Monday, October 3, 2016

The Iliad

Title: The Iliad

Series: None 

Year: around 800 B.C.

Author: Homer

Summary: The Iliad is one of the two great epics of Homer, and is typically described as one of the greatest war stories of all time, but to say the Iliad is a war story does not begin to describe the emotional sweep of its action and characters: Achilles, Helen, Hector, and other heroes of Greek myth and history in the tenth and final year of the Greek siege of Troy. (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Achilles
~ Zeus
~ Hera
~ Athena
~ Hector
~ Aphrodite
~ Odysseus
~ Diomedes
~ Paris
~ Helen
~ Agamemnon
~ Menelaus 

Review: Even if I hadn't had to read this book for a class, it was on my to-read list of books. It's a classic, a book of prestige, a key to understanding all of the Greek allusions in pretty much all of literature. I wanted to read it at first mostly just to be able to say that I read it, but I didn't actually realize I was going to enjoy it.

And no, I didn't read it in the original language. The translation I read was done by Richmond Lattimore, and I really enjoyed how he put it. He tried to keep it as true to the original tale as possible, even down to the number of feet (or beats/syllables) in each line. I will admit, I haven't read other translations, so I cannot tell you which is the best, but this one was definitely good.

Ever since reading Percy Jackson, I'd had a growing interest in the old Greek/Roman mythology. As a Christian, I don't believe that the gods of myth are real (hence the "myth"), but the stories surrounding them always sparked something of wonder. They really are a bunch of cool stories (until you read the Metmorphoses by Ovid). I love seeing how a culture comes together, and you really get a taste of what the Greek culture was like while reading this book. 

I won't say much of the story itself since the classic tale is pretty well-known. More than likely, you can get the whole plot on Wikipedia or some such nonsense. I really enjoyed getting to follow the characters (my favorite was Diomedes!) and taking a part in the action. Parts of the battles felt like following along with the fighting in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Yes, there are a lot of words to get through, but once I got used to the terminology of the book, it was easy to get lost in the story. 

Why should you read this book? Because it's got great bragging rights. Because it is a well-referenced classic. And because it actually is a cool story. I'm still not quite over the ending. You know... Greek feels. 

Advisory: Violence/fighting/people dying/people getting injured. Another title for this book is: "101 Ways How to Die Like a Greek." Also, some references to romance/love. That's the thing the Greeks do best after fighting. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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