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Publisher's Summary

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are unquestionably two of the greatest epic masterpieces in Western literature. Though more than 2,700 years old, their stories of brave heroics, capricious gods, and towering human emotions are vividly timeless.

The Iliad can justly be called the world’s greatest war epic. The terrible and long-drawn-out siege of Troy remains one of the classic campaigns, the heroism and treachery of its combatants unmatched in song and story. Driven by fierce passions and loyalties, men and gods battle to a devastating conclusion.

The Odyssey chronicles the many trials and adventures Odysseus must pass through on his long journey home from the Trojan wars to his beloved wife. Though the stormy god of the ocean has sworn vengeance against him, and witches and sirens try to lure him off course, Odysseus is clever and has the brilliant goddess Athena on his side.

Homer (9th or 8th century B.C.) is the presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. Virtually nothing is known about his life. Tradition has it that he was blind. Most scholars believe he composed the Iliad and the Odyssey by relying on oral traditions. Their value lies chiefly in the poetry itself, moving from sublime passages about the gods and heroic exploits to passages expressing deep human emotion.

Public Domain (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the critics say

"The best translation of Homer that I have ever read is by W. H. D. Rouse." (Dudley Fitts)

What listeners say about Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey

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I mean... I got through it

It's a classic and one wants to respect that, but multiple times I forgot I was even listening to anything and left it playing... Rewind. Focus. Try again.

3 people found this helpful

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Good Performer, but story is hard to follow

This is a classic read and it is something worth having in our library. Although, I feel, with all the names and characters, it would be easier for me to follow by reading it instead of listening to it.

2 people found this helpful

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Great narrator

Loved it! If you love Greek methodology, history and poetry you have to give these books a read.

4 people found this helpful

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Great stories, wonderfully narrated

Good listen. Long, but worth every word. A classic story. Wonderfully described and narrated. Paced with poetic rhythm and meaning.

1 person found this helpful

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A good purchase

The Iliad was all blood and guts. Killing, Killing, Killing! Quite boring after a while. Whereas the Oddessy was much more entertaining. It did have some killing, but was mostly an adventure story. Vivid imagery of daring feats, written in a way that keeps the reader consumed in the telling and the imagination whirling. I found it hard to turn it off and I was anxious to start listening again.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent ACTING, Brings classic to life!

This is one of those books you either suffered through being forced to read, or a "I really should read that"....kind of book.
I had some drive time last summer, so I'd pop it on and listen while I drove my chariot to work.
The translation is good and though formal language is used, it's quite understandable. It's hard to keep one battle from another, and lots of long bits praising, threatening, plotting, etc. which is exactly what you expect from a classic Greek legendary story like this.
I cannot say enough about Anthony Heald's performance. He brings hundreds of characters to life, from ones who appear only for a few lines, yet are believable and fleshed out. But his main characters are superbly portrayed with the arrogance, or compassion they deserve on such Olympian heights. He makes discussions sound like several people there, and the women and men are all well voiced. Having recorded audiobooks myself, I can tell you, he is a master reader, and even when the text was some hard going to keep track of what was going on, and who was attacking whom; his reading kept me interested and entertained. I never got bored listening to him, and loved it when he played one of the spiteful or vengeful characters ranting at the enemy, or slyly drawing in his victims.
If you like classics, or want to see what this epic saga is about, and have a superb actor read it to you: This is the one for you!

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hard to get through but worth it

it's hard at times to continue listening to this book nevertheless I'm happy I got through it and as I look back I I'm very happy that I got to read this classic myself

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there's a reason it's a classic

Homer is an amazing collection and it's so easy to get lost in the narrative. it takes you to a place long ago forgotten where monsters walk the earth and Men wielded the power that could only be afforded the gods. except for when it was afforded men.

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captivating

loved everything about it from the narration to the stories,really well delivered and it just hooks you from the very beginning.

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  • Joel Jenkins
  • 2017-05-11

Oddball Translation

Is there anything you would change about this book?
This isn’t my first reading of Homer’s Iliad, which recounts the legendary assault of the Achaeans on the City of Troy. However, this time out I read a different translation and though it was still largely the awesome feat of literature that I recall, I realized that this particular translation, by WHD Rouse, had, in spots, sapped a portion of the lyrical quality out of the prose.

Perhaps, I’m being overly picky, but there were a number of spots that felt tone deaf or anachronistic to my ear:

A wounded warrior “Took a header off the wall”

Trojans “fleeing higglety pigglety”

“Heart goes pitterpat”

“The metal of their armour rang ding dong”

Zeus “knocked the gods all over the place”

Zeus says: “Hera, don’t get all spiky with the gods.”

If these sound okay to your ear then I think you'll like this version just fine. If they sound odd or just plain goofy to you, I suggest you pick up another translation. I would prefer to buy another translation than to listen to this one again. I feel it really doesn't do Homer justice.

