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.
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