Western Literature to Dante

Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D. for Scholars Online
2019-20: Mondays, 1:00 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time
2019

September

9   16   23   30  

October

7   14   21   28  

November

4   11   18   25  

December

2   9   16  

2020

January

6   13   20   27  

February

3   10   17   24  

March

2   9   16   23   30  

April

13   20   27  

May

4   11   18   25  

Unit II: The Greek Epic

Terracotta sculpture of Zeus
Terracotta sculpture of Zeus
Photograph © Copyright 1999, Mary L. McMenomy

Week 5: Homer’s Iliad, continued
ca. 800 B.C.

Please have read by your classtime this week:

This is about the same amount of reading as you had last time. Again, if you have difficulty, concentrate specifically on books 9, 13, 15, and 16.

Please consider the relevant parts of the Homer website (Introductory Notes) having to do with the formation of Greek epic and the Iliad in particular. I’d like to consider any of the questions we didn’t get to last time (probably quite a few), and here particularly add the following. Some you may be able to answer now; others you may not. Either way, consider the problems, and bring your thoughts to class.

Consider and be ready to discuss:

  1. How do we know what we know about the poem? What do we mean by oral composition? What do we mean by formulae in poetic composition? What do we mean when we talk about the "layers of language" in the Iliad?
  2. How does Homer portray the poet, and the poetic function? What is important about that in terms of the character of Achilles?
  3. Finally, if you aren’t sure where this story is headed, read the appropriate parts of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. Read at least the chapter on the Trojan War, and a lot of things will probably be clearer to you.