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The Iliad

Translation, Notes, and Introduction by Barry B. Powell

Publication Date - 02 January 2014

ISBN: 9780199925865

624 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A powerful new translation of the great epic that rings both ancient and modern, enhanced with on-page notes and embedded illustrations


The Iliad is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, for which Barry Powell, one of the twenty-first century's leading Homeric scholars, has given us a magnificent new translation. Graceful, lucid, and energetic, Powell's translation renders the Homeric Greek with a simplicity and dignity reminiscent of the original. The text immediately engrosses students with its tight and balanced rhythms, while the incantatory repetitions evoke a continuous "stream of sound" that offers as good an impression of Homer's Greek as one could hope to attain without learning the language.

Accessible, poetic, and accurate, Powell's translation is an excellent fit for today's students. With swift, transparent language that rings both ancient and modern, it exposes them to all of the rage, pleasure, pathos, and humor that are Homer's Iliad. Both the translation and the introduction are informed by the best recent scholarship.


* Uses well-modulated verse and accurate English that is contemporary but never without dignity

* Powell's introduction sets the poem in its philological, mythological, and historical contexts

* Features unique on-page notes, facilitating students' engagement with the poem

* Embedded illustrations accompanied by extensive captions provide Greek and Roman visual sources for key passages in each of the poem's twenty-four books

* Eight maps (the most of any available translation) provide geographic context for the poem's many place names

* Audio recordings (read by Powell) of fifteen important passages are available at www.oup.com/us/powell and indicated in the text margin by an icon

About the Author(s)

Barry B. Powell is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


"Each of these translations is an accomplishment its author can be proud of. If you want an Iliad for the beach, take Green's- for the study, Powell's." --Hayden Pelliccia, The New York Review of Books

"Magnetically readable." --Booklist, starred review

"Homer's raw and violent Iliad remains as timeless and beautiful as the myth itself...highly recommended." --Choice

"[A] clear and energetic translation.... Staying true to Homer's poetic rhythms, Powell avoids the modified iambic lines found in Lattimore's, Fagles's, and Mitchell's works. He also avoids Lombardo's tendency to cast Homer in contemporary language and Fitzgerald's anachronisms. This fine version of The Iliad has a feel for the Greek but is more accessible than Verity's translation." --Library Journal

"Barry Powell, the master of classical mythology, has done it again--a powerful translation of the poem that started European literature. His muscular verses are faithful to the original Greek but bring the characters to life. This is a page-turner, bound to become the new standard translation." --Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules--for Now

"This fine translation of the Iliad uses well-modulated verse and accurate English that is contemporary but never without dignity. It gives the modern reader as good an impression of Homer's sonorous Greek as one could hope to attain without learning the language; its execution is faithful in spirit to the poet, who composed his great epic orally without the use of writing. Both the translation and the introduction are consistently informed by the best recent scholarship. This translation deserves a very warm welcome." --Richard Janko, Gerald F. Else Distinguished University Professor of Classical Studies, University of Michigan

"Barry Powell's clever translation is simple and energetic: sometimes coarse, sometimes flowing, it is always poetically engaged. This is a harsh, straightforward, and often brutal world of aristocratic warriors whose values are unambiguous, priorities fixed, and sensibilities basic. Fresh and eminently readable, Powell's Iliad is likely to stay." --Margalit Finkelberg, Professor of Classics, University of Tel Aviv, and editor of The Homer Encyclopedia

"Barry Powell, a published poet and novelist, has produced an Iliad translation for the 21st century. Powell's translation beautifully conveys Homer's direct, yet often archaic, style; the introduction and notes situate the poem in its historical and literary context, so that a reader--specialist or otherwise--can appreciate the poem both as a product of its time and as a timeless work exercising its fascination in shifting ways on generations of readers for nearly 3,000 years." --John Bennet, Professor of Aegean Archaeology, University of Sheffield

"Powell's translation renders the Homeric Greek with a simplicity and dignity reminiscent of the original: graceful, matter of fact, poetic in a pleasantly understated way. Lucid and fast, the text immediately engrosses the reader, with a tight and balanced rhythm that sings, and with a closeness to the original that allows the reader to hear the incantatory repetitions in the Greek. More accessible than Lattimore, more poetic than Lombardo, and more accurate than Fagles or Fitzgerald, this translation is an excellent fit for today's students." --William A. Johnson, Professor of Classical Studies, Duke University

"With swift, transparent language that rings both ancient and modern, Barry Powell gives readers anew all of the rage, pleasure, pathos, and humor that are Homer's Iliad--a reading experience richly illumined by the insightful commentary and plentiful images accompanying the text." --Jane Alison, author of The Love-Artist

