Books: Olympian Satire

THE ANGER OF ACHILLES: HOMER'S ILIAD (383 pp.)—Translated by Robert Graves—Doubleday ($4.95).

What has been overlooked by most classicists as well as by the grammarians of ancient Greece. Translator Graves theorizes, is that the Iliad was meant to be entertainment, not solemn tragedy. In Graves's view, the poem is a satirical work in which Homer lampooned the princelings at whose courts he recited, while pretending to hymn the heroes of the past. In this view, Agamemnon, leader of the Achaeans, is the prize buffoon. And when Hector, the Trojan leader, offers to stake the whole war on a single combat, the Greeks...

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