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May 2019 Book Salon:
The Iliad

  • This month we're reading The Iliad by Homer, with notes by Richard Martin. Our faculty host is Richard Martin.

    Listen to an interview with our Book Salon host.

    "Reading The Iliad will re-adjust the way you look at life, death, glory, honor, passion, beauty, affection, society, and just about everything else."

    Richard Martin, Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor in Classics

How to Participate

>> Read the interview transcript with this month's host, Richard Martin

>> Post a message to the online discussion group by emailing

>> Familiarize yourself with the Book Salon FAQs & Ground Rules

About this quarter's book selection

"Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus / and its devastation." For sixty years, that's how Homer has begun the Iliad in English, in Richmond Lattimore's faithful translation—the gold standard for generations of students and general readers.

This long-awaited new edition of Lattimore's Iliad is designed to bring the book into the twenty-first century—while leaving the poem as firmly rooted in ancient Greece as ever. Lattimore's elegant, fluent verses—with their memorably phrased heroic epithets and remarkable fidelity to the Greek—remain unchanged, but classicist Richard Martin has added a wealth of supplementary materials designed to aid new generations of readers. A new introduction sets the poem in the wider context of Greek life, warfare, society, and poetry, while line-by-line notes at the back of the volume offer explanations of unfamiliar terms, information about the Greek gods and heroes, and literary appreciation. A glossary and maps round out the book.

The result is a volume that actively invites readers into Homer's poem, helping them to understand fully the worlds in which he and his heroes lived—and thus enabling them to marvel, as so many have for centuries, at Hektor and Ajax, Paris and Helen, and the devastating rage of Achilleus.

The Stanford Book Salon [Seriously Unstuffy]