‘The Iliad’ by Homer *****

I absolutely adore reading and learning about the Ancients, particularly the Greeks, but I’ve always put off reading The Odyssey and The Iliad. I think the sole reason for this relatively conscious decision was the way in which I thought both would be rather challenging and time-consuming reads. When I began The Iliad whilst in Menorca, however, I found that I was utterly mistaken. I was swept into the story immediately, and found it difficult to put down. (It must have looked as though I was practically glued to my Kindle for the duration, I’m sure).

Homer’s prose throughout is stunning, and his imagery is so incredibly powerful. I found the epic poem structure a glorious way in which to tell such a story. The poetic form gave every battle scene such rhythm and such marvellous power. The tale which Homer portrays is fierce and brutal, but it is also overwhelmingly gorgeous. It is sensuous throughout, and rather divinely written. The edition which I read was translated by Alexander Pope, and whilst I will never be able to compare it to the original text, I believe that he has rendered his translation with as much love and justice as he possibly could have.

It sounds ridiculous, I know, but I really feel as though I’ve achieved something in reading The Iliad. It’s one of the books I’ve wanted to read since I was about thirteen and saw my Grandfather’s beautiful hardback edition, but one which I’ve been too chicken to begin until now. Next project: The Odyssey.