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The Iliad

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The Iliad by Homer
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57% of people buy The Iliad and The Odyssey ~ Paperback ~ Homer.

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4.5 out of 5 stars Based on 8 Customer Ratings

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"Timeless, Magnificent, Epic"
5 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

One of the foundation pieces of literature in the western canon, Homer's ‘The Iliad’ is a remarkable piece of work. Dramatic in scope, blood-thirsty, moving and yet suprisingly accessible (Perhaps largely in part to the excellent translation), it is a classic tale set sometime during the ninth year of the Trojan war.

Events prior to the actual story itself concerns Paris, Son of Priam King of Ilium, plucking Helen, wife of the Greek Menelaus, across the Aegean Sea back to Ilium, incidently sparking a massive Greek expedition to the very shores of Troy in order to retrieve her.

From there, the story unfolds with Achilles, the undisputed champion of the Greeks, withdrawing from the fighting and taking his contingent of Myrmidons along with him. With Achilles gone (later to return in the last few chapters of the book), the burden of propping up the flailing Greek war effort against the resurgent Trojans, capably led by Hector and Aeneas (protagonist of Virgil's ‘The Aeneid’), goes to Ajax, Diomedes, Odysseus (protagonist of that other epic by Homer – ‘The Odyssey’), Nestor, among many others (including scheming Gods).

The story itself is an insight into the heroic mindset – Raising, if not asking, the question of what, in it's essence, constitutes a hero? Is it the unyielding will and might of colossal Ajax and Diomedes? Is it the soaring pride, piousness and unrelenting wrath of the god-like Achilles? Or is it the warriors of Illium and their Trojan allies led by the valiant Hector, defending everything they hold dear – their homes, their families, and their honour?

The Gods of Olympus are frequent, flawed and vaguely humanistic, characters in the story, constantly interfering and manipulating the events out on the battlefield on both sides of the conflict, further adding to the mystique and sense of history of the story.

Rich, textured and important, ‘The Iliad’ is essential reading for those who appreciate the debt owed by the writers of today to those of the past.

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
5 stars"
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My daughter needed this book for school and mighty ape came to the rescue. It was so much cheaper than the shops and school, with it being deliver the next day she was able to take it to school the following day. Thanks mighty ape


"The Illiad" is the culmination of a long-standing oral tradition. The oral technique enabled a master bard like Homer to develop what may historically have been an event of minor importance into a fully fledged epic. So, out of a single episode in the legendary Trojan War - Achilles' withdrawal from the fighting and his return to kill the Trojan hero, Hector - Homer generated the 24 books of "The Illiad". What the oral technique does not automatically provide, however, is the genius of the poem which is rendered here in E.V. Rieu's translation, which has been revised for this edition by his son, D.C.H. Rieu and Peter Jones. Homer has created a timeless, dramatic tragedy. His characters are heroic but their passions and problems are human and universal, and he presents them with compassion, understanding and humour against the harsh background of the war and the quarrels of the gods.

Author Biography

Homer is thought to have lived c.750-700 BC in Ionia and is believed to be the author of the earliest works of Western Literature: The Odyssey and The Iliad. E V Rieu was a celebrated translator from Latin and Greek, and editor of Penguin Classics from 1944-64. His son, D C H Rieu, has revised his work. Peter Jones is former lecturer in Classics at Newcastle. He co-founded the 'Friends of Classics' society and is the editor of their journal and a columnist for The Spectator.
Release date Australia
January 30th, 2003
  • General (US: Trade)
  • Edited by Peter Jones
  • Revised by D.C.H. Rieu
  • Translated by E.V. Rieu
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
notes, maps, glossary, index
Penguin Classics
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