Liked It3 of 3 members found this review helpful
“A long 'un, but worth it. 2,700 years old and very much alive. A monumental, dazzling epic poem about the both the horror and the glory of war, filled with breath-taking pathos and violence.”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“I'm afraid to admit I did not finish this book. I bought The Iliad as an impulse buy after seeing the film 'Troy' in the cinema. I shouldn't have done it and I regret it.
“The theme of this book is about gods and humans struggling to get through the Trojan War. The author goes into how the war was making people turn on each other and how the gods would lie to someone to answer the prays of someone else higher up in the social ladder.”michael wrote this review 3 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“again”Inigo Montoya wrote this review 9 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I originally read this when I was 16 or 17. I remembered that I had trouble getting into it and had to start it several times before it clicked for me. That held true all these years later as well. I found reading the poetry far easier and more beautiful than the prose, but others in my group found the opposite. We all felt that the women were chattel and that even though there were female Gods, that did not in any way help the women. There was too much emphasis on how many ways there were to kill someone and everyone got very tired of it. We all felt that the ancient Greeks, with the exception of Hector, clearly did not believe in fate, but thought that the Gods were pulling their strings. All of us thought Paris was a twit and that Helen's remorse was far too little too late (though we recognized that she had no choice in falling for Paris since Ares made her fall in love with him). It all made for an interesting discussion. ”Maggie S wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
Curriculars: Language Arts
“ I am on page 110 and I have to say that “The Iliad” by Homer is truly an epic journey that portrays human emotions, corruption and deception. The story sends the reader right into action, with the opening chapter dealing with a quarrel between King Agamemnon and Achilles. In this case, the King is asked to give his prize up in order maintain the peace with the Gods and other nations. Ashamed by such a request, Agamemnon blames Achilles for having the luxury of keeping his own prize. Now, you might be wondering about the source of all this jealousy and pride. The “prizes” were merely women captured during the last war. In this case, the Greeks certainly valued some belongings more than others but, as prominent figures, couldn’t Agamemnon or Achilles find some other suitable woman? That is one of the elements that I like about Homer’s writings; he likes to give emphasis to small and secondary elements such as prisoners of wars. Really, these men would not form a romantic bond with that kind of women but the single thought of winning them over during a long and risky battle proves their courage and determination. Or is it more of a cultural aspect at the time? Probably the love of a woman could be obtained through certain actions, which demanded you to posses the heart of a lion and the cunning of a fox. To be honest, during the first reading, I was unable to discover such an element. In the end, I understood that Homer was trying to explain what love meant in ancient times (an interesting opening scene for a book, if you ask me).
After a long and unfair discussion, Achilles ends up empty-handed. While weeping in front of the sea, he asks for his mother’s advise, the goddess Thetis. Before I continue, I must say that I am a great Greek mythology reader and the strong relationship between Achilles and his mother was shocking to me at first. I used to believe that a God would only be interested in human if that person could contribute to the divinity’s deeds or personal agenda. In this case, Achilles wants to make Agamemnon pay and asks Thetis if she can convince Zeus to intervene. After all, as his mother, Achilles is not a tool for the goddess but a son that was dishonored by the selfishness of the King. So, as expected, she begs the ruler of Olympus to punish Agamemnon. But Zeus cannot interfere directly into human affairs (which did not make sense, given the fact that Athena and Ares were constantly changing the tides of many battles). In exchange, he deceives the dishonorable King and makes him think that he must wage war against Troy, a nation that currently signed a treaty of peace. Although organizing an army in so little time is virtually impossible, Agamemnon is quick to believe in Zeus’s message, which tells me that some people are blinded completely when it comes to godly orders. I mean, by reading the first 40 pages of the book, one can see that the Greeks troops are divided after the disagreement with Achilles. How’s the son of Uranus expecting him to win? Well, that’s the solely purpose of the message. Indirectly, Agamemnon is digging his own grave, an outcome led by his fear to the forces of Olympus.
From the statements above, I would like to take some time to detail a particular and intriguing technique in Homer’s writing, anthropomorphism. This long word simply describes the way that human features and emotions are given and adopted by non-human characters (in this case, Gods of Olympus). Last year, in my ancient history class, I explored the many uses of this technique in Greek mythology. In my opinion, the most interesting feature is the way that each deity has a unique set of emotions that differ from each other. For example, while Athena and Ares are highly linked to wars and conflict, Athena is a more rational goddess who prefers to take a more strategic approach during a battle while Ares focuses on the bloodshed and destruction. Moreover, anthropomorphism also shows that Gods can make mistakes (At the end of the day they are NOT perfect beings).
