Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are unquestionably two of the greatest epic masterpieces in Western literature. Though more than 2,700 years old, their stories of brave heroics, capricious gods, and towering human emotions are vividly timeless.
The Iliad can justly be called the world’s greatest war epic. The terrible and long-drawn-out siege of Troy remains one of the classic campaigns, the heroism and treachery of its combatants unmatched in song and story. Driven by fierce passions and loyalties, men and gods battle to a devastating conclusion.
The Odyssey chronicles the many trials and adventures Odysseus must pass through on his long journey home from the Trojan wars to his beloved wife. Though the stormy god of the ocean has sworn vengeance against him, and witches and sirens try to lure him off course, Odysseus is clever and has the brilliant goddess Athena on his side.
Homer (9th or 8th century B.C.) is the presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. Virtually nothing is known about his life. Tradition has it that he was blind. Most scholars believe he composed the Iliad and the Odyssey by relying on oral traditions. Their value lies chiefly in the poetry itself, moving from sublime passages about the gods and heroic exploits to passages expressing deep human emotion.
Public Domain (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"The best translation of Homer that I have ever read is by W. H. D. Rouse." (Dudley Fitts)
"Best Iliad experience on Audible"
The Iliad is one of those books which can be made or broken by the narrator. With this rendition, Anthony Heald has immediately joined my list of favourites (Patrick Tull, Nigel Lambert, Stephen Fry..) He breathes life into every one of the characters and more than makes up for any quibbles you might have with the translation.
I did not quite like the Butler translation read by Lescault. Butler uses Roman names for Greek Gods, and Lescault's narration is rather bland. Heald injects so much energy that you'd find a grocery list interesting (and to be frank, there are bits of the Iliad which are pretty grocery-like in character)
As for the book - well, it's the Iliad! A magnificent crusty old monument whose shadow falls across Western literature through the ages... well worth your time.
Being able to listen to both stories back to back because they feed off of and inform one another. The language, the imagery, the characters, the action. Given that these stories were originally performed live by traveling poets and singers, listening to the story comes closer to approximating the original experience.
When Odysseus reunited with his son, wife, and father.
Yes, but I broke it up over a month.
A must read, a cornerstone of Western literature.
A great reading of Homer. It is engaging. I highly recommend this production. I will definitely listen to it again.
"Buy a different version"
I've never read the Iliad and so I was excited to listen to it, but I found the translation to be poor and the narrator's voice didn't seem to match the story. I've heard other books narrated by Anthony Heald and they were good, but his voice was just too calm and soothing for this story about war. I also hated the translation, which is ultimately why I decided to return this book. The characters are referred to by their Greek and roman names interchangeably, and it's horribly confusing. The translation also uses some antiquated speech like "doth". I also doubt if this is the full unabridged version as this set includes both the Iliad and the odyssey but it's only 25 hours long whereas another version available on audible has just the Iliad and its 22 hours long.
"Two Epics Told Well"
I had not read these two epics since middle school/high school, so it was basically like I was studying it for the first time. I really cannot comment on this particular translation because it's the only one I've read.
I like Anthony Heald's voice and style. It may take some listeners a while to get used to him. I had just recently heard him narrate Crime and Punishment, so I was already comfortable with him.
The Iliad is a tough one to get through for me. All the names and gods confuse me. It also took me quite a while to get down which warriors were on which side (and I'm not sure I ever figured out which gods were on which side). The digressions and lists are tedious.
Let's face it: the majority of the Iliad is just the reporting of who killed who.
I've never really been a big fan of the whole "intervening god" thing that the Greeks and Romans have in all of their tales. I can dig their view that fate and fortune trump "freewill." However, in the Iliad things are taken to extreme lengths. I mean it's one thing for Zeus to make a warrior angry so that he goes and kills some guy on the other side; it's another for one of the gods to shield one of the mortals or literally carry them to safety.
I found it interesting that the story of Achilles' death is not included in the Iliad. We know that he will die, and even how he will die, but the actual event is not in the book.
The Odyssey is a much more interesting and enjoyable book in my opinion (I know that technically these are poems and not books, but they may as well be books). While the gods are still obviously always involved, their dealings with one another are largely absent from this story. The action in this story is more than just battle. There are fun stories such as the escape from the cyclops, and the men being turned into farm animals. There is also a satisfying ending, which seems rare for the genre.
Throughout both of these epics I kept thinking "isn't there more to this?" I kept waiting for the story of the Trojan Horse to be fleshed out. The story of the Sirens was a blip. I guess that many of the stories are told or added to in other works or myths.
"Revisit the Classics"
I really enjoyed these books in high school and decided to enjoy the story again. I don't know the differences in translation but I thought this one was effective and easy to grasp. The stories are well told by Heald. The recounting of the Trajan War and Odysseus's trip are engaging to new and repeating listeners. This will not disappoint.
"Not a complete Iliad!"
The translation and performance are quite good. A nice balance of poetry and Plain understandable language. Major complaint: the text of the Iliad is not complete! This is a big deal.
There seems to be a few chapters missing in which SPOILER ALERT- Achilles kills hector and then is killed by Paris. I am not a classics scholar but I am damn sure that this version is missing part of the standard text of the Iliad. I a phase read other er versions in text and there's no doubt in my mind that this is a glaring error. Seriously unexcusable. If there is some scholarly explanation of why parts are omitted it should appear in the description or some afterword.
