Reading Homer’s Iliad

Kay McKay


Language Room


Homer’s Iliad   is a war poem performed or recited at least 2,800 years ago but it remains fresh even today. It is a racy account of the tenth and last year of the Trojan War where the various warriors aim to kill the best of their rivals and earn glory for themselves, with or in spite of the interference of the all powerful gods who meddle in the affairs of men.

It is believed that Aristotle himself instructed Alexander the Great who in turn is believed to have spread the Greek language throughout the conquered lands when his soldiers recited the Iliad around the camp fires at night. Plutarch wrote the Life of Aleander the Great.

Robert Fagels’ translation provides an up to date version of this magnificent epic poem, making it easy to read (once you get a grip on the Greek names) and to recite. It has an almost hypnotic rhythm and can best be described as a ripping yarn.