248 people found this helpful

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  • Ganesh
  • 2013-03-26

Best Iliad experience on Audible

The Iliad is one of those books which can be made or broken by the narrator. With this rendition, Anthony Heald has immediately joined my list of favourites (Patrick Tull, Nigel Lambert, Stephen Fry..) He breathes life into every one of the characters and more than makes up for any quibbles you might have with the translation.

I did not quite like the Butler translation read by Lescault. Butler uses Roman names for Greek Gods, and Lescault's narration is rather bland. Heald injects so much energy that you'd find a grocery list interesting (and to be frank, there are bits of the Iliad which are pretty grocery-like in character)

As for the book - well, it's the Iliad! A magnificent crusty old monument whose shadow falls across Western literature through the ages... well worth your time.

197 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-03-11

Know What Yor Are Getting First

After reading other reviews, I had to say something for those who don't know. I researched a bit and found the Iliad does NOT contain the Trojan Horse or the death of Achilles, that is apparently in the Aeneid, and ends at the funeral of Hector. They are only mentioned in the Odyssey. So this really is the unabridged version, nothing is left out of Homer's work, it seems people are mixing up other Epics with this, which I will say is easy to do since they had a lot of overlap in their plays and other writings. The quick pace can be hard to keep up with if you don't know the story, but I think that is the point, this reading is more for the experienced reader of Homer. Translational issue will abound, but that's why you have more than one if you can (the many translations of the Bible for example). Anthony Heald was quite upbeat and enjoyable, if you can keep up, but it will take practice and multiple listens. But that is the point with grand Epics of antiquity.

29 people found this helpful

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  • The Kindler
  • 2016-07-28

Revisit the Classics

I really enjoyed these books in high school and decided to enjoy the story again. I don't know the differences in translation but I thought this one was effective and easy to grasp. The stories are well told by Heald. The recounting of the Trajan War and Odysseus's trip are engaging to new and repeating listeners. This will not disappoint.

56 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-10-31

a must listen, no way around it

If you think you would like these books then you should just pull the trigger. This recording is great and the story its self is of course wonderful.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Torre
  • 2017-06-28

Fantastic Narration

If you're looking to listen to an enjoyable translation performed by a captivating narrator, this is the audible book for you!

15 people found this helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 2015-10-07

Two Epics Told Well

I had not read these two epics since middle school/high school, so it was basically like I was studying it for the first time. I really cannot comment on this particular translation because it's the only one I've read.

I like Anthony Heald's voice and style. It may take some listeners a while to get used to him. I had just recently heard him narrate Crime and Punishment, so I was already comfortable with him.

The Iliad is a tough one to get through for me. All the names and gods confuse me. It also took me quite a while to get down which warriors were on which side (and I'm not sure I ever figured out which gods were on which side). The digressions and lists are tedious.

Let's face it: the majority of the Iliad is just the reporting of who killed who.

I've never really been a big fan of the whole "intervening god" thing that the Greeks and Romans have in all of their tales. I can dig their view that fate and fortune trump "freewill." However, in the Iliad things are taken to extreme lengths. I mean it's one thing for Zeus to make a warrior angry so that he goes and kills some guy on the other side; it's another for one of the gods to shield one of the mortals or literally carry them to safety.

I found it interesting that the story of Achilles' death is not included in the Iliad. We know that he will die, and even how he will die, but the actual event is not in the book.

The Odyssey is a much more interesting and enjoyable book in my opinion (I know that technically these are poems and not books, but they may as well be books). While the gods are still obviously always involved, their dealings with one another are largely absent from this story. The action in this story is more than just battle. There are fun stories such as the escape from the cyclops, and the men being turned into farm animals. There is also a satisfying ending, which seems rare for the genre.

Throughout both of these epics I kept thinking "isn't there more to this?" I kept waiting for the story of the Trojan Horse to be fleshed out. The story of the Sirens was a blip. I guess that many of the stories are told or added to in other works or myths.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Andre
  • 2014-10-03

Phenomenal!

What did you love best about Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey?

Being able to listen to both stories back to back because they feed off of and inform one another. The language, the imagery, the characters, the action. Given that these stories were originally performed live by traveling poets and singers, listening to the story comes closer to approximating the original experience.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey?

When Odysseus reunited with his son, wife, and father.

Which character – as performed by Anthony Heald – was your favorite?

Odysseus.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I broke it up over a month.

Any additional comments?

A must read, a cornerstone of Western literature.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Luke Ryan Klein
  • 2016-11-01

Epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey

These books were amaizing leather-bound but we're a unique and fantastic journey when performed on audio. I highly recommend these books for anyone who enjoys epics, Greek history, or Mesopotamian lore.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer B.
  • 2019-09-04

kept my attention

the narrator was amazing and so eloquent. enjoyed every moment! a repeat read. let's go

5 people found this helpful