Apr 15, 2016

The Iliad: Not as Stuffy as You'd Expect

I really enjoyed the Lombardo translation of Iliad, so I thought I'd give you a taste. Here's an excerpt, Diomedes vs. Pandarus (and their drivers):

Their two opponents 
Drove their thoroughbreds hard
And quickly closed the gap, and Pandarus,
Lycaon's splendid son, called out:

"You're tough, Diomedes, a real pedigreed hero.
So I only stung you with that arrow?
Well, let's see what I can do with a spear."

The shaft cast a long shadow as it left his hand
And hit Diomedes' shield. The bronze apex
Sheared through and stopped
Just short of his breastplate.
Pandarus, thinking he had hit him, whooped again:

"Got you right through the belly, didn't I?
You're done for, and you've handed me the glory."

Diomedes answered him levelly:

"You didn't even come close, but I swear
One of you two goes down now
And gluts Ares with his blood."

His javelin followed his voice, and Athena
Guided it to where the nose joins the eye-socket.
The bronze crunched through the pearly teeth
And sheared the tongue at its root, exiting
At the base of the chin,

Pandarus fell from the car,
His armour scattering the hard light
As it clattered on his fallen body.
His horse shied--

Quick movement of hooves--
As his soul seeped out into the sand.

--The Iliad by Homer, Lombardo translation, book 5


  1. You've written of the Iliad before, but I didn't comment at the time. Sorry. I am so surprised to find a fellow fan. So here is a link to my old blog post essay around that war: http://essaysbysean.blogspot.ca/2014/01/troy-iliad-and-music.html

    How far apart we are! You live in Finland, and I live on the prairie (great plains) of Canada.
    I found your blog by accident a few months ago and I bookmarked it.

  2. I checked out your essay, an interesting perspective to the story. Trying to figure out the classics on your own isn't easy; I'm so jealous of the students who get to actually study these (and writing!) as a part of their college education... With a full-time job, the best I can do is an online class now and then. Hmm... Maybe I should start posting on goodreads and join in the discussion?


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