The Iliad is one of the most enduring creations of Western Civilization and was originally written to be recited or chanted to the accompaniment of various instruments. Properly performed, this work today is just as meaningful, just as powerful, and just as entertaining as it was in the ninth century BC, and it casts its spell upon modern listeners with the same raw intensity as it did upon the people of ancient times.
As you listen to this great work, you feel yourself to be in the presence of a grandeur that suffuses the very air. There is no question that the poet, whether his name was Homer or not, was one of the supreme artists of all time and all civilizations. But this wonderful piece of poetry is not merely a catalog of events of the Trojan War. Specifically, the poem deals with the bitter dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon, and how the Greeks were almost destroyed by their hubris. Hovering about, the Olympian gods watch the unfolding events with keen interest, sometimes lending help and encouragement on one hand, or spreading fear and hatred on the other.
The Iliad is ultimately about the free will of man and his ability or failure to make rational choices in the face of conflict and chaos. Unlike the gods, men must face death, which gives their decisions a spiritual meaning which is absent on Olympus. The great legacy of The Iliad is its shattering revelation of what it means to be human in the face of life's uncertainty and fleeting mortality.
Public Domain (P)2008 Audio Connoisseur
There is a SIGNIFICANT quality difference between the translations of Iliad. Do yourself a favor and go with this one, the Lattimore translation.
The introduction to this audio version is surprisingly good. It is not the introduction written by Lattimore himself in my print copy of the Iliad, and it is much better as a general stage-setting to the text. I cannot fault the archaeological information, which is basic, or the discussion of literary devices and their origin as well as Homer's particularly fine usage of them. The overview of the first ten years of the Trojan War is excellent. I appreciate some of the ideas expressed about religion and spirituality in Classical Greece but the information given is based upon some outdated interpretations, especially as to the origins of the Olympian and other gods, and should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Other than this consideration--which any interested reader can follow up with his own research, and an uninterested reader will hardly care or remember later--the introduction, as I say, is very good.
The voice of Charlton Griffin is marvelous. It is filled with nobility and authority, richly textured, and precise.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Listening to Charlton Griffin's reading of Richmond Lattimore's translation of The Iliad was a wonderful experience.
Griffin is good at modifying the pitch and tone of his voice to evoke the different genders and ages and moods and agendas of the various characters. He brings the epic to life. He even makes fascinating the 90-minute introduction by scholar Herbert J. Muller. And the sound effects (ravens cawing over a battlefield) and Greek mood music introducing and concluding the 24 books of the epic immersed me in its world.
As for Homer's story, an epic focused on a short slice of a long war, a tragedy with plenty of humor, it is rewardingly rich, depicting the appalling heroism and horror of war, the full range of human nature (from bravery to cowardice, brutality to mercy, destruction to creation, and hatred to love), the richness of ancient Greek culture, the pettiness and power of the gods, and the mortality and wonder of life. Among the most impressive moments are Hector's meeting with his wife and baby before going out to fight, Hephaestus' crafting of a shield with the heavens and earth and all of human endeavor animated upon it, and Achilles' inability to embrace the ghost of Patroclus in a dream. I hope the following quotation will give an idea of the excellence of Lattimore's translation and the depth of Homer's vision:
As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity,
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.
In conclusion, I thoroughly savored this audio version of The Iliad, often smiling with appreciation for Homer's story, Lattimore's translation, and Griffin's reading. I highly recommend it.
I bought because of a top 100 books list. I did not expect to enjoy, and it was awesome! The early section explains to the novice what to expect, and the story follows exactly as outlined. The writer even tells which parts are tedious. The reader does a remarkable job. I have bought other Greek literature because of this experience. The Odyssey is even better, but read this first.
Charlton Griffin is my "go to" man for the classics. He can deliver the haughtiness of Zeus and the self-loathing of Helen.
This is another great title in the Audio Connoisseur catalog.
Great reading, very entertaining tto listen to. The reader really tells the story in a way that makes you feel like those who heard Homer tell it must have felt.
A phenomenal tale! Fierce battles, unstoppable hero's, bronze leaf-headed spears that spill a mans innards out before his before him bringing the clouded mist of darkness to his eyes... arrows shot by mortals and guided by Gods making their mark piercing a mans eye, through his brain and exiting through the back of his skull hurling the chariot driver to the ground face down with a mouthful of dirt as the red mist of darkness comes to him...
If you revel in details, you will enjoy the unabridged version of this story. I sampled all of the readers before downloading to see which narrator would best suite the story. Hands down Charlton Griffin wins again and again. Slight British accent, deep majestic voice that easily convinces you that you are listening to Almighty Zeus himself. He switches the voices up for specific characters to break any potential monotony. Excellent story, excellent narration! His style of narration makes you feel as though you are taken back in time and put into the story itself!
The narrator was a great voice.
The problem was in the recording. Almost every book of the Iliad had a middle break in it where there would suddenly be a 5-15 second silence in the middle of a scene or sentence. Then after this it would get super quiet or much louder so you needed to keep adjusting the volume. It was pretty bad especially in the middle books where the amplitude of change in the volume was greatest.
The translation was the version I was hoping would be available.
I like everything about The Iliad, in any translation; the fact that the audible.com version is my favorite (Lattimore) makes it the best thing about this selection.
Just a sample of two tales from Metamorphoses by Ovid. This compares well, to a very high standard of performance.
I imagine this question is more for unfamiliar titles--when the text is encountered for the first time as an Audible.com reading performance. Homer's text in its many different translations never fails to evoke the emotional spectrum no matter how many times it's been experienced before; Charlton Griffin's reading of Homer/Lattimore was excellent.
The Iliad has 24 chapters. It ends with the funeral of Hector. This version cuts of the end, having only 20 chapters. The the fight between Achilles and Hector isn't here!!! Couldn't believe it. Some of the most important parts of the work are simply left out. It is abridged. Surprised this is rated as highly as it is.
Yes, it has turned me off audible generally. Are other books said to be "unabridged" when they really aren't? If I download a history of the Revolutionary War, will they simply leave out Yorktown?
My first audible download, and very disappointing. I would return it if I could, for false advertising.
As far as English translations go, it is my firm opinion that Lattimore is second to none. The rhetoric is so straightforward and much easier to follow than the other two translations I've read previously.
Additionally, Griffin's delivery is excellent. His expression, voice impressions, and clear speech make for a grand telling of this amazing old poem. His annunciation is so good that you can listen to this audiobook at 2x speed and still understand him with relative ease, though I will say that 1.5x is a more reasonable recommendation.
Even the introduction in the beginning is well worth the listen. And I'll say for those that aren't familiar with the Iliad and don't know that this includes all 24 books of the story. That is to say, it begins with Achilles's rage at being treated unfairly by Agamemnon, and it ends with the funeral of Hector. The Iliad does not actually include the story of the Trojan horse, Ilium's fall, or Achilles's death. Those are not part Homer's canonical telling of the story, so this is a complete work, despite what some may think based on their knowledge of the whole legend.
I give it five stars in all categories.
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