Classics Professor Robert Fagles, 74, Dies

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Princeton University professor Robert Fagles' translations of Homer and Virgil made him an esteemed and best-selling classical scholar.


Achilles may have killed the mighty hector, but Robert Fagles did something far more heroic and arguably more difficult.


He translated three of the greatest and longest poems in all literature; "The Iliad," "The Odyssey" and the "The Aeneid." Fagles died Wednesday at the age of 74.

Here he is reading from his translation of "The Iliad" as Andromache mourns her fallen husband.

Professor ROBERT FAGLE (English and Comparative Literature, Princeton University): (Reading) Oh, Hector, I am destroyed. Both born to the same fate after all. You, you at Troy and the halls of King Priam. I, at Thebes, under the timberline of Placos, Eetion's house. You raised me as a child, that men of doom. His daughter just as doomed, would to god he'd never fathered me. Now you go down to the House of Death, the dark depths of the earth, and leave me here to waste away in grief.

A widow lost in the royal halls, and a boy only a baby, the son we bore together. You and I so doomed. Hector, what help are you to him now you're dead? What help is he to you? Think, even if he escapes the wrenching horrors of war against the Argives, pain and labor will plague him all his days to come.

NORRIS: That was Robert Fagles reading from his translation of "The Iliad." He died Wednesday. He was 74.

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