' bitter and grumpy speech against Agamemnon sheds light to what possibly Homer tries to convey as he has remained restrained in his narrative, leaving much room for private interpretation that one might experience difficulty to supply a definitive answer to question about the one main theme. Achilles had altered his view in life: no compensation could ever pay him back, because all the compensation in the world could not equate the worth of one's life, moreover the Trojans never did him any wrong until death had befallen Patroclus. All he had suffered by constantly risking his life in battle had left him no better off than anyone else. The Iliad tragedizes a hero who had been viscerally wronged: a man who was the son of a great man and a goddess, and yet for whom death and inexorable destiny were waiting. Patroclus' disa
clothingoptional on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't read this book - listen to it. Epic poetry is meant to be recited...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great version of the classic epic poem, by an excellent translator, and with tremendously helpful additional materials, especially the introduction! I highly recommend all of Fagles translations of classical Greek literature!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for my Literature class and I thought I was gonna die, especially seeing how thick the book was. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. This book translates the events well and the read was easy. Would definitely advise you to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not buy this for an english class
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This translation of the Iliad is a great read. Start with the poem ,. Read the forward later, if at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Fagles' translation of the iliad is PERFECT!!! WARNING: May cause severe bewilderment; Has a natural aptitude for adventure!
mamapixi More than 1 year ago
Fagles retains the poetic beauty of Homer's original tale while keeping the grittiness intact.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this last year as a high school freshman and thought it was quite good. This transalation is much less boring than others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago