The Iliad

(translated by R. Lattimore)

Ultimately, if you’re interested in Troy, you have to come back to this.  I’ve only read the Iliad in the Lattimore translation, which to my astonishment now appears to be out of print.  But there are plenty of other editions out there.  It can be pretty hard-going at times, especially with the long lists of the various kings and their ancestry, but there are some fantastic passages and battle-scenes which put Hollywood to shame.  Every time I dip into this, or the Odyssey, for that matter, I’m amazed to think that people were able to memorise the entire thing.  One small warning: excessive reading can cause a disturbing tendency towards descriptive adjectives such as ‘rosy-fingered’, ‘white-ankled’ and ‘flashing-eyed’…

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