None, it is already missing important parts of the supposedly unabridged text
I love audible but this sort of omission is very problematic. This is not the first time when I have suspected that some text was omitted from supposedly unabridged texts. I recall how many other audiblebooks are not divided accurately into chapters, making it almost impossible to refer back to any particular place in the book. Seriously audible, get your act together. We know your parent company has plenty of resources to deal with silly errors like this . Show some friggin effort to ensure the quality of the things you publish you lazy bums!
Probably not. Too many other things to listen too.
The action, drama, and heroism.
5 Stars is not enough for these fantastic stories and wonderful performance.
Loved the story.
"Skip The Iliad"
From my past three years of reading (and loving) classic literature, several arrows (so to speak) were pointing me in the direction of Iliad/Odyssey, with hopes of sweeping characters and imparted wisdom. I read The Iliad first, a decision I wildly regret. Because of this, I was largely disappointed until the second half of The Odyssey.
First, The Iliad. There is an odd humor in seeing how much of today's Hollywood violence traces back to The Iliad (and how the public gobbles it up). The only thing that outdoes Homer's graphic battle details is Homer's longwinded backstories about each slaughtered character. The meddling of the gods gets ridiculous after the first 2 hours. There are a few redeeming characters--Ajax and Hector in particular--but the others don't hold my interest. The plot ("Achilles Takes His Ball, Goes Home, and Wants His War Prize Bride Back While All His Friends Get Slaughtered") just can't be held for the length of this book. By the end, I was wishing I was one of the Trojan redshirts getting run through the liver until the darkness covered my eyes. If you love 6+ hours of kill frenzy sporadically interrupted by immortal bickering, the The Iliad is your book.
The Odyssey is Homer's "brains" to Iliad's "brawn." It's initially tough getting over the ridiculous introductions to Odysseus's stories ("So I was a sex slave to an immortal goddess for ten years; it was terrible...") but the themes that develop later in the book--loyalty, focus, short-term desires vs. long-term payoffs, deceit/masquarade, love--give you plenty to think about afterwards. While the majority of the story development comes off as a YA novel, the final climax and falling action were very enjoyable. The immortals play a smaller, more clear role than in The Iliad, which is wildly welcome if you read The Iliad first.
The text gets repetitive--no doubt an artifact that this was an oral poem, and that's the price of admission. Heald's narration was fine--I wouldn't have been able to get through these titles by print alone. Read The Odyssey first (four stars), and don't be afraid to read academia/spoilers in advance so you know what to look for. You needn't read the The Iliad first (or in my opinion, at all--two stars) to get value out of this title.
This was fun to listen to. I used it with the Great Courses Iliad and Odyssey which made it even more interesting.
"beautiful stories, beautifully read.."
both books have been on my "to do" list for years but for some reason I thought of reading them a bit of a daunting task. What a pleasure to listen to them, so beautifully read or should I say acted? so many names, gods, mortals.. I found it confusing at the beginning, who is who? who is doing what to whom? and it really doesn't matter, just listen and enjoy every minute.
no, but I thought he was fantastic
let yourself be carried away ....
forgive my possible mistakes, english is not my mother tongue.
"Great stories and a performance to match."
Anthony Heald's performance. I was dubious even listening to the audio clip ("Dr. Chilton from Silence of the Lambs for the length of two epic poems? Surely not!") but quite honestly it is the best audiobook performance I have ever heard. The strength of the voice; the attention to detail in phrasing and emphasis; the characterization - it is consistently wonderful. I was rapt. What an utterly under-appreciated talent Heald is.
One of the Gods appears to the Greeks as an old man. For some reason Heald gives him an Irish accent. It is highly entertaining.
Yes, though you would do well to concentrate for the length of these two.
Anthony Heald is my next Audible search word!
Enjoyed this so much. Hearing the tale and recalling it from lessons as a kid was gratifying. I must have been listening in classical civilisation more than I thought!
Yes i would as im bound to forget bits of it over time
It compares favourably to any book of myth&legend of the gods&greats
No I have not but his voice fitted well with the story&genre
To much to take in in 1go
It is an epic in every sense of the word
Not only is it a wonderful story but it also offers insights into ancient gree hustory,culture&society
Shows the gods warts&all as both great&petty amongst many things.
In time this will be how we view our own books of gods&myths
Interesting, Intelligent, Thrilling.
Anthony Heald brings an old story back to life. Simply the best performance I have ever heard.
"WIth regret, I gave up"
For many years I'd meant to read these icons of classical literature, but never got around to them. As I listen to audio books all the time this set seems a good opportunity to immerse myself in in the world of Agamemnom, Achilles, Odysseus et al. After several hours of listening I sadly gave up. Largely because the overly frenetic narration in a strong, American accent. I'm sorry to say it just didn't work for me. The text also needed a slower delivery to allow the listener to take in all the unfamilar names.
It's difficult to rate the story, which I'm sure is worth five stars, but, for me needed to be narrated by someone else.
"Once I started I couldn't switch it off"
Great voice acting by Anthony Heald one of the best in his field, and he really makes this an entertaining read 😀
"long long book"
I know that this is one of the classics. However, there is so much repetition that the book lasts forever. You need a lot of patience to enjoy this book.
Excellent reading of the greatest epic poems ever written. Need I say more? Apparently so because my original review had too few characters.
"Rouse translation is hard going"
I really struggled to get through this book, the rather flowery translation of the original Greek is distracting at times and since the repetition in the original is brought through to the final version it can be tedious at times too. I did find the second book an easier listen than the first, and although chronologically incorrect, I tgen found elements of the first that I revisited somewhat easier to deal with.
definitely not a book for a first timer into the Greek Classics
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