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review 2019-04-17 06:05
Good Retelling of The Iliad
The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker

This is a retelling of The Iliad - no need to read it however a bit of the basics of it would help you understand this book more, just for background information.


It can be a rather difficult read. Not to say it’s hard to understand, but more of the detailed subject matter. It’s shocking to read when these women are going through an era where war is prevalent, and the best outcome for them is to be a trophy, instead of a slave. (Although, those two terms are pretty much the same thing if you think about it) It’s scary, and eye opening at the same time. These women go through a lot of trauma and Briseis has it slightly better than the other women out there (which says a lot). They’re pretty much treated like cattle and nothing could be done with it. Unfortunately this is the norm during war.


The relationship between Briseis and Achilles was interesting. Despite the conqueror and war trophy titles, it develops and evolves as Achilles goes though life changing events through the novel. You do however, have a heart for Patroclus. He seemed more human and his friendship with Briseis is what might have kept her going through all this time in the book. In a sense too, she also benefited from being with Achilles (albeit, not her choice)


This is definitely word a read through if you’re interested in Greek Mythology and retellings this is worth the read, despite the slow but steady pace. The retelling of the Iliad from Briseis’ point of view is a good one.

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review 2018-08-22 20:15
The Centrality of Honour: "The Iliad" by Homer
The Iliad (Penguin Classics) - Homer

First a disclaimer: I don’t have ancient Greek (or any other kind), so please correct or chastise me if I misunderstand any passages for that reason. Equally, my analysis involves some assumptions about what was common, idiomatic English in Pope’s day: if I’ve got it wrong, please set me right!

I think the overarching drama played out between the vigorous, up-and-coming Greeks and the more cultured, slightly decadent Trojans is one that we profoundly recognise. In western societies, we are of course at the Trojan stage, but most western societies can look back at an earlier, less sophisticated, more vigorous founding generation or generations. And even where the parallels are not nearly exact, I think there’s a sense of recognition. In fact, I think most readers have a sneaking regard for the simple, thuggish side of the Achaeans. This is maybe reinforced by the fact that we know that these Greeks eventually produced the Classical Greece society and invented democracy. In a sense, we are the Achaeans and the Trojans at the same time. I’ll leave the question to one side as to whether Homer and the Greeks stamped this archetype on our minds or whether it is a universal of human nature (or to stay in this corner of the Med, a Platonic ideal). This drama is also played out at the family level, and people still love stories of rough, determined self-made people who carved out a successful living and founded a dynasty. We don’t expect these founders to be morally impeccable or culturally sophisticated: they allow subsequent generations to be that.

Why is “The Iliad” modern?



If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2017-08-25 16:06
Good Great Course
The Iliad of Homer (The Great Courses) - Elizabeth Vandiver

Good little course in the Iliad. Vandiver's passion is quite clear and she makes connections to later literature as well. There is a good background selection as well.  If you are interested in Homer or starting to read him, you should listen to this.

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review 2017-07-17 04:24
The Iliad of Homer
The Iliad of Homer - Homer,Richmond Lattimore

The cover of this book looks like Jewels: A Secret History if you're not paying attention. Which I often wasn't, so I kept grabbing this book when I wanted that one.


I spent way too long deciding which translation I would read of The Iliad. Basically just decide if you want prose or poetry and then pick one. I don't think it really matters.* Maybe check the footnotes if you're not reading this as part of a class. But it's probably best read in a class with a professor who knows way more about Homer than I do. Then they could explain Book 23 to me... seriously the whole time I was reading it I was like, I don't understand the Greeks. What is this? 


I will say that the word nipple showed up way more than I expected, and some of the big events I was expecting were glossed over very quickly (basically anything to do with women). I found all the parts where the women were included (goddesses or mortals) to be the most interesting, and I can't believe that's where the poem ends.


I was planning on reading the Odyssey immediately after this, but then I needed a break so that will have to wait until later. I'm going to read the Fitzgerald translation most likely, in case anyone was wondering. But I might go with Fagles because I think that edition has better footnotes. We'll see what's available from the library at the time.


*Although I did read part of Pope's translation, and I couldn't do 24 books of that. Very impressive to think he did the whole thing though.

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text 2017-06-23 23:06
The Odyssey
The Iliad and the Odyssey - Homer

The Odyssey by Homer

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


The crafty hero of The Iliad is in the last leg of his long ten year journey home, but it not only his story that Homer relates to the reader in this sequel to the first war epic in literature.  The Odyssey describes the Odysseus’ return to Ithaca after twenty years along with the emergence of his son Telemachus as a new hero while his faithful wife Penelope staves off suitors who are crowding their home and eating their wealth daily.


Although the poem is named after his father, Telemachus’ “arc” begins first as the reader learns about the situation on Ithaca around Odysseus’ home and the search he begins for information on his father’s whereabouts.  Then we shift to Odysseus on a beach longing to return home when he is informed his long sojourn is about to end and he sets off on a raft and eventually arrives among the Phaeacians, who he relates the previous ten years of his life to before they take him back home.  On Ithaca, Odysseus and his son eventually meet and begin planning their revenge on the Penelope’s suitors that results in slaughter and a long-awaited family reunion with Penelope.


First and foremost The Odyssey is about coming home, in both Telemachus’ and Odysseus’ arcs there are tales of successful homecomings, unsuccessful homecomings, and homecoming that never happen of heroes from The Iliad.  Going hand-in-hand with homecomings is the wanderings of other heroes whose adventures are not as exciting or as long as Odysseus’.  Interwoven throughout the poem with homecomings and wanderings is the relationship between guests and hosts along with the difference between good and bad for both that has long reaching consequences.  And finally throughout Odysseus’ long journey there are tests everywhere of all types for him to overcome or fail, but the most important are Penelope’s both physical and intimate.


Even though it is a sequel, The Odyssey is in complete contrast to The Iliad as instead of epic battle this poem focuses on a hero overcoming everything even the gods to return home.  Suddenly the poet who gave readers a first-hand account of war shows his readers the importance of returning from war from the perspective of warriors and their families.   Although they are completely different, The Odyssey in fact compliments The Iliad as well as completing it which means if you read one you have to read the other.

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