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Publisher's Summary

Little is known about the Ancient Greek oral poet Homer, the supposed 8th century BC author of the world-read Iliad and his later masterpiece, The Odyssey. These classic epics provided the basis for Greek education and culture throughout the classical age and formed the backbone of humane education through the birth of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity. If Homer did in fact exist, this supposedly blind poet was from some region of Greek-controlled Asia-Minor and recited his poems at festivals and political assemblies. In this extraordinary two volume audio set, the glorious saga again unfolds, telling the story of courage and magical adventure in Ancient Greece.

The Iliad, the first of Homer's epic poems, tells of the counsel of Nestor, Achilles's slaying of Hector, and the defeat of the Trojans by the Greeks.

In The Odyssey, in his perilous journey home after the Trojan War, Odysseus must pass through the land of the Cyclopes, encounter Circe the Enchantress, and face the terrible Charybdis and the six headed serpent Scylla.

Both epics are translated here by Samuel Butler.

(P)2002 Commuters Library

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    275
  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    70
  • 1 Stars
    49

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    141
  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
    88
  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    20

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
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  • Overall
  • Sam
  • RALEIGH, NC, USA
  • 12-31-04

Worth the price, worth the time

This is one of those purchases that you're glad you made about halfway into the book. In this case, it will be halfway into the Iliad. You really need to purchase both books together in order to get the full effect. The recording quality is excellent and Nescault's narration is very good.

Achilles and Agammemnon's argument (over a woman) starts the storyline. I was swept up into the battle on the shores and walls of Troy, of listening to the stories of mighty Ajax, wizened Nestor, the warring Diamid (sp?), and other characters and actions. To hear the last four or five chapters of the Iliad, where Achilles goes to war against the Trojans, is a listening for the ages. I'll never forget it.

The Iliad does not end with the sacking of Troy. That story is recounted in the Odyssey instead (yes, it surprised me too). Instead what you get is a vast panapoly of multi-dimensional, richly textured characters struggling to achieve their will in war and in peace.

There are a lot of very good political and personal lessons in these epics as well, esp. in the use and application of power and might. There's a lot of rich psychological hints and tricks that will help anyone listening closely to grasp human nature better. Vengeance, love, honor, hatred, fear, courage and the imposition of the will are all on display in this translation, and John Lescault's narration brings these stories alive. I found myself rooting for the Argives against the Trojans in the Iliad, and was sad at the end of the glorious round of battles between Hector and Achilles. The battle sequences are detailed blow-by-blow (sometimes with gory detail).

Bottom Line: Out of all the versions available on Audible, you should get this one because it's got the biggest bang-for-the-buck. The Iliad and the Odyssey are two parts of the same story, and you won't want to miss either one.

135 of 140 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tiffany
  • Ferndale, MI, USA
  • 02-18-07

Great Audio

This is a great version for college students. They summarize each section at the beginning and speak very clearly. I have a hard time reading these types of books and was able to fully participate in the class conversations after having listened to this book.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Iliad

This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the Greek Mythology. You'll get much more out of this book if you have a base knowledge of the gods, people, geography and events. Going into this book without such a base knowledge and you'll find yourself getting lost with all the names: So & so, son of that guy... Thus he spoke.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Good Version of a Great Story

The single most important thing about this 28+ hour experience is that at the end one understands why these two tales are such classics - not because someone told you, but because you experienced them. The narration is stately and measured and becomes oddly hypnotic at times.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Eladio
  • El Paso, TX, USA
  • 03-30-05

As if Homer was reciting the stories himself

While I read the cliff notes way back in school, I could never sit down and actually read these books all the way through on my own. Now I know why. These are fantastic stories meant to be TOLD. The excellent narration voice and style often made me feel like I was sitting in a palace 2800 years ago listening to Homer weave his terrific tales in real life.

This was one I never wanted to end.

Since both stories flow into each other, you really will want to hear both in order to follow the stories of these great Greek heros, so this two book collection is a perfect compilation.

43 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Story Great Reader

The eternal story of Love, War and our place on earth is very well read and a pleasure to listen to.

