CLST 313-002 (Term 1;  C. Johnson)

This course explores the nature and import of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. These works are essential for an understanding of ancient Greek society and are the foundation for all subsequent Greek literature. A close reading in translation will cover such subjects and themes as:

  • Homer as a source of history: Mycenaean, Dark Age and Archaic periods
  • the nature of legend and its relation to history
  • religion and myth: Olympian Pantheon, religious background and worldview
  • oral tradition and formulaic language
  • epic as a genre
  • Homer: who, where, when (Homeric question)

The Iliad

  • the nature of war and its impact on society
  • the nature of the hero
  • tragic worldview: gods and mortals
  • human limitation, endurance and nobility

The Odyssey

  • immortality: gods and mortals
  • the gods and human morality
  • the nature of the hero and their trials
  • personal loyalty and identity
  • xenia and the continuity of the house (oikos)
  • historical and religious elements
  • the Odyssey, folk tale, myth and romance

CLST 313-001 (Term 2: T. Marshall)

This course provides a survey of Greek epic in translation. We will read both the Odyssey and Iliad of Homer, paying attention to the nature of its poetry and composition. The poems provide rich insight into the Greek understanding of the gods and fate, as well as demonstrating a complex understanding of the nature of storytelling. The course will also examine the subsequent development of the genre, through the Epic Cycle, epic parody, and Apollonius’ Argonautica.