expired The Iliad of Homer (Paperback) - $8.31 + Delivery (Free w/ Prime spend $49) @ Amazon AU

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I have been studying Classical Mythology at Uni this past semester (as part of my Classics minor - my major is Creative Writing) and bought this for at least twice the price (as far as I recall). I highly recommend it for any avid reader. It is an astonishing work of literature and there is a good reason people are still reading it (forget that you ever saw Troy, the movie). Immerse yourself in this powerful and thrilling work of art.

I also recommend The Odyssey by the same author/ translator (also available in Hardcover).

If you really get interested in the fascinating ancient cultures of Greece and Rome, which have shaped the modern world in so many ways, get your hands on Ovid's Metamorphoses (author: Mandelbaum - we also read from Slavitt's version) and Hesiod's Theogony (with Works and Days/ The Shield of Herakles) (author: Lattimore).

All authors named are favoured by Melbourne University except for Theogony since we were reading from Wender's version - however, she cuts out vital aspects, so I prefer Lattimore's.

Other recommendations:

Virgil's Aeneid (Fairclough)
and… Plays by Aeschylus (eg. The Oresteia), Sophocles (eg. The Theban Plays) and Euripides (eg. Medea and The Bacchae) (Penguin Classics)

N.B. It is disputed that the works of Homer are scribed by the hand of one man. There is also a debate that the two famous stories originated from different authors (as they contain stylistic discrepancies). All of the stories were actually handed down orally, from the archaic, through the (first) Dark Ages - probably a result of the Santorini eruption) via hymn or song, a method which allowed for mnemonic transmission.

tl;dr The Iliad and The Odyssey are well worth the read!

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  • +2 votes

    Thank you for sharing

  • +15 votes

    I love the Simpson's

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    Sadly, maybe just for me, most classic literature is basically unreadable. This will look nice on a shelf. It'll probably have thumb prints on the first 4 pages.

    • +1 vote

      Why don't you put some thumb prints on the 5th page?

    • +2 votes

      Same, oldest I can somewhat enjoy is Victoria era. Shakespeare is just an exercise in deciphering for me.

    • +5 votes

      If you're motivated to give it a try, start with Robert Fagles' translation of the Iliad and Odyssey. It's really easy to read and action-packed.

      Then dive in to some of the highlights, like Iliad books 5 and 6, 16, and 22. Or in the Odyssey, books 9, 21 and 22. There's plenty of pace, passion and brutality in those books to get you intrigued for the rest of it, I reckon.

      •  

        Excellent advice. I have that version, as well.

    • +5 votes

      Maybe you’ve just read crusty old translations written in the style of the King James Bible.

      There are so many rival translations of the Greek Classics that you’ll probably be able to find one that you like if you read some excerpts.

      Don’t just buy whatever is cheapest (or out of copyright). Do some research and see what you prefer (prose vs verse, modern vs classical).

      There are more differences than similarities between translations. Getting one that doesn’t suit your reading sensibilities is unnecessary and torturous.

    • +2 votes

      I highly recommend Aaron Poochigian’s translation of Jason and the Argonauts, it avoids archaic language and creates something both enjoyable to read and in spirit with the original poem.

    • +3 votes

      Shameless plug for John Dolan's translation of The Iliad.

      Instead of being a verbatim prose translation, he takes liberties and tells its like the series of campfire tales it is in the spirit of, rather than a dry and decrepit school-style text.

      Actually makes it a super bloody, dark, funny and timeless tale. Highly recommended.

      Also, the author (together with former The Exile founder Mark Ames) have a fantastic podcast - Radio War Nerd. By far the most listenable and interesting podcast I've come across on the topics of war, diplomacy, geopolitics and culture. Every episode is a gem.

    •  

      Give these a go, they are very much worth reading. As suggested below, find a version that suits you. Ask a (friendly) bookshop staff member for guidance. I was blown away by the imagination and action, especially in The Iliad.

    •  

      just read the cliff notes my dude, if you want to appear as if you have read it.

  • +2 votes

    Ah, wine dark sea….

