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So You wanna talk White Literature?

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So you wanna talk Homer?

Let’s Talk the Iliad.

Which translation of the Iliad are you talking about? There are over 200.


The one I like now is Richmond Lattimore’s Translation


To wit

Richmond Lattimore's acclaimed translation in 1965-7 tries to keep the long lines of the original Greek poetry. Homer used dactyllic hexameter, which is a dum-da-da rhythm with six dums to the line, and Lattimore struggles to at least fit the six stresses into each line. He also tries to stick closely to the Greek text. The result is something that sounds more like what Homer's listeners heard but makes for slower reading.

Compare a few


First lines of the Iliad by five translators


The Wrath of Peleus' Son, the direful Spring

Of all the Grecian Woes, O Goddess, sing!

That Wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy


The Souls of mighty Chiefs untimely slain;

Whose Limbs unbury'd on the naked Shore

Devouring Dogs and hungry Vultures tore.

Since Great Achilles and Atrides strove,

Such was the Sov'reign Doom, and such the

Will of Jove.


Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled....


Sing, goddess, the anger of Achilles, son of Peleus, the accursed anger that brought uncounted anguish on the Achaians and hurled down to Hades many mighty souls of heroes, making their bodies the prey to dogs and the birds' feasting, and this was the working of Zeus' will.


Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son


and its devastation, which put pains

thousand-fold upon the Achaians,

hurled in their multitudes to the house of

Hades strong souls

of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the

delicate feasting

of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was



Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus'

son Achilles,

murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans

countless losses,

hurling down to the House of Death so many

sturdy souls,

great fighters' souls, but made their bodies


feasts for the dogs and birds,

and the will of Zeus was moving toward its


So, which translation of the Iliad are you talking about?

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Hasn't ANYBODY anything to say about the Iliad or Homer?

How about how some people theorize that his name was another name for Moor and that he was black--I don't really go for that one--I like the one that he was a Greek who didn't even live in Greece proper but one of the cities or Greek cities in Asia Minor, that he was descended from Myceneans thrown out of Greece by the Dorian invasion and that The Iliad was a sort of a paen to past days (when we used to kick the non Greeks asses--instead of vice versa.

How abuot asing why there are so many translations.

I like the Lattimore one because ancient Greek poetry did not rhyme--there was meter and his version catches that.

I like the pome anyway because it shows how bloody and crazed with religion the Greek was--and musical, you should't forget the musical. The Greek had a style that emphasized rythm and imgae and metaphor and symbol--"rosy fingered dawn" and all that. Kind of like Africans or African Americans.

Indeed, the poem reminds me of some stories about Shaka Zulu I read--the Greeks of the Iliad were armed and fought in a similar manner--the issuing of challenges, the clash of the heroes and champions before the main scrimmage

Where is the guy who started this White Lit conversation.


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