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The Iliad

The Iliad by Homer
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A divinely beautiful woman who becomes the cause of a terrible war in which the gods themselves take sides. Valor and villainy, sacrifices and betrayals, triumphs and tragedies play their part in this three thousand year old saga.

The Iliad throws us right into the thick of battle. It opens when the Trojan War has already been raging for nine long years. An uneasy truce has been declared between the Trojans and the Greeks (Achaeans as they're called in The Iliad.) In the Greek camp, Agamemnon the King of Mycenae and Achilles the proud and valiant warrior of Phthia are locked in a fierce contest to claim the spoils of war. The gods in Olympus watch horrified as the best of Greeks and Trojans are slain. However, Zeus has prohibited them from openly interfering. But finally, even the gods cannot stay neutral. The mighty Zeus steps in to prod the Trojans into breaching the truce. Achilles, who is sulking in his tent refuses to fight and the Greeks suffer terrible losses.

Achilles, a demigod is the son of the sea nymph Thetis and the King of the Myrmidions Peleus. He has been rendered immortal like the gods except for one spot near his foot where his mother held him while she dipped him in the Styx. He is the greatest hero in The Iliad and known for his rage, impulsiveness and courage.

He watches as his comrades fall one by one and finally puts his pride aside. He sends his beloved friend Patroclus into battle. But Apollo, the savior of the Trojans, dashes away Patroclus' armor and the Trojan prince Hector slays him. Maddened by anger and grief, Achilles vows revenge and resumes battle. And the epic goes on...

The Iliad is purportedly written by the blind poet Homer some time during the eighth century BC. Its supreme importance in Greek literature slowly permeated to the rest of the Western world and in time to come, the two epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey became the reference points for thousands of works of art. European museums and art galleries are filled with works based on the themes, heroes and divinities from The Iliad. Contemporary films have portrayed the Trojan War, while tourists throng the sites mentioned in the poems.

It was first translated into English in the sixteenth century and has since then, gripped the collective imagination for generations. As one of the defining myths of western literature, The Iliad is indeed a must read for anyone interested in an epic tale.

First Page:

THE ILIAD OF HOMER

Rendered into English Prose for the use of those who cannot read the original

by

Samuel Butler

BOOK I

The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another.

And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel? It was the son of Jove and Leto; for he was angry with the king and sent a pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son of Atreus had dishonoured Chryses his priest. Now Chryses had come to the ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and had brought with him a great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the sceptre of Apollo wreathed with a suppliant's wreath, and he besought the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus, who were their chiefs... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 3 Stars - 1 review)

Reviewer: - March 14, 2014
Subject: Iliad
The reader does a fine job reading the book. He speaks clearly and with vigor. I did not enjoy this reading as the version of the Iliad read was very brief, brief even as to leave out important parts of the story.


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