Books

The Iliad

Homer (and others)

High on Olympus, Zeus and the assembled deities look down on the world of men, to the city of Troy where a bitter and bloody war has dragged into its tenth year, and a quarrel rages between a legendary warrior and his commander. Greek ships decay, men languish, exhausted, and behind the walls of Troy a desperate people await the next turn of fate.

This is the Iliad: an ancient story of enduring power; magnetic characters defined by stirring and momentous speeches; a panorama of human lives locked in a heroic struggle beneath a mischievous or indifferent heaven. Above all, this is a tale of the devastation, waste and pity of war.

Caroline Alexander's virtuoso translation captures the rhythms and energy of Homer's original Greek while making the text as accessible as possible to a modern reader, accompanied by extensive extra material to provide a background to the poem.

The result of three thousand years of story-telling, Homer’s epic tale of the fall of Troy has resonated with every age and every human conflict: this is the Iliad at its most electrifying and vital.

Circe and the Cyclops

Homer

'You must be Odysseus, man of twists and turns...'

The tales of Odysseus's struggle with a man-eating Cyclops and Circe, the beautiful enchantress who turns men into swine.

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

Next to nothing is known about Homer's life. His works available in Penguin Classics are The Homeric Hymns, The Iliad and The Odyssey.

The Iliad

Homer (and others)

A stunning Penguin clothbound edition of Homer's great epic, in E. V. Rieu's classic translation.

The Iliad is the first and the greatest literary achievement of Greek civilization - an epic poem without rival in the literature of the world, and the cornerstone of Western culture. The story centres on the critical events in the last year of the Trojan War, which lead to Achilleus' killing of Hektor and determine the fate of Troy. But Homer's theme is not simply war or heroism. With compassion and humanity, he presents a universal and tragic view of the world, of human life lived under the shadow of suffering and death, set against a vast and largely unpitying divine background..

Seven Greek cities claim the honour of being the birthplace of Homer (c. 8th-7th century BC), the poet to whom the composition of the Iliadand Odyssey are attributed. The Iliad is the oldest surviving work of Western literature, but the identity - or even the existence - of Homer himself is a complete mystery, with no reliable biographical information having survived.

E. V. Rieu initiated Penguin Classics with Allen Lane and his famous translation of the Odyssey was the first book published in the series in 1947. The Iliad followed in 1950.

The Odyssey

Homer (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

The epic tale of Odysseus and his ten-year journey home after the Trojan War forms one of the earliest and greatest works of Western literature. Confronted by natural and supernatural threats - shipwrecks, battles, monsters and the implacable enmity of the sea-god Poseidon - Odysseus must use his wit and native cunning if he is to reach his homeland safely and overcome the obstacles that, even there, await him.

The Odyssey

Homer (and others)

Penelope has been waiting for her husband Odysseus to return from Troy for many years. Little does she know that his path back to her has been blocked by astonishing and terrifying trials. Will he overcome the hideous monsters, beautiful witches and treacherous seas that confront him? This rich and beautiful adventure story is one of the most influential works of literature in the world.

The Odyssey

Homer (and others)

Literature's grandest evocation of life's journey, at once an ageless human story and an individual test of moral endurance, Homer's ancient Greek epic The Odyssey is translated by Robert Fagles with an introduction and notes by Bernard Knox in Penguin Classics.

When Robert Fagles' translation of The Iliad was published in 1990, critics and scholars alike hailed it as a masterpiece. Here, one of the great modern translators presents us with The Odyssey, Homer's best-loved poem, recounting Odysseus' wanderings after the Trojan War. With wit and wile, the 'man of twists and turns' meets the challenges of the sea-god Poseidon, and monsters ranging from the many-headed Scylla to the cannibalistic Cyclops Polyphemus - only to return after twenty years to a home besieged by his wife Penelope's suitors. In the myths and legends retold in this immortal poem, Fagles has captured the energy of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom.

Seven greek cities claim the honour of being the birthplace of Homer (c. 8th-7th century BC), the poet to whom the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey are attributed. The Iliad is the oldest surviving work of Western literature, but the identity - or even the existence - of Homer himself is a complete mystery, with no reliable biographical information having survived.

