This Classics 200-level language course depends upon active participation by all students in the course for us to pursue a close reading of portions of two books of the Iliad by Homer. Over the course of the semester we will read just over 900 lines of Homeric Greek: the first book of the epic (ll. 1-611) and the passage from book 6 devoted to scenes among Hector, Helen and Paris, and the touching farewell scene between Hector and his loving wife Andromache on the walls of Troy (ll. 237-529). We will devote class time to reading aloud in dactylic hexameter and translating into eloquent English the Greek text and conducting extensive discussions on a wide variety of issues related to the Iliad and the epic genre. Our readings will include two books of R. Fagles' translation of the Iliad weekly, which will supplement our readings in the original. The discussions on textual and social issues will include video-conferences with the Hamilton College course on the same work, taught by Prof. Carl Rubino. The objectives of these exercises are enumerated below:
Goals to examine the genre of the epic
to read a few works of scholarship on the Iliad
to gain a perspective on the Homeric age and the historical and social context of the Iliad
Skills to read Greek poetry at an intermediate level by engaging the syntax and grammar of the Iliad
to communicate effectively in classroom discussion
to develop critical thinking abilities and learn to articulate them orally and in written form

You will have ample opportunities to hone your skills in order to achieve these goals. The requirements for successful completion of the course focus on communication, research and composition as follows:
Participation 25% 200-level language courses depend upon regular, stimulating and provocative contributions from all participants. Language courses on a work of literature require consistent time outside of class devoted to reading and preparing notes on the textual passages assigned for the next class meeting. Each student is also expected to participate actively and regularly in classroom discussions, and that participation must be grounded in a thorough understanding of the readings for each class meeting. Thus, participation includes
  • regular attendance: you cannot participate if you are not in class
  • in-class contributions: there is no place to hide in this course. Your participation grade depends upon frequent and substantive contributions to the class discussion.
  • completion of reading assignments: a language course has high expectations. Your comments in class will reflect whether you have done the reading thoroughly and carefully.

Presentations 15% Over the course of the semester each student will focus on a specific passage of approximately 10 lines from Homer's Iliad and prepare to conduct a class meeting on that passage. The presentation will include
  • guiding the rest of the class on the translation of the passage
  • guiding the rest of the class on the metrical reading of the passage
  • understanding fully the grammar and syntax of the passage
  • being well-versed in the notes provided by Benner
Midterm &
Final Exams
60% The first Midterm exam is scheduled for Thursday, February 24th; the second is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4th. (15% each)
The Final exam will be scheduled by the Registrar. (30%)
Sessions with
Hamilton College
  • Session 1: February 17. We will discuss a piece of scholarship that addresses literary and social issues related to the Homeric corpus.
  • Session 2: March 9. We will read together (in Greek) and discuss 6.312-368, the meeting between Hector, Helen and Paris
  • Session 3: April 25. We will discuss the advantages of reading Homer in Greek and the differences between Fagles' and S. Lombardo's translations of the Iliad.
To facilitate these discussions the joint classes will share an email list: To subscribe to the list, send an email to
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