Penguin Classics Deluxe
Great introduction by Bernard Knox. Very few introductions add anything important to what comes afterward, but this one is even delicious to read, the great subject matters of the Iliad are here explained in terms that reach any person who can read.
I hadn't read the Iliad since a lot younger, and I was happily surprised to see so many different aspects that I hadn't noticed before. The war-film impressions of a kid were gone, and now only the sadness of death, the rage of Achilles, no mercy to the enemies... Hector stood as my hero this time, clearly defined as the last man to stand up for true human, civilized values. The embodiment of civilization, the last bastion of a soon to die culture of life.
It really sounded to me as a warning to cultivated societies of today that peace, freedom, happiness, wealth, art, are not free. And if this is not realized the shorter lived they will be. Not necessarily to be interpreted as a call to arms, but rather as food for thought, in the sense that trying to bribe the enemy is not the solution in the long run. Every time a Trojan got caught his family, or himself, would try ransoming him at the same time revealing the wealth, treasures they had collected, and arousing the greed and resentment of the "bad guys". "Remember, my child, that it was my sweat and labor that put you through college", we could use that expression to describe it. But it's like calling on deaf ears, since no pampered kid will feel obliged to such parental cares, on the contrary, rebellion is the outcome. The child becomes arrogant, even perverted, reluctant to admit his debt to his illiterate parents. No more digressing.
The translation is wonderful, very readable. A book never to become old. Also readable the essay on The Iliad by Simone Weil focusing on 'might'. Who are today yesterday's Argives and Troyans?