"Comprehensive and authoritative . . . highly recommended." --Choice

Table of Contents

    List of Maps and Figures
    About the Translator
    Homeric Timeline
    Book 1: The Rage of Achilles
    Book 2: False Dream and the Catalog of Ships
    Book 3: The Duel Between Menelaos and Paris
    Book 4: Trojan Treachery, Bitter War
    Book 5: The Glory of Diomedes
    Book 6: Hector and Andromachê Say Goodbye
    Book 7: The Duel Between Hector and Ajax
    Book 8: Zeus Fulfills His Promise
    Book 9: The Embassy to Achilles
    Book 10: The Exploits of Dolon
    Book 11: The Glory of Agamemnon and the Wounding of the Captains
    Book 12: The Attack on the Wall
    Book 13: The Battle at the Ships
    Book 14: Zeus Deceived
    Book 15: Counterattack
    Book 16: The Glory of Patroklos
    Book 17: The Fight over the Corpse of Patroklos
    Book 18: The Shield of Achilles
    Book 19: Agamemnon's Apology
    Book 20: The Dual Between Achilles and Aeneas
    Book 21: The Fight with the River and the Battle of the Gods
    Book 22: The Killing of Hector
    Book 23: The Funeral of Patroklos
    Book 24: The Ransom of Hector
    Pronouncing Glossary/Index

Teaching Resources

Six videos of Barry Powell discussing his translation of The Iliad

Why Do We Need Another Translation of The Iliad
Translator Barry Powell reveals the importance of offering a new translation of Homer's epic poem and what sets this new edition apart from the rest.

The Challenges of Translating Ancient Greek
Translator Barry Powell reveals the herculean efforts he faced in translating an ancient language and deciding on the true meaning of some of the words that Homer used.

The Iliad: The Endurance of the Epic
Barry Powell discusses why epics are still so popular today and why their influence will continue to reign over storytelling.

Sing, O Goddess: The Story of The Iliad
Why is it so important to hear the epic, rather than just reading it? Translator Barry Powell offers his thoughts in this video.

Did the Iliad Create the Greek Alphabet?
Sure to be a debatable issue amongst historians and etymologists, Barry Powell explains how Homer's poems created the Greek alphabet.

What's Next for Barry Powell?
After The Iliad and The Odyssey, might we see a translation of Virgil's epic tale, The Aeneid?


Barry B. Powell: A New Translation of The Iliad

NPR Radio interview with Barry Powell, December 18, 2013.
Listen to the interview here!

From Our Blog

Echoes of The Iliad through history

The Iliad was largely believed to belong to myth and legend until Heinrich Schliemann set out to prove the true history behind Homer's epic poem and find the remnants of the Trojan War. The businessman turned archaeologist excavated a number of sites in Greece and Turkey, and caused an international sensation.

Posted on November 30, 2013

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An interview with Barry B. Powell on his translation of The Iliad

Every generation and culture needs its own version of The Iliad -- one that capture the spirit of the original for a contemporary audience, whether Alexander Pope's rhymed verse of the 18th century or dense Dickensian prose of 19th-century translations. Barry B. Powell's new free verse translation of The Iliad was written with the modern English speaker in mind, and with the idea that the language Homer uses was colloquial and accessible to his contemporaries.

Posted on November 23, 2013

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Characters from The Iliad in ancient art

The ancient Greeks were enormously innovative in many respects, including art and architecture. They produced elaborate illustrations on everything from the glory of the Parthenon to a simple wine cup. Given its epic nature and crucial role in Greek education, many of the characters in The Iliad can be found in ancient art. From the hero Achilles to Hector's charioteer, these depictions provide great insight into Greek culture and art.

Posted on November 16, 2013

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A call to the goddess

In the first book of The Iliad, Homer calls for a muse to help him recount the story of Achilles, the epic Greek hero of the Trojan War. The poet begins his account nine years after the start of Trojan war, with the capture of two maidens, Chryseis by Agamemnon, the commander of the Achaean Army, and Briseis by the hero Achilles.

Posted on November 9, 2013

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Maps of The Iliad

While The Iliad is a fictional tale of the Trojan War between the Trojan and Achaean warriors during the Late Bronze Age (circa 1500-1200 BC), it is set in a real location: the eastern Mediterranean, along the Aegean Sea. We present a brief slideshow of maps from Barry B. Powell's new translation of the ancient epic, which illustrate the geographic regions mentioned, from towns and cities, to character origins, and even allied battle grounds.

Posted on November 2, 2013

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