Homer’s Iliad

Instructor:  Juliet Baker and Deirdre Good

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class Limit 35
  • Materials Required

In the Iliad, Homer tells the epic story of Troy (Ilium). The poem explores the consequences of “force,” of rage, avarice, warfare, and love and their effects on individuals and nations. To many, the Iliad is the greatest anti-war poem ever written. With the Odyssey, the Iliad serves as a foundation of western culture, in particular, the epic story. In Mediterranean cultures today, the Iliad is as alive as it was to the Greeks 9,000 years ago. Homer’s characters, including the gods, are as fully human as we are. The turmoil around Troy is mirrored in our own time as a reflection of warfare and the ways avarice and rage provoke or even sanction force. In this six-week class, we will focus on the text, beginning with Book 18, “The Shield of Achilles.” From the entire text, we will review selected readings. We will encourage dramatic readings of dialogue among Greek, Trojan, and divine characters. We will look at artistic depictions and archeological discoveries from the time of the Greeks to our own time, and we will compare and examine various translations of the poem. By the end of the class you will be familiar with an ancient epic narrative and be able to recognize Homeric themes as they play out and resonate in modern culture.

Class limit 35

Required text:Homer’s The Iliad,” translated by Robert Fagels (Penguin Paper Back, 1990). Amazon- $17.00. Used copies described as “very good” are usually clean copies and much cheaper. ISBN978-0-14-027536-0

Juliet Baker and Deirdre Good will co-teach this course. Juliet Baker has studied and taught English language and literature for forty years. She hold a B.A. and M.A.in English and pursued a PhD at Berkeley. She has taught several well-received courses at Senior College. Driven by a penchant for close reading and for literature as a reflection of all human experience, she loves being associated with Senior College. Deidre Good has just retired from a career in seminary administration and education, teaching Greek, Coptic and Christian Origins. She is eager to be involved in Senior College. She has a ThD from Harvard Divinity School. Currently, Deirdre is teaching a year-long, online course in Koine Greek, the Gospels, and Lectionary readings for the Stevenson School for Ministry in the Diocese of Central PA.