With an army assembled and the “favor” of the Gods guiding his fate, Agamemnon is decided to vanquish Troy. This time, it is a personal matter. Menelaus (a close Greek warrior to the King) has lost his wife, Helen, when the infamous and lustful prince Paris of Troy kidnapped her. There would be a battle in order to reclaim the woman’s heart and only one man shall be victorious. But, who is helping and protecting Paris? Is it wise to storm Troy when a covenant was recently signed? Will the other Gods intervene in such a dispute? These are all questions that I started with. At this point, we can see a common connection during all this turmoil in the way that, at the beginning, a woman was the one that divided the Greek forces and now, Helen is pushing both armies to meet in combat. So far, I can say that a common issue can turn into a vortex of destruction when the right pieces are moved. After all, isn’t this war just a petty game of chess for the Gods?
“What an epic, what a read. Funny, sad, action, war story - it's just beyond compare. One of the Top 10 Books I've ever read (and the first book written in the western world). I think the subtitle should be "1000 ways to die in battle". This poem so influenced me when I read it in college that I almost changed my major to Classical Studies. Made it my minor instead, which freed me up to get a different unmarketable degree. It is awesome yet again - a before-you-die kind of book. ”Matthew Hallock wrote this review Saturday, October 19, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I am writing this after finishing the Iliad. I was going to read the Odyssey as I had only read an abridged version of it but when I was in the library, I chose to read the Iliad instead as I had never read the Iliad, abridged or whole. Also, as it is one of the most prominent pieces of literature, and is considered one of the oldest pieces of literature I was eager to read it. First I nearly forgot that the Iliad was a poem, but its structure allowed me to quickly recognize it as a poem. Reading the Iliad was interesting as I had already read the Odyssey, the sequel. Something that strikes me is how in Greek mythology, and the Iliad, almost all the characters have flaws. Agamemnon who was the commander of the Greek forces was excessively proud and arrogant. Achilles, who was heralded as the greatest warrior of the age, was irascible. Even the gods were not immune from such flaws. And much like how the regular mortals’ flaws were responsible for important conflicts, so were the gods’ flaws, though this is nothing new in Greek mythology. Though something that I did not like was the treatment of Helen (of Troy), Briseis and Chryseis. The way I interpreted it, they were all kidnapped. In that, not only are they are all captured and traded around like objects, but are also blamed by others and/or themselves for the conflicts that arose due to their kidnapping. Overall the Iliad is interesting, though readers who do not enjoy long lists and summaries in the middle of text may not enjoy the poem as much as others.”Zoe M wrote this review Thursday, October 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I had to read this abridged to take out a lot of the violence. To me as a child of the 21st century, this story was cool but not life changing. If I was a Greek lad listening to the epic poems Homer recited, I would have given it a 5 out of 5”Brian wrote this review Wednesday, October 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I dreaded reading this because of the archaic language, but the translation I read (Lombardo) was really good, and it was pretty easy to read. The story was pretty interesting, and aside from some of the middle chapters that were just endless war and endless names, it wasn't too hard to get through. Overall, I enjoyed it more than I disliked it.”Benjamin Drake wrote this review Monday, September 23, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I love The Illiad only a little bit less than The Odyssey, the other epic poem attributed to Homer. Together the two works are considered among the oldest surviving works of Western literature, dating to probably the eighth century BCE, and are certainly among the most influential. The Illiad deals with just a few weeks in the last year of the decade-long Trojan War. As the opening lines state, it deals with how the quarrel between the Greek's great hero Achilles and their leader Agamemnon "caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss and crowded brave souls into the undergloom."
So, essentially, this is a war story. One close to three thousand years old with a mindset very alien to ours. One where unending glory was seen as a great good over personal survival or family. One where all felt that their ends were fated. And one with curiously human, or at least petty, gods. Some see the work as jingoistic, even pro-war, and I suppose it can be read that way, but what struck me was the compassion with which Homer wrote of both sides. We certainly care for the Trojan Hector as much as or more (in my case much more) than for the sulky and explosive Achilles. For the Trojan King Priam as much or more (in my case much more) than King Agamemnon. Homer certainly doesn't obscure the pity, the waste, and the grief war brings. And there are plenty of scenes in the work that I found unforgettable: The humorous scene where Aphrodite is wounded and driven from the field. The moving scene between Hector and his wife and child. The grief Helen feels in losing a friend. The confrontation between Priam and Achilles.
This is one work where translations make a huge difference. Keats poem "On Chapman's Homer" is all about how a translation opened his eyes to "realms of gold" in The Illiad he had not appreciated before. I was forced to read Homer in high school (I suspect the Lattimore translation) and hated it as boring and tedious. Maturity might have helped change how I felt on reread--but I had my own "Keats Experience" when I discovered Robert Fitzgerald's translation. I've never read the Fagles translation some reviewers are recommending, but you might want to look up various translations to see which one speaks to you before embarking on a full read.”