The Iliad (sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem originally written in dactylic hexameter, set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium). The poem is traditionally attributed to the poet Homer.
The Iliad was a standard work of great importance already in Classical Greece and remained so throughout the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. It made its return to Italy and Western Europe in the 15th century.
This collection includes three different translations of the Iliad into English.
Samuel Butler’s translation reshapes the original poem into prose. This translation sidesteps many of the problems encountered by translators trying to conform the archaic Greek meter to English and provides a highly readable text.
Edward Smith-Stanley (the Earl of Derby)’s translation is closely allied to the original Greek and has been hailed as “superior to any that has yet been attempted in the blank verse”.
Alexander Pope’s translation makes use of heroic couplets (poems constructed from a sequence of rhyming pairs of lines in iambic pentameter) and has been praised as “a performance which no age or nation could hope to equal” but also criticized for it’s poetic liberties with the original Greek.