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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great edition of a great book, March 11, 2006
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This review is from: Homer: The Iliad: Volume I, Books 1-12 (Loeb Classical Library No. 170) (Hardcover)
Homer, The Iliad, Loeb Classical Library Nos. 170 & 171, translated by A.T. Murray (1924), revised by William F. Wyatt (1999). ISBNs 0674995791 and 0674995805.

The Loeb books are small, as the dimensions on the Amazon product page will show you, and they're all hardcover. All volumes have the original Latin or Greek text on the left and an English translation on the right. Greek Loebs are bound in green and Latin volumes in red. Many Loeb volumes were originally issued in the early part of the twentieth century (the series was started in 1911) and so those which have not been updated can sound stilted to modern ears. A.T. Murray's Loeb translation of the Iliad was published in 1924. The professor of classics at Brown University, William F. Wyatt, has updated Murray's rendering, taking out the thees and thous and adding a few notes to Murray's already very helpful annotations.

I first read the Iliad in Butler's translation. I decided to read it again, and chose the Loeb version for the series' translations, which as mentioned above, tend toward the literal side of things to help students who are reading the Greek text and using the translation as a "crib." Of course, the Iliad really is "Greek" to me, and so the translation is the only useful thing to me in the Loeb edition. But the translation is well worth the forty bucks or so it costs for both volumes. The sentences can get a bit long and involved, but nothing worse than you'll find in older English literature, and I know enough about Greek to know it has long sentences. So from someone who knows no Greek, take it for what it's worth.

As for the Iliad itself: it might take a bit of getting used to for the modern reader, should he be unused to anything outside of his own century. Every time a warrior dies, it's "and over him his armor clanged," or "and his knees were loosed," or another formula phrase. Characters most likely have a descriptive handle: "Odysseus of many wiles," "ox-eyed queenly Hera," "swift-footed Achilles." But I quickly got the point where I was enjoying the formulas and not resenting them. Battle scenes are rather graphic: we're told exactly where the spearpointed entered and where it came out, and exactly which body parts fell out in the process; although a lot of us moderns brought up on Hollywood gore won't mind that.

So should you read the Iliad? If you do, you put yourself in company with Aeschylus, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Milton, Johnson, our Founding Fathers, Tolstoy, and J.R.R. Tolkien, just to name a few. So do yourself a favor and give it a try.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 25, 2011 9:47:34 AM PDT
Not sure about Dante reading the Iliad... He read about it, and honored Homer in the Elysian Fields, but I think he didn't actually read it.

Posted on Apr 25, 2011 11:47:24 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 25, 2011 11:47:47 AM PDT]
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