Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad

Here are gathered the books of Chapman’s translation of the Iliad that I have edited for my own use in commenting on them.

  1. Book Α
  2. Book Β
  3. Book Γ
  4. Book Δ
  5. Book Ε
  6. Book Ζ
  7. Book Η
  8. Book Θ
  9. Book Ι
  10. Book Κ
  11. Book Λ
  12. Book Μ
  13. Book Ν
  14. Book Ξ

My sources have changed, and my editorial standards are evolving. Ultimately I ought to go back to the beginning and edit the earlier books to meet the later standards; but I may not do this, if ever, until I edit the twenty-fourth book for the first time.

For making sense of Chapman, it is sometimes useful to have available

  • Samuel Butler’s prose translation in the Internet Classics Archive at MIT (which announced the launch of a “restoration project” in the spring of 2011, more than six years ago, but unfortunately I see no further dated work there);
  • the Greek text at Project Perseus (a prose translation—either Butler’s or Murray’s from the Loeb series—can be read alongside).

I took the text of the first book from the text file at the Internet Archive of Homer’s Iliad, translated by George Chapman, with an Introduction by Henry Morley (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1884). Many corrections were needed: I made them just by reading, rather than by checking with the pdf image or with my print copy, edited by Allardyce Nicoll (Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series XLI, paperback edition, 1998).

I had forgot to check Project Gutenberg, which turned out to have what is labelled as The Iliads of Homer by Homer (it’s Chapman’s translation, and I found it from his name in the index). The Gutenberg text then is what I started to use.

For each book, as with each blog post, I try to create an html file that looks the same when displayed by a browser as when fed through WordPress. This is a challenge for poetry, since WordPress treats line breaks in a file as a sign to start a new line in the display. Four Book IV of the Iliad, I started treating the poem as an ordered list. By using the


tag, I introduced a blank line, suggesting a new paragraph, when a sentence ended at the end of a verse. When this happened within a speech, I introduced a new opening quotation mark at the start of the new line.

For the fifth book, I finally found a proper transcription of Chapman’s text at Early English Books Online. This has typographical features that Nicoll edited out:

  • inverted use of U and V by modern standards,
  • italics for names of persons,
  • strange punctuation,
  • no quotations marks.

I am developing a routine for adjusting the mark-up. EEBO uses style sheets, but I cannot do this in WordPress unless I upgrade my account (that is, pay more for it), beyond what I have already done to be free of advertising (and to have the domain rather than I use inline style commands instead. (Also, in general, closing all tags seems to prevent the problem with how WordPress treats line breaks.)

The EEBO transcription is said to be done by paid human beings. These human beings have left lacunae where they could not read letters; it is often not hard to fill in the lacunae, even without referring to the Nicoll text. Unfortunately I have not yet found images of Chapman’s own pages, to confirm my suspicion of some errors in the EEBO transcription. I try to note the corrections that I make.

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