Alissa Rubin Reads Homer

In this episode, Alissa Rubin reads an excerpt from the ancient Greek epic The Iliad. Rubin is a Senior International Correspondent for The New York Times. She worked previously as the Bureau Chief in Baghdad, Paris, and Kabul. In 2016, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for “thoroughly reported and movingly written accounts giving voice to Afghan women who were forced to endure unspeakable cruelties.”

The passage that Rubin selected is from the very last book of The Iliad, and portrays an encounter between the Trojan King Priam and the Greek warrior Achilles. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, all you really need to know — for our purposes — is that Priam’s son killed Achilles’ best friend in combat, and Achilles then killed Priam’s son in retribution. At the point where we meet them, Achilles has been dragging the body of his slain enemy behind his chariot for twelve days, and Priam has come in person to his enemy’s encampment to plead for the return of his son’s body. 

The Iliad by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, is published by Penguin Random House.

Alissa Rubin’s reporting – including her recent must-read coverage on climate change in the Middle East – is available to subscribers of The New York Times.

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