Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are unquestionably two of the greatest epic masterpieces in Western literature. Though more than 2,700 years old, their stories of brave heroics, capricious gods, and towering human emotions are vividly timeless.
The Iliad can justly be called the world’s greatest war epic. The terrible and long-drawn-out siege of Troy remains one of the classic campaigns, the heroism and treachery of its combatants unmatched in song and story. Driven by fierce passions and loyalties, men and gods battle to a devastating conclusion.
The Odyssey chronicles the many trials and adventures Odysseus must pass through on his long journey home from the Trojan wars to his beloved wife. Though the stormy god of the ocean has sworn vengeance against him, and witches and sirens try to lure him off course, Odysseus is clever and has the brilliant goddess Athena on his side.
Homer (9th or 8th century B.C.) is the presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. Virtually nothing is known about his life. Tradition has it that he was blind. Most scholars believe he composed the Iliad and the Odyssey by relying on oral traditions. Their value lies chiefly in the poetry itself, moving from sublime passages about the gods and heroic exploits to passages expressing deep human emotion.
Public Domain (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"The best translation of Homer that I have ever read is by W. H. D. Rouse." (Dudley Fitts)
The Iliad is one of those books which can be made or broken by the narrator. With this rendition, Anthony Heald has immediately joined my list of favourites (Patrick Tull, Nigel Lambert, Stephen Fry..) He breathes life into every one of the characters and more than makes up for any quibbles you might have with the translation.
I did not quite like the Butler translation read by Lescault. Butler uses Roman names for Greek Gods, and Lescault's narration is rather bland. Heald injects so much energy that you'd find a grocery list interesting (and to be frank, there are bits of the Iliad which are pretty grocery-like in character)
As for the book - well, it's the Iliad! A magnificent crusty old monument whose shadow falls across Western literature through the ages... well worth your time.
I am a live storyteller who devours huge amounts of audio books to study classics and new books so I can tell new stories.
Being able to listen to both stories back to back because they feed off of and inform one another. The language, the imagery, the characters, the action. Given that these stories were originally performed live by traveling poets and singers, listening to the story comes closer to approximating the original experience.
When Odysseus reunited with his son, wife, and father.
Yes, but I broke it up over a month.
A must read, a cornerstone of Western literature.
Love my Kindle and my audiobooks.
Probably not. Too many other things to listen too.
The action, drama, and heroism.
5 Stars is not enough for these fantastic stories and wonderful performance.
Loved the story.
I like to read but listening is better.
I had not read these two epics since middle school/high school, so it was basically like I was studying it for the first time. I really cannot comment on this particular translation because it's the only one I've read.
I like Anthony Heald's voice and style. It may take some listeners a while to get used to him. I had just recently heard him narrate Crime and Punishment, so I was already comfortable with him.
The Iliad is a tough one to get through for me. All the names and gods confuse me. It also took me quite a while to get down which warriors were on which side (and I'm not sure I ever figured out which gods were on which side). The digressions and lists are tedious.
Let's face it: the majority of the Iliad is just the reporting of who killed who.
I've never really been a big fan of the whole "intervening god" thing that the Greeks and Romans have in all of their tales. I can dig their view that fate and fortune trump "freewill." However, in the Iliad things are taken to extreme lengths. I mean it's one thing for Zeus to make a warrior angry so that he goes and kills some guy on the other side; it's another for one of the gods to shield one of the mortals or literally carry them to safety.
I found it interesting that the story of Achilles' death is not included in the Iliad. We know that he will die, and even how he will die, but the actual event is not in the book.
The Odyssey is a much more interesting and enjoyable book in my opinion (I know that technically these are poems and not books, but they may as well be books). While the gods are still obviously always involved, their dealings with one another are largely absent from this story. The action in this story is more than just battle. There are fun stories such as the escape from the cyclops, and the men being turned into farm animals. There is also a satisfying ending, which seems rare for the genre.
Throughout both of these epics I kept thinking "isn't there more to this?" I kept waiting for the story of the Trojan Horse to be fleshed out. The story of the Sirens was a blip. I guess that many of the stories are told or added to in other works or myths.
It was accurate
Way to slow n lengthy
A bit dry
All the minor gods and back ground
Would like to return book
Interesting, Intelligent, Thrilling.
Anthony Heald brings an old story back to life. Simply the best performance I have ever heard.
"beautiful stories, beautifully read.."
both books have been on my "to do" list for years but for some reason I thought of reading them a bit of a daunting task. What a pleasure to listen to them, so beautifully read or should I say acted? so many names, gods, mortals.. I found it confusing at the beginning, who is who? who is doing what to whom? and it really doesn't matter, just listen and enjoy every minute.
no, but I thought he was fantastic
let yourself be carried away ....
forgive my possible mistakes, english is not my mother tongue.
Yes i would as im bound to forget bits of it over time
It compares favourably to any book of myth&legend of the gods&greats
No I have not but his voice fitted well with the story&genre
To much to take in in 1go
It is an epic in every sense of the word
Not only is it a wonderful story but it also offers insights into ancient gree hustory,culture&society
Shows the gods warts&all as both great&petty amongst many things.
In time this will be how we view our own books of gods&myths
"Great stories and a performance to match."
Anthony Heald's performance. I was dubious even listening to the audio clip ("Dr. Chilton from Silence of the Lambs for the length of two epic poems? Surely not!") but quite honestly it is the best audiobook performance I have ever heard. The strength of the voice; the attention to detail in phrasing and emphasis; the characterization - it is consistently wonderful. I was rapt. What an utterly under-appreciated talent Heald is.
One of the Gods appears to the Greeks as an old man. For some reason Heald gives him an Irish accent. It is highly entertaining.
Yes, though you would do well to concentrate for the length of these two.
Anthony Heald is my next Audible search word!
Enjoyed this so much. Hearing the tale and recalling it from lessons as a kid was gratifying. I must have been listening in classical civilisation more than I thought!
"Comprehencive with historical names but not enthralling as I'd hoped"
Good narration but story was lacking. Vocabulary was tedious in whole and a hard listen.
great book, great reading it helped out since i forgot to read sometimes and this helped keep up
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