Makers of Poetry and Masters of Prose

The wrath of Achilles was his theme, that fatal wrath which dragged so many men down to Hades and left their bodies the prey of carrion dogs and birds. Yes, but who or what was he? Homer’s Iliad is the fundamental epic on which our civilisation rests, the greatest of war stories and the starkest intimation of tragedy (that literary and dramatic form which represents the zenith of the culture we have). Yet we know next to nothing about the origins of Iliad or its tonally opposite companion piece the Odyssey which we also label as “Homer”, though the story…

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