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He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems. Both works attributed to Homer - The Iliad and The Odyssey - are over ten thousand lines long in the original. Homer must have had an amazing memory but was helped by the formulaic poetry style of the time.
In The Iliad Homer sang of death and glory, of a few days in the struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans. Mortal men played out their fate under the gaze of the gods. The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller's tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.
We can never be certain that both these stories belonged to Homer. In fact 'Homer' may not be a real name but a kind of nickname meaning perhaps 'the hostage' or 'the blind one'. Whatever the truth of their origin, the two stories, developed around three thousand years ago, may well still be read in three thousand years' time.
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A New York Times Notable Book of 2018
"Wilson’s language is fresh, unpretentious and lean…It is rare to find a translation that is at once so effortlessly easy to read and so rigorously considered." —Madeline Miller, author of Circe
Composed at the rosy-fingered dawn of world literature almost three millennia ago, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home.
This fresh, authoritative translation captures the beauty of this ancient poem as well as the drama of its narrative. Its characters are unforgettable, none more so than the “complicated” hero himself, a man of many disguises, many tricks, and many moods, who emerges in this version as a more fully rounded human being than ever before.
Written in iambic pentameter verse and a vivid, contemporary idiom, Emily Wilson’s Odyssey sings with a voice that echoes Homer’s music; matching the number of lines in the Greek original, the poem sails along at Homer’s swift, smooth pace.
A fascinating, informative introduction explores the Bronze Age milieu that produced the epic, the poem’s major themes, the controversies about its origins, and the unparalleled scope of its impact and influence. Maps drawn especially for this volume, a pronunciation glossary, and extensive notes and summaries of each book make this is an Odyssey that will be treasured by a new generation of readers.
With her virtuoso translation, classicist and bestselling author Caroline Alexander brings to life Homer’s timeless epic of the Trojan War
Composed around 730 B.C., Homer’s Iliad recounts the events of a few momentous weeks in the protracted ten-year war between the invading Achaeans, or Greeks, and the Trojans in their besieged city of Ilion. From the explosive confrontation between Achilles, the greatest warrior at Troy, and Agamemnon, the inept leader of the Greeks, through to its tragic conclusion, The Iliad explores the abiding, blighting facts of war.
Soldier and civilian, victor and vanquished, hero and coward, men, women, young, old—The Iliad evokes in poignant, searing detail the fate of every life ravaged by the Trojan War. And, as told by Homer, this ancient tale of a particular Bronze Age conflict becomes a sublime and sweeping evocation of the destruction of war throughout the ages.
Carved close to the original Greek, acclaimed classicist Caroline Alexander’s new translation is swift and lean, with the driving cadence of its source—a translation epic in scale and yet devastating in its precision and power.
After nine years fighting the Trojan War, the Greeks sense imminent defeat. The gods have cursed them with a plague; the Trojans have set their ships on fire; and their best warrior, the impenetrable Achilles, has turned his back on them. But when the Trojans go too far and kill Patroclus, his beloved brother-in-arms, Achilles returns to the battlefield with a vengeance so terrible that it shocks even the gods.
Written by Homer more than twenty-five hundred years ago, The Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature—the seminal epic narrative of infantry combat, the scars of battle, and the inevitability of fate.
AmazonClassics brings you timeless works from the masters of storytelling. Ideal for anyone who wants to read a great work for the first time or rediscover an old favorite, these new editions open the door to literature’s most unforgettable characters and beloved worlds.
Revised edition: Previously published as The Iliad, this edition of The Iliad (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.
The Odyssey is attributed to the poet Homer and, after its companion poem the Iliad, is the second-oldest surviving work of Western literature. Composed sometime around the eighth century BC, the ancient Greek poem has since been translated into many languages and serves as an important source of information on ancient Greek culture and mythology. Actor Sean Bean took on the role of Odysseus in the 2004 film Troy, which depicted the events directly leading up to the voyage of the Odyssey.
Robert Fitzgerald's translation of Homer's Odyssey is the best and best-loved modern translation of the greatest of all epic poems.
