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on May 23, 2015
Before I begin, a disclaimer. This review is not written to help you decide whether to read the Iliad. It is to help you decide which translation of the Iliad to choose. In short: In 2015, this is the best translation to get. Get it in paper, not Kindle.

Peter Green states in the introduction that he is following in the footsteps of Lattimore, to preserve as much of the poem in Greek--wording, sentence structure, meter, and so on--in English, but to also make it declaimable. It is a translation to be read aloud. Thus, it is also a challenge to Fagles's translation, among whose virtues is how well it works as an audiobook.

To review, there are several major verse modern translations of the Iliad. Lattimore's is closest to the original Greek, and for undergraduate work can substitute for the original well enough. There is the Fagles translation, in modern free verse, is wonderful to read aloud. The Fagles Odyssey was on Selected Shorts once, and for a long time after I insisted that there was no other worthwhile contemporary translation of Homer. I swore by it. Lombardo's translation is pretty common in colleges because of the price and the slangy presentation. Then there is Fitzgerald, which some swear by, but Fitzgerald's translation is loose with the Greek and mannered and fey in its English. It even translates Odysseus as "Ulysses," a sure sign that fidelity to the Greek is not worth the translator's trouble. I am missing some others, I'm sure.

So let us begin at the beginning. In the Greek, the Iliad has "μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος" Quite literally, "Rage! sing goddess of the son of Peleus Achilles." μῆνιν means, more or less, the anger that engenders revenge, rage, wrath, anger are all ok to some degree. (It's complicated, an entire scholarly treatise is written on the meaning of the word.) Green gives, "Wrath, goddess, sing of Achilles Peleus's son's [/ wrath]." Fagles gives "Rage--Goddess sing the rage of Peleus's son Achilles." Lattimore gives "Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son Achilleus." Green and Fagles are right to put the first word first. This is poetry, after all, the order of the words matter, the first especially. The first word is the theme of the poem, the way it is directed first against Agamemnon, then toward the Trojans, and then tempered for a common moment of humanity, is the internal trajectory of the whole epic. Wrath might be best of all, since it conveys that it is anger in a sense that is unfamiliar to modern readers.

Once, in my second year of taking Greek, I was told that there was no use of literal translations. Take it far enough, and you wind up with a textbook on how to read the book in the original Greek. Make it into readable English, and you wind up with a host of compromises where thousands of close translations might do. Go far enough you wind up with Girardoux's "The Trojan War Will Not Take Place," worthwhile on its own, but not really a "translation." That professor preferred Fitzgerald, but easy for her to do, she could read anything in Greek without any help. For us mortals with mostly forgotten Greek, or no Greek at all, closeness to the original in a translation should be treasured.

In the end, translating Homer is a game of compromises, How much of the strangeness of 2500 year old lines and 3200 year old motivations do you keep? Dactylic hexameter calls for lines much longer than any form of English verse, so shorter lines or not? And so on. For me, Fagles is as far to compromise with how English verse should go as I am willing to accept. For what it's worth, Lattimore's English verse is better than his critics complain of.

Starting from no knowledge of Greek, I'd choose Green. Over Lattimore because it's friendlier for the beginner and not worse as far as I can tell for a serious third reading. Over Fagles because the true-to-the-Greek line lengths convey the way the poem drives itself forward better in Green's line by line than in Fagles's free verse.

Also. The introduction includes a plot summary of the whole Trojan War, of which the Iliad only covers a small portion. I have never seen such a succinct and complete synopsis before. There is also a synopsis of the poem keyed to the poem in the back matter to help find your place, an enlightening glossary of names and concepts to help you through your first read, and footnotes to inform the reader of context that has since been lost.

