Homer and His Iliad


By Robin Lane Fox

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 24, 2023. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A “compelling and impressive” (Sunday Times) reassessment of the Iliad, uncovering how the poem was written and why it remains enduringly powerful

The Iliad is the world’s greatest epic poem—heroic battle and divine fate set against the Trojan War. Its beauty and profound bleakness are intensely moving, but great questions remain: Where, how, and when was it composed and why does it endure? 

Robin Lane Fox addresses these questions, drawing on a lifelong love and engagement with the poem. He argues for a place, a date, and a method for its composition—subjects of ongoing controversy—combining the detailed expertise of a historian with a poetic reader’s sensitivity. Lane Fox considers hallmarks of the poem; its values, implicit and explicit; its characters; its women; its gods; and even its horses. 

Thousands of readers turn to the Iliad every year. Drawing on fifty years of reading and research, Lane Fox offers us a breathtaking tour of this magnificent text, revealing why the poem has endured for ages. 
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  • “Valuable… [an] earnest appreciation.”
    Wall Street Journal
  • “Fiercely argued.”
    Financial Times
  • “The best book on the Iliad in years and an exemplary work of historical and literary criticism.”
    The Washington Examiner
  • "A masterly survey of the Iliad, its majesty, its pathos and its unparalleled progression from wrath to pity.”
    History Today
  • “In his magisterial new book Homer and His Iliad, the eminent British classicist Robin Lane Fox reaches exegetical heights.”
    Bloomberg Opinion
  • “Lane Fox is an Oxford don, and his book the result of a lifetime’s dedication to the Iliad — personally and professionally. As such it is rigorously academic, but also winningly idiosyncratic…. This is a compelling and impressive work.”
    Times (UK)
  • “This is a compelling and impressive work.”
    Sunday Times (UK)
  • “A bold reassessment of how [the Iliad] came to life.” 
    The Spectator (UK)
  • “The product of a lifetime’s contemplation of study… a stirring introduction to the sometimes alien Homeric world.” 
    The Spectator (UK)
  • "State-of-the-art discussion of the date and origin of the Homeric Iliad, melded with a fine personal account of the impact of the poem as a profound meditation on our human condition in what remains a dangerous world."
    Bryn Mawr Classical Review
  • “Excellent … This book is the expression of [Fox’s] lifelong love for the poem.”
    Country Life
  • “An engaging, scholarly commentary.”
    The Oldie
  • “An enlightening account…. Combining a historian’s meticulous methodology with a lifelong appreciation of the Iliad, Lane Fox presents a thorough reassessment of the poem and a moving interrogation of its themes of pathos, pity, and irony. It’s a rewarding investigation.”
    Publishers Weekly
  • “A lucid, scholarly exploration into an immortal work.”
  • “A spirited, erudite argument.”
  • Homer and His Iliad is rich, imaginative, perceptive and gorgeously written.”
    Literary Review
  • “Fox’s book is as fiercely intelligent and scholarly… a marvelous grappling with a poem and his masterpiece.”
    Open Letters Review
  • “Treasured, entertaining, and knowledgeable.”
    Shelf Awareness
  • “Lane Fox weighs in elegantly on both streams of Homeric commentary, the academic and the aesthetic, drawing on his decades of scholarly familiarity and classroom experience with the poem.”
    Washington Independent Review of Books

On Sale
Oct 24, 2023
Page Count
464 pages
Basic Books

Robin Lane Fox

About the Author

Robin Lane Fox is an emeritus fellow at New College, Oxford. His books include The Invention of Medicine, Augustine (winner of the major Wolfson History Prize), and The Classical World. He lives near Oxford, England. 

Learn more about this author