An ancient Greek epic which underpins the whole of western literature, Homer's The Iliad is a timeless evocation of the struggle to retain a sense of honour and virtue amidst the horrors of war. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with an introduction by Martin Hammond.
The Iliad is the greatest literary achievement of Greek civilization. The story centres on the critical events in four days of the tenth and final year of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. It describes how the quarrel of Agamemnon and Achilleus sets in motion a tragic sequence of events, which leads to Achilleus' killing of Hektor and determines the ultimate fate of Troy. But Homer's theme is not simply war or heroism. With compassion and humanity he presents a universal and tragic view of the world, of human life lived under the shadow of suffering and death, set against a vast and largely unpitying divine background. The Iliad is the first of the world's great tragedies.
Martin Hammond's acclaimed translation is accompanied by a full introduction and a comprehensive index.
Seven Greek cities claim the honour of being the birthplace of Homer (c. 8th-7th century BC), the poet to whom the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey are attributed. The Iliad is the oldest surviving work of Western literature, but the identity - or even the existence - of Homer himself is a complete mystery, with no reliable biographical information having survived.
If you enjoyed the Iliad, you might like Homer's Odyssey, also available in Penguin Classics.
'Martin Hammond's modern prose version is the best and most accurate there has ever been'
Peter Levi, Independent
'A fine Iliad for our times'
Philip Howard, The Times
The Greeks attributed both the Iliad and the Odyssey to a single poet whom they named Homer. Nothing is known of his life, though the main ancient tradition made him a native of the island of Chios in east Aegean. His date too is uncertain: most modern scholars place the composition of the Iliad in the second half of the eighth century BC. Martin Hammond has taught in England and in Greece. He has also translated the Odyssey. He is now Headmaster of Tonbridge School
The background to "The Iliad"; the theme of "The Iliad"; a critical summary of "The Iliad"; a note on names. "The Iliad": book 1 - the anger of Achilleus; book 2 - the catalogue of ships; book 3 - Paris, Helen, Aphrodite; book 4 - the breaking of the truce; book 5 - Diomedes triumphant; book 6 - Hektor in Troy; book 7 - duel of Hektor and Aias; book 8 - Trojan success; book 9 - the embassy to Achilleus; book 10 - night operations; book 11 - Achaian retreat; book 12 - the assault on the wall; book 13 - the Achains rally; book 14 - the seduction of Zeus; book 15 - fighting at the ships; book 16 - the death of Patroklos; book 17 - the battle over Patroklos; book 18 - Thetis, Achilleus, and new armour; book 19 - Achilleus and Agamemnon reconciled; book 20 - the return of Achilleus; book 21 - the battle of the Gods; book 22 - the death of Hektor; book 23 - funeral games for Patroklos; book 24 - Achilleus and Priam.