Word to the wise re: Kindles. These are long verse lines. To get complete lines on a Kindle screen, you need a Kindle that allows text to display in landscape mode.Even then, complete lines only work in a very small font size. Get this in hardback for now. The hardback is stitched and bound to keep, so it is worth your money.
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on May 9, 2017
This is not a book review, but a warning: there is a technical problem with this page. I received a different translation than the one shown here, and apparently the page changes randomly (since someone else says this is the page for buying a copy of the Iliad!). I've reported the problem and it is being looked into. Because you can't leave a review without a star rating, I've using one star for this warning. That's no reflection on the book described here, which I hope to purchase once Amazon corrects this problem. I know this is an unusual use of book reviews, but I think it's important for people to know that if they purchase from this page there is no telling what they might receive. I will delete this once the problem is solved,
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on May 13, 2013
It's great to have the Lattimore translation available on Kindle, but there are drawbacks. The biggest would be the awkward coupling of words that are clearly meant to be one word. "Offended" becomes "off ended" regularly, for instance. "Craftsmanship" is "craft smanship". This seems to be done for the sake of lines that are divided in two because it is apparently impossible to fit an entire hexameter on one line (is this different on other Kindles? Mine is a first generation. I'd be curious to know). But even if you adjust your font to get as much of the line on one line as you can, this two syllable word (and others) are still broken into two separate words, creating a false archaism. In terms of the layout of the page, you always end up at least a small portion of the hexameter line indented beneath the line on which it began, and as a result the poetry "flows" differently. Of less concern, but nonetheless still a problem, there is no effort made to reproduce the fonts for the headings of each book, either.
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on September 20, 2015
After looking at all the translations out there I settled for this one. It has a wonderful rhythm, the language is fluid, it draws you into it. Unlike so many other translations, where I felt I would fall asleep, here I felt like I was sitting at a recital of the Iliad in an ancient Greek city and couldn't wait for it to progress, never mind I knew the story.
It comes with an incredibly helpful and interesting glossary. I also really appreciated that the names are in their Greek spelling and not latinized, which even the Fagles translation still does.
I'm going to reread it soon, it was simply so enjoyable.
I can only highly recommend this translation, I felt it was the closest I could come to experience the Iliad in the original.
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on March 6, 2017
I do not recall ever having to read the classics in school so I decided to educate myself and read them on my own, (much) later in life. I appreciate the translation of this edition, it is quite easy to read, although it clearly is not in any way "an easy read," but I find the story drags on unnecessarily with battle descriptives and dialogue repetitions. My husband assures me that when he read it in school there weren't so many details, and I can't say if that's his recollection or if his memory is accurate, but that is the one thing that somewhat bothers me about this book. I won't deny that there were passages in the book, particularly during battle scenes, where I have skipped over sentences to get to the unfolding morale.
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on September 19, 2016
The Kindle edition is not the Lattimore translation!! I was looking for an ebook version of the Lattimore translation of the Iliad. This book is advertised as such, but the translation is different. The actual translator of the kindle version is not identified, and I suspect it is an old, out-of-copyright translation from the 19th century.
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on September 12, 2017
My Review of the Richard Lattimore Translation of Homer's Odyssey-

Since I finished reading the Richard Lattimore Translation of the Odyssey I wanted to do a book review of this translation versus the translations I've read before (Lombardo and Evslin), while also looking at the great elements of my favorite book

~ I was told by members of the Ancient Greece History group page that Richard Lattimore was the English Translator that was the closest to Homer's Original "Iliad" and "Odyssey" and did not take liberties, or change the story in other ways like other authors have. Bernard Evslin's version is a good child version of the Odyssey but seriously pales in comparison to more scholarly translations of the Odyssey, and it lacks a huge portion of the story that is necessary. The Lombardo translation lacked these elements in it while the Lattimore Translation had more:

1. Details (Rooms, Items, The Islands, What Characters were wearing...etc)
2. The Major and minor Characters had a lot more personality and interesting background stories like Eumaios the Swineherd who plays a crucial part when Odysseus is returning to Ithaka in disguise
3. Nostoi Story (The return home of the Greek force and the events contingent upon their arrival, concluding with the returns of Agamemnon and Menelaus).
4. The meeting between Odysseus and Odysseus's Father: Laertes and the final battle against the Suitors relatives which made for a different ending to the story compared to the versions I had read.
5. Formalities (When a character's honorific title comes before their name, this was something that was repetitively in this version).

~ Short Overview of the Story

1 ~ This story started with the Telemachy (Adventures of Telemachos) from Chapters I-IV (1-4) with Odysseus's son, Telemachos. This is a pretty great introduction to the plight he and Penelope are facing with the cruel suitors in Odysseus's home, and why Odysseus needs to return to Ithaka, Telemachos goes to visit veterans of the Trojan War to get news of his father from Nestor and Menelaos both of whom have returned to their countries (Pylos for Nestor and Lakedaimon for Menelaos).

