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Declaiming Homer

The Iliad translated by peter green university of california, 608 pages, $29.95 A translator of Homer is like a pentathlete, who needs not just sheer stamina but a variety of skills. The first example of European literary writing adapts episodes of the Trojan War myth from a long, winding oral . . . . Continue Reading »

The Poem Remembers

Why Homer Matters 
by adam nicolson
 henry holt and co., 
320 pages, $30

 Homer on the Gods and Human Virtue: Creating the Foundations of Classical Civilization by peter j. ahrensdorf
 cambridge, 278 pages, $45 The question of Homer’s existence is a little like the question of . . . . Continue Reading »

“He Wept Tears of Blood”

Avery odd thing happens in Book 16 of the Iliad when Zeus decides that Sarpedon must die. Sarpedon was one of the greatest of the Trojan warriors. He also happened to be the son of Zeus—though this does not render him immortal. As Sarpedon and Patroklos are about to fight, Zeus laments to Hera: Continue Reading »

Between Beasts and God

Near the beginning of the twenty-fourth and last Book of Homer’s Iliad, called by Simone Weil “the only true epic” the West possesses, even the gods—detached as they are in their bliss from all sufferings—have seen enough. Achilles has become inhuman. Ignoring our animal nature, . . . . Continue Reading »

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