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 confrontation between Achilles, the greatest warrior at Troy, and Agamemnon, the inept leader of the Greeks, through to its tragic conclusion, The Iliad explores the abiding, blighting facts of war.
Soldier and civilian, victor and vanquished, hero and coward, men, women, young, old—The Iliad evokes in poignant, searing detail the fate of every life ravaged by the Trojan War. And, as told by Homer, this ancient tale of a particular Bronze Age conflict becomes a sublime and sweeping evocation of the destruction of war throughout the ages.
Carved close to the original Greek, acclaimed classicist Caroline Alexander’s new translation is swift and lean, with the driving cadence of its source—a translation epic in scale and yet devastating in its precision and power.
In the Iliad it is the tenth year of the Trojan War. The Greek allies have laid siege to the city of Troy, but the leaders of the Greek factions are beginning to turn on one another. When Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, angers Achilles, leader of the Myrmidons, the gods begin to intervene more directly in the conflict, and the war becomes even more dangerous for the heroes of Greece and Troy.
In the Odyssey, Odysseus has been away from Ithaca, the Greek city-state under his rule, for ten years while fighting in the Trojan War. After the fall of Troy, Odysseus begins the long journey home to his wife and son; however, his journey is plagued by misfortune as the gods feud over his fate, leaving the Ithacans to believe that he has died.
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Since it was first published more than twenty-five years ago, Robert Fitzgerald's prizewinning translation of Homer's battle epic has become a classic in its own right: a standard against which all other versions of The Iliad are compared. Fitzgerald's work is accessible, ironic, faithful, written in a swift vernacular blank verse that "makes Homer live as never before" (Library Journal).
This edition includes a new foreword by Andrew Ford.