Iliad Comparisons

There are over one hundred English translations of Homer's Iliad. This page allows you to compare six versions side by side, four verse and two prose translations.
For more information about the Iliad, view our Iliad page. Enjoy!





Caroline Alexander (2015)   

W.H.D. ROUSE (1938)


Book 1: Invocation
Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son Achilles
and its devastation, which put pains thousand-fold upon the Achaians,
hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls
of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting
of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished....
Anger now be your song, immortal one,
Akhilleus' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men—carrion
for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.
Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters' souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end.
Sing, Goddess, Achilles' rage,
Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks
Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls
Of heroes into Hades' dark,
And left their bodies to rot as feasts
For dogs and birds, as Zeus' will was done.
Wrath--sing, goddess, of the ruinous wrath of Peleus' son Achilles
that inflicted woes without number upon the Achaeans,
hurled forth to Hades many strong souls of warriors
and rendered their bodies prey for the dogs,
for all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished;
An angry man- there is my story: the bitter rancour of Achilles, prince of the house of peleus, which brought a thousand troubles upon the Achaian host. Many a strong soul it sent down to Hades, and left the heroes themselves a prey to dogs and carrion birds, while the will of God moved on to fulfillment.
Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled....
Book 6: Hector Answers Helen
Then tall Hektor of the shining helm answered her: "Do not, Helen,
make me sit with you, though you love me. You will not persuade me.
Already my heart within is hastening me to defend
the Trojans, who when I am away long greatly to have me.
Rather rouse this man, and let him be swift to action
so he may overtake me while I am still in the city.
For I am going first to my own house, so I can visit
my own people, my beloved wife and my son, who is little,
since I do not know if ever again I shall come back this way,
or whether the gods will strike me down at the hands of the Achaians."
Great Hektor shook his head, his helmet flashing,
and said:
"No Helen, offer me no rest;
I know you are fond of me. I cannot rest.
Time presses, and I grow impatient now
to lend a hand to Trojans in the field
who feel a gap when I am gone. Your part
can be to urge him—let him feel the urgency
to join me in the city. He has time:
I must go home to visit my own people,
my own dear wife and my small son. Who knows
if I shall be reprieved again to see them,
or beaten down under Akhaian blows
as the immortals will."
Turning to go,
his helmet flashing, tall hector answered,
"Don't ask me to sit beside you here, Helen.
Love me as you do, you can't persuade me now.
No time for rest. My heart races to help our Trojans—
they long for me, sorely, whenever I am gone.
But rouse this fellow, won't you?
And let him hurry himself along as well,
so he can overtake me before I leave the city.
For I must go home to see my people first,
to visit my own dear wife and my baby son.
Who knows if I will ever come back to them again?
or the deathless gods will strike me down at last
at the hands of Argive fighters."
And Hector, in his burnished helmet:
"Don't ask me to sit, Helen, even though
You love me. You will never persuade me.
My heart is out there with our fighting men.
They already feel my absence from battle.
Just get Paris moving, and have him hurry
So he can catch up with me while I'm still
Inside the city. I'm going to my house now
To see my family, my wife and my boy. I don't know
Whether I'll ever be back to see them again, or if
The gods will destroy me at the hands of the Greeks."
Then answered her great Hector of the shimmering helm:
"Do not have me sit, Helen, for all your love; you will not persuade me.
For my spirit has already set me to defend
the Trojans, who have great longing for me when I am away.
But you rouse this one, and let him hurry,
so that he might catch me up while inside the city.
For my part I am going home, so that I may see
my household and my beloved wife and little son.
For I do not know whether, returning once more to them, I will come back again,
or if, already now, the gods will defeat me beneath the hands of the Achaeans."
Hector answered. "Don't ask me to sit, Helen: I thank you all the same, my dear, but I must not stay. They miss me outside, and I must go and do my part. Just keep this man up to the mark; let him make haste himself and catch me up before I go out of the gates, for I am going home first for one look at my wife and my little boy. I don't know if I shall ever see them again. It may be God's will to lay me low by the enemy's hand."
And Hector answered, "Bid me not be seated, Helen, for all the goodwill you bear me. I cannot stay. I am in haste to help the Trojans, who miss me greatly when I am not among them; but urge your husband, and of his own self also let him make haste to overtake me before I am out of the city. I must go home to see my household, my wife and my little son, for I know not whether I shall ever again return to them, or whether the gods will cause me to fill by the hands of the Achaeans."
Book 13: The Trojans Charge
They went on, as out of the racking winds the stormblast
that underneath the thunderstroke of Zeus-Father drives downward
and with gigantic clamour hits the sea, and the numerous
boiling waves along the length of the roaring water
bend and whiten to foam in ranks, one upon another;
so the Trojans closing in ranks, some leading and others
after them, in the glare of bronze armor followed their leaders.
Men charged like rough winds in a storm launched on the earth
In thunder of Father Zeus, when roaring high the wind and ocean rise together;
On swell of clamorous foaming sea goes forward,
Snowy-crested, curling, ranked ahead
And ranked behind: so line by compact line
Advanced the Trojans glittering in bronze
Behind their captains.
Down the Trojans came like a squall of brawling gale-winds
blasting down with the Father's thunder, loosed on earth
and a superhuman uproar bursts as they pound the heavy seas,
the giant breakers seething, battle lines of them roaring,
shoulders rearing, exploding foam, waves in the vanguard,
waves rolling in from the rear. So on the Trojans came,
waves in the vanguard, waves from the rear, closing...
Aching winds sweep down to the ground
Under rolling thunder from the patriarch Zeus
And then clash with the sea. The water moans
And is whipped into wave after wave of arching,
Seething breakers capped with white foam.

