Homer's Iliad: Gore, Glory, Gods and Wrath




The Iliadis the oldest work in the Western canon, a daunting poem both in length and subject: glorious warriors, death and dying, valor and defeat. Most people have not read it but have heard that it's "about the Trojan War. Homer asks the Muse to tell the story of one man's anger and its terrible consequences. But what really is Achilles so angry about?

Perhaps as a man special among men, but ultimately just human, the answer is obvious. As some like to say, "It's a classic for a reason. I'd say truly that no one should read the Iliad without being forever changed.



3 PM
PM course

Course Notes

The Iliad is longer than the Odyssey, and most people find that it more alien in some ways,

harder to relate to as modern people. All of us will have the same unabridged text, and we'll

read selections of the poem aloud during class, in the manner the original was meant to be

experienced. While the course does not require students to have the read the Iliad before, it

might certainly be helpful to pick up a translation and try to know something of the poem

before attending the course. Notes, hand-outs, plot summaries, and a complete edition of the

Robert Fagles translation of the poem will be provided for all students.


Day 1: Book 1

What is an Epic? What is oral formulaic poetry? What is the Heroic Code? The main characters. The beginning: the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon.


Day 2: Books 3 & 6

Helen and Paris; the view from Troy; Hector and his family


Day 3: Books 9 & 11

A failed embassy to Achilles; a fateful day of battle


Day 4: Books 16, 18, & 22

Bad decisions all around; Achilles' very bad idea; Hector's even worse idea


Day 5: Books 22 (con.) & 24

Universal sorrows, funerals, reconciliations, and a kind of peace, or acceptance at least

Gift vouchers

Request a brochure

Summer School Entertainment 2024


Talking Stones

Rock, Paper, Scissors Brian Anderson has been a lecturer and course tutor at the Summer School...

More News

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM