The Iliad (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Iliad (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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The Iliad, by Homer, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

The epic song of Ilion (an old name for Troy), The Iliad recreates a few dramatic weeks near the end of the fabled Trojan War, ending with the funeral of Hector, defender of the doomed city. Through its majestic verses stride the fabled heroes Priam, Hector, Paris, and Aeneas for Troy; Achilles, Ajax, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Patroclus, and Odysseus for the Greeks; and the beautiful Helen, over whom the longstanding war has been waged. Never far from the center of the story are the quarreling gods: Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite.

The Iliad is the oldest Greek poem and perhaps the best-known epic in Western literature, and has inspired countless works of art throughout its long history. An assemblage of stories and legends shaped into a compelling single narrative, The Iliad was probably recited orally by bards for generations before being written down in the eighth century B.C. A beloved fixture of early Greek culture, the poem found eager new audiences when it was translated into many languages during the Renaissance. Its themes of honor, power, status, heroism, and the whims of the gods have ensured its enduring popularity and immeasurable cultural influence.

Bruce M. King studied at the University of Chicago, and has taught classics and humanities at Columbia University, Reed College, and the University of Chicago. Recently a Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies, King focuses on archaic and classical Greek literature and philosophy. He is currently a Blegen Research Fellow at Vassar College.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082321
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 01/15/2006
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 9,259
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

The ancient Greek poet Homer established the gold standard for heroic quests and sweeping journeys with his pair of classic epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Crowded with characters, both human and non-human, and bursting with action, the epic tales detail the fabled Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus as he struggles to return home. Homer’s epics have inspired countless books and works of art throughout their long history.

Read an Excerpt

From Bruce M. King’s Introduction to The Iliad

The Iliad, then, even as it sings the immortality of its heroes, suggests an end to their imagined era and to the political order that is located there. Indeed, one of the great feats of the Iliad is to pose a critique—centered upon the withdrawals and speeches of Achilles—of the heroic order and the possibilities that it offers for mortal happiness. From this point of view, the essential work of the Iliad is one of negation—again, the epic is unjust with respect to the old, but potentially beneficent with respect to the future. The old heroic order—for all its blinding beauties and exaltations, for all its aspirant motion toward the realm of the aesthetic—is also revealed as unable to quell strife and its attendant violence, as conducive to no just stability and, finally, as a desolation to its own greatest heroes (as the complaints and career of Achilles will dramatize). To the extent that it thematizes the obsolescence of the old heroic order, the Iliad reveals an orientation toward the future; the poem cannot invent the forms that will govern the future, but it can present to the future a kind of tabula rasa, upon which the poet’s audience might reinscribe new meanings out of the wreckage of the old, upon which the heroes might be reassembled and once again directed toward human ends.

If the warrior order is permanently unmade over the course of the Iliad, it is upon the Shield of Achilles (XVIII.540–681) that the poet depicts a collective way of life closer to the historical experience and communal ethos of his late eighth- or seventh-century audience. The Shield is forged by Hephaestus, the god of craft, at the request of Thetis, Achilles’ mother. This new and immortal shield replaces Achilles’ prior shield, which he had given to his beloved Patroclus, who lost it—along with his life—in combat with Hector, the Trojan prince and defender. In a distillation of pure fury following the death of Patroclus, Achilles has resolved to return to battle to avenge the death of Patroclus, with the full knowledge that his return will necessitate his death at Troy. When the Dawn-goddess delivers the gift of the Shield down from Olympus to Achilles’ camp, his companions, upon seeing the images worked upon the Shield, are struck with fear and avert their gaze (XIX.16–18). They cannot look upon the “splendor” of the Shield, for in the depiction of the way of life there—which is that of the poet’s own audience—the heroes see their own obsolescence. Achilles, however, gazes long upon the brilliance of the Shield with a combination of adrenal anger and deep pleasure; his eyes gleam back in response, as if themselves afire. The vision that he sees upon the Shield—of a world without heroes, of a world without the relentless martial strife of the Iliad itself—is the source of a renewed, visceral anger for Achilles because it is a world whose possibilities are not meant for him. Yet the vision is also a source of pleasure to him because it is of a world that his own great paroxysm of killing rage in the final quarter of the poem will usher in. In his pleasure at the sight of the Shield, Achilles can, as it were, acknowledge his own role in the foundation of the world to come, even if his role is preeminently one of extraordinary negation: Achilles is the hero whose discontent fully lays bare the failures of the heroic order from the point of view of mortal happiness, while his surpassing strength permits him to make that discontent murderously actual, as he devastates much of the heroic order itself in the final books of the poem. His perfection is such that he is both the culmination and the destruction of the traditional form.

Among the images upon the Shield, it is the depiction of the wedding procession and, in the passage immediately following, of a communal process of adjudication in a case of murder that are foundational for the city-state (XVIII.554–560 and 560–574); both images appear on the second ring of the Shield, in the city at peace. In the wedding procession, the “high-blazing” torches illumine a scene of music and revelry; the sight provokes wonder: The promise of the wedding—which we do not see concluded, but always in motion—is one of social unity, the joining together and mutual strengthening of families withinn the city. In the Iliad itself, such unity is always in pieces, defended in speech even as it is sundered in action. The Achaean cause at Troy is, of course, the recovery of Helen, whose wedding to Menelaus is overturned by her flight, whether compelled or voluntary, to Troy. The martial expedition to Troy presents itself as a defense of the conjugal union and, by extension, of the social work that the wedding accomplishes—primarily, the joining together of families and the establishment of a new social unit that might, in turn, offer guest-friendship to others and to outsiders, thus creating further links of social exchange and comity. And yet, as Achilles complains with great and piercing sarcasm in book IX, the larger social principle epitomized by the defense of Helen and her marriage has been granted no general applicability, but seems to apply only to Agamemnon and Menelaus.