Since 1961, this Odyssey has sold more than two million copies, and it is the standard translation for three generations of students and poets. Farrar, Straus and Giroux is delighted to publish a new edition of this classic work. Fitzgerald's supple verse is ideally suited to the story of Odysseus' long journey back to his wife and home after the Trojan War. Homer's tale of love, adventure, food and drink, sensual pleasure, and mortal danger reaches the English-language reader in all its glory.
Of the many translations published since World War II, only Fitzgerald's has won admiration as a great poem in English. The noted classicist D. S. Carne-Ross explains the many aspects of its artistry in his Introduction, written especially for this new edition.
Winner of the Bollingen Prize
"Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus / and its devastation." For sixty years, that's how Homer has begun the Iliad in English, in Richmond Lattimore's faithful translation—the gold standard for generations of students and general readers.
This long-awaited new edition of Lattimore's Iliad is designed to bring the book into the twenty-first century—while leaving the poem as firmly rooted in ancient Greece as ever. Lattimore's elegant, fluent verses—with their memorably phrased heroic epithets and remarkable fidelity to the Greek—remain unchanged, but classicist Richard Martin has added a wealth of supplementary materials designed to aid new generations of readers. A new introduction sets the poem in the wider context of Greek life, warfare, society, and poetry, while line-by-line notes at the back of the volume offer explanations of unfamiliar terms, information about the Greek gods and heroes, and literary appreciation. A glossary and maps round out the book.
The result is a volume that actively invites readers into Homer's poem, helping them to understand fully the worlds in which he and his heroes lived—and thus enabling them to marvel, as so many have for centuries, at Hektor and Ajax, Paris and Helen, and the devastating rage of Achilleus.
Lombardo's Odyssey offers the distinctive speed, clarity, and boldness that so distinguished his 1997 Iliad.
"[Lombardo] has brought his laconic wit and love of the ribald . . . to his version of the Odyssey. His carefully honed syntax gives the narrative energy and a whirlwind pace. The lines, rhythmic and clipped, have the tautness and force of Odysseus' bow."
—Chris Hedges, The New York Times Book Review
Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Akhilleus' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men-carrion
for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.
Since it was first published more than twenty-five years ago, Robert Fitzgerald's prizewinning translation of Homer's battle epic has become a classic in its own right: a standard against which all other versions of The Iliad are compared. Fitzgerald's work is accessible, ironic, faithful, written in a swift vernacular blank verse that "makes Homer live as never before" (Library Journal).
This edition includes a new foreword by Andrew Ford.
—Daniel Mendelsohn, The New York Times Book Review
The decade-long Trojan War has come to an end and Odysseus, the King of Ithaca instrumental in securing victory for the Greeks, finally sets sail for home. But his adventures are far from over. Cursed by the god Poseidon to wander the earth for ten years, he must battle monstrous creatures—even facing the land of the dead—before returning to Ithaca, where still more dangers await him. In his long absence, Odysseus’s wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, have endured a violent crowd of suitors who occupied the royal palace.
Together with The Iliad, Homer’s epic poem of the Trojan War, The Odyssey is one of the oldest surviving works of Western literature. Samuel Butler’s beautiful English prose version, first appearing in 1900, remains one of the most beloved and acclaimed translations of this timeless tale.
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Probably composed in the eighth century B.C. and based on an actual historical event of the thirteenth century B.C., Homer's Iliad is one of the great epics of the Western world. The poem unfolds near the end of the ten-year-long Trojan War, detailing the quarrel between the great warrior-hero Achilles and King Agamemnon, the battle between Paris and Menelaus for Helen of Troy, the Greek assault on the city and the Trojan counterattacks, the intervention of the gods on the part of their favorites, and numerous other incidents and events.
Vast in scope, possessing extraordinary lyricism and poignancy, this time-honored masterpiece brilliantly conveys the inconsistencies of gods and men, the tumultuous intensity of conflict, and the devastation that results from war. This inexpensive edition reproduces the celebrated Samuel Butler prose translation, admired for its simple, unadorned style, clarity, and readability.