Classic Comparisons

Once upon a time there was an old blind man with a harp. His name was Homer, and he spoke Greek, and he was really good at composing long poems about the adventures of Greek heroes. He never wrote anything down because that's just not how things were done back then, but other people did, and what Homer sang and they wrote we call The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Much more recently, you (or someone like you) stood in a bookstore and wondered why there were twelve thousand versions of these two relatively short books. Were there sequels? Did people other than Homer come up with the same stories? Or are there just different covers for one or two versions?

It's easy to resolve the problem by simply buying the least expensive copy. And it isn't just the works of Homer that present us with similar decisions: there are multiple editions of Virgil, Dante, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Cervantes' Don Quixote, etc. Does it matter which one you pick? Is cheapest always best?

Well, to quote a great philosopher, the price don't enter into it. The main reason there are so many versions of these books is because there are so many translations, and there are so many translations because foreign or ancient languages can be interpreted in so many ways. Choosing the best one can be exceedingly difficult, as each translation has its own strengths and weaknesses, and one size almost never fits all.

That's why we've developed the Classic Comparisons pages. The issue here isn't to prove which version is the best—it's to help you figure out which version is the best for you. Each page includes an original introduction to the text itself, links for further reading and activities online, an exclusive overview and side-by-side comparison chart of several popular translations, kids' versions, and occasional extras.

We hope you'll find these helpful, and that you'll learn as much from them as we did in making them.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

 