The Trojans kept coming, rank on rank
Flashing with bronze, behind their captains.
They went like a stormy blast of baneful wind
that with the thunder of father Zeus descends to earth,
and amid sublime uproar hits the ocean, where curl the endless
seething waves of the tumultuous deep,
whitened to foam, waves in front, then ranks of waves behind,
glittering with bronze, followed with their leaders.
They moved like a tempest of stormy winds that swoops on the earth under the thunder of Father Zeus, and mingles with waters, amid tumultuous noise, the waves dashing and splashing over the roaring seething sea, curved and crested, first one line and then another line—so rolled the Trojans on, first one serried line and then another line, a sea of metal flashing and crashing as they marched behind their leaders.
They flew forth like the blasts of some fierce wind that strike earth in the van of a thunderstorm—they buffet the salt sea into an uproar; many and mighty are the great waves that come crashing in one after the other upon the shore with their arching heads all crested with foam—even so did rank behind rank of Trojans arrayed in gleaming armour follow their leaders onward.
Book 19: Achilles Prepares for Battle
A clash went from the grinding of his teeth, and his eyes glowed
as if they were the stare of a fire, and the heart inside him
was entered with sorrow beyond endurance. Raging at the Trojans
he put on the fights of the god, that Hephaistos wrought him with much toil.
First he placed along his legs the fair greaves linked with
silver fastenings to hold the greaves at the ankles.
Afterward he girt on about his chest the corselet,
and across his shoulders lung the sword with the nails of silver,
a bronze sword, and caught up the great shield, huge and heavy
next, and from it the light glimmered far, as from the moon.
Among them prince Akhilleus armed. One heard his teeth
grind hard together, and his eyes blazed out
like licking fire, for unbearable pain
had fixed upon his heart. Raging at the Trojans,
he buckled on the arms Hephaistos forged.
The beautiful greaves, fitted with silver anklets,
first he put upon his legs, and next
the cuirass on his ribs; then over his shoulder
he slung the sword of bronze with silver scabbard;
finally he took up the massive shield
whence came a radiance like the round full moon.
...And in their midst
the brilliant Achilles began to arm for battle...
A sound of grinding came from the fighter's teeth,
his eyes blazed forth in searing points of fire,
unbearable grief came surging through his heart
and now, bursting with rage against the men of Troy,
he donned Hephaestus' gifts—magnificent armor
the god of fire forged with all his labor.
First he wrapped his legs with well-made greaves,
fastened behind his heels with silver ankle- clasps,
next he strapped the breastplate round his chest
then over his shoulder Achilles slung his sword,
the fine bronze blade with its silver-studded hilt,
then hoisted the massive shield flashing far and wide
like a full round moon...
And, like a bronze bolt in the center, Achilles,
Who now began to arm.
His eyes glowed
Like white-hot steal, and he gritted his teeth
Against the grief that had sunk into his bones,
And every motion he made in putting on the armor
Forged for him in heaven was an act of passion
Directed against the Trojans: clasping on his shins
The greaves trimmed in silver at the ankles
Strapping the corselet onto his chest, slinging
The silver-studded bronze sword around a shoulder,
And then lifting the massive, heavy shield
That spilled light around it as if it were the moon.
...and in their midst godlike Achilles began to arm.
With a gnashing of his teeth, his eyes
shining like fire flare, and sorrow beyond endurance
in his heart, raging at the Trojans,
he put on the gifts of the god, all that Hephaestus had toiled to make for him.
First he strapped the splendid greaves around his shins,
fitted with silver bindings around his ankles;
next he girt about his chest a breastplate,
and across his shoulders he slung his bronze sword
studded with silver; and then he took his great strong shield,
whose light shone afar, like the moon.
In their midst was Achilles, arming himself win the armour that Hephaistos had made, while Grief intolerable sank deep into his heart: he gnashed his teeth, his eyes clasped over his legs those fine greaves with their silver ankle- guard. Next he put the corselet about his chest and slung the silver-studded sword over his shoulders. Then he took up the great shield, which gleamed like another moon with a light which filled the place...
