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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.
horse-pasturing Argos, though only After his toils had been many and painful. Of this I remind you once more to put an end to your wiles And make you see how little real good it does you To come here apart from the other immortals and subtly Seduce me to lie with you and make love.”1 1 At this The heifer-eyed queenly Hera shuddered, and answered In these winged words: “Now then, to this let earth Be my witness and broad heaven above and the tumbledown waters Of subterranean Styx—which
art, the latter in the ongoing works of history. (Virgil’s version of Poseidon’s prophecy is: hic domus Aeneae cunctis dominabitur oris / et nati natorum et qui nascentur ab illis (“There the house of Aeneas will reign over all lands, even his children’s children and those who will be born of them”) , Aeneid 3.97-98). 5 (p. 357) ... Achilles ... charged / Mid the Trojans, screaming his awesome war-cry: Achilles’ aristeia, much interrupted, now begins in earnest with a massacre ; the mounting
own precious country with empty ships And no superb Menelaus!’ “But on the day When any man shall so vaunt, may the wide earth then Engulf me!” But tawny Menelaus reassured him, saying: “Don’t worry, and whatever you do don’t alarm the army. The head of the shaft is fixed in nothing vital. It was all but stopped by my flashing belt and leather Protector and the armored kilt beneath them, the one Well plated by workers in bronze.” And King Agamemnon Answered him thus: “May it be as you
defeat By your seagoing ships. But you that are champions and chieftains Among the united Achaeans, whichever one Whose heart now urges him on to fight with Prince Hector, Let him come out of the crowd and be your champion. And these conditions I hereby proclaim with Zeus As our witness. If your man slays me with the long sharp point Of his bronze, let him strip off my armor and carry it back To the hollow ships, but let him give up my body To be taken home, that the men and women of
women, and kingships of the world—which Achilles has just declared to be worth no more than “sand and dust” (IX.443). Achilles now elaborates upon his mother’s prophecy (IX.471-478): My goddess mother, Thetis Of the silver feet, tells me I bear two fates With me on my way to the grave. If I stay here And fight about Troy, I’ll never return to my home, But men will remember my glory forever. On the other hand, If I go back to the precious land of my fathers, No glory at all will be mine,