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162 Items found Print
Aeneid
by Virgil (translation by Robert Fitzgerald)
from Vintage Classics
Ancient Literature/Epic Poetry for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$11.90 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Aeneid
by Virgil (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Putnam
for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$15.30 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Aeneid
Penguin Classics
by Virgil (translation by David West)
Reissue from Penguin Classics
for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$13.60
Aeneid - Memoria Press Package
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Memoria Press Classical Studies (Location: F6C-HIS)
$42.42
Aeneid - MP Student Guide
by Cody King
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Memoria Press Classical Studies (Location: F6C-HIS)
$14.41 $11.87 (1 in stock)
Aeneid - MP Teacher Guide
by Cody King
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Memoria Press Classical Studies (Location: F6C-HIS)
$14.41 $12.00 (1 in stock)
Aeneid for Boys and Girls
by Alfred J. Church
from Yesterday's Classics
Roman Mythology for 5th-8th grade
in Yesterday's Classics (Location: L5A-FIC)
$9.95
All-In-One Curriculum for The Pilgrim's Progress Complete Set
for 4th-8th grade
in British Literature Curriculum (Location: E4F-LIT)
$45.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Milton
by John Milton
from Bantam Books
for 11th-Adult
in 17th Century Literature (Location: MLIT4-17)
$6.95
Ascent to Love
by Peter Leithart
from Canon Press
for 9th-Adult
in Classical Literature Guides (Location: E4E-LIT)
$13.60
Beowulf
by Anonymous (translation by Frederick Rebsamen)
from HarperCollins
Medieval Poetic Epic for 8th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$8.49 $6.00 (2 in stock)
Beowulf
by Anonymous (translation by Seamus Heaney)
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Medieval Poetic Epic for 8th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$13.56
Beowulf
Dover Thrift Editions
by Anonymous (translation by R. K. Gordon)
from Dover Publications
Medieval Epic for 8th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$2.13
Beowulf
by Anonymous (translation by Burton Raffel)
from Signet Classics
for 10th grade-adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$4.21
Beowulf
by Robert Nye
from Laurel-Leaf Books
for 6th-10th grade
$5.99
Beowulf
by Anonymous (translation by Seamus Heaney)
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Medieval Poetic Epic for 9th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$21.21
Beowulf
by Anonymous (translation by Douglas Wilson)
from Canon Press
for 7th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$11.90
Beowulf
by Michael Morpurgo
from Candlewick Press
for 3rd-8th grade
$5.94
Beowulf - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by John Green
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
$3.99
Beowulf - Progeny Press Study Guide
by Michael Poteet
from Progeny Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Progeny Press Literature Guides (Location: E3A-LIT)
$22.49
Beowulf - Study Guide CD
by Michael Poteet
from Progeny Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Progeny Press Interactive CDs (Location: E3B-LIT)
$18.99
Beowulf the Warrior
by Ian Serraillier
from Bethlehem Books
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$9.00
Beowulf the Warrior - MP Curriculum Package
by David M. Wright, Ian Serraillier
from Memoria Press
for 8th-9th grade
in Memoria Press Literature & Poetry (Location: E3C-LIT)
$30.48
Beowulf the Warrior - Student Guide
by David M. Wright
from Memoria Press
for 8th-9th grade
in Memoria Press Literature & Poetry (Location: E3C-LIT)
$11.95
Beowulf the Warrior - Teacher Guide
by David M. Wright
from Memoria Press
for 8th-9th grade
in Memoria Press Literature & Poetry (Location: E3C-LIT)
$11.01
Beowulf: A Hero's Tale Retold
by James Rumford
from Houghton Mifflin
for 4th-6th grade
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary
by Anonymous (translation by J. R. R. Tolkien)
from Houghton Mifflin
for 9th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$23.80
Black Ships Before Troy
by Rosemary Sutcliff & Alan Lee
from Frances Lincoln
Greek Mythology for 3rd-8th grade
$16.99
Black Ships Before Troy
by Rosemary Sutcliff
from Laurel-Leaf Books
Greek Mythology for 4th-8th grade
$6.79 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Boys of Blur
by N. D. Wilson
from Random House Books for Young Readers
for 5th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$12.50
Boys of Blur
by N. D. Wilson
from Random House Books for Young Readers
for 5th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$6.79
Boys' and Girls' Herodotus
by John S. White
from American Home-School Publishing
Ancient History Reference for 4th-8th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: G1D-HIS)
$22.00 $15.00 (1 in stock)
Brit. Lit. Volume 1
by Douglas Wilson
from Logos School
for 10th-12th grade
in Logos Brit. Lit. (Location: E5B-LIT)
$8.50
Brit. Lit. Volume 4
by John Milton
from Logos School
for 10th-12th grade
in Logos Brit. Lit. (Location: E5B-LIT)
$12.75
Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress
by Leland Ryken
from Crossway Books
for 9th-Adult
in Literary Analysis & Reference (Location: E5C-LIT)
$5.99
Canterbury Quintet
by Geoffrey Chaucer
from Little Leaf Press
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Canterbury Tales
by Barbara Cohen & Trina Schart Hyman
from William Morrow & Company
Medieval Literature for 3rd-6th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$22.94
Canterbury Tales
Penguin Classics
by Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by Nevill Coghill)
from Penguin Classics
Medieval Poetry for 8th-12th grade
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$9.35
Canterbury Tales
Puffin Classics
by Geoffrey Chaucer (retold by Geraldine McCaughrean)
from Puffin Books
Epic Poetry for 7th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$5.09
Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by Kolve V.A. & Glending Olson)
2nd edition from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by Peter Beidler)
from Bantam Books
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: MLIT2-MED)
$5.09
Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer
from Memoria Press
for 9th grade
in Memoria Press Literature & Poetry (Location: E3C-LIT)
$12.71
Chanticleer and the Fox
by Barbara Cooney
from HarperCollins
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 1st-3rd grade
1959 Caldecott Medal winner
in Picture Books (Location: O5B-PIC)
$6.79
Chaucer Story Book
by Geoffrey Chaucer
Ill from CreateSpace
for 5th-8th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$7.61
Children's Homer
by Padraic Colum & Willy Pogany
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Greek Mythology for 3rd-8th grade
$8.49 $6.00 (1 in stock)
Coloring Book of the Odyssey
from Bellerophon Books
for 1st-3rd grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: G1D-HIS)
Coloring Book of the Trojan War: The Iliad Vol. 1
by John K. Anderson
from Bellerophon Books
for 1st-3rd grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: G1D-HIS)
Coloring Book of the Trojan War: The Iliad Vol. 2
by John K. Anderson
Coloring from Bellerophon Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: G1D-HIS)
$4.95
Dangerous Journey
by Oliver Hunkin (abridger)
from Eerdmans
Allegorical and Moral Stories for 3rd-6th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$21.24 $15.00 (1 in stock)
Dangerous Journey - Comprehension Guide
by Emily Fischer
from Veritas Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Veritas Press Literature Guides (Location: E3E-LIT)
$13.95
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