In the midst of them all Achilles put on his armour; he gnashed his teeth, his eyes gleamed like fire, for his grief was greater than he could bear. Thus, then, full of fury against the Trojans, did he don the gift of the god, the armour that Vulcan had made him. First he put on the goodly greaves fitted with ankle-clasps, and next he did on the breastplate about his chest. He slung the silver-studded sword of bronze about his shoulders, and then took up the shield so great and strong that shone afar with a splendour as of the moon.
Book 23: Patroklos' Ghost
"Bury me as quickly as may be, let me pass through the gates of Hades.
The souls, the images of dead men, hold me at a distance,
and will not let me cross the river and mingle among them,
but I wander as I am by Hades' house of the wide gates.
And I call upon you in sorrow, give me your hand; no longer
shall I come back from death, once you give me my rite of burning.
No longer shall you and I, alive, sit apart from our other
beloved companions and make our plans, since the bitter destiny
that was given me when I was born has opened its jaws to take me."
"Accord me burial
in all haste: let me pass the gates of Death.
Shades that are images of used-up men
motion me away, will not receive me
among their hosts beyond the river. I wander
about the wide gates and the hall of Death.
Give me your hand, I sorrow.
When thou shalt have allotted me my fire
I will not fare here from the dark again.
As living men we'll no more sit apart
from our companions, making plans. The day
of wrath appointed for me at my birth
engulfed and took me down."
"Bury me, quickly—let me pass the Gates of Hades.
They hold me off at a distance, all the souls,
the shades of the burnt-out, breathless dead,
never to let me cross the river, mingle with them...
They leave me to wander up and down, abandoned, lost
at the House of Death with the all-embracing gates.
Oh give me your hand—I beg you with my tears!
Never, never again shall I return from Hades
once you have given me the soothing rites of fire.
Never again will you and I, alive and breathing,
huddle side-by-side, apart from loyal comrades,
making plans together—never...Grim death,
that death assigned from the day that I was born
has spread its hateful jaws to take me down."
"...Bury me quickly so I may pass through Hades' gates.
The spirits keep me at a distance, the phantoms
Of men outworn, and will not yet allow me
To join them beyond the river. I wander
Aimlessly through Hade's wide-doored house.
And give me your hand, for never again
Will I come back from Hades, once you burn me
In my share of fire. Never more in life
Shall we sit apart from our comrades and talk.
The Fate I was born to has swallowed me..."
"Bury me quickly, let me pass the gates of Hades;
the shades, the images of the worn-out dead, keep me a long way off,
nor let me mingle with them beyond the river,
and in vain I wander by the wide-gated house of Hades.
And give me too your hand, I beseech you; for never again
will I return from Hades, once you have given me my portion of the fire.
You and I will not in life sit apart from our beloved companions,
and make plans together, but hateful death
gapes round me, allotted to me at my very birth."
"Bury me without delay, that I may pass the gates of Hades. Those phantoms hold me off, the souls of those whose work is done; they will not suffer me to join them beyond the river, but I wander aimlessly about the broad gates of the house of Hades. And give me your hand, I pray; for never again shall I come back frome Hades when once you have given me my portion of fire. Never again in life shall we go apart from our companions and take counsel together; but I am swallowed up already by that cruel fate which got me on the day I was born..."
"Bury me with all speed that I may pass the gates of Hades; the ghosts, vain shadows of men that can labour no more, drive me away from them; they will not yet suffer me to join those that are beyond the river, and I wander all desolate by the wide gates of the house of Hades. Give me now your hand I pray you, for when you have once given me my dues of fire, never shall I again come forth out of the house of Hades. Nevermore shall we sit apart and take sweet counsel among the living; the cruel fate which was my birth-right has yawned its wide jaws around me."