Iliad of Homer by Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
I am reading the Iliad and thought it would be helpful to listen to this course. I would highly recommend anything by Professor Vandiver - she has a gift of making the material accessible and interesting.
Translated by Richmond Lattimore (Professor Vandiver's suggested translation)
First published: 750 BC
Helpful resources: audio course (see above), The Great Books: A Journey Through 2,500 Years of the West's Classic Literature by Anthony O'Hear, Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton.
Prior to reading, these were my preconceived ideas about The Iliad: ancient literature, must know Greek to understand therefore inaccessible to the general public, uninteresting, old, irrelevant, boring, very difficult read so why bother?
I was pleasantly surprised at the read-ability and accessibility of Lattimore's translation. Listening to Professor Vandiver's lectures certainly helped. There is a reason why this epic has not been lost to obscurity. I found it to be very interesting and plan to journal through it, after which I will write a more thorough post.
The interaction and interplay of human and gods is sometimes funny, many times tragic and downright captivating. It is a story of war that showcases all aspects of human drama and emotion: courage, honor, sacrifice, love, revenge, hate, death, grief, fear, shame, nobility and fate.
The gods in Homer's world are immortal but not necessarily good. In fact, O'Hear quotes Longinus, a first-century A.D writer: "as far as possible Homer made the humans in the Trojan War gods, and the gods human." I would agree.
I have Lattimore's translation of The Odyssey of Homer on my nightstand and plan to tackle it next.