2 ~ Then we make the transition from Telemachos to Odysseus who in Chapter V (5) is stuck on Ogygia until Hermes helps him by convincing Kalypso that Odysseus is destined to return to Ithaka and should not be denied his destiny. Odysseus manages to construct a raft with the aid of Kalypso but he just barely manages to make it to the Island of the Phaiakians where he meets Nausikaa (Daughter of the Phaiakian King Alkinoos).
3 ~ From Chapters VI-VIII(6-8) and XIII (13) Odysseus stays with the Phaiakian King and Queen in their palace, and becomes more acquainted with them. And King Alkinoos aids Odysseus make his way home. From Chapters IX to XIII (9-12) Odysseus tells the Phaiakians who he is and about his Wandering which is why this portion of the story is referred to as "The Great Wanderings", it begins with the aftermath of the fall of Troy and then goes into his adventures with:

1. Kikonians
2. Lotus-Eaters
3. Polyphemos and the Cyclopes
4. Aiolos
5. Laistrygones
6. Circe
7. Visit to the Land of the Dead
8. Sirens
9. Skylla and Charybdis
10. Cattle of Helios
11. The loss of all of his companions
12. His arriving on Ogygia

4 ~ "Odysseus on Ithaka" is the final section of the book from Chapters XIII to XXIV (13-24), Odysseus must learn about the situation of his home and how best to deal with the treacherous suitors who are ruining his families livelihood, Athena (She plays the role of guardian spirit for Odysseus and Telemachos in the story) helps him by disguising him as a beggar with her godly powers who can observe who is still loyal to him and who isn't loyal to him, during this time he, Telemachos, Eumaios the Swineherd and Philoitios the Oxherder plan how they will get rid of the suitors. They are able to kill the vile suitors and regain control of Odysseus's home with the aid of Athena and Zeus.
Homer gives us a story with the values of:

1. Patience
2. Loyalty
3. Fidelity
4. Determination and the Resolution to never Give up no matter how much you suffer
5. The understanding of the After-Effects of what can happen after a long war (Nostoi)
6. Necessity for Cleverness and Wisdom
7. Respecting ones home and ones guests by providing proper hospitality

I believe Homer should be more acknowledged for these great stories he has given to us, the Iliad is an incomplete story in the "Epic Cycle" but it still gives us a lot of lessons, teaches us a lot and is altogether a great story. There is a reason why Homer is my Favorite Author because of his great stories.

I disliked having to shorten the overview of the Odyssey because it is such a great book, There were so many parts to the book that I really enjoyed and if anyone wants to talk about this book then I would be more than happy to talk about this book :D

My Recommendation is that everyone read a good scholarly translation of Homer's Odyssey like Richard Lattimores translation because it will do more justice to Homer, the translation you read really makes a difference on how you look at the story. I know that having read this translation has me excited for the day I can read Homer's "Iliad" and Odyssey" in the Original Ancient Greek like it was meant to be read.
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on September 6, 2017
The story looses the lyrical quality when translated from verse to prose. Still for, “those who cannot read the original”, as the book’s subtitle proposes, it offers an explanation of the story-line of the original epic. The story itself does not stand up well to modern expectations; the verbiage is often exaggerated - hyperbolic, gods and goddesses come and go throughout, the hero(s) are too much larger than life and there is more repetition than most will be used to.

The original of course has great historic, archeological and mythological value and will certainly stand up to those tests - still… as a ‘read’ for the sake of a story, the translation ‘underwhelms’.

Robert Fagles's translation makes plain that he does NOT believe the Odyssey to be the work of Homer but rather “…the poem was entirely written by a very young woman, who lived in a place now called Trapani, and introduced herself into her work under the name of Nausicca”.
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on February 12, 2016
So what type of publisher is going to provide an epic poem without line numbers? Especially for academic purposes. It was pretty much completely useless to me. The formation of the lines is everything to a classic this way so there's no debate on how these lines should be numbered. It's not like page numbers where they vary drastically.
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on December 25, 2015
This epic story of the Trojan war is also an intimate look at customs and relationships during the time of Ancient Greece. There are scenes of brutal and violent battle to rival the Walking Dead in gore. At the same time, each man killed is given a name and his family history related. This is personal warfare, not anonymous battle by drones. Heroes like Hektor and Achilles are praised but Homer also describes the petty feuds and jealousies among men. Greek soldiers such as Agamemnon fight over spoils, over who will get a larger share of war loots. Homer shows the combatants as being afraid of dying, of fantasizing of fleeing from battle. There are occasional glimpses of humanity, as when Achilles allows Priam to take back the body of his dead son Hektor instead of mutilating it. Sorrow is ever-present: Achilles for his friend Patroklos, Priam for his son Hektor. In the haunting words of Achilles, asking Priam to "Endure it, then. And do not mourn forever for your dead son. There is no remedy/You will not make him stand again. Rather/ await some new misfortune to be suffered."
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