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In antiquity Homer was known simply as "The Poet," a nod to his status as the founder of Western literature.

     So great was Homer's influence that virtually all archaic epic, not least the Iliad and the Odyssey, was attributed to him.  In fact, both poems are often called "the Greek Bible," a label which is true in a cultural, if not a religious, sense.

      In this class we will read selections from the Odyssey in the original Greek.  The struggles of Odysseus are nothing less than the struggles of all humankind, embellished and magnified for the world of myth.  We will also devote time to various topics in Homeric studies, from the mysteries of the dactylic hexameter to the making of Homeric verse.  The issues surrounding Homer's poetry have many parallels in other areas of classical studies.


The goals for this course are as follows:

  • to engage advanced Greek grammar and syntax;
  • to read the poety of Homer;
  • to explore the genre of Greek epic; and
  • to become familiar with Homeric scholarship.

Furthermore, students will draw upon universal skills of critical reading and thinking, and will communicate these skills both in class and in written exercises.

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© 2002 Skidmore College Classics Department