'The Iliad: The Verse Translation by Alexander Pope'
By Homer (Author), Alexander Pope (Translator), Ex Fontibus Company (Contributor)
When Homer's Iliad appeared in Alexander Pope's majestic translation between 1715 and 1720, it was acclaimed by Samuel Johnson as "a performance which no age or nation could hope to equal." A few years later, Pope oversaw the translation of the Odyssey. Other translations have since appeared, but Pope's is unrivaled in its melodious beauty. This is the Iliad that has formed generations of British and American culture through a beauteous poetics that lends itself to easy recollection. With a clean and crisp text illustrated by the inimitable line drawings of Flaxman, this edition finally gives to audiences a fitting rendering of this monument of English verse which captures uniquely the song of Homer himself.
"Many consider [this translation] the greatest English Iliad, and one of the greatest translations of any work into English. It manages to convey not only the stateliness and grandeur of Homer’s lines, but their speed and wit and vividness." -- Daniel Mendelsohn, "Englishing the Iliad: Grading Four Rival Translations,"
(The New Yorker Blog, 11/1/2011)
"The thing that best distinguishes this from all other translations of Homer is that it alone equals the original in its ceaseless pour of verbal music. . . . Pope worked miracles in highlighting the play of vowels through his lines. . . . Every word is weighted, with a pressure of mind behind it. This is a poem you can live your way into, over the years, since it yields more at every encounter."
(New York Times)
"For Homer to take his place among our classics it must be the case that a rendering could exercise the same spell over the collective ear as English-language poets. You could not memorize Fagles, or Lattimore - or Hobbes, a few phrases apart - while Pope, even at his least Homeric, is memorable. . . . Pope is not superseded."
(David Ricks, Kings College, Classics Ireland, vol. 4, 1997)
In the Western classical tradition, Homer (Greek: Όμηρος) is considered the author ofThe Iliad and The Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest of ancient Greek epic poets. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.
When he lived is unknown. Herodotus estimates that Homer lived 400 years before his own time, which would place him at around 850 BCE, while other ancient sources claim that he lived much nearer to the supposed time of the Trojan War, in the early 12th century BCE. Most modern researchers place Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BCE.
The formative influence of the Homeric epics in shaping Greek culture was widely recognized, and Homer was described as the teacher of Greece. Homer's works, which are about fifty percent speeches, provided models in persuasive speaking and writing that were emulated throughout the ancient and medieval Greek worlds. Fragments of Homer account for nearly half of all identifiable Greek literary papyrus finds.