If you enjoyed The Odyssey, you might like Robert Fagles' translation of The Iliad, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Wonderfully readable ... Just the right blend of roughness and sophistication'
Ted Hughes

'A memorable achievement ... Mr Fagles has been remarkably successful in finding a style that is of our time and yet timeless'
Richard Jenkyns, The New York Times Book Review

'His translation of The Odyssey is his best work yet'
Garry Wills, New Yorker

The Homeric Hymns

Homer (and others)

Composed for recitation at festivals, these 33 songs were written in honour of the gods and goddesses of the ancient Greek pantheon. They recount the key episodes in the lives of the gods, and dramatise the moments when they first appear before mortals. Together they offer the most vivid picture we have of the Greek view of the relationship between the divine and human worlds.

The Iliad

Homer (and others)

One of the foremost achievements in Western literature, Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode in the Trojan War. At its centre is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his refusal to fight after being humiliated by his leader Agamemnon. But when the Trojan Hector kills Achilles' close friend Patroclus, he storms back into battle to take revenge - although knowing this will ensure his own early death. Interwoven with this tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, of the domestic world inside Troy's besieged city of Ilium, and of the conflicts between the Gods on Olympus as they argue over the fate of mortals.

The Iliad

Homer (and others)

One of the greatest epics in Western literature, THE ILIAD recounts the story of the Trojan wars. This timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves to its tragic conclusion. In his introduction, Bernard Knox observes that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it co-exists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace.

The Odyssey

Homer (and others)

Homer's best-loved and most accessible poem, recounting the great wandering of Odysseus during his ten-year voyage back home to Ithaca, after the Trojan War. A superb new verse translation, now published in trade paperback, before the standard Penguin Classic B format.

The Iliad

Homer (and others)

A work of tremendous influence that has inspired writers from his ancient Greek contemporaries to modernist writers such as T.S. Eliot, Homer's epic poem The Iliad is translated by Robert Fagles with an introduction and notes by Bernard Knox in Penguin Classics.

One of the foremost achievements in Western literature, Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode in the Trojan War. At its centre is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his refusal to fight after being humiliated by his leader Agamemnon. But when the Trojan Hector kills Achilles' close friend Patroclus, Achilles storms back into battle to take revenge - although knowing this will ensure his own early death. Interwoven with this tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, of the domestic world inside Troy's besieged city of Ilium, and of the conflicts between the Gods on Olympus as they argue over the fate of mortals.

Seven Greek cities claim the honour of being the birthplace of Homer (c. 8th-7th century BC), the poet to whom the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey are attributed. The Iliad is the oldest surviving work of Western literature, but the identity - or even the existence - of Homer himself is a complete mystery, with no reliable biographical information having survived.

If you enjoyed The Iliad, you might like The Odyssey, also available in Penguin Classics.

'An astonishing performance'
Peter Levi

'Plain and direct, noble, above all rapid ... leading the reader forward with an irresistible flow. [Fagles'] version is imbued with humanity'
Oliver Taplin, The New York Times Book Review

'Robert Fagles has given us an Iliad to read aloud: eloquent, rhythmical, and full of power'
Jasper Griffin, Oxford University

The Iliad

Homer (and others)

An ancient Greek epic which underpins the whole of western literature, Homer's The Iliad is a timeless evocation of the struggle to retain a sense of honour and virtue amidst the horrors of war. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with an introduction by Martin Hammond.

The Iliad is the greatest literary achievement of Greek civilization. The story centres on the critical events in four days of the tenth and final year of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. It describes how the quarrel of Agamemnon and Achilleus sets in motion a tragic sequence of events, which leads to Achilleus' killing of Hektor and determines the ultimate fate of Troy. But Homer's theme is not simply war or heroism. With compassion and humanity he presents a universal and tragic view of the world, of human life lived under the shadow of suffering and death, set against a vast and largely unpitying divine background. The Iliad is the first of the world's great tragedies.

Martin Hammond's acclaimed translation is accompanied by a full introduction and a comprehensive index.

Seven Greek cities claim the honour of being the birthplace of Homer (c. 8th-7th century BC), the poet to whom the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey are attributed. The Iliad is the oldest surviving work of Western literature, but the identity - or even the existence - of Homer himself is a complete mystery, with no reliable biographical information having survived.

If you enjoyed the Iliad, you might like Homer's Odyssey, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Martin Hammond's modern prose version is the best and most accurate there has ever been'
Peter Levi, Independent

'A fine Iliad for our times'
Philip Howard, The Times

Biography

Homer is a much-debated figure traditionally considered to have composed the two great oral poems The Odyssey and The Iliad in eighth or seventh-century-BC Greece