Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.
Category:A book that is at least 100 years older than you.
The Iliad –Homer (683)
Favorite Line: Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.
The Iliad is perhaps the oldest piece of literature in the world, passed down from generation to generation, translated into hundreds of languages, dated back to somewhere between 1260-1180 BC. There are many reasons why it has stood the test of time. It is a poem of epic proportions, bringing the mythical world and the natural world into one fantastic war. It gave us characters that now hold their own power, known outside of the story for their immortal qualities.
Two events many people associate with The Iliad are the famous shot to the heel that killed Achilles, and the Trojan Horse. Unfortunately, if you were able to go back in time and ask Homer what The Iliad was about, neither of those events would appear in his answer. Both the death of Achilles and the overthrow of the city of Troy happen after the end of the poem and we only know about them thanks to the Homer’s follow-up epic poem The Odyssey.
The Iliad is about the Trojan War, but it only really covers the final year of the ten-year war. Furthermore, it includes not one, but three different “wars” which last throughout the narrative. The first being the primary conflict between The Trojans and the Greeks, the second being the conflict between Achilles, the Grecian hero, and Agamemnon, the Grecian king who leads the armies against the Trojans, and the third being the battle between the mythological gods, which influences the mortal battle.
Homer’s ability to compose a poem that has withstood the test for thousands of years is beyond extraordinary. This story covers themes all men can relate to, not just those living in the time of Homer. Themes of love, friendship, mortality, pride, and bravery are portrayed throughout with the same value and influence as they do today.
To me, critiquing this poem seems a little absurd—it has been reviewed and studied thousands of times determining it’s greatness…I don’t need to do that. Therefore, with this being the classic of classics, I’m just going to share with you my favorite quotes that have withstood the test of time.
Lastly, my favorite quote just proves that even in the time of Homer, long before the car was invented, human beings suffered from severe road rage: