Emily Wilson on The Iliad

“We are now in a period of crisis not for a specific nation but for humanity, inhabiting a planet that is becoming less and less habitable. A new kind of heartbreak can be felt in The Iliad‘s representation of a city in its last days, of triumphs and defeats and struggles and speeches that take place in a city that will soon be burned to the ground, in a landscape that will soon be flooded by all the rivers, in a world where soon, no people will live at all, and there will be no more stories and no more names.

You already know the story. You will die. Everyone you love will also die. You will lose them forever. You will be sad and angry. You will weep. You will bargain. You will make demands. You will beg. You will pray. It will make no difference. Nothing you can do will bring them back. You know this. Your knowing changes nothing. This poem will make you understand this unfathomable truth again and again, as if for the very first time.”

— Emily Wilson (introduction to The Iliad)