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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.
Up front, clad in their richly wrought armor, fought With the Trojans and brazen-helmeted Hector, while these, The Locrian bowmen, shot from behind unnoticed, But with their arrows they took all fight from the Trojans And threw them into confusion. The Trojans then Would miserably have retreated, leaving the ships And making for windy Troy, had Polydamas not Again come up to brave Hector, and said: “Hector, Surely you find it hard to accept the advice Of another. Because God gave you
us—because We must. Now I at least shall put an end To my wrath. It would hardly become me to go on this way Forever.1 But come, Atrides, quickly command The long-haired Achaeans to get themselves ready for battle, That I may engage the Trojans and see if they wish To spend this night out here by the ships. Believe me, Many a Trojan will be very glad to sit down And rest anywhere, that is if he escapes The fury of war and my spear!” Thus he spoke, And the well-greaved Achaeans roared
Patroclus, even In Hades’ halls—hail and farewell! Already I’m doing for you those things I promised. For twelve Brave sons of the great-hearted Trojans are being devoured By the flames along with you, but Priam’s son Hector I’ll not give to fire to feed on. Him I will leave To the dogs!” Such was his threat, but no dogs dealt With Prince Hector, for Aphrodite, the daughter of Zeus, Warded them off day and night, anointing his body With magic, immortal oil of roses, to keep His flesh
Is already upon us, and men do well to heed The demands of darkness. Then all the Achaeans will surely Rejoice at their ships, your comrades and kin most of all, And the Trojan men and their wives of the trailing gowns Will surely be glad on my account throughout King Priam’s great city, and they will enter the presence Of the holy gods to offer thanksgiving for me. But now let us each give the other some glorious gift, That Achaeans and Trojans alike may say: ‘They fought A fierce match
was held by a divine king—a sovereign who embodied each of the functional classes (priestly, military, and economic) of the society that he ruled and who, in encompassing those different classes, transcended them; the king was thus the principle of social unity, harmoniously conjoining—in his one, divine body—the disparate classes of his society among themselves, as well as within the natural and cosmic realms. As the king orders his society, so too he is himself the juncture of mediation between