The Iliad by Homer

27 February 2013

IN SUM

Agamemnon appropriates Achilles’ wife. Achilles throws suitably Epic tantrum, refusing to help Agamemnon and Achaeans besiege Troy; both armies suffer heavy losses, described in lovingly gory detail. Gods score numerous sacrificial oxen and respond in novel and unhelpful ways. Achilles rages on. And on. And on and on and on…

WHY THE WORLD THINKS YOU SHOULD READ IT

Every subsequent Western battle narrative is, to some extent, based on this poem.

READ IT IF

You would enjoy COD set in Ancient Greece. And/or you have a grudge against oxen.

DON’T READ IT IF

You’re emotionally attached to the concept of women being people.

DIFFICULT?

Not remotely, but does depend on the translation.

MOVIE?

Yep, Troy, starring Eric Bana, and Brad Pitt’s arse.

GET THIS

There’s a character actually named Epicles. And now my first-born son will be too. Also holds record for most nipple-stabbings.*

SO, SHOULD YOU BOTHER?

Yes. The violence is wearyingly unceasing, Achilles’ dedication to sulking quickly shifts from impressive to boring, and it’s positively sticky with testosterone BUT it’s a cracking story, with some oddly beautiful descriptive passages, and playing ‘Spot the Age of Mythology Hero’ offers bonus fun for gamers. Take it a book at a time to avoid Olympian overkill and knock it out before the Week 4 assessments glut.

*This may not be true. But there are an awful lot.


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