Listen to Erathoniel ranting on and on in good ol' conservative Christian fashion.
Based on Samuel Butler's Translation
Published on April 16, 2008 By erathoniel In Books

    I'm gonna try putting the Iliad into plain English. It's already in English in the translation I'm using, but I'm making it simple. It will have footnotes. Most quotes will be left somewhat intact, especially describing the pantheon of the Greeks.

    Sing, O goddess*, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Greeks. It killed many of the Greeks, and it led to the death of many heroes, for so Zeus's commands fufilled, when son of Atreus *1, king of men, and great Achilles, first began their feud.

    It was the son of Zeus and Hera, Apollo, who made them feud, because he was angry with the king and sent a plague upon the Greeks, because the son of Atreus had dishonoured Chryses, his priest. Chryses had offered a ransom for his daughter, and pleaded with the sons of Atreus.

    "Sons of Atreus," he cried, "and all other Greekss, may the gods who live in Olympus grant you victory over Troy, and to get home again safely; but free my daughter, and accept a ransom for her, in reverence to Apollo, son of Zeus."

    Most of the Greeks agreed to his demands; but not Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly away. "Old man," said he, "let me not find you lounging near our ships, or coming back. Your sceptre of the god and your wreath shall profit you nothing. I will not free her. She shall grow old in my house at Argos far from her own home, as my wife (concubine); so go, and do not provoke me or I will hurt you."

    The old man feared him and obeyed. He said no more th the Greeks, but went by the shore of the sounding sea and prayed apart to King Apollo. "Hear me," he cried, "O god of the silver bow, who protects Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest Tenedos with your might, hear me, you of Sminthe. If I have ever decked your temple with garlands, or burned your sacrifices, grant my prayer, and let your arrows avenge these my tears upon the Greeks and their allies."

    That was his prayer, and Apollo heard him. He came down from the summits of Olympus in a rage, with his bow and his quiver upon, and the arrows rattled on his back with the force of rage that trembled within him. He stood away from the ships with a face as dark as night, and his silver bow rang death as he shot his arrows of plague in the midst of them. First he smote their mules and their hounds, but presently he aimed his shafts at the people themselves, and all day long the pyres *2 of the dead were burning.

    For nine whole days he sent plague upon the people, but on the tenth day Achilles called the Greeks in assembly, by command of Hera, who saw the Achaeans dying and had pity for them. Then, when they gathered together, he rose and spoke.

    "Son of Atreus," said he, "I think that we should now head home to escape destruction, because we are being cut down by war and plague at the same time. Let us ask some priest or prophet, or some reader of dreams (for dreams, too, are of Zeus) who can tell us why Phoebus Apollo is so angry, and say whether it is for some promise that we have broken, or sacrifice that we have not offered, and whether he will accept lambs and goats without blemish as a sacrifice to take away the plague that afflicts us."

* Muses were believed to be the source of all stories

*1 Agamemnon

*2 The traditional classical Greek death rite was burning upon a large wooden construct.


Comments
on Apr 16, 2008
Umm, what?!?

on Apr 16, 2008

Ol' story of Achilles?  Read it...it's not bad.

~Zoo

on Apr 16, 2008

Yeah. My only regret is that it's still incredibly difficult to read.

on Apr 16, 2008

Actually, in hindsight, I also regret that I can only do it in such small chunks before having to take a break.

Link to Part 2

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