Iliad 1.1-7

The opening lines from the Iliad, in which Homer describes the dispute between Agamemnon and Achilles and its effect on the Greek soldiers.

Stephen Jenkin

 

μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος

οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,

πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν

ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν

οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ᾽ ἐτελείετο βουλή,                    5

ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε

Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.

 

Sing, goddess, of the anger of Achilles, son of Peleus,

Accursed, which brought countless pains upon the Achaeans,

Hurled to Hades many strong souls of heroes,

Served them up as carrion for the dogs and all the birds –

The will of Zeus being fulfilled – since the son of Atreus, lord of men,

And godlike Achilles first feuded and quarreled.

 

Achilles considers drawing his sword in anger at Agamemnon (a Roman mosaic)
Achilles considers drawing his sword in anger at Agamemnon (a Roman mosaic)

 

Chosen by Stephen Jenkin. Stephen’s recommended translation is by R. Lattimore.

The above text is provided by the Perseus Digital Library.

Read more of this text at the Perseus site.

 

Teaching Idea
The introductions to the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid set the scene for the poems and it is interesting to compare and contrast them, even in translation with students who are only studying Latin or neither.

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