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The Iliad (Illustrated by John Flaxman + link to download FREE audiobook + Active TOC) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 313 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm only a few chapters into the book, but by far, this is the greatest poem I've ever read. Homer combines drama, action, and mythology into one. This is definately reccomended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Iliad, as with other Greek poetry, was poetry intended to be recited orally as opposed to being read. Fitzgerald's backgroung in poetry brings out the lyrical passion of the Iliad so prized by the Greeks as no other translation has done. Other translations are also hampered by archaic English language and idioms that make little sense today. I strongly recommend this translation more than any other.
AnonymousZS More than 1 year ago
The Illiad, by Homer, is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. It actually is not necessarily a book; more like a poem. This poem-book tells of the legendary Trojan War between the Greeks and the Trojans. The whole thing kicked off when Hector ran away with the Greek king's daughter, Helen. They then fled to Troy with it's near impassable structured walls. Zeus brought back the news to Mount Olympus, place of the gods, and every god took up arguments for both sides. Half sided with Troy while the other half sided with the Greeks. As the Greeks battled with the Trojans, it became clear that they were losing. So they decided on a trick. A selected few men would hidee inside a great wooden horse, dubbed, the Trojan Horse. The Trojans would wheel the horse in think it was a great prize. When nightfall came, the men jumped out and !opened the gate for the whole Greek army to come in. Troy was defeated soundly and the book ends with the funeral of Hector. A ten out of ten!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this with the Sparknotes on The Illiad, which summarizes each 'book' (chapter) in the story. Once you have an idea of what's happening chapter by chapter, the book expands on the summary, and is really becomes an awesome read. Homer can describe in vivid detail the combat sequences. Once you get past the fact that this version is written in it's poetic form, and you read it just like a regular prose version, you will enjoy it. It is very affordable at under 8 bucks, so making notes, underlining parts that really strike you etc... won't make you feel like you are defacing anything. It's a must for any library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Iliad is the story of the battle of Troy for a women named Helen who was taken captaive from here husband. All of the Greek city states were involved in this war and many famous heroes. The war lasted for 20 years and each side had many deaths. Two of the most famous men who fought at Troy were Achilles and Odyseus these two men made sure that they won the battle and got Helen back. They did not realise what a daunting task they would have infront of them until they arrived at Troy. The walls were said to be 100 feet tall and 50 feet thick at most parts. The battle of Troy is one of the most famous wars in all of history because of two things, it was the first to be over a women and have the gods help them in their victory. Also that it had lasted so long and how strategic each side had fought in the war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, it's funny when you refer to this as a book. It actually is an epic. If lacking the knowledge of poetry, an epic is in fact a branch of poetry. Overall, amazing, far better then the odyssey.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Iliad is definitely a must-read for anyone. As a student, I was required to read this for my World Literature class. As far as the mythology is concerned, it is absolutely fascinating, but even the historical perspective is amazing. This epic poem is probably still THE standard for Greek mythology.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was confussing at first but after I look up some of the plots in the story I remembered seeing a movie about the Iliad. It was an incredible Book
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book because I figured it would help to better understand the allusions and references in future novels. Not only did The Iliad help with this but it also was a great read. The introduction by King was informative and emphasized the transformation of war into art.
LastCall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the corner stones of all of Western Literature
neurodrew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The IliadHomer(Translation Robert FItzgerald)Apr 18, 2010 6:20 PMI have had this book on my shelves, and in my conscience, for years. I am not sure why I was motivated to read it now. I recall my humanities teacher in high school, Brother Joseph Zutelis, and his insistence on making his students cultured, starting with the Greek classics. I read large parts of the Iliad in his classes, have heard it praised and cited in many books, finally decided to experience it for myself, at least in translation. It is graphic, and bloody. If released in this day, perhaps as a graphic novel, it would be condemned for its violence, and misogyny. Its story moves briskly, and its details evoke the lives and experiences of agrarian Greeks, in the earthy descriptions of forest fires and wolves, farming and fishing. The hero, Akhilleus as spelled in this translation, is too stubborn and egotistical to feel much sympathy for. Odysseus is a much more attractive. The Gods take part in the battle, and the men accept the interference of the gods in their combat as fate. In the end, there is death, and lamenting. The general theme is mortality and its cruel and iron hand. The beginning¿Anger be now your song, immortal oneAkhilleus¿ anger, doomed and ruinous,that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss¿Hektor rallying Trojans: Book 15¿...Fight for the shipsAs one man, all of you! And if one findshis death, his end, in some spear-thrust or castthen that is that, and no ignoble deathfor a man defending his own land¿Athena emboldening Menelaos:¿Power in his shouldersshe instilled, and gristle in his knees, and in his heart the boldness of a shad flyfiercely brushed away, but mad to bite,as human blood is ambrosial drink to him.¿Aeneas boasting, book 20¿Men have twisty tongues, and on them speechof all kinds. Wide is the grazing land of words,both east and west¿Apollo on Akhilleus¿ rage, book 24¿The man has lost all mercy;he has no shame - that gift that hinders mortals, but helps them, too.¿
israfel13 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is completely beyond my ability to either add or detract from this masterpiece.
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Manirul More than 1 year ago
Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book, but we had to read it for school and the ebook does not include number lines so it made it hard to follow in class.
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I read this for a project I have to do for my end of the year is awesome!
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