, a daunting work of fiction so genius that it has survived for thousands of years. To this day there is no modern epic which stands anywhere near it except perhaps [b:Les Misérables|24280|Les Misérables|Victor Hugo|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327702573s/24280.jpg|3208463] or [b:Paradise Lost|15997|Paradise Lost|John Milton|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309202847s/15997.jpg|1031493]. Perhaps those who are informed could add [b:The Divine Comedy|6656|The Divine Comedy|Dante Alighieri|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320552051s/6656.jpg|809248] to this list, however I have not read Dante's work as of yet.
Before I continue I'd like to point out that the translation I read was Robert Fitzgerald's translation. Which seemed solid if nothing particularly special. I do think that the fact that I hardly noticed that it had been translated from another language (particularly Homeric Greek) is something in this version's favour. However I'm currently trying a different translation for the Odyssey with Fagles.
So what is the hyped up Iliad
all about? We've had the story built into our Western Literature in various forms. There have been countless versions of the mythology surrounding the battle that destroyed Troy. But what is the real Iliad
story about? The Iliad
as it stands is an epic poem, among the first fantasy stories, which describes a brief moment in the Trojan War which decided the fate of that period. During this time Achilles, the greatest demigod warrior of them all, and Hector, a mortal man greater than any other, fight in a series of battles. All of which leads to one final stand for Hector himself.
But the Iliad is more than just lots of warfare strung together, albeit beautifully and poetically. It is a story about the fall of men, a story about the interference of the gods. It is a colossal tragedy, a mythology based in history and one which tells us much about the duel heroic and villainous nature of human hearts.
Read The Iliad
for its tragedy, its beauty, its elegance. Read it to be a pretentious academic who understands literary references to it. Read it because you love mythology. Read it because you care about humanity. Read it because you love poetry and incredible writing. Read it for its timeless nature. I merely encourage that you take the time to read this 'book' at least once in your entire life. However if, like myself, you cannot read Homeric Greek I also encourage you to look at the various available translations and decide which sounds like it would suit your personal taste.
Also as a sort of balance I must add that as for the flaws of this work you may note, regardless of translation, the repetition of ideas and names. This is a common element of Homer's work apparently and one which can bother some people. Others may be bothered by the amount of carnage, the difficult rhythm of the poetry or the sheer size of such a poem. However I find that the repetition has a nice symmetry throughout the story and there is so much value within this work. It's easy to see why copies of this poem were saved through time.