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About the author
Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives.
He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems. Both works attributed to Homer – the Iliad and the Odyssey – are over ten thousand lines long in the original. Homer must have had an amazing memory but was helped by the formulaic poetry style of the time.
In the Iliad Homer sang of death and glory, of a few days in the struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans. Mortal men played out their fate under the gaze of the gods. The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller’s tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.
We can never be certain that both these stories belonged to Homer. In fact ‘Homer’ may not be a real name but a kind of nickname meaning perhaps ‘the hostage’ or ‘the blind one’. Whatever the truth of their origin, the two stories, developed around three thousand years ago, may well still be read in three thousand years’ time.
Martin Hammond is headmaster of the Tonbridge School and has translated Homer’s Iliad for Penguin Classics.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This translation of The Iliad equals Fitzgerald's earlier Odyssey in power and imagination. It recreates the original action as conceived by Homer, using fresh and flexible blank verse that is both lyrical and dramatic.
Penguin Publishing Group
; July 1991
704 pages; ISBN 9781101153635Read online
, or download in secure EPUB
Title: The Iliad
Author: Homer; Robert Fagles; Bernard Knox
The IliadTranslator's Preface
The Spelling and Pronunciation of Homeric Names
1. Homeric Geography: Mainland Greece
2. Homeric Geography: The Peloponnese
3. Homeric Geography: The Aegean and Asia Minor
Inset: Troy and Vicinity
Homer: The Iliad
Book 1: The Rage of Achilles
Book 2: The Great Gathering of Armies
Book 3: Helen Reviews the Champions
Book 4: The Truce Erupts in War
Book 5: Diomedes Fights the Gods
Book 6: Hector Returns to Troy
Book 7: Ajax Duels with Hector
Book 8: The Tide of Battle Turns
Book 9: The Embassy to Achilles
Book 10: Marauding Through the Night
Book 11: Agamemnon's Day of Glory
Book 12: The Trojans Storm the Rampart
Book 13: Battling for the Ships
Book 14: Hera Outflanks Zeus
Book 15: The Achaean Armies at Bay
Book 16: Patroclus Fights and Dies
Book 17: Menelaus' Finest Hour
Book 18: The Shield of Achilles
Book 19: The Champion Arms for Battle
Book 20: Olympian Gods in Arms
Book 21: Achilles Fights the River
Book 22: The Death of Hector
Book 23: Funeral Games for Patroclus
Book 24: Achilles and Priam
The Genealogy of the Royal House of Troy
Textual Variants from the Oxford Classical Text
Notes on the Translation
Suggestions for Further Reading
In the press
“Fitzgerald has solved virtually every problem that has plagued translators of Homer. The narrative runs, the dialogue speaks, the military action is clear, and the repetitive epithets become useful text rather than exotic relics.” –Atlantic Monthly
“Fitzgerald’s swift rhythms, bright images, and superb English make Homer live as never before…This is for every reader in our time and possibly for all time.”–Library Journal
“[Fitzgerald’s Odyssey and Iliad] open up once more the unique greatness of Homer’s art at the level above the formula; yet at the same time they do not neglect the brilliant texture of Homeric verse at the level of the line and the phrase.” –The Yale Review
“What an age can read in Homer, what its translators can manage to say in his presence, is one gauge of its morale, one index to its system of exultations and reticences. The supple, the iridescent, the ironic, these modes are among our strengths, and among Mr. Fitzgerald’s.” –National Review
With an Introduction by Gregory Nagy