  • +2 votes

    Alternatively, project Gutenberg ebooks for all the classics https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6130

    • +7 votes

      …absolutely, frequently the only issue can be with classical works where they have been translated from the original language(s). Some translations can be done in a way that is less literal and more in keeping with the original text (and usually the Gutenberg versions are much older translations that are less well respected). There is also always the argument about whether it is better to have a direct translation (think pumping the text through google translate), or an interpretation. For most people however, the Gutenberg version(s) are Gutenough (yes, I went there). :-)

      Sometimes it can be interesting to compare different translations. Case in point - "wine-dark sea" is a phrase used a lot by Homer (there are a number of phrases that are repeated in the text - this is generally held to be because the text was originally told from memory and the formulae made it easier to remember). This is the traditional translation of the original greek that is literally "wine faced sea". There has been a lot of arguments about how this term was meant to indicate seas that are dark purple, or red, or even blue. It has been used for arguments about how the greeks were possibly colour blind, or saw colours in a different way to us now. The translation "wine faced sea" has however been used to say that it was being used to describe the foam on the water, similar to the foam on fermenting wine. Frankly, it could simply be a reference to the sea being hard to see through like a dark wine.

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      Thanks. Viable suggestion.

    • +1 vote

      The project Gutenberg version was translated by Alexander Pope (1688-1744), a very old translation. If you don't mind this translation, you can also get the Kindle version free from Amazon here. However, some may find the reading hard-going.

      This Amazon Review helpfully lists 22 translations and the reviewer's opinion about them.

      I only have the version which OP posted (translated by Richmond Latimore (1906-1984)), and it seems quite easy to understand, using modern English language. But the reviewer thinks there are other versions even easier to read than this.

      Richmond Lattimore's VERY accurate 1951 translation is published by the University of Chicago. It is much heralded but more scholarly and more difficult to read than other modern versions; it is widely regarded as THE very best translation. While I recognize its true greatness, it is not my favorite due to its awkward English syntax (making it, for me, a chore to read).

      Anyway, have a browse of the review if you are looking for a version to read.

    • +2 votes

      Guternberg is great, so much accessibility. However for this book in particular, the translation uses the Roman names for the gods, so instead of Zues and Hera you have Jove and Juno. It might only be me, but this made it alot harder to read, as I was constantly referencing back to find out what the greek equivalent was, to fit with my knowledge of greek mythology

  • +1 vote

    Fagles translation is far superior IMHO.

    • +1 vote

      look at the big brains on brad…and i thought i was smart by finally reading gaimans sandman comic lol

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      I have it, and it is excellent.

  • +2 votes

    Check out Madeline Millers, "Circe" if you haven't already. She's a classic professor that has made her own take on the Witch Circe and surrounding myths. It is excellent.

    •  

      Sounds interesting. Thanks. Circe is a fascinating character.

  • +4 votes

    Ima gunna crib and get the audiobook of Stephan Fry's 'Mythos'

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgiX5Las3KE

  •  

    Homer is a good book.

  • +2 votes

    I prefer his newer stuff.

  • +2 votes

    Sold by Amazon US, need $49 for free shipping with Prime

  • +1 vote

    you can get it cheaper @ book depository

    •  

      Ah, thanks for letting us know. I should have checked!

      EDIT: I just checked and the version I shared is AU$19.78 on their website and I don't know how much postage would be (if any).

  • +1 vote

    Probably considered yourself fleeced at this price.

  •  

    Price dropped by TWO CENTS! TWO! CENTS!

  • +1 vote

    Oooh, and don't forget Aristophanes 'The Frogs'.

    Brekekekex…..

  •  

    Is there a comic book version for idiots such as myself?

  • +1 vote

    Actually, there is here, but I haven't read it so I can't vouch for its literary merits. You shouldn't call yourself an idiot. Everyone has the capacity to improve.

    "Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

  • +3 votes

    Great books. For those that love the iliad/ the odyssey, and by chance are also partial to metal/rock - awesome 25min rendition of the odyssey by symphony x that follows and captures the feel of much of the story. Really epic

    • +1 vote

      Thanks. Listening to this for the first time (now 3rd on selective parts), gotta say, pretty good. And some parts are great.

    •  

      Having a listen right now… loving it. So unusual to hear those literary references in Metal. It goes to show just how great these texts are, that they would inspire a Metal group. That's so cool! Been getting into instrumental post-rock lately (I greatly recommend Throbs - a Greek outfit, and Black Hill - who are Hungarian) but this really takes me back to the good old days…

  •  

    This should be in public domain to download for free, if you don't mind reading it on your phone/tablet/ereader.

    •  

      The original, in Ancient Greek, should be, but not the translations, as they are the work of modern scholars who have approached the material in different ways, offering their own, original interpretations. Thanks for the comment, though. Material that falls outside the general copyright timeframe laws should be free, but that doesn't apply in this case.

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