The use of the Greek names for the Gods and the Heroes may be disconcerting at the beginning but well worth the effort. The narrator loves his subject and knows it well.

This is my best buy.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Philip
  • Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
  • 07-01-05

A Test of Endurance?. And well worth it.

Let me start with the biggest issue that all who read (or listen) to this story must know: THE ILIAD ENDS BEFORE THE TROJAN HORSE!!! That?s right. After Hector death the narrator said ?the end.? I spent sometime online and learned that the famous story of the Trojan Horse is to be found in the works of Virgil.

Having said that the Iliad is true test of endurance. There is a solid 45 minutes spent reciting each of the 1,000 ships (as in Helena, the face that launched ?). Endless lists of strange names of people you will never meet again in the story. And the name of people change too. Sometime it is the person name, sometime they are referred to as son of so-and-so, sometime even grandson of so-and-so. The whole book is the endless battle of Troy that not only does not conclude in the book, but every time something decisive is about to happen a god steps in and stops it. I am glad I listened to it, but it was not exactly the most exciting audible book.

The Odyssey, on the other hand, is absolutely incredible. This story actually goes somewhere in fact it goes everywhere. I can?t say enough about this story. But you do have to hang on at the beginning. It starts almost at the end. The first 3 hours take place back at Ithaca while suitors are trying to marry Penelope. Finally we meet up with Odysseus who tells story of his travel. And what a story it is.

So in conclusion, try to make it through the Iliad, but if you find yourself fading jump to download part 3 for the beginning of the Odyssey.

38 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • 04-02-06

Incredible

A must read even if you read it before when younger. Brings one back 2700 years ago and gets inside the mind of those (albeit nobility) who lived then.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Timeless stories, fairly good narration

As for Homer's stories the Illiad and the Odyssey, they anchor western literature. This narration is decent. It is not annoying; it is eloquent and careful. It isn't 5 stars, but probable between 3 and 4. Bottom line: this is a solid purchase for your audio library.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Horrible Reader

While the story may be good, the reader needs some work. When a new character starts to speak, he'll speak three words in the new voice, and then drop it for his normal voice. If I didn't already have a good idea of how the story goes, I don't believe I would be able to follow along at all. Descriptive paragraphs run into people's speeches - totally confusing. If I hadn't already heard books from other readers, and know what good reading is, this would have turned me off completely from audio books.

28 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • P. Ward
  • 11-03-11

And his armour fell rattling around him...

There is surely no need to give my opinion of the story here so I'll only mention the narration.
I was not completely satisfied by the style of the reading for this audio book when it started but, after time, I found it grew on me. There is a rhythm to it that the narrator's lack of inflection lets through. The text itself and the repetitions within it carried me along at a comfortable pace and I soon found myself muttering along as familiar phrases were repeated.
Details stayed with me long after the book had ended and I can still recall substantial portions now as I write this several months after listening. They play back in John Lescault's distinctive voice and the images they conjure remain as vivid.
In conclusion, an unsettling start turned into a memorable experience. Pretty soon I'll be set to listen to the whole lot again.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Matthew
  • 10-24-11

Monotone...

As interesting as the illiad is, this is the first audio book I've seriously considered stopping listening to. The guy who reads it does it in a continuous monotone. When he does vary from it, it's completely random, and the volume varies considerably, sometimes within a sentence.

I've only finished the first part, but I'm not convinced I'll be completing the whole thing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • qaaa
  • 09-04-12

It is a great book

I loved listening to this book.great naration and great story .i feel good after listening to this one.

  • Overall
  • TomH
  • 04-08-12

narration terrible!

As another reviewer has said, monotone and made dull as ditch water. An ideal listen for insomniacs.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Catriona
  • 01-14-12

Confused...

I'm not sure if this was just a glitch with the downloading or not but I only seem to have the Odyssey in this audiobook and the parts I do have are scrambled into a different order (Part 3, 1, 2, 4 seems to be the order they go in) As I am using this for help with my University studies it is incredibly irritating that I can't just hit play and listen while writing essays etc. As I haven't really listened beyond the first few minutes of each track I can't make comment on the narration etc. Very confused by this and there's no easy way to contact audible with any problems.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful